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Discussion Week 2

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1. Why do you think did the monastic life (either as a hermit or in a community) hold such attraction for men and women in the early Middle Ages?

2. How did Roman secular structures and ideas influence Christianity, and how did Christianity transform Roman life?
[Look at some of the common administrative terms in use the Christian churches, esp. Roman catholicism: vicar, diocese, parish, etc. Look at the use of Latin in the Western Churches until recently and at the still continued use of Greek in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The terms used in Christian theology to define the dogmas of Christianity come from Greek philosophical terms imported into Classical Latin.]

3. How far, do YOU think, did the teachings of Christianity affect the cultural values and practices of the early Middle Ages?
[The conflict between established Christianity and the secular power of the Empire began in 313 CE. Constantine 'legalized' Christianity in that year and supported the bishops in their efforts to combat heresy, but took 'uppitiness' from no one. The growing power of the bishops in general and the papacy in particular was supported by the rulers of the Western Empire until its collapse, and from the late seventh century onwards by the Frankish Emperors. In the East it was the same.]

Copyright ©2008 Aidan Breen, Ph.D.