Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Whacky English 1500s

For whatever reason, I am fascinated with the 1500s, the century of the Reformation. This brief list does not do it justice. Alas...

The Kings and Queens
I don't know the kings in Europe well, but the monarchs of England in the 1500s are fascinating:
  • Henry VIII (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived)
  • Edward VI (sickly)
  • Bloody Mary (The Catholic strikes back)
  • Elisabeth, the "Virgin" Queen
  • James starts just into the 1600s
The transitions are interesting. Poor Lady Jane Grey gets beheaded in the transition to Mary, a young girl manipulated into trying to prevent Mary from becoming queen in 1553. Mary kills heroes like Lattimore, Ridley, Cranmer, John Rogers (publisher of Matthew's Bible). Thankfully, she died in 1558 before she could do more damage.

The Bibles
Gutenberg's version of the printing press was invented in 1450, and the Latin Bible was printed that year.
  • The Dutch Erasmus raced to get the first Greek NT printed in 1516. The fact that he was first would give him immense influence. 
  • Luther would use Erasmus' second edition in 1519 to translate the Bible into German (1522). 
  • Tyndale used it to publish the first English translation of the NT based on the original Greek (1526) and was then put to death near Brussels in 1536 for it.
  • Henry VIII would allow then Tyndale's Bible to become the basis for the Great Bible, an authorized Bible for the Anglican church in 1539. 
  • In 1551, Stephanus produced a revision of the Greek NT, the first with verses.
  • In exile from Queen Mary, the Geneva Bible NT was finished in 1557, the whole Bible in 1560. It would become the popular favorite in Puritan circles in England. It had study notes, with some of which, the bishops and rulers were not so pleased.
  • Other Bibles--the Bishop's Bible (1568), the Catholic Douay Rheims (1582) were responses.
  • The King James Version (1611) would start with the Bishop's Bible and go from there.
The Reformers
  • In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 debate points on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral.
  • 1529, the Marburg Colloquy - the failure of Luther and Zwingli to reconcile prophesied the future fate of Protestantism. Without an authority to arbitrate different interpretations of the Bible, Protestantism would inevitably split and split and split and split again.
  • In 1533, Henry VIII was excommunicated, effectively beginning the Anglican Church.
  • In 1536, Calvin publishes his Institutes on the Christian Religion.
  • 1545 Catholic Council of Trent strikes back - Apocrypha declared protocanonical
  • 1549 - Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer
I might also add that in 1588, the English defeat of the Spanish Armada effectively shifted world power from Spain to England.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

From personal experience in various denominations and sects, I'd fear any interpretive opinion claiming "God", and that would include the Magisterium. The reason?

When "God" is used as an authority, then, people abuse others. Others might fear asserting their justified criticism, when abuse transpires, fearing the questioning of authority. And those in leadership believing themselves annointed or above reproach might not be able to listen to criticism. Sometimes unwittingly/ignorantly, but sometimes, not, those in authority abuse, as "God" gives them sanction to do so.

Personal authority and ownership is a Western value, in Constitutional governments. Theocratic or Dictatorial Governments are subversive of a leader's personal responsibility and accountability. Authoritarian domination of others is antithetical to liberty and it does damage to "the personal" because "no one has walked in your shoes". And no one experiences things the same way. Humans need to tread lightly as it concerns others and their lives. Reasonable people understand that power can be "heady" and especially, if you believe that an authority such as "God" has granted you that power!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Political power is what created the need for translations of "the Bible" during a time of ignorance and oppression under the Roman Church. The Roman Church had a realist view of "faith", as the elements/symbols of faith were effectural, in and of themselves. The elements themselves were infused with grace. Without partaking of Communion, one was "doomed".

Luther set in motion a "confessional faith", versus a "biblical one" , which was based on the presupposition of "God", as understood in the Councils of the Church. The presupposition of "faith" was what "God" honored, as faith/belief made the rituals and symbols of "faith" effectual or infused with "grace". It is a nominalist position, not a realist position philosophically.

As the political(real) became disengaged from the spiritual with the Reformation, secularization was the outcome. The Divine Right of Kings was the claim of political power in the West. Divine Right kept the peace, and protected the King's Power under the "order of God".

When the King determined that he had a right to separate from the Church because he wanted to divorce, "The Anglican Church" was "born". Those that did not agree with his claim to power over the Church, nor his divorce, wanted to separate from England and form a "commonwealth". The Puritans came to America seeking a place where they could worship God without affirming the Church in England. Again, a separation between the sacred and secular was being promoted. Our Constitution granted religious liberty, but did not want an established religion through power (Congress).

Those that want to create a separatist movement were free to do so, as many of the Founders were Christians, but not all. The Founders were "educated and enlightened men", not prone to enthusiasm. They were rationalists,and, empiricists, as they believed in separated and divided powers, due to man's limitations and their historical knowledge. Religious tests were not to be a qualification for holding office, as our country was not to discriminate on religious grounds. Americans could be diverse in their religious opinions and convictions, as that granted the right to worship apart from political interference.

But, I'm afraid that the Fundamentalist/evangelical conviction about "The Word of God" grants little liberty. Such have become a political power to implement convictions upon those that might differ. And they've used scripture as historically and realistically accurate as to "God" and "His Purpose". Sovereignty is not about political liberty to worship as one chooses, but, about "God's right" to determine "The Purpose" politically for everyone.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Today, post-modernity makes power the problem, as equality has to be the outcome of all purposes. Such a view undermines presuppositionalism because it is a subjective, anti-realist view based on perspective. Such a position undermines an ability to hold to an over-arching (presuppositional) interpretive frame, as that would be imposing from the outside of an individual or a particular perspective. This is multi-culturalism par excellence, and it undermines an ability to make claims of any kind. Foreign Policy based on such a view undermines the Sovereignty of a nation state. The "poor, oppressed, outcast, etc." become the focus of the nation state, and the church. It is Marxist in thrust as to economics and progressive in historical/global focus. Therefore, it is politically incorrect to teach American history, because we oppressed and stole from the American Indian. Israel stole from the Palestinians and should consider the plight of those that have "no home". Political power and the structures that have been underwritten them, are viewed anachronistically as to present day politically correct terms and re-invented into something other than the original intent of the Constitution.

Inversion of power to rectify "injustices" is the theme to "political correctness". "Social justice" is the rallying cry of both Liberal Protestants and Catholics today. Collective identifications are important and necessary to determine who is to be empowered and who is to be disempowered (or pay for their sins) in such thinking. It is "identity politics" that undermines individual self-governance for "socially identified group" rights. Individuals are not viewed in their own right,as morally responsible self governing entities, but socially identified "herds" to be manipulated. (Religion is the opiate of the people). Such a political policy has set a course for our country that has undermined our prosperity, knowledge base, and future. America is the enemy because we have a powerful military that is useful for Americans interests, which brings oppression. That is the theme these days....

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Evangelicals have no better answer, as theirs is a "supernaturally exclusive claim" upon truth and objectives. While they might support an overarching theme of "salvation and sanctification", most have little regard or knowledge of the real world and the consequences of cultural differences that won't be "fixed" by "salvation".

Similarly, those wanting to promote nation-building and democracy have a naive view about cultural differences so internalized personally and sanctioned and promoted by government that it becomes impossible to "convert" such as these.