Tag Archives: Medieval Church

Patristics Carnival 34: Coming EASTER 2014

Patristics Carnival XXXII

Hello all my fellow fangirls and fanboys of the Early Church and Medieval Church! It’s time once more to bring back the Patristics Carnival. A few weeks ago, Jonathan of Linguae Antiquitatum asked if I was bringing back the Patristics Carnival, and indeed, I had been brainstorming about how to go about it. Given time constraints but at the same time the need for keeping the Church Mothers and Fathers’ works accessible in the blogosphere, I have decided the best way to do the Patristics Carnival is to set it up about every two months, around the Liturgical Calendar of the Catholic Church. The idea came to me at work one day, and I think it works; the tentative schedule would look something like this:

April 20th- Easter Hosted by me

June 8th- Pentecost [tentatively] hosted by Jonathan

Either: September 3rd- Gregory The Great or September 13th- John Chrysostom: Hosted by Me

Either: November 1st- All Saints or November 23rd- Christ The King / Clement of Alexandria Feast Day [Western Calendar] Hosted by {yet to be determined]

December 25th- Christmas Hosted by me

If there is a Feast Day or Holy Day that fits in between these dates (does not have to be part of the Western Liturgical calendar), and you would like to host the Patristics Carnival, let me know.

The rules are virtually the same from when Phil started the Carnival:

“” A. Eligibility
Any blog entry dealing with an aspect of Patristics included, but not limited
to textual studies of a patristic writer, translations of the patristic
writer, historical research on the patristic period, reflections on the
connections of the Church Fathers to today, influence of patristic authors in
theological writing (I’m sure there are more categories possible, so, the
rule is submit or ask and we’ll figure it out as we go.)The final
determination of the eligibility of a post must rest with the host (I propose
to do the hosting first)
Amendment- November 12th [2006] add discussion of Christian Apocrypha” “

In this carnival, posts on historical theology prior to the Catholic and Protestant Reformations, articles on these topics, new developments and news, book reviews will all be eligible for this carnival.

To submit nominations for the carnival, place a comment on this post (the call for submissions), email the carnival at PATRISTICSCARNIVAL [A] HOTMAIL.COM, or send a message to the Political Jesus Facebook Page. You can even do a submission for this carnival on the PJ Tumblr: Just fill out, submit with your name and/or pseudonym here: PJ Tumblr Suggestion Box

The deadline for submissions is April 19th, 2014 at 11:59pm.

If you are interested in being a host for the Patristics Carnival in the future, please contact me through the above means mentioned. I am serious, I would love to share hosting duties.

Good News: Starting Next Month, The Patristics Carnival Is Back!

In October of 2009, I hosted Patristics Carnival XXVIII.

It has been almost three years since the last Patristics Carnival was held (I believe that would be Joel hosting Patristics Carnival XXXI, and I feel like the Biblioblog Carnivals just do not cover Patristics as much as I would like. Therefore, I volunteer to host Patristics Carnival XXXII and XXXIII for the months of February and March 2013.

I will go by Phil’s original format in his proposal from 2006: Modest Proposal: Patristic Carnival:

” A. Eligibility
Any blog entry dealing with an aspect of Patristics included, but not limited
to textual studies of a patristic writer, translations of the patristic
writer, historical research on the patristic period, reflections on the
connections of the Church Fathers to today, influence of patristic authors in
theological writing (I’m sure there are more categories possible, so, the
rule is submit or ask and we’ll figure it out as we go.)The final
determination of the eligibility of a post must rest with the host (I propose
to do the hosting first)
Amendment- November 12th [2006] add discussion of Christian Apocrypha”

In this carnival, posts on historical theology prior to the Catholic and Protestant Reformations, articles on these topics, new developments and news, book reviews will all be eligible for this carnival.

I will have a call for submissions next week with maybe even a similar banner to the first Patristic Carnivals. To submit nominations for the carnival, please comment on this post, the forthcoming post calling for submissions, email the carnival at PATRISTICSCARNIVAL [A] HOTMAIL.COM, or send a message to the Political Jesus Facebook Page.

If you are interested in being a host for the Patristics Carnival in the future, please contact me through the above means mentioned.

If you are wondering how to get started on doing Patristics/Matristics/Patrology/Early Christian studies, I would suggest starting at Principles for Patristics by the Patristics and Philosophy blog.

Lastly, if you are interested, a friend and I are reading John Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory in February. Relevant because Milbank stresses the importance of Augustine and the Medieval Church for today’s world. We have a reading group on Facebook. Contact me if you are interested.

Apostolicity in the Medieval Church, part 2: Thomas Aquinas

The Theologians

The Waldensians were not the only people calling on the One Holy Apostolic Church to change both its life and doctrine; several individuals challenged the teachings of the church. John Wycliffe believed that the sole legitimate ruler of the world was God and that God’s reign came in the form of servitude; therefore any institution or person who gained authority in any other manner was illegitimate.[11] This fourteenth century scholar argued for the limitations of lordship before the English royal courts and like the Poor of Lyons before him called for the translation of the Bible into the vernacular language of normal citizens.  His advocacy led to the earliest English translations of the Christian canon.  Wycliffe’s followers rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, prayers for the dead, clerical celibacy, and the holding of secular offices by clerics.[12] Another 14th century theologian, Marguerite Porete, rejected the church’s authority completely.  In The Mirror of Simple Souls, she questioned the authority of the church by mocking the character Reason (the church) in her theological narratives.[13] By giving Love (the Trinity) the sole power to give salvation, Porete rendered the church’s role in God’s plan of redemption obsolete.  Lastly, the Bohemian theologian John Huss came into conflict with the papacy after he declared that any pope who disobeyed scripture was not worthy of submission.[14] Huss preached in favor the doctrines of Wycliffe and against the sale of indulgences particularly the kind that the pope sold during the Crusades.[15] Huss and Porete were burned at the stake for their heresies while Wycliffe’s teachings were condemned as his ashes were tossed into the river Swift.

The church did accept systematic theologians that were primarily from monasteries.  Whereas John Huss and John Wycliffe were embedded in the academy, the doctrines of those who lived the religious life such as, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, and Peter of Abelard were accepted albeit hesitantly by the church.  Prior to being appointed by King William II to become the bishop of Canterbury, Anselm lived the monastic life at Bec in Normandy.  Anselm dealt with such issues as the existence of God and the Incarnation.  God, for Anselm, was “that-than-which-no-greater-can-be-thought,” or the greatest being which can be conceived.[16] The importance of Anselm’s claim is that the Christian faith can be intellectually argued from reason.  Anselm also made claims from reason to explain the Incarnation and the satisfactory atonement.  Peter of Abelard was originally accused of being a heretic for arguing from reason the existence of God and the rationality of the Christian faith.  His most controversial work, Yes and No, exposed the contradictions of many philosophers and theologians who were traditionally accepted as authoritative in the church.[17] Abelard’s proto-scholasticism was the first call for the reconciliation these conflicting viewpoints; Peter of Abelard failed, however, to create a solution that would create such an agreement.

One theologian who was able to systematically unite differing philosophies and theologies was Thomas Aquinas.  Thomas Aquinas first encountered Aristotelian philosophy as a Dominican monk.  As mendicant orders, the Dominican and Franciscan schools served as alternative theological education centers for students.  R. N. Swanson observes, “It is striking how many major preachers and thinkers of the period were actually members of the mendicant orders—from Thomas Aquinas (Dominican) and William of Ockham (Franciscan) to Luther (Augustinian) himself.  Because such people were trained in both theology and preaching, they were ideally equipped to spread new theological ideas, among clerics as well as laity.”[18] Thomism starts with the premise that there are some truths that are obtainable by reason and other truths which cannot be grasped.[19] God is a revealed truth since no one can be redeemed without affirming God’s existence.  Thomas also argued contra Anselm and Plato that knowledge can be found first in our sense perceptions and not an abstract realm of ideas.  Aquinas’ Christianized Aristotelian theology posed as a threat the traditional Christian neo-Platonist ideals; the problem lied in the fact that Aquinas was borrowing from a different philosophy other than the traditional Platonism of Augustine and Anselm of Canterbury.  Thus, the church was reluctant to embrace Aquinas’ teaching and canonize him fifty years after he had passed away.[20]

Conclusion

In the final analysis, the church served as the apostle to the world; any religious order or individual who refused to submit to the apostolic tradition as defined by the church authorities were reprimanded by either the bishops or the church councils.  The Protestant Reformation should be viewed as a struggle between ecclesial authorities and the laity concerning which group could mark the bounds of apostolicity.  Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, and Marguerite Porete defined the church as the elect of God and threatened the redemptive function of the church in the Christian life.  Their rejection of the institution and the community remind me of similar rhetoric today from postmodern “emerging” churches.  Perhaps we should learn from Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi to try to reform the church from within first and then only reject the institution as the very last measure.

Works Cited

HarperCollins Study Bible, NRSV. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989.

“Apostles.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01626c.htm

Audisio, Gabriel. The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival c.1170-c.1570. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1999

Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. New York: HarperSan Franscisco, 1984.

Lesnick, Daniel R.. Preaching in Medieval Florence: The Social World of Franciscan and Domincan Spriituality. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1989

Oden, Amy. In Her Own Words: Women’s Writings in the History of Christian Thought. Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1994.

Swanson, R.N. Religion and Devotion in Europe.c. 1215-1515. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

[11] Justo L. Gonzalez. The Story of Christianity Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. (New York: HarperSan Franscisco, 1984), 346-347.

[12] Ibid, 348.

[13] Amy Oden. In Her Own Words: Women’s Writings in the History of Christian Thought. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1994), 159.

[14] Justo L. Gonzalez. The Story of Christianity Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. (New York: HarperSan Franscisco, 1984), 349.

[15] Ibid, 350.

[16] Justo L. Gonzalez. The Story of Christianity Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. (New York: HarperSan Franscisco, 1984), 313.

[17] Ibid, 314.

[18]R. N. Swanson. Religion and Devotion in Europe.c. 1215-1515. (Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1997),58.

[19] Justo L. Gonzalez. The Story of Christianity Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. (New York: HarperSan Franscisco, 1984), 318.

[20] R. N. Swanson. Religion and Devotion in Europe.c. 1215-1515. (Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p 147.