Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Patristic Carnival XIII

This month's carnival has some heavy reading and lots of it. In fact, it's massive. There are over 100 posts! The average reader doesn't have anywhere near the time to wade through all of that so I've tried to assist the selection process in a few ways. First, I've introduced the "Hall of Fame" where I've hand picked three posts (or series of posts) that I particularly recommend. While they are lengthy, I'd say read those first. Next, I've (very loosely) arranged what I considered the more significant contributions at the top of each category. This doesn't mean that they are precisely ranked by a long shot (even according to my opinion)! But as readers tend to start from the top and go to the bottom, I tried to place the better ones towards the top (this doesn't mean that the ones at the bottoms are the 'worst'! I didn't include 'the worst' in this carnival! All these posts are good). Under General Patristics, I've surrounded certain interesting posts in asterisks which should be some of the more interesting ones across a broad audience.

If you're new to the fathers, I recommend starting with the Introduction section. Otherwise, start with the hall of fame and then work your way down from "General Patristics". As always, thanks again to Phil Snider for allowing me the privilege to host this carnival. Here is last month's edition. Finally, if you're interested in hosting one of these, let Phil know.

Hall of Fame:
My hand-picked recommendations.

David Waltz at Articuli Fidei discusses the development of the Trinity. Was Subordinationism the orthodox Christian doctrine before Nicaea? Did anyone get the Trinity perfectly right before St. Augustine? These are the questions answered by this former Jehovah's Witness. 40+ comments in the combox, excellent read.

Did Marcion mutilate the gospel of Luke as the Church fathers claimed or is the canonical Luke-Acts as we know it a second century doctoring of the original? Neil Godfrey at Vridar argues for the latter in these next seven posts: Following Joseph Tyson, he argues that the first two chapters of Luke's gospel were added as a response to Marcion here and that chapter 24 (the resurrection chapter) was added here. He argues the same thing for the introductory address to one Theophilus here. Next, he mentions several passages in the body (ch3 - 23) of Luke which he believes to be additions in the canonical version of Luke along with a nice summary of Marcion's omissions in this post. Finally, he lists his conclusions on the matter and follows it up with a comparison of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew & Luke (and asking how an anti-Marcionite agenda might help explain the discrepancies) here. Not content to leave it there, he summarizes the Lukan Achievement.
Ben C. Smith starts a thought provoking thread on the same subject: Which Came First, the Gospel of Luke or that of Marcion?
Dr. Michael Liccione at Sacramentum Vitae discusses the Filioque at length and then follows up with an brilliant essay asking whether or not this "amplification" of the creed went against the intentions of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed and why it would be inadvisable for the Catholic Church to consider removing it here.

Introduction to & Biographies of the Fathers
New to the fathers? This is the place to start.

Check out this quick intro at Musings From a Catholic Book Store.

Tiber Jumper at Crossed the Tiber introduces readers to St. Irenaeus on his feast day.

Ancient Christian Defender links to a long list of introductions, citations and other info on the Church fathers.

On St. Justin Martyr, see Reason & Revelation's bio here and the Wittenberg Door's short commentary here.

Candy W presents a lengthy post outlining the biography of St. Athanasius.

Loyal to Rome has a bio of St. Ephrem the Syrian.

Episcopal Cafe posts and comments on a portion of the Epistle of Barnabas.

Dom Donald presents an introductory post on Irenaeus & Cyril of Alexandria with a list of links to Pope Benedict's Weekly Addresses on the fathers going back to May 2006.

On St. Cyril of Alexandria's optional memorial, Mike Aquilina posts this short collection of links.

On the same topic, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam posts here.

General Patristics
Posts surrounded by asterisks are especially worth viewing and should have broad appeal.

Crimson Catholic presents a portion from Fr. Giulio Maspero's Book "Trinity and Man: Gregory of Nyssa's Ad Ablabium" on *the Filioque*.

Sister Macrina at A Vow of Conversation discusses *truth, being and historicity in the Greek fathers* and reports on her attendance of the recent colloquium on the Syrian fathers: Title Page.
Towards Catholic - Orthodox reconciliation, Eirenikon presents a weighty essay entitled "The Fathers Gave Rome the Primacy". He also posts the "Filioquextravaganza" (funny my spell check didn't have that word yet) which I take is an impromptu blog carnival on discussions of the Filioque. This patristics carnival already links to a couple of them but you should check his out if you want more.

Rob Bradshaw at Early Church UK links to an interesting seven page essay by Frances Young (1977) entitled *"Christian Attitudes to Finance in the First Four Centuries"*.

Dave Armstrong at a Biblical Defense for Catholicism argues largely from Patristic sources that receiving the Holy Communion in hand has a "serious liturgical history" here.

R. E. Aguirre at Regula Fidei presents an essay by the same name, The Regula Fidei, examining the consensus among the early Church fathers on various doctrinal issues. Next he has a brief commentary on Irenaeus regarding "true Gnosis". Then he argues from Eusebius and other sources that Jesus' prophecies refer mainly to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD *here*. He reflects on Tertullian: first on Baptism and next on the Nature of Confession. He compares the patristic interpretation of John 3:5 with modern interpretations here. Again following the theme of his blog's title, he comments on Protestant patrologist, Theodore Zahn and his take on the "Regula Fide" (specifically in contradistinction to "sola scriptura"). Finally, he finds an answer to the "hard saying" found in Philippians 2:12 in the work of St. Augustine here.

Wei-Hsien Wan at Torn Notebook closes out his excellent commentary on (then) Cardinal Ratzinger's analysis of Church fathers within Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism entitled "A Place for the Fathers" in part 4 and *the conclusion*. He also has an interesting essay entitled "The Filioque Debates: Thoughts of a Bystander".

Phil Snider at Hyperekperissou (founder of this carnival) continues his insightful commentary on Origen's "On Prayer" with this installment contemplating modern reactions to the very ancient association of *vows with prayers* (specifically here in the account of Jacob). He also continues his translation work on the Life of St. Martin.

Taylor Marshall at Canterbury Tales presents a discussion on Holy Chrism in Aquinas and pseudo-Dionysius and follows it up with a post entitled "The Origin of Holy Oil in the Catholic Church". Elsewhere, he argues that Dionysius the Areopagite found in Acts 17 could not be the author of the Corpus Areopagiticum here. He also comments on Constantine's mother using one of the nails from the cross as *a bridle for her son's horse*. He also reacts to the Eastern St. Maximus the Confessor's affirmation of the Pope's universal juridiction.

From Thoughts on Antiquity, Roger Pearse announces an online English version of Eusebius' Chronicon Book 1. He goes on to comment on his ongoing translation work of Eusebius "Questiones" here in progress 12 & progress 13. Finally, he comments on a possible lost English translation of St. John Chrysostom's "On the Priesthood" here. Ben C. Smith on the same blog
has an interesting commentary on the *Canon of the Carthaginian Synod* (his 11th in a series on canonical lists).

Reason & Revelation posts a nice summary of the events leading up to the *first ecumenical council at Nicaea*.

Steven W at Wedgewords argues that St. Augustine was not a Neo-Platonist or at least that he is classified as one too easily and he follows this up with a post entitled "The Developing Pro-Nicene Method".

The Pope Podcast released episode VIII on first century bishop of Rome, Pope St. Sixtus I.

The group blog Ancient Future has an interesting post on Baptism according to Justin Martyr.

Baptist Pastor Stephen J Bedard finds evidence for the orthodox NT Canon in the citations of St. Polycarp.

Neil Godfrey concurs with Joseph Tyson quoting Andrew Gregory in denying that Ignatius of Antioch was aware of the gospel of Luke.

Thos at Ecumenicity ponders *the Eucharist, Episcopal Authority and Relics* in the Ignatian Epistles and the account of his martyrdom.

Humble in Spirit argues that it is futile to attempt to return to the early Church without understanding the historical and Scriptural context in which she was founded *here*.

Mike Aquilina comments on an article found in an Iranian news service on Manichaeism. He posts a translation of Pope Benedict XVI's weekly address, this time on Pope St. Gregory the Great here and here. The next address on St. Isidore of Seville can be found here. On Pope Benedict's address on St. Maximus the Confessor he posts the CNA news coverage here and the translation here. Finally, he quotes Tacitus in describing the Roman Martyrs of 64 AD on their feast day. He points to Ben C. Smith's announcement of a site offering public-domain Greek texts here. (In the combox of the same post, C.M. Woodall links to a collection of online patristic texts: one in Greek and the other in Latin). He also announces the upcoming Orientale Lumen Conference in Detroit.

Ancient Faith hosts audio files from St. Vladimir's Seminary from their recent conference entitled *"Rome, Constantinople and Canterbury. Mother Churches?"* Topics include Ecclesiology, Primacy and the Pope among others. I look forward to hearing all of these.

The Scribblings blog continues its series on the Apostles Creed in parts five, six, seven, eight, nine and concludes with ten.

Mega blogger, Father Z comments on Pope Benedict XVI & Bartholomew I *reciting the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed together* in Greek on the feast of Sts. Peter & Paul. He also posts the original Greek text and a link to listen to the podcast.

Ben Witherington discusses the growth of paganism in the early Christian era.

Andrew Gerns at Episcopal Cafe comments on Kattie Sherrod's post regarding "the faith once delivered to all the saints" here.

Kyrie Eleison presents "The Church Fathers and Counting Numbers" and St. Augustine on Pirates.

Narrative and Ontology presents the Scope of the Canon: the "Catholic" Solution and responds to Brevard Childs on the same subject here. Again he discusses the subject here. He then discusses Existential Faith and the "Regula Fidei" followed by asking what the Church fathers meant by it here and then specifically on what Irenaeus thought of it here and follows that up here with the Content of the Rule of Faith.

Alana at Free to Cover posts various Church Father quotes on women and modesty.

Jeofurry asks "Was Peter the First Pope?"

On a similar note, Chrisy58 responds to the essay "The Church Fathers Against Popery" here.

Yours truly, Tim Troutman right here on the God Fearin' Forum presents: Sacrifice in the First 40 Years of Christianity. Later I posted a comparison between the Feminine Triumph of the Early Church & the Contemporary Feminism here. Lastly, I examined the attitudes of early Christians towards forgiveness of sins and how that related to Communion here.

Book Review:
Books of interest regarding the early Church & patristic literature.

William Dembski at Uncommon Descent announces his new book "The Patristic Understanding of Creation" 10 years in the making. The preface is available in his post. Should be an interesting read.

Ben Witherington reviews "Pagan Christianity" by George Barna & Frank Viola. Let's just say he wasn't too impressed.

Aaron Kachuck at Bryn Mawr Classical Review presents a review of Jane Lightfoot's "The Sibylline Oracles: With Introduction, Translation and Commentary on the First and Second Books". From the same site, Ellen Muehlberger reviews the Italian book, "Il Battesimo Gnostico" on "the complex intersection of Gnosticism and ancient forms of baptismal rituals". (The review is in English)

Nick Norelli at Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth posts a thorough review of "Reading Scripture With the Early Church Fathers" and "The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities" and "Justin Martyr and His Worlds" and "The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction".

Chad Brooks comments on the book "Evangelicals and Tradition: The Formative Influence of the Early Church" here and gives a full review of the book here.

Scott A. Fulks, a Baptist minister positively reviews the Catholic book "The Spirit of Early Christian Thought".

Apocryphal Corner:
You'll notice when I host these carnivals, commentary on apocryphal literature takes a back seat. There is really much more available on the blogosphere in the month of June regarding apocryphal texts if one were so inclined to search for it.

Catholic News Agency reports that "Prominent scholars have accused the National Geographic Society’s 2006 series of articles on the Gospel of Judas of mistranslation, commercial exploitation, and “scholarly malpractice.” here.

Xeno @ Xenophilia posts at length on the various controversies surrounding the "Gospel of Judas".

Patristic Obituaries:

I hope this category will go a long time before being used again but the world of Patristics and early Church history laid to rest two important scholars in late May & June 2008: Christopher Stead and Henry Chadwick.

Blog by the Sea bids the late Church historian Rev. Professor Henry Chadwick farewell and links to a few of his more prominent works here. Rob Bradshaw at Early Church UK does the same here. As does Brian Saint-Paul at Inside Catholic here. Episcopal Cafe links to a couple of articles here. Finally, Christopher Wells at Covenant Communion expresses his sadness at the loss here. An obituary can be found here.

Rev. Professor Christopher Stead's obituary can be found here.

That's all folks. The world of patristic blogging is really taking off apparently. If I missed any posts, please share in the combox.

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Gretchen said...

So many delicious posts, so little time to enjoy them (and even less foundation for understanding them!). Fabulous job hosting this massive carnival.

avowofconversation said...

Many thanks for all your work!

wanweihsien said...


Thanks for the link, and for putting this together.


Jilliefl1 said...

The sequel to “Pagan Christianity?” is out now. It’s called “Reimagining Church”. It picks up where “Pagan Christianity” left off and continues the conversation. (“Pagan Christianity” was never meant to be a stand alone book; it’s part one of the conversation.) “Reimagining Church” is endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, and many others. You can read a sample chapter at
It’s also available on Amazon.com. Frank is also blogging now at http://www.frankviola.wordpress.com