Week 6.2 - The Just War & The Germanization of Christianity

Week 6.2 - The Just War & The Germanization of...

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Week 6 (Continued): The Just War and The Germanization of Christianity Next week we have some political theory—Constantine's caesaropapism in contrast to Augustine's theory of the 2 cities. These political theories are characteristic of Medieval political power & authority in the East (Constantine) and in the West—where Augustine's theory prevailed on the whole. The main difference between the East and West is this: In the east, the emperor had theocratic authority & power over both the state and the Church; but in the west there was a separation between the power of secular rulers of Germanic kingdoms and the spiritual authority of the Pope & Church. This is the type of separation Augustine describes in his theory of "the two cities" and which Pope Gelasius I asserted in his 494 letter on the two powers ( in Tierney ). Constantine claimed a great deal of authority over both the state (secular government) and the Church. This was because in keeping with the Roman tradition of the Pax Deorum, he was supposed to be the guardian of Rome's obligations to God (previously to the many pagan gods) in exchange for God's protection, favor, and victories in battle. Thus, he saw himself as having authority over the Church, more or less in keeping with the tradition of the Roman emperor's traditional role as Pontifex Maximus. This is very clear in his legislation in favor of Christianity, and especially in his intervention in Church controversies to prevent conflicts and schisms in the Church. He believed that if such splits occurred God would be angry at him and at Rome, and the result would be no divine protection, no more victories in battles, and no more divine favor—all of which Rome desperately needed. So he intervened and claimed authority to do so as a sort of imperial agent of Christ on earth. He claimed supreme secular authority as emperor ("Caesar") and religious authority as protector and patron of the Church ("pope"). This combination of powers is thus called Caesaropapism . Church leaders in the East, such as Eusebius, There is a sharp contrast with Augustine's rejection of this fusing together of secular and spiritual power (Caesaropapism). We are also reading excerpts on Augustine's political theory relating to the use of coercive force (the Roman army) to suppress heresy—the Donatist heresy, and the theory of the just war ( see XP page 22 ). The Donatist heresy threatened both the unity and the safety of Catholics in North Africa. There are many similarities between the Donatists and fundamentalist extremists, such as the Taliban. Strict perfectionism and authoritarianism are common to both kinds of extremism. To the Donatists, perfectionism of the strictest sort was required for salvation and only available to members of their sect.
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course HIST 111 taught by Professor Rutenburg during the Fall '05 term at Maryland.

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Week 6.2 - The Just War & The Germanization of...

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