Introduction 1.Why study patristics? 2.Course overview: methodological issues & theological themes. 2. Course requirements. Christ Enthroned. San Vitale, Ravenna. c. 547 AD.
Why study patristics? 1.Church history is a continuation of salvation history. 2.The Church Fathers are our guides to Christ. 3.The foundational theological questions were asked. 4.The central Christian doctrines were formulated. It is man’s very nature to be on intimate terms with God. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 10.100.2.
Methodological Issues 1.Interpretation. o Historical-critical methods: textual, redaction, tradition, source criticism o Methods of archeology & art history o Methods of social sciences o Historian’s point of view
Eusebius on Constantine: “Our emperor, God’s friend, acting as interpreter to the Divine Logos, aims at recalling the whole human race to the knowledge of God.” --Eusebius, In Praise of Constantine, II. 4. Constantine’s head. Capitoline Museum.
A century later, however, a pagan historian remarked: “Constantine was the origin and the beginning of the present destruction of the empire.” –Zosimus, New History, 2. 34 (ca. 500). The ruins of ancient temples at the foot of Palatine. Rome.
John Dewey (1859-1952) -- present past “All history is written from the standpoint of the present.”
History is written by the victors Perseus with the Head of Medusa. Antonio Canova, 1800. Vatican Museum.
Biblical Background Revelation 4: 2: At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! 3 And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. 4 Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; 6 and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal. Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle […] Revelation 5: 1 Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals […] 6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne.
Basilica S Cosma e Damiano. Rome, 6 th -7 th c. AD.
Methodological Issues 1.Interpretation. 2.Contextualization. Matrix of early Judaism The Greco-Roman world
Methodological Issues 1.Interpretation. 2.Contextualization. 3.Development. How did the main doctrines and practices of the Church develop? Orthodoxy and heresy
Orthodoxy vs heresy narrative ORTHODOXY HERESIES
History re-written to rehabilitate the ‘losers’ Multiple Christianities approach
History as a reflection of ourselves Picasso, Girl Before the Mirror, 1932.
Major Questions 1.Interpretation. 2.Contextualization. 3.Development. How did the main doctrines and practices of the Church develop? Orthodoxy and heresy Continuity and discontinuity Authority Role of scripture
Major Institutions and Practices Ministerial orders Councils Creeds and Confessions of Faith Saints and Ascetics Initiation, Worship & Sacraments Religious Images
Some Important Theologians Ignatius of Antioch Justin Martyr Irenaeus of Lyons Tertullian of Carthage Cyprian of Carthage Origen of Alexandria Athanasius of Alexandria Basil of Caesarea Gregory of Nyssa Cyril of Alexandria Evagrius Ponticus Augustine of Hippo Maximus the Confessor John of Damascus
Course Requirements 1.Attendance and Participation. 2.Quizzes. 3.Class presentation. 5-6 pages. 4.Midterm exam. 5.Final exam or research paper.