It is the 12th of July 2020. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I'm Dan van Voorhis.
The year was 1477.
It was the year that the University of Uppsala was founded. The first Scandinavian university would produce famous botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus, as well as astronomer Anders Celsius, who figured out a much better scale for temperature.
In 1477, future Emperor Maximillian of the House of Habsburg married Mary of Burgundy. This union was handy, because Mary's father, Charles the Bold, was killed in 1477 at the Battle of Nancy. The Battle of Nancy was the last stand of the Burgundian Empire. But it splintered off, and Mary received the Burgundian domains in France and the Netherlands. These would eventually become essential holdings for the ever-growing Habsburg empire.
In 1477, the first printed book in English was published in England by William Caxton. The book was "The Sayings of the Philosophers." It was a fascinating little book of wisdom that was translated into English from Arabic. Well, it went from Arabic to French to Middle English. It's an interesting choice for a late medieval English printer to select a book by an Arabic scholar. There is nothing specifically Christian in it, no references to Jesus, Mary, or other biblical characters. All references to God in the book are broad and could be reconciled as either Allah or Yahweh.
Another groundbreaking work was published in 1477, "The Travels of Marco Polo" were printed in German. The book had remarkable success in the pre-printing world of Europe, but it would explode in popularity on account of its printing and translation. The book was written by Rustichello da Pisa, who was imprisoned with Polo in Genoa and recorded the stories Polo told him from their shared prison cell. A copy of the work of dubious veracity was found in the collection of Christopher Columbus. It is thought that Polo influenced Columbus' ill-fated trip to Asia using a western path.
In 1477, the aforementioned Charles the Bold died, as did Katherina Hetzledorfer. She was tried, accused, and drowned in the Rhine for dressing as a man and for possible liaisons with other women. In 1477, Lutheran reformer Matthaus Zelle as born, as was Anne of Brittany, the future (twice) Queen Consort of France. And it was on this, the 12th of July in 1477 that the humanist, scholar, and Catholic controversialist Jacopo Sadoleto was born. He certainly came to the attention of many Protestants in 1538 when he began correspondence and debate with John Calvin. However, he was in his own right, a well-respected humanist and reformer.
Born in Modena, Italy, his father had hoped he would become a lawyer, a common wish for fathers of young scholars at the time. Instead, he devoted himself to classical studies and theology. He made an impression in Rome and was soon made secretary to Pope Leo X. He was then made Bishop of Contreras in 1517, where he stood out as a clergyman above reproach. His popularity continued to grow until his 1536 "Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans." The church banned it. Sadoleto attempted to answer some Protestant issues with this commentary but ran afoul of the Catholic church by overemphasizing the free will of humans.
In 1539, after Calvin had been sent into exile by angry Genevans, Sadoleto wrote an open letter to the Genevans, encouraging them to come back into the Catholic fold. The Genevans called upon Calvin, then in Strasbourg, to reply on their behalf to Sadoleto. This correspondence has been collected and printed as the "Reformation Debates" between Calvin and Sadoleto. After attending the first meetings of the council of Trent, Sadoleto died in 1547. Born on this day in 1477, he was 70 years old.
The reading for today comes from Gerard Manley Hopkins, a poem entitled, "O Deus, Ego Amo Te."
O God, I love thee, I love thee —
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake; not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then? —
For being my king and God. Amen.
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 12th of July 2020 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. The show is produced by the Marco to my Polo, Christopher Gillespie. The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis. You can catch us here every day. and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.