Paul Tillich, A History Of Christian Thought

Thirteenth Century: Joachim di Fiore, Franciscan theology, Dominic.

The last lecture dealt with Hugh of St. Victor and the sacramental interpretation of reality which we have found in him. I want to give you now a sacramental interpretation of history which has become extremely inf luential upon the Middle Ages and on modern thinking, namely the theology of Joachim di Fiore – (a monastery in Calabria, southern Italy, where Joachim was the abbe. ) He wrote a group of books in which he developed a philosophy of history which has become the alternative to the Augustinian interpretation of history and was the background for most revolutionary movements in the Middle Ages and in modern times, while Augustine’s interpretation of history was the basis for most conservative movements during the same time. So what I want to do is to confront the Joachimistic interpretation of history with the Augustinian.

About the Augustinian I told you already that it puts the reign of Christ, the so- called thousand-years, in the present time and identifies the reign of Christ with the control of this period by the hierarchy and its Divine graces. The sacramental power of the hierarchy makes it the immediate medium of Christ, so that the thousand years, the monarchy of Christ, is the monarchy of the Church. Since this, according to Daniel, is the last period, there is no future any more, the thousand years are present, we live in them, and everything critical can be critical only about the mixed body of the Church, but not about the foundation of the Church, which is final. You can imagine that in this way Augustine removed the threat of millenariansm – the doctrine of-the thousand years – which still lay ahead, and which then was used to criticize the Church and the hierarchy.