Tuesday Night Class – Jesus in the Middle Ages
Bible Study for Adults (aka, the “Tuesday” Class), Fall Term
Keeping the God-light on: Jesus in the Middle Ages
by Curt Scott, from our newsletter, Still Speaking, September 2023 edition.
NOTE: This is a year-round class facilitated by Curt Scott with quarterly updates to the subject, title, and focus.
Are we supposed to become one with God, or bow down in fear? Is the point to know Jesus as existentially as possible or worship him, wear the team jersey and die smiting his enemies? On Tuesdays, we study the wave patterns of Christian history.
In September we will start 400 years after Saint Augustine watched Visigoths sack Carthage, where he was Bishop. Bishops were still of many Christian beliefs as the Roman-controlled West morphed into
Frank-controlled France and Germany. They met to discuss and condemn, but they believed in everything from killing Jews to Jesus never dying on the cross because God can’t do that.
Away from Germanic warlord power trips, Irish monks maintained 15 Centuries of
philosophical evolution, being fluent in Greek and Latin, as they became the last breath of Western and Classical thought.
After the collapse of the Western Empire, Rome, the idea, shifted to Constantinople. Those in the West who signed on to the Nicaean Creed believed Jesus and Sky God were one and the same being. They would, over time, become Catholicism.
Those who thought Jesus was godly, but still the creation if not offspring of Sky God called themselves Arians, after Arius. Jesus was from God, they said, not homoousios: “one in being.” They had the numbers until Charlemagne.
Those who taught the teachings of Jesus and all great minds before him were philosophers. Like Origen, Justin Martyr, Jesus, Philo and Plato, they wore the robes of philosophers. Priests adopted the look. As it so happened, by the Early Middle Ages, those philosophers were
mostly Irish monks, or Christians, in places like Islam-controlled Damascus, Syria.
The term Dark Ages is ridiculous. Philosophy and theology exploded in the absence of Rome’s oppression. When Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as the first Holy Roman Emperor, in the year 800, one of those Churches that talked about Jesus got its army back. Evil would quickly coopt them, but Charlemagne hired Europe’s best and brightest teachers to feed young
Frankish minds to get Jesus and thinking back into Church.
The first to teach the mind of Jesus, the first to pick up where Augustine left off, was Johannes Scotus Eriugena, the Irish Neo-Platonist. We will begin with him during the Rise of the Carolingians, when philosophy fixed Christianity, again.