Saturday, 27 April 2019

Ayse Icoz: ‘Fear of God’ as the Foundation of Morality in the Ethical Writings of Medieval Arabophone Christian Authors

Ethical writings produced by Arabic speaking Christians are intriguing examples of Christian Arabic literature. This paper will examine a common theme in the ethical works of two select medieval Christian authors who were the members of the Church of the East in the late tenth and early eleventh century, namely Elias of Nisibis (d. 1046) and ‘Amr ibn Mattā (c. 1050). Elias of Nisibis’ Kitāb Daf’ al-Hamm (The Book of Elimination of Sorrow) is written to provide a scheme of dealing with unwanted anxiety. The first chapter of this book is entitled as “The Merit of Godliness and the Defect of Impiety”. In this part, he depicts the essence of devoutness as ‘fear of God’ and explains its benefits in detail to achieve a virtuous life. ‘Amr ibn Mattā is the author of the voluminous theological encyclopedia called Kitāb al Majdal (The Book of Tower). The fourth chapter of the Kitāb al-Majdal is divided into seven subsections, each of which deals with a certain spiritual or moral practice. The first section of the fourth chapter in this work is entitled “al-Taqwā” (piety/fear of God) where the author describes ‘fear of God’ as the compulsory element of moral development.Considering both the Islamic intellectual setting and the Christian backgrounds of the authors and focusing on the linguistic features, sources and possible audiences of the texts, this paper will examine how ‘fear of God’ is explained in these two medieval Christian Arabic writings.


Although in the modern bibliography we encounter occasional references to John Chrysostom’s attitude toward monarchy—the political regime during the Roman period—there has been no discussion of his convictions regarding democracy. Nevertheless, the term dēmokratia appears twice in Chrysostom’s writings—once even in reference to the apostolic Church of Jerusalem (In Eph., Hom.XX, 4). In the corpus Chrysostomicum, there are also occurrences of both the adjective dēmotikos (=democratic) which John uses to characterize his ecclesiastical office (In Tit., Hom.II, 2), as well as the nouns isonomia and isēgoria (=equality before the law and equal freedom of speech) in the frequent praises which the father sings about the Church, extolling the equality of the faithful in her bosom (e.g. De stud. praes., 2). Moreover, as I have had the opportunity to show in a previous work, John knows well the philosophical conversation carried out in antiquity regarding democracy and makes use of the arguments for and against the democratic polity as formulated by Plato and Aristotle (K. Bosinis, Johannes Chrysostomus über das Imperium Romanum, Mandalbachtal-Cambridge 2005, pp. 79-90). The evidence which we have collected from the homiletic work of Chrysostom proves that he was not indifferent to democracy. But is this evidence sufficient for us to elicit his view of the political arrangement in ancient Greece? This is the question posed in the paper that I would like to present and which will be answered through a general overview of the political thought of this Church Father.

Michael Hollerich: "Reading Eusebius as Political Theologian: The Peterson-Schmitt Debate"

This paper will examine the place Eusebius of Caesarea played in the debate between erstwhile friends Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) and Erik Peterson (1890-1960) on the possibility and the propriety of a Christian political theology. Schmitt is well-known as the person who more than anyone re-introduced “political theology” into political and theological discourse. Peterson is well-known, at least among patristics scholars, for his monograph Monotheismus als politisches Problem (1935), denying such a thing as a Christian political theology was possible. For his part, Eusebius is of course known for his apologetic literature on behalf of Constantine and the politically accommodationist drift of his authorial corpus, for which Peterson excoriated him and Schmitt defended him. My paper will focus on Schmitt’s defense of Eusebius in his last book, Politische Theologie II: Die Legende von der Erledigung jeder politischen Theologie (1970), and will argue that Schmitt, who had none of Peterson’s philological or historical expertise, was nevertheless more attuned to enduring Christian challenges to read the signs of the times. The paper grows out of a book-length project on the reception history of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History.

Marius van Willigen: Was Ambrose’s Joseph-Christ typology of Genesis 37:13 already well-known in the fourth century?

In the interpretation of Genesis 37:13-14 Ambrose of Milan provides the reader with a typological exegesis: Jacob represents God the Father, Joseph is a typus Christi, who is visiting his brothers, the lost children of Israel. Although this exegesis seems peculiar, Ambrose presents the interpretation of this passage as a well-known one. This evokes different questions. First of all, as Jean Daniélou indicated in Sacramentum Futuri the early origin of Adam’s and Isaac’s typology, is the Ambrosian Joseph-typology comparable with the examples which Daniélou provided? Is the Ambrosian Joseph-typology of Gen. 37:13-14 therefore addible to these examples of Danielou and classifiable in a Genesis-canon of typologically explained patriarchs? Furthermore, is Isaac, as a patriarch and sacrifice, comparable with Joseph, the son of Jacob? And is it imaginable that Joseph, as a typologically interpreted patriarch, possessed a solid position in earlier Christian exegesis? The typological exegesis of Gen.37:13-14 is not only existent in the De Ioseph of Ambrose, as a representative of the Alexandrian exegetical school. The same typological exegesis of Joseph as the Son of God sent to his brothers is existent in the sermons of John Chrysostom too. Nevertheless Chrysostom is a representative of the Antiochene exegetical school. The Syrian writer Ephraem also chose for a typological exegesis of the same passage, an exegesis which anyway represents the heart of Christian belief.

Yuliia Rozumna: Person and Activities of the Holy Spirit in the Monastic Lives and Writings of Late Antiquity

Whereas previous scholarship has focused on the Christological inspiration of early Christian asceticism, few thought to look at the role of the Holy Spirit in this context. After fierce debates which lasted for most of the century, the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (381) affirmed the divine nature of the Holy Spirit. Although discussions on the nature of the Spirit and his relations with the Father and the Son weakened after the Council and reappeared only in the seventh and eighth centuries, in the debates about the filioque, the presence of the third Person of the Trinity in monastic lives and writings never disappeared and continued to play an important role. In this paper, I will examine perceptions of the third Person of the Trinity and his role in the lives of ascetics in such Greek-language writings as the ‘History of the Monks of Egypt’ (400), the ‘Lausiac History’ (419/420) by Palladius, and ‘The History of the Monks of Syria’ (440) by Theodoret of Cyrrhus. I will look at how these authors described the lives of ascetics and their relations with the Spirit and how monks themselves viewed these relations. Even though we will discover that they approached the Spirit as a living Person and not as a rational concept, it would nevertheless be of interest to examine whether the doctrines on the Spirit made their way into literary ‘lives’ of the saints and in what way.

Oscar Velasquez: Augustinian Interiority and Platonic Dialectics: From Cassiciacum to Confessions.

This proposal suggests that both Platonic dialectics and Augustinian interiority have in their origin the similar character of a spiritual methodology for the correct search that leads to the intelligible truth. From Cassiciacum’s dialogues and several of the next dialogues was developed a philosophy of interiority, which reveals an explicit Platonic and Neoplatonic origin. This philosophical methodical procedure to intelligible truth, has two variants, particularly examined in Republic and in Phaedo respectively. The former is accomplished through paideia, the latter through a ‘shortcut’ (ἀτραπός τις, Fd 66b) that leads into the interior self. Both methods are present from Casiciacum on, and the latter shows a particular interior turn. This intimate gyre of the soul toward the self is a dialectical methodology of interiority. I would consider in Augustine what I call the Christian turn of Platonic dialectis, i. e. the uia or path to encounter with Christ the Truth. Cassiciacum’s dialogues ord., Acad.will reveal direct links with dialectics, besides those texts clearly originating from Plotinus and possibly, Porphyry. The sol. close a cycle of interiority characterized by the absence of the name of Christ and explicit Christian theology. From those dialogues on Platonic dialectics is mostly called the uia. The transition to a properly Christian interiority will be analyzed in mag., lib. arb., uera rel. It is suggested that a full mature method of a Christian methodic path to truth will culminate in conf. The Verb is the true uia of salvation.

Erna Manea Shirinian: Schema isagogicum apud Patres Ecclesiae

The aim of this paper is to show that the so called schema isagogicum was widely used not only in late antiquity and among late Platonist commentators, but was actively applied for the study of the Bible and biblical exegesis, especially by the Fathers of the Church. Experts use to speak only about Origen and Proclus exercising these isagogical structures while there exist sources, which can prove that the prolegomena - introductory studies or questions, which use to have a propaedeutic character, are present in the commentaries on the books of Bible by such an authorities as Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the Theologian, Basil of Caesarea, Evagrius Ponticus, Ephrem the Syrian et al. The main witness to this statement is found in Armenian translations of such prolegomena called mainly "causes" (patčaŕk‘). Moreover, in Armenian manuscript tradition there exist even a collections of these "causes". One of them is the writing under the provisional title the Book of Causes, fuller title reads: "The Causes of wide and subtle writings taken from [the works] of the holy fathers and vardapets (doctors of theology) gathered together and provided by the great rabunapet Grigor, the son of Abas". It is unpublished yet isagogical manual, i.e a handbook on Biblical Introduction, composed in the early 13th century in Armenia, by the abbot of Sanahin Monastery Grigor the son of Abas. This book is an amazing witness of the Armenian reception of the Greek philosophical and patristic theological heritage.

Pascal Olivier Angue: Les seniores laici, "une institution curieuse".

Le quatrième siècle est marqué dans l´Eglise nord-africaine par la présence des seniores laici, "une institution curieuse" , selon l´expression de Paul Monceaux dans sa littérature de l´Afrique chrétienne. Encore appelés seniores plebis ou seniores populi, ces fidèles laics constituent une sorte de conseil pastoral qui assiste l´eveque dans l´administration de la communauté.Leur présence en Afrique n´est pas fortuite. L´existence des conseils de notables dans les villages éloignés de l´administration romaine centrale chargés de la gestion de ces derniers a contribué à l´éclosion de cette institution dans l´expansion du christianisme vers les zones rurales. En outre, les persécutions dès le milieu du troisième siècle visant particulièrement le clergé à travers tortures, l´exil ou la mort, les laics devaient prendre plus de responsabilités au sein de la communauté. Cette insuffisance du clergé resurgit au début du cinquième siècle dans la réintégration des donatistes dans l´Eglise. Ces notables sont évoqués aussi bien dans l´Eglise catholique que chez les donatistes notamment à Carthage, à Abthugni, à Putput, Assuras et à Musti, à Kairouan, à Nova Germaniae, à Cirta et à Hippone. Ils sont par ailleurs mentionnés par saint Optat, par les documents relatifs au donatisme, les actes des conciles et saint Augustin.Dans leurs fonctions, les seniores agissaient comme organe de controle vis-à-vis de l´éveque. En cas de malversations, ils adressaient une plainte au synode ou au concile et représentaient par ailleurs la communauté pendant les persécutions à l´extérieur.

Richard Price: Conciliar Acts: A genre or a category?

The German critical edition of the acts of the seven ecumenical councils (Berlin, 1914-2016) is now complete, and the time has come for this body of material to be considered as a whole. But first of all, the acts of each council need to be examined individually – to determine their author and method of compilation, their fullness as a record of the debates and of the accompanying documentation, their reliability, indeed their truthfulness, their purpose, and their intended circulation. Too many modern accounts of these councils have treated the acts as a simple documentary record, akin to the official records of modern parliamentary debates.  This paper will briefly set out the distinctive features of a selection of these sets of acts, to illustrate the considerable range of variation. This raises a general question: do the various conciliar acts constitute a genre, with established rules and patterns, or a mere category made up of texts of greatly varying character and differing purposes?

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

William G. Rusch: A Bishop Writes Home: A Letter of Eusebius of Caesarea to His Diocese

In the literature of the Trinitarian controversy there is a relatively brief letter by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea. This episcopal author was a person of considerable historical,political, and theological prominence. His epistle is a critical source to understand the process that arrived at the Nicene definition of God.and is employed by Athanasius to support his developing theology. While standard treatments of this controversy have discussed this epistolary text, they offer varying interpretations of it. This communication will argue there is more information to be extracted from this letter to understand the events at the Council of Nicaea and its aftermath, especially when Athanasius' hermeneutic of the text is included.

Róbert Somos: Theologia naturalis and theologia relevata in Origen’s First Homily on Psalm 77.

The topic of the short communication is the relation between natural theology and Biblical theology in the Greek text of Origen’s Homilies on the Psalms discovered in 2012 and edited in 2015. It seems that the key text is the First Homily on the Psalm 77, where Origen emphasises that the faith in the Creator should be based on experience, because the heaven and the earth manifest a divine order. In the process of becoming Christian, according to Origen, this theistic faith should be prior to the reading of the Scripture, because sometimes the manuscripts of the Scripture suffer from corruption. One of the causes of the corruption is the activity of the Evil. In this way, the heretics influenced by the Evil find their false doctrines in the Scriptures. This thought of Origen is absent in his other works, and I think that the idea of the priority of the cosmological argument helps to grasp the true relation between natural theology and scriptural theology in the Alexandrian master’s thought. Reading of the Homilies on the Psalms and other Origenian works may provide new insight into the complicated question of how can be used the word “philosophy” in the case of Origen and why should we distinguish in the Origenian and modern use of the words of “philosophy” and “philosopher”.

Kelley Spoerl: Apollinarius and the Ghost of Paul of Samosata

In dialogue with recent scholarship (DelCogliano 2008; Lang 2000; Giulea 2018), this presentation will explore the influence of the Antiochene Council of 268 that condemned bishop Paul of Samosata on the theology of Apollinarius of Laodicea. Two bishops from Laodicea attended session of the Council that condemned Paul of Samosata for trinitarian and Christological error.  I will trace how the council’s teachings influenced the theology of Eusebius of Caesarea, friend and colleague of a later bishop of Laodicea, Theodotus. I will focus especially in Eusebius’s final treatises directed against Marcellus of Ancyra – frequently addressed in the texts as “the Samosatene.” I will then review the influence of Eusebian theology on Apollinarius in both trinitarian and Christological spheres. This study aims to do three things: 1) provide more remote background for Apollinarius’s theology; 2) consider a new perspective on Apollinarius’s use of the terms ousia and hypostasis in his trinitarian treatise Kata Meros Pistis, and 3) raise further questions about how a theologian seemingly imbued with the traditional theology of Syro-Palestine in the first half of the fourth century came eventually to embrace the Nicene term outlawed by the Council of 268: homoousion.

Enrique Eguiarte: Christological Insights in Augustine's Expositio Epistulae ad Galatas

The paper deals with the Christological insights that Augustine presents in his Expositio Epistulae ad Galatas, since this Work has been considered by the Scholars mainly as an Exegetical Work, and the Theological and Christological insights have been neglected, since it has been considered as one of Augustine’s Early Works. The Paper focuses on Augustine’s interpretation of the Latin term Proscriptus, as applied to Christ, stressing the influence of other Authors on Augustine, namely from Marius Victorinus and Ambrosiaster, and also the Christological ideas that Augustine underlines. The Paper also deals with the Christological interpretation of Nm 21:9 (Aeneus Serpens), and the role of Christ as Mediator.

Guillaume Bady: Titles as misleading signs or keys of understanding: a few examples in John Chrysostom’s writings

The titles of John Chrysostom’s writings in Greek are ambivalent: often forged by late traditions, they may mislead from their original meaning and content. But in many cases they witness and convey genuine clues that may be keys of understanding. Examples will be taken from the Novae Homiliae (CPG 4441) and other texts.

Gert Partoens: Clavis clavium: an integrated reference database and collaborative update platform to open up Patristic, Medieval and Byzantine texts

In this session we will present the results of the Clavis Clavium project: the development of an integrated online database of four different Claves (the Clavis Patrum Latinorum + Graecorum and the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina + Graeca). After a short introduction about the history and development of the project, the main focus of the session will be on how the Clavis Clavium will be able to help you in your research and on the presentation of the online platform that allows for continuous, peer-reviewed updates:
What are the research advantages of this integrated online database?
How does it work? – a look at the update platform of the database in action
How will the quality of the entries be guaranteed? – a look at the peer review module that is part of the update platform
Who will be able to contribute updates? – invitation vs. spontaneous submissions
What about bibliometrics? – a look at how contributors will be able to prove their work on the database (bibliometry) and claim authorship.
What about the future? – what extra claves and functionalities we plan to add in the future?
How will Brepols Publishers guarantee that the database will keep working in the long run?
[Clavis Clavium is the result of a three-year project between the KULeuven, Brepols Publishers and the Bollandists, cofinanced by the Hercules foundation of the Government of Flanders.]

Hannah Hemphill: Clinging to God by Works of Mercy: Romans 12 and Psalm 73 in Augustine's City of God, Book X

In Book X of the City of God Augustine draws a well-known distinction between visible sacrifice and invisible sacrifice: "Sacrifice ... is the visible sacrament of an invisible sacrifice" (X.5). Similarly well-known is claim that "true sacrifices are works of mercy" (X.6). While nothing in this text explicitly states that the "invisible sacrifices" are tantamount to the "true sacrifices" of works of mercy, several scholars have read Augustine in this way. And, while at least a few scholars have drawn attention to Augustine's concern for readers with Platonist sympathies as a probable cause for his emphasis on invisible sacrifices, and a few more have noted his reliance on Scripture to garner the same insight, there has been little attention given to the Biblical texts which Augustine exegetes in the course of his exposition. Two texts in particular are essential for comprehending how Augustine relates works of mercy to the distinction he makes between visible and invisible sacrifice: Romans 12 and Psalm 73. By his exegesis of these texts, Augustine elucidates the relationship between visible works of mercy and invisible sacrifices and thereby situates in this complex text the sacrifice of the Passion as the work of mercy par excellence, by which the Church is able to offer a "universal sacrifice" (X, 6).

Krastu Banev: The Numinous in the Fourth Century Patristic Tradition: Abraham, John Chrysostom and Rudolf Otto in Dialogue

This paper examines Rudolf Otto’s use of John Chrysostom's homilies On the Incomprehensible Nature of God. In relation to the historical details of Chrysostom’s career, the reader is well served by recent scholarship. In the field of religious studies, however, Rudolf Otto’s appropriation of patristic material has not been the subject of scholarly investigation. This gap in the academic record invites the speculation that Otto’s conclusions are in agreement with the basic positions of those few patristic authors he uses in his work. Thus, in the rare occasion when Otto is cited in patristic scholarship it is with a nod of approval. It is against this perceived concordance that I will be advancing a claim for a disagreement between Otto and Chrysostom. The case will be built by examining their approaches to scripture and, in particular, to the story of the patriarch Abraham to demonstrate that, in the final analysis, Chrysostom did not exercise a discernible influence over Otto’s thought. The homilies ‘On the Incomprehensible’ were used by Otto to provide illustrations for his theory of the ‘holy’ without being allowed to challenge it. My submission is that they do challenge it on the crucially important issue of Biblical interpretation and thus do not allow for uncritical application of Otto’s insights for the understanding of the inner theological coherence of Chrysostom’s texts.

Miguel Ángel Ramírez Batalla: ¿Vino nuevo en odres viejos? Sexualidad y matrimonio en la literatura patrística de Hermas a Clemente de Alejandría.

El objetivo de la ponencia es mostrar las raíces de ciertas nociones sobre la sexualidad y el matrimonio en algunos Padres de la Iglesia desde Hermas hasta Clemente de Alejandría. Una idea medular del trabajo es que los autores cristianos adoptaron ideas clásicas sobre esos temas como una forma de adaptarse a su medio y responder a las críticas por no acoplarse a la sociedad imperial. Empero, los Padres subrayaban que los paradigmas cristianos tenían un origen divino y poseían un concepto más elevado sobre el ser humano, por lo que eran superiores a las ideas de los intelectuales antiguos al respecto. Además, de forma simultánea, la apropiación de unos valores grecorromanos sobre la sexualidad y el matrimonio sirvió para desmarcarse de la visión negativa sobre estas temáticas que sostenían otros pensadores y grupos, a quienes imputaron los excesos y las depravaciones de las que todos los cristianos eran acusados como conjunto por los rumores populares. De este modo, la visión de los Padres acerca de la sexualidad y el matrimonio, expuesta como original y nueva, combinó pautas biblicas y clásicas, y fue diseñada como un medio para distinguirse de la sociedad grecorromana y de otros cristianos.

Stephen Meawad: Virtue Ethics, Scripture, and Early Christianity: Patristic Sacred Reading as a Transformative Struggle

The oft-cited exhortation from Vatican II to utilize Scripture more seriously in moral theology has since spurred many theologians, ethicists, and biblical scholars to consider potential ways to adhere to this directive. In this paper, I will offer a solution to the problem of the divorce of Scripture and ethics, grounded in Orthodox Christian and Patristic Scriptural methodologies and simultaneously in an Orthodox model of spiritual struggle within Nyssen’s framework of epektasis, or perpetual ascent. The transformative power of Scripture remains largely untapped in methodological discourse. Thus, the suggestion in this paper is that applying to Scripture the ethos of spiritual struggle and the tripartite model of epektasis—detachment, strengthening, and union—will allow for the direct formation and transformation of Christians in community. The goal is to demonstrate that the consideration of an Orthodox Christian model of spiritual struggle and epektasis when applied to a Christian practice (in this case Scripture reading), can serve as a basis for an ethic of virtue. Additionally, Patristic exegetical approaches to Scripture—including the centrality of Christ as the interpretive key to Scripture; the importance of holistic, typological, and allegorical readings of Scripture; and the need for openness, purity, and community, among others—will serve as the foundation for more concrete ways to approach Scripture for its ethical application. What will begin to emerge is a pragmatic, virtue ethical practice of “ Patristic sacred reading” in which Scripture serves as an ethos, a former of character, and a portal to unity with God.

Roland Sokolowski: Echoing or anticipating? A parallel study of the Epistle of Diognetus and the works of Irenaeus of Lyons

The enigmatic nature of the Epistle to Diognetus is such
that scant agreement can be found on its authorship, date or situation.
Nevertheless, the text is all the more fascinating as a window into the
progression of Christian thought in the second to third century period. This
paper seeks to situate Diognetus in relation to the thought of Irenaeus of
Lyon. Various proposals have been advanced previously, on the one hand
attributing the former work to the tutor of Irenaeus, Polycarp of Smyrna, on
the other to a disciple or theological descendant of Irenaeus. Bearing in mind
that the category of apology fits neither work adequately, here a set of positive
theological resonances are outlined that seek to evaluate the proximity of
Diognetus to what may be loosely termed ‘Irenaean thought’.

Michael Muthreich: Some remarks on the Arabic "Epistola ad s. Timotheum de passione apostolorum Petri et Pauli" (CPG 6631)

The "Epistola ad s. Timotheum de passione apostolorum Petri et Pauli" ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite is to be found in more than 45 Arabic manuscripts. The oldest of them dates back to the 12th century. Despite the closeness of the Arabic translation to the Syriac one and the variants inside the Arabic text tradition itself some common peculiarities of the Arabic version hint at the fact that the translator may have had a Greek or even a Coptic Vorlage. A closer look at the Arabic tradition is therefore recommendable with regard to reconstructing the original text of which a Greek or Coptic version is not known yet.

Marie-Gabrielle Toussaint: L'interprétation du chapitre 6 d'Isaïe dans la pensée théologique d'Eusèbe de Césarée

Alors que Origène, dans ses Homélies sur Isaïe, voyait une image de la Trinité dans les séraphins évoqués par le prophète ainsi que dans l'exclamation trois fois "saint", Eusèbe, dans son Commentaire sur Isaïe, ignore cette exégèse. Quelle peut-être la signification de ce silence pour l'interprétation de la pensée théologique de l'évêque de Césarée ? Par ailleurs, une comparaison avec les exégèses du même passage dans deux oeuvres a priori antérieures du même Eusèbe, les Extraits prophétiques et la Démonstration évangélique, informe-t-elle sur une éventuelle évolution intellectuelle de leur auteur ?

Andrew Mercer: Salvation and the Soul of Christ in Cyril's Early Writings

Henry Chadwick once claimed that "Cyril [of Alexandria] has nothing to say about the part played by Christ's soul in the Passion," and others have made similar observations regarding the inattention given to the soul in Cyril's Christology. Against these claims, I will argue in this paper that Cyril's entire vision of the economy of salvation hinges on the fact that the Logos assumed ensouled flesh. I will focus on Cyril's early writings, since it has been recognized that Cyril became more explicit about Christ's soul after his dispute with Nestorius came to fore. The works I will use to prove my thesis are Cyril's early Festal Letters, written between 414 and 427. The letters naturally bear recurring themes related to the Passion of Christ. Cyril follows his predecessor Athanasius, I argue, in seeing the primary purpose of the incarnation as making it possible for the Logos to taste death on behalf of humanity, in order to undue the corruptive effects of sin, the chief of which is death itself. Cyril held the standard view of death as the separation of soul and body, and thus the event of Christ’s death only makes sense for him if Christ had a real human soul. I will conclude by offering an explanation of why Cyril may not have spent much time expounding the extent to which Christ's soul suffered or did not suffer in the Passion, since this has also contributed to the debate over Cyril’s Christological psychology.

Marie Frey Rébeillé-Borgella: La traduction de παράκλητος chez les Pères de l'Église latins

Le grec παράκλητος, employé dans l'Évangile et la première épître de Jean, fait hésiter les Pères de l'Église latins au moment de le traduire. Cette communication propose d'examiner les emplois du calque phonétique Paracletus et des traductions aduocatus et consolator, en comparant les choix de traduction effectués par les Pères et auteurs chrétiens qui citent les Vieilles latines et ceux qui citent la Vulgate. Jérôme lui-même hésite et varie entre la révision de la traduction du Nouveau Testament et la citation du verset dans son Commentaire sur Isaïe. Le texte de la Vulgate choisit l'option du calque phonétique Paracletus, alors que sa citation des versets évangéliques dans le Commentaire sur Isaïe contient à chaque fois le terme consolator. Notre étude a pour but de mettre en évidence les critères stylistiques, argumentatifs, rhétoriques et théologiques qui président au choix du lexème latin de traduction du terme grec. Nous montrerons que le choix de calquer le grec sans le traduire est une tradition datant des premières versions des Vieilles Latines, et que la continuité de la transmission du texte biblique a été un critère dans les choix de traduction opérés par les Pères de l'Église latins.

Andrew Summerson: Christ the Snake Charmer of Human Passibility: The Passions, Apatheia, and Christology in Maximus the Confessor's Quaestiones ad Thalassium

This paper reexamines the Introduction and Question 1 of Maximus the Confessor’s Quaestiones ad Thalassium in relationship to the rest of the work. I argue that these introductory treatises on the passions focus Maximus’ responses to the remaining exegetical questions and offer biblical interpretation that explores the problem of human passibility and the proper role of emotions in the Christian life. I will show how Question 1’s metaphor describing the good use of emotions a wise doctor using snake’s poison as medicine also alludes to Maximus’ development of his ascetic Christology later in the work. Finally, I will make a proposal for unity of the work on the basis of these themes.

Ioannis Bekos: St John Damascene’s Sacra Parallela as a Christian faith-checking resource and prototype of modern fact-checking resources

This paper distinguishes St. John Damascene’s Sacra Parallela from the various patristics florilegia and challenges Richard (1964)’s widely reproduced distinction. It supports that Sacra Parallela is not a florilegium to the extent that it goes beyond a didactic, ethical or encyclopedic purpose by claiming originality due to authorial intervention on the treatment of the authoritative sources. St John Damascene’s work can be considered as a resource that serves the purpose of checking and distinguishing of what is Christian and what is not. Particularly, it is argued that the structure and purpose of Sacra Parallela resembles modern digital resources of fact-checking, as the reader of the patristic text starts from a statement ─ not just a title─, continues with a process of verification and finishes with the justification of the statement. Beyond that, the parallel discussion of Sacra Parallela with the postmodern development of fact-checking resources makes evident that ‘sacro’ or ‘profane’ endeavors for checking what is truth (Christian or secular) or what is a lie are not only based on data and metadata but also on the beliefs and the assumptions of the reader. This new reading of Sacra Parallela sheds more light on the understanding of its structure and purpose and reveals unconsidered aspects of current efforts for the control of the spread of fake news.

Sukanya Raisharma: Social trust and early Gallic monasteries

My paper seeks to explore why social trust was fundamental to the early monastic communities in Gaul. I will study the community of nuns at Saint-Jean at Arles as well as the nunnery Faremoutiers in northern Gaul in the sixth and seventh centuries. Instead of focussing on the authority of abbesses or the institutional framework of these two monasteries, I aim to explore how the internal dynamics of the communities affected the evolution as well as the longevity of the monasteries. My paper is an attempt to examine trust as a historical phenomenon, and rooted in time and space. There have been many studies of trust in the fields of sociology, economics, anthropology and philosophy but historians of late antiquity and early Christianity - apart from a few - are still far behind in fully utilizing trust as a concept to track historical change. Trust, like power, is ubiquitous throughout human history, and although never directly visible, is crucial in understanding how past societies work - from trade and commerce to faith and belief. Rather than covering the whole gamut of trust networks in late antiquity, my paper will test how crucial trust was for two late antique Gallic monastic communities.

Sissel Undheim: The beauty of virginity. Aesthetics, adornment and symbols of sanctity in representations of virgins in Late Antiquity.

In written, as well as visual representations of sacred virgins in Late Antiquity, there is a strong emphasis on beauty. Byzantine mosaics express this beauty of both Mary and virgin saints in embellished mosaics that highlight their noble, heavenly status. Ascetic texts addressed to consecrated Christian virgins also appeals to this kind of heavenly aesthetics, yet at the same time stressing moderation and simplicity in dress and adornment as the ultimate ideal.By combining a reading of texts and visual arts, I will discuss the “aestheticizing of sacred virginity” that took place in Late Antiquity. With a focus on Latin texts written to and about virgins in the time span from Ambrose and Jerome to Caesarius of Arles, I will seek to answer whether there was a common understanding of any specific kind of beauty reserved for virgins? How was this portrayed, and with what kind of symbols? My specific interest will be the notion of a “crown of virginity”, but I will also discuss dress and other parts of virginal appearance as depicted and described, both in text and in art of this period.

Georgios Panagopoulos: St. Jerome’s Letter I ad Innocentium Presbyterum : An new hermeneutical Approach

The new interpretation of the 1st Epistle of St. Jerome we intend to propose here consists in a rereading based primarily on the religious – anthropological theory of Rene Girard, in an attempt to cast light to the structural elements of Jerome’s description of the Martyrdom of a Christian woman and evaluate its social - anthropological evidences under the light of a modern interpretative model.R. Girard has pursued a line of inquiry across fields of humanities and literary critics. His anthropological Theory – known better as the mimetic theory – has been constructed as a result of a livelong engagement with the basic literary monuments of our civilization and it sought to provide an interpretative account of the religious’ origins. Using mythological texts but also the Gospels’ description of Jesus’ Passion as a paradigm, Girard undertakes to interpret the origin of our civilization in terms of a mimetic escalated collective violence, which represents for the human communities a terrible threat of destruction, unless they find the solution which Girard describes a the “Scapegoat mechanism”.The ultimate purpose of this communication is to show, on the basis of the paradigmatic account of Jerome’s Letter I we provide, the new perspectives Girard’s theory opens to the study as well as to the understanding of patristic texts.

Brenda Fitch Fairaday: Romanos the Melode: Biblical Exegete and Advocate of Intercessory Prayer

This presentation will examine Romanos's exegetical use of biblical typology as a source for his own prayers of intercession and his interpretation of Scripture to encourage his congregation's participation in the liturgy. We will look at his use of the usual types as found also in the writings of earlier Fathers of the Church, with particular examinations of Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Methodius. Some questions will address his use of specific poetic meters and versification as a means to help his listeners grasp and retain his message; his dramatic use of scriptural characters as exemplars of action and of prayer; his use of other types, some of which are not found in any other sources; his possible literary dependence on the Diatessaron of Tatian for unusual readings of the New Testament. His duty to teach the congregation the faith, as well as his desire to rouse them to prayerful lives will be seen in his identification with "the holy sinner" [The Harlot, The Prodigal Son]; they become types in his liturgical storytelling. Some examples will be taken from the six Sermons on the Resurrection. Chiefly, examples will be from the genuine kontakia, though certain of the cantica dubia may be referenced.

Mikail Berg: In Pursuit of The Perfect Bishop: The Short Recension of Ignatius and Syrian Asceticism

Ignatius of Antioch championed the monarchical bishop in the early second century, yet early Christians who followed after him interpreted him and his theology differently; this paper seeks to explore how one community could have interpreted Ignatius’ ministerial theology differently. In this paper, I explore the short recension of Ignatius, which was written in Syriac, placing it in conversation with other texts of Syrian Asceticism. This paper will show that the redactor of Ignatius’ short recension placed great importance on ascetic values, specifically that of perfection. As I follow the scholarly consensus that the middle recension is the authentic Ignatian corpus, the short recension must be a translation. I argue that this translation was performed in a context that was familiar with the Syriac Book of Steps,as many of the unique cultural markers of the Book of Steps are included or avoided respectively in the redaction of Ignatius’ letters. With this comparison, the short recension’s theological understanding of authority is derived from perfection, and not the bishop, which is seen in the middle recension. If proven successful, this paper will explain the drastic incongruities between the short recension and the middle recension, as well as explore how a Syrian community read the theology of one of their beloved fathers.

Jane Merdinger: Augustine at a Crossroads: Acceptance and Repudiation of Donatist Baptismal Rites

My paper investigates Augustine's position on Donatist rites and baptism within the framework of the maturation of his own thought on Catholic baptismal theology. His stance on Donatist baptism and rites evolved significantly over a decade, from his early priesthood (circa 393) to the publication of his great treatises against the Donatists (400-405). In 393, Augustine first became aware of critical differences when he encountered Donatist insistence on re-exsufflation of former Catholics awaiting Donatist baptism (Ep. 23). Augustine was horrified that Donatists "blew out" baptism bestowed by Catholics. At the time, he actually believed that Donatists thereby destroyed the sacrament. By simply examining Augustine's mature sacramental theology, scholars invariably overlook its development and also crucial differences in Donatist practices detected by Augustine. I shall demonstrate that Augustine's abhorrence of re-exsufflation provides a lens into his deepest disagreements with Donatism by 404/405. Until that time, in popular tracts and debates, he had emphasized similarities between Catholics and Donatists. Hoping to entice them back into the Catholic fold, Augustine had emulated Optatus by insisting repeatedly that they shared the same liturgy, sacraments, and Bible. Something happened around 404/405, convincing Augustine it was useless to encourage reunification based on such criteria. In Contra Cresconium he assails Donatists for desecrating baptism when they re-exsufflate Catholics. (Having reached a mature understanding, Augustine no longer accuses them of destroying the sacrament.) Nonetheless, his charge of desecration constitutes a complete volte-face from his earlier "popular" pronouncements. This paper probes why Augustine abandons the facade of shared practices and beliefs.

David Riggs: “Our City’s Forum Hosts a Multitude of Salvific Deities”: Disputing Christianising Interpretations of Late Roman Africa

In recent decades, historians have well interrogated traditional narratives of the “triumph of Christianity.” Indeed, scholars often now dispute the legitimacy altogether of studying late-antique society according to categories such as “pagan” and “Christian.” Rather than fixating on religious conflict, it has become increasingly common to search for a shared “secular” space in civic life that assimilated most people into cultural pursuits with little regard for the “religious” concerns of intolerant bishops. For such historians, Christianisation of the Roman Empire tends to be a story of uncompromising bishops and iconoclastic gangs of Christian plebs undermining the shared “secular” culture of late-antique cities. One conventional assumption has remained steadfast and fundamental amidst these developments: historians continue to operate as though the “religious” vitality of the empire’s traditional cults was in steep decline by the fourth century and, thus, this muscular Christianity filled something of a religious vacuum. Augustine’s sermons are frequently cited in support of such scholarship. This paper will dispute the value of both the secularizing interpretation of late-antique civic life and notions of a muscular Christianity for making proper sense of the evidence for religious life in late Roman Africa. Through revisionist readings of Augustine’s Sermones 24 and 62, which carefully employ literary and archaeological testimonies for Romano-African civic life to contextualize their situations and rhetoric, this study will highlight the persistent vitality, pervasiveness, and influence of the traditional gods and the broad range of cultic pursuits that bound Africans to their divine patronage in daily life.

Niki Clements: Virginity as an Art of Life: Michel Foucault on Gregory of Nyssa’s Περὶ παρθενίας

The biggest surprise of the 2018 posthumous release of Michel Foucault’s Les Aveux de la chair is not its thirty-four year deferred publication but its radical embrace of early Christian texts from Clement of Alexandria to Augustine of Hippo. This fourth and final volume in the History of Sexuality series follows 1984 works on ancient Greek (L’Usage des plaisirs) and Roman (Le Souci de soi) sexual ethics with sustained reflections on the intersection between transformative rites and philosophical anthropology.Within this text, Foucault focuses on Gregory of Nyssa’s Traité de la virginité to analyze the ethical possibilities for the “care of the self” (ἐπιμελεία ἑαυτοῦ) in the construction of virginity. Citing Nyssa’s early view that “la profession de virginité est un art et une science de la vie divine” (De la virginité, IV, 9), Foucault extols Nyssa’s analysis of virginity as an art of life. Keenly interested in the forms of self-relation, silence, and independence that such virginity involves, Foucault extends his reading of Nyssa (in his 1982 lectures, L'Hermeneutique du sujet) as the Christian culmination of a form of attention to the “care of the self” best realized by Socrates eight centuries prior.In this paper, I will analyze Foucault’s reading of Nyssa and the construction of virginity as “un libre choix” in order to assess such praxis, while appealing to Vie de sainte Macrine,Vie de Moïse, and La Création de l'homme as even better illuminating the ethical promise Foucault himself pursues.

Jonathan H. Young: The Resurrection of the Rational Soul and Origen’s Modification of Metensomatosis

Scholars argue that Origen of Alexandria conceives the soul’s spiritual progress within a modified Platonic paradigm (Marx-Wolf; Ramelli). Others suggest more alignment with the New Testament (Edwards). According to Ramelli, Origen advances that the soul occupies an earthly, human body only once (ensomatosis), rather than a cycle of multiple bodies (metensomatosis). This notwithstanding, Marx-Wolf argues that the soul, separated from the body, still is capable of spiritual advancement. Furthermore, Origen insists that the Christian teaching of the resurrection should contrast with metensomatosis (Con.Cels. 5.29, 3.75). Origen’s Contra Celsum and De Principiis belie full disavowal of metensomatosis. He harmonizes Plato’s “cycle of generation” (Phaedrus 249Aff) with the Christian teaching of the soul’s resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15). Like Plato, Origen preserves the souls’ future embodiment (cf. Phaedrus 247b-c). One obtains this spiritual body at its resurrection in heaven, not on earth (Con.Cels. 7.32, 7.44). Implicit in Origen’s disagreement with multiple earthly incarnations, is the suggestion that the human soul is born into animals or vice versa (e.g. Plato, Phaedo 81d-82b, Phaedrus 249b). Origen solves this conundrum by incorporating the Stoic distinction of rational, human soul and the irrational, animal soul (cf. Gilhus; cf. Con.Cels. 7.17, 8.18). Thus, I argue that Origen preserves the paradigm of metensomatosis but limits its scope to only earthly, human body. The soul’s future embodiment occurs at its heavenly resurrection and not in another human lifetime. This study provides a window into third-century CE debates among Platonists regarding the interpretation of Plato’s teachings.

Gregory Robbins : ‘Finding Similar Things’: Anomalies in Eusebius’ Sections and Canons

Recently, a great deal of appreciation has been lavished upon Eusebius of Caesarea for his manipulation of the codex format as evidenced in his Chronicle, the Canon Tables and the Psalm Tables. These required elaborate page layout, coordinated use of red and black ink, and continual attention to non-textual details. In his Letter to Carpianus, Eusebius says that by using the tables one could find in the Gospels “relevant passages which they treated of similar things” (τα παραπλήσια), Similar in what way? The Eusebian canon tables are generally presented as if they were intended to provide a do-it-yourself harmony or synopsis. This implies that Eusebius assumed his parallels presented different versions of the same incident orsaying. While the major portion of the evidence is consistent with such an assumption, some of the canon assignments made by Eusebius are startling, forced, or even contradictory. In a 1965 article published in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly (27.3: 250-56), Harvey K. McArthur characterized Eusebius’ apparatus as having a different function: “His system represented a primitive form of Marginal References.” Marginal reference to what end? This communication returns to McArthur’s observations and insights to explore not only the anomalies of Eusebius’ sections and canons, but to proffer a theological rationale for them – a desire to appropriate the Fourth Gospel as essential voice in the evangelical “symphony.”

Alexandria Istok: Subverting Fatalism in the Second Century: Bardaisan’s Use of the Stars

Only in recent scholarship have attempts been made to embrace a literary correspondence between Greeks, Romans, and early Christians and reconsider the previously segregated intellectual landscape of the so-called “Second Sophistic.” In my paper, I consider Bardaisan’s Book of the Laws of the Countries as part of an ongoing literary and cultural discussion in the second century about proper philosophy, ethics, and self-identification. By comparing sections of theBook of the Laws of Countries to the works of other contemporaneous authors, I argue that Bardaisan frames his discussion of fate in terms of astrology and ethnography to situate Christianity as an intellectually appealing alternative to Greek and Roman attempts to support or subvert fatalism.After giving a brief overview of astrology’s rise in popular interest among Greeks and Romans in the second century, I compare Bardaisan’s presentation of the stars with those of Lucian and Aulus Gellius. Next I consider his astrological arguments about fate in dialogue with Tatian, another Aramaic speaker. Finally, I consider the influence of astrology on the ethnic argumentation at the end of his work and suggest that his dialogue does not combat fatalistic ideas within local Marcionism but within Greek and Roman culture more broadly.

Susan B. Griffith: 'The Sign of Jonah': Representation of Jonah in patristic exegesis and early Christian art

The Minor Prophets held significant status in early Christian exegesis, and in particular the fathers commented on and cited Jonahmore often, relative to its brevity, than much of the rest of the Old Testament, apart from Genesis, Psalms, and Isaiah. As evidence of the popularity of the narrative, artistic portrayals of the prophet and his journey appear more frequently in the first few centuries than any other Old Testament topic. The prophet's remarkable tale also generated controversy in the wider community over its more fantastic elements. The varieties of Christian interpretation of this text illustrate vividly in microcosm broader trends in patristic exegesis. This communication will assess the way in which Jonah is represented in both the commentary tradition as well as the surrounding material culture.

Ella Kirsh: Ambrose in North Africa: the Vita Ambrosii through the eyes of Augustine

This paper will explore Paulinus of Milan’s fifth-century Vita Ambrosii through the eyes of Augustine, the work’s commissioner and dedicatee. Half a century of scholarship devoted to recovering the historical Ambrose from the Vita has obscured the primacy of Augustine as the work’s imagined audience. But Augustine was the only individual we can be absolutely confident read the Vita within the first decade after it was published, since some of his works of the mid-410s adopt and react to episodes in Paulinus’ biography. I will make the case that Augustine’s role within the text continues well beyond the opening dedication. Paulinus conspicuously tailored the Vita for Augustine’s eyes; he uses episodes, motifs and framing devices derived from the Confessions to structure his biography of Ambrose. Paulinus' Ambrose is therefore retrofitted onto an Augustinian template. The paper will outline the extent and nature of Paulinus' engagement with the Augustinian material, charting how Paulinus adapts watershed moments in Ambrose's professional and spiritual career to resemble episodes from the Confessions. But Paulinus' portrait of Ambrose abounds in vivid, familiar detail. Through his secretary Paulinus’ eyes, we see the Ambrose known only to his intimates: his moments of shame, frustration, and private despair; his idiosyncrasies, at times maddening to watch; and his favourite dinnertime anecdotes. This was an Ambrose such as Augustine never encountered. Augustine's looming presence over the Vita Ambrosii throws into sharp relief the tricks and tensions of Paulinus' presentation of Ambrose to fifth-century North African society.

Michael Ennis: The Missing Angels: A Problem in Patristic Exegesis of Genesis 1-2

The story in Genesis 1-2 was construed by many early Christian readers as providing a comprehensive account of the origin of the created order. This construction proved a fruitful site of exegesis: interpreters worked to categorize, under the Biblical six day schema, the creation of things not found on the surface-text of that brief story. Among the text’s most striking lacuna was its silence on the creation of angels – made especially sharp by the sudden appearance of the cherubim in Genesis 3.In this paper, I will analyze several exegetes’ answers to the interpretive question, “when in the six days were angels created?” The answer to this seemingly technical question of chronology, I will argue, is not a mere curiosity or idle speculation. Instead, by careful examination of the exegetical work of Augustine, Origen, and the later Alexandrian tradition on the Genesis creation story, I will demonstrate that when these thinkers place the creation of angels has important implications for the role of angels in their entire scheme of salvation.In addition to contributing to the relatively under-studied field of patristic angelology, this paper will also offer a case-study in the ways that patristic authors’ biblical exegesis and their accounts of the salvific economy mutually informed one another. By a comparison with the midrashic answers to the same interpretive question, this paper will also offer evidence of Christian and Jewish dialogue in late antiquity.

Michael Petrin: Ephrem and Gregory of Nyssa on the Multitude of Divine Names: A Comparison

In patristic scholarship, the traditional assumption of a consensus Patrum has given way to an emphasis on early Christian diversity. Among the many beneficial effects of this shift has been a greater appreciation of the distinctive practices, beliefs, and modes of discourse among early Syriac-speaking Christians. Yet the distinctiveness of the Syriac tradition should not lead us to treat it in isolation from the rest of early Christianity. Indeed, even in the case of Ephrem, it has long been recognized that despite his condemnation of ‘the wisdom of the Greeks’, his theology shares many commonalities with the theology of some of his more philosophically minded contemporaries who wrote in Greek or Latin.In this communication, I will analyze and compare Ephrem and Gregory of Nyssa’s respective treatments of the multitude of divine names. I will discuss their shared emphasis on the incomprehensibility of God, and I will argue that, for both authors, the theological style of Scripture provides the basic model for the Christian use of many divine names. I will also contend that, despite their various differences in literary expression, both authors employ a combination of Scripture and Nature in seeking to learn more about the God who has revealed himself to humankind. Finally, I will argue that, for both Ephrem and Gregory, using many divine names is not a form of meddlesome investigation that seeks perfect knowledge of God, but is rather a pragmatic use of the gift of language in the pursuit of spiritual progress.

Luke Drake: Reading Paul, Rehabilitating Paul: Judaism and the Law in the Euthalian Apparatus

The Euthalian apparatus comprises a set of Late Antique paratextual materials that accompanied and epitomized the Pauline letters, Acts, and the Catholic letters. Hundreds of Greek manuscripts—as well as various Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Old Church Slavonic, Gothic, and Latin witnesses—contain components of the apparatus, attesting to the influence of this ancient material on the reading practices of Late Ancient and medieval Christian readers. Early studies (Zacagni, Wettstein, Harris, Ehrhard, Von Soden, etc.) of the apparatus centered on questions of authorship and the authenticity of its respective components (prologues, bioi, kephalaia, etc.). More recent studies (Dahl, Hellholm, Blomkvist, Scherbenske) have established the function of ancient rhetorical theory within the apparatus, as well as the apparatus’ relationship to the corresponding New Testament literature (Blomkvist). Very little work, however, has been done on many of the theological propensities of the apparatus. In this paper, I discuss the ways in which the apparatus (and the many manuscripts that carry it) articulates Jewish-Christian difference—with a specific emphasis on its representation of the Jewishness and “conversion” of Paul—and situate these positions alongside those of contemporaneous early Christian exegetes (assuming a 4th-5th c. CE date of composition).

Karen Carducci: Pregnant and Gendered Minerals according to Pagans and Christians

Ancient writers sometimes considered minerals more human than simply as inert, inhuman objects. Halleux (1970, 25), for instance, suggests that some classical Greek writers had a “conception biologique du monde mineral.” Cohen (2015) also argues that Theophrastus, then Medieval Latin Christians, were the first to ascribe a sex life to minerals. The present survey of catalogs of minerals finds that Roman writers, pagan and Christian, were in fact the first to conceive of some minerals as fecund or as exhibiting sexual dimorphism. These notions were irreducible to metaphors about geodes; they implied the existence of ancient debates about gender and fecundity even in the mineral realm.The paper first shows that Theophrastus did not ascribe gender or pregnancy to any true minerals. Then, to exemplify how Roman catalogers of minerals humanized their subject, the paper surveys concepts of pregnancy and gender associated with the aetites (eagle stone). The third century Solinus (37.14) and the sixth century Priscian (Periegesis 985-86) argued that aetites was truly pregnant through the action of some “spirit" (spiritus). The sixth-century physician Aetius of Amida ascribed pregnancy to the aetites as an ontological explanation for how it helps in childbirth (Tetrabiblon2.32). Like Aetius, Isidore of Seville (Etym. 16.4.21) also simply identified the existence of male and female varieties of the aetites, as a correlation for their aid in birth. More generally, Gregory of Nazianzus agreed that lithic reproduction might exist, but he aligned the pregnancy of minerals with sexual dimorphism and never with a spirit (1.2.1B 245ff.=PG 37.541).

DANIEL BUDA: Holy Spirit in Theophilus of Antioch

The aim of this presentation is to analyze and present the pneumatology of Theophilus of Antioch using as main sources his preserved writings, but also the fragments atributed to Theophilus. An important point of this presentation will be to compare the pneumatology of Theophilus with the pneumatology of his notorious predecessor, Ignatius of Antioch with the purpose of identifying any connection and/or evolution. Other questions like: pneumatology of Theophilus in the context of other Christian apologetic writers; the relationship between Holy Spirit and Sophia by Theophilus; Theophilus pneumatology as part of his triadology shall be approached. A final chapter will be dedicated to analysing end discussing the opinions of most important modern scholars on Theophilus` pneumatology.

Vasilije Vranic: The Christology of Eusebius of Dorylaeum

Eusebius of Dorylaeum was involved in both Christological controversies of the fifth century in very important ways. In the ‘Nestorian’ controversy he was the first to challenge the theological orthodoxy of the newly installed archbishop of Constantinople, Nestorius, by writing a pamphlet known as the Contestatio Eusebii. In it he likened the theology of Nestorius with condemned heretical teachings of Paul of Samosata. Some twenty years later, he accused a powerful archimandrite in Constantinople, Eutyches, of heresy, which set in motion the Miaphysite controversy.Yet, despite his prominence in the theological events leading to the definition of Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), very little is known about his Christology.In this paper, I argue that the Contestatio Eusebii plays a crucial role in identifying the Christological position of Eusebius of Dorylaeum in the Nestorian controversy. I argue that Eusebius believed in a full, personal union of the divine and human natures of Christ into one reality without confusion.

Andrew Blaski: Christ Our First Principle: The Dynamics of Persuasion in Early Christian Apologetic Discourse

Aristotle, like Plato before him, recognized that “all teaching and all intellectual learning come about from already existing knowledge” (An. Post.1.1). That is, human beings appear to possess knowledge that they never intentionally sought, or that was never formally demonstrated for them. Contrary to Plato, however, Aristotle rejected anamnesisas a suitable explanation, constructing instead a robust account of “first principles” (propositions or assumptions that serve as the “first basis from which a thing is known,” but which themselves cannot be proven or deduced). In this paper, I will demonstrate that early Christian apologists made extensive use of this core philosophical concept (implicitly and explicitly) in their own methods of religious argumentation. That is, contrary to certain streams of modern Christian thought, they tended not to seek to demonstrate that Christ is true, as though he could be proven by some more foundational standard, but rather that Christ is theTruth (Jn. 14:6): the ultimate First Principle, or non-provable basis for all reality. By looking at a handful of key apologetic arguments in Minucius Felix (Octavius), Justin Martyr (First Apology), and Tertullian (Apology), we will see that the central task of the early Christian apologist was not primarily to “demonstrate,” but rather to point out with clarity the explanatoryrelationship between observable reality and the truths of Christianity. In short, they sought to reveal that the very nature of things reflects Christ, from the structure of the cosmos, to the wisdom of the ancients, to the fruitful and well-ordered lives of the saints.

Johannes Börjesson: Maximus the Confessor and Augustine’s ‘two wills’ in John IV’s defence of Honorius

Pope Honorius’ first letter to Sergius (635) famously asserted ‘one will of the Lord Jesus Christ’. In defence of Honorius’ statement (641), Pope John IV took recourse to Augustine’s teaching about two opposing wills in ordinary human beings: a will of the flesh and a will of the spirit. John IV’s point was that Christ lacked such conflicting wills in his human nature, and that Honorius’ statement about Christ’s ‘one will’ should be interpreted as affirming this reality. Later, Maximus the Confessor commented on John IV’s defence of Honorius and referred to and affirmed the two will statement. This paper establishes and highlights this connection; a connection that brings together Augustinian exegesis with the Maximian dyothelite project.

Todd French: The Compilatory Impetus: Prefaces and Strategies in Late Antique Hagiographies

The impulse to compile saints’ lives in Late Antiquity is well-attested by the collections of John Moschos, John of Ephesus, Cyril of Scythopolis, Theodoret of Cyrrhos, and Palladios. This paper examines the authorial intent communicated by these authors in their prefaces and literary asides. Drawing on the methodologies of Somerville and Brasington’s 1998 work with the prefaces to canon law books and Patricia Cox Miller’s 1983 text on biography and authorship, this research brings the communicated compilatory strategies of these authors into conversation with each other and their chosen styles, theological influences, and political landscapes. Since most of these compilations dabble in the tropical formulations of their antecedents, this paper will track longitudinally how these authors navigated the prefaces and asides of their works and how their positionality within the framework of authorial intent is imagined. Understanding how these writers conceived of their role as author and compiler, and the influence they had on their successors—some direct, others presumed—enriches the conversation around reception history of late antique compilations. The contours of the authors’ relationships with their compilations offer rich possibilities for interpreting how and why saints’ lives became the vehicle par excellence for communicating and prescribing a range of religious meaning through to the Middle Ages.

Paul Smith: Philostorgius and the Construction of the Eunomian Holy Man

Since Peter Brown first introduced the idea of the “holy man,” scholarship has exploded with books, articles, and talks establishing, refining, and challenging the identity and function of the holy man, and the related category ascetics, in the fourth century. However, most of these focus on the holy man and ascetics in the Nicene tradition and ignore the non-Nicene tradition. This paper builds upon Thomas Ferguson and Anna Lankina by examining the Eunomian historian, Philostorgius, and demonstrating how he utilizes the concept of the holy man in order to promote his understanding of the ideal Christian state. Philostorgius’ holy man combines his reputation for working miracles, his ascetic life, and his ecclesiastical office to be a patron to the Emperor. Philostorgius thus constructs a holy man which overlaps with several modern scholarly conceptions of the Nicene holy man, while putting his own emphasis on the concept. Philostorgius places his holy men in an urban context, with urban ascetic virtues and leadership. Their societal engagement makes them key figures in constructing what Philostorgius sees as the ideal Christian state, supported by non-Nicene holy men who take an active role in advising the Emperor, using their status as holy men to guide the empire in a non-Nicene direction.

Alexander Miller: Origenism and Cyril of Alexandria's Sacramental Theology

Since Chadwick’s influential article "Eucharist and Christology in the Nestorian Controversy" (1951), studies of Cyril of Alexandria’s theology have recognized the centrality of his sacramental concerns
to his christology and his theologies of Scripture and divinization.In the same period, the study of the first “Origenist controversy” has been driven by modern discoveries of Evagrian and “pro-anthropomorphite” texts.These strains of scholarship on Cyril and Origenism have seldom intersected, and of the few articles, none has focused on Cyril’s sacramental theology, despite Theophilus of Alexandria’s interest in the consequences of Origenist thought on sacramental theology. In this presentation, I shall argue that Cyril of Alexandria’s sacramental theology, as developed in his Commentary on John, is articulated as a corrective for extreme forms of “Origenist” ascetic theology that would denigrate sacramental participation in the church.(This paper proposes only that this line of thought was a risk, not the consensus, among Evagrius’ disciples.) In Book 4 (on John 6:38-7:24) and Book 6 (on John 8:44-10:17) of Cyril’s commentary, he argues that the extreme anti-anthropomorphite tendency to eschew images and physical representations in worship can render one in the image of Satan, rather than in the image and likeness of God.Following both an Evagrian pathology of sin and the ascetic ascent to apatheia, Cyril advocates for a continuity between the earthly and resurrected body and demonstrates that sacramental participation is necessary for attaining a true apatheia in this life and eternity.

Hana Benešová: Desire and the Sacraments of the Church in Saint Augustine’s Sermons

This paper will discuss a relationship between desire and receiving the sacraments in Saint Augustine’s sermons. First, usage of words desire and sacrament with their variations in the sermons will be analysed. Two crucial issues will be considered: desire as a basic stimulus to accomplish the essential man’s task to be according to the image of God and the moment of conversion. Turning point from cupiditas to desidero, from self-centred to Christ-centred. We will highlight the sentences describing craving in a person's life so that the primal longing, which is the desire for God, can be revealed. In a dialogue with St. Augustine we will explore his view on sacraments and their effects in relationship with desire. Through the hermeneutic endeavour we will identify his concept of desire as an instrument to kindle the hearts of his listeners to change their lives or to strengthen their perseverance to follow Christ in His Mysterium Paschale. Describing the moment of conversion, as a source for stimulating desire for God’s grace received through the sacraments is the key aim of this paper.

Key words: desire, sacraments, conversion, perseverance, Mysterium Paschale

Ute Possekel: Exegetical Perspectives from the School of Nisibis: Michael Badoqa on the Pentateuch

In the sixth century, the School of Nisibis was a principal center of Christian learning within the Sasanid Empire and trained numerous theologians and church leaders. The scholar Michael, known as Michael Badoqa from his position as badoqa or instructor at the School, was an influential author whose writings addressed christology, exegesis, and philosophy, but unfortunately only fragments of his works have come down to us. Michael’s stature as an eminent exegete was such that his views were cited regularly by later East Syriac commentators including Ishoʿdad of Merv, Theodore bar Koni, the anonymous author of the so-called Diarbakir Commentary, and the commentary on the East Syriac lectionary known as Gannat Bussame. Michael’s surviving works have heretofore received little scholarly attention, and the exegetical fragments none at all. This paper will survey Michael’s exegetical fragments, most of which pertain to the Pentateuch, and attempt to situate his approach to Scripture within the East Syriac exegetical tradition more broadly.In particular, the paper will address how Michael’s exegesis compares to that of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the Interpreter par excellence for the Church of the East, and to other exegetical traditions prominent at the School, especially those represented by Henana, head of school in the time of Michael and a controversial figure on account of whom Michael and others are said to have left the School of Nisibis.

Rei Hakamada: Gregory Palamas as a pastor: His message of ‘Deification for all’ in his Homilies

This paper aims to reconsider Gregory Palamas’ role in the Hesychast tradition by analysing his pastoral teachings, which can be found in his Homilies. Although his effort for defending the Athonite monks has been widely recognized and his theory of distinction between God's essence and energies has long attracted scholastic attention, his activities and works outside the Hesychast controversy have not been studied sufficiently. Thus, this paper examines Palamas’ Homilies by focusing on his teachings for his people of the Thessaloniki and aims to reveal the less studied side of him – that as a pastor. Among his 63 extant Homilies, special attention will be paid to Hom. 37, 56, and 60, which include Palamas’ thought on the nature of human beings and his strong message that not only the Athonite monks, but all who believe in Christ, are invited to join the path of deification.

Alex Fogleman: Tertullian as Catechist

While evidence for pre-Constantinian catechesis is sparse, it has become commonplace to assume that the church's efforts to induct new members into the church in the second and third century were heavily determined by the church's social status as a persecuted minority, resulting in either a socialization or ritual theory of initiation. This paper queries the evidence from Tertullian's works that are most catechetical in nature to see whether they verify this assumption. Primary attention will be given to On Baptismand On Prayer, and it will be argued that Tertullian's catechesis is less concerned with the socialization or ritualization of new believers into an alternative community or counter culture and more attendant to cultivating a spiritual sensibility, pious disposition, and orthodox exposition of the faith. Catechesis, in other words, serves as much a theological function as it does a social or political function. Furthermore, it will be shown how Tertullian’s use of the regula fidei accords with a primarily catechetical and not strictly polemical or apologetic purpose. While it is not the case that socio-cultural factors are negligent for explaining pre-Constantinian catechesis, they are not sufficient to do so fully and can be complemented by more attention to the theological and spiritual dimensions of this important pastoral task.

Kirsten Mackerras: Judgments Present and Future: Providence, Theodicy, and the End of Persecution in Lactantius

The doctrine of providence is central for Lactantius. His Divinae Institutiones use it to construct a consensus with his interlocutors, and to counter the allegation that Christians threaten the pax deorum. However, this emphasis on providence invites the riposte that the Christian God fails to protect presently-persecuted Christians. This paper explores Lactantius' responses to that challenge, and maps how his expectation of divine judgment and vindication develops across his career. Specifically, it asks how the sudden vindication of Christianity under Constantine affected that expectation. Lactantius' theodicy in the Divinae Institutiones centres around eschatological judgment and the pedogogical necessity of enduring evil to develop virtue. By contrast, de Mortibus Persecutorum celebrates the overthrow of the persecuting emperors, claiming that God's judgment has been realised in present history. Furthermore, one scholar has claimed that these theodicies are contradictory; if enduring evil teaches virtue then Lactantius should prefer persecution to its removal. This paper will argue that, despite different emphases in Lactantius' works, his theology of divine judgment within history is largely consistent. A possibility raised in the Divinae Institutiones is realised in de Mortibus Persecutorum. Lactantius repeats several of the Divinae Institutiones' theodicean motifs in the post-persecution work de Ira Dei, without modifying their eschatological orientation, and shows his belief that sufficient vice remains for one to learn virtue by resisting it. Yet in the various nuances of Lactantius' explications of providence, we may see the impact the end of persecution had on early Christian life and thought.

Anna Petrin: Liturgy and Apology: Justin Martyr’s Discussions of the Eucharist

The ‘liturgical portions’ of Justin Martyr’s writings have long been invaluable to scholars of liturgical history because of their comparatively detailed descriptions of pre-Nicene liturgical rites. In both the First Apology (65-67) and the Dialogue with Trypho (41, 70, 117), Justin provides seemingly straightforward descriptions of baptism, the eucharist, and weekly worship, along with theological interpretation.  Rarely, however, have liturgical historians considered how these descriptions serve Justin’s broader apologetic project. Indeed, aspects of the two texts’ liturgical descriptions can be difficult to harmonize precisely because they are so carefully nuanced for the benefit of Justin’s interlocutors and audiences. The theological descriptions of the eucharistic meal, for example, differ notably between the First Apology and the Dialogue.  This paper examines the intersection of apology and liturgy in Justin Martyr’s writings and considers how his discussions of the eucharist fit into his broader project of Christian identity formation in the late antique world. Justin’s works operate at the boundary lines between the Roman, Jewish, and Christian communities and navigate the complex and multi-layered set of identities to which his readers would have subscribed. Better understanding how he deploys these liturgical descriptions in service of his apologetic purposes will provide us with a better grasp of the writings of Justin and will also allow liturgical historians to be more precise in their use of these invaluable descriptions of early Christian liturgy.

Peter Morris: What is Apologetic Literature: A Proposal

This paper will argue for a new typology to supplement and partially replace the common category "apologetic" used to describe early Christian texts. I will make this argument in three parts. First, I will briefly discuss contemporary scholars' definition of early Christian apologetic and whether or not "apology" constitutes a genre. Second, I will briefly survey the use of the Greek word ἀπολογία and its cognates in ancient texts before, and contemporary with, Christianity. Using Eusebius as my primary example, I will show that Christians used this word almost exactly as their non-Christian peers and that they did not recognize a formal genre of apologetics amongst their own writing. Finally, based on the preceding, I will argue that a better way forward in categorizing ancient Christian texts is a more strictly emic use of the word apology. This is a fairy well defined rhetorical mode, but it does not neatly map onto most contemporary scholars' designation "apologetic literature." Nevertheless, I will argue that a better, eticcategory can be developed that takes seriously the similarities and relationships between early Christian texts that identified and defined "pagans," as they presented arguments for the supremacy of Christianity over against its alternatives.


Although in the modern bibliography we encounter occasional references to Chrysostom’s attitude toward monarchy—the political regime during the Roman period—there has been no discussion of his convictions regarding democracy. Nevertheless, the term dēmokratia appears twice in Chrysostom’s writings—once even in reference to the apostolic Church of Jerusalem (In Eph., Hom.XX, 4). In the corpus Chrysostomicum, there are also occurrences of both the adjective dēmotikos(=democratic) which John uses to characterize his ecclesiastical office (In Tit., Hom.II, 2), as well as the nouns isonomiaand isēgoria(=equality before the law and equal freedom of speech) in the frequent praises which the father sings about the Church, extolling the equality of the faithful in her bosom (e.g. De stud. praes., 2). Moreover, as I have had the opportunity to show in a previous work, John knows well the philosophical conversation carried out in antiquity regarding democracy and makes use of the arguments for and against the democratic polity as formulated by Plato and Aristotle (Johannes Chrysostomus über dasImperium Romanum, Mandalbachtal-Cambridge 2005, pp. 79-90). The evidence which we have collected from the homiletic work of Chrysostom proves that he was not indifferent to democracy. But is this evidence sufficient for us to elicit his view of the political arrangement in ancient Greece? This is the question posed in the paper that I would like to present and which will be answered through a general overview of the political thought of this Church Father.

Teodor Tăbuș: The imperial reception of Cyrillian Christology in the 6th century on the basis of the theological writings of Justinian I

Justinian I´s rule (527-565) was an essential period with regard to the turbulent reception of the definiton of Chalcedon (451) in the Eastern part of the Imperium Romanum. One has disregarded the fact that the same ruling period of Justinian was also pivotal for the imperial reception of the Christology of Cyril of Alexandria and his key Christological terminology, such as καθ’ ὑπόστασιν ἕνωσιν etc., which was not found in the definition of Chalcedon, nor in Zenon´s Henoticon (482). In addition, Cyril was the common church father in the East, bringing together the chalcedonians and anti-chalcedonians, that is, the supporters of Severus of Alexandria in the 6th century. The only thing dividing them was the interpretation and reception of Cyril´s Christology and his terms. Thus, Justinian undertook a theological program of „genuine” clarification of Cyrilian Christology, by issuing short edicts of faith, such as those in Codex Justinianus (CI I, 1,5-8), and also by writing, mostly after 536, complex theological works.My contribution focuses on the reason, the manner and the extent to which Justinian could defend and promote the “whole” Cyrillian Christology, especially in the Eastern Roman Empire. I would like to suggest that the aim of his edicts of faith and theological writings was the unification of the East, which was theologically divided because of the reception and interpretation of Cyril´s Christology, thus demonstrating that Cyril´s Christology and terminology were, in fact, in perfect accord and harmony with the Chalcedonian terminology and definition.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Eva Elisabeth Houth Vrangbæk: Text Mining Augustine: A Case Study of ‘God' and ‘Will’ in De Civitate Dei

This short paper will through a computerized analysis of the themes of ‘God’ and ‘will’ in De civitate dei communicate how text mining as a method of text analysis can be applied on Augustine studies. As for now, text mining is rarely used within patristic studies, but the methods are rapidly gaining terrain within the traditional fields of humanities. I will in my paper show an example of how these methods can be operated in patristic studies1) In the first part of the communication, I will give a brief presentation of the field of text mining focusing on the use in the humanities, its merits and its limitations. 2) In the second and main part, I will demonstrate four central analytical models for analyzing the themes of ‘God’ and ‘will’ in De civitate Dei using text mining and display how this example can be used as a starting point to work with larger portions of Augustine’s writings. One of the key benefits of text mining is that we can analyze vast corpora of texts (Big Data). In this paper I will use a single - but comprehensive and varied - work, to demonstrate the methodological benefits. I will show how one advantageously can work both quantitatively and qualitatively with texts using e.g. sentiment analysis, word-clustering, word-frequency and topic modelling. 3) In the third and last part, I will give a brief evaluation of how these computerized methods can be fruitful to and complement traditional analogous examinations of Augustine’s texts.

Kristine Rosland: Reconsidering the Apocryphon of John and Scripture

The Apocryphon of John (Ap. John) four times corrects the creations story from Genesis with the phrase "it is not as Moses said" or similar. Earlier scholarship on Gnosticism took this as evidence of a rejection of the Old Testament that Ap. John and (at least some of) the other Nag Hammadi works were meant to replace. This understanding is no longer tenable. Ap. John’s dependence on Genesis, even when rewriting the creation narrative, has been demonstrated by many, most recently David Creech in his 2017 study The Use of Scripture in the Apocryphon of John.However, discussing the work’s attitude towards ‘Old Testament, ‘the Bible’ or ‘Scripture’ is in itself problematic. Ap. John quotes Genesis and Isaiah, it alludes to John and other New Testament texts, but it also refers to a book of Zoroaster and it is clearly influenced by Plato. What is, then, the canon of Ap. John? Which works are authoritative and what does being authoritative imply?

Jason Robert Combs: (En)gendering Christian Dreams: Tertullian, Authority, and a Visionary Woman in Carthage

In De Anima 9, Tertullian describes a woman in his congregation who regularly experienced dream-visions during church services. After the congregation was dismissed, a small group, which included Tertullian, examined this woman’s dream-accounts to determine their legitimacy. Previous studies of this account have interpreted it within the context of the New Prophecy movement (e.g., Amat, Waszink, Miller, and von Dörnberg) without consideration of the complicated gender dynamics inherent in the passage. From the immediate context, it is not clear whether the practice of examining dream-visions was common for everyone in Tertullian’s congregation or whether it was required for this woman because of her gender. Additionally, it is not clear whether any women participated with Tertullian in examining the dream-visions of the unnamed woman. By contrasting the account in De Anima 9 with Tertullian’s other contemporary dreams accounts (De Spec. 26, De Virg. Vel. 17, De Idol. 15) and situating them within the larger context of gendered dream-practices in the Greco-Roman world (as characterized by Artemidorus, Aelius Aristides, Apuleius, etc.), I show that dream-visions functioned as ambiguous cultural currency that required external authority for legitimization. I demonstrate how gender dynamics complicated the relationship between dreams and their legitimacy depending on a woman’s current social status. I conclude that unauthorized male visionaries in Tertullian’s community would likely undergo a similar interrogation; nevertheless, gender dynamics further limited the opportunities for a woman’s dream to be socially accepted in Christian Carthage.

Inês Bolinhas: The Patristic Sources of the Inaugural Lecture of Saint Thomas Aquinas

It is widely known that the thought of Aquinas has a great debt to Patristics; nevertheless, this debt isn’t always highlighted. Our paper stresses out this very debt in one of Thomas early writings: his Inaugural Lecture as Magister in Sacra Pagina. In 1256, when the young baccalaurius had not yet completed his period of commenting the Liber Quattuor Sententiarium, of Peter Lombard, the chancellor of the University of Paris ordered him to present his Principium,as a master in theology. The Dominican friar chose as motto the verse of the Psalm 104 (103:13) «Rigans montes de superioribus». This verse is, indeed, the very title of Aquinas' lesson.The text is short; it is about four pages long. However, we do find in it some of the main features that Thomas will develop in his later works. The exegesis has a clear Neoplatonist frame: the Dominican Master quotes Dionysius (the Pseudo-Areopagite) and Saint Augustine in order to show that, in the world that God created, all perfections – whether spiritual or corporeal – are communicated through intermediaries, which have their place assigned in the ontological hierarchy. Being spiritual wisdom a perfection itself, Aquinas proceeds showing how God communicates this gift to humans. The discourse is divided in four parts: the magnificence of the spiritual doctrine; the dignity of its doctors; the conditions required to the listeners; the proper order when one communicates. Thomas’ interpretation is grounded in various biblical passages, but also in John of Damascus and in Gregory the Great.

Emily Chesley: The Mercy of Macrina the Younger: Nyssa’s Portrait of Societal Service

This paper nuances the academic conversation on Macrina the Younger, re-analyzing Gregory of Nyssa’s portrayal of her in De Vita Macrinae Virginis and De Anima et Resurrectione in light of his homilies on the Beatitudes and Ecclesiastes, bringing to light the practices of mercy pervading Macrina’s life. Macrina has received comparatively little academic attention in recent years, and those scholars who do treat her have predominantly interpreted her as an exemplary philosophical teacher or withdrawn virgin ascetic. While these remain aspects of Nyssa’s portrait, they nevertheless present an incomplete sketch for he consistently presents his sister engaged in social practices of mercy. He describes her meeting the needs of the hungry and the sick, taking on voluntary poverty, giving largesse to the impoverished, and abolishing social hierarchy in favor of equality—each a central element of the social justice he advocates to his congregations. This paper revisits Nyssa’s hagiography of Macrina in light of his homiletical teachings on acts of mercy, bringing to light the societal elements of Macrina’s life and the thematic consistency in Nyssa’s pastoral teaching. The accepted narrative of Macrina is challenged and nuanced, as it is revealed that Nyssa presents his sister as an ideal practitioner of mercy, actively engaged with the needs of the world.

Gregory Cruess: Augustine’s Biblical Christology: Re-reading the In Iohannis Evangelium Tractatus

This paper seeks to articulate the irreducibly biblical nature of Augustine’s mature Christology as presented in his Homilies on the Gospel of John. Although relatively neglected as a source for studying Augustine’s Christology, his sermon series on the Fourth Gospel presents a sophisticated episodic meditation upon the framework of the Johannine prologue and its proclamation that the co-eternal Word and Son has “become flesh” (Jn 1:14) in time and taken on the full reality of human life. Augustine articulates this hermeneutic explicitly in his own explanation of the three ways in which Christ can be named: first as God co-equal with the Father, second as the Word Incarnate who remains God but is at the same time a true human being, and lastly as the whole Christ, united to all humanity through his body the Church (s. 341). I suggest that this schema helps adequately address the incarnational scope and structure of Augustine’s exegesis, while at the same time providing an important manner of integrating the great diversity of his language concerning Christ. When applied to the Homilies on John, this hermeneutic serves as a framework for respecting the scope of Augustine’s Christology and integrating his particular exegesis of the episodes of the Gospel narrative itself. It preserves an approach to the sermons which resists an overly narrow focus upon their immediate context and audience and instead illuminates the depth of Augustine’s scriptural exegesis as an exposition of Christ proclaimed in his threefold unity.

Ralph Campbell: A Conversation with Melito of Sardis and Dan Brown

One of the most eloquent testimonies to the error of Dan Brown and the outrageous claims of The Da Vinci Code regarding the “creation” of the deity of Christ by Constantine is found in a sermon on the Passover preached around twenty years before the end of the second century by Melito, the pastor of the church of Sardis. Saint Melito was successor to “the angel of the Church of Sardis” to whom Jesus addressed His message to. His well-known Pascal sermon (Peri Pascha) preached approximately 145 years prior to Nicean Council, and 130 years prior to the Milvian Bridge battle gives a clear refutation of the resurgent Gnosticism of the Da Vinci Code and with powerful elegance declares the divinity of Christ. Melito’s skillful homiletic structure and Christocentric hermeneutic in what is arguably the earliest non-biblical sermon continues to provide the Church with a strong apologetic against an old enemy of the Gospel, and a model for communicating the glory of whom Jesus has become.

Ashley Edewaard: Wine: Peril or Prophylactic? Ancient Medical Theory in Clement of Alexandria's Dietary Prescriptions 

In the late second century C.E., Clement of Alexandria composed the Paedagogus, an ascetic treatise instructing Christians in the ideal approach to daily life. In this text, Clement addresses a wide range of topics, from food and table manners to bathing and sexual activity. The present paper examines Clement’s advice regarding wine, utilising ancient medical models to explain why Clement adopts a cautious view of this substance while simultaneously allowing and even recommending its use. Clement’s understanding of wine’s effects, both positive and negative, draws heavily from the theories articulated in the Hippocratic and Galenic corpora. Doctors prescribe wine as a remedy against bodily and mental disorders, even while recognising the dangers associated with its abuse. The medical authors describe wine as a heating beverage, useful for counteracting the cold of winter and the chill of old age. At the same time, wine’s heat could inflame both the brain and the sexual organs, resulting in intoxication and unbridled sexual activity. Wine’s positive effects on the humours could also be harnessed to remedy digestion and improve mood. In accord with these theories, Clement urges restraint in drinking wine because of its potential to cause sexual impropriety, especially among hot-blooded youths, and intoxication. Because of its effects on the brain, wine was also detrimental to intellectual pursuits. Clement advocates that wine’s heating properties be harnessed to counter cold air, its cheering properties to offset depression, and its purgative properties to aid digestion.

Nathan Tilley: Sterile Virgins and Procreative Texts: Platonic Intertexts in Methodius’s Symposium

Although earlier generations heaped disdain on Methodius’s Symposium, recent work on the dialoguehas thankfully brought to light the dialogue’s achievements. However, because scholars previously judged Methodius against the art of Plato’s dialogues, much of his use of Plato remains to be examined – in particular, themes of procreation. Elizabeth Clark has argued that tensions in Methodius’s depiction of the virgins as both erotic, yet also chaste and sterile arise from conflict between his erotic Platonic exemplar and anxiety about ‘non-textual’ virgins. I argue, however, that we can also see these tensions within Methodius’s Platonic intertexts themselves. Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus both serve as intertexts for Methodius, but the former privileges chaste partnerships as mechanisms of psychic reproduction while the latter depicts texts as potential sites for procreation. Methodius reworks these intertexts such that the virgins remain sterile in one sense as they give birth in beauty before the ‘celibate Bridegroom’ and yet also fertile as they reproduce textually through the reader. To demonstrate this claim, I first consider how Methodius draws on Plato’s depiction of Socrates and Alcibiades in the Symposium as an instance of chaste birth in beauty. Second, I show how Methodius takes up Plato’s notion of fertile logoi in Plato’s Phaedrus (274c-278e) and writes a dialogue that could reproduce chastity in readers. By making visible Methodius’s creative use of Plato, I hope to add to our understanding of Methodius and of textual pedagogy in late antiquity.

Joseph Lenow: The Mystical Agency of Christ in the Letters of Cyprian

Cyprian of Carthage displays a clear understanding of the church as the mystical body of Christ (ep.63.13). Joined to this understanding of Christ’s mystical body is a sense of Christ’s mystical agency—his continued work in the world as mediated through the activity of this community. This paper considers the theology of Christ’s mystical agency as encountered in Cyprian’s letters, with special attention to how shifting emphases in his deployments of this theme may be attributable to the ecclesial circumstances of his writing. In the relatively early ep.10, written to the confessors of the Carthaginian church likely before the controversy with the laxists, Cyprian exhibits a strong sense of Christ actively struggling and conquering in the witness of the martyrs and confessors (ep.10.3-4). Later letters generally move away from a direct identification of Christ’s work with the activity of the martyrs and confessors, likely so as to undercut the belief that the readmission to the fellowship of peace by Lucian and other confessors was itself properly identifiable as Christ’s own work of forgiveness. Instead, later letters tend to emphasize Christ’s agency as (i) spectator of the martyr’s combat, rather than himself an active combatant; (ii) continuing to legislate the church’s communal life through the commands delivered in scripture; (iii) mystically active in the work of the bishops and clergy, to whom he has entrusted the care of his body the church; and (iv) patiently awaiting his return in judgment.

Christopher Beeley: Christology and Metaphysics in Cyril of Alexandria

This paper offers a fresh analysis of Cyril's metaphysical and seemingly-metaphysical expressions as they relate to his central Christological convictions. Although Cyril is still widely known for introducing the (ambiguous) phrase "hypostatic union" to describe the Incarnation, this was not his preferred expression, and in fact he abandoned it prior to the Council of Ephesus; neither was the infamous phrase "one incarnate nature of the Word" and variants. Much more frequently, Cyril used a variety of other expressions, including several involving "nature" and "union," to describe the identity of Christ. Based on a thorough study of Cyril's Christological texts, this paper will provide a new account of Cyril's most technical Christological terms in connection with his exegetical and dogmatic commitments. The paper will be in conversation with the recent scholarship of Matthew Crawford, Daniel Keating, Hans van Loon, and Sergey Trostyanskiy, as well as the earlier work of Lionel Wickham and John McGuckin, among others.

Christopher Sweeney : Potamius of Lisbon's Return to Orthodoxy?: Reconsidering Potamius' Career in Light of New Understandings' of Arian Identity 

Potamius of Lisbon, a fourth century bishop, is known in the ancient sources as an Arian heretic, yet on the basis of his own surviving writings, modern scholars argue that later in his career the renegade bishop returned to orthodoxy. While no direct testimony of such a conversion survives, scholars suggest that his use of the word substantia in his surviving works and the lack of any obvious subordinationist claims are evidence of this conversion. In this paper, I re-examine the evidence for Potamius’ supposed conversion in light of new understandings of Arian identity and belief in the fourth century. Where scholars once understood Arianism as a heresy whose theological core was the rejection of the teaching that the Son was “consubstantial” with the Father, scholars of Arianism have come to recognize a number of aspects of Arian identity of at least equal importance, especially their soteriology and philosophy of emotion. Re-examining Potamius’ small surviving corpus, I argue that Potamius’ thought corresponds with this new assessment of Arianism and that his works need to be reevaluated as an important source for understanding the nature of fourth century Arianism.

Reimund Bieringer: Phoebe’s Fateful Future: The Cenchreaen diakonos and the Origins of Early Christian Female Ministry

Phoebe is regularly referred to in contemporary discussions about women deacons. Not a few of those who are convinced that women served as ordained deacons or deaconesses during several centuries of the early church have understood Phoebe as a forerunner or prototype of female diaconal ministry. Among other things this can be seen in the use of the word “deaconess”, the title used in later centuries, in the translation of the original Greek word diakonos which Paul uses to refer to the role of Phoebe in Rom 16:1. For understandable reasons Phoebe’s role in the Pauline churches was understood in light of later developments of female ministry (cf. Schüssler Fiorenza, Women in the Pauline Churches, p. 211). In the first part of this paper we shall trace this influence of Patristic interpretations of Phoebe on 19-20th century historical-critical exegesis. In the second part we shall present an alternative understanding of the role of Phoebe as diakonos in the literary context of the corpus Paulinum and the New Testament in general. We are convinced that this analysis will provide a more reliable foundation for the reconstruction of the origins of early Christian female ministry.

Brian Bunnell: The Kingdom of God in Ignatius and Paul: A Social-Linguistic Comparison of an Early Christian Stock Phrase

In his letters to the Ephesians and to the Philadelphians Ignatius uses the phrase “kingdom of God” as a rhetorical tool to urge unity (Ign. Eph. 16:1; Ign. Phil. 3:3). The grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of these passages resembles the Pauline usage of the expression in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, Galatians 5:21, and Ephesians 5:5, but there are a number of features that render Ignatius’s use of this idiom distinct. In this paper I argue that, although he follows the basic structural pattern of these Pauline texts, Ignatius uses the phrase “kingdom of God” in a number of idiosyncratic ways to accomplish his unique rhetorical agenda of relational harmony. Thus, this paper compares the Pauline use of the expression with its use in Ignatius, in order to better appreciate Ignatius’s modification of this Pauline pattern of speech. The effect of this short study contributes to the growing field of research that seeks to account for Ignatius’s use of early Christian scriptural traditions.

Pamela Mullins Reaves: Dressed for Transformation and Transportation: Heavenly Garments in Clement of Alexandria's Stromateis

In illuminating the meaning of the tabernacle in the fifth book of his Stromateis, Clement of Alexandria presents a distinctive reading of the high priestly garments designated for the Day of Atonement (Lev 16). Clement’s Christian interpretation of the priestly robes expresses his views on accessing elevated realms, both intellectually and cosmologically. In this brief communication, I examine Clement’s presentation of priestly attire, with particular attention to how the garments allow for transformation and transportation beyond the material realm. In this regard, I show how Clement’s presentation reveals not only his explication of scripture, but also his understanding of the potential associated with robing and disrobing. Moreover, I consider how the passage further illuminates Clement’s perspectives on Christ, baptism, the body, and the prospect of Christian gnosis. To inform my analysis, I draw on related contemporary traditions, including select Nag Hammadi materials, that similarly associate shifts in garments with transformation, heavenly ascent, and, at times, baptism.

Hellen Dayton: Slapping of a Monk, Evil Possession and tapeinofrosuni (Humility of the Mind) according to Desert Fathers

Chapter 14 of “Libellus 15, De humilitate” (Vitae Patrum Book V, PL73 953-969) contains a story about an “important person”’s daughter, who slapped a monk. The priests could treat such a story of laic female slapping a priest as infamous, and can defame such a woman and help to make her to be forgotten. The Early Christian monks had the same pattern of feelings regarding such a daughter, but their tools were different at those times. First, if the story revealed the name of the monastic storyteller Daniel, it hid the name of “the daughter of an important person,” which can pour the light on why this woman may act in such a way regarding a disciple. Chapter 14 hid the prehistory of this event. Second, the anachorites hid the name of their disciple, who interacted with the woman. ‘Daniel’ may even have changed the place of this event, moving it to faraway Babylon because the same story happened in Alexandria with “one of St. Macarius’ disciples” according to Orthodox Christian Prologue from Orchid (November 18, Thirdly, while taking the controversial event out of the historical context, monks wrote it mimicking the Gospels and framed it inside of ‘demonic possession” case of the striking woman, in which they believed but which may not convince many today. One may probably question whether rich nobleman’s “great affection” to a monk could explain truly the behavior of his daughter? What exactly does it have to do with tapeinofrosuni?

Florin George Calian: The Inherited Duality of One in the Corpus Areopagiticum

The logical and ontological relation between one and two/duality (both as numbers or ontological entities) forces philosophical and theological thinking to its limits. An important issue in Plato’s Parmenides is how one becomes two (the second hypothesis), while for the Neoplatonist the issue is whether the same one is the case in the first and the second hypotheses. Both features are related and have in the background the problem of emergence of multiplicity from unity. The solution of Proclus is to follow the established Neoplatonist interpretation admitting that the one of the second hypothesis is another one (in Parm. 6.1040–41). But speaking about two ones the Neoplatonist develops another type of aporia, positing two entities in which the relation between the first and the second one remains problematic. Even if the nature of absolute transcendence of the divine in the theology of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite inherits unresolved issues of the nature of the transcendent one from the Neoplatonist schools, the Christian author of the Corpus Areopagiticum understands that both hypotheses of the Parmenides have the same transcendent object. The Areopagite interpretation goes, unexpectedly, against the Neoplatonist clear distinction between two separate transcendent objects, and seems to be closer to Plato, since he himself does not distinguishes these ones. This paper explores why (1) it is necessary for Pseudo-Dionysius to make this switch; and (2) whether this is related to its contemporary discussion on the natures of Christ.


Donatism was nothing but a schism, and its theology was not so different from Catholicism. The Catholic Church had to demonstrate to the emperors that Donatism was an heresy. Augustine played a significant role in this process, and the arguments he used were multiple.The purpose of this paper is to explain how Augustine played a very decisive role in the process of "animalization" of the Donatist faithful. And so, besides historical, theological and ecclesiological concepts, Augustine gave great importance to the denunciation of the "crimes" of the Donatists (the rupture of unity, the Jacqueries Circoncellions ...). In this way, the vituperation of the Donatists made easy to convert them into animals, and this strategy made easier to ask the emperor the conversion of the schism Donatist into heresy. That’s why, around 400, he begin to use a specific vocabulary chosen to show the criminal (and animal) character of adherence to Donatism: haeresis, error, sacrilegium, crimen,furor, vesania ...Before 405 (Edict of Union), Augustine gave more importance to the debate on theology than to the discuss about the violence of the Donatist faithful. Between 400 and 405, the Donatists violences caused a great change in the Augustinian ideology, and he began to use words as « furor » more usually.