Thursday, 18 August 2011

A Celebration of Living Theology - A conference in Honour of Andrew Louth

Durham University in conjunction with the Department of Theology and Religion will be hosting the conference ‘A celebration of living theology: Engaging with the work of Andrew Louth’ on 9-12 July 2012 at Durham University. The conference aims to celebrate the work of Prof. Andrew Louth in the areas of Patristics, both Western and Eastern, Modern Theology and Theology as Life, as well as explore its reception outside the English-speaking world. The plenary papers will be collected into a Festschrift to be published after the conference.
Confirmed plenary speakers are:
Antoine Arjakovsky: ‘The orthodox theology and the future pan orthodox council’.
John Behr, ‘Studying the Fathers in the Twenty First Century’.
Mary Cunningham: ‘The concept of “image” according to an eighth-century Byzantine bishop: St Andrew of Crete’s response to ps-Dionysius the Areopagite’.
Pavel Gavrilyuk: ‘The Evolution of Florovsky’s Reading of Vladimir Solovyov and the Waywardness of Russian Theology’.
Cyril Hovorun: ‘British Patristic School: Its impact on modern Orthodox Theology’.
John Milbank, ‘The Far-Western Synthesis of East and West: Eriugena’s Promise for the Future’.
Norman Russell: ‘Living the Mystery: the limits of patristic theology as an academic discipline’.
Kallistos Ware: ‘The Future Path of Orthodox Thought: ‘Culture and Society’ or ‘Mystical Theology’?’.
Jane Baun, title tbc.
Augustine Casiday, title tbc.
Thomas Graumann, title tbc.

more information at:

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Patristics in Italy under threat

From the many messages, related to the 16th International Conference on Patristic Studies, I received the following one on the precarious state of Patristics in Italy, a message so full of passion, hope and despair that I thought I should share it with you:

Dear Markus,
I regret to confirm that I cannot -- at least physically -- participate at the present Conference. I am very very sad for this: I prepared an intriguing communication according to your indications and I was very joyful all the time expecting such an occasion to "breath" the Patristic pure air. Unfortunately, the economic status of my University is close to a "default" -- so to use an instant term. In the last biennium I reserved a short amount of euros just for my Oxford's expenses and also for any other necessity connected to the event. However, a Rector 's decree prevented me (and, of course, other associate professors) from using money to subscribe for congresses and for inviting colleagues. One might wonder: Is this not a harakiri for a university? Anyway, this is for the being time Italy. Moreover, the academic situation of Patristic studies -- and, in general, of the whole Classical realm -- is marching towards a collapse. The whole idea of Classical Studies is under attack in the Italian context dominated by (dis-)human scientists and, especially, by paedagogists and docimologists. Plus, the danger is not overt, but concealed in the political usual manner. The energies and food to resist such a globalized attack are poor and random-like, at least as for those scholars who -- like me -- do not have academic power and/or academic relations capable of yielding "apotropaic" fear...  What one might oppose to this? I have not but my personal efforts and scientific honesty. ...
As I usually say, my job is working "in partibus infidelium", and this is an interesting task for a scholar as well as for a christian. However, despite the number of papers written by me in the last years, I did not have my very chance to show in an appropriate context my account of Greek Patristic philosophical approach. This is the topic I was prepared to submit to your judgement at Oxford.
The state of affairs prevented me from having this opportunity. At least, for the the moment. I hope I could have another chance.
Finally, you could give me a great joy taking me, next week, as a "virtual" participant to the Conference: be sure that every day during the conference I will be spiritually unite to each participant by praying and studying Fathers in my room as it is possible.
Economy robbed me the joy to stay with you: however, it cannot robbe me the joy of connecting my soul with yours, Colleagues of any Country, as friendly as possible. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

4th British Patristics Conference Wednesday 5th – Friday 7th September 2012

The Department of Theology and Religion and the Centre for Biblical Studies at the University of Exeter
announce the
4th British Patristics Conference,
Wednesday 5th – Friday 7th September 2012,
at St. Luke’s Campus, University of Exeter.
Prof. Sebastian Brock and Dr. Alastair Logan have already kindly agreed to give plenary papers.
 The call for other papers will open on September 10th, 2011.  If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact:-

Please support this event and let others know!  We look forward to seeing you there. On behalf of the conference committee,
Morwenna Ludlow

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Could the Foremost Preachers of the Early Church be Tapped to Enrich Preaching Today?

Present-day preaching is so often tame and boring, but it is reported that congregations burst into applause during the sermons of the foremost representatives of the ‘golden age’ of preaching in the Early Church - not always to the joy of the preachers themselves!  But what was the secret of their success?  Can we learn from these preachers principles that could enrich preaching today?  To grapple with this matter presumably some knowledge of classical rhetoric is necessary and of course familiarity with the sermons of the greatest preachers.  To make the study manageable it might be wise to focus on just a few eminent preachers, say, Gregory of Nazianzus, Chrysostom and Augustine.  As time permits, I should like to engage in this project, but since my Patristic studies hitherto have focused very largely on the Pre-Nicene Church, I scarcely know where to start!  I would greatly value the advice of anyone familiar with classical rhetoric and with the sermons of these Fathers.  If you think you might be able to help please contact me during the Patristics conference (there is a noticeboard for contacts), or simply leave a message and reply here at this blog and we can get in touch.
(Rev. Dr.) Andrew Daunton-Fear

Monday, 1 August 2011

Péter Csigi - Early Christian Funerary Art in Sopianae/Pécs

Sopianae, part of the Roman province of Pannonia has an important early Christian cemetery. There is a great number of Christian graves in the city’s cemetery, but the most interesting buildings are the so called Early Christian Mausoleum, the Burial Chamber with the Jar, and particularly the Peter-Paul Burial chamber, all with wall paintings from the last third of the 4th century.
As a student member of the British Academy (BARDA) research group ‘Early Christian Iconography and Epigraphy – after Dölger’ (King's College London), my plan is to prove the iconographic programme of the painted burial vaults in Sopianae. I intend to use the fresh archaeological data from the excavations of the last decade, and reconstruct the theological, socio-cultural and artistic background of the place. This will be connected to the general development of early Christian imageries.
In accordance with the common aim of our team, my main focus will be on the early Christian use of 'pagan' images and the process of the mutual transformation of both 'paganism' and 'Christianity' in the interactive dialogue between early Christianity and Greco-Roman culture.

Markus Vinzent - The Re-Working of Marcion’s Gospel in Luke (Luke 10:22 par.)

To set the scenery: No New Testament nor any Patristic scholar, so far, has come up with the idea that Marcion himself wrote a Gospel, hence, even less has anybody advanced the suggestion that he had written The Gospel, or, more daringly even, that Marcion produced the first work of this genre, although scholars have granted that he was the one who created the titles ‘New Testament’ (W. Kinzig) and also the first to apply the term ‘Gospel’ to a written account (H. Koester).
Now it is neither an abduction by aliens nor a longing for alien ideas, but simply the result of reading sources, and especially Tertullian’s Adversus Marcionem, that I have come across a few good arguments that make a case for all three suggestions, namely that:
1)      Marcion was the author, rather than a redactor of a Gospel
2)      He had written The Gospel and
3)      He was the innovator who created the first work of this new literary genre from whom all other Gospels depend.

(more in the workshop on Marcion and the Gospels)