Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Medieval Church History Lectures

One of the benefits of removing television and video games from daily life is that it affords ample time to pursue more meaningful activities. In order to cultivate a greater appreciation for the Reformation, I recently began listening to a series of lectures on the Medieval Church by Dr. Carl Trueman through Westminster Theological Seminary's iTunes University listing.

In the first half of his introductory lecture, Trueman sketches the popular and sophisticated reasons for why there is a disinclination to study medieval church history within Protestantism, while there exists a competing preference for sixteenth century and early church material. He then presents an effective case for caring about medieval church history, part of which includes the significant points of continuity between Protestant thought and earlier medieval thought.

The connection between the Reformation and earlier centuries of thought is neither new nor radical to anyone who has spent time engaging medieval source materials. (This was apparent even during my studies at NYU in the half-dozen courses I took on the medieval era, courses not even geared to strictly theological issues.) So there is much we can learn from the medieval tradition, and, of course, this information has, among its many other benefits, direct and practical application in refuting the banal claims of some lay-Catholic apologists that the Reformation represents a total innovation and complete break with earlier Christianity.

From what I've heard so far, I commend Trueman's lectures to you (which can be found through a simple iTunes search), especially since he isn't interested in reducing his presentation to a tally of who is and isn't orthodox. He seeks to have the class engage the medieval period in a critical, reflective manner, with the student coming to his or her own conclusions after properly wrestling with some of the era's major texts.

7 comments:

John Bugay said...

Matthew, I listened to his Medieval lectures some time ago; there are 11 of them. My favorite line had something to do with "Being born as and Englishman is like winning first prize in the lottery of life."

If you listen carefully, you'll hear the name of "Taylor Marshall" in one of the lectures, who is a resident expert in the subject of Latin.

He's also got a series on the Reformation (which I haven't listened to). WTS has a big new link to their iTunes page on their home page (www.wts.edu). The iTunes link is fairly new, and both of these lecture series can be accessed from there, along with a bunch of other WTS lectures.

James Swan said...

I don't know if this possible since I don't have an ipod, but if a link can be posted to the lectures, that would be great.

James Swan said...

If you listen carefully, you'll hear the name of "Taylor Marshall" in one of the lectures, who is a resident expert in the subject of Latin.

I admit I haven't read any of Mr. Marshall's books. The only interaction I've had with his material is the Luther propaganda he blogged a few months ago, which was simply pitiful for a graduate of WTS.

John Bugay said...

I would bet that you could get the Mp3 files and listen to them on your PC, just using a Windows media player.

James Swan said...

well I certainly won't have any time to listen to them- perhaps others though are interested.

John Bugay said...

Eh, you're already in Seminary. I'd recommend this to non-Seminarians. Trueman is very clear and very easy to listen to.

(I'm blessed with an hour-long commute, or so, each way to work as well. So I just absorb these things very readily.)

Matthew D. Schultz said...

I don't know if this possible since I don't have an ipod, but if a link can be posted to the lectures, that would be great.

James,

The lectures are free if you download iTunes, which is also free. As I understand it, you do not need an iPod.