Church History: 900-1100
Theological developments were at a minimum as the church turned to political and liturgical concerns.
What I thought might have been of interest was that it has long been believed that there was an outbreak of “millennial madness” as the year 1000 approached.
Some groups, equating the year 1000 with the thousand years mentioned in Revelation, were sure the Second Coming was at hand and gave away their possessions, joined monasteries…and were fervently disappointed when February 1001 rolled around.
There is debate over that now…most of the sources that speak of such events are from 500 years later.
History is only as accurate as it’s source material, and the closer the sources to the time of the events recorded the better.
Because of that, we take the reports of “millennial madness” with a grain of salt.
The century following the new millennium was a different story…much of importance here.
Roman Catholicism under Pope Leo IX excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople of the “filioque issue” and the long simmering split was final.
The RCC had other issues…between 1044-1046 three different men claimed to be the pope at the same time…kind of makes a mess of apostolic succession.
The practice of granting (paid for) “indulgences” took hold in this century and would lead to even more schisms in a few hundred years.
The theological rationale behind indulgences was this…since only one drop of the blood of Jesus was enough to atone for the sins of the whole world…and he bled more than one drop…there is now a storehouse of inexhaustible virtue that the Pope can tap and offer to those who perform the required actions. This ability to confer the stored merits of Christ (and Mary) to the living penitent was also extended to the dead in purgatory… for a price.
Indulgences were what fueled the Crusades, which began in 1095.
In 1009 the Muslims took Jerusalem and destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Pope promised a full indulgence, complete pardon…to those who would help take it (and other holy places) back.
An estimated 300,000 took him up on his offer…and Christiandom retook Jerusalem, Clermont, Nicaea, and Antioch.
They retook them more brutally than they had been taken…pillaging, plundering, and massacring their way though the Holy Land in the name of Jesus.
Modern historians have radically different takes on these events…they are worth your study.
The name you should know from this period…Anselm.
Anselm is the theologian who laid the groundwork for the doctrine of “substitutionary atonement“.
This is the the most commonly held view today among Protestants, but that was not the case before Anselm…this doctrine was 1100 years in the making and wasn’t fully articulated until the 1500’s.
Anselm also argued that faith and reason were not in opposition to each other, but that faith informed reason.
He also was the earliest prominent exemplar of “scholasticism”, a thought movement that would greatly impact Christian learning up to the sixteenth century.