Thursday, 30 April 2015

Erin Walsh: Holy Boldness: Narsai and Jacob of Serug Preaching the Canaanite Woman

The exegetical history of the Canaanite Woman from the Gospel of Matthew  (15:21-28) in patristic sources has received little attention from historians of biblical interpretation. Within the corpus of Syriac literature, both Narsai and his younger contemporary, Jacob of Serug, composed verse homilies on this particular biblical pericope. This paper will compare the strategies both authors employ to explain the exegetical issues raised by the enigmatic exchange of Jesus with a non-Israelite woman. While Jacob’s homily exists in an edited form, Narsai’s homily on the Canaanite woman (Homily XXXII) has heretofore been unedited and unpublished. [1]I have prepared a critical edition and translation based on two of the four manuscripts containing the homily:  the oldest extant manuscript, ms. Diyarbakir 70 and ms. Vat. Syr. 594. The two other manuscripts (ms. M3 and M5) are currently at the Chaldean Patriarchate and inaccessible. Narsai and Jacob present the Canaanite Woman as a model for Christian emulation, showing a particular concern for her bold speech. Given the respective positions of these two exegetes within the Western and Eastern Syriac traditions, the present project promises to contribute to our understanding of how the schools of Edessa and Nisibis diverged and what continuities may still be detected in the works of the two Syriac poets.

[1]Sebastian Brock, “Guide to Narsai’s Homilies” in Hugoye 12.1 (2009). Brock provides a convenient guide to manuscripts and editions of Narsai’s homilies, using the numbering system of A. Mingana and Macomber.

Dan Batovici: The 'Petrine corpus' in Clement, Origen, and Eusebius

This paper is part of a larger project inquiring into the nature of the authority enjoyed for several centuries by early Christian texts which eventually were not included in the New Testament. The aim of the paper is to offer an assessment of the use of the works circulating under the name of Peter (the Gospel, the Acts, the Apocalypse, and also the canonical letters) in the works of the three Patristic authors in the title. Notoriously, Eusebius explicitly bases his own classification of Christian texts on the classification he finds in Origen’s works and he also offers an account of Clement’s take on the authority of several non-NT texts. Although the there is a vast literature on the (formation of the) New Testament canon, and also an important one devoted to the apocryphal literature, there is still the need assess the authority of such 'marginal' texts in early Patristic authors and to compare it with the perhaps 'marginal' texts of the New Testament. This paper does just that, on a a small sample of texts, the 'Petrine corpus'.

Nienke Vos: ‘Teach us to pray': Self-Understanding in Macrina's Final Prayer

Gregory of Nyssa, who composed the vita of his sister Macrina, was educated in the best traditions of ancient rhetoric, which aimed at teaching (docere), delighting (delectare), and moving (movere) the audience. The Vita Macrinae as a whole is defined by this triple goal, but it applies especially to Macrina's Final Prayer, encapsulating the ascetic theology of the author (teaching doctrine), beautifully arranged (including word repetition, parallellism, and inclusion - linguistic delight), with a view to inspiring the audience to appropriate, by way of imitatio, the prayer (the reader is moved to repeat the words). As such, the Final Prayer, packed with Biblical and liturgical references, functions as a microcosm mirroring the macrocosm of the vita. In my paper, I will analyze the theology of the prayer while also pointing out its envisaged communicative effects. In doing so, I take my cue from Derek Krueger, who explicates connections between the liturgy and (auto-)biographical activity, especially in terms of anamnesis and eucharistia (Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East, 2004). While my focus is on pedagogy and mystagogy rather than on authorship as such, I believe that observing parallels between liturgical discourse and the narration of a life, including the notion of ‘life as prayer', is fruitful with a view to understanding the pedagogical and mystagogical potential of the Final Prayer. For as Macrina ‘inscribes her story into God's' (Krueger's terminology), the reader may do the same, both extending the act of anamnesis and desiring it.

Jerzy Kowalczyk: To see with body and to see with mind: corporeal and spiritual cognition in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great

In my paper, I will discuss the relation between the corporeal and spiritual perception as presented in the Dialogues. Gregory's book is exceptionally abundant with references to modes of perception, and gives us insight into the 6th-century debate on the usefulness of senses. I will be particularly interested in exploring the intertwinement between the two dimensions of sight, the eyes of the body and the eyes of the soul, and the Christian interpretation of ancient sensory theories.
A cursory reading of the Dialogues might suggest that for Gregory the difference between seeing corporaliter and spiritualiter is unambiguous. True comprehension is only possible through spiritual eyes; people must sharpen the inner senses and abandon the outer ones in order to see properly.
Yet, a closer look adds to the complexity of the subject. According to Gregory, corporeal eyes are the remnants of Adam's perfect perception, namely the combination of spiritual and corporeal sight. The first man's lost legacy can partially be accessed by the saints who use their bodily eyes to look beyond the physical world. And even the common faithful, bound to corporeal sight corrupted by Adam's sin, are able, by the grace of God, to perceive His signs and miracles.
Thus, I will argue that the corporeal sight may still be useful, according to Gregory, to human salvation. I believe that the closer examination of the attitudes to the both sources of cognition can advance our understanding of accommodation of philosophical tradition concerning senses to Christian spirituality.

Dietmar Wyrwa: Die Neuedition "Athanasius, Epistulae dogmaticae minores" (AthW I,1,5)

Vorstellung der von der Patristischen Arbeitsstelle Bochum erarbeiteten kritischen Neuedition von Athanasius. Die Dogmatischen Werke, 5. Lfg. (AthW I,1,5). Der Faszikel enthält Epistula ad Epictetum, Epistula ad Adelphium, Epistula ad Maximum, Epistula catholica und In illid: Omnia mihi tradita.

Allison Ralph:Evidence of the Influence of the Social Body on the Legislation of Theodosius I

Fotinianae labis contaminatio, Arriani sacrilegii venenum, Eunomianae perfidiae crimen et nefanda monstruosis nominibus auctorum prodigia sectarum ab ipso etiam aboleantur auditu. C.Th. 16.5.6

With this law of January 381, Theodosius and his co-emperors name poison, contamination, and sickness, thereby alluding to a fear of the spread of such dangers in the social body. Dale Martin (1995) and Roger Brock (2000) have argued that the idea of the social body was a well-established reality in both elite and popular milieus in late antiquity. Michelle Lee (2001) and Jeffrey Zavadil (2009) have argued that the metaphor underpinned Stoic ethics and ideas of universal humanity. These ethics of the social body directly influenced social policy that controls membership in society on the basis of the health of the whole.
Although there has been abundant research on coercion in the legislation of Theodosius (e.g., Errington; Hunt 2007), there has been almost no scholarship on the widespread use of metaphors of social body and social sickness in his time. This short communication aims to open the discussion by discovering whether such allusions to the social body in the legislation of Theodosius I played a significant role in the justification for coercive measures.

Caroline Goodson: Materiality and Monastic Observance: Vegetable Gardening in Late Antique Italy

Among the many changes to life in late antique Italy was the rise in town houses which included productive food gardens. Letters of Pope Gregory I describe several properties which were endowed with food gardens in order to the support the religious households located in the middle of Rome, where they were unable -- or chose not -- to buy onions and lettuces at market. These houses that Gregory’s letters describe find echoes in other cities of Italy in the sixth century. Urban gardening in late antiquity was not simply a by-product of a breakdown in urban density and the disappearance of markets for everyday foods, the widely recognised phenomenon of 'ruralisation' of the city. Two intellectual elements also played roles in the phenomenon, lending it a conceptual justification: the legacy of estate management and the value of self-sufficiency for religious communities especially monastic ones and — to a lesser degree — the value of the garden for medicinal purposes and the developing role of religious households as places of curing and sustenance. This paper will discuss the evidence for clerical and monastic fruit and vegetable production in the cities of Italy, evaluating the change in functions of the cities against other cases of episcopal or monastic sponsorship of urban production.

Georgiana Huian: The Spiritual Experience in Diadochus of Photike

In my communication I shall examine the significations of the term πεῖρα, which can be encountered 20 times in the One Hundred Gnostic Chapters, being the key-notion in the closing considerations of four chapters (23, 24, 31, 32). The inherent intention is to show that Diadochus invests this word with an original use: it doesn't have the usual signification of test, trial, temptation, but designates the experience acquired on different stages of climbing onto the spiritual ladder. For Plato (The Republic, Gorgias) and Aristotle (Metaphysics), it was the term ἐμπειρία which designated the experience gained through the bodily senses, leading to a kind of knowledge acquired by practice. For Diadochus, on the contrary, πεῖρα comes to represent the experience acquired through spiritual senses. It leads to knowledge of the truth, involving the ability to discern between the causes of inner sensations, ability actualized by noetic illumination. This experience accompanies the pilgrimage of the human being towards the perfection of the resemblance to God and can become manifest as initial experience of faith (ch. 23), of immaterial sense (ch. 24), of discernment between the divine and the illusionary consolation (ch. 31, 32, 33), experience of the gnostic or of the theologian (ch. 72), experience of two desolations (ch. 87), experience of God's charity (ch. 91). The scope of my research includes also the analysis of the correlations between experience (πεῖρα) and charity (ἀγάπη), knowledge (γνῶσις) and illumination (φωτισμός).

Johannes Breuer: The Rhetoric of Persuasion as Hermeneutical Key to Arnobius' Adversus nationes

At about 300 A.D. Arnobius of Sicca, a teacher of rhetoric who had converted to Christianity at an advanced age, composed an apologetic work entitled Adversus nationes. In this treatise Christian faith is defended against a great number of reproaches. In particular, he deals with the accusation that the pagan Roman gods have been annoyed by the fact that many human beings stopped worshipping them and became Christians and therefore afflicted the world with wars, cataclysms, and famines.
Although no one would deny that Arnobius' work is interspersed with rhetorical devices, scholars usually criticised this feature (mainly for aesthetical reasons) arguing that the church father simply could not help employing these techniques due to his profession. An analysis of the text, however, that takes into acccount how rhetorical elements contribute to conveying the author's particular concerns, seems to be much more beneficial for the general understanding of the work. This is even more relevant since Arnobius himself chose the situation of a trial as fictional framework for his apologia.
In my paper, I would like to present the presuppositions, the legitimation and one specific example of this rhetorical or functional approach of analysis that may yield a hermeneutical key to the supposed aesthetical defects of the work. Moreover, the insights into the rhetorical nature of Adversus nationes might also have consequences on how we should evaluate the historical value of, for example, Arnobius' presentations of philosophical doctrines.

Jennifer Strawbridge: ‘Not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit’: Early Christian use of 1 Corinthians 2.13-14 and the Emerging Role of the Spirit in Exegesis and Progress

The most frequently used Pauline pericope within pre-Nicene Christian writings is an excerpt from 1 Corinthians 2.  This text is employed by early Christian writers to differentiate between the wisdom of God, available only to those endowed with the Spirit of God, and the wisdom of this world. The Spirit is the facilitator who enables one to move from knowing only in part to grasping the mysteries of God. Within the writings of Clement of Alexandria, for example, the Spirit is likened to a ship’s navigator whose final port of call is the mysteries of God. For Origen, the Spirit is an essential element that enables the hermeneutist to know the secret and hidden wisdom of God and to see beyond what is written in the words of Scripture. Thus, the Spirit has a quasi-apocalyptic role, complementing Paul’s language about wisdom in the discernment of that which is hidden, secret, and mysterious, revealed only to those who have received the Spirit of God. Offering an overview of the use of 1 Corinthians 2.13-14 in pre-Nicene Christian writings, this paper will examine the necessity of the Spirit for understanding both the words of Scripture and the wisdom of God. In other words, only through wisdom and knowledge of Scripture as revealed by the Spirit can one exegete difficult texts and progress from one level of wisdom to another.

Simon Nolan: Augustine in Richard FitzRalph (c.1300-1360)

This paper will address the general topic of Augustine in Richard FitzRalph (c. 1300-1360).  The influence of Augustine on FitzRalph’s writings is ubiquitous.  Augustine is his constant guide at every stage in his intellectual development and the decisive element in the shaping of many of his theological doctrines throughout his life.  FitzRalph gives his reader long and accurate quotations from a wide variety of Augustine’s works in a way which makes him an important witness to the wider fourteenth-century revival in Augustinianism.  However, there are other ways in which FitzRalph, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, considered himself to have real affinity with Augustine the Christian bishop.  In the famous ‘autobiographical prayer’ from his Summa de quaestionibus Armenorum, FitzRalph’s account of his personal conversion consciously imitates both the style and content of Augustine’s Confessions.  Recent scholarship has acknowledged the profound influence of Bishop Grandisson of Exeter on FitzRalph; some of Grandisson’s own highly annotated texts of Augustine have survived.  This paper will seek to come to some conclusions concerning the particular character of FitzRalph’s Augustinianism.

Harald Buchinger: Easter Sunday - a homiletic vacuum?

Originally Easter Sunday was not an independent feast, but the conclusion of the Paschal Vig-il. The need for a relatively discrete profile arose only when the celebration of Easter was de-veloped into a festal cycle in the later 4th century, converting Easter Sunday into one date among others. Therefore homilists of that age had no received traditions for the creation of festal sermons on the newly established feast. The proposed short communication will explore how they filled that vacuum: by drawing on commonplaces of earlier Paschal theology, by addressing particularly the newly baptized with a mystagogical sermon, by considering the prologue of the Gospel of John read during Eastertide, by expounding specific Easter gospel narratives, and by musing upon the resurrection as such.

Eugen Maftei: Irenaeus of Lyons and Athanasius of Alexandria. Similarities and differences between the two soteriologies

It is already known that the famous phrase of Athanasius of Alexandria: God became man so that we might become god (De Inc. 54,3) comes from the theology of Irenaeus of Lyon (Adv. Haer. III,19,1). In fact, the whole maturity period of the Alexandrian bishop is placed under the sign of a visible irenaean influence. In this study we intend to analyze the differences and, especially, the similarities that exist between the two Fathers regarding the entire process of human salvation. Several ideas used by Athanasius, such as the corruptibility of the human being, that comes from nothing, the need of man to be restored by God, the deification of man through the Word' incarnation, or that the immortality and incorruptibility acquired by the death and resurrection of Christ, are all inherited theories of Irenaeus of Lyon. For example, the Pauline concept of recapitulation (Eph. 1, 10), so dear to Irenaeus, that Christ summarizes in him all humankind and its history by offering briefly salvation (Adv. Haer. III, 18, 1; III, 22.1), was partially adopted by Athanasius which simplifies it, speaking only about the kinship and the incorporation of all in Christ. However, Irenaeus' theory of restoration in Christ (Adv. Haer. V,14,2; V,21,1) is much more developed and enriched by the author, who will perceive the salvation not simply as a return of man to its original state, but as something more, which will allow him to develop his doctrine of deification in Christ.

Demetrios (Reuben) Harper: The Ontological Ethics of St. Maximus the Confessor and the Concept of Shame

This paper briefly explores the ontological ethics of St. Maximus the Confessor in light of the modern shame/guilt distinction. As many prominent commentators have affirmed, a virtue-based or ontological sense of ethics is intrinsic to or at least presupposed by the Confessor's great theological synthesis. Appropriating but simultaneously transcending Aristotelian naturalism, Maximus establishes the chief virtue of love as the ontological locus of being, the δύναμις that enables the eschatological wholeness of nature and genuine reciprocity between rational beings. Inasmuch as every authentic virtue constitutes a manifestation of love and its nature-constituting properties, the habituation of virtue and the resulting disposition occur in relation to an ‘other'. The activity of virtue is an ontic movement towards one's Creator and fellow creatures, achieving a functional community of nature and a perichoretic relationship with the divine. Conversely, an unvirtuous disposition and the habituation of vice facilitate a rupture in nature and movement towards solipsism. As this essay proposes, the reciprocal or relational approach to virtue manifested in the Confessor's synthesis is consistent with the criteria of certain modern ethical approaches that affirm the natural superiority of the emotion of shame over the individuating character of guilt. The ethical dimensions of the Confessor's synthesis, therefore, constitute a very interesting and provocative alternative to the majority of contemporary Christian approaches to morals, which, in Kantian fashion, typically fixate upon the autonomous fulfilment of abstracted principles and rely on the inner-directed emotion of guilt to correct behavioural lapses.

Justin A. Mihoc: The Pre-existence of the Church Topos in Early Christianity

In early Christianity, the question of the origins or foundation of the Church has been central in a number of anti-heretical rhetorical texts, and was answered in various ways according to each group’s agenda. Despite being a slow process, it is evident that ever since the first Christian communities began to organise themselves they felt the necessity for self-identification as a new movement.
According to Genesis 1-2, God is the only pre-existent, uncreated and eternal being, who brought into being the entire created world. He is thus the originator of both physical and spiritual beings. Early Christians, believing in the filial relationship of Jesus to the Heavenly Father and Creator, were keen to determine their place within the history of salvation as the true inheritors of creation. In this context, the idea of the Church as the fulfilment of creation emerged, leading subsequently to the notion of the heavenly ecclēsia and the Church as present in the mind of God from the moment of Creation and even before that.

In order to understand this development it is necessary to understand early biblical and patristic ecclesiology first. In my paper, I shall briefly present the origin and development of the idea affirming the pre-existence of the Church in the mind of God.

Giulia Rossetto: Manuscript Studies as Revealing the History of Use of Euchologia

From the perspective of the archaeology of the book, manuscripts are regarded as textual objects, specifically as excellent records of the “material culture”, since they reflect on tangible material grounds the history of the communities which produced and made use of them.
Byzantine prayer books (euchologia) can offer valuable information about the social and regional context of their production and use, based both on their content and traces of usage, especially annotations, in the manuscript itself: of particular relevance in this regard are the “small prayers” of everyday use that are aimed at every believer regardless of their social and economic status.
A detailed and accurate codicological and palaeographical analysis of these handwritten documents represents a major premise in order to identify the textual and regional communities that the euchologia served, helping to understand the place of copying and usage of an euchologion and, consequently, the liturgical tradition it reflects.
This paper will compare euchologia from South Italy and from the Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai in order to demonstrate the methodological potential of this approach.

Suzanne Abrams Rebillard: "Let me cry out in tragic voice!": Gregory of Nazianzus' Use of Tragic Pathos

In Gregory of Nazianzus’ accounts of monumental events in his life, he often alludes to Greek tragedy to convey emotion. This paper argues that Gregory turns numerous times to Sophocles’ Antigone, glossing high points of moral debate in Classical literature, to engage the audience in the moral and spiritual exercise of recounting such physical and psychic pain.

Three such allusive passages from De vita sua are explored, all including Gregory’s metapoetic commentary: first, Dvs 1044–5, before Gregory describes his reaction to Maximus the Cynic’s consecration, echoes Ant. 233ff, preceding a messenger speech reporting Polyneices’ burial; second, Dvs 1351ff, the sun breaking out as Gregory enters the church of the Holy Apostles, echoes Ant. 415ff, describing the sun before dust masks Antigone’s discovery of her brother’s corpse; and third, Dvs 1847ff, expressing Gregory’s devotion to the Trinity alone, not the episcopal throne, echoes Ant. 738ff, a debate between Haemon and Creon over civic authority and support for Antigone.

Gregory’s use of Sophocles’ voices in his first-person account unites them with his own self-conscious poetic voice. Thus, he telescopes history, myth, and his own experience to focus his audience’s attention on the emotions and moral dilemmas that undergird events. When this practice of allusion is considered in combination with De vita sua’s explicit pedagogical intent, Gregory’s poetry and its pathos can be seen to function in tune with Aristotle’s prescripts for tragedy, intimately involving the audience’s emotion in the text for their own spiritual development.

Stephan Witetschek: Polycrates of Ephesos and the "Canonical John"

John "who had reclined at the Lord's chest" is one of the witnesses whom Bishop Polycrates of Ephesos lines up in order to defend the quartodeciman practice of celebrating Easter agaist Bishop Victor of Rome (apud Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 5.24.2-8; see also ibid. 3.31.3). This "John" is identified with the "Beloved Disciple" of John 13.23-25, as in Irenaeus (Haer. 3.1.1). Yet in other aspects, Polycrates' image of "John" is quite different from what we find, at about the same time, in Irenaeus (partly in Clement of Alexandria, too) who presents the full "canonical" image of John as it had become common in the course of the 2nd century: "John",  the "Beloved Disciple", Apostle and author of the Gospel and the Apocalypse of John. Polycrates' "John" is, among other things, a priest, but not the author of a literary work, be it a gospel or an apocalypse. This paper will trace the differences between these images of "John" and try to investigate the reasons for Polycrates' peculiar image of "John".

Notes on the tradition, sources and origin of the corpus attributed to Pseudo-Sisbert of Toledo

This paper deals with a corpus consisting of three penitential Latin texts whose editio princeps was published in 1601 by J. du Breul among Isidore of Seville's Opera Omnia, namely Lamentum poenitentiae (CPL 1227, a trochaic poem of alphabetically-arranged stanzas), Exhortatio poenitendi (CPL 1533, a poem written in rhythmical hexameters) and Oratio pro correptione uitae (CPL 1228, a prose composition). The Oratio has never been critically edited and the last edition of Lamentum and Exhortatio was prepared by K. Strecker using 12 manuscripts. This latter edition states the communis opinio concerning these texts: although they were not Isidorian, they are likely Visigothic. In this sense, in 1926, J. Pérez de Urbel proposed the Visigothic bishop Sisbert of Toledo as their author; only A. Vega in the sixties and recently J. Elfassi and P. Alberto have argued that the corpus might be Carolingian. Within the framework of the preparation of the first critical edition of the whole corpus, this presentation aims to provide a survey of its textual tradition and sources. The first one currently encompasses more than 30 manuscripts, including an early 9th-century witness, newly rediscovered, and the identification of two versions of the Lamentum; regarding the second aspect, new sources are identified, especially concerning the Oratio, whose terminus post quem could be eventually re-evaluated. A careful study of both textual tradition and literary sources makes it possible to analyse the possibilities and implications of the hypothesis regarding the origin, chronology and even unitary composition of this barely-studied pseudo-Isidorian corpus.

Ilse De Vos: The Quaestiones ad Antiochum ducem: Towards a Critical Edition

The importance of the Quaestiones ad Antiochum ducem (CPG 2257), which although explicitly attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria in all probability came about in the second half of the seventh or the early eighth century at the latest, can hardly be overestimated. On top of being preserved in no less than 250 Greek manuscripts and being excerpted e.g. in the Doctrina Patrum, this intriguing collection of questions and answers discussing (mainly) the position of Christianity with regard to Hellenism and Judaism was translated into numerous languages, viz. Arabic, Armenian, Church Slavonic, Ethiopic, Georgian and Latin.
In this paper, I will discuss the new critical edition, which I am preparing within the framework of DEBIDEM, an ERC funded research project hosted at King's College London, of the original Greek collection for the Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca. More specifically, I will address the numerous challenges (or opportunities?) involved in dealing with such an abundant and complex textual tradition and set forth how I believe this edition will benefit from taking into account as many indirect witnesses as time allows me.

Brenda Fitch Fairaday: Romanos the Melodist: Advocate of Healing, Reconciliation, and Forgiveness

This presentation will explore several aspects of St Romanos's techniques in using poetry and music to rouse the congregation to repentance and full metanoia, and question whether this is only on the personal level or whether it reflects the need for reconciliation among members of his society and in his church. The major works to be analyzed on this subject will be the kontakia On Judas, On Peter, and On the Harlot, which are clearly meant to arouse compunction.  By his combination of text and music (rhythm), Romanos seems to demonstrate his understanding of the affekt of the tones as taught by the Greek philosophers, including Boethius, who preceded him, and the much later writers on music who followed him, i.e., Thomas Mace, Claudio Monteverdi. There will be some comparison to Ephrem's combinations of rhythm and tones in developing like responses.  It will address the question of whether Romanos was consciously observing what was later codified in Law 137:  are his works meant to effect spiritual formation in the listeners (the laity) at the liturgy - because formation is otherwise lacking from the liturgy, and is his work reflective only of the penitential needs - his and his congregation's.  Are there common "healing" rhythms and tones found in his works? Does he use particular tones and rhythms to elicit specific spiritual responses?  A broad number of both spuria and genuina will be examined concerning these questions.

Klazina Staat: ‘Let him thus be a Hippolytus' (Pe. 11.87): horror and rhetoric in Prudentius' Peristephanon 11

Prudentius' Peristephanon (ca. 400-405; Cunningham 1966) contains a collection of early-Christian martyr stories, which is famous for its rhetorical qualities and classicizing style. In Peristephanon 11 (Pe. 11), the author recounts the story of the martyr Hippolytus, who is sentenced to death after his refusal to worship the ancient gods.

In this paper, I want to investigate how and to what rhetorical effect two ancient literary techniques are employed in Pe. 11, viz. the ekphrasis of a painting (Pe. 11.125ff.), as well as the use of imagery that is related to Hippolytus' namesake in the ancient tragedy. These are common techniques for characterizing protagonists in late-antique texts. Examples can be found in pagan novelistic texts (e.g., the novels of Chariton, Xenophon of Ephesus and Heliodorus; cf. Bartsch 1989 and De Temmerman 2014: 47-49, 142, 145 and 253), as well as other early-Christian texts besides the Peristephanon (e.g., works of Paulinus of Nola and Asterius of Amasea; cf. Malamud 1989: 165-172, Miller 2009: 63-73 and Webb 2007).

I want to show that Prudentius' application of the two techniques in Pe. 11 is different from other examples in ancient novelistic and early-Christian literature. They are not used as characterization techniques, but focus on the cruelties of Hippolytus' violent martyrdom and the accompanying disintegration of his body. Elaborating on Miller, I want to argue that this rhetoric of horror irresistibly catches the attention of the readers and makes their minds receptive for a proper veneration of the saint's relics (cf. Miller 2009: 77-81).

Geoffrey Smith: Metaphor and Meaning in Tertullian’s Scorpiace

Metaphorical language pervades Tertullian’s Scorpiace, a polemical treatise written in response to so-called “Valentinians” and “Gnostics” who oppose the practice of martyrdom. To sharpen the sting of his polemic, Tertullian makes use of an elaborate arachnid metaphor, in which heretics are likened to scorpions, heresy to venom, and impressionable members of the church to prey. Scholars often handle Tertullian’s metaphorical language in one of two ways: some use it to gauge the extent of his medical knowledge; they ask how familiar Tertullian is with the medical tradition, and to what degree he understands Christian faith and secular medicine to be compatible. Others focus more upon the dispute between Tertullian and his opponents and summarily dismiss his metaphorical language as superfluous rhetoric. This paper takes a different approach, one that does not divorce Tertullian’s metaphorical language from his polemic. By drawing upon the notions of intertextuality and conceptual metaphor, this paper argues that Tertullian’s application of a scorpion metaphor through a rewriting of Nicander’s Theriaca, a Hellenistic treatise on animal toxicology and therapeutics which Tertullian mentions at the beginning of Scorpiace, allows him both to depict the landscape of early Christianity as an anti-bucolic world infested with venomous scorpion/heretics and to aver that heresy poses a threat not only to the minds of Christians but also to their bodies.

Felicidad Oberholzer: The Devil, Demons, and the Problem of Evil in Athanasius' The Life of St. Anthony

In stories of Early Christians engaging in spiritual warfare, such as one finds in Athanasius' Life of St. Anthony, modern readers often struggle with the idea of evil personified in beings, be it Satan or other demons. A common option is to treat them either as genuine beings in enmity to God and humans, or as psychological phenomena, an "inner demon" representing one's own enmity with God and self. This need not be an either/or choice. Inasmuch as the demons attack the psyche (considered as both soul and mind), psychology, especially in the Jungian tradition, can provide useful access to a deeper understanding of the experiences related in these early stories. This communication will explore this possibility in the Life of St. Anthony.

David Michelson: Quid ergo Silicon Valley et Hierosolymis? Potential and Perils of the Digital Humanities for Patristic Studies

Over the last half century, scholars studying the history of Christianity have enjoyed an ever increasing number of electronic research tools, such as text corpora and manuscript catalogues (e.g. Thesaurus Lingua Graeca, CETEDOC, OLIVER). Many of these resources now serve an essential role for research on Christianity in late antiquity. In contrast to this proliferation of databases, there has been surprisingly less methodological reflection among scholars in the field about how digital research has both opened new possibilities and created new blind spots. Fortunately, these are questions of wide interest now being addressed beyond Patristic studies by a number of disciplines under the rubric of the “digital humanities”.  This paper brings Patristic studies into this emerging conversation by surveying the current state of digital work in Patristic studies and offering methodological proposals for its future direction. This paper identifies a new wave of digital databases created by individual scholars for very specific purposes. It also demonstrates how such particularized projects can benefit from adopting standards of scholarly best practice from other fields active in digital humanities. Because digital humanities and Patristic studies are both interdisciplinary umbrellas where scholars from multiple fields collaborate there are many fruitful prospects for overlap between the two fields.

Jonathan Bieler: Maximus the Confessor's Concept of Analogy: The Presence of the Word of God in Creation

For 70 years, scholars of Maximus the Confessor have repeatedly called for a closer investigation of the influence of Dionysius the Areopagite on Maximus the Confessor's thought. Much work has been done and is being done on the subject of participation, which is of crucial importance for both Maximus and Dionysius, although scholars have also disputed its importance for the Confessor. By exploring the role analogical thought plays in his system, we can better assess the importance of the concept of participation for Maximus. Participation means the downward movement of the Creator, who is imparting the gift of being to creatures, while analogy leads the rational creature back up to the origin of being in virtue of the similitude of all things with the Word of God. In the end, the revelatory aspect of creation itself rests on its analogy to God the Word, so that every logos a particular being possesses, expresses in some form the fullness of the Word of God, through whom all things were made. This paradox of total divine presence in finite creatures constitutes a crucial point of reference for Maximus's synthesis of the Patristic tradition, particularly the thought of Dionysius. This can be shown from the collection of the Ambigua as a whole, in particular his famous Ambigua 7 and 10, but also from the lesser known Ambiguum 35 and other texts. Disregarding this paradox of divine presence would have implications for any account of Maximian ontology, exegesis, anthropology and theology.

Kenneth Wilson: Re-dating Augustine’s Ad Simplicianum 1.2 to the Pelagian Controversy

Scholars have accepted Augustine’s Ad Simplicianum as his definitive transition to his later theology due to its obvious shift between books one and two; and, Augustine’s statements that he began to understand grace during this time and that his theology had already countered the Pelagian heresy prior to its appearance.  Numerous novel doctrines such as initial faith being God’s gift because of humanity’s “dead will” and God’s unilateral determination of individuals’ eternal destinies erupt in Ad Simplicianum without prior formative concepts. Scholars have noted his continued emphasis on unmerited grace, but that his works, letters, and sermons for another fifteen years are relatively silent on these novel doctrines. A chronological examination of Augustine’s works, letters, and sermons reveals that only in AD 412 did the Bishop of Hippo begin to gradually develop his later theology. Between 397 and 412, Augustine persists in teaching his prior theology. In contrast, one single letter (Ad Simpicianum 1.2 ) erupts with a plethora of novel doctrines of relative maturity. This suggests that like numerous other works revised years or decades later, Augustine himself revised Ad Simplicianum after AD 411. This paper will provide an alternative theory to reconcile his comments in Retractationes, Predestinatione sanctorum, and De dono perseverantiae. Augustine’s rhetorical skills shine as he cautiously maneuvers to avoid the sin of lying while defending the faith against Pelagian heresies. By demonstrating Augustine’s revision of Ad Simplicianum, the otherwise inexplicable fifteen-year lacuna transforms into a cohesive understanding of his theological development.

Nicholas Mataya: Charity Before Division: The Strange Case of Severinus of Noricum and the Pseudo-Evangelisation of the Rugians

Severinus of Noricum (c. 410 – 482)’s strategy to facilitate the spread of Christianity in the Late Roman Balkans is atypical among Late Antique holy men.  Despite being given such titles as “the Apostle of Noricum” by later authors, the Severinus offered to us in the Vita Sancti Severini elicits very few, if any, doctrinal conversions.  Instead, the Vita Sancti Severini presents a mode of evangelisation that dramatically deemphasises doctrine and emphasises Christian unity and charity.  This can be seen most clearly in Severinus’ interactions with the Arian Rugians.  Unlike earlier holy men, many of whom preached the shunning of heretics, Severinus disregards doctrinal differences in favour of a strategy that employs miracles to illustrate that Christ could help all people.
This study will begin by examining a number of attempts to evangelise peoples within and without the Roman Empire during the Late Roman period, including Paul of Tarsus’ efforts in Greece and Ambrose of Milan’s efforts in Northern Italy.  Then, the context of the Late Roman Balkans, particularly in Noricum and its surroundings, will be examined.  Subsequently, the Vita Sancti Severini and the career of Severinus will be discussed.  Finally, the mode of evangelization proffered by Severinus will be scrutinised, particularly its use and results among the Rugians.  It will be shown that Severinus’ pseudo-evangelisation of the Rugians, which stressed charity before division, was atypical among Late Antique holy men, and that this pseudo-evangelisation met with minimal success.

Midori Hartman: Beginning Again, Becoming Animal: Augustine, Animality, and Pain in Genesis

Augustine's repeated returns to Genesis allow him to revisit and readdress vexing topics. One of these is the question of the animal. He predominantly focuses on animals as tools for training human virtue (e.g. poisonous animals) or as examples of the incomprehensibility of divine mystery (e.g superfluous animals). Yet Augustine's returns to Genesis also lead him to acknowledge a commonality between humans and animals, namely the experience of bodily pain (cf. Cizewski 1993). This paper explores the transgressive limits of physical pain and animality as it is addressed in his three Genesis commentaries and The City of God. I bring Augustine's interpretations into conversation with Deleuze and Guattari's concept of “becoming animal,” or affective non-identity. I argue that his analyses of Genesis cause him to develop a concept of physical pain that can be more properly understood as affect, or the capacity to affect and be affected that precedes emotion and subjectivity itself. In this fashion, Augustine's understanding of bodily pain is unlike [a] the traditional Stoic passions (e.g. distress), which are preceded by internal stimuli, or [b] propatheiai, reflexive reactions that stem from a cognitive source, which for him was doubt (Byers 2013). Bodily pain has no antecedent and is shared between human and animal alike; it causes a disintegration of the unity of the soul and body, the self-dissolving reaction of “becoming animal.” This shared capacity raises questions about the limits of Augustine's own categories of human and animal, as well the concept of the self as such.

Daniel Galadza: Studying Byzantine Prayer Books: Taxonomies of Prayers and Manuscripts

This paper presents an historical overview of the study of the Byzantine prayer book—the Euchologion. The modern study of the Euchologion began with Jacques Goar's (1601–1653) edition Euchologion, sive Rituale Graecorum... in 1647 and continued with Alexei Dmitrievskii's (1856–1929) Opisanie liturgicheskikh rukopisei..., vol. 2: Euchologia, published in 1901. Since then, various taxonomies of the Euchologion have been proposed by liturgiologists based on the liturgical environment where the book was used [Miguel Arranz (1930–2008)], the textual recensions of its liturgies and prayers [André Jacob (b. 1933)], and the regional provenance of Euchologion manuscripts [Stefano Parenti (b. 1959)], to name a few. These taxonomies are presented and analyzed in order to understand the current state of research, propose classifications of Euchologia prayers and manuscripts, and indicate questions and desiderata for further research.

Gabor Kendeffy: Will and moral responsibility in Augustine's works on lying

The main propositions implied by Augustine's argumentation
It is possible for someone not to want the sin of someone else even if one does not want to avoid it by committing a sin oneself. It is possible for someone not to want to commit a sin when by doing so one would avoid the sin of someone else as a greater evil. In the case of a believer, God is less willing to forgive a lesser sin if it is committed in order to either avert a greater evil or attain a greater good. However, due to the fallen condition of man, a normal believer is bound to face and often to yield to the temptation of avoiding the sin of someone else by committing a lesser sin oneself.
Augustine and the trolley problem.
Those deciding to pull the lever and save the lives of five men at the expense of the life of one would claim that one who prefers to commit a lesser sin to avert a greater one does not want the former. Apparently, Augustine used different criteria to admit that someone wants what he prefers.

Mark DelCogliano: Did Arius learn from Asterius?

Athanasius repeatedly presents Asterius as the advocate (sunêgoros) of Arianism. This is commonly taken to mean that he judged Asterius to be prominent among those Eusebians who supported the cause of Arius in the years leading up to the Council of Nicaea and afterward. It is furthermore usually interpreted by scholars to mean that Arius, if not a source, was at least a foil for Asterius: Asterius defended Arius even as he developed his thought (e.g. Kopecek, Hanson). But Markus Vinzent has suggested that Asterius perhaps be called the "mentor" (Vordenker) of Arius. Given the shared themes in the theologies of Arius and Asterius, the question of influence in either direction cannot be resolved on the basis of similarity of teaching; external indications are needed. Vinzent's claim seems to be based only upon two passages in De decretis, in which Athanasius states that Arius borrowed from Asterius, not vice versa. Vinzent's claim has been noted by others, but has not generated any substantial comment. The purpose of this communication is to take up the topic which others have declined to treat. It takes two approaches. First, the paper briefly discusses whether the evidence of De decretis should be interpreted as a global statement of the theological relationship between Arius and Asterius. Second, the paper attempts to establish the relative chronology of the Syntagmation of Asterius and the Thalia of Arius, to gauge the possibility of Arius being influenced by the former text in the composition of the latter.

Jonathan Taylor: A Three-Nativities Christology? Maximus on the Logos

Maximus the Confessor often adopts a Dionysian approach to divine names. This apophatic approach does not construe the names in any way that might diminish the transcendence of the ineffable, divine essence above all created categories. However, Maximus's treatment of the Christological title Logos requires him to interpret the title as indicating a participation by the creatures and their logoi to the divine Logos. The Logos is neither an apophatic title nor a shared divine name, but is appropriated to the second person and has practical consequences for understanding the unity of the created order.
In Ambigua 7, Maximus self-consciously struggles with this tension between his apophatic approach and the importance of Christ as the single Logos containing the many logoi (c.f. PG 1081 B­-D). The logic of this text provides insight into how Maximus can hold these two commitments together. This communication will examine Ambigua 7 as a single text in which Maximus confronts most clearly the seeming tension between his commitment to Dionysian theology and Logos theology. It will show how Maximus coordinates his kataphatic Christological statements and his apophatic exaltation of the divine essence, offering a better framework for reading Maximus's conception of the Spirit's economic work in salvation and the development of Trinitarian theology.

Augustine Reisenauer, O.P.: Wonder and Significance in Augustine's Theology of Miracles

Augustine sees miracles as significant wonders that provide their spectators with further insights into the reality of creation and its Creator. God performs miracles, whether spontaneously or through angelic or human agency, in order to alert and elevate fallen human persons to his own omnipresent and omnipotent divinity. On account of pride and its introduction of a dull and deadly complacency, humans have lost sight of the astonishing aspects of sensible creation and have anesthetized their sense of wonder. The value of wonder and of creation have become cheapened by familiarity such that human persons have ceased to appreciate the wonder and worth of their own existence which God has brought into being from nothing. Particular miracles function to revive and revitalize humanity’s deadened sense of wonder and to reawaken them to the grand miracle of creation. Miracles burst open the visionary and eschatological horizons of humanity such that we can behold in faith new possibilities. Miracles serve as signs of the wondrous love of God for humanity. Augustine appreciates that the love of God is so wonderful that it not only elevates the human perspective to glimpse in faith the divine, but also lifts humanity up to an eternal participation in God thanks to the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. For Augustine, the grand miracle of visible creation, including humanity, discovers its ultimate significance and wondrous destiny in the greatest miracle of Jesus Christ raised from the depths of death and ascended into the heights of glory.

Jonathan Reck: The rise of Islam as catalyst for seventh and eighth century Christological articulation

This Short Communication shall address the culmination of iconoclastic controversy in the seventh and eighth centuries alongside the critiques of Christian orthodoxy from the newly emerging Muslim community. Anastasios of Sinai and John of Damascus are two figures who responded to the presence of Islam in unique ways. The former provides the earliest Christian references to Islam and the Qur'an while the latter represents a marked readiness to provide highly developed Christological articulation amidst rapidly changing circumstances due to the rise of Islam. In previous centuries, it is evident that there is a high degree of tension regarding how visually to portray the crucified Christ, the tension stemming (in part) from Theopaschite controversy of whether or not Jesus's divine nature was affected during the Passion. In light of this development and the presence of a Muslim community that presented challenging claims against Orthodox Christology, these two figures contributed significantly to the further development of Christology after the rise of Islam. Taking a synchronic approach to sources within the given timeframe, I will propose that the early seventh century rise of Islam was a catalyst for the extended effort provided within the seventh and eighth centuries toward enhancing and systematizing Christological articulation.

Kathryn Kleinkopf: A Landscape of Bodies: Exploring the Role of Ascetics in Theodoret's Historia Religiosa

From hunching over in compact wooden crates to suspending themselves in a box several feet off the ground, Theodoret’s ascetics as described in his Historia Religiosa perform awe-inspiring feats.  While previous scholarship has delved into the politics motivating this history or the differences between Syrian and Egyptian asceticism, most scholars have ignored the significant role that place plays in these stories except to acknowledge the text’s general setting.  Yet, to remove Symeon from his pillar or Domnina from her millet hut would be to ignore a defining aspect of their practice and the ways in which Theodoret constructs their religious identity.   In the Historia Religiosa, Theodoret fuses place with the ascetic in order to define and defend Christian space and Christianity.  In many instances, a walled hut or wooden box symbolize the face of the ascetic within, becoming their defining characteristic and symbolizing their relationship with the world around them.  In other instances, ascetics living in the open air become places themselves, infusing the very ground with their holiness. While becoming part of the landscape, these men and women establish themselves as limes of Theodoret’s power and Christianity, fortifying its borders with the watchtowers and fortresses of their bodies.  The fight that ensues between these Christians and their daimon assailants thus seeks control of the physical place and the souls of those who lay within its borders.  By inextricably linking his ascetics to their places, Theodoret forever alters the imagined landscape not only of Syria but of Christian asceticism itself.

Luise Marion Frenkel: Procedural similarities between fourth and fifth-century Christian synods and the Roman Senates: myth, politics or cultural identity?

Recent research on the late-antique textual representation of unanimous collective decision-making shows that the similar patterns in synodical and senatorial proceedings were not a (deliberate) emulation or imposition of practices of the Senate Houses (in Rome or Constantinople). Rather, both exemplify the communication strategies that allowed large-scale demonstrations of assent or dissent to be recorded, re-interpreted and used to support, for example, an intended self-representation of Senate, synods and their relation to imperial identity.

General models of the proceedings were extrapolated from a body of select sources taken as a cohesive whole by scholars working, for example, on Canon Law, Reichssynoden, episcopal jurisprudence and a Reichskirche assimilated into the empire since Constantine. However, they do not account for the manifold and changeable character of early Christian synods, so-called Church Councils or sessions in the Senate Houses. The current picture of the regional and diachronic social variations, of the working of religious and administrative bodies, and especially of the classical discursive conventions and polemic or apologetic character of the proceedings tempers the models of Councils and Senates as extraordinary decision-making bodies that followed well-established traditions. The templates are scholarly constructs, which rely on anachronistic or timeless concepts such as democracy, law codes, orthodoxy, papacy and paganism in the broad context of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. The paper argues that the recurring patterns in the proceedings reflect the late-antique argumentative use of supposed verbatim accounts rather than a genuine similarity between the events recorded.

Megan DeVore: ‘New Converts’ or Catechumeni? Revisiting the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis

While abundant interpretive dialogue continues to transpire in regards to the early third-century Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis, a ubiquitous assumption with significant exegetical consequences remains to be called into question. The Passio purports to narrate the trial, prison experience, and deaths of six Christians in Carthage.  Passio scholarship past and present asserts that since five of these martyrs are adolescentes catechumeni (2.1.1), their Christian identity and instruction was nascent, exiguous at best. This is particularly significant because one among them, the elite matron Vibia Perpetua, is a main character and the second narrator within the text.  The pervasive assumption that the catechumens are ‘new converts’ has cultivated dismissive interpretive engagement with her voice in particular: any apparent engagement with sophisticated Christian concepts or vocabularies must be clever mimicry, muddled vestiges of paganism, or oneiric symbolism.  This paper counters that we cannot assume that ‘catechumen’ equates to incipient exposure to Christian texts, oral teachings, corporate practices and identities, etc. Variegated contemporary sources and scholarship on the catechumenate, in fact, indicate that though catechetical praxis featured variations depending upon time, place, and participants, some generalities may be discerned. Suppositions about the adjective ‘catechumen’ in Passio studies  are thus challenged, and, consequentially, it is insinuated that interpretive endeavor can seek potentially mature engagement with Christian texts, traditions, and teachings among the Passio catechumens.  The implications of this study affect exegesis of this text but also contribute to gender studies and scholarship on early Christian identities and practices.

William Rutherford: Entropic Judaism? Rhetoric of Divine Unity in Ignatius of Antioch and Christian Civic Libel in Anatolia

This paper investigates the function of civic discourse against the Jews in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch To the Magnesians and To the Philadelphians.  Ignatius declaims against “Judaism” and invokes language of “Christian” unity, harmony, and solidarity.  Ignatius’s fascination with unity has engendered much debate.  Early proposals highlighted mystical and “gnostic” aspects of unity discourse (Schlier, Bartsch).  Such readings treated his unity rhetoric as ahistorical and radically intellectual.  They alienated Ignatius’s language from social contexts in urban settings.  Others minimized supposed gnostic influences (Swartley, Grant) and promoted the notion that Ignatius’s language “builds on ideas of concord and unity drawn from Greek political thought” (Schoedel).  Few have asked how Ignatius’s unity rhetoric may have influenced the urban climate of Jewish and Christian relations in Anatolia.
This paper situates Ignatius’s discourses within the civic ideals articulated in the Second Sophistic (Puech, Whitmarsh) and lionized in the Greek cityscapes transformed under Roman imperial power (Boatwright, Nasrallah).  In his unity rhetoric against the “Jews,” Ignatius merges ancient Greek values of urban solidarity and Roman imperial interests in stability and order.  His vitriol against the “Jews” suggests that Christians, as citizens of a divine monarchy, represent the best citizens in the earthly empire, though their admixture with “Jews” in Asia threatens civic strife and participation in the divine order.

Ilias Nesseris: Unkown Prayers on Education in Twelfth-Century Byzantium

Among the various prayers for all kind of daily life activities that can be found in Goar’s edition of the Euchologion are included three which concern children’s education. The first two involve the young child’s sending off to the school of primary education to learn the so-called hiera grammata, while the third is an interesting service regarding mischievous students.
In addition to these prayers, there exist many others that remain unknown because they are not preserved in Byzantine and post-Byzantine prayer books, but in manuscripts containing school material, namely schedographies, i.e. collections consisting of numerous short pieces called schedē composed for the teaching of grammar. These unknown prayers are exceptional both in form/type and content for a variety of reasons: their precise classification would be prayers in the form of schedē; they were composed ad hoc for various specific aspects of school life, such as the annual examinations at the end of the school year; their composers were, in some cases, well-known teachers, such as Constantine Manasses, or others that have remained anonymous; finally, they were composed for individual students rather than the entire student body in general.
The aim of the present paper is to analyze and present all these unknown prayers for the first time, to expand on their significance for the educational affairs of the late Byzantine and post-Byzantine period and place them in their social context, and to explore the methodological challenges they pose in regard to the more conventional prayers found in the Euchologion.

Jessica van 't Westeinde: Jerome and Pammachius: modelling Christian transformation in epistolary correspondence

Fiunt, non nascuntur christiani' (e.g. Jerome, Ep. 107.1, from Tertullian, Apol. 18.4) seems to imply that the conversion to Christianity demands a transformation of identity which at first sight does not appear to be compatible with Roman aristocratic values. In his letters to his aristocrat friends or patrons, Jerome, too, seems to invoke the idea that their adoption of the Christian faith and their embarking on the ascetic way of life requires such transformation. His letters could be read as instructions in the process of it. However, many questions remain unanswered. To what extent could we actually speak of transformation, what model of Christian identity did Jerome present that could be appealing to these aristocrats?
Indebted to insights presented in the work of a.o. Cain, Brown, and Salzman, but also taking into account and developing further the methodology of embodied early and medieval Christianity, I will explore how Jerome could exercise authority over a figure like Pammachius, so high above his own social standing, and how Jerome's model of Christian elite could have been accepted by the Roman aristocrats in light of its apparent requirement of a radical rupture with the past, whilst at the same time safeguarding social superiority. Jerome appears to have offered a model that would make best ends meet: it did see conversion as discontinuous with the past, but at the same time it attempted to create a superior ‘christianus perfectus' which would rise high above the ‘mediocre flock'.

Jeremy Barrier: Abraham’s Seed: Tracing pneuma as a corporeal substance from Paul’s writings to the Apocryphon of John

Since the time of Augustine, the pneuma (i.e., Spirit) of God has often been assumed to be a non-corporeal substance. However, an influx of more recent studies have begun to explore the corporeal dimensions of God as discussed in earliest Christianity. In particular, scholars such as Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Dale Martin, and Troy Martin have paved the way in Pauline Studies for understanding pneuma as a physiological, corporeal substance, instead of viewing it primarily as a metaphor. In 2014, I published an article reinforcing these concepts by connecting pneuma with “Abraham’s Seed” (Galatians 3:29) through a physiological explanation. In this presentation, I will further test the hypothesis of a corporeal pneuma by examining the concept of “Abraham’s Seed” within several early church writings to see whether or not any traces of this corporeal concept of pneuma can be detected.

Eirini Afentoulidou: Gendering the Baby in Byzantine Prayers on Child-Bed

The hitherto most authoritative edition of the Byzantine Euchologion made by Jacques Goar includes prayers on child-bed, ranging from prayers for the mother to prayers for the naming and the churching of the child. In these the child is sometimes referred to in the neuter "παιδίον" (little child) or "νήπιον" (infant), and sometimes in the gendered "δοῦλος τοῦ Θεοῦ" (God's male servant) - the universal masculine is used, although the instructions in the rubrics refer to male and female infants. This paper aims to explore the gendering as part of the integration of the child into the Byzantine Christian community.

Christopher Seiler: Non sibi arroget minister plus quam quod ut minister (Sermo 266, 2): St. Augustine’s Imperative for Ministerial Humility

In his letters to priests and bishops, Augustine is often found exhorting them to humility. Their fruitfulness as ministers is not contingent primarily on their own goodness and power, but on the one whose vicar they are. Nevertheless, the minister must exercise his freedom in seeking after virtue if he is to effectively fulfill his role as a true instrument of the Gospel. For the Bishop of Hippo, each alter Christus has to find the right relationship between humble receptivity and zealous activity in order to faithfully carry out his sacred ministry.

Daniel Robinson: Clement of Alexandria on Voluntary Akrasia

In Stromateis 2.13-15, Clement of Alexandria addresses the problem of distinguishing voluntary and involuntary sins. He follows, through the handbooks available to him, a handful of passages from Aristotle in which the latter discusses various aspects of this distinction through the terms ἀτυχεῖν, ἁμαρτάνειν and ἀδικεῖν (NE 1113b-14a; NE 1135b 16-18; EE 1223a 23; and Rhet. 1.13.16). Clement interprets these Aristotelian passages through a Stoic concept of the passions, as is evident from his quoting a source very similar to Arius Didymus’ Stoic handbook (Str. = Ar. Did.; Str. = Ar. Did. 2.7.10a.32). The Stoic point in that handbook was that passions are impulses that are disobedient to logos, reside in the hegemonikon, and consequently overpower and tyrannize human conduct. Clement appropriates Aristotle’s discussion of ἀτυχεῖν, ἁμαρτάνειν and ἀδικεῖν to explain how this passionate disobedience to logos, which subsequently tyrannizes us, is in itself up to us.

This appropriation of Aristotle is evidence of an early Christian position, at least in the Alexandrian church, concerning the problems of akrasia and moral progress. Clement’s un-Aristotelian and un-Stoic conclusion deems the phenomenon of akrasia subject to a human authority over deciding between rational and akratic action. This authority over akrasia bears significant implications for Alexandrian Christian anthropology and the subsequent monastic project of attaining theosis through apatheia.

Robert Parks: Augustine and Proba on the Renewed Union of Man and Woman in Christ's Humanity and the Church

In her Virgilian Cento, Proba (c. 322-370) agrees with what seems Augustine's (354-430) negative view of women. For her, Eve is "especially unlucky" (line 200) and "head and cause" of sin's results (264), including the break in original human unity. Augustine once writes of women as helpful to men only in procreation (On the Literal Meaning of Genesis 9, 3.5-9). After Christ's resurrection, Proba finds "companions" (661) who "joined hand in hand," united by Christ (679). Set in a humanity renewed, from her position now in Christ-that is, in the Church-she can admonish other members of the Church, her "companions," and her husband, to keep "the holy rites" (689-94). Augustine addresses the necessity of the Church's women for his role as bishop. He cannot be a good bishop without them and the support they offer, especially in prayer (Sermon 340.4). Original equality between men and women is now renewed. Augustine sees himself as one with women in Christ/Church: "For you, I am a bishop, with you, ... I am a Christian." That he was "bought together with you gives me more pleasure than my having been placed at your head" (Sermon 340.1). He needs women in order to be himself. For both authors, Christ/Church empowers women in the humanity Christ assumed: His humanity (not merely maleness) unites men and women in a new humanity at play even in the Church's messiness as its members, men and women, grow together in love and service to each other.

Jordina Sales-Carbonell: The Fathers of the Church and their role in promoting Christian constructions in Hispania

There have been many Fathers of the Church who have excelled in ancient times for their evergetic activity, specifically in developing, constructing or monumentalizing Christian buildings. We just have to remind Ambrose of Milan for the West or Gregory of Nyssa for the East to get a quick idea of their determination when facing the challenge of reorganizing urban and rural landscapes through the increasingly presence of Christian constructions.
Hispania did not stayed out of this phenomenon at all. In fact, since the lower imperial centuries we find documented cases of fathers involved in building activities, but it will be during the Visigothic centuries (VI-VII) when the heyday of the relationship between patristic and architecture will occur. This splendor came from the hand of such prominent figures as Ildefonsus of Toledo, Martin of Dumium, Fructuosus of Braga or several of the generically called Holy Fathers of Merida, to name just a few.
What are the Fathers of the Church who promoted Christian buildings in Hispania? What types of buildings were the preferred? What were the main motivations of this kind of evergesy? All this and many other aspects will be analyzed through this status quaestionis on the subject for Hispania.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Stephen Brown: The Use of St. Augustine's Texts on 'sapientia' and 'scientia' in the Prologues to Mediaeval Commentaries on the Lombard's Sentences

The arrival of Aristotle’s philosophical works in the West in the thirteenth century presented a new challenge to Christian studies of the Bible.  The Philosopher’s works seemed intellectually well-organized and consistent in comparison to the more specific and concrete treatises of the Church Fathers which aimed at defending the Christian faith against heresies.  Aristotle’s discussion of the intellectual virtues, especially ‘wisdom’ and ‘science’, in the Book VI of the Nicomachean Ethics and his special treatise on ‘science’ in the Posterior Analytics suggested a new direction in studying the teachings of the Scriptures.  Since Augustine had often spoken of ‘wisdom’ and ‘science’, and because he was the most influential Church Father in the structure of the chief book dealing with the difficult doctrinal questions, Peter Lombard’s Sentences, it was quite reasonable that commentators on this book would compare the Aristotelian and Augustinian views of ‘wisdom’ and ‘science’.  Such a comparison allowed them to show how the ‘wisdom’ of the sacred Scriptures was superior to the ‘wisdom’ of Aristotle’s collection of writings.  In this paper we will view this comparison in the commentaries of Alexander of Hales, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ware, Durandus of Saint-Pourcain, Hervaeus Natalis, Gerard of Bologna, John Duns Scotus, Peter Aureoli, William of Ockham and Gregory of Rimini.  Augustine’s important place in this debate is brought out best by Gregory’s criticism of Peter Aureoli, when Gregory says quite simply: “Go back and reread his [Augustine’s] words; they are not as you say.”

Thomas Humphries: Apokatastasis and Collatio 13: Cassian between the lines

Cassian's subtle use of Evagrius' Origenism has been studied with particular attention to puritas cordis and apatheia; the general conclusion is that Cassian was able to translate earlier Greek discussions into a theology that was palatable to Latin ears piqued to hear heretical notions of sinless-ness. This paper will investigate whether Cassian was able to do something similar with the notion of apokatastasis. If Cassian had assumed the eventual restoration of all things under Christ (as reflected in Origen, Evagrius, and Gregory of Nyssa), we have a new perspective from which to judge the later (mis-)understanding of Cassian's theology of grace sparked by Prosper's contra Coll. as this paper will argue. Careful study of Cassian's discussions of Heaven and Hell reveal that Cassian's theology of grace does not fit within Augustine's eschatology, as Prosper had attempted to understand the two 5th century theologians. Rather, we should be attentive to Cassian's own eschatology when we study his theology of grace.

Jonathan Soyars: Clement’s Reconstruction of Job’s Character for Corinth: The Composite Quotation of LXX Job 1-2 in 1 Clem 17.3

The author of 1 Clement is traditionally understood to have incorporated at least seven quotations from the biblical book of Job into his letter. The disagreements with both the MT and LXX apparent in these and Clement’s other scriptural quotations are typically attributed to (a) Clement’s quoting from a pre-existing testimonium or florilegium of texts (e.g., Hatch, Knopf); (b) his (rather poor) memory (e.g., Wrede, Hagner); (c) a florilegium Clement knew by memory (e.g., Grant); or (d) oral and/or homiletic traditions Clement incorporated (e.g., Lemarchand, Jaubert). Consequently, Clement himself is often denied any creativity in re-presenting his received text(s) of scripture. This paper challenges such views, focusing on the alleged quotation of LXX Job 1:1 in 1 Clem 17.3: “Job was righteous and blameless, true, pious, abstaining from every evil.” It argues that in 1 Clem 17.3 Clement carefully drew together elements from not one but three distinct depictions of Job’s qualities in LXX Job 1-2 in order for Job’s character to serve as more relevant model within Clement’s broader argument against schism at Corinth. The resulting text-form should be considered the product of Clement’s creative encounter with LXX Job, not a mere accident of memory or copying or the uncritically adopted reading of a prior compiler, even if elsewhere the forms of Clement’s scriptural quotations result from these phenomena. This recognition expands our knowledge of Clement’s scriptural sources as well as the ways in which he wove them into the fabric of his letter.

Anders-Christian Jacobsen: Origen's Christology and Soteriology

Christ, his nature, and his works are the most central elements of Christian theology. Origen of Alexandria (185-254) plays an important role in the history of Christology and soteriology. He wrote his many biblical commentaries, theological treatises, and homilies before the Councils of Nicaea (325) and Chalcedon (451) issued their Christological doctrines, which were to set the agenda for Christological thinking for many centuries.
In many respects Origen's work paved the way for the decisions made in Nicaea and Chalcedon, yet Origen's Christology is much more multifaceted than these creeds. His Christology is characrerized by his understanding of Christ as God's Wisdom and Word who includes and creates cosmos as a whole.
His soteriology is characterized by his pedagogic and universalist thinking, which portrays Christ as a physician and a teacher who leads all human beings and the whole cosmos to completion in God. This presentation provides an analysis and interpretation of Origen's Christology and soteriuology as it is expounded in a number of his most important writings, thus providing a comprehensive and coherent picture of Origen's multifaceted Christology and soteriology.

David Greenwood: Early Christian Liturgy through Others' Eyes from Pliny to AmmianusEarly Christian Liturgy through Others' Eyes from Pliny to Ammianus

This paper will examine evidence regarding Christian liturgy from non-Christian sources ranging from Pliny to Ammianus Marcellinus. I will analyse their attestations regarding both their comprehension of Christian liturgy and the historical significance of their interaction with it.

David Brandshaw: St. Maximus on Time, Eternity, and Divine Knowledge

There are a number of problems pertaining to the relationship between time, eternity, and divine knowledge.  First is the well-known problem of the compatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom.  Second is the question of whether God knows temporally indexed propositions, such as what time it is now or that a given event occurred yesterday.  Third is a problem regarding the apparent diminishment of divine action: if God knows from all eternity the entire history of any world He might create, then it would appear that He in fact performs only one action, that of choosing to create a particular world with its history.

The options available for addressing these problems depend upon one’s view of the nature of time and eternity.  Beginning with Dionysius the Areopagite, the Eastern Christian tradition developed a distinctive view on this topic.  For Dionysius, both time and eternity are divine “processions”—that is, acts that manifest God but are not equivalent to the divine essence.  Dionysius’s early commentator, John of Scythopolis, added to this an understanding of time as the “shining forth” of that which is latent or implicit within eternity.  Building upon these starting points, Maximus the Confessor developed a subtle view in which the logoi of time return to their original unity within divine eternity through the free acts of creatures.  This paper will explore the implications of this Dionysian-Maximian view for the problems stated above.

Alexandros Andreou: The 'Prayer of the Heart' in St Mark the Monk

The 'prayer of the heart' is a significant element of the Eastern Christian monastic practices that aim at deification, and particulary those belonging to that ascetic current championed by St Gregory Palamas and the Philokalia in the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries respectively. It is regarded as one of the fundamental practices that may accompany the practice of repentance, reveal the latent grace of baptism, and bring the ascetic into a direct and personal communion with Christ. In this paper, I examine the references to the 'prayer of the heart' that appear in the writings of St Mark the Monk, a seminal fifth-century ascetic writer of some repute, student of St John Chrysostom, and the 'theologian of baptism par excellence.'
I argue that Mark was aware of at least an early form of the prayer, which he valued enough to recommend to those under his pastoral care. The specific prayer technique was sufficiently well known so as not to warrant explicit analysis. Instead, Mark suffices to refer to it by employing certain key phrases (e.g. 'single-worded hope', 'descent into the heart') that evoke it in his immediate readers' minds. To this end, following an examination of the extant textual evidence, I identify the place and function of the 'prayer of the heart' within Mark's fundamentally baptismal theology and in connrection to his approach to monastic education, and discuss its relation with its immediate Evagrian precedents and later Symeonic and Palamite antecedents.

Public and Domestic Violence in Chrysostom's Community

Peter Brown describes late antiquity as “a world characterized by a chilling absence of legal restraints on violence in the exercise of power.”  Many studies on structural and institutional violence in the ancient world have been published. In this paper, however, I will focus only on one-on-one violence in public and private space in Chrysostom’s community. Chrysostom advises his congregation, for example, that should they hear “any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God, they should go up to him, rebuke him, and should it be necessary to inflict blows, they should not spare not to do so” (De stat 1.32). He also tells about instances of spousal violence. In one specific case the neighbours were running to the house because of the cries and wailing of a wife who was beaten by her husband (Hom. 1 Cor 26.7). Pauline Allen, Wendy Mayer and others have shown that Chrysostom’s writings can serve as a window to provide us a glimpse into fourth- and fifth-century social life. One has to be aware, of course, of the fact that Chrysostom also made some very radical comments merely for rhetorical effect. Nevertheless, Chrysostom’s writings can shed light upon the role of violence in his community.

Jason Sturdevant: The Apocryphal Acts as Early Christian Fiction?

When applied to works like the 2nd-3rd century Acts of the Apostles, the adjective “apocryphal” suggests fabrication or falsehood. This conception of these works receives further support from the longstanding assumption of these works as Christian adaptations of the Greek novel, examples of which (e.g., Callirhoe) fit very much into modern notions of fiction. However, descriptions of the Acts as novelistic and “apocryphal” predispose modern readers to presume that these works are merely fictions.
From the historian’s perspective, such a presumption is generally accurate. By most accounts, the Acts contain legends of several apostles. Yet when considering how ancient readers might have read and understood these texts, the modern dichotomy of “fact v. fiction” does not hold up so well. Ancient readers did not necessarily read the Acts naively or credulously, but research on the relationship between fiction and truth in antiquity suggests a much more complex perspective than has been previously assumed.
This paper will explore the generic traits of the 2nd-3rd century Acts—especially on the Acts of Andrew—to question whether the categories of “fiction” and “apocryphal” are appropriate for these works. Moreover, it will highlight some of the research done on the relationship between fiction and truth in antiquity, and apply the results of that research to the Acts and their reception. If time allows, I will offer some observations on the genre of the Acts and the ways generic classification alters researchers’ conceptions of how the Acts were first read and understood.

Elisabeth Schiffer: Byzantine Prayers and their Historical Context

Although Byzantine prayers represent a great variety of concerns that appear to be close to everyday life, their wording is in fact mostly conceived in terms of the idea of timelessness and a semblance of universality. Only in a minority of prayers we may surmise contemporary relevance.
This paper will discuss a group of non-eucharistic, non-sacramental prayers transmitted in Byzantine euchologia by starting from an analysis of the features which are firmly anchored in historical circumstance. Special emphasis will be placed on prayers that may reflect concerns specific to the social, political, and doctrinal upheavals of the 13th century.
The topics to be raised are modifications in the wording, the correspondence of these modifications to historical circumstances or local conditions, and the question whether developments in the text of the prayers reflect concrete living conditions in times of crisis.

Matthias Smalbrugge: Deification in Augustine, outside of a Christological approach

Research on the theme of deification in Augustine, is not very frequent.  After the study of Gerald Bonner (1986), his conclusions apparently were generally accepted. Namely that deification was a notion that allowed Augustine to describe a certain adoption of man by God in a merely Christological way. In that sense, it could even equate the notion of justification, though both of these soteriological effects were only to be bestowed on the elected. Secondly, that it couldn't be seen as an element  in a watershed between Eastern and Western traditions. The most recent study on deification, by David Vincent Meconi, doesn't change this view and so it seems that the notion of deification had been wholly Christianised, Augustine  following closely the scheme already developed by Irenaeus and Athanasius: Christ became man in order that men could become gods.
But the neoplatonic background of this concept remains a uneasy one. If the notion is ‘only' one of the many ways Augustine speaks about grace, election and adoption, wouldn't it be, once again, a philosophical approach that is completely Christianised? In this paper however, I would like to show that the theme of deification allows him to work in a new way on the  (neo-) platonic theme of unity and diversity. What he did, was not using a philosophical framework on behalf of his belief, he used Trinitarian belief in order to clarify a philosophical problem.

Samuel Rubenson: Early Monastic Paideia

This workshop presents and discusses the results of the research program “Early Monasticism and Classical Paideia” at Lund University, Sweden. Against a tradition of regarding early monasticism as a break with classical paideia the contributors present a radical rethinking of education and literary production in early monasticism. From a variety of aspects and based on a wide spectrum of sources the contributions discuss the background and character of early monastic paideia with an emphasis on Egypt and Palestine.
1. Lillian Larsen, University of Redlands / Lund University, “Re-reading the Material Record of Early Monastic Education”
2. Per Rönnegård, Lund University, “Scripture and Sayings in Monastic Teaching”
3. Henrik Rydell Johnsén, Lund University, “Philosophy and Monastic Formation”
4. Andreas Westergren, Lund University, “Civil Community in Early Monastic Biography
5. Britt Dahlman, Lund University, “Collecting the Apophthegmata Patrum”
6. Bo Holmberg, Lund University, “The Early Syriac Reception of the Sayings tradition”
7. Jason Zaborowski, Bradley University, “The Arabic Cultural Adaptation of the Apophthegmata Patrum
8. Jesper Blid Kullberg, Lund University, “New Finds from the Monastery of St. Antony”

Malouine de Dieuleveult:Theodoret's Quaestiones on 2 Reigns : tradition and innovation

In this short communication dealing with the Quaestiones on 2 Reigns, not much studied and not translated in french, we will raise several issues : Theodoret's exegetical method, his expected audience, the composition background of this text (is it a catechetical background ?) and Theodoret's use of previous tradition. He never quotes his predecessors, but designates them with the word τινες. Is it possible to identify these anonymous commentators ?

Blossom Stefaniw: Curating the Patrimony: Julian, Didymus, and Schools

In 362, the emperor Julian issued a rescript (Ep 37) stating that Christians would no longer be allowed to “expound the writings of the ancients.” He argues that a mismatch between the beliefs about the gods represented in the texts and the convictions of the instructor is not acceptable, because a teacher is not only responsible for instructing young people in “laboriously acquired symmetry of phrases and language” but also for forming their minds and morals.
Since the “writings of the ancients” taught in schools represented the literary patrimony of elite Roman culture, such a rescript, by connecting religion and education, defined Christians and their beliefs as different, parochial, and separate from the Roman universal.

This paper will read the writings of Didymus contained in the Tura Papyri and composed around 370 as a reaction to Julian's rescript. By means of a radical re-examination of these texts as lesson transcripts which match directly with what we know of the work of grammarians throughout Egypt in the fourth century, it can be shown that Didymus is a grammarian who teaches the same methods and subject matter as his colleagues, with the same view both to imparting advanced language skills and moral formation, but having replaced the “writings of the ancients” with the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. Didymus responds to Julian's requirement to match belief and text by slotting Christian scriptures into the place of the universal, thus curating the literary and moral patrimony for a Christian future.

Thomas Hunt: Razored passages from St Jerome: the logic of circumcision in On Famous Men

Michael Donaghy's poem ‘City of God' (1993) weaves together the poet's Catholic patrimony and the topography of the Bronx. The events of the poem are catalysed by a collection of ‘razored passages from St Augustine' discovered in the bedroom of a failed seminarian after his nervous breakdown. Stalking the broken priest through the bankrupt city, Donaghy explores the ruinous power of reading. The figure of Augustine has long been used to investigate the cultural inheritance of Christianity as well as to frame the Late Antique in general (Marrou; Brown). Recent discussion has also highlighted the importance of Augustine's contemporary, Jerome of Stridon, in this process of reception and scholarship (e.g. Cain; Chin; Duval; Fürst; Vessey). Building on Donaghy's poem and this scholarship on Jerome, this paper argues that the index of Christian culture that Jerome outlines in On Famous Men (393) bears a significant debt to Origen's theology of history, not least the Homilies on Luke which Jerome translated in 392. The paper focuses on those writers or books which Jerome self-consciously excises from On Famous Men and argues that these absences should be read alongside the discussion of signification, dereliction and circumcision in Origen's fifth homily on Luke. Given the recent importance attached to Jerome in shaping the Christian culture that was to be received by medieval and modern scholars of Patristics, this debt to Origen's supersessionist theology needs to be unpacked. Razored passages can cut - as Donaghy tells us - and Jerome's inheritance, like Augustine's, is double-edged.

Jennifer Otto: Orgien's Criticism of Philo of Alexandria

Several recent studies have emphasized the influence of Philo of Alexandria’s treatises on Origen’s exegesis (see, for example, Illaria L.E. Ramelli’s “Philo as Origen’s Declared Model,” Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 7 (2012): 1–17).  While affirming Origen’s generally favourable attitude toward Philonic exegesis, this short communication argues against an over-emphasis of Origen’s debt, both declared and oblique, to Philo.  It begins by evaluating the critical comments Origen makes about Philo in Comm. Matt. 15.3, a text that has been overlooked by previous scholars.  It then re-assesses several texts identified by scholars such as Ramelli and David T. Runia as anonymous references to Philo in Origen’s treatises, and suggests instead that these “predecessors” mentioned by Origen more plausibly refer to Paul and the Hebrew prophets.

Isabel Alçada Cardoso: "Sine dominico non possumus!" Sunday Resurrection Eucharist

Sunday is born with the Church in the morning of Lord Jesus resurrection. We can find these references scattered throughout the Gospels and the Acts of apostles. Hebrews and gentiles after they converted to Christianity started to celebrate Sunday with Eucharist. In memory of the Lord, the apostles had the need to structure a new worship according to the requirements of their new faith. The Apostles wished to maintain alive the relationship between the members of the Church and the Resurrected. They have the mandate to baptize and celebrate the Lord's supper until he comes again. The Christian worship celebrates the Pascal Mystery of Christ on Sunday, the day of Resurrection.
"Without Sunday we cannot live!", said the martyrs of proconsular Africa. To celebrate Sunday is to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord, his Pascal Mystery, it is to wish salvation.
What did they celebrate on Sunday? Why was it so important? The Eucharist is what the Lord asked to be done in his memory. Jesus meals after resurrection were always on the first day of the week. The personal and communitarian life of the first Christian generations is determined by the fact of resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the Eucharist that have changed their lives. Sunday one of their highest expressions, the distinctive feature that gives them and makes them radiate an identity.
The aim of this short communication is to take a few steps in understanding that Sunday, Resurrection and Eucharist cannot stay apart from the beginning.

Thomas Hunt: Ruined Reading: violent creativity and Christian grammar

This workshop examines how early Christians did religious work through textual practices. It will show how such work served to locate Christians in time, as heirs of a literary patrimony and custodians of learning and truth for the generations to come. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary literary critical and philosophical approaches, we argue that Christianity made a violently creative appropriation of the literary and cultural past, addressed to the very Christian future such appropriation created.
Taking textual practices as the location of religious work renders visible the processes by which a new religious world was generated and sustained. Writers as diverse as Didymus, Jerome and Cassiodorus remoulded the tools of literary production which had made them educated Romans. As they rewrote grammars, canons, and rhetorics they fashioned Christianity as a textual Rome that was able to continue after the ruin of the physical Rome. These thinkers' ingenuity was often heavy handed, creating monuments to the patrimony which were weathered and already slipping into ruin, In so doing they revealed the creative and probing mode of their literary work even while insisting on its adherence to established convention.
The workshop will invite its participants to look anew at early Christianity, to ask what kind of thing emerged after Rome was ruined, when that thing was made of ruinous textual practices.
Razored passages from St Jerome: the logic of circumcision in On Famous Men
Curating the Patrimony: Julian, Didymus, and Schools

Christopher Wojtulewicz: The Reception of Augustine in the Theology of Alexander de Sancto Elpidio OESA

If known at all, Alexander de Sancto Elpidio is perhaps best remembered for his Tractatus de ecclesiastica potestate; his theology, however, remains somewhat shrouded in obscurity. Besides some references to his opinion in the sentence commentaries of various Augustinians of the early fourteenth century, we do not yet possess any real conception of Alexander’s theological positions, despite his prominence in Paris and as General of the Order from 1312. Both Doucet and Courtenay have made reference to a quodlibet in Naples, which Glorieux had considered likely to have been penned by Alexander. Now that his authorship is confirmed, this paper will present the positions found in the questions of the Naples manuscript and look into their use of Augustine. In particular it will consider Alexander’s contribution to Trinitarian debates and the contextualisation of the reception of Augustine more broadly in the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

Henny Fiskå Hagg: Diadochus of Photike and the Experience of God

Diadochus, bishop of Photike in Epirus (ca. 400-ca. 487), is among the earliest witnesses to the Jesus Prayer. In his theology he puts much stress on man’s experience of God – how his presence and love are felt in the “sense of the heart”. In my paper I will especially study what is meant by “experience” (peira) – how it is described and how it relates to prayer, contemplation and knowledge.

Florian Woeller: Turning towards the Literal Sense: Augustine in Late Medieval Exegesis

One of the characteristic features of late medieval exegesis (14th and 15th centuries) consists in a special attention for the literal sense of Scripture with which many biblical theologians dedicated themselves to biblical interpretation. This tendency marks an important 'turn' in the history of biblical exegesis and as such directs our attention to later, i.e. Early Modern developments. Yet, it must also be understood as a 'turn' to the past, since to a fair extent it was Augustine's idea of the literal sense which inspired late-medieval exegetes.
In my paper I will discuss two prominent biblical theologians, Nicholas of Lyra (ca. 1270-1349) and Peter Auriol (ca. 1280-1322), who both developed influential accounts of Scripture's literal sense and of its meaning for biblical exegesis. Although these Franciscan confrères both heavily draw upon Augustine, they come to strikingly different conclusions and thus offer excellent examples for the late-medieval transformations in the reception of Augustine, more specifically of his principles of biblical interpretation.

Warren Smith: Narrating Magnanimity: Ambrose on Joseph, Justice, and Mercy

Wayne Meeks in The Moral World of the First Christians argues that, given early Christian formation in and reliance upon the nomenclature of ancient virtue theory, there is little if anything distinctive about early Christian moral discourse. Yet many early Christian moralists saw themselves as having a higher moral standard than that of the pagan schools upon which they relied. Drawing on Arthur Urbano's account in The Philosophical Life of biographical narrative as a form of moral discourse, I will focus on how Ambrose's deployment of the language of magnanimity (magnanimatas) within his re-narration of the lives of the patriarchs, especially Joseph, both preserves elements of the classical ideal of the Great-souled person and yet reshapes the ideal in ways that are, from Ambrose's perspective, distinctive of the perfect duties (officia perfecta) of a Christian. To illustrate how Ambrose rhetorically crafts his ideal Christian magnanimity, I will compare his narrative interpretations in the catechetical homilies De Ioseph and De Officiis with the narration of magnanimity in Plutarch's Lives, specifically that of Phocion.

Nozomu Yamada: Pelagius’ Narrative Techniques – Rhetorical Influences and Negative Responses from Opponents

The aims of this presentation are to describe Pelagius’ narrative techniques and their rhetorical influences on his followers, and then to clarify why his opponents responded negatively to his rhetorical assertions. I will focus on two kinds of rhetoric used by Pelagius. One of them is the same-person narrative in his Pauline commentaries. Here, Pelagius overlays the subject of himself onto the subject of Paul’s text, and simultaneously overlays a third subject, that of the text readers. That is, Paul’s ‘I’ sees his opponents at this time; Pelagius’ ‘I’ sees the negative circumstances persisting in the Roman churches of his day; and the reader’s ‘I’ sees her or his personal situation that is to be overcome. The other rhetorical technique I will explore is the classical method of reasoning ‘from the minor to the major’. Pelagius used these two narrative techniques to encourage his followers.

Such rhetorical techniques played a very important role in intensifying the will of Pelagius’ followers, particularly Roman women Christians. However, at the same time, Pelagius’ narrative rhetoric was misunderstood and in some cases intentionally distorted, and came to be considered ‘heretical’ assertions by his opponents in polemical contexts. For example, in the proceedings of the Synod of Diospolis, only a part of his rhetorical narratives was cited and attacked sarcastically. His opponents often separated his work from their original contexts, in which Pelagius criticized the excessive immorality he saw in the very inside of the Roman churches.

Krastu Banev: "Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ" (Rule of St Benedict 53): Revisiting Hospitality in Early Monasticism

Early monasticism was a doctrinally diverse phenomenon. Such is the conclusion of much recent scholarship on the origins of the movement. When emphasised in a given source, as it is in the Life of Anthony or the Apophthegmata, doctrinal unity often tells more about the doctrinal priorities not of the monks themselves but of the authors or editors of their lives or sayings (D. Brake, S. Rubenson). What then attracted new converts to asceticism? First of all, it was the ascetic -- or the 'philosophical' -- life itself, followed by a shared desire for an uninterrupted meditation on the Scriptures (D. Burton-Christie). Both of these priorities could be achieved under the inspired guidance of an Abba or an Amma. In this paper, I will focus on the process by which late antique Christians appropriated and affirmed the ancient, non-Christian, practice of hospitality as a specifically Christian and monastic duty. Examining a variety of sources from the fourth to the sixth century, I will argue for this Christianization of hospitality as yet another key factor contributing to the growing popularity of the ascetic movement.