Author Archives: Matthew Phillips

A Pride So Great

“The third reason [for Christ’s advent] is for our advantage, so that [Christ] would make satisfaction for the first lie. Moreover, that lie was a pride so great that the man (homo) might lift up himself in the mind even … Continue reading

Posted in Christ, Cross, medieval, Peter Lombard, pride, Ralph Ardent, theology | Leave a comment

The Blood of Abel

This painting comes from late medieval Strasbourg (c. 1410) It is currently in an art museum in Colmar, Alsace (France). Source of Image This image demonstrates the summation of medieval Christian piety with the bleeding, dying Jesus and the compassionate … Continue reading

Posted in Christ, Cross, medieval, Peter of Blois, preaching, theology | Leave a comment

History As a Good or Bad Medicine

“In the same way political history is also made up of three parts.  The first consists of the industrious study and collation of documents; the second is topographical and includes the survey of cities, places, rivers, harbours, and in general … Continue reading

Posted in history, Polybius, Rome | Leave a comment

Imagining the Enemy

“Disturbing news has emerged from Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople and is now constantly at the forefront of our mind: namely that the race of Persians, a foreign people and a people rejected by God, indeed a generation that … Continue reading

Posted in Crusades, First Crusade, medieval, Urban II | Leave a comment

Winning Hearts and Minds

On March 6, 1522, Martin Luther returned permanently after an approximately ten-month stay in the Wartburg Castle.  The electoral duke of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, had sent Luther to the Wartburg after the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, issued the … Continue reading

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Universal Nature and Injustice

“Injustice is sin. When universal Nature has constituted rational creatures for the sake of each other–to benefit one another as deserved, but never to harm–anyone contravening her will is clearly guilty of sin against the oldest of the gods: because … Continue reading

Posted in justice, Marcus Aurelius, reason | Leave a comment

Trust the Science

“Then came the explosion of this myth.  It climaxed in the horrors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and in the fierce fury of fifty-megaton bombers.  Now we have come to see that science can give us only physical power, which if … Continue reading

Posted in Martin Luther King Jr, theology | Leave a comment

God Descends into Dust

“Majesty compressed himself to join to our dust the best thing he had, which is himself.  God and dust, majesty and weakness, utter lowliness and utter sublimity  were united in a single person.  Nothing is more sublime than God, nothing … Continue reading

Posted in Bernard of Clairvaux, Christ, Christmas, Incarnation, theology | Leave a comment

God Crowns His Own Gifts

One day someone asked Martin Luther whether godly persons should expect merit for their good works that result from their justification.  Luther answered that even the justified were still sinners, who pray for forgiveness and live under grace.  While God … Continue reading

Posted in Augustine of Hippo, justice, Martin Luther | Leave a comment

Arise O Lord: The Political Origins of Luther’s Reformation

In his sermon given at the funeral of Duke John of Electoral Saxony (John the Steadfast) in 1532, Martin Luther stated, “a prince is also a human being and always has ten devils around him where another man has only … Continue reading

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