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Christian History

Today in Christian History

February 25

February 25, 616 (traditional date): Ethelbert, the first Christian English king and instigator of the first written code of British law, dies.

February 25, 1570: Pope Pius V excommunicates England's Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, declaring her to be a usurper to the throne. It was the last time a pope "deposed" a reigning monarch.

February 25, 1536: Anabaptist Jakob Hutter is tortured, whipped, and immersed in freezing water (to mock baptismal practices), then doused with brandy and burned. King Ferdinand had ordered the persecution of all Anabaptists because of a few violent, millennialist revolutionaries in Munster, Germany—even though most Anabaptists were pacifists and renounced the Munsterite rebellion (see issue 5: Anabaptists and issue 61: The End of the World).

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April 21, 1109: Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury and one of the most profound thinkers of the Middle Ages, dies around age 76. He attained fame for his argument that faith is the precondition of knowledge ("credo ut intelligam"), his "satisfaction theory" of the atonement ("No one but one who is God-man can make the satisfaction by which man is saved") and for his ontological argument for God's existence.

April 21, 1142: Medieval French philosopher, teacher, and theologian Pierre Abelard dies. Though ...

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