Thursday, 2 April 2015

Jeffrey Bingham: The Lyricist and the Flautist: The Son, the Spirit, and the Scriptures in Athenagoras

In this paper I describe a second-century model of Scripture founded upon an understanding of the Son and Spirit. Athenagoras relates his concept of the relationship of the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures (or at least the sayings of the Lord in the Gospels), and their human authors, to the nature and activity of the Son and Spirit. I will argue that for him, the nature of the Scriptures, their divine origin and supremacy in teaching, and the inspiration of the prophets, cannot be separated from the the identity of the Son as Word, mind and reason of the Father and the Spirit as an effluence of God. As such their ministries ensure that the prophetic and dominical words are not human-made teachings, but God-made. Athenagoras provides us with an early model of how both the prophets and (at least portions of) the New Testament are viewed as equal in nature, status, and authority. He also provides an early Christian example of constructive theology that grounds notions of Scripture upon beliefs regarding the Triad of Father, Son, and Spirit.

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