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This book is a study of the life, monastic writings, and spiritual
theology of John Cassian (c., 360-435). His Institutes and
Conferences are a remarkable synthesis of earlier monastic
traditions, especially those of fourth-century Egypt, informed
throughout by Cassian's awareness of the particular needs of the
Latin monastic movement he was helping to shape. Sometimes
portrayed as simply an advocate of the sophisticated spiritual
theology of Evagrius of Ponticus (360-435), Cassian was actually a
theologian of keen insight, realism, and creativity. His teaching
on sexuality is unique in early monastic literature in both its
breadth and its depth, and his integration of biblical
interpretation with the ways of prayer and teaching on ecstatic
prayer are of fundamental importance for the western monastic
tradition. The only Latin writer included in the classic Greek
collections of monastic sayings, Cassian was the major spiritual
influence on both the Rule of the Master and the Rule of Benedict,
as well as the source for Gregory the Great's teaching on capital
sins and compunction.
This volume is an original and important contribution to the study of the earliest Palestinian Jewish Christianity. For the first time all the evidence for the role which relatives of Jesus played in the early church is assembled and assessed. Dr. Bauckham discusses a wide range of evidence, not only from the New Testament but also from the Church Fathers, the New Testament Apocrypha, rabbinic literature and Palestinian archaeology. The letter of Jude, in particular, proves to have much to teach us about the theology of the brothers of Jesus and their circle. It illuminates their exegetical methods and their Christology and shows both to have been influential contributions to the development of early Christianity. This study shows that this neglected New Testament book is far more important for the study of early Christianity than has hitherto been recognized. By setting the letter of Jude within the context of the evidence for the role of relatives of Jesus in the early church, new insights can be revealed into the letter and early Jewish Christianity.
For decades, Arthur D. Nock's famous definition of conversion and his distinction between conversion and adhesion have greatly influenced our understanding of individual religious transformation in the ancient world. The articles in this volume - originally presented as papers at the conference Conversion and Initiation in Antiquity (Ebeltoft, Denmark, December 2012) - aim to nuance this understanding. They do so by exploring different facets of these two phenomena in a wide range of religions in their own context and from new theoretical and empirical perspectives. The result is a compilation of many new insights into ancient initiation and conversion as well as their definitions and characteristics.
"This is an important book, for it deals with Ambrose's public career very thoroughly . . . something we have long been waiting for . . . a hard-headed account, keeping well clear of either hagiography or denigration, presenting many of the central episodes of Ambrose's career in an entirely new light."--Robert Markus
"Ambrose of Milan has long needed the modern biography which Neil McLynn has now written. Here is a learned and thorough work, absorbingly readable, bringing Ambrose vividly to life."--Sir Henry Chadwick, Oxford University
"McLynn has something fresh and (usually) revisionist to say about every familiar episode in this period, and he succeeds in exposing a very different Ambrose--a sweat-soaked saint who knew how to struggle and improvise."--Hal Drake, University of California, Santa Barbara
"McLynn possesses an impressive control of the general history of the period, as well as a detailed knowledge of specific events in which Ambrose was a participant, or even the 'impresario.' He gives us a critical and nuanced book about this important bishop, which will change how we read and think about Ambrose."--Carole Straw, Mount Holyoke College
In his search for an historical context for the famous Exeter Book of Old English poetry, Dr Conner's examination of the archaeological and textual records of Exeter have led him to significant new conclusions about the city's tenth century monastic culture. He posits the existence of a large library dating from the time of King AEthelstan, an active scriptorium from at least the mid-century period, and suggests that five other important manuscripts may have originated at Exeter c.950-c.990.A codicological examination of the Exeter Book draws fresh conclusions about its composition and its literary context. Anglo-Saxon Exeterconcludes with six appendices in which many documents important to the early history of the city are edited, including its relic-lists, the records for moving the see from Crediton to Exeter, Leofric's Inventory, a series of legal records which survive on a single leaf of an 8th-century lectionary, and a study of the history of the Exeter Book from 1050 to the present. PATRICK CONNER is Professor in the department of English at West Virginia University.
Allegorical readings of literary or religious texts always begin as counterreadings, starting with denial of negation, challenging the literal sense: "You have read the text this way, but I will read it differently". The author insists that ancient allegory is best understood not simply as a way of reading texts, but as a way of using non-literal readings to reinterpret culture and society. Here he describes how some ancient pagan, Jewish and Christian interpreters used allegory to endorse, revise and subvert competing Christian and pagan world views. This reassessment of allegorical reading emphasized socio-cultural contexts rather than purely formal literary features, opening with an analysis of the pagan use of etymology and allegory in the Hellenistic world and pagan opposition to both techniques. The remainder of the book presents three Hellenistic religious writers who each typify distinctive models of allegorical interpretation: the Jewish exegete Philo, the Christian Gnostic Valentinus and the Christian Platonist Clement. The study engages issues in the fields of classics, history of Christianity and Hellenistic Judaism, literary criticism and theory and more broadly, criti
In Defence of Christianity examines the early Christian apologists in their context in thirteen articles divided in four parts. Part I provides an introduction to apology and apologetics in antiquity, an overview of the early Christian apologists, and an outline of their argumentation. The nine articles of Part II each cover one of the early apologists: Aristides, Justin, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, the author of the Letter to Diognetus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Minucius Felix. Part III contextualises the apologists by providing an English translation of contemporary pagan criticism of Christianity and by discussing this critique. Part IV consists of a single article discussing how Eusebius depicted and used the apologists in his Ecclesiastical History.
The period 550 to 750 was one in which monastic culture became more firmly entrenched in Western Europe. The role of monasteries and their relationship to the social world around them was transformed during this period as monastic institutions became more integrated in social and political power networks. This collected volume of essays focuses on one of the central figures in this process, the Irish ascetic exile and monastic founder, Columbanus (c. 550-615), his travels on the Continent, and the monastic network he and his Frankish disciples established in Merovingian Gaul and Lombard Italy. The post-Roman kingdoms through which Columbanus travelled and established his monastic foundations were made up of many different communities of peoples. As an outsider and immigrant, how did Columbanus and his communities interact with these peoples? How did they negotiate differences and what emerged from these encounters? How societies interact with outsiders can reveal the inner workings and social norms of that culture. This volume aims to explore further the strands of this vibrant contact and to consider all of the geographical spheres in which Columbanus and his monastic communities operated (Ireland, Merovingian Gaul, Alamannia, Lombard Italy) and the varieties of communities he and his successors came in contact with - whether they be royal, ecclesiastic, aristocratic, or grass-roots.
The observation that domestic artefacts are often recovered during church excavations led to an archaeological re-assessment of forty-seven Early Byzantine basilical church excavations and their historical, gender and liturgical context. The excavations were restricted to the three most common basilical church plans to allow for like-for-like analysis between sites that share the same plan: monoapsidal, inscribed and triapsidal. These sites were later found to have two distinct sanctuary configurations, namely a -shaped sanctuary in front of the apse, or else a sanctuary that extended across both side aisles that often formed a characteristic T-shaped layout. Further analysis indicated that -shaped sanctuaries are found in two church plans: firstly a protruding monoapsidal plan that characteristically has a major entrance located to either side of the apse, which is also referred to as a 'Constantinopolitan' church plan; and secondly in the inscribed plan, which is also referred to as a 'Syrian' church plan. The T-shaped layout is characteristic of the triapsidal plan, but can also occur in a monoapsidal plan, and this is referred to as a 'Roman' church plan. Detailed analysis of inscriptions and patterns of artefactual deposition also revealed the probable location of the diakonikon where the rite of prothesis took place.
Scenes and characters from the Old Testament appear frequently in Western medieval art, yet the study of their significance is a neglected area of iconography. A common literature for both Jews and Christians, the Hebrew Scriptures had an especially broad appeal for the Church of the Middle Ages. Many sections of medieval society identified with the Hebrews of the Old Testament and sought from them direct models for leadership, moral behaviour and even art itself. Most of the imagery in medieval art derived from close study of the biblical texts and from the retelling of these stories in contemporary poetry and drama. This interdisciplinary study of art history and theology takes a thematic approach to the ways in which the Church drew on the ancient texts, focusing on the topics precedent, word, time, typology and synagogue. The introduction given here to the vast scholarly and literary hinterland behind the art, with insights into the thought processes from which the images emerged, not only brings fresh perspectives to specific sculptures, wall paintings, stained glass and liturgical objects, but facilitates a better understanding of Old Testament iconography wherever it is encountered.
Scholars and mainline pastors tell a familiar narrative about the roles of women in the early church: that women held leadership roles and exercised some authority in the church, but, with the establishment of formal institutional roles, they were excluded from active leadership in the church. Evidence of women's leadership is either described as "exceptional" or relegated to (so-called) heretical groups, who differed with proto-orthodox groups precisely over the issue of women's participation. For example, scholars often contrast the Acts of Paul and Thecla (ATh) with 1Timothy. They understand the two works to represent discrete communities with opposite responses to the question of women's leadership. In A Modest Apostle Susan Hylen uses Thecla as a microcosm from which to challenge this larger narrative. In contrast to previous interpreters, Hylen reads 1Timothy and the ATh as texts that emerge out of and share a common cultural framework. In the Roman period, women were widely expected to exhibit gendered virtues like modesty, industry and loyalty to family. However, women pursued these virtues in remarkably different ways, including active leadership in their communities. Read against a background in which multiple and conflicting norms already existed for women's behavior, Hylen shows that texts like the ATh and 1Timothy begin to look different. Like the culture, 1Timothy affirms women's leadership as deacons and widows while upholding standards of modesty in dress and speech. In the ATh, Thecla's virtue is first established by her modest behavior, which allows her to emerge as a virtuous leader. The text presents Thecla as one who fulfills culturally established norms, even as she pursues a bold new way of life. Hylen's approach points to a new way of understanding women in the early church, one that insists upon the acknowledgment of women's leadership as a historical reality without neglecting the effects of the culture's gender biases.
Text in Danish.
Liberation from Empire investigates the phenomenon of demonic possession and exorcism in the Gospel of Mark. The Marcan narrator writes from an anti-imperialistic point of view with allusions to, yet never directly addressing, the Roman Empire. In his baptism, Jesus was authorized by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to wage cosmic war with Satan. In Jesus' first engagement, his testing in the wilderness, Jesus bound the strong one, Satan. Jesus explains this encounter in the Beelzebul controversy. Jesus' ministry continues an on-going battle with Satan, binding the strong one's minions, demonic/unclean spirits, and spreading holiness to the possessed until he is crucified on a Roman cross. The battle is still not over at Jesus' death, for at Jesus' parousia God will make a final apocalyptic judgment. Jesus' exorcisms have cosmic, apocalyptic, and anti-imperial implications. For Mark, demonic possession was different from sickness or illness, and exorcism was different from healing. Demonic possession was totally under the control of a hostile non-human force; exorcism was full deliverance from a domineering existence that restored the demoniac to family, to community, and to God's created order. Jesus commissioned the twelve to be with him, to learn from him, and to proclaim the kingdom of God by participating with him in healing and exorcism. Jesus expands his invitation to participate in building the kingdom of God to all those who choose to become part of his new dyadic family even today.
For too long, the study of religious life in Late Antiquity has relied on the premise that Jews, pagans, and Christians were largely discrete groups divided by clear markers of belief, ritual, and social practice. More recently, however, a growing body of scholarship is revealing the degree to which identities in the late Roman world were fluid, blurred by ethnic, social, and gender differences. Christianness, for example, was only one of a plurality of identities available to Christians in this period.
In Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200 450 CE, Eric Rebillard explores how Christians in North Africa between the age of Tertullian and the age of Augustine were selective in identifying as Christian, giving salience to their religious identity only intermittently. By shifting the focus from groups to individuals, Rebillard more broadly questions the existence of bounded, stable, and homogeneous groups based on Christianness. In emphasizing that the intermittency of Christianness is structurally consistent in the everyday life of Christians from the end of the second to the middle of the fifth century, this book opens a whole range of new questions for the understanding of a crucial period in the history of Christianity."
This volume presents several treatises of St. Cyprian (200/10?-258) in translation. To Donatus (Ad Donatum) is a monologue written shortly after Cyprian's baptism in 246 in which he extols his spiritual rebirth in the sacrament of baptism. Literary criticism has come to view this treatise as a model for St. Augustine's Confessions. The Dress of Virgins (De habitu virginum) written in 249 is addressed to women ("flowers in the Church's garden") who have dedicated their lives to God's service. In this treatise on virginity Cyprian warns these women against seeking finery and the pitfalls of worldliness. The Fallen (De lapsis), written in 251, deals with the problems encountered in reconciling with the Church those who had defected during the time of persecution. These problems were acute especially after the Decian persecution. The Unity of the Catholic Church (De unitate ecclesiae), written very likely in 251, is directed in the first place against the Novatian schism. This treatise contains the famous words: "He cannot have God for his father who does not have the Church for his mother." The Lord's Prayer (De oratione dominica) is as the title indicates a commentary on the Our Father. Many of its words and phrases remind one of Tertullian whom Cyprian admired greatly. To Demetrian (As Demetrianum) is a vigorous defense of Christianity against pagan calumnies. Mortality (De mortalitate) written perhaps in 252 or later has often been described as being a pastoral letter of a bishop to comfort and console his flock during a time of trial and tribulation. Work and Alms (De opere et eleemosynis) is a treatise that may have been written in 252 or even later. It is a warm and heartfelt exhortation of a bishop to his flock encouraging them to do good works. The Blessing of Patience (De bono patientiae), written sometime during the year 256, has frequently been described as a sermon delivered during the controversy over the validity of heretical baptism in northern Africa. Jealousy and Envy (De zelo et livore) like the preceding treatise greatly resembles a sermon delivered on the topic in the title. It was probably written between 251 and 257. To Fortunatus (Ad Fortunatum), a work replete with quotations from Scripture to encourage a Christian in time of persecution, was probably written between 253 and 257. In its original Latin this treatise is an important witness to the text of the Bible before St. Jerome's revisions. That Idols are not Gods (Quod idola dii non sint) is a relatively unimportant work when judged on the basis of its content. Modern patristic scholars seriously doubt its authenticity.
Both episcopal and abbatial authority were of fundamental importance to the development of the Christian church in Anglo-Saxon England. Bishops and heads of monastic houses were invested with a variety of types of power and influence. Their actions, decisions, and writings could change not only their own institutions, but also the national church, while their interaction with the king and his court affected wider contemporary society. Theories of ecclesiastical leadership were expounded in contemporary texts and documents. But how far did image or ideal reflect reality? How much room was there for individuals to use their office to promote new ideas? The papers in this volume illustrate the important roles played by individual leading ecclesiastics in England, both within the church and in the wider political sphere, from the late seventh to the mid eleventh century. The undeniable authority of Bede and Bishop AEthelwold is demonstrated but also the influence of less-familiar figures such as Bishop Wulfsige of Sherborne, Archbishop Ecgberht of York and St Leoba. The book draws on both textual and material evidence to show the influence (by both deed and reputation) of powerful personalities not only on the developing institutions of the English church but also on the secular politics of their time. Contributors: Alexander R. Rumble, Nicholas J. Higham, Martyn J. Ryan, Cassandra Rhodes, Allan Scott McKinley, Dominik Wassenhoven, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Debby Banham, Joyce Hill.
Rhetoric in the Monastic Tradition presents a series of "test cases" in rhetorical theory. John P. Bequette explores several important texts from the Western monastic tradition through the lens of ancient rhetoric, using the figures and topica of the Roman rhetorical tradition to exposit the texts in all their depth. This tradition, filtered through Augustine's De Doctrina Christiana, provides a useful hermeneutic to unlock the inexhaustible riches of the texts that comprise the monastic tradition from 500 to 1100 A.D. Each chapter focuses on a specific text to understand the relationship between human language and divine revelation as expressed by the monastic author in question. Texts include the Rule of St. Benedict, Bede's Advent Homily on Mark 1:4-8, Anselm's Letter to Lanzo, Peter Damian's The Book of "The Lord Be with You," and sermons thirty-five through thirty-eight of Bernard of Clairvaux's Sermons on the Song of Songs.
In A Threat to Public Piety, Elizabeth DePalma Digeser reexamines the origins of the Great Persecution (AD 303 313), the last eruption of pagan violence against Christians before Constantine enforced the toleration of Christianity within the Empire. Challenging the widely accepted view that the persecution enacted by Emperor Diocletian was largely inevitable, she points out that in the forty years leading up to the Great Persecution Christians lived largely in peace with their fellow Roman citizens. Why, Digeser asks, did pagans and Christians, who had intermingled cordially and productively for decades, become so sharply divided by the turn of the century?Making use of evidence that has only recently been dated to this period, Digeser shows that a falling out between Neo-Platonist philosophers, specifically Iamblichus and Porphyry, lit the spark that fueled the Great Persecution. In the aftermath of this falling out, a group of influential pagan priests and philosophers began writing and speaking against Christians, urging them to forsake Jesus-worship and to rejoin traditional cults while Porphyry used his access to Diocletian to advocate persecution of Christians on the grounds that they were a source of impurity and impiety within the empire.
The first book to explore in depth the intellectual social milieu of the late third century, A Threat to Public Piety revises our understanding of the period by revealing the extent to which Platonist philosophers (Ammonius, Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus) and Christian theologians (Origen, Eusebius) came from a common educational tradition, often studying and teaching side by side in heterogeneous groups."
This revealing history examines the controversies, maneuvering, and political wrangling that occupied the Christian Church for the first four centuries of its existence. Drawing from primary texts, Early Controversies and the Growth of Christianity reveals how the religion was formed through a series of conflicts that occurred primarily between Christian groups. Presenting a close examination of the first four centuries of Christian history through the lens of the controversies that animated, disturbed, and finally formed the Church, the book will enable readers to become familiar with the lives and writings of the early Christians and to better understand the fascinating history of early Christianity. The book focuses on several major early controversies. These include controversies surrounding the apostle Paul; controversies concerning the apostolic fathers, especially the idea of a pope and the role of the bishop/priest; Marcion and his influence; Manichaeism and Gnosticism; persecution and the Dontatists; Arianism; the rise of the bishop in the late 4th century; and power struggles between church and state. Each chapter focuses on the primary texts and key players in the battle over what would finally become orthodox Christianity, demystifying many poorly understood events that ultimately helped define today's Church. * Maps of Paul's journeys, of the cities that Ignatius of Antioch visited, and of the Roman and Persian Empires * Photographs including Caravaggio's Conversion of Paul, the Chi-Rho symbol, the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna Italy, the Arch of Constantine, the Altar of Victory, and Van Dyck's Ambrose * An overall chronology and a separate chronology for each chapter
The Oxford Handbook of Christology brings together 40 authoritative essays considering the theological study of the nature and role of Jesus Christ. This collection offers dynamic perspectives within the study of Christology and provides rigorous discussion of inter-confessional theology, which would not have been possible even 60 years ago. The first of the seven parts considers Jesus Christ in the Bible. Rather than focusing solely on the New Testament, this section begins with discussion of the modes of God's self-communication to us and suggests that Christ's most original incarnation is in the language of the Hebrew Bible. The second section considers Patristics Christology. These essays explore the formation of the doctrines of the person of Christ and the atonement between the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and the eve of the Second Council of Nicaea. The next section looks at Mediaeval theology and tackles the development of the understanding of who Christ was and of his atoning work. The section on 'Reformation and Christology' traces the path of the Reformation from Luther to Bultmann. The fifth section tackles the new developments in thinking about Christ which have emerged in the modern and the postmodern eras, and the sixth section explains how beliefs about Jesus have affected music, poetry, and the arts. The final part concludes by locating Christology within systematic theology, asking how it relates to Christian belief as a whole. This comprehensive volume provides an invaluable resource and reference for scholars, students, and general readers interested in the study of Christology.
This book presents a collection of case studies of biblical retellings in various contexts. Every section starts with an introduction presenting a brief overview of the field, the issues treated, as well as the nature and directions of contemporary scholarly discourse. After a detailed general introduction defining the Bible itself and the concept of retelling, the notion of Apocrypha is readdressed, particularly analyzing the way they are composed. Then follow the sections Translation and Interpretation from Jerome to the Post-Holocaust period, Preaching and Teaching the Bible in the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment, Biblical Characters as Models in medieval hagiography, Biblical Poetry from Late Antiquity to Bruce Springsteen, and finally the retelling strategies and challenges of Children's Bibles and a brief treatment of retelling Beyond the Text.
"The First Christian Theologians" offers a comprehensive
introduction to the theology of the early Church through an
accessible and lively examination of the major individual
theologians of the time.
The papers presented here explore in various ways the interactions between clerics and the society in which Christian churches put down roots in Late Antiquity. Some of these complex processes, involved in the christianization of the Late Roman world, form the theme of the first three sections. Amongst other aspects, the essays in these sections examine the Three Chapters controversy and the participation of lay and clerical protagonists in it, the social standing of Italian bishops (including their use of lay personnel and their economic impact), and a comparison of pagan and Christian places of worship. The essays included in the last section deal with communication in Late Antiquity. They present the first results of a long-term project on the changing role of information during the last centuries of the Roman world. Eight papers in the volume are published in English for the first time.
A critical essay on St. Augustine's social and political thought.
In describing Augustine, the author captures the essence of the man in these words: "Genius he had in full measure... he is the master of the phrase or the sentence that embodies a penetrating insight, a flash of lightning that illuminates the entire sky; he is the rhetorician, the epigrammist, the polemicist, but not the patient, logical systematic philosopher."
The Old Testament as Authoritative Scripture in the Early Churches of the East represents the latest scholarly research in the field of Old Testament as Scripture in Eastern Christianity. Its twelve articles focus on the use of the Old Testament in the earliest Christian communities in the East. The collection explores the authoritative role of the Old Testament in the churches of the East and its impact on the church's doctrine, liturgy, canon law, and spirituality.
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