religion

Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfire of Vanities

Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfire of Vanities

On February 7, 1497, Florentine followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola burned a bonfire of vanities. Supporters of Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects such as cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival. Other targets included books that were deemed to be immoral, such as works by Boccaccio, and manuscripts of secular songs, as well as artworks, including paintings of Sandro Botticelli. “The Pope may…
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Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

On December 1, 1709, Abraham a Sancta Clara, Austrian divine, court preacher and author passed away. Born as Johann Ulrich Megerle, he has been described “a very eccentric but popular Augustinian monk” and had earned great reputation for pulpit eloquence, the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humor, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular.…
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The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

On August 18, 1960, the first contraceptive pill Enovid went on public sale in the U.S. However, the contraceptive pill was not available to married women in all states of the U.S. until 1972. Especially the Roman Catholic Church holds a strong position against the contraceptive pill, because according to her teachings artificial contraception distorts the nature and purpose of sex. According to the Economist, the contraceptive pill was one of the inventions…
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Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

On August 17, 1586, German theologian and author Johannes Valentinus Andreae  was born. He claimed to be the author of the Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459 (1616, Strasbourg, the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz), one of the three founding works of Rosicrucianism, a philosophical secret society said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreutz. Rosicrucianism holds a doctrine or theology “built on esoteric truths of the ancient past“,…
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The Last Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

The Last Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

On July 26, 1826, Cayetano Ripoll, a schoolmaster in Valencia, Spain, teaching deist principles should become the last victim executed by the Spanish inquisition. Ripoll has the dubious honor of being the last of the many people known to have been executed under sentence from a Church authority for having committed the act of heresy. For almost 350 years the Spanish inquisition tried to secure the primacy of the Catholic Church in…
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The very first Printed Book – The Diamond Sutra

The very first Printed Book – The Diamond Sutra

On May 11, 868, the earliest dated printed book was issued, a Chinese copy of the so-called Diamond Sutra, one of the most important textbooks of Buddhism, originally written in the 1st c. AD. You might think the it was Johannes Gutenberg who invented modern printing. But, he didn’t. Sure, printing with metal movable types including a printing press and a suitable ink, but mostover a way to produce movable types in sufficient…
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Guillaume Postel – French Linguist and Religious Universalist

Guillaume Postel – French Linguist and Religious Universalist

On March 25, 1510, French linguist, astronomer, Cabbalist, diplomat, professor, and religious universalist Guillaume Postel was born. A universal and cosmopolitan spirit, Postel is the most characteristic French representative of the Christian Kabbalah. “Ibn Sina says more in one or two pages than does Galen in five or six large volumes” – Guillaume Postel Guillaume Postel – From Politics to Philology Postel was adept at Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac and other Semitic languages, as…
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Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition of Scholasticism

Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition of Scholasticism

On March 7, 1271, Thomas Aquinas, Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, passed away. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. “All that I have written seems like straw compared to what has now been…
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Philipp Melanchton – the First Systematic Theologician of the Protestant Reformation

Philipp Melanchton – the First Systematic Theologician of the Protestant Reformation

On February 16, 1497, German Lutheran reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther,[1] the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, and intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation Philipp Melanchton was born. Melanchthon along with Luther denounced what they believed was the exaggerated cult of the saints, asserted justification by faith, and denounced what they considered to be the coercion of the conscience in the sacrament of penance (confession and absolution), which they believed…
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John Wycliffe and the Dawn of the Reformation

John Wycliffe and the Dawn of the Reformation

On December 31, 1384, English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, priest, and Oxford seminary professor John Wycliffe passed away. Wycliffe became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism. Wycliffe advocated translation of the Bible into the common vernacular. In 1382 he completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English – a version now known as Wycliffe’s…
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