Tag Archives: the Church Fathers

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.

Martin Luther: Was He Pretty Confused?

Martin Luther, commemorated on February 18 Eva...

 Or A Lover of Paradox?

Martin Luther is one of my favorite figures in church history, both to praise and to criticize. I think that he and many other saints represent the meaning of being a Christ follower, to be fallen, to learn from our mistakes, to be both submissive recipients of tradition as well as iconoclasts, engaging the culture at large, while remaining as faithful to the Gospel as we know how. Now, I find Luther’s anti-semitism, for example, unacceptable, he let his emotions get the best of him. It okay to be passionate, but self-control is one of the cardinal virtues according to the New Testament. Oh, yeah and that whole salvation came to the Jews first, and um, Jesus was Jewish, and that loving your whole neighbor Golder Rule thing!

Reading through Luther’s Table Talk, he has some pretty strong words for the Church Fathers: “in Popedom the glosses of the Fathers were of higher regard than the bright and clear text of the Bible” or statements like “St. Bernard, Basil, Dominicus, Hieronymus,” “Ambrose, Basil, and Gregory” are all each against the good things that “the Divine word” had to offer. Yet, turn the pages a few pages latter, and Luther reflects on the Bible, using what else, images from Patristic thought, like St. Gregory’s  Holy Scripture as water, “an elephant swimmeth, but a little sheep goeth therein upon his feet.”

And you know how a lot of people like fairytales, folktales, and fables? Well, Martin Luther says just like the Church Fathers’ writings, Plato’s Fables are nothing but lies. But to explain the nature of the Bible? Luther uses a fable he remembers, about a lion serving a feast before swine.

I don’t think Martin Luther was pretty confused (well, maybe on a few things like infant baptism and Judaism), but I do think that if one looks at Luther, and Christian theologians before him, paradox, and neither linear logic or systematic theologies, were the norm for Christian theology. Paradox–because we worship the Supreme Paradox in Christ Jesus every Sunday. Fully human, fully divine, without confusion.

Is paradox a helpful term for theology?


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Would Clement, Athanasius, or Augustine Be Biblio/Theo-bloggers?

As I was working through my thesis and sometimes blogging on a few of my arguments concerning God’s transcendence, I tried to imagine, what if Clement of Alexandria was biblioblogger? He would probably entitle his blog something like “Magic Carpet Rides” or maybe even “Better Bearded Manly Men” or better yet, “The Teacher’s Pet!”  I am sure he would out right reject the NLT, universalism, The Ed Show, universal health-care, and and love for the Emo lifestyle (basically anything Joel affirms).  Augustine would probably post on his blog “Ambrose Redivivus” and discuss why we should not have to learn the original languages of Scripture, and that the plain English of the KJV was all that we needed [part of sentence has been deleted].  Perhaps the least popular biblioblog written by a church father would be “That’s What the Father Said!” by Athanansius, since, like Jeremy, he is never wrong about anything; like, ever.

All kidding aside, I think that Ben Meyers in his latest article on blogging and theology got it right; that the church fathers and mothers wrote as a form of spiritual practice, even recording unimportant and minute details like we do on Twitter.  If you have a chance, check out Ben’s post.