Author Archives: Matthew Phillips

Delusion Makes You Happy

“If Folly is any judge, that man is the happiest who is most thoroughly deluded.  May he remain in that state which comes from me alone and is so widespread that I doubt whether there can be found one person … Continue reading

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Burning the Bull

“Greetings.  On December 10, 1520, at nine o’clock in the morning, all the following papal books were burned in Wittenberg at the eastern gate near the Church of the Holy Cross: the Decretum, the Decretals, the [Liber] Sextus, the Clementines, … Continue reading

Posted in Martin Luther, Reformation | Leave a comment

The Origin of Indulgences

A close reading of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses demonstrates that he was calling into question not only the doctrine of indulgences but also the late medieval sacrament of penance. Luther focused on the interior nature of repentance instead of sacramental penance … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, Martin Luther, medieval, Peter Abelard, Reformation | 2 Comments

Defy Everything: Martin Luther in 1520

“Let us…commit the affairs of men to God in faithful prayer, and be calm.  What can they do? Will they kill [me]?  Will they revive [me] again in order to kill [me] again? Will they brand me [me] a heretic?  … Continue reading

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Fortune Grows Cruel

“Fortune began to grow cruel and confuse everything.  Men who had easily endured hard work, dangers, uncertainty and adversity found that leisure and wealth, things desirable at other times, were a burden and the cause of misery.  And so, at … Continue reading

Posted in Rome, Sallust | Leave a comment

Love and Rewards

“God is not loved without a reward, although he should be loved without regard for one.  True charity cannot be worthless, still, as ‘it does not seek its own advantage,’ it cannot be termed mercenary.  Love pertains to the will, … Continue reading

Posted in Bernard of Clairvaux, Cistercian, Love, medieval | Leave a comment

Rewarding Merit and Confronting Evil

“The only proposals in the senate that I have seen fit to mention are particularly praiseworthy or particularly scandalous ones.  It seems to me a historian’s foremost duty to ensure that merit is recorded, and to confront evil deeds and … Continue reading

Posted in Rome, Tacitus | Leave a comment

The Meaning of Words

“The meaning of words should be carefully analyzed, and one should diligently ascertain the precise force of each and every term, both in itself and in the given context, so that one may dispel the haze of sophistries that would … Continue reading

Posted in John of Salisbury, languages, liberal arts, writing | Leave a comment

One Human Race

“For the human race is, more than any other species, at once social by nature and quarrelsome by perversion.  And the most salutary warning against this perversion or disharmony is given by the facts of human nature.  We are warned … Continue reading

Posted in Augustine of Hippo, history | Leave a comment

Never Trust a Mob

“We dare not encourage the mob very much.  It goes mad too quickly…And it is better for tyrants to wrong them a hundred times than for the mob to treat the tyrant unjustly but once.  If injustice is to be … Continue reading

Posted in government, justice, Martin Luther, Politics | Leave a comment