Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Discussions pertaining to the Church, including it's history.

Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby ChrisB » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:28 pm

Johns mum would not have had to stand in front of the telly much Dick. As I recall nudity on the Beeb at least was just about as rare as hens teeth in the days of yore! You mention that things seem to have got better since good queen Beth was on the throne. Not withstanding terrible wars etc which still plague us. I was wondering about starting a thread to discus the issue of "total depravity" in the context of theological matters. It's the "total" part which I find hard to understand. I need to look on the board and see if it's already been done to death - I expect it has maybe?

Cultural note: Beeb = British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

I wonder how far we can go about discussing the finer points of Cate Blanchet's wonderful charms before Jason or some other authority commands us to get back to the point?
How much more will those receive God's abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ Rom 5 vs 17
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:54 am

I'm not sure that things have got better all round Chris - and who knows we could have public executions back again; there is no reason why the things our more loving kind forefathers fought so hard for - like tolerance and minimization of cruelty in public life - should not get reversed if we are not vigilant; so we must always be vigilant. And the Terrible Thirty Years Wars of religion that England avoided but convulsed and devastated Europe form 1608 onwards - terrible, soul numbing slaughter and massacre upon massacre of Catholics by Protestants, Protestants by Catholics, and different Protestant sects and parties against each other- are so very similar to what is happening in Arab countries today (and both were ceased by a seeming new dwam - the first the Reformation, the second the so called Arab Spring). Our times are as bad as other times have been - but they also contain their own unique seeds of hope as other times have. We must look for those seeds of hope and cherish them

I'm a not a progressive liberal - I don't think progress is inevitable or that human nature is essentially good. I'm a hopeful but realistic human frailty liberal in my politics and more general outlook. Total depravity is bunk in my view - human beings are image of God bearers - but we are also prone to error, weakness and even deliberate fault through the rivalry in our desiring. Our task is to nurture the image of God in ourselves with God's grace to help us so that it overcomes the darkness and the fragmentation. Our task is not to hate ourselves - this we cannot bear in the end and have to hate others in order to cope; no that is not helpful nor is it good theology or psychology IMHO. :-) Erasmus used slightly different words - but his theology ( or more properly his 'anthropology') was very much in line with what I have just written. Hope that helps Chris:-?
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:59 pm

btw Chris - I grew up in the seventies. I guess my friends' Mum had a little more cause to stand in front of the telly than in previous decades :lol: - with the occasional Wednesday Play and even one very brief scene with Keith Michelle in the Six Wives of Henry VIII with Judy Dench's husband. But it didn't; happened a lot - so she wasn't up and down like a Mexican jumping bean as she would be today I guess (but I don't watch a lot of telly - apart from the odd detective series - hate to say but I am a great fan of Poirot, Miss Marple (the seventies version) and I eve like the new series of New Tricks with Tamsin Outhwaite playing the woman in the boys world (I'm enjoying it better than the old series actually). Well I used to watch all the other stuff - the historical channel and Dr Who etc (no connection by the way); but when I moved back to look after my Mum she still had sight in one eye and could sit up and we only had one Telly. So when I first returned I put on Doctor Who the first Saturday and it was like - well being in your Mum's territory again in your own very early middle age (just my luck) :-D 'Oh I don't like all of this modern nonsense. And there's something I want to see on another channel - Poirot!!!' So she liked detective series and I gradually grew to enjoy them - so that's what we'd watch together. And although she is now blind - I'm a creature of habit :lol: And my Mum's far more severe form of censorship that my friend John's mum indulged in has got me reading a lot more and writing a lot more; and at first it even got me playing the piano a lot more (but I grew tired of that because no one was listening when my Mum became rather deaf). So it's all good - we all lose our faculties in the end - but I've gained some lost/neglected faculties through sharing my Mum's loss I guess:-)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:02 pm

This is Elizabeth’s Speech at Tilbury Docks to her Troops rallied Philip of Spain (with his massive Armada) and the Duke of Parma (Philip’s lieutenant who had amassed a large army n the Netherlands – then controlled by Spanish tyranny – for the purposes of invasion). Both seemingly had massed overwhelming odds against her and her tolerant Protestant polity – and thus her own life was in great danger once again and those of her subjects – Philip and Parma would certainly have introduced the Spanish Inquisition to England

My loving people
We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you on a word of a prince, they shall be duly paid. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

Nearly all historians accept the text as authentic Elizabeth - at two steps removed but still authentic)

Today I have read Erasmus’s short but wonderful tact The Complaint of Peace (which means the quarrel for or argument for Peace). It is well worth reading. Erasmus hated religious strife and saw war as antithetical to the Gospel – but he was not a pacifist. Likewise Elizabeth loved peace and always went the extra mile for peace. She also loved religious tolerance and the persecutions in her reign were very reluctant persecutions and need to be seen in the context of historical circumstances – which were dire – and her lack of enthusiasm for cruelty is unquestioned. She was a remarkable woman.
If anyone wants to see my nuanced thoughts about Luther’s sustained gale of violent scatology in contrast to these two Christian Humanists – I can post them here. But I would need permission :)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:17 pm

I do love graceful rhetoric. Not flowery per se, but measured, sober, and well said.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:37 pm

Dick,

Got chills reading Elizabeth's words.

I for one would like your measured words on Luther's scatology, even though I don't know what scatology is. :lol:

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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:36 pm

Well it concerns talking explicitly about the products of the human bottom :-D Are you still keen? Oh I know people have posted worse stuff here - and it's Luther's words and not my own and they are relevant as a contrast to Eramsus, and he did use scatological rhetoric to violent ends. If you OK me and if Dave OK's I will post it here on the condition that I will delete the post if it upset people - but the truth should not hurt us I say.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:48 pm

Did you really write : A-butt the human bottom? :lol:

Hey, I can take the scat but I'll leave it up to the scat moderation team. :lol:
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:08 pm

Ok were going there - Luther and Scatology (with warm thanks to my interlocutors elsewhere and thanks to the bottom inspectors here too :lol: ).

Part 1

One man, whose writings and legacy have often troubled me – with good reason – had a lifelong battle against the satan (I always write the word with a lower case ‘s’ so as not to big up the adversary, whatever that means to you :-D); namely, Martin Luther. He once reputedly threw an inkpot at Satan and used a great deal of strong scatological language to make Satan flee when he was assailed – ‘here is one of my turds Stan – take a bite on it!’. And although he wrote very affirmably about the joys of sexual congress he must go down in history as having given the most un-gentlemanly reasons for having married – he said that he 'wedded a nun to spite Satan'.

There is one thing I really like about Luther’s idea of how Satan tempts us. Luther, recovering from the late medieval pessimism about the natural world and the human body, loved the good things of life; music, good wine and company, and the scent of flowers. Late in his life, each morning he would walk in his rose garden and forbid Satan to interfere with his enjoyment. When he was a younger, at a debate where he argued the cause for Reform - and if he’d not gained support in this he would have lost his life - he nonchalantly smelled a rose flower when listening to the counter arguments. And when he survived the debate he went outside giving the open handed sign of victory that the triumphant jouster would make at a medieval tournament – and he cried ‘I have come through’.

Luther was a very brave young man – and was a champion of freedom until he became powerful. But later he went far too far with his battle against an external satan – especially in his revolting attacks on the Jews – ‘ Do not let a foul Jew utter the name of Christ. Smear pig’s shit in their faces and burn their synagogues. And of course there is a defamatory Lutheran woodcut of a Lutheran solider dropping his breeches and farting in the Pope’s face – which did much to dehumanise Catholics. . And when he was dying Luther cried ‘I am ripe shit, the world is a great arsehole and we are soon to part company’. Charming:-D As for me – I think we should wage our wars within rather than looking for outward enemies to throw shit at. People still throw shit today at their enemies – an not all of them are religious people by any means. Throwing shit is the lowest form of humour.

Part 2

I've read two biographies of Luther - one by Martin Remarius the Erasmus scholar who is pro Erasmus and so is not fond of Luther; the other by Heiko Oberman who is very pro Luther. Most of the stuff above actually come from Oberman's thoughts about Luther preaching 'God's Word in filthy language' :-? Luther was up against the whole late medieval tradition of flesh hating and world hating (part legacy of the experience of the black death/great plague)- as well as a Church grown corrupt, arid, and authoritarian - and he was very brave in taking all of that on. There is the old story that before he realised he was justified by faith - that is when he thought he had to be good and mortify his flesh to earn salvation - he thought that God in his anger could see him all of the time even when he was on the toilet - and therefore he was permanently constipated through terror. And once he felt justified by faith he had a healthy bowel movement. Not sure whether this is fact or myth but its a common story.

Luther did make one contribution towards Christian universalism - he loved the Theolgia Germanica - a book of medial German mysticism that Calvin later termed 'pure poison. It is a lovely book IMHO and contains the words - This world is the forecourt of paradise'; but more importantly for universalist it also contains the words 'Nothing burns in hell but self will'- and these words were to influence the Pietists and Moravians who became Lutheran universalists. Bonheoffer was also a hopeful universalist and a Lutheran - and a defender of the Jews. He believed that Luther was a very sick man when he made his terrible comment about the Jews - and Bonheoffer was probably right about this.

Part 2

Well I've said some positive things about Luther now - and find him easier to love than John Calvin certainly because he was passionate rather than cold and unsmiling (and I'm even still working on trying to see the good in unsmiling John ). We can't see into Luther's soul - but to be discerning about his behaviours is not the same as condemning his soul (and Christian's often make this category error I find unlike their Lord who was ‘humble to God and haughty to man’). I think many evangelicals have issues with this one. Luther was a great liberator breaking chains - a bit of a punk rocker so to speak - but he fell down on the side of rage when disappointed, and violent rage at that.

Erasmus living at the same time took Luther to task for these very things just as Castellio, Erasmus' follower later took Calvin to task over the judicial murder of Servetus - 'you think you've burnt a heretic , but in reality you have simply killed a man'.

I think we can and should make judgments of discernment - it is out moral duty to do so. But these are different from judgments of ultimate condemnation (which we cannot make because we are all imperfect). In Luther's mitigation for example I note that when he presided over the execution of Anabaptists he was moved by their bravery - Calvin just wanted the 'vermin' exterminated. Also Calvin's few anti-Semitic sayings are merely cold. Luther's many of the same spew hot with rage But according to one account he died with tears in his eyes for the Jews.

However, the voice of Luther in hot rage against the Jews reverberated through history in terrible ways that Calvin's did not. This is what I call tragedy. And tragedy too has a moral dimension.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:26 pm

Well done, Dick. And interesting to boot - what was the problem ML had with the anabaptists?
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:44 pm

Interesting stuff about Luther. I appreciate your word's about discernment and trying to be a bit gracious with him.

I certainly never read any of this stuff in Roland Bainton's "Here I Stand", that I read in college. It didn't make the recent Luther movie either, surprise, surprise. ;)

I walk by a Lutheran church on my lunch-time walk every weekday, and work a block away from a historically Lutheran college. Today, even before this most recent post today, I looked at the church a bit differently on my walk today...I know nobody's perfect, but a lot of this is pretty sad.

Yes, please tell us about Luther and the Anabaptists. This was a chilling line: "when he presided over the execution of Anabaptists he was moved by their bravery".

And for your viewing pleasure...
Farting on the Pope.jpg
Farting on the Pope.jpg (367.54 KiB) Viewed 11349 times


Edit: to clarify, I post this because it is both humorous, but also fascinating historically to me. I certainly bear no ill-will towards Catholics, or Lutherans for that matter. I love it that there are universalist strands in some many denominations of Christianity...Lutheran, Catholic, Reformed, and so on...
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:21 am

That's it Caleb - that's the one :) ; and there is another famous one of three Lutheran soldiers relieving their earthy needs in a large and upturned Papal crown. I mean it all seems a bit of a giggle in a very boyish way today - I can't help but titter at the joke that the revered Father of the Reformation and his upstanding first followers sometimes spoke, wrote and created visual images most unseemly way - and actually the images in context are alarmingly obscene because they are violent and meant to provoke violence too. I seem to remember the according to Josephus, during Jesus's day when a troop of Roman soldiers were dispatched into the temple for a stand off with young Jewfish hot bloods - everything became tranquil but then one of the Roman soldiers decided to drop his pants and fart in the general direction of the Holy of Holies - and there was terrible bloodshed and loss of life as a result :-(

Yes Dave and Caleb :-) I will get back to you - tonight I hope - with some stuff about why Luther and Calvin (far more so) hated Anabaptist
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby ChrisB » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:24 pm

Let's face it most of our histories both global, local and personal get a bit grubby on closer inspection. You can probably bet none or at least very few of the lovely folks who go to the Lutheran church you pass have much idea of their churches hIstory or would even care Caleb. My kids both went to a Lutheran school and did very well from it education wise. My sons wife also went to the same school and became a believer while there. The Lutherans are leaders in education in Australia. Nevertheless I did get peed off many years ago when we went to a family camp they organised and and at the Sunday service the minister stopped all non lutherans from taking communion. Very sad! However it did engender some discussion in our house re acceptance of others which was probably helpful. I too am looking forward to a lesson in Anabaptist history Dick.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:46 pm

Chris I agree that there is good and bad in all movements – including Universalism. And the main part of Lutheranism today is very positive and draws on the positive legacy of Luther – his sacramental theology and his theology of sanctification, his great love of music as one of the good things fo life which eventually inspired Bach (Some of Bach’s glorious Chorale’s are arrangements of Luther’s hymns). I had a friend at school – Immo – whose father was the Lutheran Pastor at Bonheoffer’s old Church in Forest Hill – where he presided for a short time before returning to Germany to be martyred – and he was lovely and I went to an advent fair there and it was wonderful. I think we have to face the good with the bad when assessing the past and that helps us to have a more nuanced picture of the present

A question for you all. Who said ‘Food is shut up full seemly as if within a purse and in good time the purse opens full marvellously. And God does this and meets us in our humblest needs?’. Well I need my Yentil here :-D but she’s busy with her coursework so I shall not disturb her. So let's see it as a rhetorical question. And the answer is...... wait for it :-D..... Julian of Norwich thanking God for a healthy bowel movement unabashedly but with a kindly and gentle image. Compare and contrast with Luther :-D Both Julian and Martin Luther also spoke of Jesus in chivalric and courtly language – as was natural in those times. But for Mother Julian Jesus is ‘our full courteous Lord’ while for Luther Christ is the jouster who enters the lists and ‘fights for me’ (with ‘me’ being the operative word).

Why did Luther persecute the Anabaptists? Well first perhaps we should ask who were the Anabaptists? – they were not identical the Baptists today believing in adult baptism (the Baptists – defenders of religious liberty with the distinctive doctrine of believer baptism) are descended from largely from John Smyth the Elizabethan Anglican Separatist– although there are some tenuous links with the earlier Mennonite Anabaptist movement. The Anabaptist were the radical wing of the Reformation comprising a number of disparate groups.

They believed in adult baptism – but during the time of the Reformation this was a very dangerous thing sot believe in. Most Catholics, Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Calvinist all shared one thing in common; they believed that Church attendance should be enforced by magistrates to protect social order. Child baptism was s sign that the child was to be brought into conformity with the magisteruim of the Church State. To make religion a matter of personal choice for an adult was lunacy and an invitation to anarchy. There were also obviously concerns that not having infants baptised would lead to their damnation – as Augustine taught.

They believed in holding goods in common and later Anabaptists were mainly pacifists – which again was seen as being against the sate and a threat to civil order.

Although their leaders were often highly educated – and some were even Christian humanists scholars – the majority of the Anabaptists were drawn from the lower classes. So they were seen as potential revolutionaries by the magisterium. In the early stages of the Reformation this fear was sometimes well grounded– but not so in the latter pacifist movements of Anabaptists that were ruthlessly persecuted without cause. Because they were harassed and killed their scholars were always on the move and sometimes thought through their ideas without consultation of adequate thought - so they sometimes came up with ideas that were seen as heresy. For example an influential Anabaptist teacher Melchior Hoffman taught that Christ did not have a human body but only a spiritual body – which is technically the Docetic heresy - and many Anabaptist were arraigned and killed for this belief (often falsely – because not all Anabaptists believed this and not all Anabaptist were Unitarians – another charge on which they were often arraigned).

The origins of the disparate Anabaptist groups are obscure and probably linked to peasant movements in the Middle Ages. And Luther came preaching freedom from the tyranny of the Church of Rome. At first he would have agreed with Erasmus – let the wheat and the tares grow up together – laugh at error challenge error but do not kill the man you call heretic. Then Thomas Muntzer – a former colleague of Luther’s and a charismatic firebrand– fired up the peasants and they rose in violent revolt against the German Princes thinking they were supporting Luther (they’d suffered hard under the Church with its tithing of them when they were starving, and with its selling of Indulgences and Pardoners and it Summoners to ecclesiastical courts that needed to be paid off with a bribe – and there had been many lynchings of these shady ecclesiastical dignitaries by German peasants). But Luther was horrified at the tumult and called upon the Princes to kill the peasants and show no mercy – which they did with terrible savagery. Muntzer was once lionised by Communist as a martyr for justice – but the consensus today is that he had no clear programme to help the peasants at all and he was in fact a reckless nihilist in love with the intensity of the moment. At least some of the peasant insurrections were early Anabaptists and all of them became identified with the amorphous Anabaptist movement in popular imagination.

As for Luther? Well his behaviour was appalling too – but we can see some mitigation in the historical context. Luther was always convinced the time was very short indeed and he last Judgement was imminent (whereas Erasmus took the longer view). This lead him to fits of rage filled disappointment when his programme of freedom which was meant to gather in the Lord’s elect was frustrated. The peasant rising had to be put down with maximum barbarity because by unleashing anarchy they were threatening the civil stability necessary for the spread of the Gospel. Likewise the Jews – who he had hoped would convert in large numbers to the new faith and thereby speed up Christ’s return – by their stiff necked refusal were also frustrating the progress of the Gospel. We can note that he honestly thought these things were true without condoning anything he said or did. And of course it was not only his speeches against the Jews that later reverberated centuries later with the Nazis – the rhythms of Luther are there in Hitler’s speeches even if Luther’s quarrel with the Jews was not strictly on racial grounds – but also in his view of the power and authority of the State. Even Bonheoffer was conflicted about challenging the Nazis at first because of traditional Lutheran doctrine about State authority. But I do note that the liberal Lutheran tradition in Denmark fared very well during these dark times – the Church there organised the total public support of the Jews which made Nazi persecution almost impossible even under occupations

It was also around this time that the Anabaptist began to be identified with Origenist Universalists – although there is no evidence that any but a few of them were Universalists at this time. The stereotype was of the Universalist as violent anarchist inviting Satan to sit and sup at the Kingdom’s feast by believing in Satan’s redemption – and many of the stereotype that informed the witch hunts grew out of the stereotyping of Anabaptist -and most of the so called witches that were killed were actually Christian ‘heretics’ or falsely accused Christian heretics). There was also the stereotype propagated in many prints and chapbooks by the magisterial Christians – Catholic and Protestant – of the Anabaptist adult baptism rite as a time of lewd nakedness and debauchery.

Well mnay fo the Anabaptist movements were entirely peaceful and innocent – but In the 1530’s a group of millenarian Anabaptist ruled over Munster on the continent. For two years, from (1533-1535) it was governed by their ‘Messianic King’ John of Leydon (a sort of David Koresh - of Waco fame - figure). He imposed both communism and polygamy on the people and ruled with great cruelty, especially towards women who would not comply with polygamy, or who were found guilty of adultery. There are rum ours that as the end came he disported with his concubines as messianic King in his banqueting hall while his comrades starved but these are only rumours. The Messianic Kingdom of Munster was ended with enormous and revolting cruelty by a Catholic army that had found common cause with the Lutherans. The aftershock of Munster created fear in a generation of Magisterial Protestants, and persuaded them to sully all Anabaptists with the memory of the Messianic Kingdom. Again these Anabaptists were accused of being Universalists’ – although there is absolutely no evidence for this.
After the Munster debacle Anabaptism dissociated itself from charismatic and messianic leaders and we begin to see the two distinct traditions of Anabaptism proper emerging clearly.
There were the Scriptural Anabaptists – the Mennonites, the Hutterites (and latterly the Amish) – who emphasised the authority of the Word as scripture (interpreted with their own distinctive theology). The first Universalist sect of Scriptural Anabaptist that we know of was/are the Tunkers/Dunkers who originated in Germany in 1708 and later became the Church of the Brethren of Christ (one of the historic Peace Churches in the USA today). The Dunkers were also influenced by the writings of Lutheran Pietists.

Alongside the Scriptural tradition developed the Spiritual tradition. The Spiritual tradition traces its lineage to Hans Denck – the Christian Humanist scholar who was in Basle at the same time as Erasmus. The Spiritual Anabaptists emphasised both the Authority of the Word as Scripture, and the Authority of the Word as the Logos/Light that is within every human being (a theme that Origen with his emphasis on Christ as Wisdom would have agreed with). One reason for Denck’s Spiritual emphasis was compassion for the poor and the illiterate who had recently been deprived of the comfort of Catholic sacramentalism but did not have the level of education required to comprehend the subtleties of Protestant doctrine. Denck’s emphasis was not on correct doctrine; rather he emphasised putting on the life of Christ in a spirit of Love and living this life gently with all one’s heart. This emphasis is certainly consonant with Erasmus’ Christian Humanism and many think Denck was directly influenced by Erasmus.

Here are some links to defamatory images of Anabaptists

http://www.refo500.nl/content/files/Ima ... en/113.jpg

http://www.artoflegendindia.com/images/ ... usalem.jpg

http://www.britishmuseum.org/collection ... _001_l.jpg

Here is an image of the cruel martyrdom of two Anabaptists they suffered a greater death toll than all other sects and parties put together – these two have not been burnt on a pyre they’ve been slowly roasted by embers at their feet and are still alive at this point (the terrible idea in all of this was to give them a foretaste of their sufferings in hell so as to dispirit them).

http://www.realcourage.org/wp-content/u ... /f0101.jpg

And here is an image of the handsome and charismatic messianic King of Munster - John van Leyden

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... grever.jpg
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:07 pm

Any questions? I'm happy to try and answer questions :-)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:55 pm

Thanks much, Dick - I don't know if you have read "Q" - (http://www.amazon.com/Q-Luther-Blissett ... keywords=Q)? If you have, what do you think of it? There is a lot of history of the anabaptists and Lutheran times; not great writing, but some insights I think into the time period you were writing about, above. The book at least gets the 'mood' of the times right, I think.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:07 pm

I haven't read it Dave; but I will read it - it looks great :-)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:35 pm

Great stuff, Dick. Why all the naked pictures of the Anabaptists? Did they baptize in the nude, or was that part of the smear campaign against them?

I Googled "Christians killing Christians", and came up with the following results.
http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm
http://markhumphrys.com/christianity.killings.html

The second site is by an atheist. The first site is by someone named Acharya S, who appears to be believe Jesus was a myth. You can find more about her on Wikipedia. So I have no idea how accurate these lists are, but at the very least, that's what Google gave me as the second and third results.

Obviously, this issue of Christians employing violent means has been a bit of a problem for quite some time, 4th century perhaps?

Tom Talbott gets into the beginnings of Christianity turning from persecuted faith to persecuting faith, in Chapter 2 of Inescapable Love, in his section "Heresy and Imperial Politics". He also addresses the theological advocacy of violence beginning with Augustine. He also mentions Luther and Calvin on his website here: http://www.thomastalbott.com/terror.php
He goes into more depth into it in chapter 3 of Inescapable Love, titled: "A Legacy of Fear and Persecution", here: http://www.thomastalbott.com/pdf/chapter3.pdf

I know a lot of this stuff has been discussed elsewhere on this site quite a bit, but I continued to be amazed as I learn more about the sad history of violence in Christianity. What a terrible marriage of politics, violence, hellish theology and fallen human nature (and of course the OT genocide commands don't help much either).

In our morning prayer group last week my pastor was shaking his head over the state of the world, including the barbarity of Islam, and I just wanted to say to him, do you know your Old Testament? Do you know your Christian history?

It seems that we live in such an unprecedented time when religion can be discussed openly, and information is available to the masses (thanks internet). What an opportunity to share with others this Gospel of Jesus Christ, and a God who's Love does not Fail. (Special shout out to atheists/agnostics like my brother, who in their criticism of Christianity often offer excellent critiques, that are an opportunity for us to really look in the mirror at ourselves and our history and our doctrine.)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:36 am

Thanks Caleb :-D Your thoughts are excellent and well worth a ponder. And yes I think Tom writes very well on the matter of belief in hell and how it can correlate to religious intolerance (I also hectored Tom recently – and I hope he too has forgiven me because it was only hectoring and I really have loved Tom’s books and articles– but hey ho :-D I’m sure he; hasn’t had to forgive me because he doesn’t know me and therefore has just forgotten my comments and me too :-D). It doesn’t have to. Funnily enough I’ve recently been reading an essay by an Islamic scholar who is a Muslim exclusivist and a strong believer in hell in a symposium of Islamic wide hopers and Universalists ( I find it fascinating that these debates should be taking place now amongst Muslims and think the fact should be of interest to Christian universalists – at least those who can handle it. This very erudite scholar begins his essay with the thoughts of the eighteenth century Deist philosopher and political theorist John Jacques Rousseau.

Well I need to give a bit of background here. Now Rousseau was raised a Calvinist and learnt his politics in the Canton councils of Geneva. He developed the most authoritarian notion of democracy out of his experiences in the Cantons by which the people’s council come together and deliberate on whatever issues are troubling the body politic. After deliberation they arrive at a consensus about this issue – and this consensus has absolute biding authority. The voice of the people now is the voice of God and those who dissent from the consensus must be ‘forced to be free’ – this is the social contract. So in this most illiberal idea of democracy there is no room for continuing loyal opposition and the state must make windows into souls to see that all agree with the consensus of the voice of the people. This idea inspired the Terror in the French Revolution and indirectly the terror of later Marxist regimes.

Rousseau was also what Pog would call an 'anti hellist' - he was appalled by the doctrine of hell and Marie Huber the female Swiss Calvinist universalist theologian had been a cousin of his grandmother. But unlike Marie he was not a Christian Universalist. He thought the idea of people believing in hell was inimical to the body politic. How could people be loyal to the general will if they thought so many of their fellow citizens were to be tormented eternally in hell. So his view was that people who believe in hell should not be tolerated in a democracy that functioned as he thought ad democracy should and as he thought was the only way of ensuring liberty and the good of the people.

The Islamic exclusivist argues rightly that Rousseau’s ideas are illiberal – as the French philosopher Albert Camus observed they resulted in slave camps under the flag of freedom and all manner of topsy turvydom. He acknowledges that strong belief in hell can also lead to intolerance and iliberalism (‘liberal’ being used here in the broad sense of love of freedom here – freedom from oppression rather than freedom to do as we wish no matter how harmful it is to our neighbours). But he says that strong belief in hell (rather than notional belief in hell) doesn’t have to result in these consequences. It can make people redouble efforts to do good to others to impress them so that these convert to the ‘true’ faith. Well fair enough – but good done to coerce others even in what seems to be the best of all possible causes - often has unintended consequences in my experience. And also the competitive purveyors of goodness to the end of rescuing as many as possible from the eternal fires may function well in a time of relative peace and social harmony; but it’s when there is a breakdown of order that strong believers in hell tend to turn tyrants if history is anything to go by.

The Anabaptists are hard to generalise abbot – because the movement was so disparate, But in the and IMHO they made a significant contribution to the emergence of tolerant pluralistic democracy during the seventeenth century – and they had scripture on their side (there is no record of people begin forced to be Christians in the Apostolic Church). The central idea behind their belief in believer baptism was that there should be no compulsion in religion. This was also central to those who fought for religious freedom in the seventeenth century - often inspired, at least indirectly, by the writings of the Anabaptist Spiritual which was in turn inspired by indirectly by Erasmus. Universalists played a big part in this struggle for freedom.

The Islamic scholar of whom I speak, towards the end of his essay, does concede that in a pluralistic democracy, belief in hell tends to be eroded gradually because democratic pluralism fosters respect across divides in politics and belief.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:32 am

Hi again @Caleb Fogg

As every I forgot to answer part of your question - about nudity. And since I haven't been censored here :_D I feel happy to proceed. Well it will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow but as far as I know Anabaptist baptism were not occasion of nudity - not at all; and this was just part of the persecution myth/fatal smear against them. But like all smears there is often a tiny wee grain of truth in it - on rare occasions among some very minor radical sects of Anabaptists and other sects (even in Russia, which is very chilly - see next) there have been outbreaks of a phenomena known as 'going naked as a sign'. As far as I know this phenomena has mostly been completely non sexual and not connected with licentiousness at all - but sometimes libertines and anti antinomians have also adopted this practise. Well it looks like I'm going there - and you have to tyre and understand everything to grasp the big picture - so I will post on it. And UI have never, ever felt tempted to go naked as a sign. I'm the sort of person who always keeps his swimming trunks on in the public showers at the swimming baths - always :-D

History contains puritans aplenty; but the study of history is not for puritans I guess :-D
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:05 am

Fascinating stuff Dick.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:47 am

Ideas certainly do have consequences, sometimes more directly, and sometimes less. Often times in a more nuanced way than is first understood.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:54 am

Going naked as a sign? Well you did ask @Caleb Fogg:-D and I need to begin with some context – so bear with me.

I don’t know whether you ever had Sumptuary Laws in America. We certainly had them in benighted England an Europe – they were there to dictate what people should wear (types of cloth, colour dyes, ornaments etc) and even what they should eat according to their rank in society. They were in operation from the Middle ages up until the seventeenth century – so I guess by the time the project of American Liberty got off the ground there were just becoming obsolescent which is why you may have avoided them. They were an easy way to identify social rank and privilege, and often were used for social discrimination. This frequently meant they were used to prevent commoners from imitating the appearance of aristocrats and sometimes also to stigmatize disfavoured groups. Ironically Elizabeth – in many, many ways a lover of liberty and no tyrant – beefed up the English sumptuary laws – but this was mainly to keep the rising Calvinist middle classes in their place by a fairly gentle measure (akin to her insistence that Calvinist Anglican pastors had to wear fine vestments at holy communion and not the stark black Genevan gown – although at first sight the tow edicts may seem contradictory)

Michel de Montaigne the Christian Humanist despiser of all cruelty and religious strife and proto universalist wrote of the French version of these laws -

‘The way by which our laws attempt to regulate idle and vain expenses in meat and clothes, seems to be quite contrary to the end designed ... For to enact that none but princes shall eat turbot, shall wear velvet or gold lace, and interdict these things to the people, what is it but to bring them into a greater esteem, and to set every one more agog to eat and wear them?’

Well the poor and the rich live alongside each other at these times and not in ghettos – so the regulations of clothing was something that meant that the poor knew their place (even peasants knew this from the distinctions between their humble dress and the clothes of the landowners and clergy they interacted with). Not that the poor had much time for fantasies of living in fine palaces and dining on mince and slices of quince when they were always vulnerable to starvation from a flied harvest. No the idea of heaven for many of the poor in medieval and early modern Europe was the fabled land of Cockaigne where salamis hung from trees for the picking, and where there were barrels of salted tripe and bilge beer aplenty, and meat pies grew upon the rooftops. Peter Breughel the Elder, the Christian Humanist painter, who was a member of the proto universalist Family of Love Anabaptist Spiritual sect painted peasant scenes with wonderful and earthy compassion..But look out for those pies on the rooftops in his moral paintings – he’s satirising the land of Cockaigne gently here for he believed that we are justified not through faith but through love alone and that love is its’ own reward.

So into a very unequal and hierarchical society, often shot through with terrible injustice regarding the distribution of food, the New Testament was whispered in the common tongue again. ‘He has put down the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble and meek. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.’ ‘In Christ there is neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew, slave nor bondsman...’ And every now and then –amongst Christina radicals there have been displays of Adamic nudity as a sign that those involved had regained Eden through Christ and now all distinctions of rank and service were redundant. I don’t think we should imagine these occasional outburst as lascivious at all, There may have been a lovely young body or two, but the ranks would have been swelled with naked old men and women, naked mothers who had just ,say, weaned their umpteenth child, men with starved bodies broken by hard labour etc. The first recorded outburst in the Reformation – which we only know of from the Anabaptist defamer Verlinde but is probably true – was that of the Naaktloopers of Amsterdam who in 1535 ran naked through the streets proclaiming the wrath of God upon the powers that be. Verlinde also recounts the story of rich Anabaptists who in the same year gave up their possession and clothes and climbed naked into trees to await the heavenly bread. Such stories of Anabaptist enthusiasts were I believe the origin of the slander that Anabaptists did baptising naked (and even if they did it would have been done with great dignity and modesty in the major sects).

Going naked as a sign recurred during the English Civil War – the Ranters and people on the wilder fringes of the movement that was to b become the Quakers sometimes did it. However, the mainstream a Quakers used more modest but just as socially offensive signs. First the men refused to take their hats off /give hat homage to their so called superiors – which often lead to them being set upon by angry mobs. Second they addressed all without distinction only with the familiar ‘thee’ and thou’ – the equivalent of ‘how are you doing mate’ in today’s parlance. In those times ’you’ was the dignified respectful form of address to a social superior; they refused to use this.. This was not meant as an insult but as a levelling sign that all are equal in Christ.

Radical nudity was still going on in England in the eighteenth century – John Wesley had a disputation with some Ranters who were preaching in the nude. In Russia – quite independent of the European radicals (as far as i know) – Orthodox sectarians known as the spirituals because they claimed direct inspiration grew up among the peasantry in the troubled times of the nineteenth century. Nicholas Berdyaev the Orthodox Christian universalist has written a sympathetic but critical history of these sect – they included the sect that drank milk during Lent, the self castrators, the libertines, and the Doukhabors. The Doukhabors practiced and still practise radical nudity. They were persecuted under the Tsars and Tolstoy pleaded their cause and got then transferred en masse to Canada where there is still a community today. Every now and then they get restive and go naked as a sign in wider public places and sensitive policing is required :-D.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:30 pm

Sobornost wrote:
So into a very unequal and hierarchical society, often shot through with terrible injustice regarding the distribution of food, the New Testament was whispered in the common tongue again. ‘He has put down the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble and meek. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.’ ‘In Christ there is neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew, slave nor bondsman...’ And every now and then –amongst Christina radicals there have been displays of Adamic nudity as a sign that those involved had regained Eden through Christ and now all distinctions of rank and service were redundant.


Very interesting!
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:48 am

BTW Footnote on ‘Thee and Thou’ (to drive a point home for those interested)

These days, schooled as we are (at least some of us :-D) in the Authorised version of the Bible and various prayer books from the seventeenth century, we mistakenly think that Thee and Thou are titles of high dignity because God is addressed thus in the language of our forefathers. But the reason why God is addressed with these pronouns is because they show familiarity – God is our ‘Abba’; so we’ve completely lost this understanding with the passage of time.
By way of contrast, gentleman of the nobility would address each other publicly as ‘you’ to show respect for each other’s title – and as ‘thou’ only in intimate settings. Commoners would address gentlemen as ‘you; to show their abject, forelock tugging subservience. A gentleman would only address another gentlemen publicly as ‘thou’ when challenging him to a duel as part of the insult in the letter or with the glove of contempt slapped across the face.

In Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra At the close of play and before she has resolved no ‘noble’ suicide in the high Roman tradition Cleopatra has tried to make an ignoble deal for her safety and for retaining her titles as Queen of Egypt to unsmiling Octavius Caesar (soon to be Caesar Augustus). The letter of reply shows to her that Octavius has no intention of negotiating terms with her but rather will lead her in chains in humiliating Triumph through the streets of Rome with mocking and saucy boys dressed as her and her dead lord Anthony tormenting and mimicking her, before having her killed or enslaved. AND Cleopatra cries out to her handmaids in angry despair ‘He thous me girls - he thous me!!!!’
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:49 am

I wonder what we should make of Elizabeth's multiculturalism today? I mean - it was risky. Border controls were almost non existent in those days (apart from the barrier of the English Channel). You had Catholics and Protestants travelling abroad to fight in the terrible and bloody religious wars on the continent. And then there one famous Catholic who came back from fighting for the Pope's cause in the Netherlands after Elizabeth had died actually - and he came back radicalised (he was also radicalised by Elizabeth's own reluctant measures but eventually illiberal against her Catholic subjects and disappointed that her successor James - in whom he had based great hopes - showed no preferences for the Catholics either). His name was Guido Fawkes - or more commonly Guy Fawkes.

'History is a dialogue between present and past' in one rather good definition coined by the historian E.H. Carr. Any thoughts here anyone?
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:13 am

I'll hold this question open for all budding historians for a bit :-) It is relevant to today - very relevant.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:28 am

I came into contact with a large number of History majors when I was studying philosophy. They seemed to think there is a natural affinity between the two disciplines. I don't know, not being much of an historian at all.

What are the two ends of the 'spectrum' on how to approach history?
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:37 pm

Sobornost wrote:'History is a dialogue between present and past' in one rather good definition coined by the historian E.H. Carr. Any thoughts here anyone?


Not sure I have much to say here, but that I agree with the above Carr quote. Reminds me of the quote by George Santayana, " Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." You also continue to help me see how pathetic my knowledge of history is. :lol: Which is a good thing.

And I love the notes on You, Thee, and Thou. I live in the American South, so what about "Y'all"? ;)

And I do faintly recall that Antony and Cleopatra quote from when I saw it some years back.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:46 pm

Now that’s a difficult question Dave :-D Socratic method Philosophy is about questioning or assumptions about everything under the sub n – what is truth? What is honour? How can we know anything etc (the unexamined life is not worth living). And academic history is about questioning our assumptions about the past. The past is to the community what memory is to the individual. But much of what we receive as certain knowledge about the past is encased in myth. ‘Myth’ in its technical historical sense is a version of the past the may well contain a kernel of truth but is encased in the chaff of error and distortion – some of it made originally for propaganda reason – a version of the past that serves the interest of power The historian challenges myth by going back to the primary sources – the evidence/echoes left from the time of study – and proving a valid interpretation ( reconstruction plus assessment of causes of and interconnections between events) based upon this. Na historian’s interpretation is not scientific – you cannot study the past under laboratory conditions – but its is still a valid quest for truth based on a careful distinction from the evidence between what is impossible to assert about the past, what is possible, what is probable and what is certain.  History in one sense is a conversion without end – but there are good reason and bad reasons with which to assert ‘weak’ truths about the past.

Had a lovely chat, drink and pizza and olives with Chris tonight btw :-)

Caleb - I have no idea about 'y'all' - but it sounds like a levelling address to me :-D
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:03 pm

Sounds like a well-nigh impossible task Dick, for those who are asking for an unbiased report of 'what happened'. Now I understand better why so many history majors also majored in Philosophy - not so much the history of philosophy, but epistemology and hermeneutics especially. Very interesting.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:25 pm

It's not impossible - historians worth their mettle of every shade can still agree upon what is impossible, what is possible, what is or probable and what is certain to say about the past. This is where holocaust deniers like David Irving come unstuck when they talk nonsense, The methods of source criticism are well tested and well established. When it comes to interpreting of evidence - looking for causes and connections between events etc. - there will be disagreements. But there is a genuine quest for truth going on - its not the same as scientific empirical truth - a theory in history does not have the same 'truth status' as a theory in science. But her is still a real quest for truth going on a quest of critical realism going on in the historian's 'language game' - mid way between subjectivity and objectivity, mid way between sconce and art. And that's the way it is and that's the way it always will be :-)

Likewise - and I'm not sure how it works in the USA - law is no the same as empirical science - although the forensic evidence produced may be assessed according to the methodologies of empirical science - but it still has truth claims. In criminal law in the UK a case must be proved 'beyond reasonable doubt' if the defendant is to be found guilty - and this may mean their imprisonment (and there is always the right to appeal); however in civil law - where a fine is the severest penalty - cases need only be proved 'beyond the balance of probabilities'. This we find victims of rape and murder who cannot get justice in a criminal court sometimes getting compensation in a civil court here.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:39 pm

Y'all is definitely a leveling address. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC, in Northern Virginia, NOVA, where there is no southern accent or y'all's to be heard. But I married a Tennessee bride and now live in Southwestern Virginia and say y'all all the time! :lol:
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:42 pm

Well ya'll :lol: briefly, regarding the Gunpowder plot etc, and its message for multi cultural Britain today:

Well Elizabeth did her best to be very tolerant towards Catholics. I remember reading a not very good article( in fact a very poor article) by a journalist in the UK liberal Guardian newspaper which stated that Bloody Mary her Catholic sister burnt above and beyond 300 Protestants and Elizabeth killed the same number of Catholics and dissenters – so let’s not get too glowing about Elisabeth. This is true – but it is a completely false comparison – risible in its retrospective self righteousness. Mary ruled for three years only – Elizabeth for over forty years. Mary came to power determined to cleanse England of the Protestant Heresy and re-establish the Old Catholic faith with instant fire and menaces. When Elizabeth the Protestant queen came to power she carried out no retaliations for the persecutions under Mary and for fifteen years no one died for their faith . The persecutions - when they began in 1580’s - were actually concerned with a concern to root out religious terrorism rather than a concern to force people’s consciences; at this time a fatwa had been proclaimed against Elizabeth by the Pope which made her assassination the duty of all Catholics at least in theory - there had been serious Catholic uprisings in the North of England, there had been terrible massacres of Protestants in Catholic France with huge loss of life, and a number of attempts son the Queen’s life; and there was the constant threat of Mary Queen of Scot’s becoming a rallying flag for Catholic terrorism, and the threat of invasion from mighty Spain. And in the English Jesuits colleges in Italy – which were a bit like the Islamic fundamentalist Madrassas of today – Englishmen were being trained to foment revolt against the Protestant Queen and they were landing in England to do this.

But the majority of English Catholics - in the light of all the evidence that is available - seem to have remained loyal to Elizabeth and many were wrongly persecuted during these terrible times

The situation today may seem bad – but nowhere near as bad as this. And long may it remain nowhere near as bad as this. That’s my Intro to multiculturalism in the UK in historical perspective – will post again later in the week.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:56 am

Regarding multiculturalism - I’m falling into old habits so I’d better change the subject (but suffice to say that I have the greatest sympathy with the post of my old friend @corpselight on that thread. There’s bits in it I’d like to unpack – because I know that multiculturalism as an ideology has sometimes had some very bad unintended consequences, very bad indeed – and I know this from first hand professional experience as well as thought reading the academic data and scrutinising the media debates from several angles)) But multiculturalism meaning people from different cultures living together in amity is strongly to be desired - and it sometimes happens well in London these days, the neighbour love across divides and difference as opposed to distrust and fear sometimes leading to blind hatred or even charitable hatred – and it sometimes happens very well. We’ve come a long way since the 1970s when fascist marched openly and unchallenged in English streets and vicious attacks upon ‘Pakis’ by skinheads were epidemic. But it doesn’t happen at all well in France these days or in some other European countries – and sometimes it is those countries that see immigrants as a threat to their ‘liberalism’ where the most hatred is being stirred up.

Regarding Elizabeth and what happened with the Catholics in her reign and in James’s reign – well the Catholics were from a different culture – an older culture that was passing away. It is instructive to look at their fate and the wise and unwise ways in which the real and terrible general Catholic threat was dealt with by Elizabeth and James. Culture can also mean power blocks with different ideologies. Power block culture is mixed up with cultures in the softer sense of the word but not identical with it. Cultures in terms of– cooking, language, contributions to human knowledge etc tend to enrich each other; whereas power blocks seek to annihilate each other.

@Caleb Fogg, @DaveB, and @ChrisB – you who are my current regulars for chats here  If you want to think a bit more about how historians go about their work – so that you questions me more closely for one thing and pin me down to details of evidence more.. Well I posted my old lecture notes on Source Criticism at EU some time ago here –

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=3108

Look at the OP and the notes on source criticism (if you want to). They are pretty accessible and are actually the skills that any participant in a democracy with a free press needs to be trained in – and I wish some here had more knowledge of these skills ;-) After the OP I did start to range more widely in a few posts about the nature of History as a field of research – but there was too much else going on

If you are really, really, really interested in this – an excellent short book available in the USA is -

http://www.amazon.com/Pursuit-History-J ... sh+History

A slightly longer book by my old and now dead Professor of History where I used to work is this one

http://www.amazon.com/Nature-History-Ar ... ur+marwick

And an excellent essay on Church History and the reasons why it is important to us is this one

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Study-Past-Hi ... n+Williams
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:33 am

Dick,

Read your class notes on Source Criticism. I do appreciating you thinking about history rigorously, b/c at times, when you've shared your historical knowledge, I'm thinking, "how does he know this stuff"? Often times you do share your sources, however.

I enjoyed reading the stories from WWII. I actually went on Google maps/Earth to see where Guernsey is. It was pretty amazing to see some of the panoramic views right there on my screen!

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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:51 am

That’s great Caleb Fogg – that’s so good that you’ve taken a look at that stuff :D . I there are people highly trained in some branch of philosophy here as it relates to theology – metaphysics is a hot one, ethics less so. But it’s so nice to have others interested in history too. And good research about Guernsey using Google maps to check out Amy's story - the Nazi's got a lot closer to the UK than some people realise :o

Yes regarding sources – I do sometimes give them when it’s appropriate; but not always. A lot of the time – as here – I don’t; bother because... well if I always gave sources in detail and gave you my proper source criticism I’d be giving away what i hep to write in my book. It’s the nature of the beast when you post on a website that you don’t; give everything away – and most people won’t; read the stuff anyway.

If you look at the original C of E Universalism thread that Rev Drew started you will see me thinking through specific sources and making conjectures from these and then realising that my conjectures and /or the conjectures of other posters are improbable and coming up with better ones to test against the evidence. Three examples – and note that I couldn’t get to a library when I was first doing that research and so had to depend on Internet primary sources and check that the sources were presented in the same way in at least three independent academic websites –
First it took me a time before I could find the full text of the 42nd article and find any text for the 41st article and 40th article (all were abrogated by Elizabeth’s convocation). When I found all three a lot of things fell into place that were up in the air for me until then; and when I compared the 42nd article closely with the sources it was based on some other surprising/unexpected conclusions occurred to me.

Second, Drew found a passage from Martin Bucer showing what a tolerant man he was which lead heand I to think Bucer had something to do with the abrogation of the 42nd article in terms of his posthumous influence. And this seemed an excellent hypotheses since Bucer had been Matthew Parker’s colleague – the Archbishop of Canterbury who chaired the convocation where it was suppressed. However, I still had to keep an open mind; and it was an unexpected find when I was reading a scholarly article by Morwena Ludlow about whether the Anabaptists Hans Denck was a universalist that started to make me sceptical and check out Martin Bucer more closely– so I now am certain that Bucer would not have advocated the tolerance of universalism - although he would not have approved of the execution or imprisonment of universalists.

Third and final, I was persuaded for a very short time that Elizabeth could not have inclined towards tolerance of universalism – because the Marxist historian Christopher Hill had cited a speech by her made to Parliament in the early 1580s in which she seemed to approve strongly of hellfire and damnation (and Hill of course decided that this was to be expected of manipulative Queen who wanted to keep her people in their place). However, when I checked the source and the context of this speech it is very clear that Elizabeth is actually chiding her Calvinist Parliament over two issue close to her heart at the time – there are very strong reasons indeed for thinking her words are said sarcastically/ironically).
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:08 am

@DaveB I'm very happy to have a chat sometimes about where the academic discipline of history fits into the 'objective truth language game' - if you'd like that :-)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:44 pm

Thanks, Dick, I may take you up on that at some point. :D

I'm pretty much in the 'critical-realism' camp and I think you are as well? You could probably explain it much better than I, and perhaps some people here would like to hear that explanation?
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:33 pm

Will have a ponder there Dave :-) - but first I've done a post on cultural diversity relevant dialogue between present and past :-)

Regarding cultural diversity -

OK I remember fascism and bigotry and bombs and the whole kit and caboodle in the seventies in Britain – and how much that violence was part of my life too and even touched my life on a number of occasions; the National Front, the Troubles in Northern Ireland that spilled over to the mainland, the race riots etc – they were all part of the same package.

Today – no matter how it may seem to someone on the outside reading reports in the media – Britain is a nicer place on the whole (and like @corspelight I speak as someone who lives in the cosmopolitan capital which is most affected by people of different cultures living together cheek by jowl; we are not strangers to this stuff we love with it day by day). We did something right in the 1980s and 1990s and the first decade of 2000 which the French neglected to do. Because today we have people her who almost see themselves as refugees from France – I’ve met French Jews and Africans from the Ivory Coast (the old French Colony) who see themselves in this way.

Of course any human effort at putting things right is always going to get unbalanced in some respect - which is why we constantly need to evaluate the best of intentions for unintended consequences. The initiatives to foster racial and religious harmony come broadly under the banner of the term multiculturalism.

Why did so many immigrants come to the UK in the first place. Well the simple answer is that successive governments invited them here. One condition for American financial help for the UK in the Second World War for Britain is that after the war was over Britain should dissolve its Empire – which it did. This was no bad thing but obviously it was in America’s self interests too that Britain should do this so that the markets of the British Empire were opened up to American companies (countries do business on this basis – it’s called realpolitick – the British did the same when they were very powerful and the French have always been past masters at it and so it’s nothing to get worked up about). And as in ancient Rome many of the children of the Empire returned to the mother land – many had fought in the war against Hitler for Britain. AND also because of the death rate of young men during the war Britani needed the immigrants – it still does today because it has an ageing population because of improvements in medicine etc, and not enough young people to look after them who are home born).

At first there was a lot of racism from certain sections of the white population and the immigrant communities tended to congregate in ghettos. I was born and spent the first nine years of my life in a place that was considered a ghetto – it’s; called Brixton and there were serious race riots there at one point.

So come the late seventies when things were getting nasty something had to be done – and it’s largely succeeded. Today we also have the influx of immigrants from the European union – but lots of young Brits go and live on the Contient so its par for the course.
But thins have improved because of initiatives to do with multiculturalism. But the element that became unbalanced about multiculturalism as a policy was that it eventually encouraged separate development. Some of the thinking was informed by post colonial Marxists who had a low view of the West and of democratic pluralism and saws all non Western cultures as oppressed an therefore ‘good’. So Marxist and some progressive liberals too encouraged people from different cultures to remain in those cultures rather than saying anything positive about the benefits of democratic pluralism and the strength of British traditions of liberty.

So certainly with the communities that were most different from the host – many of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities spring to mind – it was seen as racist to criticise them or to interfere in any way (by key academics and people involved in social services, education etc).
I remember in the 1990s a group of incredibly brave Muslim Women – Southall Black Sisters against Fundamentalism – pointing out that some liberals and Marxists were actually funding and unwittingly encouraging and silencing criticism of the most patriarchal, the most repressive towards women, the most open to radicalisation elements within their communities (again i have personal experience of this). The Black Sisters were right – and we have a problem today because of this and we are becoming aware of the limits of one form of multiculturalism. Diversity can only be negotiated within a shared identity. All people in our country must be educated to share our core values – and we have been neglectful of this.

Does this echo with Elizabeth?
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:05 pm

Well I think in a illiberal age Elizabeth’s settlement -which meant people needed to show outward conformity and loyalty to the National Church but their inward consciences were their own affairs (and the doctrinal and liturgical apparatus of the National Church were ‘open’ enough to accommodate a variety of beliefs and practices) - was very liberal indeed. Obviously at this date the ideas of actual democratic pluralism, separation of powers, and the right to differ publicly as long as this was done loyally and constructively, were at least sixty years in the future – but Elizabeth’s settlement was even cited by the radicals during Cromwell’s time as a precedent against the more tyrannous behaviour of the incompetent and needlessly antagonistic Stuart Kings who succeeded her.

Until very recently it was hard for us in the West to imagine how much religion and power politics were intertwined in Tudor England – perhaps not so much now.

But yes I think what Elizabeth was trying to do was to shape a sense of identity that transcended many differences- and in this she largely succeeded. Today in multicultural Britain – and indeed in a shrinking and interconnected world – we have a different task but one which has instructive analogies.

But did Elizabeth and her ministers and her soldiers make mistakes and overreact sometimes?– sure they did; and tragically so.

For example the Massacre of Protestants on Bartholomew’s Eve in Catholic France was a terrible, terrible thing. Estimates for how many were butchered in the streets in a single day vary, but a conservative estimate puts the toll at 60,000 – which is horrific. When news reached England Elizabeth summoned the French Ambassador to express her displeasure and dismiss him. Her entire court was dressed in black and as the ambassador walked past one by one turned their backs on him. One witness to these massacres – a young gallant courtier to Elizabeth who was in France at the time– was Sir Walter Raleigh (he who allegedly put his cloak over a puddle so the Queen could walk over it dry). Later Sir Walter Raleigh was sent to Catholic Ireland with his brother to quell a rebellion there. Now the English were rightly fearful that the Spanish could use Catholic Ireland to launch an invasion against England. But Sir Walter and his brother with their well equipped army fighting against tribesmen – committed terrible atrocities there, slaughtering man, woman, child and livestock. These slaughters, repeated by Cromwell, laid the basis for centuries of bloodshed in Ireland. So today when we hear about Isis the Islamic nihilists and their butchery we must be cautious that we don’t repeat the mistake of Walter Raleigh - for blood will have blood.

The ‘disabilities’ suffered by Catholic’s towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign were great – priests administering the Eucharist faced death while those who received it faced bankruptcy. Given the circumstances these harsh measures are understandable but not condonable. The Calvinists clergy of those time were the greatest roarers up for persecution of Catholics in 'charitable hatred'. But within local communities there is much evidence of neighbour love protection – of Protestants protecting their Catholic neighbours and kinsmen from the persecutors. Elizabeth within her own court protected her Catholic friends and neighbours as best she could as she did the Family of Love - she even had an Anabaptist singer at court (although they were publicly hated with a vehemence - despite there being only a few in England at the time - and the ones who died during Elizabeth's time were all hated as foreigners too).

Well when we read all of these terrible stories about religious strife today we should also look for stories of neighbour love across divides – of Muslims protecting Christians, of Christians protecting Muslims, of Jews protecting Muslims, and Muslims protecting Jews etc. There are plenty of these about if we look hard enough. They are our signs of hope I think.
I can think of some other examples but will save these for another day 
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:28 am

Since I have been speaking of neighbour love in the post above - here is a brief conversation I had recently in a FB page with a friend mine who does not post here (well I think it's relevant to post at the is point :? )

My friend suggested ‘’1 Corinthians 13 v.4ff’’ as an appropriate reading

I reply: ‘’Yes 'my friend - that's the passage that in a secular age people still have read at weddings and funerals (although I think sometimes in these contexts today the words are mere honeyed words - but not always. I don't know it off by heart but the gist of it is that Love is patient, love is kind, love is never proud nor boastful, love never puffs itself up, love never keeps account of wrongs. Faith hope and love are all great virtues - but the greatest of these is Love; and Love will continue when the other two have served their purpose and no longer exist. These words were written by a man who was sometimes both proud and boastful and sometimes took easy offence and cooked rough with his wit. So his exhortation here must also have been to himself. And I remember you were saying 'friend' that love in his passage does not refer to a feeling or something very simple that can be gotten and held. It's a bundle of complex qualities that need to be balanced against each other and worked at - no matter how many times we may fail; and we all fail’’

And my friend in turn replied – ‘’True, Dick Whittington. So glad you mentioned about the balance element. Maybe Paul should have added 'Love is not gooey'!!! I too think Paul is exhorting himself as well as others here. Maybe he should have added 'Love is sooo difficult' because - yes - we all fail - all the time! But it's so worth picking yourself up and starting all over again because we must love one another or...!’’ (‘die’ I think is the missing word – and I think it’s a quotation from a poem by W,H, Auden) :-)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:04 am

ChrisB wrote:I wonder how far we can go about discussing the finer points of Cate Blanchet's wonderful charms before Jason or some other authority commands us to get back to the point?


I find it's much more interesting, instructive, and entertaining, to let Sobor's threads just run wherever he wishes on a daily basis. :lol: :D

(Was catching up here this morning after several weeks absence -- I have a habit of catching up on Sobor's threads in blocs, too, which is an unfortunate quirk I ought to work on, though I mean it as a compliment: I feel like I'm reading a book when I do, which is why I have that preference! :ugeek: )
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Caleb Fogg » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:29 am

Sobornost wrote:For example the Massacre of Protestants on Bartholomew’s Eve in Catholic France was a terrible, terrible thing. Estimates for how many were butchered in the streets in a single day vary, but a conservative estimate puts the toll at 60,000 – which is horrific.
I can think of some other examples but will save these for another day 


And so my education continues ;). Never heard of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, or the French Wars of Religion, for that matter. Wikipedia puts the death toll between 2 and 4 million between 1562 and 1598: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Wars_of_Religion.

They do list quite different numbers than you did for the Massacre over a longer time frame:

The massacre began in the night of 23-24 August 1572 (the eve of the feast of Bartholomew the Apostle), two days after the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the military and political leader of the Huguenots. The king ordered the killing of a group of Huguenot leaders, including Coligny, and the slaughter spread throughout Paris. Lasting several weeks, the massacre expanded outward to other urban centres and the countryside. Modern estimates for the number of dead across France vary widely, from 5,000 to 30,000.

-source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bartholomew%27s_Day_massacre

and

Death toll

Estimates of the number that perished in the massacres, “have varied from 2,000 by a Roman Catholic apologist to 70,000 by the contemporary Huguenot duc de Sully, who himself barely escaped death".[28] Accurate figures for casualties have never been compiled,[29] and, even in writings by modern historians, there is a considerable range, though the more specialised the historian, the lower they tend to be. At the low end are figures of about 2,000 in Paris[30] and 3,000 in the provinces, the latter figure an estimate by Philip Benedict in an article in 1978.[31] Other estimates are about 10,000 in total,[32] with about 3,000 in Paris[33] and 7,000 in the provinces.[34] At the higher end are total figures of up to 20,000,[35] or 30,000 in total, from "a contemporary, non-partisan guesstimate" quoted by the historians Felipe Fernández-Armesto and D. Wilson.[36] For Paris, the only hard figure is a payment by the city to workmen for collecting and burying 1,100 bodies washed up on the banks of the Seine downstream from the city in one week. Body counts relating to other payments are computed from this.[37]

Among the slain were the philosopher Petrus Ramus, and in Lyon the composer Claude Goudimel. The corpses floating down the Rhone from Lyons are said to have put the people of Arles off drinking the water for three months.[38]


No wonder church attendance in France today is so small.

Church attendance in France is among the lowest in the world, with surveys showing that only about 5% of the total population, i.e. less than 10% of those who are nominally Catholics, now attend weekly mass...

-http://about-france.com/religion.htm
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:46 am

I ran across a couple of interesting pop-culture references to the Massacre last year. One was part of a giant silent film, the last large-scale film written and directed by D. W. Griffith called Intolerance. (Yes, the same guy who set up and directed the KKK origin film Birth of a Nation. And yes part of his rationale for doing the Intolerance film was to show that he really wasn't intolerant to black people despite Good Lord that other film... :roll: I own both by the way.) Griff stitched together a modern-day gangland story, the fall of Babylon by the Persians, the life of Christ, and the Massacre. The most expensive film in history up to that time (1916).

The other was a four-part Doctor Who story from the first Doctor, which gins along with increasing foreboding (despite the crazy coincidence of a chief architect of the massacre looking just like the Doctor), until the Doctor flees the time period as the Massacre begins resulting in a super-grim recreation of it by means of art paintings -- after which he and his current companion have a heated argument about how the Doctor has no problem interfering in some incipient tragedies but somehow wants to avoid doing so in other cases, for which the upset Doctor has no coherent explanation.


Intolerance can be found in various flavors of DVD and Blu, including free public domain online both at its Wiki entry and on YT. I don't know of any YT posting which excerpts all the Massacre portions, but the film is designed so that all the pieces are meant to complement one another so excerpting them (especially the two shorter sections including the Massacre) loses some punch anyway. (The two longer 'movies', about modern crime and the fall of Babylon, were originally intended to be separate films to begin with and were later released that way to try to recoup some of the enormous financial losses.)

The longest version of Intolerance can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo66cJqEl4A

(Playback offsite has been disabled by the user, so one has to go to YT to see it.)

The Massacre is one of the missing 1st Doctor stories, but BBC granted a reconstruction project called Loose Cannon the unofficial permission to make reconstructed videos from various visual documentation and public recordings of the original audio. So, ironically, it's one of the full stories which are currently completely free to watch on the net! (As the BBC slowly recovers and does its own reconstructions of early eps, LC pulls its corresponding eps out of circulation.)

The eight half-eps in order:











Or if those don't show up in the browser, you can find the playlist for the story starting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w13Ahpl ... 81Fez4ynug
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:38 pm

Wow boys - this is a fun break... William Hartnell!!!!!!!! I'm busy tonight but will take a good look tomorrow and get back to you :D How very interesting @Caleb Foggand @Jason Pratt :D Remind me to post something about the licensed foreigner churches in Elizabethan London.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby ChrisB » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:47 pm

Yes Jason too much fun to be had so no yanking on the lead and collar is required. Not sure dear Dick that I can help much with this stuff. I was privileged to go to Reigate Priory for my secondary education such as it was. Thus I benifited from the dissolution of the monistaries by default in some way. History was after geography my favourite subject though in practice I did better at science. Anyway, those who fail to learn from the failures of history, we are told, are likely to repeat them so the value of historians is not to be minimised. Perspective is such an important aspect of sight. As I get older it's value seems to grow if for no other reason that it stops me tripping over! :lol: :lol: Oh! and Jason what a link to Dr Who :shock: I must find time to view.
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby JasonPratt » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:37 am

Sobornost wrote:Remind me to post something about the licensed foreigner churches in Elizabethan London.


Thus I remind you. :mrgreen:

While the DW eps won't take 90 minutes to get through, the key ep (from a somewhat theological / moral dilemma perspective) is obviously part 2 of the last one.

I'll be curious what anyone thinks of Intolerance, too, if anyone feels like daring to plow through a 3+ hour silent film.

(A surprising number of the silents were massively long; and no copy of Intolerance so far includes all the material originally released.)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby Sobornost » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:00 am

Hi Jason - well I'm looking forward to watching Dr Who tomorrow!!! And any Brits here may notice that one of the actors in the second still is Peter Purvis who went on to become a very annoying children's TV presenter in 'Blue Peter' - he was the big girls' blouse who was always making raffia interesting gifts for mum and Da out of plastic detergent bottles and sticky back plastic in the studio while the other male presenter John Noakes was diving from aeroplanes in parachute drops :-D His catchphrase was - I seem to remember - 'I think that's absolutely super' :-D Will get back after I've had a look - and I've already seen quite a bit of intolerance and know something of its history as a film (it didn't; go down well at the time because it did not reflect the public mood).

Ok I think its; good to have a wee break - but I've plenty more to say talking around this subject (which is not identical to the stuff I'm researching for the book). One offer I can make is that at some point if anyone is interested - just like we did the picture analysis here - I could run a group historical source criticism workshop. Easy enough - and I'd chose a simple document source with a background many will have some knowledge of. And that way I can show y'all that 'scholarly' history is not the domain of highly educated people like I am not - well at least I had an odd and fragmented education - but is indeed for everyone :-) Well it's a thought - and it's a genuine offer :-)
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Re: Brief history of universlaism in the C of E

Postby DaveB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:51 am

What format would that take, Dick? Posting a document and we read it and then...how would we proceed? 8-)
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