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The Irrational Augustine takes the notion of St Augustine as rigid and dogmatic Father of the Church and turns it on its head. Catherine Conybeare reads Augustine's earliest works to discover the anti-dogmatic Augustine, who values changeability and human interconnectedness and deplores social exclusion. The novelty of her book lies in taking seriously the nature of these early works as performances, through which multiple questions can be raised and multiple options explored, both in words and through their dramatic framework. The theological consequences are considerable. A very human Augustine emerges, talking and playing with friends and family, including his mother - and a very sympathetic set of ideas is the result.
'I am a Christian' is the confession of the martyrs of early Christian texts and, no doubt, of many others; but what did this confession mean, and how was early Christian identity constructed? This innovative study sets the emergence of Christian identity in the first two centuries, as it is constructed by the broad range of surviving literature, within the wider context of Jewish and Graeco-Roman identity. It uses a number of models from contemporary constructionist views of identity formation to explore how what comes to be seen as 'Christian' literature creates a sense of what to be 'a Christian' means, and traces both continuities and discontinuities with the ways in which Jewish and Graeco-Roman identity were also being constructed through their texts. It seeks to acknowledge the centrality of texts in shaping early Christianity, historically as well as in our perception of it, while also exploring how we might move from those texts to the individuals and communities who preserved them. Such an approach challenges more traditional emphases on the development of institutions, whether structures or credal and ethical formulations, which often fail to recognize the rhetorical function of the texts on which they draw, and the uncertainties of how well these reflect the actual practice and experience of individuals and communities. While building on recent recognition of the diversity of early Christianity, the book goes on to explore the question whether it is possible to speak of a distinctive Christian identity across both the range of early texts and as a pressing historical and theological question in the contemporary world.
The Jesus Story has been told for almost 2000 years, and a good share of the time told differently, depending on who was telling and where and when. This book targets on the earliest telling that occurred from the time of the death of Jesus to the middle of the second century - the twenty-seven books of the New Testament being the primary record we have for the telling of that early story. This book begins with the tellings in the gospels - from Jerusalem to Rome. It then examines the story as the telling shifts from charismatic, free-wheeling preaching to the orderliness of church establishment. Finally there is a report on how the early tellers told of the coming of the end of time.
Richard Finn OP examines the significance of almsgiving in Churches of the later empire for the identity and status of the bishops, ascetics, and lay people who undertook practices which differed in kind and context from the almsgiving practised by pagans. It reveals how the almsgiving crucial in constructing the bishop's standing was a co-operative task where honour was shared but which exposed the bishop to criticism and rivalry. Finn details how practices gained meaning from a discourse which recast traditional virtues of generosity and justice to render almsgiving a benefaction and source of honour, and how this pattern of thought and conduct interacted with classical patterns to generate controversy. He argues that co-operation and competition in Christian almsgiving, together with the continued existence of traditional euergetism, meant that, contrary to the views of recent scholars, Christian alms did not turn bishops into the supreme patrons of their cities.
Is it true, as has often been claimed in recent years, that there was no real controversy in the period immediately following the Council of Nicaea? Sara Parvis, in this lively and meticulous study, argues not. She shows that the two opposing parties which had formed in support of Alexander of Alexandria and Arius in the years before Nicaea continued their activities afterwards, targeting one another with ruthless zeal at a series of synods which may look neutral but are revealed to be demonstrably partisan. Only the deaths of all the original party leaders except Marcellus of Ancyra, and the rise of Athanasius, broke the impasse which followed and allowed new political and theological configurations to form.
The two-volume work The New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers
offers a comparative study of two collections of early Christian
texts: the New Testament; and the texts, from immediately after the
New Testament period, which are conventionally referred to as the
The death penalty in classical Judaism has been a highly
politicized subject in modern scholarship. Enlightenment attacks on
the Talmud's legitimacy led scholars to use the Talmud's criminal
law as evidence for its elevated morals. But even more pressing was
the need to prove Jews' innocence of the charge of killing Christ.
The reconstruction of a just Jewish death penalty was a defense
against the accusation that a corrupt Jewish court was responsible
for the death of Christ.
This lively and original account of early Celtic Christianity - which was of far greater importance in the development of Western culture than we commonly realize - is told against the background of European history of the first seven centuries A.D. It focuses on the lives of Saints Brendan, Columba, and Columbanus, who lived active and effective lives in the cause of the early Church. Brendan, one of the founding fathers of Christianity in Ireland, was known in legend as a voyager and was thought to have reached the Western Hemisphere long before the Vikings. Columba took Celtic Christianity to Scotland and helped to re-establish it in Wales and in the North and West of England. Columbanus was the great Irish missionary to continental Europe, where he and his followers helped to convert the heathen invaders from the East. When Rome, in the person of St. Augustine, Pope Gregory's apostle to the Angles, penetrated again to England, a showdown between Roman and Celtic Christianity was inevitable. The dramatic confrontation occurred at the Council of Whitby in 664. Rome, with its organization and authority, won, and Celtic Catholicism went into eclipse. But some of its influence persisted all over Europe, and it had a large share in shaping the culture that ultimately emerged from the dark ages. This book's fascination is the picture that it gives of the movements of peoples, the shaping of new countries, and the development of ideas during those too-little-known centuries.
Evangelical Foundations surveys renewal in the English Church from Wyclif to Roger Williams. This account explores the biblical roots which Wyclif, the Evangelical Doctor, planted in English soil and the Puritans transplanted in Colonial North America. The purpose is to show how, by use of an English Bible, a national church was renewed through the centrality of preaching. Recent studies by Collinson/Morgan and Hudson/Dent trace the concern of the English religious majority for godly living and learning through the influence of Cambridge and Oxford. Puritan sermons and commentaries, taken from continental models, influenced every level of national life. This vibrant contribution, which extends into the episcopal and parish level, still affects the perceptions of American religion well into the twentieth century. It calls out for recognition in studies such as this which incorporate the dissenting tradition into the moderate stream of English Puritan life and lore.
The concept of personhood is central to a wide range of
contemporary issues, ranging from reproductive rights to the death
penalty and euthanasia. We may think that the concept of person is
a modern development. In fact, however, this idea does not
originate with our discovery of human rights, consciousness, and
St Maximus the Confessor is one of the giants of Christian theology. His doctrine of two wills gave the final shape to ancient Christology and was ratified by the Sixth Ecumenical Council in AD 681. This study throws new light upon one of the most interesting periods of historical and systematic theology. Its focus is the seventh century, the century that saw the rapid expansion of Islam, and the Empire's failed attempt to retain many of its south-eastern provinces by inventing and promoting the heresy of Monothelitism (only one will in Christ) as a bridge between the Byzantine Church and the anti-Chalcedonian Churches which prevailed in some of these areas. From the point of view of systematic theology, the book examines the meaning of the terms person/hypostasis, nature/essence, and will in the context of Christology after the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), with special reference to Maximus. It also explores the complex question of the human will of Jesus Christ and its relation to his person and natures. The Byzantine Christ enhances our understanding of Eastern Orthodox theology and of some of the reasons that still separate it both from Western Christianity and from the so-called Oriental Orthodox Churches.
What were the historical and cultural processes by which Cyril of Alexandria was elevated to canonical status while his opponent, Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, was made into a heretic? In contrast to previous scholarship, Susan Wessel concludes that Cyril's success in being elevated to orthodox status was not simply a political accomplishment based on political alliances he had fashioned as opportunity arose. Nor was it a dogmatic victory, based on the clarity and orthodoxy of Cyril's doctrinal claims. Instead, it was his strategy in identifying himself with the orthodoxy of the former bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, in his victory over Arianism, in borrowing Athanasius' interpretive methods, and in skilfully using the tropes and figures of the second sophistic that made Cyril a saint in the Greek and Coptic Orthodox Churches.
This handbook situates early Christian meals in their broader context, with a focus on the core topics that aid understanding of Greco-Roman meal practice, and how this relates to Christian origins. In addition to looking at the broader Hellenistic context, the contributors explain the unique nature of Christian meals, and what they reveal about early Christian communities and the development of Christian identity. Beginning with Hellenistic documents and authors before moving on to the New Testament material itself, according to genre - Gospels, Acts, Letters, Apocalyptic Literature - the handbook culminates with a section on the wider resources that describe daily life in the period, such as medical documents and inscriptions. The literary, historical, theological and philosophical aspects of these resources are also considered, including such aspects as the role of gender during meals; issues of monotheism and polytheism that arise from the structure of the meal; how sacrifice is understood in different meal practices; power dynamics during the meal and issues of inclusion and exclusion at meals.
The Macarian writings are among the most important and influential works of the early Christian ascetic and mystical tradition. This book offers an introduction to the work of Macarius-Symeon (commonly referred to as Pseudo-Macarius), outlining the lineaments of his teaching and the historical context of his works. The book goes on to examine and re-evaluate the complex question of his relationship with the Messalian tendency and to explore the nature of his theological and spiritual legacy in the later Christian tradition. In so doing the book also offers substantial treatments of the work of Mark the Monk, Diadochus of Photice, Abba Isaiah, and Maximus Confessor. It stands therefore not only as an exploration of the teaching and legacy of Macarius-Symeon but also as a chapter in the history of the Christian spiritual tradition.
Cyril of Alexandria (d.444) was one of the architects of Christian orthodoxy. Daniel A. Keating presents the first comprehensive account of Cyril's narrative of salvation. He offers a corrective to certain readings of Cyril and argues that Cyril presents a balanced picture of our union with Christ. The final chapter compares Cyril with Theodore of Mopsuestia, Augustine, and Leo the Great, in order to examine in brief the relationship between Eastern and Western accounts of salvation.
This book provides ready access into and sure guidance through the marvelous, often convoluted, invariably rich world of Origen: the man, the ecclesiastical dynamics of his day, his extant works, the range of his theological explorations, his influence, and the controversies associated with him in life and in death. Included are recommendations for use and clear presentation of topics which enable the reader, whether novice or specialist, to engage Origen in ways that address the reader's interest.
The Westminster Handbook to Christian Theology series provides a set of resources for the study of historic and contemporary theological movements and Christian theologians. These books are intended to help students and scholars find concise and accurate treatments of important theological terms.
Every case of sanctification is unique - as unique as the holy man or woman at its centre. Yet at the same time the problem posed is a general one: how does an individual become a Saint? In this bold and pioneering study the author answers the question by providing a detailed analysis of the case of the late twelfth- and early thirteenth-century Byzantine holy man, the Cypriot Saint Neophytos the Recluse.
This book is open access and available on www.bloomsburycollections.com. It is funded by Knowledge Unlatched. This innovative volume focuses on the significance of early Christianity for modern means of addressing poverty, by offering a rigorous study of deprivation and its alleviation in both earliest Christianity and today's world. The contributors seek to present the complex ways in which early Christian ideas and practices relate to modern ideas and practices, and vice versa. In this light, the book covers seven major areas of poverty and its causes, benefaction, patronage, donation, wealth and dehumanization, 'the undeserving poor', and responsibility. Each area features an expert in early Christianity in its Jewish and Graeco-Roman settings, paired with an expert in modern strategies for addressing poverty and benefaction; each author engages with the same topic from their respective area of expertise, and responds to their partner's essay. Giving careful attention toboth the continuities and discontinuities between the ancient world and today, the contributors seek to inform and engage church leaders, those working in NGOs concerned with poverty, and all interested in these crucial issues, both Christian and not.
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.
This revised and expanded edition of a book that first appeared in 1945 offers an inside look at the growth and spread of Christianity in the second century by providing source materials from pagan witnesses, Christian churches, and movements that became known as heretical. Reading these selections provides a first-hand sense of issues and concerns in that period. It brings the reader right into the arena in which Christianity and Christians were being discussed and provides a first-hand look at what churches were facing as the Christian movement spread. Thirty-nine sections plus a biography are included.
Maximus the Confessor and his Companions provides the first English translations of seven documents from the seventh century which recount the legal trials, banishment, and deaths of the monk Maximus the Confessor, his disciples and friends, and Pope Martin I. The background to these documents is formed by Byzantine imperial religious policy, radical change in the Byzantine empire, Arab and Persian attacks, and the close ties which existed between Maximus and his followers and the West.
Now available in English for the first time, Augustine's Commentary on Galatians is his only complete, formal commentary on any book of the Bible and offers unique insights into his understanding of Paul and of his own task as a biblical interpreter. In addition to an English translation with facing Latin text, Eric Plumer provides a comprehensive introduction and copious notes.
In this book, Calvin Roetzel explores the social, political, religious, and intellectual environment of the New Testament writers. Roetzel maps the major features of the first-century landscape so that the student may be able to view the whole, and through the whole gain new perspective on and insight into each part. Now updated with the most current scholarship and with revisions taking into account archeological findings, this is the best available introduction to the subject.
Expanded materials include discussion of the social structure of Roman society, political dimensions of Pharisaism, Hellenistic religious expression, the Jewish Diaspora, the influence of the Septuagint on the Gospel writers and Paul, and women in antiquity. Pictures are integrated into the text at relevant points, the end of each chapter contains suggestions for further reading, and there is also a current and comprehensive bibliography of topics and authors.
The writings of Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) reveal how the
monastic mind, oscillating between hope and despair, was absorbed
in technical exercises rather than in religious emotions. Early on
monasticism had developed procedures for " ruminating on" the Bible
and the works of the Church Fathers. Applying the art of logic to
this theme, Anselm offers a denser version of monastic meditation
that constitutes a poetics of monastic literature.
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