CHY 4U: Breaking News from 1517

On Friday, we dedicated some time to the World Views common during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Here is what we need to keep in mind:

  • Many Europeans had little experience of the world outside their village, town, or city.  At the same time, however, those in several occupations (such as merchants) were spreading all sorts of things around the continent, including ideas and illnesses.
  • For hundreds of years, Faith had been far more important than science or rational understanding. For example, the Great Chain of Being was used to explain the workings of the universe and the class structure of European societies.
  • Both World Views were dualistic.  Most Europeans believed good and evil forces were actively at work in the world, in a constant battle for power (and for souls).  In fact, this dualistic view also shaped the understanding of life: the soul was good, and the flesh was evil.
  • Traces of Ancient Greek and Roman thought could be found in writings during the Middle Ages. The Renaissance brought these Greek values to the centre of European art and intellectual thought. This re-birth of Greek ideas slowly led to new values and new explanations for, well, everything.

What Does This Mean for Today?

Today, we will examine the impact that Martin Luther had on Christianity and, consequently, world history. You will work in small groups and create a live television segment that will be broadcasted from outside the classroom to the projector mounted on the ceiling.  You will have 45 minutes to prepare your segment, and roughly 2 minutes to present it. Here are your options:

  • An Expose: Corruption in the Church Power tends to attract the corrupt and the self-serving. The Church’s status as the only truly international organization of the era made it an attractive choice for unscrupulous types; some priests and bishops had more in common with ruthless landlords and embezzlers than with Christ. In this brief expose, your reporter will uncover some of the charges of corruption that have been made against the Church.
  • This Just In: A German Monk Angry, Starts Nailing Arguments to Church Door Martin Luther, incensed by corruption and a few key Church practices, posted his complaints on a church door. In this breaking story, your reporter will report live from the steps of the church in Wittenberg.
  • Ongoing Coverage: What Is With All These Conversions? Sure, many converts to Luther’s version of Christianity believed he was right about the Church. Some, however, may have had other motives for the big switch. In this segment, news anchors will discuss the sudden wave of conversion that is sweeping across Northern Europe.
  • Point/Counterpoint: The Church Responds to the Reformation In this heated debate, the leaders of the Church fire back at the Protestants. Who will win the debate? It is difficult to say. The Church, however, has brought a secret weapon: a new kind of monk whose sole purpose is to bring Europe back to the Church.  In this segment, the Protestants and the Church will debate about what it means to be Christian.
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