McGrath, 5th edition Chapter 2 Additional materials

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McGrath, 5th edition

Chapter 2

Additional materials
Learning objectives:

After reading this chapter, students will be able to:

  • name the major theological emphases and developments of the Middle Ages in both western Europe and Byzantium

  • describe the importance of cathedrals, monasteries, and universities on the development of medieval theology, and give examples of each

  • identify the key theological figures of the Middle Ages

  • describe some of the factors in the Middle Ages that planted the seeds for the later Reformation

Other short-answer questions (in addition to the ones listed in the chapter):

What factors contributed to the strain between the western and eastern churches? What were some of the results of their split?

What makes Byzantine theology distinctive?

Name the three reasons why the Renaissance flourished in Italy.

What was at stake in the hesychastic controversy and how was it solved?

Describe the difference between Duns Scotus’s theory of voluntarism and Augustine’s theory of illuminationism.

What is Ockham’s razor? What difference did it make to theology?

In Chapter 1, we saw that theology made a shift from apologetics to doctrinal theology. Now in Chapter 2, there has been another shift back to apologetics. Explain the reasons for these shifts.

What are the dominant theological characteristics of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as compared to the patristic era? What might be some of the reasons for the differences or similarities?

Who do you think is the single most influential Christian theologian from both the patristic and medieval eras, and why?

Additional activities:

  • Set up a council with representatives from the western church (Latin-speaking Rome) and the eastern church (Greek-speaking Constantinople), and have the students play the roles of representatives who are airing their respective grievances and defending their positions. See if the two parties can come to an agreement or if they part ways at the end of the debate.

  • Assign students a research project on the theology and life of the Benedictines, the Dominicans, or the Franciscans; or ask them to write a journal or letter from the perspective of a member of one of those religious orders, describing their life in that monastery

  • Look through Chapter 2 and find everything you can about Mary; describe how Christian understandings about Mary began to change and why; what were the controversies and who were the main theologians involved in them

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

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