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Worldview of the Western World II


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Title: Worldview of the Western World II

Worldview of the Western World II
Middle Ages
During the period from the early Middle Ages to
the end of the seventeenth century, very few
challenged the existence of God or held that
ultimate reality was impersonal or that death
meant individual extinction. The reason is
obvious. Christianity had so penetrated the
Western world that, whether men believed in
Christ or acted as Christians should, they all
lived in a context of ideas influenced and
informed by the Christian faith. Even those who
rejected the faith often lived in the fear of
hellfire or the pangs of purgatory. Bad men may
have rejected Christian goodness, but they knew
themselves to be bad by basically Christian
standards crudely understood, no doubt, but
Christian in essence. The suppositions which lay
behind their values came with their mother's milk
The Universe Next Door, page 22.
  • Read Chapter 2 of The Universe Next Door.
  • God is infinite
  • God is personal in that he knows himself to be
    (he is self-conscious) and he possesses the
    characteristics of self-determination (he
    "thinks" and "acts").
  • God is triune. That is, "within the one essence
    of the Godhead we have to distinguish three
    'persons' who are neither three gods on the one
    side, not three parts or modes of God on the
    other, but coequally and coeternally God.

  • God is transcendent. This means God is beyond us
    and our world. He is otherly.
  • God is immanent, and this means that he is with
  • God is omniscient
  • God is sovereign
  • God is good
  • Holy
  • Love

  • God created the cosmos ex nihilo.
  • God is He Who Is, and thus he is the source of
    all else.
  • God spoke it into existence. It came into being
    by his word "God said, 'Let there be light,' and
    there was light" (Gen 13).
  • God created the cosmos as a uniformity of cause
    and effect in an open system. (Is 4518-19)
  • So theism declares that the universe is orderly
    but not determined.

  • As Thomas Aquinas said, we can know that God
    exists through general revelation, but we could
    never know that God is triune except for special
  • Heb 11-3 John 114
  • 5. Human beings were created good, but through
    the Fall the image of God became defaced, though
    not so ruined as not to be capable of
    restoration through the work of Christ, God
    redeemed humanity and began the process of
    restoring people to goodness, though any given
    person may choose to reject that redemption.

  • What has been the affect of the fall of man in
    these four areas
  • Intellectually
  • In personality, we lost our capacity to know
    ourselves accurately and to determine our own
    course of action freely in response to our
  • We can no longer gain a fully accurate knowledge
    of the world around us, nor are we able to reason
    without constantly falling into error.
  • Morally
  • we became less able to discern good and evil.
  • Socially
  • Socially, we began to exploit other people.
  • Creatively
  • our imagination became separated from reality
    imagination became illusion, and artists who
    created gods in their own image led humanity
    further and further from its origin.

  • First is the great separation, the separation
    between God and man.
  • Second man from himself. Man has fear. Man has
    psychological problems. Finally, at physical
    death comes the separation of the soul from the
  • The third of the great separations is man from
    man. This is the sociological separation.
  • The fourth separation is a separation of man from
    nature and nature from nature

  • Why is it important to know what happens to man
    at death?
  • Do I disappearpersonal extinction? Do I
    hibernate and return in a different
    formreincarnation? Do I continue in a
    transformed existence in heaven or hell?
  • G. K. Chesterton once remarked that hell is a
    monument to human freedomand, we might add,
    human dignity. Hell is God's tribute to the
    freedom he gave each of us to choose whom we
    would serve it is a recognition that our
    decisions have a significance that extends far
    down into the reaches of foreverness
  • What is the standard of goodness?
  • Gods Law
  • The fullest embodiment is in Christ. 1 john 410
    Rom 57-8
  • What is the most important aspect of history?
  • Heb 927 God is behind it in Christ
  • What happens when a person recognizes the
    greatness of God and consciously accepts and acts
    on it?
  • The Rock that gives meaning to life and the first
    act is one of love and obedience

  • Edict of Milan A.D. 313 (Constantine)
  • Christianity as State Religion of Empire
  • The Tome of Leo was a statement that influenced
    the phraseology of the Council of Chalcedon in
  • Leo I kept Attila the Hun from sacking Rome in
  • 325Council of Nicea
  • 426Augustine finishes City of God
  • 432 Patrick begins mission to Ireland
  • 476 Last Roman Emperor overthrown
  • 529 Benedict founds monastery in Monte Cassinoc.
  • 600Talmud formally closed
  • 632 Mohammed finishes Koran and dies
  • Charlemagne Reign 768-814
  • 800 Pope crowns Charlemagne Emperor in Rome.
  • 1066 Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest
    of England under William the Conqueror.
  • 1095 First Crusade begins
  • Romanesque Style 1000-1150
  • Gothic Style 1150-1250
  • 1215 King John signs Magna Carta
  • Aquinas 1225-1274

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  • I. Introduction The Post-Roman World
  • The fall of Roman according to Schaeffer was
    internal decadence.
  • The Church became powerful and wealthy after the
    Vandals left Rome
  • II. The Church in the World Economic, Social,
  • The early Church avoided musical instruments due
    the association with the theater and the circus
    (the Colosseum) where many Christians died.
  • III. Artistic Achievements
  • The early Church art was realistic, the later art
    work in the Middle Ages was not realistic, and
    tried to focus on the ideals.
  • IV. Links between Philosophical, Theological, and
    Spiritual Developments and the Renaissance
  • There was a turning away from the real and
    separating the physical reality from the
    spiritual reality. Eventually there would be a
    focus on the human side, the physical here and
    now in the Renaissance.
  • Sketch examples of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
    (See the next slides)
  • The Middle Ages are often referred to as the Dark
    Ages. This title implies a very backward
    uneducated culture. According to your
    understanding of this period of history, is this
    an appropriate designation? No

Romanesque 1000-1200
The Romanesque cathedral at Vezelay (1100 AD)
This is where Bernard of Clairvaux preached
Reims Cathedral - Notre-Dame
Earlier Romanesque churches had pointed arches,
but builders didn't capitalize on the shape.
During the Gothic era, builders discovered that
pointed arches would give structures amazing
strength and stability. In Gothic buildings, the
weight of the roof was supported by the arches
rather than the walls. This meant that walls
could be thinner.
The flying buttress was used to keep the walls
from falling outward.
Since the walls themselves were no longer the
primary supports, Gothic buildings could include
large areas of glass. Huge stained glass windows
and a profusion of smaller windows created the
effect of lightness and space. Notre Dame
  • Art A Reflection of Thought
  • Characteristics of Early Christian Art
  • Characteristics of Byzantine Art
  • Place the following two works on the table from
    left to right.
  • Madonna and Child on a Curved Throne
  • Good Shepherd

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  • These are the oldest two works in our gallery.
  • The first is a mosaic of Jesus. The second is a
    painting of Mary
  • How are Jesus and Mary pictured in each?
  • Francis Schaeffer explains that "...early
    Christian art was also full of life....The
    figures were realistically though simply
    portrayed. For all the of the visual means, the
    people were real people in a very real world.
  • Which of these two works best express this idea
    by Schaeffer? Good Shepherd

  • The mosaic of Jesus with the sheep from the sixth
    century shows Jesus as a real person, with real
    sheep on a real mountain side not symbols, but a
    real person.
  • Schaeffer further explains that "later in the
    church there was an increasing distortion away
    from the biblical teaching, and there aIso came a
    change in art. It became characterized by
    formalized, stylized, symbolic mosaics and
  • Which of these two works best reflect this idea
    of Schaeffer?
  • Madonna and Child
  • "In one way there was something good here,"
    writes Schaeffer. In that the artists made their
    mosaics and icons as a witness to the observer.
    Many of those who made these did so with
    devotion, and they were looking for more
    spiritual values. These were pluses. The minuses
    were that in the portrayal of their concept of
    spirituality they set aside nature and the
    importance of the humanity of people.

  • This period of history is known as the Byzantine
    Period. Madonna and Child on a Curved Throne is
    characteristic of this type of art and reflects
    this change. The distinct Byzantine style in art
    became clearly established in the 500's and
    lasted through the 1200's.
  • II. Learning in the West
  • During this time there was a decline in learning
    in the west, though the growing monastic orders,
    gradually organized around the rule of Benedict
    (480?-547?), provided a depository for many of
    the things of the past. Benedict himself had
    built a monastery on Monte Cassino near the main
    road from Naples to Rome. In the monasteries the
    old manuscripts were copied and recopied. Thanks
    to the monks, the Bible was preserved along
    with sections of Greek and Latin classics.
  • III. A Humanistic Element was Added
  • A humanistic element was added increasingly,
    the authority of the church took precedence over
    the teaching of the Bible. But this would be
    natural since most were illiterate.

Hospital in Siena, still in use today.
  • IV. The Middle Ages response to...
  • Economics On one level, this challenged
    Christians in their attitude toward material
    possessions and style of living. Not only in the
    time of Peter and Paul but for generations after,
    believers were noted for openhanded generosity.
    Even their enemies admitted it.
  • pendulum swung back and forth between utter
    disregard of the command to live modestly (caring
    for the poor, orphaned, and widowed) and a
    razor-sharp application of these same injunctions
    (the early monastic ideal to have no money).
  • Saint Francis (1182?-1226), recognizing the
    corrupting effect of this emphasis on wealth,
    forbade his followers to receive money at all.
  • The Pope was the most effective medieval monarch
    at the height of papal power between 1100 and

  • Law the action of the Roman military commander
    Maurice is a good example of a possible response.
    When he received an order to direct a persecution
    of Christians, he handed his insignia to his
    assistant in order to join the Christians and be
    killed as a fellow believer. This action took
    place in the Rhone valley in Switzerland about
    A.D. 286, against a giant cliff just under the
    peaks of the Dents du Midi. It is for him that
    the little town of St. Maurice is now named.
  • Ambrogio Lorenzettis (c. 1290-1348) Allegory of
    Good and Bad Government, depicts a good
    government as one that it is safe for a woman to
    walk alone in the streets
  • The Conciliar Movement did not want power under
    one Pope, but the Council of Constance
    (1414-1418) deposed three rival popes.
  • Thebalance of powers as the theme of kingship was
    balanced by priesthood and prophetic office.
  • Knowledge some found it improper to quote the
    pagan scholars. Tertullian (160-240) and Cyprian
    (200?-258) did not, but they proved to be in the
    minority. It is interesting that in the area of
    music a strict view did prevail. The reason . .
    .was that the church looked with indignation on
    the social occasions and pagan religious
    exercises connected with them.

Ambrogio Lorenzettis (c. 1290-1348) Allegory of
Good and Bad Government
  • Charlemagne, son of Pippin, became king of the
    Franks in 768 and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor
    by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day of 800.
  • He strengthened the church in many ways, giving
    the pope a strong land base in Italy and also
    supporting the Anglo-Saxon missionaries in the
    areas he conquered, especially among the Germanic
    tribes. Charlemagne made tithing compulsory, and
    this supplied funds for the establishment of
    church administration. He also built impressive
    churches, including the Palatine Chapel, at
    Aachen (West Germany).
  • Scholars came from all over Europe to
    Charlemagnes court for example, Alcuin
    (735-804) came all the way from York in northern
    England when he was fifty years old. He became
    Charlemagnes advisor, head of the palace school
    at Aachen, and attracted a constellation of
    scholars to join him there.
  • all of Charlemagnes scholars were clergy. Our
    word clerk is related to the word cleric, that
    is, a member of the clergy. It seems that though
    Charlemagne himself learned to read, he never
    learned to write.

  • Pope Gregory I (pope from 590 to 604) brought the
    music of the western church into a systematic
    whole. This impersonal, mystical, and
    other-worldly music is named after him the
    Gregorian chant.
  • The eleventh-century Romanesque architecture was
    distinguished by the rounded arch, thick walls,
    and dim interiors.
  • During the change from the Romanesque to the
    Gothic, Mariology began to grow in the church.
    The Romanesque churches were not dedicated to the
    Virgin, but the Gothic churches of France were
    overwhelmingly dedicated to her.
  • By 1100 the heavy plow had become common, central
    to a process which historians regard as a
    revolution in cultivation.
  • By the twelfth century water mills and windmills
    were common.

Palatine Chapel, at Aachen (West Germany
World History
  • Justinian Law Code and Byzantine Empire
  • 1054 the schism between the eastern and western
  • Seljuk Turks were nomadic tribes from Asia that
    adopted Arab culture and Islam.
  • Manzikert was the battle site where Asia Minor
    was lost to the Turks.
  • 1453 the fall of the Byzantine empire to the
    Ottoman turks.
  • Cyril and Methodius took the Gospel to the Slavs
    of Russia, but first had to develop their
  • Hagia Sophia greatest of churches in size an
  • Vladimir I adopted Christianity in Kiev in 988.
  • Yaroslav made Kiev like a second Constantinople.

World History
  • Hegira (flight) established Islam calendar as
    Mohammed left Mecca to Medina.
  • In 630 Mohamed conquered Mecca.
  • The five pillars of Islam
  • Recite There is no God but Allah ..
  • Pray 5 times a day toward Mecca
  • Alms to the poor
  • Fasting during Ramadan
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca
  • 732 Charles Martel and the battle of Tours
    stopped the spread of Islam to Spain.

(No Transcript)
World History
  • From World Magazine
  • The division and the unforgiven grudges go all
    the way back to 632 A.D. when Muhammad died. Who
    would succeed him as the leader of what was
    becoming both a religious and a political empire?
    One group claimed that the prophet had chosen his
    cousin and son-in-law Ali. These "Shiites"a
    shortened form of the words for "the party of
    Ali"believed that future successors should be
    physical descendants from the prophet's family.

World History
  • The other faction believed Muhammad had said that
    future rulers should be chosen by consensus of
    the other leaders. They chose the prophet's
    father-in-law, Abu Bakr, to be the "caliph." His
    followers became the "Sunnis," from a word for
    followers of the "tradition."
  • A bloody civil war between Muslims erupted, which
    Abu Bakr and his faction won. But the party of
    Ali kept their allegiance to the prophet's line.
    After Ali died, Muhammad's grandson Husayn became
    the "2nd imam." He was murdered by the mainstream
    Sunnis, an event Shiites still commemorate by
    flagellating themselves bloody with chains.

World History
  • The Shiites had 10 more imams descended from the
    prophet. The 12th imam, though, mysteriously
    disappeared, leading to the messianic belief that
    in the last days, after a time of lawlessness and
    violence, he shall return in triumph to impose
    order and establish Islamic law in all the earth.
  • Sunnis consider Shiites to be idolaters. Though
    they mingle during the pilgrimage to Mecca, many
    orthodox Sunnis do not consider Shiites to be
    true Muslims. They do not approve of their
    veneration of human beings, their devotion to
    shrines, or their mysticism. They reject giving
    canonical authority to later Shiite writings.
    Sunni polemical writings accuse the Shiites of
    sexual immorality for permitting temporary
    marriagea type of prostitution in which a man
    pays a woman, says the words of marriage, has
    sex, and then says the words of divorce.
  • Most Muslims across the world are Sunnis, with
    only about 15 percent being Shiites. But Shiites
    dominate Iran and Syria, and they make up a 60
    percent majority in Iraq.
  • As the United States struggles against this Sunni
    terrorism, we also have to worry about the Shiite
    beliefs of the president of Iran, Mahmoud
    Ahmadinejad. He has been preaching that the
    second coming of the 12th imam, the "Mahdi," is
    at hand. The Iranian president has connections to
    a group that believes Muslims can hasten the
    Mahdi's return by creating chaos on earth.

World History
  • The Vulgate translation by Jerome was the
    standard Bible text for the Middle Ages.
  • Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church by the
    12th Century
  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Penance
  • Eucharist
  • Marriage
  • Holy orders
  • Extreme Unction

World History
  • Relics of Saints needed to be under an altar for
    the Mass to be celebrated.
  • Purchase of relics could buy time out of
  • Gregory the Great was known as the first Pope.
    He was a sincere pious man, but condoned the
    Canon of the Mass which affirmed the sacrificial
    nature of the Mass, and embraced the equality of
    tradition to the Bible and doctrine of Purgatory.

World History
  • St. Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland
    in 432-c461 folklore he is also credited with
    driving all snakes from its shores.
  • As the new religion became firmly established,
    crafts workers and scholars came from many parts
    of Europe to study in Irish monasteries. Artists
    produced fine objects in gold and silver
    encrusted with precious stones, and metal and
    stone sculptures. Monks copied out important
    works in wonderfully illuminated manuscripts,
    such as the Book of Kells. Irish priests and
    scholars travelled all over Europe founding
    schools, monasteries, and cathedrals, which in
    their turn became famous centers of religious
    learning and craftsmanship.
  • All these events disprove the belief that was
    once held, that when the western Roman empire
    collapsed, Europe slid into a Dark Age of
    barbarism in which all beauty and learning were
    destroyed. The particular strength of art and
    learning in Ireland had an influence far beyond
    that island. They were responsible for
    reintroducing Christianity to England. .

World History
  • St. Boniface (680-754)
  • Also known as Winfrid, he brought the gospel to
    the Germans. He reportedly cut down a large oak
    at Geismar, which was sacrad to Thor. The
    Germans thought he would die, but since he didnt
    they onverted to Christianity.
  • He also was the first to use women in missionary
    work as well.

Middle Ages General Timeline
The castle of Camelot perhaps stood where the
earthwork known as Cadbury Castle is now, which
stands on a steep hill west of South Cadbury.
(No Transcript)
  • The Failure of Sir Gawain" by E. Burne-Jones and
    John Henry Dearle

  • I
  • SI?EN ?e sege and ?e assaut watz sesed at
    Troye,?e bor? brittened and brent to brondez and
    askez,?e tulk ?at ?e trammes of tresoun ?er
    wro?tWatz tried for his tricherie, ?e trewest on
    ertheHit watz Ennias ?e athel, and his highe
    kynde, 5
  • ?at si?en depreced prouince, and patrounes
    bicomeWelne?e of al ?e wele in ?e west iles.Fro
    riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swy?e,With
    gret bobbaunce ?at bur?e he biges vpon fyrst,

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1380?)
  • Classic Medieval Metrical Romance
  • Arthurian tale of chivalry and courtly love
  • Native poetic tradition
  • Deliberately artful vocabulary
  • Intricately structured poem
  • May have influence of oral tradition
  • Far too ornate and organized to be oral

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (14th century)
  • Alliterative verse recalls earlier Anglo-Saxon
    tradition like Beowulf
  • Alliterative Revival -- lost for several
  • Conscious use of native rather than popular
    continental tradition
  • Chaucer follows Continental model
  • Chaucer being from the London area
  • "Gawain is composed in stanzas consisting of
    unrhymed alliterative lines followed by five
    short rhymed lines. The number of unrhymed lines
    varies from 12 (lines 20-31) to 37 (lines
    928-64), and there are 101 stanzas."

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (14th century)
  • Atypical Arthurian talenot really about Arthur,
    battles, or Camelot
  • Inner moral testing rather than physical tests
  • 2 narrative motifs
  • Beheading game
  • Exchange of gifts
  • Gawains quest is to overcome his passion and
    uphold the chivalric code

  • Chivalric Romance (Medieval Romance)narrative
    form that developed in 12th-century France
  • Spreads to other countries/cultures
  • Displaced different epic and heroic tales
  • Not concerned with heroic age of tribal conflict
    like epic
  • Romance concerned with courtly age of chivalric
  • Often written in verseMetrical Romance

  • Romance plot usually revolves around quest
    undertaken by single knight for ladys favor
  • Often revolves around theme of courtly love
  • Tournaments, quests, dragons and beasts fought
  • Highlights chivalric ideals of honor, courage,
    and loyalty
  • Dante and his love for Beatrice reflects his
    chivalry in the Divine Comedy

Sir Gawain, Part I
  • After the fall of Troy, we are told, various
    heroes left to build cities.
  • Romulus founded Rome,
  • Brutus founded Britain.
  • The author introduces Britains greatest leader,
    the legendary King Arthur he will then relate a
    story he heard told.

Sir Gawain, Part I
  • The story begins at Christmas time at King
    Arthurs court in Camelot.
  • Queen Guinevere presides in their midst.
  • The lords and ladies of Camelot have been
    feasting for fifteen days, and now it is New
    Years Day.
  • Arthur introduces a new game he refuses to eat
    his dinner until he has heard a marvelous story.

Sir Gawain, Part I
  • While the lords and ladies feast, with Arthurs
    nephew Gawain and Guinevere sitting together in
    the place of privilege at the high table, Arthur
    continues to wait for his marvel.
  • As if in answer to Arthurs request, a gigantic
    knight in an elaborate costume of green, with
    long green hair, and his huge green horse is
    green, break into the gathering.
  • Without introducing himself, the knight demands
    to see the person in charge. Arthur steps
    forward, inviting the knight to join the feast
    and tell his tale after he has dismounted from
    his horse. He holds a holly bob in one hand and a
    huge green and gold axe in the other.
  • The knight refuses the invitation, remaining
    mounted and explaining that he has come to
    inspect Arthurs court he wants to play a game
    in which someone will strike him with his own
    axe, on the understanding that he gets to return
    the blow in exactly a year and a day.

Sir Gawain, Part I
  • Arthur rises to meet the challenge of the Green
    Knight, but Gawain stands up and requests that he
    be allowed to take the task.
  • The Green Knight dismounts and bends down toward
    the ground, exposing his neck. Gawain lifts the
    axe, and in one stroke he severs the Green
    Knights head. Blood spurts from the wound, and
    the head rolls around the room, passing by the
    feet of many of the guests.
  • He reaches down, picks up the head, and holds it
    before him, pointing it toward the high table.
    The head speaks, reiterating the terms of
    Gawains promise.
  • The Green Knight rides out of the hall, sparks
    flying from his horses hooves.
  • Arthur and Gawain decide to hang the axe above
    the main dais. They then return to their feast
    and the continuing festivities.

Sir Gawain, Part I
  • When Gawain steps forth to accept the Green
    Knights challenge, he claims he is the weakest
    of Arthurs knights. Is this just
    self-deprecation or is it from a real sense of
    his own inadequacy, or perhaps really a boast?
  • Many scholars of medieval chivalry believe
    Gawains behavior in this scene accords with the
    rules of knightly courtesy, but the poem gives us
    no commentary on Gawains motivations at this
    crucial plot juncture (Sparknotes).

Sir Gawain, Part I
  • Although the Green Knight refers to his agreement
    with Gawain as a game, suggesting that the
    challenge is no different from any of the other
    games played by Arthurs court, the Green Knight
    words his challenge like a legal contract. He
    refers to the agreement as a covenant and
    mentions dues, and he makes Gawain repeat the
    terms multiple times. The Green Knights language
    foreshadows the fact that the his game will have
    serious ethical implications it will test not
    only Gawains bravery, but also his honesty and

Sir Gawain, Part II
  • All-Hallows DaySeptember 29
  • The year passes, the seasons change and though
    worried but resigned, Gawain calls for his armor,
    which the poet describes in great detail. He
    devotes space to each and every piece, down to
    the shimmering skirts on Gawains horse,

  • The description lingers on Gawains shield, which
    depicts on its outside a gold five-pointed star,
    or pentangle, on a red background. On the inside
    of the shield is the face of Mary, Christs
    mother. Each of the five points of the pentangle,
    which is described as an endless knot,
    represents a set of Gawains virtues his five
    senses his five fingers his fidelity, founded
    on the five wounds of Christ on the cross his
    force, founded on the five joys of Mary and the
    five knightly virtues, free-giving, friendly,
    chastity, chivalry, and piety all surpassing .
    These five virtues will be put to the test in the
    following pages.

  • The figure is said to have been used by the
    Pythagoreans as a symbol of health, and also by
    the neo-Platonists and Gnostics to signify
    perfection but it was known to the Jews as well,
    thus coming to be called 'Solomon's seal', and is
    obviously related to the similar figure, the
    hexagram, in which two equilateral triangles
    interlock to form a six-pointed star--this,
    inscribed in a circle, was eventually adopted as
    the symbol of Judaism (the Magen David, 'Shield
    of David'). The pentangle was long used as a
    magic sign, believed to give power over evil
    spirits. Its use in this way was condemned by
    Christian writers, such as the Jesuit Athanasius
    Kircher in his Arithmologia ( Rome, 1665), p.
    216 'voces horrendae vna mixtis sacris
    nominibus, nodo quem Salomonis vocant, adnexo. .
    .' but it had much earlier come to be adapted to
    Christian symbolism, the five points sometimes
    being connected with the five letters of the name
    Jesus, or the five wounds it appears as an
    ornament in manuscripts (see Loomis, J.E.G.P.
    xlii ( 1943), 168) and on churches (e.g. the
    fourteenth-century church of Adderbury in

Sir Gawain, Part II
  • Gawain travels from Camelot to northern Whales
    and encounters all manner of problems and
    battles. Finally, on Christmas Eve, the desperate
    Gawain prays to the Virgin Mary that he might
    find a place to attend Christmas Mass. He repents
    his sins, crosses himself three times, and, when
    he looks up, he sees a beautiful castle, and
    gives full of thanks to God for saving him,
  • The hosts lords and ladies repeatedly express
    their joy that Gawain (a minor celebrity because
    he is Arthurs nephew and a knight of the Round
    Table) can show them the latest in knightly
    behavior and help them to become more courtly
    themselves. Like Arthurs followers, the
    courtiers seem inexperienced and carefree. But
    Gawains host presents a much more imposing
    figure than Arthur. The lord appears to be
    middle-aged, with a thick, gray-black beard and
    solid, sturdy legs. Though the hosts fiery face
    and stocky figure make him appear fierce, his
    speech reveals him to be gracious and gentle.

Sir Gawain, Part II
  • At the castle of Bertilak (as he gives later)
    things are not as they appear.
  • An old hag with the wife of Bertilak, more fair
    than Guinevere, we learn is an enemy of Arthur.
  • Bertilaks physique and his initiation of a
    covenant, disguised as a harmless game, recall
    the character of the Green Knight from Part 1
  • The game will be that Bertilak will go out
    hunting with his men, while Gawain remains in bed
    or at the castle. At the end of each of the three
    days, the two men will exchange whatever they
    have won. Happy to play along, Gawain accepts.
    The men kiss each other, repeating their vows,
    and then go off to bed.

Sir Gawain, Part III
  • In medieval iconography, an old woman next to a
    young woman often allegorically represents
    vanity. The significance of such a representation
    was that love of worldly beauty means neglect of
    the spiritual life, and since worldly beauty must
    always fail and die, its pursuit will always
    prove vain (Sparknotes).
  • Early in the morning, Bertilak and his guests get
    out of bed and prepare to ride forth from the
    castle. They attend Mass, eat a small breakfast,
    and leave with their hunting dogs as dawn breaks.
    They ride through the woods, chasing after the
    deer and herding the does away from the bucks and
    harts. In the fields, they slay the deer dozens
    at a time with their deadly arrows.
  • Back at the castle, Gawain lingers in bed until
    daybreak. While still half asleep, he hears the
    door open quietly. Peeking out of his beds
    canopy, he sees Bertilaks wife creeping toward
    his bed. She jokes that she has captured him,
    and she threatens to tie him to the bed, laughing
    at her own game. Gawain laughs and surrenders
    to her, then asks her leave to get up and put on
    his clothes. She refuses, saying that instead she
    will hold him captive. She tells Gawain that she
    has heard many stories about him and wants to
    spend time alone with him. She offers to be his
    servant and tells him to use her body any way he
    sees fit.

Sir Gawain, Part III
  • The two continue bantering, and the lady tells
    Gawain that she would have chosen him for her
    husband if she could have. Gawain responds that
    her own husband is the better man. Until
    mid-morning, the lady continues to lavish Gawain
    with admiration, and Gawain continues to guard
    himself while still being gracious.
  • When the lady gets up to leave, she laughs and
    then sternly accuses her captive knight of not
    being the real Gawain. Alarmed and worried that
    he has failed in his courtesy, Gawain asks her to
    explain what she means. She responds that the
    real Gawain would never let a lady leave his
    chamber without taking a kiss. Gawain allows one
    kiss, and then the lady leaves. He dresses
    immediately and goes to hear Mass, then spends
    the afternoon with the women.

Sir Gawain, Part III
  • Meanwhile, Bertilak, cleans all the deer they
    caught. The poet describes the dismembering of
    the deer in gory detail, from the removal of
    their bowels to the severing of their heads.
    After they finish their bloody task, the hunters
    return home with their meat. The dismembering
    reflects back to the seriousness of a covenant,
    especially a marriage covenant (Gen 15).
  • Bertilak greets Gawain and gives him the venison
    he won during the hunt that day. Gawain thanks
    him and in return gives him the kiss he won from
    his wife. The host jokingly asks where Gawain won
    such a prize, and Gawain points out that they
    agreed to exchange winnings, not to tell where or
    how they were acquired. Happy, the men feast and
    retire to bed, agreeing to continue the game

Sir Gawain, Part III
  • The next two days follow a similar pattern. On
    the second day, Bertilak hunts a wild boar,
    risking his life in the kill. Meanwhile, at the
    castle, Gawain lingers in bed again, and much
    like the previous day, the lady continues to
    teasingly challenge Gawains reputation,
    pressuring him into allowing her two kisses. She
    makes convincing arguments for his acceptance of
    her love, and that it would be chivalrous. That
    night, Bertilak brings home the boars head on a
    stick and exchanges it with Gawain for the two
    kisses. The Boars head may remind one of the
    impending decapitation for Gawain, perhaps why he
    does not sleep well that night.
  • On the third day Bertilak eventually kills a fox
    after a long hunt. Gawain, after nightmares
    about the Green Knight, has a long joust with the
    lady who eventually gets three kisses. She would
    like to give him a ring, her ring, but he also
    refuses. She then offers him her green girdle,
    which he refuses till she claims it has magical
    properties it possesses the ability to keep the
    man who wears it safe from death. Tempted by the
    possibility of protecting his life, Gawain
    accepts the girdle. Actually the fox was no
    prize, Bertilak says a foul fox-fell (p. 98).

Sir Gawain, Part III
  • That afternoon, Gawain goes to confession. At the
    end of the day, he gives the three kisses to his
    host but fails to mention the ladys gift. As the
    hunt, so the return to Bertilak are just as slim
    as for Gawain, who now acts more like a fox
    (wessel) than a knight. After the exchange, the
    host and his courtiers hold a farewell party for
    Gawain before he sets out to the Green Chapel in
    the morning.
  • Whether he sleeps or not, the poet cannot say.

Sir Gawain, Part III
  • We see the five graces which are in tension by
    the temptations. Is the poet pointing these
    inconsistencies out? By claiming that she
    possesses Gawain only through Gods grace, the
    lady evokes a complicated system of religious and
    political imagery. As the hosts wife and as a
    noblewoman more generally, the lady exceeds
    Gawain in rank, and his chivalry requires him to
    obey her, facts of which she reminds him when
    attempting to seduce him. Also, the notion that
    courtly lovethe love a knight might have for a
    lady of higher rank than himselfleads to
    spiritual ennoblement had been popularized
    centuries earlier in continental literature.
    Invoking religion at this erotically charged
    moment reminds Gawain that part of his spiritual
    education as a knight should involve courtly
    love. For Gawain to refuse her advances, he must
    break his knightly responsibility to be
    courteous for him to accept, he must break his
    chastity, which he say he certainly could not

Sir Gawain, Part III
  • On the third day, Gawains resolve weakens when
    the stakes shift radically from courtesy versus
    chastity to honesty versus safety. On the
    surface, the green silk girdle that the lady
    offers Gawain looks exactly like the kind of
    token that a courtly lady might give her lover
    (and Gawain initially rejects it for this
    reason), yet the ethical dilemma it represents is
    related to self-preservation rather than to
  • When the lady tells him that the girdle also
    protects its wearer from being wounded or killed,
    Gawain is eager to be able to fulfill his promise
    to the Green Knight and still survive. What
    Gawain wants is a loophole through which he can
    escape death but this requires him to deceive
    Bertilak, his hosta breach of honesty and
    gratitude for hospitality. Gawain does not notice
    that the girdles silk is green and gold, like
    the Green Knights clothing, and he disassociates
    the girdle itself from the ladys body, which it
    surely symbolizes (Sparks Notes).

Sir Gawain, Part IV
  • Gawain lies in bed during the early hours of New
    Years morning, listening to the harsh wind
    wailing outside the castle. Despite Gawains
    anxiety, and his failings, his armor shines as
    brightly as it did when he left Camelot. He ties
    the ladys girdle around his waist, which offers
    a stark contrast to the red cloth of Gawains
  • As Gawain and Gringolet prepare to ride off,
    Gawain silently blesses the castle, asking Christ
    to keep it safe from harm and wishing joy on the
    Bertilak and his wife.
  • The guide with Gawain offers one more temptation,
    leave now and he would not tell anyone of the
    event. Gawain thanks the guide for his concern,
    but he refuses to be a coward. Gawain continues
    on looking for a building, but realizes, a
    crevice or cave, fringed with tall grass must be
    the Green Chapel.

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Sir Gawain, Part IV
  • Suddenly certain that the place belongs to the
    devil, Gawain curses the chapel and is proceeding
    toward the cave with his lance in hand when he
    hears the horrifying sound of a weapon being
    sharpened on a grindstone. Gawain calls out to
    the lord of the place, stating that he has come
    to fulfill his agreement.. The Green Knight
    emerges from around a crag, carrying a Danish
    axe. He welcomes Gawain warmly and compliments
    him on his punctuality, then tells him he will
    repay him for his own beheading a year ago.

Sir Gawain, Part IV
  • Gawain bravely bares his neck to the Green
    Knight. He lifts the axe high and drops it. When
    the Green Knight sees Gawain flinch he stops his
    blade, mocking Gawain and questioning his
    reputation. (Gawain is after all wearing a girdle
    around his surcoat.)
  • Gawain tells him he will not flinch again, and he
    says But if on the floor now falls my head, I
    cannot it restore. The Green Knight lifts the
    axe a second time. Gawain doesnt flinch as the
    axe comes down, and the Green Knight holds the
    blade again, this time congratulating Gawains
  • The third time. He brings it down hard, but
    causes Gawain no harm other than a slight cut on
    his neck. Gawain leaps away, draws his sword
    gleefully, and challenges the Green Knight to a
    fight, telling him that he has withstood the
    promised blow. The Green Knight leans on his axe
    and agrees that Gawain has met the terms of the
    covenant, but refuses to fight. He points out
    that he has spared Gawain.

Sir Gawain, Part IV
  • Now Bertilak reveals himself, and states the
    first two times, in accordance with their
    covenant, were for his complete compliance to the
    game and the knightly code. The nick from the
    third blow was punishment for Gawains behavior
    on the third day, when he failed to tell the
    truth about the green girdle, and did not keep
    his knightly code. Today would be the time of
    circumcision for the baby Jesus, and reflect the
    keeping of a covenant. The nick to the neck was
    like this, and the scar a constant reminder of
    his transgression remembered.
  • Once Bertilak revelas himself Gawain responds by
    untying the girdle and cursing it, and asking to
    regain the hosts trust if possible. The Green
    Knight laughs and absolves Gawain, now that he
    has adequately confessed his sin. He gives Gawain
    the girdle to keep and asks him to come back to
    the castle and stay there longer to celebrate New
    Years, but Gawain refuses.

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Sir Gawain, Part IV
  • Gawain thanks the Green Knight and sends his best
    wishes to the lady and the old woman, then
    complains about the deceitfulness of women, who
    have brought about the downfalls of great men
    such as Adam, Solomon, Samson, and David.
  • Bertilak de Hautdesert, reveals his nam and that
    he is a servant of Morgan le Faye, who is the old
    woman in the castle. Le Faye is also Gawains
    aunt and Arthurs half sister. Bertilak reveals
    that Le Faye sent him in disguise as the Green
    Knight to Camelot in order to scare Queen
    Guinevere to death when his head began to talk.
    Gawain refuses to return to the castle, the place
    of his temptations and failing.
  • Gawain will continue to wear the green girdle on
    his right shoulder, as a sign of his failure and
    sin. Arthur and the court try to comfort Gawain,
    and they decide that they will all wear belts of
    green silk as a sign of respect and unity.
  • He closes mentioning Brutus, who was the grandson
    of Aeneas, and mention Christ To His bliss us
    bring Who bore the Crown of Thorns on brow!

  • Medieval exegesis assumed at least four levels of
    meaning literal, allegorical, tropological (or
    moral), and anagogical (or spiritual). At the
    literal level, a Biblical story is a simple
    presentation of facts. At the allegorical level,
    events and people become metaphorical
    representations When Joshua blows his horn and
    the walls of Jericho collapse, for example, the
    story is an allegory of the Last Judgment, when
    the trumpet will sound and the world will come to
    an end. At the tropological level, a story
    teaches a lesson or gives a moral. At the
    anagogical level, a story conveys ultimate
    mystical or spiritual truths. Any Biblical text
    may have one or all of these levels of meaning
    operating at the same time (Cliffs Notes).

  • Green Knight (Bertilak)-- The pattern of the
    romance leads to the expectation that the Green
    Knight is a villain, an evil monster. However,
    when the story ends, Gawain and the Green Knight
    part as friends. Far from having been defeated,
    the Green Knight retains the advantage throughout
    the story, and the poet leaves him to go his
    ways, his mysteries unexplained and his
    ambiguities unresolved (Cliffs Notes).
  • Arthur is the legendary King of the Britons. The
    poet emphasizes the youthfulness of both the king
    and his courtiers, but the age of Morgan la Faye
    may be distorted. Perhaps it reflects more to
    Arthurs immaturity. Arthur proves to be bolder
    and braver than his court when faced with the
    Green Knights challenge, and he is prepared to
    chop off the Green Knights head until Gawain
    asks to be given the task. Arthur is Gawains
    uncle and Morgans half-brother.

  • Gawain -- is said to have been the son of
    Lot(h), king of Lothian, Orkney, and other
    Scottish territories. His mother was Arthur's
    sister, named Anna by Geoffrey, Belisent in some
    French romances, Morgawse in Malory. According to
    William of Malmesbury (ii. 342) Gawain (Walwen)
    ruled over Galloway (Walweitha). In early
    Arthurian tradition both Continental and insular
    Gawain is presented as the greatest of Arthur's
    knights, famed for his courtesy as well as
    invincible in battle. This view of him continued
    in both French and English the best-known
    expression of his reputation for courtesy is in
    Chaucer Squire's Tale (F. 89-97), where the
    strange knight greeted the company
  • With so heigh reverence and obeisaunce,As wel in
    speche as in his contenaunce
  • That Gawayn, with his olde curteisye,Though he
    were comen ayeyn out of Fairye,Ne koude hym nat
    amende with a word.

  • I hold it healed beyond doubt, the harm that I
    had. Thou hast confessed thee so clean and
    acknowledge thine errors, and has the penance
    plain to see from the point of my blade, that I
    hold thee purged of that debt, made as pure as
    clean as thou hadst done no ill deed since the
    day thou wert born (Tolkien, 116).
  • A world view is a way of looking at life. What do
    the main characters believe about life? What do
    they base their life on? What do they considered
    ultimate truth? In an attempt to determine the
    world view of a piece of literature use the
    following seven questions as a guide
  • How is God described? What is He like? What are
    His attributes?
  • What is the universe like? Describe its origin
    and operation?
  • How is man described? What is man like? What is
    his nature?
  • What is the basis for ethics and morality?
  • What is the cause of evil and suffering?
  • What is thought to happen to man at death?
  • Is history seen to have a purpose, or is it
    simply a never ending cycle?

  • How is God described? What is He like? What are
    His attributes?
  • Personal, able to pray to pp. 52,63, 92 triune,
    creator p.56, upholdeth the heavens p.118
    sovereign pp.46, 71, 100
  • What is the universe like? Describe its origin
    and operation?
  • Sorcery, magic, ancient earth but creator is
    gracious p.58
  • How is man described? What is man like? What is
    his nature?
  • Able not to sin, good at birth p.96 achieve
    sainthood pp. 48, 51, 52 I beseech thee O Lord,
    and Mary Father , Ave and creed Jesus and
    Saint Julian. Man has a soul p.110, mortal p.111
  • What is the basis for ethics and morality?
  • The Bible and Church in above quote.
  • What is the cause of evil and suffering?
  • Sin, ones actions lead to sin, repentance needed
    p. 115,
  • What is thought to happen to man at death?
  • A hope of salvation, rewards p.55, 61, 72 needing
    grace p.119
  • Is history seen to have a purpose, or is it
    simply a never ending cycle?
  • Cycle of life and death, as the seasons change
  • Christ died on the cross to save, p. 121

  • Luds Church was the place the Lollards,
    followers of Wycliffe used to worship, Wycliffe
    was banished to his Rector in 1382.
  • It is also the legend of the Green Knights
  • The Catholic Gawain, notes this place a chapel
    of mischance, the church most accursed that ever
    I entered. Evil betide it (Tolkien, 108)!
  • Bertilak and wife never call on Mary, and his
    wife denounces her 1268, p.75
  • The druid nature worship and the curse of the
    Devil in the crag is possible, but Bertilak does
    not seem like a pagan, since he celebrates mass.

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Luds Church
A strange chasm in the Cheshire hills. Overgrown
green with ferns and lichen and lit by shafts of
sunlight from the narrow opening it's easy to see
why this is thought to have inspired the
legendary home of the Green Knight in Sir Gawain
and the Green Knight 1 Druids call it a
natural church a place of worship formed by the
earth itself, a spiritual corridor in the ground.
In the past it was believed to have been made by
the devil slashing the earth with a fingernail,
creating a deep, unhealable wound. 2
The motto of the Knights of the Garter (founded
by Edward III, c. 1348). After the kings
mistress lost her garter on the dance floor, the
king is said to have defuse the potentially
embarrassing situation with the gallant and
interesting assertion "Shame be to him who evil
thinks." Scholars doubt the poet intended the
association, but it may represent a readers
interpretive response to the poem (i.e., this is
a situation in which there is no inherently
shameful thing, but interpretations of it may
bring shame to the interpreters).
  • Worldview of the Western World II