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Pro Ecclesia Vol 25-N2

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Pro Ecclesia is a quarterly journal of theology published by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. It seeks to give contemporary expression to the one apostolic faith and its classic traditions, working for and manifesting the church's unity by research, theological construction, and free exchange of opinion. Members of its advisory council represent communities committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, ecumenical dogmatic teaching and the structural continuity of the church, and are themselves dedicated to maintaining and invigorating these commitments. The journal publishes biblical, liturgical, historical and doctrinal articles that promote or illumine its purposes.

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Christ and Human Flourishing in Patristic Theology

ePub

Christ and Human Flourishing in Patristic Theology

Christopher A. Beeley

The mystery of the incarnation of the Logos holds the power of all the hidden meanings (logoi) and figures of Scripture as well as the knowledge of visible and intelligible creatures. Whoever knows the mystery of the cross and the tomb knows the principles (logoi) of these creatures, and whoever has been initiated into the ineffable power of the resurrection knows the purpose (logos) for which God originally made all things.

—St. Maximus the Confessor1

The pursuit of “human flourishing” has become a subject of considerable public interest in recent years. While some hear the phrase as a translation of the classical philosophical term eudaimonia, for many others it represents a way of speaking about the various goods of life across cultural, ideological, and disciplinary boundaries that might otherwise divide us. Christian theologians, too, have joined the conversation in hopes of finding new ways to contribute to the private and public quest for a good life.2 As thinkers of various stripes go about their work, it seems helpful to give an account of how major Christian theologians of the formative, patristic period understood human flourishing. As one quickly discovers, the starting point for all such questions is the identity and work of Jesus Christ.

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God Speaks Hebrew: The Hebrew Text and Septuagint in the Search for the Christian Bible

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God Speaks Hebrew: The Hebrew Text and Septuagint in the Search for the Christian Bible

Mark S. Gignilliat

Introduction

A spate of research on the Septuagint and early Christian thought is making its presence known in scholarly and popular venues. The undeniable influence of the Septuagint on the New Testament’s own compositional history and its role as the Old Testament for the Church Fathers causes pause for the reformer’s ecclesial heirs who assume, even if unwittingly, Hebraica veritas. Lewis Ayres in his trenchant analysis of fourth-century theological and exegetical labors warns modern, theological Hegelians of the theological inconsistency of affirming fourth-century Trinitarian doctrine while denying the exegetical methodology leading to it.1 The one may not be arrested from the other. And if we should not dismiss their exegetical method, then how much slower should we be to dismiss their Bible? One such work calling on theologians to give an account of the prioritizing of the Hebrew text over the Septuagint ends his lucid and inviting work with the following clarion call: “I have tried to do the work of the historian, and perhaps now the door is open wide enough for theologians to walk through it.”2 The current offering makes an attempt to walk through this open door.

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Defending Biblical Literalism: Augustine on the Literal Sense

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Defending Biblical Literalism: Augustine on the Literal Sense

David Graham

Theological exegesis is making a remarkable comeback. In the concrete life of the church, to be sure, this manner of reading never quite died out. Yet in the last half-century or so, an increasing number of Christian scholars from various traditions have grown impatient with critical hermeneutics. In order to transcend the effective consignment of the biblical text to secular history, they have sought a rediscovery of the felicitous interplay of Scripture and divine reality. But this rediscovery need not entail a simple reversion to a precritical mind-set, which, as it is usually conceded, lacks a reliable safeguard against the untamed Origenists among us. Instead it ventures to incorporate some of the values implicit in modern reading habits. This intention has taken shape, for instance, in the renewal of critically informed figural reading—that is, spiritual interpretation that remains based upon and accountable to the literal sense of the text. Conceived thus, theological exegesis has the potential not only to furnish Christian formation; it also promises, so it seems, to maintain some of the intellectual credibility of the church amidst the academy.

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Is there a Pneumatological Lacuna in the “Spiritual Christology” of Joseph Ratzinger?

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Is there a Pneumatological Lacuna in the “Spiritual Christology” of Joseph Ratzinger?

Peter John McGregor

Before attempting to answer the question of whether or not there is a pneumatological lacuna in the spiritual Christology of Joseph Ratzinger, it will be necessary to give an outline of his spiritual Christology. In Behold the Pierced One, a collection of Christological addresses and homilies published in 1984, Ratzinger recounts how the composition of one of these addresses, a 1981 paper on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, had led him to “consider Christology more from the aspect of its spiritual appropriation” than he had done previously. Upon realizing that this same year was the 1300th anniversary of the Third Council of Constantinople, he decided to study the pronouncements of this council, and came to believe, “much to [his] astonishment, that the achievement of a spiritual Christology had also been the Council’s ultimate goal, and that it was only from this point of view that the classical formulas of Chalcedon appear in the proper perspective.”1 Ratzinger’s conclusion in attempting to define a spiritual Christology was that “the whole of Christology—our speaking of Christ—is nothing other than the interpretation of his prayer: the entire person of Jesus is contained in his prayer.”2

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Doctores Ecclesiae

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The Witness of Athanasius at the (Hoped-For) Nicene Council of 2025 1

Khaled Anatolios

In the spring of 2014, Patriarch Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Churches, made a splash in the news whose ripples extended even to the secular press when he announced that he was collaborating with Pope Francis on plans to hold an ecumenical synod in Nicaea in 2025. In an exclusive interview with the website “asianews.it”, Patriarch Bartholomew reportedly said, “We agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries, the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated.”2 Scholars of fourth-century theology experienced an unforeseen, if short-lived, gratification in witnessing the sudden newsworthiness of the first Nicene council of 325, as various news sites attempted to explain to contemporary audiences the import of that fourth-century gathering. For a brief period, condensed descriptions of the original Nicene council could be found in such venues as “The Huffington Post,” alongside analyses of the “budding bromance” of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew.3

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