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Preaching formed one of the primary, regular avenues of communication between ecclesiastical elites and a wide range of society. Clergy used homilies to spread knowledge of complex theological debates prevalent in late antique Christian discourse. Some sermons even offer glimpses into the locations in which communities gathered to hear orators preach. Although homilies survive in greater number than most other types of literature, most do not specify the setting of their initial delivery, dating, and authorship. Preaching Christology in the Roman Near East addresses how we can best contextualize sermons devoid of such information. The first chapter develops a methodology for approaching homilies that draws on a broader understanding of audience as both the physical audience and the readership of sermons. The remaining chapters offer a case study on the renowned Syriac preacher Jacob of Serugh (c. 451-521) whose metrical homilies form one of the largest sermon collections in any language from late antiquity. His letters connect him to a previously little-known Christological debate over the language of the miracles and sufferings of Christ through his correspondence with a monastery, a Roman military officer, and a Christian community in South Arabia. He uses this language in homilies on the Council of Chalcedon, on Christian doctrine, and on biblical exegesis. An analysis of these sermons demonstrates that he communicated miaphysite Christology to both elite reading communities as well as ordinary audiences. Philip Michael Forness provides a new methodology for working with late antique sermons and discloses the range of society that received complex theological teachings through preaching.
The first full-length study to trace how early Christians came to perceive Jesus as a sinless human being. Jeffrey S. Siker presents a taxonomy of sin in early Judaism and examines moments in Jesus' life associated with sinfulness: his birth to the unwed Mary, his baptism by John the Baptist, his public ministry - transgressing boundaries of family, friends, and faith - and his cursed death by crucifixion. Although followers viewed his immediate death in tragic terms, with no expectation of his resurrection, they soon began to believe that God had raised him from the dead. Their resurrection faith produced a new understanding of Jesus' prophetic ministry, in which his death had been a perfect sacrificial death for sin, his ministry perfectly obedient, his baptism a demonstration of perfect righteousness, and his birth a perfect virgin birth. This study explores the implications of a retrospective faith that elevated Jesus to perfect divinity, redefining sin.
Augustine's dominant image for the human life is peregrinatio, which signifies at once a journey to the homeland (a pilgrimage) and the condition of exile from the homeland. For Augustine, all human beings are, in the earthly life, exiles from their true homeland: heaven. Some, but not all, become pilgrims seeking a way back to the heavenly homeland, a return mediated by the incarnate Christ. Becoming a pilgrim begins with attraction to beauty. The return journey therefore involves formation, both moral and aesthetic, in loving rightly. This image has occasioned a lot of angst in ethical thought in the last century. Augustine's vision of Christian life as a pilgrimage, his critics allege, casts a pall of groaning and longing over this life in favor of happiness in the next. Augustine's eschatological orientation robs the world of beauty and ethics of urgency. In Pilgrimage as Moral and Aesthetic Formation in Augustine's Thought, Sarah Stewart-Kroeker responds to Augustine's critics by elaborating the Christological continuity between the earthly journey and the eschatological home. Through this cohesive account of pilgrimage as a journey toward the right ordering of the desire for beauty and love for God and neighbour, Stewart-Kroeker reveals the integrity of Augustine's vision of moral and aesthetic vision. From the human desire for beauty to the embodied practice of Christian sacraments, Stewart-Kroeker develops an account of the relationship between beauty and morality as the linchpin of an Augustinian moral theology.
Using sermons, exorcisms, letters, biographies of the saints, inscriptions, autobiographical and legal documents--some of which are translated nowhere else--J. N. Hillgarth shows how the Christian church went about the formidable task of converting western Europe. The book covers such topics as the relationship between the Church and the Roman state, Christian attitudes toward the barbarians, and the missions to northern Europe. It documents as well the cult of relics in popular Christianity and the emergence of consciously Christian monarchies.
The churches of the Byzantine era were built to represent heaven on earth. Architecture, art and liturgy were intertwined in them to a degree that has never been replicated elsewhere, and the symbolism of this relationship had deep and profound meanings. Sacred buildings and their spiritual art underpinned the Eastern liturgical rites, which in turn influenced architectural design and the decoration which accompanied it. Nicholas N. Patricios here offers a comprehensive survey, from the age of Constantine to the fall of Constantinople, of the nexus between buildings, worship and art. His identification of seven distinct Byzantine church types, based on a close analysis of 370 church building plans, will have considerable appeal to Byzantinists, lay and scholarly. Beyond categorizing and describing the churches themselves, which are richly illustrated with photographs, plans and diagrams, the author interprets the sacred liturgy that took place within these holy buildings, tracing the development of the worship in conjunction with architectural advances made up to the 15th century. Focusing on buildings located in twenty-two different locations, this sumptuous book is an essential guide to individual features such as the synthronon, templon and ambo and also to the wider significance of Byzantine art and architecture.
The Summa Contra Gentiles is not merely the only complete summary of Christian doctrine that St. Thomas has written, but also a creative and even revolutionary work of Christian apologetics composed at the precise moment when Christian thought needed to be intellectually creative in order to master and assimilate the intelligence and wisdom of the Greeks and the Arabs. In the Summa Aquinas works to save and purify the thought of the Greeks and the Arabs in the higher light of Christian Revelation, confident that all that had been rational in the ancient philosophers and their followers would become more rational within Christianity. This exposition and defense of divine truth has two main parts: the consideration of that truth that faith professes and reason investigates, and the consideration of the truth that faith professes and reason is not competent to investigate. The exposition of truths accessible to natural reason occupies Aquinas in the first three books of the Summa. His method is to bring forward demonstrative and probable arguments, some of which are drawn from the philosophers, to convince the skeptic. In the fourth book of the Summa St. Thomas appeals to the authority of the Sacred Scripture for those divine truths that surpass the capacity of reason. The present volume is the second part of a treatise on the hierarchy of creation, the divine providence over all things, and man's relation to God. Book 1 of the Summa deals with God; Book 2, Creation; and Book 4, Salvation.
After Novatian's break with the Church over the treatment of Christians who had lapsed in the persecution of Decius (A.D. 250-52), Church authorities were reluctant to recognize officially his contributions to Christian theology. Because his writings were too valuable to ignore, a number of them were attributed to less controversial authors. On the basis of stylistic and other internal evidence, scholars have been able to retrieve Novatian's work from obscurity and to give him recognition as a pioneer of Roman Latin theology. This volume presents translations of all Novatian's surviving writings, which appear together in English for the first time under their author's name. The collection opens with the work that most clearly defines him as a theologian of central importance: The Trinity. This treatise refuted current heresies concerning Christ's dual nature and God's total spirituality. The collection also contains a trilogy of pastoral letters: In Praise of Purity, The Spectacles, and Jewish Foods. Novatian, absent from his community, writes to his adherents about current problems in Christian morality and encourages them to remain faithful to the Gospel. In the three Letters, written to Cyprian Bishop Carthage after the martyrdom of Pope Fabian, Novatian speaks for the Church at Rome. They are an important source for the study of Penance as practiced by the early Church. Novatian insisted that those who had denied Christ during the persecution should be most strictly dealt with. There is little in him of Cyprian's conciliatory tone. Novatian's Letters illumine a third-century controversy that offers new perspectives for modern re-examination of the sacrament.
Sin was an extremely important and serious concern for the earliest Christians and the authors of the New Testament writings. Early Christians came to see the life and ministry of Jesus as challenging presumptions about the meanings of sin and faithfulness. This book provides a comprehensive treatment of different understandings of sin in early Christianity. Jeffrey S. Siker describes how the earliest Christian voices represented in the New Testament writings understood "sin" not only as a theological abstraction, but also as a real reflection upon human thought and behavior that violated right relationships with both other human beings and with God. Siker explores language about sin in relation to the Jewish and Greco-Roman contextual worlds of the New Testament writings, and examines the development and change of these worlds in relation to the modern concept of sin.
Across the ancient and medieval literature of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, one finds references to the antediluvian sage Enoch. Both the Book of the Watchers and the Astronomical Book were long known from their Ethiopic versions, which are preserved as part of Mashafa Henok Nabiy ('Book of Enoch the Prophet')-an Enochic compendium known in the West as 1 Enoch. Since the discovery of Aramaic fragments among the Dead Sea Scrolls, these books have attracted renewed attention as important sources for ancient Judaism. Among the results has been the recognition of the surprisingly long and varied tradition surrounding Enoch. Within 1 Enoch alone, for instance, we find evidence for intensive literary creativity. This volume provides a comprehensive set of core references for easy and accessible consultation. It shows that the rich afterlives of Enochic texts and traditions can be studied more thoroughly by scholars of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity as well as by scholars of late antique and medieval religions. Specialists in the Second Temple period-the era in which Enochic literature first appears-will be able to trace (or discount) the survival of Enochic motifs and mythemes within Jewish literary circles from late antiquity into the Middle Ages, thereby shedding light on the trajectories of Jewish apocalypticism and its possible intersections with Jewish mysticism. Students of Near Eastern esotericism and Hellenistic philosophies will have further data for exploring the origins of 'gnosticism' and its possible impact upon sectarian currents in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Those interested in the intellectual symbiosis among Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Middle Ages-and especially in the transmission of the ancient sciences associated with Hermeticism (e.g., astrology, theurgy, divinatory techniques, alchemy, angelology, demonology)-will be able to view a chain of tradition reconstructed in its entirety for the first time in textual form. In the process, we hope to provide historians of religion with a new tool for assessing the intertextual relationships between different religious corpora and for understanding the intertwined histories of the major religious communities of the ancient and medieval Near East.
St. Cyprian works fall naturally into two groups: treaties (sermons, libelli, tractus) and letters (epistulae). A translation of the treatises will be found in volume 36 of this series. The letters, of which eighty-one have come down to us, written from c.249 until his death in 258 A.D., may be found translated in this volume. They give a penetrating insight into the affairs of the Church in Africa in the middle of the third century. They reveal problems of doctrine and of discipline which had to be decided in a period of crisis and persecution when the Church, still in its infancy, had not yet emerged from the catacombs. Most important of all, they make Cyprian vividly alive as an understanding bishop who could be both gentle and firm, enthusiastic and moderate. He was prudent enough to go into exile to direct his flock from afar when his presence was a potential source of danger to the people; he was courageous enough to face martyrdom that he knew would ultimately he his. Of these letters, fifty-nine were written by Cyprian himself and six more, emanating from Carthaginian Councils or Synods, were largely his work also. Sixteen letters were written by others; apparently eleven were lost. St. Cyprian's prestige and influence was great in Christian antiquity. Unfortunately, he is not well known or as widely read in modern times as he deserves. This is probably due to Cyprian's lack of complete orthodoxy, in the modern sense of the word, regarding the recognition of the See of Peter and the rebaptism of heretics. The modern reader must bear in mind that the period of the Fathers was the time of the laying of the foundation of so much which we accept and see so clearly today. In any case, both Lactantius (Div. Inst. 5.1.24) and St. Augustine (De bapt. contra Donatistas), while acknowledging the weaknesses of St. Cyprian's stand on the questions mentioned, do not in the slightest detract from their respect and admiration for their fellow countryman. Prudentius pays St. Cyprian the following tribute in his Peristephanon 13.5.6 ff.): 'As long as Christ will allow the race of men / to exist and the world to flourish, / As long as any book will be, as long as there / Will be holy collections of literary works, / Everyone who loves Christ will read you, O / Cyprian, will learn your teachings.'
The present volume consists of a collection of minor writings of St. Augustine often classified under the general title of 'Works of Moral and Practical Theology.' While St. Augustine is well known for his great masterpieces such as the Confessions and City of God, too little is known about him as a writer of short treatises intended for the general spiritual welfare of the people. These little essays still have an unending appeal for people of all times who are concerned about the salvation of their immortal souls. The treatises included are: The Christian Life (De vita christiana), Lying (De medacio), Against Lying (Contra mendacium), Continence (De continentia), Patience (De patientia), The Excellence of Widowhood (De bono viduitatis), The Work of Monks (De opere monachorum), The Usefulness of Fasting (De utilitate ieiunii), and the Eight Questions of Dulcitius (De octo Dulcitii quaestionibus). Other works of moral and practical theology are not included, notably the De catechizandis rudibus, and the De doctrina christiana, but arrangements have been made to present these in other volumes. Indeed, these two cannot very well be called 'minor' works. The essay, The Christian Life, is Pelagian in tone and is definitely not St. Augustine's, but it is included here because it comes from the same general period as the other essays and treats of a similar subject. Moreover, it has special interest in that it probably was written by a close follower of Pelagius, one of St. Augustine's celebrated opponents. Each treatise in this volume has its own introduction, giving pertinent information for an intelligent understanding of the essay and other matters of general interest.
The five works of Augustine translated in this volume (De immortalitate animae, De quantitate animae, De musica, De utilitate credendi, and De fide rerum quae non videntur) are focused on the nature of the soul, its ability to find knowledge, and its relationships with the body, with the cosmos, and with God. All written within the first dozen years after Augustine's conversion, they display themes that are consistent with each other and that, when viewed in combination, add up to a belief in an incorporeal, immeasurable, and immortal soul in every human being that is in harmony with the universe and has access to the knowledge of unseen realities.
An engaging and rich exploration of Saint Patrick and his extraordinary influence on the world. Forced into slavery at the age of fifteen, Patrick overcame all hardship to fulfil his calling: to bring the people of Ireland into the light of God's word. He carried out his mission of conversion and care at a crucial time of change, as Christianity spread across Romanised Europe and harnessed existing social structures and belief systems in Pagan Ireland. Patrick met high kings and mythical heroes, Celtic gods and goddesses, lowly farmers and loyal servants, and he left lasting marks upon the Irish landscape and way of life. He was humble, courageous and resourceful, and was the first of Ireland's saints to write down his experiences. Thus began the cult of Saint Patrick, galvanised over 1500 years of devotion and scholarship, and culminating recently in the cheerful 'greening' of the world's most famous landmarks. Drawing from recorded histories, 'tall tales' from all four provinces and beautiful illustrations, this is a light-hearted look at the global phenomenon of Saint Patrick, his life and his legacy, the facts and the fiction of his incredible journey from slave to international saint.
The place of Hilary of Poitiers in the debates and developments of early Christianity is tenuous in contemporary scholarship. His invaluable historical position is unquestioned, but the coherence and significance of his own thought is less certain. In this book, Jarred A. Mercer makes a case for understanding Hilary not only as an important historical figure, but as a noteworthy and independent thinker. Divine Perfection and Human Potentiality offers a new paradigm for understanding Hilary's work De Trinitate. The book contends that in all of Hilary's polemical and constructive argumentation, which is essentially trinitarian, he is inherently developing an anthropology. The work therefore reinterprets Hilary's overall theological project in terms of the continual, and for him necessary, anthropological corollary of trinitarian theology- to reframe it in terms of a "trinitarian anthropology." The coherence of Hilary's work depends upon this framework, and without it his thought continues to elude his readers. Mercer demonstrates this through following Hilary's main lines of trinitarian argument, out of which flow his anthropological vision. These trinitarian arguments unfold into a progressive picture of humanity from potentiality to perfection.
Georges Florovsky is the mastermind of a 'return to the Church Fathers' in twentieth-century Orthodox theology. His theological vision-the neopatristic synthesis-became the main paradigm of Orthodox theology and the golden standard of Eastern Orthodox identity in the West. Focusing on Florovsky's European period (1920-1948), this study analyses how Florovsky's evolving interpretation of Russian religious thought, particularly Vladimir Solovyov and Sergius Bulgakov, informed his approach to patristic sources. Paul Gavrilyuk offers a new reading of Florovsky's neopatristic theology, by closely considering its ontological, epistemological and ecclesiological foundations. It is common to contrast Florovsky's neopatristic theology with the 'modernist' religious philosophies of Pavel Florensky, Sergius Bulgakov, and other representatives of the Russian Religious Renaissance. Gavrilyuk argues that the standard narrative of twentieth-century Orthodox theology, based on this polarization, must be reconsidered. The author demonstrates Florovsky's critical appropriation of the main themes of the Russian Religious Renaissance, including theological antinomies, the meaning of history, and the nature of personhood. The distinctive features of Florovsky's neopatristic theology-Christological focus, 'ecclesial experience', personalism, and 'Christian Hellenism'-are best understood against the background of the main problematic of the Renaissance. Specifically, it is shown that Bulgakov's sophiology provided a polemical subtext for Florovsky's theology of creation. It is argued that the use of the patristic norm in application to modern Russian theology represents Florovsky's theological signature. Drawing on unpublished archival material and correspondence, this study sheds new light on such aspects of Florovsky's career as his family background, his participation in the Eurasian movement, his dissertation on Alexander Herzen, his lectures on Vladimir Solovyov, and his involvement in Bulgakov's Brotherhood of St Sophia.
This second and final volume of the letters of St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria (412-444), takes up in medias res the great Christological controversy about the term Theotokos and the events which lead up to its resolution at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Defending the doctrines of the Trinity and the Person of Christ in the Alexandrian tradition of St. Athanasius these letters reveal Cyril's brilliant theological acumen and deep personal faith. Letters 51 to 61 are concerned with the question of John of Antioch and the bishops who, with him, supported Nestorius in the tradion of the Antiochene School, set up a rival council, and this went so far as even to depose Cyril. Of this group Letters 50 and 55 are exceptional for their theological content. Letter 66 to 74 deal with the extension of the Nestorian heresy by eastern bishops who, although they agreed to the deposition of Nestorius and the anathemas against him, began to uphold the ideas of his teachers Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia. Letters 77 to 79 and 85 are purely administrative and, as such, are noteworthy examples of Cyril's patriarchy. Letter 89, an exegetic explanation of the punishment of Cain, is a partial copy of letter 260 of St. Basil. Three letters are spurious; 86 and 87, which deal with the date of Easter, and 88, a supposed letter from Hypatia to Cyril. Perhaps the most unusual letter is 96, a breve or catalog of treasures sent from Alexandria as bribes to the imperial court at Constantinople, not an uncommon practice it would seem since Cyril writes about it quite openly. The translator has appended five letters to the corpus. The first four are addressed to Cyril and are important for the light they shed on the Nestorian controversy. The last, an alternate version of letter 85 translated from the Latin text, contains a response to the synod at Carthage concerning the date of Easter, different in the two versions.
The Vigilant God by Horton Davies, a non-conformist minister who taught in the Religion Department of Princeton University and attended church regularly, is a reconsideration of the belief that God is still active in history. It is a reassessment of the theology of Providence in the thought of four major Christian theologians (Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Barth) and of their views on predestination, theodicy, and free will, leading the author to consider the role it might have for the future of humanity. The book starts with a sketch of the biblical sources relating to Providence, predestination, election, and reprobation. Davies sees Augustine's doctrine of Providence and his view of evil as privatio boni, as greatly influenced by Plato and his followers. He dwells on Aquinas the man, his life and his character, open to Aristotle and his Jewish and Arab commentators, before plunging into the structure of his encyclopedic thought and works. Davies appreciates Calvin's regard for Scripture as a means of illumination of the Spirit, but rejects the pastor's views on predestination as tyrannical and unjust, and believes that Barth's positive insistence on God's universal mercy is necessary against the horrors perpetrated in the twentieth century.
When Jesus of Nazareth began proclaiming the kingdom of God early in the first century, he likely had no intention of starting a new religion, especially one that included former pagans. Yet a new religion did eventually develop-one that not only included non-Jews but was soon dominated by them. How did this happen? Jesus Followers in the Roman Empire by Paul Duff offers an accessible and informed account of Christian origins, beginning with the teaching of Jesus and moving to the end of the first century. Duff's narrative shows how the rural Jewish movement led by Jesus developed into a largely non-Jewish phenomenon permeating urban centers of the Roman Empire. Paying special attention to social, cultural, and religious contexts-as well as to early Christian ideas about idolatry, marriage, family, slavery, and ethnicity-Jesus Followers in the Roman Empire will help readers cultivate a deeper understanding of the identity, beliefs, and practices of early Christ-believers.
"This is the book I wish I had when I was first studying the early church and the development of Christianity," says author James Papandrea. Reading the Early Church Fathers introduces the reader to the primary sources of church history, with commentary that will help the reader make sense of the theological/Christological trajectory that led the church from the New Testament era, through the apologists, to the development of the major doctrines of the church. Papandrea's treatment of the early church fathers is unique in that he situates his discussion against the social and cultural context of the Roman Empire and its relationship to the church, especially with regard to the effect of the persecutions on the church. Reading the Early Church Fathers does not provide actual excerpts of the works under discussion; instead, it directs the reader to the primary sources available on the Internet, resources that will be updated regularly. The result, for all students of the early church, is a unique and unprecedented "big picture" of early Christian literature.
Recent critical theory is curiously preoccupied with the metaphors
and ideas of early Christianity, especially the religion of Paul.
The haunting of secular thought by the very religion it seeks to
overcome may seem surprising at first, but Ward Blanton argues that
this recent return by theorists to the resources of early
Christianity has precedent in modern and ostensibly secularizing
philosophy, from Kant to Heidegger.
During the fourth century A.D., theological controversy divided Christian communities throughout the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. Not only was the truth about God at stake, but also the authority of church leaders, whose legitimacy depended on their claims to represent that truth. In this book, Galvao-Sobrinho argues that out of these disputes was born a new style of church leadership, one in which the power of the episcopal office was greatly increased. The author shows how these disputes compelled church leaders repeatedly to assert their orthodoxy and legitimacy--tasks that required them to mobilize their congregations and engage in action that continuously projected their power in the public arena. These developments were largely the work of prelates of the first half of the fourth century, but the style of command they inaugurated became the basis for a dynamic model of ecclesiastical leadership found throughout late antiquity.
Even as worship wars in the church and music controversies in society at large continue to rage, many people do not realize that conflict over music goes back to the earliest Christians as they sought to live out the new song of their faith. In "A New Song for an Old World" Calvin Stapert challenges contemporary Christians to learn from the wisdom of the early church in the area of music.
Stapert draws parallels between the pagan cultures of the early Christian era and our own multicultural realities, enabling readers to comprehend the musical ideas of early Christian thinkers, from Clement and Tertullian to John Chrysostom and Augustine. Staperts expert treatment of the attitudes of the early church toward psalms and hymns on the one hand, and pagan music on the other, is ideal for scholars of early Christianity, church musicians, and all Christians seeking an ancient yet relevant perspective on music in their worship and lives today.
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