Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What is Heaven for a 20-year-old college girl?

Being enrolled in a class which discusses the hypostatic union, the text of De Civitate Dei, the foundation of Monte Cassino, and the important substantial difference between auctoritas and potestas.

Or, shall I say, that's Heaven for someone like me. My medieval history class is turning out to be super fun! Not least because the professor knows what she's talking about. Today we went over the development of the papacy, and I thought to myself, oh no, here it comes, "the Papacy is a medieval invention designed to oppress dissent/women/the poor/intellectuals" etc. etc.

But no! She just conveyed the honest truth, which is that the papacy was not always in its modern form. It developed slowly, from the time of early Christianity, when the Bishop of Rome enjoyed an informal but significant acknowledgement of his authority, to today, when doctrine about the Petrine supremacy has become more clear and focused.

I was impressed. The professor certainly knows her stuff better than my Non-Western History teacher last quarter, who memorably declared that after the period of iconoclasm, Eastern Orthodox Christianity no longer used icons. Aaaaack! As anyone who knew the tiniest bit about the subject could tell you, icons (in Greek, eikon) have the greatest importance and hold just about the highest place in Eastern Christianity - excepting for the Mass, (which they call the Divine Liturgy), of course.

This is a terrific class, so far. It could still jump the shark. But the assignments are tons of fun, for sure! Time to go read an excerpt from that prolific Monophysite-fighter, Gelasius I.

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