Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Patristics Carnival-September-November, 2006

Welcome to the first Patristics Carnival!

As usual, my timing for starting a new project is impeccable, what with becoming a new dad amid report card season, but I've done my best to hit the highlights of patristic blogging over the past few months.

I've decided to organize these entries according to the following categories: Introductions to Patristics, Translation, Projects, Applied Patristics, Christian Apocrypha and Patristic News and Article blogs.

Introductions to Patristics

For anyone who has an interest in patristics or even in patristic blogging, the place to start The place I want to start is the same place that many people get started: Mike Aquillina's blog, The Way of the Fathers. Mike's site is a must see for anyone intersted in patristics, partly because his assiduous efforts to post links to others working in the patristics garden and partly because of his own excellent writing. An especially valuable contribution appeared just this month with this Carnival in mind: Meet the Fathers . This cogent post serves as an excellent introduction to why contemporary Christians should read the Fathers.

Translation and the Fathers

Kevin Edgecomb, on his blog, biblicalia, completed his series translating Jerome's Vulgate Prologues, the short introductions to the books of the Bible which Jerome composed in his Vulgate translation. These prologues give us a precious insight into Jerome's mind at the time of this translation and provide us a good insight into the patristic way of reading Scripture. For those of you interested in Biblical Studies as well, these are valuable documents for your consideration!

Rick Brannan, in his ricoblog, continues his ongoing project of translating and commenting on the Didache. So far, he has finished to the chapter on the Eucharist, but there has been a long hiatus between this entry and an anticpated one on Didache 10. Hopefully, we'll see more from Rick on this in the coming months.

Patristic Projects

Father Z, on his blog, What Does Prayer Really Say?, started and completed the Patristics Rosary Project. This project follows the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and seeks out patristic passages which relate to the mysteries to which this rosary refers. Father Z deals with each subject by citing patristic parallels as explanations of the scriptural passages central to each mystery and, then, includes his own commentary. This is a tremendously learned series, but well worth reading, even for a Protestant such as myself.

As part of a continuing project started in August, Ben Smith, on the team blog, Thoughts on Antiquity, has been reviewing in detail the canonical lists of the books of the Bible. Starting with the introduction, he has discussed the Marcionite canon, the Muratorian canon, the canon of Origen, part one and part two and part one of the Eusebian canon. This very learned series continues, but is a must read for anyone interested in the development of the canon.

General Patristics
This category are for blog entries which are self-contained entries on blogs which may or may not be full-time patristic blogs. I suspect this category should be much larger and more varied because I think most discussions of patristic authors occur in blogs devoted to theology, Biblical Studies or Church History, but this is what I've managed to find.

Patristic Anglican (who uses the wonderful pseudonym, Death Bredon--shades of Dorothy Sayers!)features an excellent blog entry on Patristic Ecclesiology . His excellent summary of how the Fathers do ecclesiology is illuminating and has many, many applications in the ecclesiastical climate these days. Certainly, the two disputing sides in the Anglican Communion could use a few lessons from the Fathers about ecclesiology!

Phil Harland, in his blog, Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, has an excellent blog entry on the canon. In Breaking News: Early Christians had no New Testatment, Phil discusses the development of the canon. It is an excellent, short summary of the development of the New Testament.

I hope that it isn't gauche to include yourself in a Carnival, but I'll take that risk. This blog, hyperekperisou, originated as a fairly eclectic Anglican blog, but, since, October of this year (when I overdosed on discussions about the Kigali meeting of African primates in the Anglican Communion), I decided to devote this blog entirely to patristics. Since then, I've been contributing essays which try to make a direct connection between the Father and the theological problems faced by Christians today. An example of this output is my entry on St. John Chrysostom, Headship and the Culture Wars in which I discuss St. John's ideas about marriage with the ongoing ideological debate about headship which continues to rage today.

Roger Pierce, creator of The Tertullian Project website, has joined the team blog, Thoughts on Antiquity. He has contributed several excellent articles to that blog including an excellent review of the scholarship of R.J. Hoffman, who attempts to reconstruct ancient anti-Christian polemical authors such as Porphyry, Celsus and Julian the Apostate. In his entry, Useful books or peddling hate?, Pierce reviews Hoffman's translations of the fragments and raises real questions about the quality of this approach to these lost opponents to Christianity.

Christian Apocrypha

This last quarter saw the launch of the first blog devoted specifically devoted to Apocrypha. This blog, Apocryphicity, focuses especially on gathering information on and discussing Christian Apocrypha, which, thanks to Da Vinci's Code et cetera, has seen such a revival in the last few years. This is an excellent site to keep track of what is happening in this exciting new field.

Jim Davilla's PaleoJudaica site, although devoted primarily to publishing news and information on Ancient Judaism, has also featured several important discussions of Christian Apocrypha. Indeed, Jim caused a bit of a buzz among patristic bloggers with an entry in which when he published the abstract of Louis Painchaud's paper (given at the University of Ottawa, which called into question the National Geographic translation of the Gospel of Judas.

Patristic News and Articles blogs

One of the important elements of creating a sense of community among bloggers who share a common interest is the emergence of one or more blogs which make an effort to keep abrest of what is happening with other bloggers or simply try to disseminate information on the topic. In the emerging patristic blogsphere, we are very lucky to have Mike Aquillina's The Way of the Fathers blog which fulfills this function from a Catholic perspective.

Another useful resource is Rob Bradshaw's Earlychurch.org.uk blog which publishes both public domain and recent articles (with permission of the authors) on patristics and the early Church. This is an excellent resource for those interested in following the academic study of patristics.

Well, that is about as much as I have been able to manage this Carnival. As I finish, I'm fully aware of the deficiencies of this first effort; not enough theology, not much Orthodox representation, not enough academic connections. Still, I hope this will help those of us interested in patristics and who blog on it to get to know each other a little. I also hope that this little carnvial will encourage others to try their hand at patristic blogging with all its rewards.

Any volunteers for the next Patristic Carnival in March?



Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Thanks, Phil, for all the hard work during such a very busy time for you. Please do also put me on the hosting list. That'll take some of the pressure off you, too.

joseph walker said...

Thanks as well, this looks appetizing.

Natalie King said...

A new Patristic Studies Institute has been founded in Jerusalem!
Check out www.topsinstitute.org.il.