Alors que je publie partout dans le monde, je ne peux pas le faire dans mon propre pays parce que j'ai tout simplement le courage de mes opinions et qu'elles ne vont pas dans le sens du pouvoir en place. Mais il faut que j'y sois contraint. Pour l'instant, ce n'est pas encore le cas.
Et j'ai fini par voter pour l'adversaire socialiste d'Al-Sissi. Je comptais parmi leurs premiers soutiens. Ce qui n'est pas faux. Les pauvres on s'en fout, on essaye surtout d'aider les riches pour qu'ils deviennent encore plus riches. Comte was also one of the first anti-colonialists. Much before socialists, English positivists objected to Victorian imperialism see Claeys In this context, Comte and his followers discussed also extensively the respective merits of Christianity and Islam.
Turks were greatly appreciative of their secularism, which represented a solution to many of the problems of the Ottoman Empire. Ahmed Reza, an influent politician, was overtly positivist. While the different forms of deism preserve the idea of God and dissolve religion into a vague religiosity, Comte proposes exactly the contrary: a religion with neither God nor the supernatural. His project had little success; he even accomplished a tour de force by uniting both believers and non-believers against him.
Comte also defines religion as a consensus, analogous to what health is for the body. Religion has two functions, according to the point of view from which one considers existence: in its moral function, religion should govern each individual; in its political function, it should unite all individuals. Religion also has three components, corresponding to the threefold division of the cerebral table: doctrine, worship, and moral rule discipline. At first, Comte had followed the traditional order and presented doctrine before worship, but he soon gave priority to worship, and saw this change as a considerable step forward.
In the positivist religion, worship, doctrine and moral rule all have the same object, namely Humanity, which must be loved, known, and served. Already the General Conclusions of the Course compared the concept of Humanity to that of God, affirming the moral superiority of the former.
But only in does Comte make the substitution explicitly; sociological synthesis comes to replace theological synthesis. Membership of Humanity is sociological, not biological. The positivists set up a whole system of prayers, hymns, and sacraments Wright Thus, the worship of Humanity takes is the worship of great men. Unlike the French revolutionary calendar, which followed the rhythm of the seasons, the positivist calendar takes its inspiration from history and pays homage to great men from all nations and all times.
The wish to maintain the distinction between temporal and spiritual powers led Comte and his followers to demand the separation of Church and State. It has been noticed less often, however, that the two forms of power stand in differing relations to space.
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The religious society is by its nature catholic, in the sense of universal, and therefore has no boundaries other than those of the planet; the surface of a State meets different demands, which impose rather strict geographic limits. Nevertheless, its main application is related to the issue: centralization against local powers, which is another aspect of the spatial dimension of politics. Of the two political models constantly confronted in the Course , Comte clearly prefers the French one. Its characteristic alliance of the monarchy with the people against the aristocracy was accompanied by a centralization that the Revolution contented itself with consolidating.
One might therefore be led to believe that Comte was a partisan of centralized political that is: temporal power, whereas the contrary was in fact the case, as he proposed to divide France into seventeen administrative regions, more or less equivalent to the old provinces , v. Centralization applies only to the spiritual power.
Positivism asserted very early its wish to construct a moral doctrine that owes nothing to the supernatural. If we need a spiritual power, it is because social questions are quite often moral rather than political. The reforms of society must be made in a determined order: one has to change ideas, then morals les moeurs ; the word is difficult to translate: it is something like ways of acting, habits, les us et coutumes , and only then institutions.
But with the System , the moral doctrine ethics changes status and becomes a science, whose task is to extend sociology in order to take individual phenomena into account, in particular affective ones. While it is important to acknowledge the innateness of the sympathetic instincts, one is forced to admit their native weakness: the supremacy of the egoistic tendencies is so clear that it is itself one of the most striking traits in our nature.
The great human problem is to reverse the natural order and to teach ourselves to live for others. The only way in which altruism can win, is to ally itself with the mind, to make it its servant and not its slave. The heart, without the light of reason, is blind. Left to itself, affectivity is characterized by its inconsistency and instability.
That is why the inside has to be regulated, that is, disciplined. And this task is assigned to the outside, because exterior reality is the best of regulators. Whatever its own defects may be, the order that science discloses in nature is, by its indifference to our desires, a source of discipline. The same interest in biology led him to link medicine to moral doctrine and even to religion. To remedy this and to respect the unity of our nature, he proposed giving the new clergy a role in medicine, considering for example that there is no better endorsement of a rule of hygiene than a religious decree.
Before dying, he still had the time to outline, in his letters to Audiffrent, the rudiments of a sociological theory of diseases. On the whole, the System was not well received. However, it is impossible to confine oneself merely to the Course. The early works had made a strong impression on some of the best minds of the time; they remain required reading for everyone wishing to understand positive philosophy, as they are still among the best introductions to the subject. The Course was not part of the initial project, which Comte never lost sight of; the work is best considered as a parenthesis, admittedly open for twenty years, but which Comte had meant to close very quickly.
The reason why Comte had always presented the Plan of as fundamental is that, beginning with the very title, one finds the two themes that he planned to think through in their relation to one another: science and society. The foremost question is a political one: how should society be reorganized? Science, although present from the beginning, plays a secondary role as the means to achieve the chosen goal. Only when the question arises of what distinguishes Comte from the latter does science enter into the picture.
Yet the same cannot be said of the positive polity. But his own project for the reorganization of society presents a similar problem. In his writings, it is difficult to distinguish that which concerns objective social science from a reform program that reflects only a personal stand. Apart from that difficulty, the weaknesses of the positive polity are numerous.
Among them, those that are the most conspicuous criticism of human rights, praise of dictatorship are not necessarily the most serious, for objections to the former are easily answered. For example, while Comte criticizes freedom of conscience, he is always highly supportive of freedom of expression. We should also find his deep respect for spontaneity reassuring, considering that it is an important part of our idea of freedom. More serious, perhaps, seem to be the consequences of the rejection of psychology. However, considering only the weaknesses of the positive polity would not be fair.
The order of time, he said, is not past-present-future, but rather past-future-present. See the Other Internet Resources section below. The most complete edition, which is an anastatic reprint of previously published volumes essentially — and — , is:. Bessly, Frederic Harrison translated in the second half of the 19th century the most important works.
So, after the original text, we give the reference to these English translations, even if they are not easily accessible. Bourdeau ehess. Introduction 2. Biography 3. The Formative Years: The Collaboration with Saint-Simon and the Early Writings The early writings remain the required starting point for everyone who wishes to understand the goal that Comte incessantly pursued.
Comte took over three ideas from the complex thought of Saint-Simon: The contrast between organic and critical periods in history, of which the Revolution had just provided an example. The idea of industrial society. In , under the influence, notably, of B. Constant and J. Say, Saint-Simon had turned himself into an apostle of industry.
As an attentive observer of the industrial revolution that was going on before his eyes, he understood that it would completely change all existing social relations. Heretofore, we had lived in military societies: man acted on man, and power belonged to the warrior class. Henceforth, trade would replace war, and man would mainly concern himself with acting on nature. Comte drew the quite mistaken conclusion that the era of wars was over Aron The idea of spiritual power. It resulted from an observation and a conviction. Saint-Simon observed the role of science in modern society: he suggested, for example, that public funds be made available to finance scientific research.
He was also convinced of the religious nature of social cohesion and, therefore, of the need for a priestly class in charge of maintaining it. This belief led him to the idea of a science of social organization, linking these two components: religion would become an application of science, permitting enlightened men to govern the ignorant. So, instead of trying to destroy every form of religious life, one should entrust to the learned the spiritual power left weakened by the decline of traditional religions.
It is also within this framework that the text he wrote in on the reorganization of European society has to be understood: handling international relations are one of the main attributes of spiritual power, as shown by the medieval papacy. Among the remaining sciences, leaving sociology aside for the moment, two occupy a pre-eminent place: Astronomy and biology are, by their nature, the two principal branches of natural philosophy.
They, the complement of each other, include the general system of our fundamental conceptions in their rational harmony. The solar system and Man are the extremes within which our ideas will forever be included. The system first, and then Man, according to the course of our speculative reason: and the reverse in the active process: the laws of the system determining those of Man, and remaining unaffected by them. Comte as great as either of these philosophers [Descartes and Leibniz], and hardly more extravagant.
Were we to speak of our whole mind, we should call him superior to them: not intrinsically, but by the exertion of equal intellectual power in an age less tolerant of palpable absurdities, and to which those he has committed, if not in themselves greater, at least appear more ridiculous Mill , p. And earlier, he said: We, therefore, not only hold that M.
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Comte was justified in the attempt to develop his philosophy into a religion, and had realized the essential conditions of one, but that other religions are made better in proportion as, in their practical result, the are brought to coincide with that which he aimed at constructing. But, unhappily, the next thing we are obliged to do, is to charge him with making a complete mistake at the very outset of his operations. Mill , p. Politics is grounded in geopolitics, where geo retains its etymological meaning, Gaia , and where Earth is understood as a planet in the solar system This cosmic character of positive politics helps to understand what could appear as an inconsistency.
A new edition has yet to appear. Chapman, Parsons gives some selections from the sociology lessons. Dalmont; reprinted, Paris: Vrin, introduction to b, published separately. Dalmont; reprinted, Paris: Fayard, Translated as: Appeal to Conservatives , London: Trubner, New edition, Paris: Editions du Sandre, Carneiro et P.
Fedi; Geneva: Droz. Fletcher ed. Haac ed. Jones ed. Robson ed. Secondary literature Arbousse-Bastide, P. Aron, R. Bensaude, B. Bourdeau, M. Bourdeau, M, and Chazel, F. Braunstein, J. Cashdollars, C. Even what now seems to us like a very imperfect, culture-impeding institution, such as collective property, the common pasture land of whole tribes, probably fitted in with the life of the time, and when, e.
A shepherd does not become a farmer, as has been thought; he dies off. Incidentally, apropos of latifundia, we have no right to shoot off our mouths, at a time when the whole farm-owning class is undermined by usurers, the bankrupt are in the majority, the Jews are in the saddle, and the peasants retreat to the cities. By contrast, Dio Chrysostom described Thessalia as desolate, Arcadia as a wasteland, and Pausanias traveled through long, deserted stretches.
In all these cases it was the fault of the Greeks themselves among whom since the time of Polybius intentional childlessness had come into practice.
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In Campania the marked decline in the cultivation of the soil appears to have occurred only later, and in North Africa, whose bread Rome ate, the very large number of bishoprics, , is proof of a large population. In Gaul, both culture and population appear to have increased right up to the Antonines. This seems to be borne out by the long and vigorous life of the Gaulish language. The population of the agri decumates [land worked on tithes], arisen from the levissimus quisque Gallorum [every wisp of a Gaul] and the inopia audax [fierce want], appears to have been an overflow of the already Romanized Gallo-Romans.
Trajan and Hadrian then drew the limes [boundary] around it.
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All that Sybel adduces is thus very one-sided and insufficient to explain the fall of the Roman Empire. The main causality, rather, is shown to be as follows: the internal disorganization of the Empire after Commodus, Edition: current; Page: [ 25 ] Caracalla, and Heliogabalus, along with the attendant imperial wars; further, after Marcus Aurelius, the new movements of the Germani on all borders and their great human resources—possibly a sudden increase; also, the Sassanids.
As a counterforce and in part because of the inner disorganization of the Empire, the Thirty Tyrants appear to save the situation. The restoration of the Empire by the Illyrian emperors had to be accompanied by force, even under the best of conditions, and the situation after that inevitably became a permanent state of emergency, even without famine and pestilence. The Empire of the first and second centuries must therefore be regarded as distinct from that of the third.
Would the abolition of agricultural slavery and the forcible establishment of arms-bearing free farmers have availed anything in the third century? Many such, but not nearly enough, were actually created through the settling of Germani. Instead, there was a most pernicious, unalterable financial system. But in an emergency it is difficult to change such a system. At this point, a counterbalance should be drawn up.
How much general and inevitable human misery was present and a contributing factor, as it is at any time? Misery is a relative concept and is equal to the degree of discontent within a given situation. One is not miserable until one realizes it and no longer wants to put up with things. In the late third century the world empire had to reconstruct itself and remain together so that it could become Christian as a unit.
Let us have proper respect for the Roman Empire. No other dynasty of the world can boast of five rulers in succession like those from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius mere hereditary dynasties cannot possibly achieve this , as well as a series of rescuers like that from Claudius the Goth to Diocletian. I [ In this designation there was expressed the concept of a very expendable thousand years which may have existed for the chastisement of mankind; this gave it the reputation of barbarism, and its beginnings in fact had been an overcrowding of the world with barbarians.
Hence the special ill-will of the Italians, who had lost their world dominion through the barbarians, although this had actually already happened under Constantine. It seemed to them that, basically, the more modern period could have started directly with the end of Roman history. Something like impatience was felt toward the Middle Ages. It was possible to misjudge the Middle Ages, to be sure, but in the long run one could not despise the period. The realization prevailed that our existence had its roots in it, even though modern culture was derived predominantly from antiquity.
Gradually the specific qualities of the Middle Ages were appreciated in innumerable ways. Certain aspects even inspired veritable enthusiasm which, however, aroused Edition: current; Page: [ 27 ] hostility in completely modern-minded persons. On the whole, very strong and widespread prejudices against the Middle Ages have prevailed to this day, not to mention the more deeply entrenched ones. Above all, at our present moment in history, under the conditions of , we have no business sitting in judgment on any past age—now when from every side there are complaints about, and threats against, our general situation as well as specific matters, and the nations are pitted one against the other, armed to the teeth.
Now that we are convinced that our knowledge of the Middle Ages belongs among our dearest possessions, that is, the great general knowledge about the continuation of the spirit which distinguishes us from the barbarians including very modern ones , we had better omit any evaluation of the past according to our standards of happiness or unhappiness, since these are illusions.
Very peculiar is the interest of our time in all past things and its judgment of their relative intellectual value. Of course, our time is itself undergoing such great transformations that its judgments about the past vary greatly, too. The life of mankind is a unit whose fluctuations in time or place constitute an up and down, a weal or woe, only to our weak senses, but in reality follow a higher necessity.
To trace the latter in detail remains a dubious and difficult task. Not everything that may now and then appear to an investigator as a decree of world history really deserves this title. It is a universal human experience that the fringes of existence have always been miserable, because individuals as well as nations always push their existence to the limits of possibility; this is an existence just barely worth living. There is something to be said for the survival of a people as such if at least it neither consumes itself, as the ancient Greeks did, nor is destroyed by other peoples.
How many peoples disappeared in the great migrations of the Germanic tribes; as soon as they had no kings of their own, they lost themselves among the others. Are we to feel sorry for them at random? If they had existed longer, would they and so many other peoples who had already gone down in early antiquity have done great and good things or perhaps predominantly bad ones? At any rate, the amount of unhappiness felt increases greatly in highly civilized, security-minded periods when conditions become completely insecure and violent, as, e.
But we may properly feel a certain amount of pity and need not excuse ourselves with the barren argument that what fell did so for good reasons, or that after a fall there comes a resurgence. For by no means every destruction has been followed by rejuvenation those involved and their relatives will have none of rejuvenation through decay , and the great destroyers of life remain an enigma to us.
In the face of the ambition of an Attila, who did not have enough time, or of the accomplishments of Genghis Khan and especially Tamerlane, we remain perplexed, and can, at best, stutter that these men destroyed forces which, under certain circumstances, might also have become very harmful to mankind. The capital losses of mankind are enormous. And in particular the destruction of noble and universally admired works of poetry and art fills us with lasting sadness because we are convinced that they are irreplaceable, i. But let us close our eyes; experience teaches us that the human race has over the ages achieved very little of supreme excellence, and will do no better in the future; therefore, for the time being, we may well mourn when things of excellence are destroyed.
Our only consolation—and a very uncertain one—is this: the survival Edition: current; Page: [ 29 ] of the greatest works of antiquity, now lost, would have stood in the way of the newer literature and art and made their natural appearance or at least their independence impossible. As a rule, however, calling past times happy or pitying them is only partisanship in favor of one untenable thing against another such; and as it is, we are subject to the prejudices of our egoism at best, to the predilections of our time which approves of what seems akin to it and disapproves of what it finds incomprehensible or repugnant.
Thus, for instance, we have a powerful antipathy to Islam, with its arid religion, its art tyrannically kept poor, its forcibly restricted poetry, and its invariably tyrannical form of government. But as soon as the believers are given voice, we and our pity are sent packing.
To this day, Islam gives its adherents enormously firm support, and they are proud of it and almost inaccessible to missionary efforts. But if one imagines history without Islam, one must also eliminate the at least temporary rejuvenation which, as an opponent, it brought to the Byzantine Empire and later, through the Crusades, to the West. This great adversary quite materially kept the Byzantine Empire alive.
That it finally did succumb to Islam was due to weakening from the West; remember But the Mongols would have come nevertheless, and it is beyond all speculation in what condition they would have found a non-Islamic Near East and Europe. However, just as dubious as pitying is felicitation. Moreover, the joy of victory does not last long, if only because persisting in the same situation is not granted to peoples nor to individuals, and after some time there recommences, in one way or another, the struggle for existence which can grow to deadly proportions—and not by any means through arms only, but, as is the case today, through customs tariffs because thereby one hits an activity based on free competition, namely, present-day industry, the current index of power and property.
Aside from that, one would have to be able to determine for all peoples and all periods how strong the active, the really free, segment was; for these people alone can have had an exalted feeling of their existence. But we do not even know the proportion of slaves in the Roman Empire, let alone the percentage of the half-free the litae , etc. Instead of any evaluation according to happiness and unhappiness, in place of any fruitless approval or disapproval, we shall confine ourselves to a consideration and understanding of the living forces, their succession, their interaction, their transmutation.
To this end we need to be released from mere narration which may be given by handbooks. We have to group phenomena more according to their inner relations in which they form conditions, lasting states of affairs. The history of civilization comes into its own. Definitions of the concept vary; it will long have a subjective and dilettante appearance, as well as complicated and uncertain outlines, from the so-called antiquities to the so-called philosophy of history.
Each individual will proceed according to his personal insight. However, one does not include in the history of civilization what one likes, but what one believes one should or must include. The designation for what we have in mind is, at any rate, too narrow insofar as it leads us to assume that we are concerned only with the rise or decline of intellectual culture and the material exploitation of the earth; what we really aim at is an understanding of all the more significant and effective forces in general, and thus of the more or less constant conditions created by them.
The history of civilization overlaps with church history, the history of law, literary history, the history of communications, the history of morals, etc. Its selection of data follows its inner principle. Its academic justification, recognized anyway, would, among other things, lie in the fact that it can compress the spiritually Edition: current; Page: [ 31 ] significant content of a period embracing many centuries into the brief scope of a lecture course more easily than can narrative presentation.
The relationship of the history of civilization to source studies is a very natural one. Sources are of interest to it as the monument and picture of a certain period and nation, not merely as the places where single events may be found; the historian of civilization reads with different eyes than does the historian. In fact, the history of civilization can be learned usefully only from sources instead of from handbooks.
II [ First, those who consider Christianity in general as wrong and a misfortune; second, those who cannot bear the interweaving of great and strongly symbolizing folk imaginations with new religions the imagination of Islam is half-tamed, that of the Christians is not ; further, those who have no understanding for stabilizing elements, or those who are in a hurry to create a situation in which a man may do anything, but so may everybody else, and logically the most insolent fellow may do these things most of all—those who are in a hurry, then, for the unrestricted development of philosophy, the rapid victory of science, untrammeled communication with the remotest as well as the closest people, and the industrial exploitation of the world, from the surface of the earth on.
Finally, count among these enemies all proponents of leveling sameness. We may regard Renan as an adversary of the Middle Ages, with many qualifications; he repeatedly characterizes himself in his Marcus Aurelius. Only by drastically modifying Christianity in the Middle Ages were cities and states able to exist Edition: current; Page: [ 32 ] with it, he says. Then, p. Large industry becomes impossible. Due to distorted ideas disseminated about usury, all banking and insurance operations are prohibited. Only Jews can handle money; they are forced to be rich], and then they are reproached with their wealth.
A further complaint of his is that work declined so much. Further, on p. Moreover, on p. The cult of saints has been the cover under which polytheism has reestablished itself. Finally, on p. These attempts could have produced a simple Christianity, a continuation of Judaism, something analogous to what Islam was.
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How much fanaticism would thus have been avoided! But we will at least concede to the people of the Middle Ages that they were able to live without continual or continually threatening national wars, without forced mass industry with deadly competition, without credit and capitalism, without hatred of albeit inevitable poverty. If these people had mined hard coal, as is done now, where would we be? The Middle Ages had greatness and sorrows of a kind very different from what Renan is capable of conceiving. Greatness can appear at moments when mere calculation ceases and a way of thinking, a feeling, overwhelms everything.
And at such moments Edition: current; Page: [ 34 ] it gives us, their posterity, the impression that it carried the feeling of happiness along with it. III In contrast to the supposition that one has to make excuses for the Middle Ages, it is our task simply to describe the realities of past life, whatever it may be. Whatever to us is worth living for has its roots there. The Middle Ages are not responsible for our present decline! It was a time of natural authority.
It is not its fault that we no longer have this nor can regain it, but are instead flooded by waves of majority from below. The great impact of past times and forces lies not in their kinship with us, but in their naive quality, i. For example, the victory of orthodoxy over Germanic Arianism was not a matter of superior intellectuality, but of a temperament which ipso facto gained control over meager rival forms of the church.
The greatness of an epoch or a cause depends on the proportion of those capable of sacrifice, on whatever side it may be. In this respect the Middle Ages pass muster rather well. And not a guarantee of regular pay! Where does greatness begin? With devotion to a cause, whatever it may be, with complete extinction of personal vanity. Greatness is not dependent on mental superiority, for this can be paired with a wretched character.
When, where, and by whom was the decision made to collect the three synoptic Gospels separately? It could only have happened at a time when their texts were already regarded as too sacred for anyone to dare to work them into one volume. In what communities did one previously have the gospels separately? Of the Apocrypha, the Gospel Edition: current; Page: [ 35 ] of the Hebrews had an especially wide dissemination; according to Eusebius, the Ebionites read it exclusively.
Islam immediately assumed a worldly position of power which at the same time took care not to permit any deviation from the faith. Christianity, on the other hand, set the imaginations of many in competitive motion at a time of great religious ferment, and for three centuries had to contend with heresies of all kinds, all sorts of secondary religions, magicians, Gnostics, and visionaries, who, in a body, were able to sweep many a community along, and it had to carry on this fight with no resources other than its own strength.
People could be enraptured through the mere promise of the imminent Second Coming of Christ on Judgment Day, chiliasm, and the like, but notably through prophecy, as with the Montanists, and with sudden inspirations. Montanus regarded himself as the Paraclete. With all this, however, one probably kept before him that the most outstanding men belonged to the right-thinking center, and especially the persecutions probably strengthened this center.
If any authority ever came into being with enormous dedication, it is that of the church. All Christendom at the time professes the faith; where there is any worldly-wise concealment, any participation in pagan rituals, etc. Miracles, including raising the dead, presented no problems to the Christians from the beginning, and in the community one actually thought that one saw charismata like prophecy and the healing of the sick continue, while all pagan miracles appeared as mere magic. The mutual support of the Christians until Constantine placed at their disposal the benefices of the state may, practically speaking, have come quite close to the short-lived community of property of Apostolic Edition: current; Page: [ 36 ] times.
Whoever became a Christian hardly remained rich. In Rome under Commodus there were a few conversions of wealthy people and aristocrats. At the persecutions of Lyon Pothinus, Blandina, etc. Of the demonic, pagans and Christians held much the same views, but the pagans were here governed by a wild and colorful imagination, whereas the Christians harbored a rather uniform conviction.
Church literature was evidently very abundant from the beginning. Undoubtedly the collections of letters to colleagues and communities constituted a prime genre; then the refutations of heresies and apologetics directed against the pagans must be considered. Hebrew must have sunk into deep obscurity once there were no longer any real converted Jews. That Origen studied Hebrew is especially emphasized. By the third century there were already many scholarly theological works and commentaries.
After the persecution of Decius, on the occasion of the Novatian dispute, a synod of sixty bishops and numerous presbyters and deacons could already be held in Rome. The Antiochean synods concerning Paul of Samosata after were very large and well attended. Now the disputes over the treatment of the lapsi [backsliders] and the rebaptism of converted heretics increased, and in addition there was a continual dispute over the nature of Christ. Among all religions Christianity may be the one that has most vividly retained its own advance in its memory through the cult of its believers and martyrs.
Buddhism venerates only relics of Buddha himself and has no specific memories of his individual propagators, because none of their performances are worthy of him anyway. On the other hand, Christianity, just as it takes seriously the salvation of the individual, also greatly apotheosizes its individual evangels and virtually transfers to their relics and graves a large part of its rituals and concept of God. Where none are demonstrable, they are postulated and expected to reveal themselves; this, to be sure, means a change to the second stage in which every place must have its relics and there arises competition for, and jealousy of, such possessions.
This is the strongest localization of the sacred, comparable in its way to that in Greek mythology. In addition, these are not special places of grace, but only of remembrance. But what about the graves of individual saintly marabouts, etc.? Islam does not spread the efficacy of Allah over places and persons. It was highly important for the veneration of the various Christian saints that one should know something about their legends. In Troyes, St. Patroclus has a small shrine, with only one cleric he is later called lector.
Loci enim homines parvum exhibebant martyri famulatum, pro eo quod historia passionis eius non haberetur in promptu; mos namque erat hominum rusticorum, ut Sanctos Dei, quorum agones relegunt, attentius venerentur. Quidam igitur de longinquo itinere veniens, libellum huius certaminis detulit, lectori, quem in ipso loco servire diximus, prodidit ad legendum. Yet soon afterwards a Frankish gentleman went to Italy and brought home from there the very same legend. There is a superiority of martyrs over the other saints; the expressions for martyrdom are passio, agon, certamen.
Christianity subsists here essentially on those who died professing it. It becomes entirely a religion of martyrs, in complete contrast to the religions of antiquity which made no fuss about their believers and had only a mythical view of their original propagators. Dionysus and others; nevertheless, with Dionysus it comes closest to persecution, profession of faith, and martyrdom. I Asceticism does not arise from justification by works it does not become that until late , nor does it come into being as penance by proxy for others who in their lives on earth have no time to do penance this, too, is a late concept , but it is the authentic expression of the Edition: current; Page: [ 39 ] genuine pessimism inherent in Christianity.
Entirely consistent with this is celibacy—not by any means solely as a denial of sensuality, although this, too, plays a strong part in it sensual enjoyment is a direct contradiction of Christianity which in this respect strongly sunders itself from the nature religions , but because the survival of mankind is not at all desirable. In the fourth and fifth centuries the will to extinction exists in the noblest minds quite independent of the external fate of the Empire.
Side by side with this there lives a mob that in the midst of all the misery is fanatically devoted to circuses. Only after the migrations of the Germanic tribes did the ascetically inclined eo ipso become priests or monks, and only then was the clergy as such obliged to constitute the ascetic caste, something that was often rather badly out of keeping with its real behavior.
Christianity was to be put into consistent practice in at least one definite class. This explains the demand for celibacy which appeared repeatedly and finally prevailed. The clergy was to represent that perfection which a layman could not achieve; only in this way could the clergy be worthy of dispensing the means of salvation of the church. Only in return for such renunciation could the clergy demand that show of respect which was based on its being regarded by others as holy. To be sure, penance by proxy and justification by works already appear here.
How early was the intercessory prayer of an ascetic, the precursor of penance by proxy, considered valuable? How early were monasteries endowed for the sake of such prayers? II Asceticism and its complete realization in the monastic life is the New Testament taken literally; the average Christian was no longer rising to its strict observance in his life on earth. Even by the second century the great Christian community had included also those of moderate virtue, the no longer quite saintly.
Side by side with the century Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] that had turned Christian there had earlier arisen fearful ascetic heresies like Montanism; later, however, orthodox Christianity peacefully detached itself as the monastic life and in this found its wholly justified representation. The monks are the consistent Christians, and the laymen salve their consciences with the thought that in addition to themselves such Christians exist and that perfection simply is not the business of the age.
In the monasteries, too, charismata which are no longer possible or admissible on the outside may continue. It may be asked how it could come about that Christianity, with the Nicene Creed, was allowed to enter into the fifth century as an enormous social power bringing men closer together, in both languages, and furthermore, through the Greeks who were the people to understand other peoples. Alexander and the Diadochi had brought close the Near East and brought about understanding between its civilizations and their own Hellenism. Rome, which gradually subjugated this Orient, had at the same time achieved a fusion of its mind with the Greek mind.
This hardest of peoples could not resist Greek culture, its only enthusiasm. Under the emperors, a homogeneous Greco-Roman world had come into being. This was the world that became the scene and the object of the spread of Christianity. The homogeneity of Christendom from Britain and the pillars of Hercules to the Euphrates and the Tigris became the new substructure under the collapsing Empire. And now the peoples could come; in time they were all overpowered by Nicene Christianity. Without this, the Middle Ages would have been a den of murderers.
That is the way it had to happen so that the nations would not treat one another like wild animals. And all times to come will remember this. Christianity as such was superior to paganism, classical and otherwise, with its unholy gods, its orientation to a no longer existent middle class, its exhausted poetry and literature, and its self-accusations concerning general wickedness and so on.
But the greatest miracle is that from Christianity an external form of power, the church, was able to take shape and that subsequently world churches, considered as orthodox, maintained themselves; further, that a recognized canon of sacred writings was able to come into being.
The inner characteristic of the Christian doctrine was, from the beginning, the highly personal relationship of the individual to the Christian realities and doctrines. Thus there necessarily resulted differing views, even within the earliest circle around the apostles, as evidenced by the existence of converted Jews and pagans. Many schisms arose even within the apostolic communities; this is revealed by the Pauline epistles. After the apostles had died off there was danger of there no longer being any sufficient authority.
Then, too, there was the requirement of discipline, which certainly served to repel rather than attract. The symbolum apostolicum did not originate until post-apostolic times, possibly as the creed of the candidate for baptism. On the other hand, the charitable love in the communities and the equality before God served as uniting forces, and, above all, the persecutions were the greatest promoters of concord; without them there might have been a lot of sects which paganism could have absorbed again.
But there was also an onrush on the part of Greek philosophy even in the case of Paul , of Oriental theosophy and magic, in addition to asceticism which could be intensified at will. Other religions tried to gain influence; Simon Magus is a case in point. Several messiahs appeared, Bar Kochba and others. Under circumstances such as these there took place the transposition Edition: current; Page: [ 42 ] of primitive Christianity into the world-view and culture of the late classical world, into pagan Christianity, and later the transference to the Germanic and Slavic worlds.
The impetus of Christianity is peculiar. It vociferously lays claim to crowding out all other religions completely. Christian doctrine had its perils, the heresies. We may leave out of consideration the entire dualistic Gnosticism with its eon theory as hardly able to form communities, despite its colorful variety and the manifold origin of its systems. We may likewise pass over the Judeo- Christian sects, the Ebionites and others as late as the end of the second century there is the pseudo-Clementine study circle.
Undoubtedly the Jews were too arrogant to bother much with this sort of thing; during persecutions of Christians they used to incite the pagans. Bar Kochba, too, murdered Christians. The strongest pretensions to a church of its own were made by Manichaeism which treated Christianity as merely a varnish of pagan theosophy and ignored Judaism, betraying no Platonic influence, but offering Persian dualism with an admixture of Buddhistic ideas.
The re-emergence of Manichaeism in the Middle Ages is evidence of its relative vitality. The Near East at that time was a veritable vagina religionum [womb of religions]; one should also bear in mind, for later, the situation under the Sassanids prior to Mohammed. Finally there appeared around Montanism with its ecstatic prophecies that proclaimed the beginning of the age of the Paraclete and produced a new outpouring of the spirit.
Montanus regarded himself as the Paraclete? The sect was characterized by violent asceticism and fanaticism; it professed chiliasm. In somewhat toned-down form, Montanism had also an aftereffect on the East. The schisms of Hippolytus, Felicissimus, Novatian, and Meletius are Edition: current; Page: [ 43 ] to be evaluated as mere deviations and disputes over practices of penitential discipline, coupled with personal quarrels.
More dangerous were the schisms over the Trinity, the Patripassians, a Paul of Samosata, etc. It not only sloughed off false doctrines and immorality, but also fought, as it had to, every deviation in external forms, constitution, and ritual. It achieved the complete sovereignty of the episcopate and the beginning of the Roman primateship. For within it there has always been preserved by Christians everywhere that tradition which stems from the Apostles.
Without the last persecutions under Decius, Valerian, and others, the spirit of contradiction, of dialectics, and of ambition would most likely have split the church into sects, and paganism would then probably have overpowered them or at least stood its ground side by side with it. All this would have been dealt a mortal blow by a split-up into sects, and the specific power to conquer the pagans would thereby have vanished, regardless of the religious zeal of the individual sects. When, under Diocletian, Christianity got ready to gain control of the Imperium, it was caught up in those dangerous schisms over the Trinity.
And when Constantine had dealings with Christianity, he encountered a firm ecumenical organization as an established tradition. Without it he would probably not have shown Christianity any consideration. If good sense had some say in matters of belief and opinion, most heresies would not have been promulgated, so that the church might remain powerful. However, the same force that made the church mighty also engendered the capacity for, and disposition toward, heresy—to be sure, with the help of much personal dogmatism. There is such a thing as a born sectarian. If one imagines Julian without the Persian War and with a reign of about ten years, he could have achieved a great deal.
Of course, it was impossible to organize paganism into a rival church ; but the farm population and the people in many cities would have been available for great demonstrations. Presumably paganism would at least have established itself on a permanent basis, secure from any further abolition, and would then have maintained itself alongside Christianity for who knows how long as a religion inaccessible to any conversionary argument, especially through the possession of the benefice.
On the other hand, it is conceivable that in the face of such a situation the Christian theologians would have ceased their wrangling about the Trinity; the true forces would have become paramount again; the situation Edition: current; Page: [ 45 ] would have been comparable to the later one of the orthodox under the Arian Germanic princes.
Nevertheless, there would have been another great danger not present before or since: forsaken by the Imperium, the church could have been split asunder by countries as well as by sects, and it would subsequently have found it difficult to regain its unity. In Rome there would probably have been a real battle in which paganism would have carried the day and the diocese could easily have lost completely its beginning pristine preeminence.
The Jews in Visigothic Spain were evidently very numerous; here they took revenge by agreements with the Arabs who were ready for invasion. The entire orthodox Middle Ages then kept the Jews down and persecuted them periodically, i. If, however, Western European Arianism had held its own, the Jews would in a century or two have become the masters of the entire property and would have made the Germanic and the Romanic peoples work for them even at that time.
There would have been no Middle Ages, or they would have been quite different. If one judges according to desirability, one has this choice: either general dominion of the Jews from the seventh or eighth century, or the Middle Ages as they were.