Religion In The High Middle Ages Essay

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In the high middle ages, Europeans celebrated a number of victories. The increased lay religiousness created a widespread sense of scholasticism. New roads and bridges were being built in Europe to make trade easier. The expansion of the European economy in the 13th and 14th centuries lead to an increased prosperity--- shifting interest and focus on what was becoming a new middle, merchant class. This emphasis on a newly-powerful group of people, though, was a catch-22. The medieval papacy, which had once been a dominant force in society, doling out prizes and punishments to its obedient followers, was forced to step back from power, humbling itself to a new, arguable more independent society.
In his lifetime, Marco Polo (1254-1324) penned
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In the process of “transubstantiation” Christians would take in bread and wine at the altar and afterwards it would turn into the blood and body of Christ (Rosenwein, A Short History). This practice was new, and it signified an increase devotion to the flesh of Christ. New religious groups like the Cathars and the Dominicans began to pop up. The Cathars, who originated in southern France encouraged dualism, in which the good, virtuous God was of the spirit and the evil God was of the flesh (Whalen, Lecture 20). Their beliefs and practices directly contradicted those who practiced transubstantiation, and yet the two groups still had to exist together in Europe. The Dominicans, who were a religious group dedicated to getting rid of heretics, also established convents and churches within cities. The friars were the greatest scholastics, using “logic to summarize and reconcile all knowledge and [using] it in the service of contemporary society” (Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages). These changes in religious practices, increased devotion to the flesh of Christ, the formation of new religious groups, and greater scholasticism were further changes made in European

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