October 29, 2008

In History today

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, was dedicated in New York Harbor in 1886. And then was rededicated by Roosevelt on it's 50th anniversary (Political cartoon 1919).

A Michael Servetus was condemned to death by the Church in 1553, for the crimes of subversion of the public morality, blasphemy, and heresy - executed in Geneva. Interestingly John Calvin pleaded for mercy in his case. 

Servetus had a gifted mind, was trained by the Dominicans, and went to university in Spain. He had to flee to France assuming another identity and studied math and the sciences and gained fame as a physician discovering pulmonary circulation of the blood, and the use of syrups in medicine. Then fled to Geneva.

Why the heresy? His gifted, fanciful mind while studying the Bible brought him into conflict with the Church when he published several books, like: Errors of the Trinity. He said the gods of the Trinitarians were like three-headed monsters and a deception of the devil. So for over 20 years he'd publish and flee and republish and flee and was finally caught.

Then, there's an era referred to as the twelfth-century literary renaissance, sometimes called the Age of John of Salisbury. He was an English philosopher and humanist, and died on this day in 1180. He was intimate friends with the Pope and Bernard of Clairvaux, was trained by the infamous scholar Peter Abelard, and his close association with Thomas a Becket, who was hacked to death by 4 knights, cost him dearly. John a champion of Aristotelian logic, wrote extensively on principals of free government, history, and education (the trivium), and commonsense works on the foolishness of superstitions, etc.

And too, today in 1965, the tallest monument (is it still?), the St Louis Arch, called "The Gateway to the West", was completed (630 ft x 630 ft). I still can't believe we've driven by it and never taken the time to go inside.

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