Notes: Episode 35, The Reformation, Part 1

As with every show, I’ll list any corrections or clarifications here. If there’s anything I’ve overlooked, please contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll edit the notes to reflect the new information.


8:26 – the diaspora I refer to here is the expulsion of the Jewish people from Judea after a number of revolts during the first and second centuries against the Roman Empire. Before early Christians were seen as a threat against the Romans due to their monotheistic religion precluding worship of the Imperial cult, the Jewish people were seen as vaguely menacing for similar reasons. When they failed to regain independence of their homeland from the Romans, many were made slaves and distributed throughout the empire, which in many cases formed the roots of new Jewish communities throughout Europe.

11:28 – Should have gone with my gut here; Caesar was indeed elected pontifex maximus in 63 BCE. The position would have effectively been a dead end without Caesar’s political maneuvering outside of convention and the law.

24:13 – The episode on the witch trials that deals in more detail with these heretics can be found here.

33:30 – Here Gary is referring to the message of Jesus as it is written in the Bible, where it carries some surprisingly egalitarian, communistic, and generally progressive connotations – at least considering the modern political leanings of fundamental Christianity in North America. He’s also pointing out that this progressive interpretation of the gospels was generally downplayed or ignored for most of Christian history before this point.

46:55 – I’m guilty of mixing metaphors here to some extent. In general in the 15th and 16th centuries, if you were wealthy enough to purchase a Bible, you were almost certainly well educated enough to read Latin. People wouldn’t bother buying something so expensive if they were unable to make heads or tales of it. It was the proliferation of vernacular Bibles beginning in the 1520s that really drove the sale of Bibles to the bulk of the population and, as a result, helped to bring down the price.

1:09:07 – this is a wagon train, obviously – not a steam train. That probably doesn’t need clarification, but as I was editing, I realized that it kind of sounded that way.

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