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Damian’s Social Theology

  • Patricia Ranft
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Such was the historical context in which Damian and the early reformers lived. The monastic world was promoting an ideology that encouraged action in the present for the future, the papacy was responding to a call for reform, and the intellectual world was bursting through the chains of lethargy with invigorating creativity. Damian contributed to all these spheres of activity. There was a unity among these spheres that is often difficult for modern society with all its diversity to grasp. In times of intense change, however, medieval society repeatedly reinforced the basic unity it believed was necessary for its eschatological end. The eleventh century was one of those times, and Damian was one of the first to realize the need for adjustment. Pandora was indeed out of the box in the intellectual sphere, and society must try to encourage her, not silence her. Once she is accepted the threat of disunity disappears, and Pandora becomes one with the rest of society.

Keywords

Intellectual Activity Twelfth Century Eleventh Century Secular World Hammer Blow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 7.
    See Colin Phipps, “Romuald—Model Hermit: Eremitical Theory in Saint Peter Damian’s Vita Beati Romualdi, chapters 16–27,” in Monks, Hermits and the Ascetic Tradition, ed. W. J. Sheils (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985), pp. 65–77.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Martus and marturein are used extensively in scripture, some 185 times in the New Testament alone; in Acts, derivations of martus are found twenty-four times. For a complete analysis of the scriptural concept of witness, see Allison A. Trites, The Concept of Witness in New Testament Thought (Cambridge: Camabridge University Press, 1977) For its history, see my “Concept of Witness.”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. See also H. H. Rowley, Short Dictionary of Bible Themes (New York: Basic Books, 1968), p. 110. In the following discussion the Latin is from the Vulgate: Novum Testamentum Latine secundum editionem Sancti Hieronymi (London: The British and Foreign Bible Society, n..d.).Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    Cf. John L. McKenzie, “The Gospel According to Matthew,” Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968), 43:86.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    See Steven Marrone, William of Auvergne and Robert Grosseteste (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 18.
    See L 23 and my “The Role of the Eremitic Monk in the Development of the Medieval Intellectual Tradition,” in From Cloister to Classroom, ed. E. Rozanne Elder (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1986); Resnick, Divine Omnipotence; and comments of W. H. V. Reade, “Philosophy on the Middle Ages,” in Cambridge Medieval History, eds. J. R. Tanner, C. W. Previte-Orton, and Z. N. Brooke (New York: Macmillan, 1929), 5: 792: “Less energy, perhaps, would have been spent in remonstrance against this apparent degradation of reason if more attention had been paid to the current usage of terms. Philosophia often means no more than dialectic, and dialectic no more than a display of captious arguments. That the Christian position as a whole (the Christian philosophy, in fact) was irrational, Peter Damian and his contemporaries would never have admitted.”Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    Augustin Fliche, Le réforme grégorienne, 3 vols. (Paris: E. Champion, 1924–1927), 1:337.Google Scholar
  8. 24.
    Cited in Henry Taylor, The Medieval Mind, 4th ed. (London: Macmillan, 1911), 1: 349.Google Scholar
  9. 28.
    M. D. Chenu, The Theology of Work (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, 1963), p. 3. According to Chenu the term theology of work first came into usage in the late 1950s.Google Scholar
  10. 44.
    Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cleveland, OH: World Publishing, repr., 1967), pp. 301–40.Google Scholar
  11. 48.
    Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, trans. Willard R. Trask (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1959), p. 14.Google Scholar
  12. 53.
    Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return, trans. Willard R. Trask (New York: Harper & Row, 1959), p. 27.Google Scholar
  13. 55.
    In a very interesting article Kenneth Russell, “Peter Damian’s Whip,” American Benedictine Review 41:1 (March 1990): 20–35, argues that “as the amount of healthy, physical labor done by the monks decreased, the effort to validate their lives by what they did increased.” Russell draws this conclusion in his analysis of Damian’s use of the discipline, but his conclusion is also appropriate here.Google Scholar

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© Patricia Ranft 2006

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  • Patricia Ranft

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