Comprehensive essay questions綜合論文問題
1. In lecture, medieval culture was associated with three different social contexts (or “sites”): (1) the Church, (2) royal and noble courts, and (3) cities. Which two of these sites of culture is, and how does Dante bridge the gaps between them? 在講座中，中世紀文化與三種不同的社會背景（或“地點”）相關聯：（1）教會，（2）皇家和貴族法院，以及（3）城市。這些文化遺址中有哪兩個，以及丹特如何彌合它們之間的差距？
Dante's Inferno associated with royal and noble courts, and cities. Dante thought that those who can enter Inferno are the soul with sins while living and can be forgiven by punishment. Dante described the major seven deadly sins in Inferno, Dante took this to criticize and respond to some of the major problems in social and cultural fields at the time, Dante condemned the church for interference of secular politics, undermining Italian unification, he also critiqued the greed, arrogance and corruption of monk class. Dante described how he washed away the sins in Inferno to reach the ground paradise, with this, Dante emphasized the importance of faith and reason, he affirmed that the God is the supreme master, at the same time, he stressed the importance of human reason and free will, showing the emergence of ideas of humanism. Dante was through criticism of religious culture and inheritance of religious world under the background of royal and noble courts, as well as enlightenment of humanism under the background of cities to bridge the gaps between them.但丁的地獄與王室和貴族宮廷以及城市有關。但丁認為那些可以進入地獄的人是生活中有罪的靈魂，可以通過懲罰得到赦免。但丁描述了Inferno的七大致命罪，Dante當時批評并回應當時社會和文化領域的一些主要問題，Dante譴責教會干涉世俗政治，破壞意大利統一，他還批評了僧侶階級的貪婪，傲慢和腐敗。但丁描述了他如何沖走Inferno的罪孽到達地面天堂，由此，但丁強調了信仰和理性的重要性，他肯定上帝是至高無上的主人，同時，他強調了人類理性的重要性和自由意志，表現出人文主義思想的出現。但丁在皇室和貴族法院的背景下，通過批判宗教文化和宗教世界的繼承，以及在城市背景下人文主義的啟蒙來彌合它們之間的差距。
2. Consider Dante’s Inferno and Erasmus’s Prais as representative texts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, respectively. What are the major differences between the authors’ worldviews? How do the differences reflect broader changes that occurred in the Renaissance? Did everyone in sixteenth-century Europe share Erasmus’s worldview? 將Dante的Inferno和Erasmus的Prais分別視為中世紀和文藝復興時期的代表性文本。作者的世界觀有哪些主要區別？這些差異如何反映文藝復興時期發生的更廣泛的變化？十六世紀歐洲的每個人都分享伊拉斯謨的世界觀嗎？
The main difference between Dante's Inferno and Erasmus's Prais lies in that Dante thought that faith is above reason, he confirmed that God is certainly the highest domination, he identified rational asceticism. Erasmus figured that reason is above faith, Erasmus upheld human free will and free development of personality, thinking that we should respect human instinct activity and oppose to asceticism. Dante's Inferno allowed a large number of Greek classical works and excellent thought to be further spread and developed, and Erasmus's Prais laid the ideological foundation for the later religious reform. In 16th century, not everyone in Europe shared Erasmus’s worldview. For instance, Martin Luther believed that free will itself belongs to the title and proper noun of God, human should not use this sacred title. The Erasmus believed that free will belong to human-specific terms.
3. How does Martin Luther’s view of God’s justice and mercy compare to Dante’s? (Hint: think about divine wrath and grace, and about the relationship between faith, good works, and justification for each of them.) What does the difference imply about the differences between Protestant and Catholic views on justification?
Dante's view shows that people have to be redeemed by virtue of the grace of God and the Son from sin, people must get God's grace and redemption by good works. Martin Luther emphasized justification by faith that as long as people believe in God, God can call them "righteous man", so believers are no longer "sinners." People get God's salvation because of faith rather than the so-called good works and holy work.
Catholic view on justification implies that justification is entirely God's grace, which can not be acquired by faith alone, and it includes the following steps and actions: to be baptized to wash away the original sin from the soul to pour into Christ's justification, those to be baptized must be "cooperated" with Christian love, including redemption for crime after being baptized: confession, contrition, receiving absolution continuing to do good works. Protestant views on justification imply that sinners are salvaged by God-given faith alone and it is totally out of God's grace. Therefore Protestant advocates simplifying ritual and watering down or even abolishing the differences between clergy and laity.
4. Martin Luther’s view of human nature has been characterized as “pessimistic.” Explain this characterization and compare it with Erasmus’s view of human nature, as expressed in The Praise of Folly. Why would justification by faith be attractive to someone who held such a view of human nature?
Martin Luther’s view of human nature says that people's "original sin" makes human nature corrupt, only devout mind enables them to communicate directly with God to get rid of the evil for good, so as to get God's salvation, all outside penance and feats can not help them to achieve this purpose. Erasmus' view expressed in The Praise of Folly believes that human nature is good, pure, but when it is in the evil world, it has been poisoned and contaminated, so it praises the simple folly with "innocent nature". Erasmus strongly recommended human free will and free development of personality, promoting respect of the activities of human instinct. The reason for why justification by faith is attractive to someone who holds such a view of human nature lies in that it help people to get rid of the shackles of the complex system of religion to achieve the equality before the God and the Bible to meet people's demands and wishes for freedom and equality, thereby developing humanism.
5. In ancient Greece, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were the foundation of literacy and high culture. In medieval Christianity, the Bible served the same purpose. Based on these examples, what is the significance of knowing a culture’s central text for understanding its worldview?
A culture's central text reflects the author's views and perspectives about a variety of specific things in the real world at the time, reflecting the author’s overall view and the fundamental point of view about the nature of the world and the relationship between the objective world and people. A culture's central text also reflects the overall characteristics of the worldview of the prevailing people. Formation and establishment of a new worldview usually takes advantage of the existing ideological material left over previously, thus there is often some kind of historical inheritance relationship between a new worldview and an old worldview. The significance of knowing a culture's central text for understanding its worldview lies in helping readers to understand what the author's worldview is, and the background and reasons of forming the worldview. It also helps readers to according to their own life experiences to feel, select or totally inherit an author’s worldview, or correct the author's worldview to form their own new worldview.
6. Both Erasmus and Martin Luther looked to late antiquity for their hero-saints. Erasmus chose St. Jerome, and Luther chose St. Augustine. From what you know of all four figures, explain why Erasmus and Luther thought their choices made sense.
St. Augustine was a Catholic thinker in the Roman Empire, as well as an important representative of European medieval Christian theology and patristic philosophy. His theory is the source of the salvation and grace ideas of religious reform. Luther chose St. Augustine as his hero-saint, because they both believed that in the salvation of people, it totally depends on God's absolute grace. God has absolute free will, he choose to gift human grace of salvation, and mankind is completely passive in salvation, it is irresistible for them to reject the grace of God. Human salvation is possible to be achieved only through grace. And after obtaining the grace of God, people will have corresponding performance (good works, etc.). Their thought has the ingredients of justification by faith.
St. Jerome was one of the most educated, the most learned Fathers, he was also one of the greatest scholars of the ancient Western Church. Erasmus chose St. Jerome as his hero-saint, as in addition to the translation of the Bible, Jerome also wrote many comments of the Bible. Jerome quoted extensive views of previous Church. His commentary has a high authority. Erasmus was a humanist, his purpose in life was to return to the source of truth, and restored the Bible which had been misinterpreted for centuries to show its original appearance. Jerome’s academic writings laid the foundation and clear direction for Erasmus’ studies.