Read the draft and follow the format please. I explain the paper with every paragraph instructions and include which resources should be use in each paragraph. Intro, three argumentative paragraphs, one rebuttal paragraph, and a conclusion. The argument essay topic is how black death triggers the decline of Christianity during the 14th century, each argumentative paragraph argues about one point why black death triggers and negatively influence Christianity with the resources. The rebuttal paragraph argues the opposite view that “Christianity is not decline in the 14th century, it is still the dominant power in Europe”, could address how the BD or decline of Christianity pave the way for the next century, and the after-effects of BD. Please cites with in-text citation.
It is an argumentative essay please make sure every paragraph is argumentative and argues for the point.
In the 14th Century a political and religious revolution wave overtook Europe due to various issues. Specifically, Black Death, a plague that overwhelmed European countries, impacted Christianity in diverse ways. Religion played an important role in the middle ages since Christianity was a daily life aspect for the European Christians. When the plague hit Europe in the year 1347, religious groups struggled to manage its damaging effects; thus, the church suffered severely. Notably, the church’s reputation was damaged, leading to political upheaval, which led to Christians’ deterioration of faith and confidence towards religious doctrines, and the entire political system. Although the general idea relates the fourteenth century’s decline in Christianity and political instabilities instigated by the imperial king, wrong measures applied in the management of Black Death led to high mortality rates, humiliated the church, triggered ethical conflict, and finally caused severe social problems and political instability, thus contributing to the decline of Christianity.
Over time, the plague spread widely and was interpreted through religion, which exacerbated the rates of mortality due to lack of knowledge. Notably, people had no idea on prevention measures leading to fear, continued spread of infections, and death. Particularly, minority church groups, Jews and lepers, were accused of spreading the illness by the Holy Roman Empire and subsequently executed. During the early stages of the illness, it was difficult to create and develop a remedy; thus, fear of infection led to hatred among the people. As a result, there was widespread abandonment, for instance, wife abandoned the husband, child the father, sister the brother, and majority of those who were infected could not receive any kind of care. In addition, Jewish and clergy persecution became rampant and massacres engulfed some cities, such as Mainz and Strasbourg in the Roman territory, where many Jews were burnt alive. Ultimately, Black Death caused thousands of casualties ranging between twenty-five and fifty percent of Europe’s population, which later affected religion and politics in diverse ways.
Christianity referred to the monotheistic belief based on faith in God; hence, leadership values and directions were derived from the religion. Long before the plague, archbishops and bishoprics held the top leadership position in the church. According to Cohn, Roman church was not just towards the Jews; hence, Christian establishments experienced significant changes during Black Death (“The Black Death and the Burning of Jews”39). Despite the resulting indiscriminate deaths, Cohn claims that the early church believed that the Jews disobeyed God and the illness was a punishment from Him (“The Black Death and the Burning of Jews” 40). Immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic, Cohn argues that the Jew community was suspected to have poisoned wells, food, and streams, thus prompting persecutions that almost eliminated entire Jewish communities in Europe ((“The Black Death and the Burning of Jews” 40). The church’s perception that the treatment of the disease was based on religious belief was questionable, since the number of clergies continued to decline as many died of the illness, leaving a big gap in the church leadership. The entity’s irresponsible behavior became more widespread through dishonest collection of tithes and sale of masses; thus, more cases of misappropriation and corruption were noticeable among church leaders. Attempts to correct church irregularities failed as greed for power heightened resulting to the church’s segregation. The church experienced continuous reforms in the following years since the people begun to doubt its supremacy and teachings, which was further encouraged by the respective leadership through its greed for worldly possession. Miracles that were performed to save believers became scarce and prayers appeared as if they no longer worked. As a result, Cohn identified that the plague led to community demonstrations due to social disruption and weak leadership, further encouraging flagellant movements that attained great values, and became more incorporated into social issues while encouraging Jews persecution (“The Black Death and the Burning of Jews” 41). Black Death had long-term effect on Christianity as it led to despair in the society.; thus, the church’s irregularities did not encourage holiness leading to rejection of the religion and ultimately, its decline.
The massacres that occurred during the Black Death were the worst historical events of the middle ages. Widespread pogroms occurred in the Holy Roman Empire and caused Judeo-Christian; a practice in which Jews were forced to convert to Christianity. The effect of such massacres dominated the societies where political power of the monarch was contested. Such rulers included the bishops, archbishops, and imperial kings of the middle age. Consequently, during crisis, medieval Europeans relied on church leaders who provided answers to their life problems (Finley and Koyama 2). When the plague hit Europe, the church that was expected to respond became materialistic, thus betraying its spiritual, instructive, and religious capabilities. As a result, the church became vulnerable to the plague due to its poor leadership reputation in regards to how it handled the plague. Models of fiscal anti-commons from by Finley and Koyama argue that during calamities, strong federal rulers are likely to defend minority groups, such as Jews, as opposed to emperors of contested governments (3). The Holy Roman monarch applied the differential law rather than equity law, where its leadership was based on identity rules but not the general rule of law. Specifically, identity rule refers to a situation where the policy is dependent on the social being of the person involved, while general rule is where the rule enforcement is independent of the individual’s identity (Finley and Koyama 2). For example, identity rule was applied in the generation of rent in pre-modern Europe, where the Jews’ legal status was different from that of Christians, which led to discrimination against the former. The difference in the Jews’ status allowed them to engage in moneylending activities, which was a good source of revenue since they were allowed to trade at an interest, while to Christians, loaning was illegal. Since the process provided rent to both the elites and the emperors, the position of the Jews was valued by European rulers (Finley and Koyama 24). Moneylenders relied on rulers’ authority for their protection but due to the varying nature of the emperors’ authority, the degree of freedom for the Jews was negatively affected across the Holy Roman Empire. Thus, it is clear that the variation in the organizational capability of the Roman Empire explain the level of severity of Jews persecution during Black Death. On St. Valentine’s Day, Jews across all Holy roman empires were accused of causing the plague. One of the reasons why Jews became the main suspects of spreading the plague, perhaps, revolved around their way of life. The holy Roman clergy believed that Jews maintained high standards of cleanliness and sanitation, and they preferred drinking water from natural habitat rather than wells. It was presumed that this knowledge encouraged them to poison the wells in order to control the growth of Church in Europe. They were then burnt on a wooden stand in the cemetery, while those who accepted Christianity baptism were spared and several children were christened without the consent of their parents. Thus, more Jews perished in the Holy Roman empires than in regions governed by kings (Raspe 6). Even after burning the Jews, the severity of the illness became worse, and more Christians than Jews were infected. Consequently, believers became suspicious and doubted the church teachings as moral conflict became common resulting to disempowered churches, and bishops who could not be emulated as role models. Consequently, this caused a tremendous decline in Christianity in the Holy Roman empires, since the actions of the leaders lacked justice and fairness.
The pandemic caused multiple problems such as captivities, slaughter, imprisonment, and exiles to the community. The consequences were a reflection of the agony and sufferings experienced by the Jews from different regions. According to Cohn, the racial discrimination was noticeable even after death as about three hundred Jewish bodies in Catalan town had scars that indicated intense (“Plague Violence and Abandonment from the Black Death to the Early Modern Period” 40). The plague had both social and economic impacts that were noticeable as Europe approached end of the thirteenth century. For instance, the commonly known little ice age period encountered changes in temperature and weather patterns where in the later years, the region received heavy rains that destroyed crops (Irish 708). There was an increased food shortage, which led to a great famine whose data was applied in the interpretation of the mass death from Black Death that was marked the most distressing natural calamity in the European history. As a result, by the end of twelfth century, the European kings started rejecting the papal supremacy as identified by the fight between Pope Boniface and King Philip, which negatively influenced the papal leadership. The king’s argument was that clergy were supposed to be taxed, while Boniface stated that imposing tax on clergy required pope’s consensus. During this time, sentiments contrary to the papacy heightened and people believed that pope should stay in Rome but not in Avignon, and in 1377 Pope Gregory went back to Rome (Irish 708). The condition was known as the great schism and it damaged the church after its leaders who were believed to be true representatives of Christianity accused each other of being the antichrist. Therefore, the entire Roman church was led by individuals who practiced hypocrisy and not true believers. Such leaders contributed greatly to the decline of Christianity not only during the middle ages but also in the subsequent centuries.
In the beginning of middle age, the church was challenged by the political, social and economic background in Europe. The Middle Ages were marked as a period of superstition and great ignorance in which Christianity was challenged due to the political instabilities in Europe. It was a time when the idea of Jews conversion to Christianity emerged and the religion would have been attractive if the economy was stable. Unfortunately, the introduction of new political systems was characterized by the decline of most sectors in the economy. Apart from Black Death pandemic, Europe experienced a variety of disastrous events such as war, famine, and political instability. The responses to the plague were addressed by both religious and non-religious groups based on their culture, which were later presented as a sequence of events developed to explain the illness. Christianity evolved towards processes of spiritual transformation and personal inferiority and resorted into providing a sharp analysis of European medieval approach towards the pandemic. There was a parallel condition between the religious view of the plague and non-religious perspectives. The church believed that instabilities caused by the European political culture affected Christianity to a minimal level and did not lead to a decline in Christianity. The Church questioned the middle age institutions, which failed to provide relief to the severity of the Black Death (Amstutz 214). According to Amstutz (215), although some groups questioned the church for teaching endurance to its followers as they continued to suffer the consequences of the disease, Christianity grew gradually. As the disease continued spreading, the church in Europe remained influential through prayers and fasting to re-establish the normal condition as members were loyal to the faith. The Black Death was viewed as the end of the world by the church; thus, the political instabilities that overwhelmed the West during the Middle Ages contributed largely to the decline of Christianity as opposed to Black Death, which had minimal damage on Roman Empire.
The Black Death is a significant historical event that left a permanent mark in the Western religions especially, Christianity. The plague did not only cause a decrease in the European population, it also drastically influenced the medieval thought by challenging early institutions that provided stability and guidance to their people. Most of the consequences of Black Death damaged European social and political systems, especially to the church which held both positions. Being the most important cultural and religious institution, the plague attacked its structure as well as its leadership, which were attributed to the decline of Christianity and the development of the radical flagellant movement and anti-Semitic violence. After the plague, the relationship between the laypeople and the church was altered and people continued facing the consequences long after the end of the plague. Therefore, it is worthwhile to argue that Black Death impacted the world through a number of reforms. The medieval society experienced great reforms in the aftermath of the Black Death due to its religious and cultural background. Notably, Black Death exposed the earthly qualities of religious leaders to the world and influenced the religious beliefs against the church, which led to the overall decline of Christianity.
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Cohn Jr, Samuel K. “The Black Death and the Burning of Jews.” Past & Present, vol. 196, no. 1, Aug. 2007, pp. 39–61.
Cohn Jr., Samuel. “Plague Violence and Abandonment from the Black Death to the Early Modern Period.” Annales de Demographie Historique, no. 2, Nov. 2017, pp. 39–61.
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