305 Articles
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Scriptural Completion in the Infancy Gospel of James

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Scriptural Completion in the Infancy Gospel of James

Markus Bockmuehl

Every authoritative text—perhaps any significant text—involves its hearers and readers in a process of engagement that invites or even requires the filling of gaps or breaks in what is written.1

In communities committed to canons of Holy Scripture, this engagement may at times appear to outsiders as little more than rationalization—the exposition of a static document in the service of a concern for authorized meaning. Closer observation, however, tends instead to uncover a complex, historically self-renewing process of relating text to intertext; of nuancing the tensions and suspensions of law and poetry and prophecy differentially; of continually rereading multiple senses of the text in light of each other; of the interplay of memory, retrieval, and aggiornamento within an interpreter’s living community of praxis, study, and worship.

At the same time, this process sometimes gives rise to a further stage of engagement with authoritative texts, more liminal and yet in other respects more generative than the picture just described. The very genesis of the scriptural texts themselves bears witness to a dynamic process of reception, appreciation, and transmission. In so doing, the sacred page gives rise to new, epiphenomenal text that may either become an integral part of the emerging scriptural voice or alternatively attain an independent authority of its own as a metatext that nevertheless remains associated in some sense with the generative personality of a Moses or an Ezra, a Paul or a John. This process has long been of interest to students of inter-textual and inner-biblical interpretation, of reception history and effective history, in both the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

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Transfiguring Doubt: A Retrieval from Augustine’s Meta-Apologetic in De Trinitate

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Transfiguring Doubt: A Retrieval from Augustine’s Meta-Apologetic in De Trinitate

Clifton Stringer

Part I. Apologetic Contexts

1.1. Necessary Uncertainty?

In 2011, the late journalist Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) debated John Haldane at Oxford on questions related to God, faith, and public policy. Hitchens began his opening statement by describing a curious fact about the death of American President Abraham Lincoln, as Lincoln expired in a room in Petersen House not far from Pennsylvania Avenue. Hitchens:

We still don’t know, when his cabinet gathered around him and saw him die . . . either [his cabinet member Stanton or Herndon] said, “Now he’s with the angels” or “Now he’s with the ages.” We still don’t know [which was said]. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. There were eyewitnesses, literate men, practically contemporaries of ours. They were in the age of print, in the age of photography, and yet nobody knows which thing Stanton or Herndon said.

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A Spirituality of the Word: The Medieval Roots of Traditional Anglican Worship

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A Spirituality of the Word: The Medieval Roots of Traditional Anglican Worship

Jesse D. Billett

Jesse D. Billett, Trinity College, University of Toronto, 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1H8. Email: jesse.billett@utoronto.ca

The title of this paper1 is perhaps not one that would have been chosen by the priest and scholar in whose memory it is offered. Fr. Robert Darwin Crouse (1930–2011), Professor of Classics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and several times Visiting Professor of Patrology at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, was indeed deeply learned in the history and theology of the Middle Ages, that is, the millennium following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West (conventionally dated ca. 500–1500). But I imagine that he would be disappointed that I was not going to show how Anglican liturgical spirituality could be traced right back to the Fathers of the early Christian centuries. No doubt that could be done. But the Middle Ages made their own distinctive contribution to Anglican worship that invites our attention. This paper addresses just one aspect of Anglican worship, the Divine Office, the daily services of Mattins and Evensong. The Divine Office has arguably been more important for Anglicans than it has been for any other Christian denomination. Until very recently, the offices of Mattins and Evensong, not the Eucharist, were for Anglicans the principal act of Sunday worship. And from the time of the Reformation the daily offices were proposed not just as a clerical or monastic discipline (as, for example, in the Roman communion), but as the joint prayer of the whole worshipping community, lay and ordained.

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The Sacramentality of the Church in Dumitru Stăniloae’s Theology

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The Sacramentality of the Church in Dumitru Stăniloae’s Theology

Viorel Coman

The question of the Church’s sacramental nature has received significant attention in the bilateral and multilateral ecumenical dialogues over the last six decades. As Emmanuel Clapsis noted, the question itself was raised “because for some Christian churches and ecumenists (primarily Orthodox and Roman Catholic theologians) the Church is the sacrament of God’s presence in the world, while others (especially Protestant theologians) believe that while Christ is the sacrament of God’s grace in the world, the Church must not be called a sacrament. The Church is only a privileged instrument of God’s grace that leads to the unity in the Church of the whole world with Christ.”1 As was expected, the 1982 Munich document issued by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church found therefore no difficulty in affirming the Church’s sacramental role: “The Church manifests what it is, the sacrament of the Trinitarian koinonia, the ‘dwelling of God with men’ (cf. Rev. 21:4).”2 When it comes to Protestant theologians, their reluctance to adopt the language of the sacramentality of the Church springs from their conviction that such an understanding of the ekklesia leads to triumphalism, obscures the distinction between Christ and the Church, and overlooks the sinfulness of those who make up the Church. In spite of that, a certain level of consensus on the theme of the Church’s sacramentality has been reached so far in the reports of the WCC Faith and Order Commission (Uppsala 1968; Accra 1974; Bangalore 1977; Chantilly 1985),3 as well as in the bilateral dialogues between the Roman Catholic Church and the Churches issued from the Reformation: “Towards a Common Understanding of the Church” § 94–113 (Reformed–Roman Catholic Dialogue, 1984–1990);4 “Church and Justification” § 118–134 (Lutheran–Roman Catholic Dialogue, 1993).5 The 2013 Faith and Order convergence text “The Church: Towards a Common Vision” § 25–27 constitutes another important example in this regard.6 However, the topic of the Church’s sacramental role needs further reflection, for it remains still an unresolved theological issue in the ecumenical discussions.

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Tilted in the Direction of Duns Scotus: Sonderegger’s “Formal Distinction” and the Theologia Crucis

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Tilted in the Direction of Duns Scotus: Sonderegger’s “Formal Distinction” and the Theologia Crucis

Paul R. Hinlicky

In the summer semester of 1921, the young and still unknown philosopher Martin Heidegger undertook the “deconstruction” of Augustine’s synthesis of Paul and Neo-Platonism. He wrote about the mishandling of Romans 1:20, where Paul seemingly asserted knowledge of the invisible God through His created works. This claim was “fundamental,” according to Heidegger, for the “orientation of Christian doctrine in Greek philosophy.” Romans 1:20 was grasped as a “confirmation of Platonism, taken from Paul.” The “Platonic ascent from the sensible world to the supersensible world” was consequently “structured into the basic patterns of Christian thought.” But, Heidegger continues, “this is a misunderstanding of the passage from Paul. Only Luther really understood this passage for the first time”—even though Luther too later “fell victim to the burden of tradition.”

Heidegger cites as evidence for his claim about the early Luther’s exposition of Romans 1:20 the latter’s (at the time recently rediscovered) Heidelberg Disputation, where, he says, Luther asserts that the one who “sees what is invisible of God in what has been created is no theologian.” Luther’s denial means that “the object of theology is not attained by way of metaphysical consideration of the world.”1 Whatever is so captured, as Heidegger would later put it, is “ontotheology,” deity idolatrously constructed as highest good of the appropriating creature who asserts self in the epistemic titanism of claiming knowledge of God.

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