Posts tagged ‘church history’

November 4th, 2013

Eusebius of Caesarea–An Overview

by Max Andrews

Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 260-340) grew up in Palestine.  There is nothing known about his parents, or how and when he became a Christian. He is also known as “Eusebius of Pamphilus.” Pamphilus had studied under Pierius, who had been a disciple of Origen.  When Pamphilus moved to Caesarea, Eusebius came under his influence.  Together they cataloged Origen’s library and wrote the multi-volume Defense of Origen.  Their collaboration came to an end following Pamphilus’s arrest (307) and execution (309) during the reign of Maximinus Daia.

Eusebius’s Church History consists of ten volumes, the last three of which deal with the church in his day.  It appears that the “History” originally ended with Book VII prior to the outbreak of the Diocletian persecution in 303, with later books being added in successive editions (the last coming in 323).

June 30th, 2013

Conceptualizing the Two Natures of Jesus

by Max Andrews

Reduplicated predication is means of understanding the relationship between the natures of Jesus Christ.  When Scripture attributes human qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his human nature.  Likewise, when Scripture attributes divine qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his divine nature.

May 19th, 2013

Was Constantine a Christian or Pagan?

by Max Andrews

From the time that Constantine’s (AD 227-337) father died (306) until Constantine challenged Maxentius at Milvian bridge (312), he was consolidating his position of power in Gaul and Britain.  Even at this early date he showed the same military and political acumen that he would later exhibit as emperor:  He strengthened his defenses against the barbarians along the Rhine, winning the gratitude of his French subjects.  He did not impose onerous taxes on the people, and entertained the bloodthirsty among them with frequent shows in the circuses  He was deft in diplomacy and military strategy. Above all, he was a patient man, not playing his hand until the time was right.

At the Battle of Milan (312) Constantine prepared for his invasion of Italy by making sure that Licinius could not take advantage of it by seizing Maxentius’s territories to the East.  To that end, he offered Licinius his half-sister Constance in marriage, and waited until Licinius was militarily engaged with Maximinus Daia before launching his own campaign.  He committed only ¼ of his troops to the battle – the rest remaining in Gaul to ward off barbarian advances. Upon winning the battle and gaining control of the western half of the empire, Constantine moved to consolidate his power, entering into an alliance with Licinius in 313 (the “Edict of Milan”). 

May 18th, 2013

God as the Totaliter Aliter

by Max Andrews

According to Rudolf Bultmann, God is the Totaliter Aliter (Wholly Other), there are no points of contact between us and him.  God is, but we cannot know him objectively.  God is hidden and thus neither God nor his actions are open to verification.  This world is a closed system of cause and effect; we can never find God by empirical processes. There are no breaks in the links of causation; thus, there are no miracles. No event can ever be ascribed to God; all are natural causes.  There is an infinite qualitative difference between God and the world, which makes it impossible for God to objectively act in the world.  Paradoxically, the hidden God reaches down to finite humanity and reaches himself (via the kerygma).  Miracles would be intrusions of God into the natural realm.

January 28th, 2013

Q&A 8: The Logical Coherence of the Trinity

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Max,

Do you know of any viable philosophical-theological conceptualizations of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity which capture the fullness of the doctrine whilst not lapsing into the heresies of either Modalism, Tritheism or, of course, any form of Unitarianism? Thank you for all you do.

– B. P. Burnett.

Answer:

Brendan,

Thanks for your question! I chose this one for this week because I happen to use the Trinity as an example in my philosophy class when teaching logic, which I’m currently teaching. So, this is rather good timing!

To give a recollection for those who may not be familiar with the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and important heresies I’ve provided a simple chart:

August 22nd, 2012

Logos: Eusebius of Caesarea Collection

by Max Andrews

The famed Logos Bible software is releasing a Eusebius of Caesarea Collection and is available for users to bid how much they’d pay on Community Pricing. First of all, if you don’t have Logos you need to seriously consider getting it. Second, if you don’t have Logos you need to just get it. Third, this is a great feature (the Community Pricing) and amazing content.

Eusebius of Caesarea was a Roman historian, exegete, and Christian polemicist. A scholar of the biblical canon, he was appointed bishop of Caesarea in AD 314, and he spent his life writing about the Gospel and church history. In his Ecclesiastical History, he documents and describes the early church, creating a vital record of the Christian community from the Apostolic Age through his own life. In this six-volume collection, you get the compiled wisdom of this post-Apostolic philosopher and documentarian—his his best-known arguments and apologetics at your fingertips with his most well-known writings and apologetics.

June 7th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Thomas F. Torrance Part 1

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Thomas F. Torrance (1913 – 2007) – the development of scientific theology

More about his theology:  Thomas Torrance was a professor of Christian Dogmatics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  He was heavily influenced by Karl Barth and contemporary science.  He translated Barth’s Dogmatics from German to English. (Which is quite voluminous–thirteen volumes, six million words).  He was also a recipient of the Templeton Prize for the advancement of religion.

Torrance was the primary contributor to the development of scientific theology.  He argued that the universe of space and time is the means by which God has revealed himself to man, as it comes to view under human inquiry to develop and formulate knowledge of God.  This was the development of an exegesis of nature. 

Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) developed the interrogative (interrogatio) rather than the problematic (quaestio) form of inquiry.  Valla’s mode of inquiry was one in which questions yield results that are entirely new, giving rise to knowledge that cannot be derived by an inferential process from what was already known.  This method was similar to the works of Stoic lawyers and educators like Cicero and Quintilian; that is, questioning witnesses, investigating documents and states of affairs without any prior conception of what the truth might be.  Valla transitioned from not only using this method for historical knowledge but also applied it as “logic for scientific discovery.”[1] Valla’s logic for scientific discovery was the art of finding out things rather than merely the art of drawing distinctions and connecting them together.  He called for an active inquiry (activa inquisitio).  John Calvin (1509-1564) applied this method to the interpretation of Scripture and thus became the father of modern biblical exegesis and interpretation.[2]  Francis Bacon (1561-1626) applied it to the interpretation of the books of nature, as well as to the books of God, and became the father of modern empirical science.[3]

March 29th, 2012

Theology Thursday: John Chrysostom

by Max Andrews

The name “John the Golden-mouthed” was given him over a century after his death.  Of the great preachers of the fourth century, which included Ambrose and Gregory Nazianzen, none was greater than John Chrysostom.  Yet great as his oratorical skills were, greater still was his personal integrity and boldness in confronting the rich and powerful of his day. Chrysostom was born in Antioch. His mother, Anthusa, became a widow at age twenty when John was an infant. She refused to remarry, instead devoting herself to her son.  John received training in rhetoric and was being groomed for a profession in law by the most famous orator of the day, Libanius. In fact, when asked who should succeed him, Libanius answered: “John, but the Christians have laid claim on him.” In keeping with his mother’s wish, John entered upon his catechumenate at the age of twenty, and three years later was baptized by Bishop Meletius of Antioch.

John studied theology under Diodore of Taursus, leader of the Antiochene School. Early on he felt called to the monastic life, but put off entry into a monastery so long as his mother was alive so that he could care for her.  Shortly after her death in 373 he joined a monastery in the Syrian mountains, living as a hermit for two years. So great were his austerities that he did lasting damage to his health.

He was ordained deacon in 381, serving in Antioch under bishop Flavian. Flavian also ordained him presbyter in 386 and, in view of his gifts, appointed him to devote special attention to preaching.  While at Antioch, John achieved fame for preaching that sought to instruct and reform those who were only nominally Christian.

March 1st, 2012

Theology Thursday: Constantine

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Constantine (AD 227-337)

General summary of Constantine and his theology: *I’m aware that Constantine isn’t a theologian per se but does have a huge impact on early church history and theology, which is worth noting.* From the time that his father died (306) until Constantine challenged Maxentius at Milvian bridge (312), he was consolidating his position of power in Gaul and Britain.  Even at this early date he showed the same military and political acumen that he would later exhibit as emperor:  He strengthened his defenses against the barbarians along the Rhine, winning the gratitude of his French subjects.  He did not impose onerous taxes on the people, and entertained the bloodthirsty among them with frequent shows in the circuses  He was deft in diplomacy and military strategy. Above all, he was a patient man, not playing his hand until the time was right.

February 29th, 2012

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

by Max Andrews

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

GROUP

TIME

HUMAN NATURE

DIVINE NATURE

CHURCH COUNCIL

Docetism

1st Century

Denied—only an appearance of humanity

Affirmed

Ebionism

2nd Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was natural son of Joseph and Mary

Arianism

4th Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was not eternal; similar to, but not same as God Condemned by Nicea, 325

Apollinarianism

4th Century

Divine Logos replaced human spirit

Affirmed

Condemned by Constantinople, 680

Nestorianism

5th Century

Christ was two Persons

Condemned by Ephesus, 431
read more »