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"so was Thomas Paine an atheist?" Topic


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doc mcb23 Jan 2023 2:39 p.m. PST

Not when he wrote COMMON SENSE:

34 Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honors to their deceased kings, and the Christian world hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust!

35 As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel expressly disapproves of government by kings. All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have been very smoothly glossed over in monarchical governments, but they undoubtedly merit the attention of countries which have their governments yet to form.

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's" is the scripture doctrine of courts, yet it is no support of monarchical government, for the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage to the Romans.

36 Near three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic [of Moses] account of the creation till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of Kings, he need not wonder that the Almighty, ever jealous of his honor, should disapprove of a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.

37 Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them.

Militia Mike23 Jan 2023 6:09 p.m. PST

Can you cite "in scripture" the evidence for #37?
I must have missed that in my reading.

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2023 8:01 p.m. PST

When he lived in France, he wrote about there not be a God. Teddy Roosevelt referred to him as "a dirty little Atheist."
When writing Common Sense Paine knew his audience. There was a strong religious belief in the colonies so referring to the Bible to make his case for separation with Great Britain would make sense.

doc mcb23 Jan 2023 8:13 p.m. PST

MM, here's the next part of CS which answers your question:

38 The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites, Gideon marched against them with a small army, and victory thro' the divine interposition decided in his favor. The Jews, elate with success, and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon, proposed making him a king, saying, Rule thou over us, thou and thy son and thy son's son.

Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only, but a hereditary one, but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you. THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU. Words need not be
more explicit; Gideon doth not decline the honor but denieth their right to give it; neither doth he compliment them with invented declarations of his thanks, but in the positive style of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper Sovereign, the King of heaven.

39 About one hundred and thirty years after this, they fell again into the same error. The hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous customs of the Heathens is something exceedingly
unaccountable; but so it was, that laying hold of the misconduct of Samuel's two sons who were entrusted with some secular concerns, they came in an abrupt and clamorous manner to Samuel,
saying, Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways, now make us a king to judge us like all the other nations.4 And here we cannot but observe that their motives were bad, viz. that they might be like unto other nations, i.e., the Heathens, whereas their true glory lay in being as much unlike them as possible. But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a King to judge us; and Samuel prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the
people in all that they say unto thee, for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me,THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other Gods: so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice, howbeit, protest solemnly unto them and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them, i.e.,not of any particular king, but the general manner of the kings of the earth, whom Israel was so eagerly copying after. And notwithstanding the great distance of time and difference of manners, the character is still in fashion. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people, that
asked of him a king.

And he said, This shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them for himself for his chariots and to be his horsemen, and some
shall run before his chariots (this description agrees with the present mode of impressing men) and he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties, will set them to ear his
ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries and to be cooks and to be bakers (this
describes the expense and luxury as well as the oppression of kings) and he will take your fields and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give them to his officers and to his servants (by which we see that bribery, corruption, and favoritism are the standing vices of kings) and he will take the tenth of your men servants, and your maid servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work: and he will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants, and ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen, AND THE LORD WILL NOT HEAR YOU IN THAT DAY."

doc mcb23 Jan 2023 8:18 p.m. PST

God cursed the Hebrews by giving them the king they demanded.

doc mcb23 Jan 2023 8:20 p.m. PST

and Grattan, yes, of course, which is precisely the point that Parzival and I and others are making. The Bible was the basis of the western culture that the colonies were part of.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2023 8:36 p.m. PST

I don't think he could have written Common Sense with such passion and skill had he not believed every word he wrote at the time. He was not an atheist when he wrote it, whatever he later espoused.

doc mcb23 Jan 2023 9:49 p.m. PST

Parzival, yes indeed.

advocate24 Jan 2023 12:56 a.m. PST

Do we care? Specifically on TMP?

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 3:29 a.m. PST

Yes, a lot of us do.

And, if it's not your cup of tea you don't have to bother reading the thread.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 4:28 a.m. PST

The Bible was the basis of the western culture that the colonies were part of.

The Bible was part of western culture, but hardly the basis for it. And it certainly is not the basis of western law and legal thought.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 5:56 a.m. PST

You can keep typing that, Brechtel198, but it doesn't make it true.

Of course the Bible is the basis for Western culture. It is the core of the dominant religion and belief system for Western culture since it was collected as a single document in the First Millennia, AD. (Yes, Anno Domini— Latin for "the Year of the Lord.") The entire Western calendar is based on the Bible (if in error as to the actual start date)! (And no, it doesn't matter if you prissily say "CE" now, as if the calendar structure some how sprang immaculate from some secular non-existent source. AD or CE it's still the Western Christian calendar based on the Bible. Deal with it.)

I don't know of any scholar of ancient history or the development of concepts of law who doesn't recognize that Mosaic law is a basis for legal structures all over the world. From Exodus to Numbers, much of the biblical text is straight legislation, describing in detail the laws which would govern the nation of Israel and the Jewish people for some six millennia now, give or take. It quite possibly contains the oldest still-practiced examples of law in existence. No, not all of it, but yes a good deal of it. Religious and cultural laws are still, in the minds of the those who follow them, laws. (Indeed, all laws are in our minds. We agree that they are laws, and agree to the punishments written down and applied for breaking them. But otherwise, what actual physical reality do they have? None. The Universe does not create laws. People do.)

Furthermore, the Catholic Church was a primary source of law during the formation of medieval Europe, a political and legislative entity as much as a religious one. One obeyed the laws of the Church as much as one obeyed the laws of the King— and the Mosaic laws and Biblical texts were certainly the basis for ecclesiastical laws across all Christendom, and thus all of Western culture.

The sole basis? No, of course not. Many cultural sources were influential as well, particularly the structural political systems of the Roman Empire (also carried forward by the medieval Catholic Church). But there is no question that European laws reflected the strong influence of Biblical concepts and Judeo-Christian beliefs.

As for America, it is patently obvious that the New England colonies, at the very least, which were founded as havens for Protestant Christian religious exiles, based their legislation on their Christian beliefs and the Bible. And that's without exploring the start of the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania, or the Catholic colony of Maryland! It takes a rare form of secular blindness not to see and understand the overwhelming importance and influence of the Bible on American thought and American law. Pretzel logic, indeed!

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 6:23 a.m. PST

Parzival, yes to all of that.

When I taught Western Civ, we looked at its two inimical roots, classical Greece and the ancient Hebrews. We started by contrasting their earliest writings, THE ILIAD and THE BOOK OF JOB, each addressing the same problem (why do bad things happen to people who do not deserve them?) but reaching radically different answers. (Greeks: when fate knocks you down, stand up and brace yourself, because it's going to happen again. Jews: suffering is redemptive.)

Then the two roots grow together (was Paul a Jew, or a Greek, or a Roman? Yes) I want students to recognize what an astonishing thing it is that two such opposite and opposing views of life should combine into one, into a Christianity in which there "is no Jew nor Greek."

The Founders were steeped in Republican Rome and classical Greece, but also in Hooker and other Christian writers. But under it all was the Bible.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 7:36 a.m. PST

You can keep typing that, Brechtel198, but it doesn't make it true…

And supporting it, ad nauseum, doesn't make it true either.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 7:38 a.m. PST

You can keep typing that, Brechtel198, but it doesn't make it true…

And supporting it, ad nauseum, doesn't make it true either.

When tracing the development of western civilization and law, what cannot be ignored is Roman law (which was not Christian-based), the Justinian Code, Saxon law, the Danelaw, and English Common Law from which US law is derived.

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 9:01 a.m. PST

Roman law in the west would have collapsed with Roman political authority and military strength, except that the Church took up the slack, being the mechanism by which Roman law passed to the medieval culture. (Often bishops were the only part of the Roman establishment that remained in the face of barbarian invasion.) Do we all remember that the Dark Ages pretty much ended when Charles the Great was crowned HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR, by the Pope, in Rome, on Christmas day, 800? Did he have anything to do with Roman law and church law?

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 9:03 a.m. PST

"I know what I think, and I'm sticking to it!"

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 12:55 p.m. PST

Perhaps this will help:

Western Development of Legal Theory

Roman Law:

‘Roman law, the law of ancient Rome from the time of the founding of the city in 753 BCE until the fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century CE. It remained in use in the Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire until 1453. As a legal system, Roman law has affected the development of law in most of Western civilization as well as in parts of the East. It forms the basis for the law codes of most countries of continental Europe (see civil law) and derivative systems elsewhere.'
‘The term Roman law today often refers to more than the laws of Roman society. The legal institutions evolved by the Romans had influence on the laws of other peoples in times long after the disappearance of the Roman Empire and in countries that were never subject to Roman rule. To take the most striking example, in a large part of Germany, until the adoption of a common code for the whole empire in 1900, the Roman law was in force as "subsidiary law"; that is, it was applied unless excluded by contrary local provisions. This law, however, which was in force in parts of Europe long after the fall of the Roman Empire, was not the Roman law in its original form. Although its basis was indeed the Corpus Juris Civilis—the codifying legislation of the emperor Justinian I—this legislation had been interpreted, developed, and adapted to later conditions by generations of jurists from the 11th century onward and had received additions from non-Roman sources.'

Roman law | Influence, Importance, Principles, & Facts | Britannica

Roman law in western Europe did not end with the fall of Rome in 476AD. The 'barbarian' kingdoms used Roman systems in order to rule and, of course, Roman law was still in effect in Eastern Rome.

Anglo-Saxon Law:

‘Anglo-Saxon law, the body of legal principles that prevailed in England from the 6th century until the Norman Conquest (1066). In conjunction with Scandinavian law and the so-called barbarian laws (leges barbarorum) of continental Europe, it made up the body of law called Germanic law. Anglo-Saxon law was written in the vernacular and was relatively free of the Roman influence found in continental laws that were written in Latin. Roman influence on Anglo-Saxon law was indirect and exerted primarily through the church. There was a definite Scandinavian influence upon Anglo-Saxon law as a result of the Viking invasions of the 8th and 9th centuries. Only with the Norman Conquest did Roman law, as embodied in Frankish law, make its influence felt on the laws of England.
Anglo-Saxon law was made up of three components: the laws and collections promulgated by the king, authoritative statements of custom such as those found in the Norman-instituted Domesday Book, and private compilations of legal rules and enactments. The primary emphasis was on criminal law rather than on private law, although certain material dealt with problems of public administration, public order, and ecclesiastical matters.'

Anglo-Saxon law | Britannica

Justinian Code:

‘Code of Justinian, Latin Codex Justinianus, formally Corpus Juris Civilis ("Body of Civil Law"), collections of laws and legal interpretations developed under the sponsorship of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I from 529 to 565 CE. Strictly speaking, the works did not constitute a new legal code. Rather, Justinian's committees of jurists provided basically two reference works containing collections of past laws and extracts of the opinions of the great Roman jurists. Also included were an elementary outline of the law and a collection of Justinian's own new laws.'

‘The Justinian code consists of four books: (1) Codex Constitutionum, (2) Digesta, or Pandectae, (3) Institutiones, and (4) Novellae Constitutiones Post Codicem.'

‘Work on the Codex Constitutionum began soon after Justinian's accession in 527, when he appointed a 10-man commission to go through all the known ordinances, or "constitutions," issued by the emperors, weed out the contradictory and obsolescent material, and adapt all provisions to the circumstances of that time. The resultant 10-book Codex Constitutionum was promulgated in 529, all imperial ordinances not included in it being repealed. In 534 a new commission issued a revised Codex (Codex Repetitae Praelectionis) containing 12 books; the revisions were based partly on Justinian's own new legislation.'

Code of Justinian | Definition & Creation | Britannica

English Common Law:

'The English common law originated in the early Middle Ages in the King's Court (Curia Regis), a single royal court set up for most of the country at Westminster, near London. Like many other early legal systems, it did not originally consist of substantive rights but rather of procedural remedies. The working out of these remedies has, over time, produced the modern system in which rights are seen as primary over procedure. Until the late 19th century, English common law continued to be developed primarily by judges rather than legislators.'
'The common law of England was largely created in the period after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Anglo-Saxons, especially after the accession of Alfred the Great (871), had developed a body of rules resembling those being used by the Germanic peoples of northern Europe. Local customs governed most matters, while the church played a large part in government. Crimes were treated as wrongs for which compensation was made to the victim.'

Common law | Definition, Origins, Development, & Examples | Britannica

Interestingly, before the Code Napoleon (Code Civile) was written, there was not one French law code. In the South of France, Roman law was used and traditional law was used in the north. The new Code used the best of both to form one uniform and easily understood Code which is still in effect in France.

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 1:10 p.m. PST

Yeah, okay, good. So what? All of that is from Christian-based culture. The Roman empire was Christian by the 3rd century AD and officially so early in the 4th. The eastern empire adopted "caesaropapism"; the emperor was head of church as well as state, That would be Justinian. You can as appropriately call Justinian a CHRISTIAN lawgiver as a Roman; he was both.

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 1:26 p.m. PST

The (very long) wiki article on Byzantine law includes this:

In Justinian's work, Mosaïc Law and God's authority support the Emperor, and are consultative, but do not temper his absolute authority. This process has already begun in the Ecloga, which states law is God-given by way of Isaiah 8:20, and is made explicit first in the Prochiron.

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 1:27 p.m. PST

Again, Kevin, you are not WRONG, but very incomplete.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 2:28 p.m. PST

What difference does it make? You can be both a Patriot and an Atheist. I don't see the relevance.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 3:49 p.m. PST

I don't either…

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 3:50 p.m. PST

To Brechtel: I challenge none of your list of influences. In fact, I had already touched on these in general. I challenge that you are claiming that because these influences exist that Christianity and the Bible were NOT of equal influence. That's like saying "my mother gave birth to me, but my father had no role at all." It remains utter nonsense. Sorry, but if you want a society with no influence from Christianity, you're going to have to abandon modern Western civilization in its entirety. They are inextricably intertwined, and in no place more so than America. Even if the entire nation were to become atheist overnight, the influence would be there, and inescapable. I'm honestly not sure why anyone would seriously want to deny it in an honest discussion of history. You don't have to agree with the faith to see its impact on the society you live in, or on one's own philosophies. That's not a statement of belief, that's just an acknowledgment of fact.

To Old Contemptible:
Paine's patriotism has nothing to do with the question, nor with atheism.*
The question is, was Paine influenced by Biblical teaching and Christian beliefs at the time he wrote Common Sense? The answer, obviously, is that he was. He did not assert a belief in atheism until nearly twenty years after the Revolution, long after the Declaration and even the Constitution were written.
To declare Paine an atheist during the entire time of his efforts in America is to be asserting a position contrary to his own writings and his own known practices at the time, as if people are always of one opinion and never alter it as their life changes. Absurd. I do not suggest that Paine did not become an atheist; I am merely asserting that he clearly was not at the time he wrote Common Sense— or if he was, he was the most deceitful charlatan on the planet.

(*I will say that Paine gave up his patriotism in keeping with his atheism— even after he was rescued from French prison and likely from the guillotine and brought back to America by President James Madison, where the public longed to honor him. Which he then rejected. Rather pathetic, in the end.)

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 3:57 p.m. PST

Yes, of course, as an individual. But the American Revolution was an act of a Christian culture, and based on Christian principles, beginning with humans' equality as common carriers of imago dei. Its major and immediate intellectual and cultural roots were the Great Awakening as much as (or, in popular terms, MORE THAN) the Enlightenment, which was more confined to the colonial elites, and far from all of them.

"The laws of nature, and of nature's god" means something. Not necessarily Christian -- Jefferson wasn't, as we know -- but very far from atheistic.

Do recall that George Washington was a leader in his local CofE parish (Falls Church). The overwhelming majority of the Founders were conventional and orthodox Christians, of various denominations. That is a big reason why the American event avoided the destructive extremes of the French one.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2023 5:30 p.m. PST

Most, including Paine, were Diest. We are fortunate they were otherwise they would have accepted the divine rule of the British Monarch and we would all still be speaking the King's English. The role of religion was the same as with all conflicts. God is on our side!

If there is a God then he is a very cynical and evil deity who wouldn't give a flip about the American Revolution any more than he/she cared about the millions who died in countless religious wars, in his name.

But I will keep this discussion in mind when I am planning my next AWI scenario. I am sure my players will enjoy the divine intervention rule.

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 6:48 p.m. PST

Most were deists? No, sorry, that is not even close to the case. Most were Christians and aye you've heard of the Puritans, who rebelled against a king and chopped his head off. I think they were Christians.

As to God and suffering, start by reading the Book of Job. The problem is evil is a real one, but not one without answers.

I fear you know little about religion, especially in the Anglosphere.

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 8:10 p.m. PST

Just saw this, which I suspect is accurate:
The main thesis of the book, found on page 134, is that the U.S. Founding Fathers fell into three religious categories:

the smallest group, founders who had left their Judeo-Christian heritages and become adherents of the Enlightenment intellectual movement "Deism". These figures included Thomas Paine and Ethan Allen. [page needed]
the founders who remained practicing Christians. …
the largest group consisted of founders who retained Christian loyalties and practice but were influenced by Deism. …
Author: David Lynn Holmes
Publish Year: 2006
Pages: 225
Publication date: March 2006
Publisher: Oxford University Press

doc mcb24 Jan 2023 8:15 p.m. PST

Remember that Christians are forbidden to question the sincerity of fellow believers. George Washington seems to fall into that third category. He remained a member of his church and served on its vestry. He encouraged and led public prayer and religious commemorations. He appealed to God or to Heaven in public utterances. Whatever his private thoughts, he was a Christian.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2023 4:04 a.m. PST

Remember that Christians are forbidden to question the sincerity of fellow believers.

Where is that from?

doc mcb25 Jan 2023 7:46 a.m. PST

All over. Of course we still DO it, we are just not supposed to.

See, for instance, Romans 14: "who are you to judge another's servant?" The whole chapter requires respect for varying levels of faith, especailly on "disputable matters" which for Paul meant food and what day of the week was for worship.

My own church is pretty Calvinist, but requires assent to Calvin's theology ONLY from officers. Membership (including participation in the sacrament of Holy Communion) requires only a publically expressed belief in the basic gospel, what is in the creeds such as the Apostles.

(And, although we do believe in Election, we also understand that as humans WE CANNOT TELL who is saved and who not, so we simply treat everyone the same, as though they are elect.)

We are probably among the MOST restrictive churches. The Good News is for everybody.

dapeters26 Jan 2023 1:39 p.m. PST

I never understood why folks go with Paul when you have the Gospels

Luke 6:37 ESV "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Jesus does not make a distinction between believers and none believers.

Of course Early Calvinists beliefs worked very well with slavery.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2023 1:51 p.m. PST

"Of course Early Calvinists beliefs worked very well with slavery."

Slavery 🤔 hmmmm seemed to work just as well with atheists, agnostics, Muslims, worshippers and non worshippers of just about anything and anyone throughout history.

doc mcb26 Jan 2023 1:54 p.m. PST

dapaters, no. The Calvinists were the Pilgrims and Puritans, the Dutch Reformed, and later the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. None of which did much slavery, except maybe for Boston merchants carrying them in the triangle trade. The south was mostly Anglican. Or Roman Catholic.

Or maybe I am not understanding you? which early Calvinist beliefs do you mean?

As to Paul, his letters are as much a part of the New Testament as the gospels. For one thing, they were written much earlier, by a decade or more.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2023 2:59 p.m. PST

The (very long) wiki article on Byzantine law includes this:…

Wikipedia is not a reliable source for history, military, political, or social. And 'Byzantine' law is actually Eastern Roman Law. The term 'Byzantine' was applied to the Eastern Romans by an early German historian after Constantinople fell. They were Eastern Romans and considered themselves as such.

doc mcb02 Feb 2023 8:01 a.m. PST

Kevin, I have a PhD in history and do not need to be informed that the Byzantines are eastern Romans.

As to Wikipedia, I have found it to be pretty accurate. I know that from reading various articles on topics of which I have expert knowledge. I think it is as trustworthy as other encyclopedias, with one exception. Topics which are currently in dispute may be edited in opposite directions within hours or days of each other,

I allow and even encourage students to use Wiki, WITH the understanding that an article about, say, Donald Trump or Joe Biden is likely to be slanted. Trust but verify.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2023 9:31 a.m. PST

Who checks what is written on Wikipedia? Is there a rigorous vetting of the historical material on that platform?

doc mcb02 Feb 2023 12:40 p.m. PST

That is not how wiki works. Research it. Crowdsourcing.

doc mcb02 Feb 2023 12:43 p.m. PST

link
Wikipedia was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger on January 15, 2001. Sanger coined its name as a blend of wiki and encyclopedia.[6][7] Wales was influenced by the "spontaneous order" ideas associated with Friedrich Hayek and the Austrian School of economics after being exposed to these ideas by the libertarian economist Mark Thornton.[8]


link
Spontaneous order

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2023 1:07 p.m. PST

That is not how wiki works.

And therein lies the problem…

We were not allowed to use Wikipedia in grad school and I didn't let my students use it either…

doc mcb05 Feb 2023 1:50 p.m. PST

WEll, it didn't exist when I was in grad school. But I find Wiki as trustworthy -- with the exception I noted -- as any reference work, and more so than, say, the NYT with its "layers of fact checkers" (LOL).

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2023 6:17 p.m. PST

<q?But I find Wiki as trustworthy -- with the exception I noted -- as any reference work…

No, it isn't.

All Sir Garnett07 Feb 2023 6:34 a.m. PST

The Eastern Church was not Caesaropapist, the Roman Emperor was not Head of the Church. There were four Patriarchates in the East, each independent of each other once the Latins went into schism; often the Patriarchs were in absolute opposition to The Roman Emperor and suffered thereby…

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