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The book deals with martyrdom understood as a philosophical category. The main question pertains to the evidential value of the Christian witness through death. The author approaches an answer through a philosophical interpretation of the belief in the evidential role of martyrdom. Numerous historical documents confirm that ancient martyrdom might have been considered as a kind of proof also by people unaffiliated with the Church. The author observes the theology and the reality of martyrdom through the perspective of the ancient philosophy of death and radical personal transformation. He believes that the Christian stance in the face of persecutions could have been understood as the realization of the unrealized ambitions of philosophy, thereby proving indirectly the veracity of the teaching revealed by Jesus Christ.
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.
As the vestiges of the Roman political machine began to collapse in the fifth century A.D., the towering figure of Pope St. Leo the Great came into relief amid the rubble. Sustained by an immutable doctrine transcending institutions and cultures, the Church alone emerged from the chaos. Eventually, the Roman heritage became assimilated into Christianity and ceased to have a life of its own. It would be practically impossible to understand this monumental transition from the Roman world to Christendom without taking into account the pivotal role played by Leo the Great. In this regard, his sermons provide invaluable data for the social historian. It was Leo-and not the emperor-who went out to confront Attila the Hun. It was Leo who once averted and on another occasion mitigated the ravages of barbarian incursions. As significant as his contribution was to history, Leo had an even greater impact on theology. When partisans of the monophysite heresy had through various machinations predetermined the outcome of a council held at Chalcedon in 450, Leo immediately denounced it as a latrocinium (robbery) rather than a concilium (council). A year later- with cries of ""Peter has spoken through Leo!""-the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, a pillar of Catholic Christianity, adopted in its resounding condemnation of monophysitism the very language formulated by Leo. Pope Leo also developed the most explicit and detailed affirmations known up to that time of the prerogatives enjoyed by successors of St. Peter. Many theological principles find their clearest, and certainly their most eloquent, expression in his sermons. Leo spoke with all the refinement of a Roman orator, less the pagan trappings, and thus epitomized a Christian appropriation of the classical heritage. In the midst of it all, however, Pope St. Leo thought of himself simply as the humble servant of those entrusted to his care. This volume presents the first English translation of the complete Sermons.
Large print edition of the Hebrew Old Testament. A revision of Kittle, Biblia Hebraica prepared by H. P. Ruger and other scholars on the basis of Manuscript B19A, in the National Public Library, St. Petersburg, Russia, with a thorough revision of the Masoretic apparatus by G. E. Weil. Introduction in German, English, French, Spanish, and Latin. English key to Latin words, abbreviations, and symbols.
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.
Francis's forma vitae for the Fratres Minores, the original rule for the Franciscan Order, was meant to establish peace and equality among people who worked together in a community, yet each using his own particular talent: an ideal that had a short life. At Francis's death, Pope Gregory IX took the opportunity to use Francis's popularity in order to satisfy his political ambition. Despite the protest of Francis's closest brothers and sisters, the ones who had shared the true experience of the order during his life, the Pope changed Francis's forma vitae into something more palatable and useful to the Church. The Franciscan Order became a tool for the Church to reassert control on every issue and in every situation regarding spirituality, religious dogmas, the position of women in society, and material possession. Many of these issues had never been on Francis's agenda. While making Francis a famous saint with a spectacular canonization, at the same time the Church ignored Francis's original and revolutionary concept often deeply opposed to the Church's politics. Thoughts on Francis of Assisi illustrates with historical details the Franciscan Order's makeover devised by the Catholic Church after Francis's death. The Franciscan Order was never what Francis had created. Thoughts on Francis of Assisi is essential reading for graduate course in History, Religious Studies, and Italian Studies.
Building on the work of Tertullian and Paul this volume continues a series of specially commissioned studies by leading voices in New Testament/Early Christianity and Patristics studies to consider how Paul was read, interpreted and received by the Church Fathers. In this volume the use of Paul's writings is examined within the work of the Apostolic Fathers. Issue of influence, reception, theology and history are examined to show how Paul's work influenced the developing theology of the early Church. The literary style of Paul's output is also examined. The contributors to the volume represent leading lights in the study of the Apostolic Fathers, as well as respected names from the field of New Testament studies.
This book is a reading of the text of the Gospel of John in light of a tradition of Johannine authorship represented by the Muratorian Fragment, Papias of Hierapolis, and the Anti-Marcionite Prologue, all which are taken to reflect the influence of a common tradition represented by Jerome, Clement of Alexandria, and Victorinus of Pettau. Taken together these suggest that the Gospel of John was the work of the late first- or early second-century John the Presbyter who mediated the tradition of a distinctive group of Johannine disciples among whom Andrew was most important.
In The Visual Culture of Catholic Enlightenment Christopher Johns addresses the reforming impulse of the Catholic Church in the middle decades of the eighteenth century and its impact on art and visual culture, broadly defined. Until relatively recently, most scholars considered the notion of a Catholic Enlightment either oxymoronic or illusory, since received wisdom was that the Catholic Church was a tireless and indefatigable enemy of modernist progress. According to Johns, however, the eighteenth-century Papacy recognized many of the advantages of engaging certain aspects of enlightenment thinking and many in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, both in Italy and abroad, were sincerely interested in making the Church more relevant in the modern world and, above all, in reforming the various institutions that governed society. Johns presents the visual culture of papal Rome as a major change agent in the cause of Catholic enlightenment while assessing its continuing links to tradition. The Visual Culture of Catholic Enlightenment sheds substantial light on the relationship between eighteenth-century Roman society and visual culture and the role of religion in both.
The contributors to this volume address the key institutions of the first and second Church, considering the development of rituals and sacraments, and the development of Church leadership, and of the Church itself. The first part of the book looks at the offices of the Church - the Apostolate and the development of other religious authorities - as well as the notion of Apostolic Tradition. The second part looks at the sacraments, with in-depth consideration of the Eucharist, and of Baptismal texts from the early Church. The essays are of interest to scholars researching the development of the early Church and of Church rituals and practices.
St Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in St Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history. It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for the possibility of transcendence. While we know little about some aspects of the life of St Paul - his upbringing, the details of his death - his dramatic vision of God on the road to Damascus is one of the most powerful stories in the history of Christianity, and the life that followed forever changed the course of history.
During the fourth century Roman emperor Constantine created laws exempting clergymen who committed a felony from having to answer for their actions before a secular court. This set about 1500 years of use and abuse of what became known as Benefit of Clergy. The unusual legal excuse traveled to England where by the middle of the thirteenth century men who were no more than church doormen or bishop's messengers could avoid the executioner's gallows and walk free after a brief appearance before the Christian court. The range of crimes committed by these clerics encompassed all of the criminality occurring throughout the Middle Ages: murder, rape, arson, kidnapping, extortion, theft. Priests belonged to gangs of robbers and murderers, monks supplied their services as thugs to evict legitimate tenants and a bishop ran his own mafia, in 1303 a priest assisted by a group of monks stole the crown jewels. In one particularly gruesome incident a monk assisted a group of villagers in holding a man inside an oven until he burned to death. In another example a priest sexually assaulted a woman and then returned later to assault her again. When she resisted he held her infant child in a fire. During the same period students at Oxford university were permitted to claim the dubious title of cleric; to their discredit they were at one point the most murderous group of citizens throughout the realm. Eventually the church and the crown had little choice but to attempt reform of England's criminal clerics. It took two hundred years. To the surprise of some writers though the excuse was not removed; it was extended. By 1375 it was possible for any Englishman who could read to claim he was a clergyman and be exempted from hanging. This book follows the fascinating and graphic history of the use and abuse of benefit of clergy in England during the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Previous commentators have largely dismissed the clergy plea as an anomaly, something simply 'evil' or even a 'queer old farce'. That position is challenged in this book and it is suggested that the excuse should be reconsidered against the vibrant social and legal environment of medieval England as one of a range of legal excuses that also included sanctuary, abjuration and outlawry. In theory these three options were not available to clerics. In practice, and at times with the connivance of their bishops, all order of clergymen availed themselves of the opportunity to hide, flea or become a legal outcast. If they failed many then resorted to the cleric's plea as a last option. The story of benefit of clergy has previously been portrayed as an example of the worst excesses of churchmen usurping the law. In this work a new position is argued; one that does not seek to absolve the criminal clergymen of medieval England, but rather more to appreciate better the factors that came to bear upon them in the rapidly changing world of the late Middle Ages and to recognize that the laicization of benefit of clergy was a natural and inevitable growth of the dynamic world during this period. Recent commentary on Benefit of Clergy is sparse. Even less has been said that includes it with sanctuary, abjuration and outlawry. Students of history, legal history, criminal justice, religion and anyone looking for a fascinating read is encouraged to look into Getting away with Murder: Criminal Clerics in Late Medieval England.
In this book Sean Freyne explores the rise and expansion of early Christianity within the context of the Greco-Roman world - the living, dynamic matrix of Jesus and his followers. In addition to offering fresh insights into Jesus' Jewish upbringing and the possible impact of Greco-Roman lifestyles on him and his followers, Freyne delves into the mission and expansion of the Jesus movement in Palestine and beyond during the first hundred years of its development. To give readers a full picture of the context in which the Jesus movement developed, Freyne includes pictures, maps, and timelines throughout the book. Freyne's interdisciplinary approach, combining historical, archaeological, and literary methods, makes The Jesus Movement and Its Expansion both comprehensive and accessible.
Christianity in the late antique world was not imposed but embraced, and the laity were not passive members of their religion but had a central role in its creation. This volume explores the role of the laity in Gaul, bringing together the fields of history, archaeology and theology. First, this book follows the ways in which clergy and monks tried to shape and manufacture lay religious experience. They had themselves constructed the category of 'the laity', which served as a negative counterpart to their self-definition. Lay religious experience was thus shaped in part by this need to create difference between categories. The book then focuses on how the laity experienced their religion, how they interpreted it and how their decisions shaped the nature of the Church and of their faith. This part of the study pays careful attention to the diversity of the laity in this period, their religious environments, ritual engagement, behaviours, knowledge and beliefs. The first volume to examine laity in this period in Gaul - a key region for thinking about the transition from Roman rule to post-Roman society - The Religious Worlds of the Laity in Late Antique Gaul fills an important gap in current literature.
Recent scholarship on ancient Judaism, finding only scattered references to messiahs in Hellenistic- and Roman-period texts, has generally concluded that the word ''messiah'' did not mean anything determinate in antiquity. Meanwhile, interpreters of Paul, faced with his several hundred uses of the Greek word for ''messiah,'' have concluded that christos in Paul does not bear its conventional sense. Against this curious consensus, Matthew V. Novenson argues in Christ among the Messiahs that all contemporary uses of such language, Paul's included, must be taken as evidence for its range of meaning. In other words, early Jewish messiah language is the kind of thing of which Paul's Christ language is an example. Looking at the modern problem of Christ and Paul, Novenson shows how the scholarly discussion of christos in Paul has often been a cipher for other, more urgent interpretive disputes. He then traces the rise and fall of ''the messianic idea'' in Jewish studies and gives an alternative account of early Jewish messiah language: the convention worked because there existed both an accessible pool of linguistic resources and a community of competent language users. Whereas it is commonly objected that the normal rules for understanding christos do not apply in the case of Paul since he uses the word as a name rather than a title, Novenson shows that christos in Paul is neither a name nor a title but rather a Greek honorific, like Epiphanes or Augustus. Focusing on several set phrases that have been taken as evidence that Paul either did or did not use christos in its conventional sense, Novenson concludes that the question cannot be settled at the level of formal grammar. Examining nine passages in which Paul comments on how he means the word christos, Novenson shows that they do all that we normally expect any text to do to count as a messiah text. Contrary to much recent research, he argues that Christ language in Paul is itself primary evidence for messiah language in ancient Judaism.
An outstanding resource for high school readers and first-year college students, this book explores early Christianity from its beginnings in the first century through the fourth century when Christianity went from a persecuted faith to the only legalized faith in the Roman Empire. How did Christianity become one of the most widespread religions as well as one of the most influential forces in world history that has shaped politics, wars, literature, art, and music on every continent? This book contains more than 40 entries on various topics in early Christianity, 15 primary documents, and 6 argumentative essays written by scholars in the field. The breadth of materials enables readers to learn about early Christianity from a number of different viewpoints and to come to their own conclusions about how historical events unfolded in early Christianity. This single-volume work focuses on the first four centuries of early Christianity, including topics on Jerusalem, Herod the Great, Paul, Tertullian, Mani, The Arians, Constantine the Great, and many others. Readers will be well equipped to answer three critical questions that scholars of early Christianity deal with when they study this period: Why was Christianity popular? Why were Christians persecuted? How did Christianity spread? * Provides readers with a broad understanding of early Christianity from the time of Jesus to the fall of Rome and an appreciation for how early Christian communities spread throughout the Empire * Examines a number of key topics that relate to the varied communities that made up early Christianity * Provides readers with multiple primary documents in order to better understand early Christianity and offer opportunities to apply their critical thinking skills * Supports NCHS World History content standards for Era 3, Standard 3B
Following the period of glasnost and perestroika, the Russian Orthodox Church rose from the ashes of the Soviet Union and its ideology, and started to reassert its rightful place and authority within and beyond its canonical territory. This authority was exercised and revealed on several levels in relation to the rest of Christendom, both East and West: first, in relation to the 'Mother' Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople and, second, in relation to the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches. In this book, the author addresses the previously unexplored issue of authority within the Russian Church and considers how and what type of authority was developed within the Church during its turbulent and controversial history and how this affects its operation today. The work investigates the historical contexts and events which led to a particular concept of authority being formulated in the Russian Orthodox Church within the wider framework of time, geography, theology and philosophy.
The nineteen studies in this volume, produced over the last fifteen years, cover three areas in Christian Egypt's long and enduring history. First are eight papers dealing with record-keeping in both of the Christian Egyptian culture-carrying languages of late antiquity, Coptic and Greek, showing how these languages were used pragmatically and interactively to embody everyday transactions and messages. Then come five studies of a major sixth-century thinker and theologian, John Philoponus, who contributed greatly to the self-definition of the non-Chalcedonian Egyptian church and employed both classical philosophy and biblical exegesis to provide his fellow Miaphysites with needed intellectual tools. Finally there are six articles ranging from sixth-century philosophy, poetry, and liturgy to the cultural productions of Egyptian Christians living under Muslim rule, including how they sought to memorialize traditions and deal with internal conflict.
A religious reformation occurred in the Roman Empire of the fourth and fifth centuries which scholars often call Christianization. Examining evidence relevant to Roman Africa of this period, this book sharpens understanding of this religious revolution. Focusing on the activities of Augustine and his colleagues from Augustine's ordination as a priest in 391, to the fall of the Emperor Honorius' master of soldiers, Stilicho, in 408, it proposes Catholicization as a term to more precisely characterize the process of change observed. Augustine and Catholic Christianization argues that at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century Augustine emerged as the key manager in the campaign to Catholicize Roman Africa by virtue of a comprehensive strategy to persuade or suppress rivals, which notably included Donatists, Arians, Manichees, and various kinds of polytheism. Select sermons from 403 and 404 reveal that Augustine's rhetoric was multivalent. It addressed the populus and the elite, Christians and non-Christians, Catholics, and Donatists. Key sources examined are selected laws of the Theodosian Code, the Canons of the African Council of Catholic Bishops, Augustine's Dolbeau sermons (discovered in 1990), Contra Cresconium, as well as other sermons, letters, and treatises of Augustine. This book clarifies our perception of Augustine and Christianity in the socio-religious landscape of Late Roman Africa in at least three ways. First, it combines theological investigation of the sources and development of Augustine's ecclesiology with sociohistorical tracing of the process of Catholicization. Second, an account of the evolution of Augustine's self-understanding as a bishop is given along with the development of his strategy for Catholicization. Third, Augustine is identified as resembling modern political "spin-doctors" in that he was a brilliant spokesperson, but he did not work alone; he was a team player. In brief, Augustine influenced and was influenced by his fellow bishops within Catholic circles.
In Tertullian's Use of the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude, Mark A. Frisius establishes that Tertullian (a third-century theologian) only used the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, and 1 Peter, although he at least knew of Jude. It is further demonstrated that he had no knowledge of James or 2 Peter, which has a distinct bearing on the emergence of the New Testament canon. Tertullian interprets these five texts in various ways, but always with an eye toward confrontational discourse. The author assesses Tertullian's varying interpretive principles and also considers the effects of Montanism on his interpretive procedures. In conclusion, Frisius demonstrates that the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, and 1 Peter provided Tertullian with significant material for his theological controversies. This book, in addition to being a resource for scholars, is also useful in senior level and graduate courses on ancient biblical interpretation.
Paul the Apostle has traditionally been viewed as a thinker and theologian, and scholars have focused almost exclusively on his ideas rather than on his religious experience. In this book, a leading New Testament scholar challenges this view of Paul. John Ashton demonstrates how closely Paul's own career resembles that of a typical shaman, and he shows how every important aspect of Paul's life and ministry may be illuminated by focusing on his experience. Drawing not only on Paul's letters but also on contemporary writings in the Jewish and Hellenistic worlds, Ashton discusses a number of important issues relevant to the understanding of Paul and to the origins of Christianity: whether Paul is properly described as a convert, a mystic, an apostle, a prophet, or a charismatic; what his attitude was to the Jewish traditions he inherited; why he felt called upon to preach, not to his fellow Jews, but to the Gentiles; and how we can explain his language of spirit-possession. In addressing these issues, Ashton demonstrates that to regard Christianity simply as a religion of the word is to ignore a vital truth about its origins. John Ashton was Lecturer in New Testament Studies in the University of Oxford, and is now Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. He is the author of important books on St John's Gospel, and editor and introducer of the volume 'The Interpretation of John'.
Journey Back to God explores Origen of Alexandria's creative, complex, and controversial treatment of the problem of evil. It argues that his layered cosmology functions as a theodicy that deciphers deeper meaning beneath cosmic disparity. Origen asks: why does God create a world where some suffer more than others? On the surface, the unfair arrangement of the world defies theological coherence. In order to defend divine justice against the charge of cosmic mismanagement, Origen develops a theological cosmology that explains the ontological status and origin of evil as well as its cosmic implications. Origen's theodicy hinges on the journey of the soul back to God. Its themes correlate with the soul's creation, fall and descent into materiality, gradual purification, and eventual divinization. The world, for Origen, functions as a school and hospital for the soul where it undergoes the necessary education and purgation. Origen carefully calibrates his cosmology and theology. He portrays God as a compassionate and judicious teacher, physician, and father who employs suffering for our amelioration. Journey Back to God frames the systematic study of Origen's theodicy within a broader theory of theodicy as navigation, which signifies the dynamic process whereby we impute meaning to suffering. It unites the logical and spiritual facets of his theodicy, and situates it in its third-century historical, theological, and philosophical context, correcting the distortions that continue to plague Origen scholarship. Furthermore, the study clarifies his ambiguous position on universalism within the context of his eschatology. Finally, it assesses the cogency and contemporary relevance of Origen's theodicy, highlighting the problems and prospects of his bold, constructive, and optimistic vision.
A Psycho-Spiritual View on the Message of Jesus in the Gospels explores elements of mysticism in the words of Jesus. Four fields are analyzed with the help of two key concepts of mysticism: presence of the divine and transformation of the self. Analyses, semantic and otherwise, reveal alternative understandings on each of the four fields. Psuche appears as 'self' ('mind-and-heart') rather than as 'life,' for example, in the Good Shepherd passage (dedicating one's self), or in the saving and losing logia in Mark 8.35 par, calling for transformation. Pneuma in the Gospels appears both in a definite form and indefinitely: next to the Holy Spirit, there is holy spirit active and present, implying that baptism literally is immersing in holy spirit. Repentance (metanoia) is alternatively to be understood as transformation of the self, and is not necessarily connected to 'sin.' Finally, the Kingdom of God, in line with theologian Adolf von Harnack, is found to be present (it has approached,eggiken) and is a reality inside (entos) the human being, a musterion, apart from its references to the eschaton or to a paradisiacal new world. Parables teach about the Kingdom as a spiritual entity in and around the human being: presence of the divine, closely connected with transformation of the self. These findings open up to a psycho-spiritual understanding of the message (euaggelion) of Jesus.
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