Comparison of Two Medieval Theocracies - Essay Example

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The writer of this paper states that though there’s been much recent conversation centered around Middle Eastern theocracy, there can be little doubt that the golden age of religious-based government occurred during the Middle Ages.  …
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Comparison of Two Medieval Theocracies
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Download file to see previous pages Yet though both cultures developed theocratic systems of government during the medieval period, we will see that they came to that system of government through very different means and enacted quite different measures to secure and maintain that system. Yet though both cultures developed theocratic systems of government during the medieval period, we will see that they came to that system of government through very different means and enacted quite different measures to secure and maintain that system. First, though, we should consider the nature of theocracy itself.  In a theocratic government, religion forms the basis for political decisions. 
Government leadership and religious leadership are synonymous since faith in the governing religion is a prerequisite to political power.  Religious texts and tenets provide the backbone for civil law and government.  Those members of a theocratic society who do not espouse the prevailing faith may be disenfranchised at best and persecuted at worst. Such was the case when Christianity became the prevailing religion in Western Europe during the Middle Ages — an ironic development since Christians themselves had been a persecuted class in the Roman Empire from the time of Nero (54-68) until the emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity in the early 300s (Tierney). 
The dramatic power shift led to the most significant power struggle of the medieval period in Europe: the uneasy problem of church and state.  Constantine had brought the church to a position of previously unimagined power, but in return, he expected the unwavering alliance of the church — in matters of faith as well as matters of government, as the great debate over the Arian and Nicene faiths in the 300s demonstrated.   The challenge was that Christianity had to win over strong, existing systems of government and people whose religious were as sophisticated and compelling (and sometimes more fun) than Christianity.  How could a theocracy come to bear in a system of existing governments?
The church was inventive — it assimilated pagan traditions to make its asceticism more palatable, creating convenient saints whose holy days corresponded with favored pagan holidays and whose attributes mirrored those of pagan deities.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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