Saturday, 11 April 2015

András Handl: Tertullian on the Pericope Adulterae (John 7,53-8,11)

The longest and most mysterious New Testament interpolation is without doubt the Pericope Adulterae (PA) in the Gospel of John. Although scholars have puzzled about it for centuries, many questions still remain unanswered.
At first glance, Tertullian does not appear as being very helpful in this matter: not even with a single syllable did he refer to the PA. It is not surprising that his entire work has only been little involved in the discussion because he never addressed the story of the woman caught in adultery. But why? After all, he devoted a complete "treatise" to the topic of adultery and fornication! It is widely recognized that the De pudicitia is composed as a forensic oratory (genus iudiciale) but its implications are only rudimentarily taken into account. A rhetorical analysis shows that if he knew the passage, he could not have afforded to ignore it. Consequently, Tertullian did not remain silent about the PA because of a lack of interest. Rather, the PA was simply unknown in Carthage at his time!
In this talk, I will not only reconsider the reason for the abstinence of the PA in the works of Tertullian, particularly in De pudicita, but also emphasize the importance of the PA`s "Sitz im Leben" at the beginning of the 3rd century AD: The escalated controversy on adultery and fornication in Carthage as well as in Rome, plays a key role for the wider recognition and promotion of the story of the woman caught in adultery.

Christopher Graham: The Form-giving Meaning of Way-language in Irenaeus's Epideixis

This paper will demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between the purpose and structure of Irenaeus's Epideixis and the meaning of way-language in that text. The tentative consensus has been that way-language is used in the preface with some relationship to the so-called Two Ways tradition. Scholars have neglected, however, to correlate its usage in the preface with its usage through the rest of the work (Epid. 16; 41; 89; 98). An examination of its appearance throughout the text shows that Irenaeus employed way-language primarily as a means to connect the way of the reader with the way as it is referred to in the narrative of Scripture from the expulsion (Gen 3:24) to the creation of the Church (Acts 9:2). This challenges not only the contemporary interpretive consensus with regard to way-language in the preface but also the regnant model of the text's rhetorical form, that is, a bipartite structure employed to strengthen the reader's faith through a demonstration of the legitimacy of the apostles' teaching which is the object of the reader's faith. Instead, when Irenaeus's stated purpose, "to demonstrate, by means of a summary, the preaching of the truth, so as to strengthen your faith," is read with this deliberate use of way-language in mind, the work emerges not as a bi-fold argument for the objective content of the reader's faith but as an affirmation of the subjective side of the reader's faith through an elucidation of the origin of that faith.

Marie-Claude L'Archer: Datation of Quodvultdeus' Credal Homilies Revisited

Quodvultdeus' three Credal Homilies have been written and pronouced for Paschal celebrations, possibly in three successive years, somewhere around 435. Homily I's terminus ante quem is 437, since it mentions bishop Capreolus was still alive, but for the two other homilies, that terminus could be as late as 439, when the Vandal threat on Carthage became imminent.
René Braun has suggested that the order of the homilies was II, I, and then III, based on the argument that the Homily II doesn't mention the barbarian peril, and that Quodvultdeus' invective was attacking the pagans and the Jews more vigorously than the Arians. According to Braun, the intensification of anti-Arianism in Quodvultdeus' discourse in the Homilies I and III is an indication that they were pronounced later. This assumption has gone unchallenged for two decades ; Even the introduction to T. M. Finn's 2004 English translation still takes Braun's assertions for granted.
It this short communication, I intend to explain why, based on recent academic research on the encounter between the Romano-Africans and the Vandals, the proposed chronology of the Credal Homilies is not entirely satisfactory, and suggest a slightly revised time frame for those sources on Late Antique North-African Christianity.

Rocco Borgognoni: Making Justinian’s Wars ‘Holy’: The reception of Procopius in Evagrius’ Ecclesiasical History

The paper aims at investigating how Procopius’ narration of wars fought under Justinian was included a few decades after publication by Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History. Mainly through juxtaposition of selected passages with relevant additions, Evagrius, in fact, reshaped Procopius’ history to give the wars new meaning according to his own biographical experience and the canons of the literary genre of ecclesiastical history. Thus he offered a different interpretation, where religion acquired centrality and divine intervention arose to be one of the main engines in human vicissitudes. As for Vandalic war, Evagrius stressed more than Procopius the religious grounds for the Byzantine attack against Arian Vandals who were persecuting Orthodox Romans. Visions, such as that of the martyr Cyprian or Justinian’s dream, gave the war the appearance of a rightful and vengeful enterprise against wicked barbarians. On the contrary, the Gothic war is narrated without mentioning those matters of faith that, according to Procopius, Byzantines and Ostrogoths intermittently resorted to as an excuse. Nevertheless, the fact that Evagrius autonomously related how the Virgin appeared to the general Narses to point out the opportune moment for fighting gives the entire war waged by Byzantines a strong divine endorsement. Unlike previous wars, Evagrius had direct experience of the Persian war and the region in which it was fought, and by implementing Procopius’ narration with personal memories he highlighted Syria as a victim of impious misdeeds of King Chosroes, but which was also partly redeemed by its Christian relics and miracles.

Pierre Chambert-Protat: Around Florus's personal work : Augustinian manuscripts and their readers in Carolingian Lyon

Florus of Lyon’s (805/810–855/860) significancy in the manuscript tradition of the Fathers was underlined in the mid-XXth century, (…) now is a good time for an inventory of the manuscripts Florus definitely used in his work on Augustine, and of the different ways he used them ; but also for a census of other Carolingian readers and annotators of the same manuscripts, and of their own work on Augustine.

Miriam DeCock: The Good Shepherd of John 10 in Patristic Interpretation

John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Cyril of Alexandria each commented on the Good Shepherd passage at length. I will contrast Cyril’s treatment of the passage with those of Chrysostom and Theodore. Each of these interpreters found it necessary to comment, for example, on how it could be that Jesus identified himself as both the gate and the shepherd of the sheep, just as they each identified identical referents to the thieves of the parable. All three commented in detail on verses 17–18, which concern the Father-Son relationship. Despite these similarities, however, their treatments of this passage exhibit what we might think are surprising differences in exegetical approach. We find the traditional characterization of the two so-called interpretive schools to which these authors belonged, namely, the literal/historical approach of the Antiochenes and the allegorical approach of the Alexandrians, to be complicated by their treatments of the passage. While all three interpreters recognized the parabolic nature of Jesus’ words, it is the Antiochenes for whom the genre demands an immediate ‘symbolic’ interpretation of the passage, whereas Cyril interprets its ‘spiritual sense’ only after he has determined the historical. While Chrysostom and Theodore thought the gatekeeper and gate stood for Moses and the law respectively, Cyril read the parable as a warning first to Jesus’ addressees, the Pharisees, and then to the leaders of his own day who, without divine sanction, presumed to take positions of leadership in the church.

Niki Tsironis: WS Ritual Elements in the Work of George of Nikomedia on the Mother of God

This paper shall focus on the homily on Good Friday by the 9th century homilist and friend of the Patriarch Photius, George of Nikomedia, examining the specfic work in relation to the rest of the homiletic corpus of the author and of his near contemporaries. The homily on Good Friday relates the events preceding the Crucifixion and contains a fully-fleshed lament of the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross. Special attention will be paid to the ritual elements of lament incorporated in this sermon which lends itself for the study of homiletics as a sacred performance in the context of the Liturgy.
The homily of George of Nikomedia serves as an interesting case for the study of rituals shared between ancient traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean and recorded especially in Greek literature and the ways in which these elements mingled with the theological framework of Incarnational theology as expressed in Patristics writings of the early and middle Byzantine period.
The structure of the discourse, dramatic tropes and figures incorporated therein, appeal to emotion and the senses of the audience, as well as the way the homilist places himself in the context of the narrative reveal stimulating elements regarding the ritual expression of grief and mourning. The grief of the Mother of God shalll be examined taking into further consideration anthropological notions and gender issues, but most importantly, shall be set against the backdrop of the Iconoclastic controversy that dominated the scene in the 9th century.