The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #107: Medieval 101

General Introduction 
– A busy summer
– How we spent our summer vacations
– Three big announcements

The Middle Ages and Antiquity
– The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
– Rhetorical constructs
– A slow and varied process
– How did the Medievals see themselves?

The Middle Ages and the Modern World
– Medieval Britain and the popular imagination
– The Agrarian cycle and the Church calendar
– A Medieval sandwich
– The sixth age of the world
– Feudalism and the rise of the middle class
– The Medieval World
– Medieval Times and the Disneyland Joust
– The Middle Ages and the Renaissance

The Rise of Islam
– More rhetorical invention
– Who’s the center of the world?
– Christians and pagans
– Islam and the Nestorians
– Supposed uniformity
– Islam and the Renaissance
– Cosmopolitanism in Baghdad

Medieval Systems
– Lewis vs. Ellul
– Classification and harmonization
– The order of the cosmos
– The Encyclopedia tradition
– Dante’s apotheosis
– Medieval empiricism and eclecticism
– The importance of tradition
– Deferring to the ancients, arguing with one another
Dante’s Letter to Can Grande

Homo Viator
– Man the pilgrim
– Greek philosophy meets biblical narrative
– Poetic examples
– The monastic tradition

“The Dark Ages”
– Nonpejorative uses
– Backward, savage regression
– Why Stephen Greenblatt should be ashamed of himself

Lightning Round
– The tradition of translation
– Gothic architecture
Ars Moriendi 

9 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #107: Medieval 101

  1. You’re BACK!  Yay!
    You can’t leave, Grubbs!  The one who likes Poe takes off and sticks me with the Poe-haters all by my lonesome?!
    Tried to explain “medieval” in ten minutes?  Reminds me of the time I was asked to explain to a youth group what the Protestant Reformation was and why it happened, in ten minutes or less.  Forty-five minutes later, I hadn’t even slowed down.
    I found it interesting (and kind of obvious once it was said) that nobody in the medieval peri od said to themselves “well, here I am in the medieval period”.  So if you can’t name your age while you’re in it, does this mean that, in the far future, nobody will be calling the modern era “modern”, even though that’s what we (at least those who don’t like postmodernism) call our era?
    I did not know about the “Sixth Age” thing.  Speaking of theologically-derived Ages, first thing I thought of:
    “The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass,
    leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is
    long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called
    the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the
    Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings
    or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”
     And speaking of highly-educated peasants discussing philosophy while hauling dirt around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvKIWjnEPNY

    1. Charles H  One of the wacky things about modernity is its insistence on planting a flag in The Now and claiming it — that is, in fact, what “modern” means in its Latin root, “now.” The term “postmodern” reacts to the hubris involved in modernity’s triumphal assertion of the superiority of its Now. I hesitate to imagine what history will call us, since it will probably have more to do w/ the character of the Next Age as the current one.

      Funny how the whole “Age” thing has become a trope of fantasy fiction. I blame Tolkien! Though Jordan’s cyclical view of time is quite different from Augustine’s Six Age schema.

      1. dgrubbs
        I remember that being one of my biggest problems with describing “postmodern” to people who are not already familiar with it.  I distinctly remember my mother, for example,  saying “How can something be ‘post’-modern, when ‘modern’ is the present day?”

  2. Ah, what a wonderful episode. You all have been missed.
    Building on what David mentioned at the end of the episode, an interesting element surrounding the architecture is the societal involvement required for building something like a cathedral. Being a massive project that took a a large workforce sometimes 100-200 years to complete, it required a societal commitment and vision of the long view of history that is fascinating to me.
    David will be missed during his hiatus. May God bless your efforts, and hasten the completion of your dissertation, David! I did want to mention my anticipation for the Christian feminist podcast, it sounds like it will be an engaging and helpful project.
    Thanks again for a quality program, gentlemen.

    1. CarterS Good point about the social and “historical vision” aspects of cathedral building–far different from today when construction is usually something “they” are doing, even in your own town, and interaction with hundred-year-old buildings is often a wrecking ball.

  3. I ought to issue a correction: the Third Age was from Abraham to David, the Fourth from David to the Babylonian exile, the Fifth from the exile to Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *