The Psalms have long served a vital role in the individual and corporate lives of Christians, expressing the full range of human emotions, including some that we are ashamed to admit. The Psalms reverberate with joy, groan in pain, whimper with sadness, grumble in disappointment and rage with anger. The church fathers employed the Psalms widely. In liturgy they used them both as hymns and as Scripture readings. Within them they found pointers to Jesus both as Son of God and as Messiah. They also employed the Psalms widely as support for other New Testament teachings, as counsel on morals and as forms for prayer. But the church fathers found more than pastoral insight in the Psalms. They found apologetic and doctrinal insight as well, as is attested by the more than sixty-five authors and more than 160 works excerpted in this commentary. Especially noteworthy among the Greek-speaking authors cited are Hippolytus, Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, Didymus the Blind, Evagrius of Pontus, Diodore of Tarsus, John Chrysostom, Asterius the Homilist, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyr, Cyril of Alexandria and Hesychius of Jerusalem. Among noteworthy Latin authors we find Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, Augustine, Arnobius the Younger and Cassiodorus. Readers of these selections, some of which appear here for the first time in English, will glean from a rich treasury of deep devotion and profound theological reflection.
This book focuses on apse mosaics in Rome, which were commissioned by a series of popes between the sixth and ninth centuries CE. Through a synchronic approach that challenges current conceptions about how works of art interact with historical time, Erik Thunø proposes that the apse mosaics produce an inter-visual network that collapses their chronological succession in time into a continuous present in which the faithful join the saints in the one living body of the Church of Rome. Throughout, this book situates the apse mosaics within the broader context of viewership, the cult of relics, epigraphic tradition, and church ritual while engaging topics concerned with intercession, materiality, repetition and vision.
The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity is the first comprehensive reference book covering every aspect of history, culture, religion, and life in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East (including the Persian Empire and Central Asia) between the mid-3rd and the mid-8th centuries AD, the era now generally known as Late Antiquity. This period saw the re-establishment of the Roman Empire, its conversion to Christianity and its replacement in the West by Germanic kingdoms, the continuing Roman Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Persian Sassanian Empire, and the rise of Islam. Consisting of over 1.5 million words in more than 5,000 A-Z entries, and written by more than 400 contributors, it is the long-awaited middle volume of a series, bridging a significant period of history between those covered by the acclaimed Oxford Classical Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. The scope of the Dictionary is broad and multi-disciplinary; across the wide geographical span covered (from Western Europe and the Mediterranean as far as the Near East and Central Asia), it provides succinct and pertinent information on political history, law, and administration; military history; religion and philosophy; education; social and economic history; material culture; art and architecture; science; literature; and many other areas. Drawing on the latest scholarship, and with a formidable international team of advisers and contributors, The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity aims to establish itself as the essential reference companion to a period that is attracting increasing attention from scholars and students worldwide.
Christmas exerts an enormous attraction today even apart from its Christian character as a celebration of the incarnation of God in the Person of Jesus. Even marginal or indifferent Christians crowd the churches on Christmas Eve and in highly commercialized and technologized Western societies the Christmas season is celebrated with enthousiasm. Yet Christmas entered the calendar of feasts relatively late, by 336 C.E., and the reason for its introduction and quick spread remain speculative and based on fragmentary evidence. Towards the Origins of Christmas addresses both the contemporary Western celebration of Christmas, and its deep historical roots in the church of the fourth century. The book presents a thorough investigation of the patristic texts and evidence cited by liturgical scholars in the late 19th and 20th centuries to support two main theories: the Calculation theory and the History of Religions theory. This historical research is set in the framework of the contemporary experience of Christmas; the dynamics of time and the liturgical year; the inculturation of liturgy; and underlying elements of dualism and patriarchal power paradigms which linger beneath the often commercial and sentimental character of Christmas today. Suzan K. Roll was born in Clarence Center, New York (USA) in 1952. She holds degrees in classical languages and pastoral theology, and in 1993 received a Ph. D. from the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Louvain (Leuven), Belgium, summa cum laude with the gratulations of the jury. She has thaught and published in the field of liturgy, sacraments, pastoral theology, and presently teaches at Christ the King Seminary, Buffalo, New York (USA).
This book gathers fourteen Catholic scholars to present, examine, and explain the often misunderstood process of "deification". The fifteen chapters show what "becoming God" meant for the early Church, for St. Thomas Aquinas and the greatest Dominicans, and for St. Francis and the early Franciscans. This book explains how this understanding of salvation played out during the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent. It explores the thought of the French School of Spirituality, various Thomists, John Henry Newman, John Paul II, and the Vatican Councils, and it shows where such thinking can be found today in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. No other book has gathered such an array of scholars or provided such a deep study into how humanity's divinized life in Christ has received many rich and various perspectives over the past two thousand years. This book seeks to bring readers into the central mystery of Christianity by allowing the Church's greatest thinkers and texts to speak for themselves, demonstrating how becoming Christ-like and the Body of Christ on earth, is the only ultimate purpose of the Christian faith.
"And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [the risen Jesus] interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Lk 24:27). The church fathers mined the Old Testament throughout for prophetic utterances regarding the Messiah, but few books yielded as much messianic ore as the Twelve Prophets, sometimes known as the Minor Prophets, not because of their relative importance but because of the relative brevity of their writings. Encouraged by the example of the New Testament writers themselves, the church fathers found numerous parallels between the Gospels and the prophetic books. Among the events foretold, they found not only the flight into Egypt after the nativity, the passion and resurrection of Christ, and the outpuoring of the Spirit at Pentecost, but also Judas's act of betrayal, the earthquake at Jesus' death and the rending of the temple veil. Detail upon detail brimmed with significance for Christian doctrine, including baptism and the Eucharist as well as the relation between the covenants. In this rich and vital resource edited by Alberto Ferreiro you will find excerpts, some translated here into English for the first time, from more than thirty church fathers, ranging in time from Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (late first and early second centuries) to Gregory the Great, Braulio of Saragossa and Bede the Venerable (late sixth to early eighth centuries). Geographically the sources range from the great Cappadocians--Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa--John Chrysostom, Ephrem the Syrian and Hippolytus in the East to Ambrose, Augustine, Cyprian and Tertullian in the West and Origen, Cyril and Pachomius in Egypt. Here is a treasure trove out of which Christians may bring riches both old and new in their understanding of these ancient texts.
Soldiers of Christ brings together for the first time in one volume eleven critical writings about the saints from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Each text is newly annotated and prefaced by the editors, and a general introduction on saints and saints' lives makes the volume ideal for students and general readers.
With few exceptions, the scholarship on religion in late antiquity has emphasized its tendencies toward transcendence, abstraction, and spirit at the expense of matter. In The Corporeal Imagination, Patricia Cox Miller argues instead that ancient Christianity took a material turn between the fourth and seventh centuries. During this period, Miller contends, there occurred a major shift in the ways in which the human being was oriented in relation to the divine, a shift that reconfigured the relationship between materiality and meaning in a positive direction. The Corporeal Imagination is a groundbreaking investigation into the theological poetics of material substance in late ancient Christian texts. From hagiographies to literary descriptions of sacred paintings to treatises on relics and theurgy, Miller examines a wide variety of ancient texts to reveal how Christian writers increasingly described the matter of the world as invested with divine power. By appealing to the reader's sensory imagination, Christian texts endowed phenomena like relics, saints' bodies in hagiography, and saints' presence in icons with a visual and tactile presence. The book draws on a variety of contemporary theoretical models to elucidate the significance of all these materials in ancient religious life and imagination.
Among the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon were all thought by the early church fathers to have derived from the hand of Solomon. To their minds the finest wisdom about the deeper issues of life prior to the time of God's taking human form in Jesus Christ was to be found in these books. As in all the Old Testament they were quick to find types and intimations of Christ and his church which would make the ancient Word relevant to the Christians of their day. Of extant commentaries on Ecclesiastes none is so profound as the eight homilies of Gregory of Nyssa, even though they cover only the first three chapters of the book. Joining Gregory among those most frequently excerpted in this volume are Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, Origen, John Cassian, John Chrysostom, Athanasius, Bede the Venerable and Jerome. Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great and Cyril of Jerusalem lead a cast of other less frequently cited fathers, and then there remains a large cast of supporting players, some of whose work is translated here into English for the first time. This volume edited by J. Robert Wright thus offers a rich trove of wisdom on Wisdom for the enrichment of the church today.
The Papacy and the Orthodox examines the centuries-long debate over the primacy and authority of the Bishop of Rome, especially in relation to the Christian East, and offers a comprehensive history of the debate and its underlying theological issues. Siecienski masterfully brings together all of the biblical, patristic, and historical material necessary to understand this longstanding debate. This book is an invaluable resource as both Catholics and Orthodox continue to reexamine the sources and history of the debate.
Focusing on the 4th and 5th centuries, Michael Gaddis explores how various groups employed the language of religious violence to construct their own identities, to undermine the legitimacy of their rivals, & to advance themselves in the competitive & high stakes process of Christianizing the Roman Empire.
At his Wednesday audiences during 2007 and 2008 Pope Benedict XVI gave a series of short talks on the Fathers of the Church. He devoted himself not only to such famous and influential Fathers as Augustine and John Chrysostom but also to figures not venerated as saints; one subject, Tertullian, even died outside the Catholic communion. This volume contains thirty-six of these inspirational teachings. In these catecheses the Pope is not delivering academic lectures or preaching sermons. Rather, he is instructing Christian believers who want to have their faith confirmed and strengthened. Pope Benedict firmly believes that the Fathers of the Church still speak powerfully today, and his accessible presentations will make many readers eager to look further into the writings of these great early Christians.
Using light as fil rouge reuniting theology and ritual with the architecture, decoration, and iconography of cultic spaces, the present study argues that the mise-en-scène of fifth-century baptism and sixth-century episcopal liturgy was meant to reproduce the luminous atmosphere of heaven. Analysing the material culture of the two sacraments against common ritual expectations and Christian theology, we evince the manner in which the luminous effect was reached through a combination of constructive techniques and perceptual manipulation. One nocturnal and one diurnal, the two ceremonials represented different scenarios, testifying to the capacity of church builders and willingness of Late Antique bishops to stage the ritual experience in order to offer God to the senses.
The Gospel of John was beloved by the early church, much as it is today, for its spiritual insight and clear declaration of Jesus' divinity. Clement of Alexandria indeed declared it the "spiritual Gospel." Joel C. Elowsky edits a collection of patristic comments on the text of John 1-10.
"Contributors to this volume refute the widely held perception that the doctrine of deification primarily belonged in the Eastern Church, and that the Western Church reduced the rich biblical and Greek patristic understanding of salvation to a narrow view of redemption. To the contrary, these essays provide evidence of the wide-ranging use of deification themes in major Latin patristic sources, showing that deification was a native part of early Latin theology that was consitently and creatively employed"--
This last volume of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture offers commentary from the early church fathers on the deuterocanonical books of the Bible, with insights that will be of great benefit to preachers and teachers alike. Readers will find some ancient authors translated into English here for the first time. Throughout they will gain insight and encouragement in the life of faith as seen through ancient pastoral eyes.
For the church fathers the Gospels did not serve as resources for individual analysis and academic study. They were read and heard and interpreted within the worshiping community. Among such sermons on Luke that have survived, this ACCS volume includes selections from Origen and Cyril of Alexandria as well as church fathers who addressed exegetical issues in theological treatises, pastoral letters, and catechetical lectures.
An exploration of the historical origins of the “witches’ ointment” and medieval hallucinogenic drug practices based on the earliest sources • Details how early modern theologians demonized psychedelic folk magic into “witches’ ointments” • Shares dozens of psychoactive formulas and recipes gleaned from rare manuscripts from university collections all over the world as well as the practices and magical incantations necessary for their preparation • Examines the practices of medieval witches like Matteuccia di Francisco, who used hallucinogenic drugs in her love potions and herbal preparations In the medieval period preparations with hallucinogenic herbs were part of the practice of veneficium, or poison magic. This collection of magical arts used poisons, herbs, and rituals to bewitch, heal, prophesy, infect, and murder. In the form of psyche-magical ointments, poison magic could trigger powerful hallucinations and surrealistic dreams that enabled direct experience of the Divine. Smeared on the skin, these entheogenic ointments were said to enable witches to commune with various local goddesses, bastardized by the Church as trips to the Sabbat--clandestine meetings with Satan to learn magic and participate in demonic orgies. Examining trial records and the pharmacopoeia of witches, alchemists, folk healers, and heretics of the 15th century, Thomas Hatsis details how a range of ideas from folk drugs to ecclesiastical fears over medicine women merged to form the classical “witch” stereotype and what history has called the “witches’ ointment.” He shares dozens of psychoactive formulas and recipes gleaned from rare manuscripts from university collections from all over the world as well as the practices and magical incantations necessary for their preparation. He explores the connections between witches’ ointments and spells for shape shifting, spirit travel, and bewitching magic. He examines the practices of some Renaissance magicians, who inhaled powerful drugs to communicate with spirits, and of Italian folk-witches, such as Matteuccia di Francisco, who used hallucinogenic drugs in her love potions and herbal preparations, and Finicella, who used drug ointments to imagine herself transformed into a cat. Exploring the untold history of the witches’ ointment and medieval hallucinogen use, Hatsis reveals how the Church transformed folk drug practices, specifically entheogenic ones, into satanic experiences.