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Along with his Confessions, The City of God is undoubtedly St. Augustine's most influential work. In the context of what begins as a lengthy critique of classic Roman religion and a defence of Christianity, Augustine touches upon numerous topics, including the role of grace, the original state of humanity, the possibility of waging a just war, the ideal form of government, and the nature of heaven and hell. But his major concern is the difference between the City of God and the City of Man - one built on love of God, the other on love of self. One cannot but be moved and impressed by the author's breadth of interest and penetrating intelligence. For all those who are interested in the greatest classics of Christian antiquity, The City of God is indispensable. This long-awaited translation by William Babcock is published in two volumes, with an introduction and annotation that make Augustine's monumental work approachable. Books 11-22 offer Augustine's Christian view of history, including the Christian view of human destiny. The INDEX for Books 1-22 (both volumes of The City of God) is contained in this edition.
Anti-Cultic Theology in Christian Biblical Interpretation challenges the widely held view that Isaiah 66:1-4 is a prophetic indictment against temple worship. Through critical analysis of representative interpretations from the Patristic Era, the writings of Martin Luther, and Modern Biblical Scholarship the book reveals the anti-cultic interpretation of these verses to be theologically motivated. The author argues instead that Isaiah 66 contrasts divine and human nature rather than cultic and spiritual worship. This work contributes to the subject of Jewish-Christian relations in a unique way, grounding the discussion of anti-Jewish interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in the analysis of a particular passage.
Theodoret of Cyrus on Romans 11:26: Recovering an Early Christian Elijah Redivivus Tradition explores the interesting reading of Romans 11:26 offered by the fifth-century Antiochene bishop Theodoret of Cyrus, who states that « the Jews will believe when the excellent Elijah comes, bringing to them the doctrine of faith. Surveying the diverse Elijah redivivus traditions of Middle Judaism and early Christianity, the author identifies the two main trajectories of Christian Elijah redivivus traditions that emerge. Theodoret's application of one such tradition to Romans 11:26 is set within the framework of the modern debate on the salvation of Israel, allowing an ancient voice to speak to the modern scholarly divide.
This book is an exploration of illness and healing experiences in contemporary society through the veneration of saints: primarily the twin doctors Saints Cosmas and Damian. It also follows the author's personal journey from her role as a hematologist who inadvertently served as an expert witness in a miracle to her research as a historian on the origins, meaning and functions of saints. Sources include interviews with devotees in both North America and Europe. Cosmas and Damian were martyred around the year 300 A.D. in what is now Syria. Called the "Anargyroi" (without silver) because they charged no fees, they became patrons of medicine, surgery, and pharmacy as their cult spread widely across Europe. The near eastern origin explains their popularity in Byzantine and Orthodox traditions and the concentration of their shrines in Eastern Europe, Southern Italy, and Sicily. The Medici family of Florence also viewed the "santi medici" as patrons, and their deeds were depicted by great Renaissance artists. In medical literature they are now revered as patrons of transplantation. Duffin's research focuses on how people have taken the saints with them as they moved within Italy and beyond. It also shows that their veneration is not confined to immigrant traditions, and that it fills important functions in health care and healing. Duffin's conclusions are situated within scholarship in medicine, medical history, sociology, anthropology, and popular religion; and intersect with the current medical debate over spiritual healing. This work springs from medical history and Roman Catholic traditions; however, it extends to general observations about the behaviors of sick people and about the formal responses to individual illness from collectivities in religion, medicine, and, indeed, history.
Originally published in Italian in 1978, The Transmission of Sin is a study of the origins of the doctrine of original sin, one of the most important teachings of the Catholic Church. While the doctrine has a basis in biblical sources, it found its classic expression in the work of St. Augustine. Yet Augustine did not work out his theory on the basis of the biblical texts alone, rather he sought to understand them in the context of the religious thinking of his own time. Pier Franco Beatrice's work seeks to illuminate that context, and discover the post-biblical influences on Augustine's thought. Although he made considerable efforts to defend and elaborate the doctrine of hereditary guilt, says Beatrice, the doctrine already existed before Augustine and was in fact widespread in the Christianity of the time, particularly in the West. He locates its origins in Egypt in the second half of the second century CE, in Jewish-Christian circles that saw sexual congress as the source of the physical and moral corruption that afflicts all humans. In reaction to this extreme view, which rejected marriage and procreation as inherently evil, other theologians developed a more moderate position, recognizing only personal sin, which could not be inherited. Beatrice argues that Augustine's doctrine exemplified a synthesis of these two trends which would ultimately triumph as the orthodox Catholic position.
Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 CE), "the Theologian," is the premier teacher on the Holy Trinity in Eastern Christian tradition, yet for over a century historians and theologians have largely neglected his work. Christopher Beeley's groundbreaking study - the first comprehensive treatment in modern scholarship - examines Gregory's doctrine of the Trinity within the full range of his theological and practical vision. Following an overview of Gregory's life and major works, Beeley traces the central soteriological meaning of Gregory's doctrine in the spiritual dialectic of purification and illumination; the dynamic process of divinization (theosis); the singular identity of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God; the divinity and essential presence of the Holy Spirit; and the interpretation of Scripture "according to the Spirit." The book culminates in Gregory's understanding of the Trinity as a whole - which is "theology" in the fullest sense - rooted in the monarchy of God the Father and uniquely known in the divine economy of salvation. Finally, Beeley identifies the Trinitarian shape of pastoral ministry, on which Gregory is also the foundational teacher for later Christian tradition. Beeley offers new insights in several key areas, reinterpreting the famous Theological Orations and Christological epistles within the full corpus of Gregory's orations, poems, and letters. Gregory stands out as the leading ecclesiastical figure in the Eastern Roman Empire and the most powerful theologian of his age, who produced the definitive expression of Trinitarian orthodoxy from a characteristically Eastern tradition of Origenist theology, independent of the work of Athanasius and in several respects more insightful than his Cappadocian contemporaries. Long eclipsed in modern scholarship, Gregory Nazianzen is now brought into full view as the major witness to the Trinity among the Greek fathers of the Church.
How did the Jesus movement-a messianic sectarian version of Palestinian Judaism-transcend its Judaean origins and ultimately establish itself in the Roman East as the multi-ethnic socio-religious experiment we know as early Christianity? In this major work, Hellerman, drawing upon his background as a social historian, proposes that a clue to the success of the Christian movement lay in Jesus' own conception of the people of God, and in how he reconfigured its identity from that of ethnos to that of family. Pointing first to Jesus' critique of sabbath-keeping, the Jerusalem temple, and Jewish dietary laws-practices central to the preservation of Judaean social identity-he argues that Jesus' intention was to destabilize the idea of God's people as a localized ethnos. In its place he conceived the social identity of the people of God as a surrogate family or kinship group, a social entity based not on common ancestry but on a shared commitment to his kingdom programme. Jesus of Nazareth thus functioned as a kind of ethnic entrepreneur, breaking down the boundaries of ethnic Judaism and providing an ideological foundation and symbolic framework for the wider expansion of the Jesus movement.
This study of the early church is written from a new religious and theological studies perspective. It builds on recent research in ancient history, archaeology, classical and oriental and cognate studies and also takes account of recent developments in reception studies, in particular in the area of popular literature, fiction, film, art and new religions. One of its aims is to demonstrate how certain perceptions of the early church still dominate the western cultural discourse and how important it is for a fruitful development of that discourse to inform it with a well grounded, well (historically) informed, notion of 'the early church'. The book falls into seven chapters. Chapter I discusses the concepts of 'the early church', 'early Christianity', its wording and history, including wider aspects of reception. Chapter II deals with concepts of history, memory and cultural origins in early Christian thought. Chapter III outlines varieties of religious traditions in the wider context of 'the early church', including 'heresies' or other religions like Gnosticism, Montanism and Manichaeism. Chapter IV introduces religious practices of early Christians and their perception in history, especially in western art. A fifth chapter deals with the emerging separation of religion and society in Late Antiquity. In a sixth chapter we outline the formation of orthodoxy, including the developments of creeds and the phenomenon of councils, and in a seventh chapter we will look at the phenomenon of 'De-Hellenization' and the formation of 'national' 'christianities' on the fringes of the old Mediterranean world.
The fourth-century Christian thinker, Gregory of Nyssa, has been the subject of a huge variety of interpretations over the past fifty years, from historians, theologians, philosophers, and others. In this highly original study, Morwenna Ludlow analyses these recent readings of Gregory of Nyssa and asks: What do they reveal about modern and postmodern interpretations of the Christian past? What do they say about the nature of Gregory's writing? Working thematically through studies of recent Trinitarian theology, Christology, spirituality, feminism, and postmodern hermeneutics, Ludlow develops an approach to reading the Church Fathers which combines the benefits of traditional scholarship on the early Church with reception-history and theology.
Following a thorough examination of the structure, language, and argument of Matthew's discourse on parables, Anthony O. Ewherido underscores its primary relevance to the ongoing discussion on the social context of Matthew's Gospel. The convincing analysis of the textual evidence and study of some social and historical trends in Christianity and Judaism in the post-70 C.E. era inform Ewherido's conclusion that at the time the Gospel was written to its predominantly Jewish-Christian community, that community had parted ways with Judaism and stood at an ideologically irreconcilable distance from the « synagogue across the street.
One contemporary critique of Thomistic theology is that it dehistoricizes the relationship between God and creation. This position is a consequence of identifying the prius of theology as God. The Eucharist as the Center of Theology offers an alternative in that it examines a free historical prius, the Eucharist, as proposed by Donald J. Keefe, S.J., and then discusses and develops aspects of St. Thomas Aquinas' thought that support such a prius.
Exegesis and Hermeneutics in the Churches of the East contains the proceedings of the Bible in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions unit of the Society of Biblical Literature's (SBL) 2007 meeting in San Diego, California. Biblical professors and scholars from the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox traditions (the latter including Aramaic, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic, Georgian, and Coptic, among others) gathered to engage in critical study of the role of the Bible in eastern Christianity, past and present. The collection of articles in Exegesis and Hermeneutics in the Churches of the East examines the latest scholarly findings in the field of the utilization and interpretation of the Bible in the Christian communities in the East during the first five centuries of Christianity. They offer critical evaluations of the early church's hermeneutical and exegerical tools and methodologies.
The theology of creation interconnected with virtually every aspect of early Christian thought, from Trinitarian doctrine to salvation to ethics. Paul M. Blowers provides an advanced introduction to the multiplex relation between Creator and creation as an object both of theological construction and religious devotion in the early church. While revisiting the polemical dimension of Christian responses to Greco-Roman philosophical cosmology and heterodox Gnostic and Marcionite traditions on the origin, constitution, and destiny of the cosmos, Blowers focuses more substantially on the positive role of patristic theological interpretation of Genesis and other biblical creation texts in eliciting Christian perspectives on the multifaceted relation between Creator and creation. Greek, Syriac, and Latin patristic commentators, Blowers argues, were ultimately motivated less by purely cosmological concerns than by the urge to depict creation as the enduring creative and redemptive strategy of the Trinity. The 'drama of the divine economy', which Blowers discerns in patristic theology and piety, unfolded how the Creator invested the 'end' of the world already in its beginning, and thereupon worked through the concrete actions of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to realize a new creation.
Evading established accounts of the development of doctrine in the Patristic era, Augustine's Christology has yet to receive the critical scholarly attention it deserves. This study focuses on Augustine's understanding of the humanity of Christ, as it emerged in dialogue with his anti-Pelagian conception of human freedom and Original Sin. By reinterpreting the Pelagian controversy as a Western continuation of the Origenist controversy before it, Dominic Keech argues that Augustine's reading of Origen lay at the heart of his Christological response to Pelagianism. Augustine is therefore situated within the network of fourth and fifth century Western theologians concerned to defend Origen against accusations of Platonic error and dangerous heresy. Opening with a survey of scholarship on Augustine's Christology and anti-Pelagian theology, Keech proceeds by redrawing the narrative of Augustine's engagement with the issues and personalities involved in the Origenist and Pelagian controversies. He highlights the predominant motif of Augustine's anti-Pelagian Christology: the humanity of Christ, 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' (Rom. 8.3), and argues that this is elaborated through a series of receptions from the work of Ambrose and Origen. The theological problems raised by this Christology - in a Christ who is exempt from sin in a way which unbalances his human nature - are explored by examining Augustine's understanding of Apollinarianism, and his equivocal statements on the origin of the human soul. This forms the backdrop for the book's speculative conclusion, that the inconsistencies in Augustine's Christology can be explained by placing it in an Origenian framework, in which the soul of Christ remains sinless in the Incarnation because of its relationship to the eternal Word, after the fall of souls to embodiment.
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.
This anthology of writings, drawn from five hundred years of spiritual exploration, shows how the early Church Fathers 'kept company with God'. It witnesses to the continuity of the Christian tradition as it emerged and grew from the era of the Apostles. In these days of division and cultural fragmentation, this rich heritage constitutes an invaluable resource of learning and wisdom. Including material from Cyprian, The Desert Tradition, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Augustine, Benedict, and Gregory the Great, this collection will inspire and impress contemporary readers with its vitality and variety of thought.
There are few texts as central to the mythology of Jewish literature as the Garden of Eden and its attendant motifs, yet the direct citation of this text within the Hebrew Bible is surprisingly rare. Even more conspicuous is the infrequent reference to creation, or to the archetypal first humans Adam and Eve. There have also been few analyses of the impact of Genesis 2-3 beyond the biblical canon, though early Jewish and Christian interpretations of it are numerous, and often omitted is an analysis of the expulsion narrative in verses 22-24. In Remembering Eden, Peter Thacher Lanfer seeks to erase this gap in scholarship. He evaluates texts that expand and explicitly interpret the expulsion narrative, as well as translation texts such as the Septuagint, the Aramaic Targums, and the Syriac Peshitta. According to Lanfer, these textual additions, omissions, and translational choices are often a product of ideological and historically rooted decisions. His goal is to evaluate the genetic, literary, and ideological character of individual texts divorced from the burden of divisions between texts that are anachronistic ("biblical" vs. "non-biblical") or overly broad ("Pseudepigrapha"). This analytical choice, along with the insights of classic biblical criticism, yields a novel understanding of the communities receiving and reinterpreting the expulsion narrative. In addition, in tracing the impact of the polemic insertion of the expulsion narrative into the Eden myth, Lanfer shows that the multi-vocality of a text's interpretations serves to highlight the dialogical elements of the text in its present composite state.
Memory is the least studied dimension of Augustine's psychological trinity of memory-intellect-will. This book explores the theme of 'memory' in Augustine's works, tracing its philosophical and theological significance. The first part explores the philosophical history of memory in Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. The second part shows how Augustine inherits this theme and treats it in his early writings. The third and final part seeks to show how Augustine's theological understanding of Christ draws on and resolves tensions in the theme of memory. The place of memory in the theological anthropology of Augustine has its roots in the Platonic epistemological tradition. Augustine actively engages with this tradition in his early writings in a manner that is both philosophically sophisticated and doctrinally consistent with his later, more overtly theological writings. From the Cassiacum dialogues through De musica, Augustine points to the central importance of memory: he examines the power of the soul as something that mediates sense perception and understanding, while explicitly deferring a more profound treatment of it until Confessions and De trinitate. In these two texts, memory is the foundation for the location of the Imago Dei in the mind. It becomes the basis for the spiritual experience of the embodied creature, and a source of the profound anxiety that results from the sensed opposition of human time and divine time (aeterna ratio). This tension is contained and resolved, to a limited extent, in Augustine's Christology, in the ability of a paradoxical incarnation to unify the temporal and the eternal (in Confessions 11 and 12), and the life of faith (scientia) with the promised contemplation of the divine (sapientia, in De trinitate 12-14).
Through groundbreaking analysis of early Christian texts, Candida Moss reveals that the words, actions, and deaths of martyrs are modeled on those of Christ. Moss traces this imitation through the literature of the Jesus movement and early church, then examines interpretations of the martyr's death and afterlife. Arguing against the dominant theory that the martyr's death was seen as a sacrifice, Moss finds that beyond death martyrs continue to be assimilated to Christ as intercessors, judges, enthroned monarchs, and banqueters. Though characterization of the martyr as "another Christ" ultimately conflicted with theological commitments to Christ's uniqueness, Moss shows that, for a brief period, the martyr's imitation was viewed as sharing in the status of the exalted Christ.
The First Edition of the New Testament is a groundbreaking book that argues that the New Testament is not the product of a centuries-long process of development. Its history, David Trobisch contends, is the history of a book--an all Greek Christian bible--published as early as the second century C.E. and intended by its editors to be read as a whole. Trobisch claims that this bible achieved wide circulation and formed the basis of all surviving manuscripts of the New Testament. Review: Dr. Trobisch has produced a thought-provoking and significant study that will surely challenge the traditional understanding of the formation of the canon....The First Edition of the New Testament could have relevance for years to come.--Faith & Mission
This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. This book examines the writings of an early sixth-century Christian mystical theologian who wrote under the name of a convert of the apostle Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite. This 'Pseudo'-Dionysius is famous for articulating a mystical theology in two parts: a sacramental and liturgical mysticism embedded in the context of celestial and ecclesiastical hierarchies, and an austere, contemplative regimen in which one progressively negates the divine names in hopes of soliciting union with the 'unknown God' or 'God beyond being.' Charles M. Stang argues that the pseudonym and the influence of Paul together constitute the best interpretive lens for understanding the Corpus Dionysiacum [CD]. Stang demonstrates how Paul animates the entire corpus, and shows that the influence of Paul illuminates such central themes of the CD as hierarchy, theurgy, deification, Christology, affirmation (kataphasis) and negation (apophasis), dissimilar similarities, and unknowing. Most importantly, Paul serves as a fulcrum for the expression of a new theological anthropology, an 'apophatic anthropology.' Dionysius figures Paul as the premier apostolic witness to this apophatic anthropology, as the ecstatic lover of the divine who confesses to the rupture of his self and the indwelling of the divine in Gal 2:20: 'it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.' Building on this notion of apophatic anthropology, the book forwards an explanation for why this sixth-century author chose to write under an apostolic pseudonym. Stang argues that the very practice of pseudonymous writing itself serves as an ecstatic devotional exercise whereby the writer becomes split in two and thereby open to the indwelling of the divine. Pseudonymity is on this interpretation integral and internal to the aims of the wider mystical enterprise. Thus this book aims to question the distinction between 'theory' and 'practice' by demonstrating that negative theology-often figured as a speculative and rarefied theory regarding the transcendence of God-is in fact best understood as a kind of asceticism, a devotional practice aiming for the total transformation of the Christian subject.
Irenaeus' theology of the Holy Spirit is often highly regarded amongst theologians today, but that regard is not universal, nor has an adequate volume of literature supported it. This study provides a detailed examination of certain principal, often distinctive, aspects of Irenaeus' pneumatology. In contrast to those who have suggested Irenaeus held a weak conception of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, Anthony Briggman demonstrates that Irenaeus combined Second Temple Jewish traditions of the spirit with New Testament theology to produce the most complex Jewish-Christian pneumatology of the early church. In so doing, Irenaeus moved beyond his contemporaries by being the first author, following the New Testament writings, to construct a theological account in which binitarian logic did not diminish either the identity or activity of the Holy Spirit. That is to say, he was the first to support his Trinitarian convictions by means of Trinitarian logic. Briggman advances the narrative that locates early Christian pneumatologies in the context of Jewish traditions regarding the spirit. In particular, he argues that the appropriation and repudiation of Second Temple Jewish forms of thought explain three moments in the development of Christian theology. First, the existence of a rudimentary pneumatology correlating to the earliest stage of Trinitarian theology in which a Trinitarian confession is accompanied by binitarian orientation/logic, such as in the thought of Justin Martyr. Second, the development of a sophisticated pneumatology correlating to a mature second century Trinitarian theology in which a Trinitarian confession is accompanied by Trinitarian logic. This second moment is visible in Irenaeus' thought, which eschewed Jewish traditions that often hindered theological accounts of his near contemporaries, such as Justin, while adopting and adapting Jewish traditions that enabled him to strengthen and clarify his own understanding of the Holy Spirit. Third, the return to a rudimentary account of the Spirit at the turn of the third century when theologians such as Tertullian, Origen, and Novatian repudiated Jewish traditions integral to Irenaeus' account of the Holy Spirit.
Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought is an investigation into two basic concepts of ancient pagan and Christian thought. The study examines how activity in Christian thought is connected with the topic of participation: for the lower levels of being to participate in the higher means to receive the divine activity into their own ontological constitution. Torstein Theodor Tollefsen sets a detailed discussion of the work of church fathers Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas in the context of earlier trends in Aristotelian and Neoplatonist philosophy. His concern is to highlight how the Church Fathers thought energeia (i.e. activity or energy) is manifested as divine activity in the eternal constitution of the Trinity, the creation of the cosmos, the Incarnation of Christ, and in salvation understood as deification.
Scriptural interpretation was an important form of scholarship for Christians in late antiquity. For no one does this claim ring more true than Origen of Alexandria (185-254), one of the most prolific scholars of Scripture in early Christianity. This book examines his approach to the Bible through a biographical lens: the focus is on his account of the scriptural interpreter, the animating centre of the exegetical enterprise. In pursuing this largely neglected line of inquiry, Peter W. Martens discloses the contours of Origen's sweeping vision of scriptural exegesis as a way of life. For Origen, ideal interpreters were far more than philologists steeped in the skills conveyed by Greco-Roman education. Their profile also included a commitment to Christianity from which they gathered a spectrum of loyalties, guidelines, dispositions, relationships and doctrines that tangibly shaped how they practiced and thought about their biblical scholarship. The study explores the many ways in which Origen thought ideal scriptural interpreters (himself included) embarked upon a way of life, indeed a way of salvation, culminating in the everlasting contemplation of God. This new and integrative thesis takes seriously how the discipline of scriptural interpretation was envisioned by one of its pioneering and most influential practitioners.
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