Monday, April 30, 2007

Martin Delayed Again

It's been one of those weeks again and this one looks even worse. So, the next installment of Sulpicius Severus will have to wait. I'm also pretty sure the Roundup is going to be late as well, since this is my busiest week of the year.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Patristics Roundup- April 19-26, 2007

Welcome back to the roundup! It looks like an average week this week, so some interesting entries. Enjoy!


Mike Aqulina on The Way of the Fathers Blog quotes Pope Benedict's words on Augustine, announces advanced sales on his new expanded edition of his book, the Mass of the Early Christians, celebrates the feast of St. Mark with a quote from St. Jerome, alerts us to an article about the condemnation of Origen and quotes Pope Benedict's discussion of Origen.

Will Weedon on Weedon's Blog offers Patristics Quotes of the Day featuring St. Augustine, Augustine again, Augustine yet again,

Ian on the Ruminations by the Lake blog features an essay on Luther the Augustinian and a review of Ivor Davidson's Birth of the Church.

Deep Furrows on the Deep Furrows blog features an anthology of mostly patristic authors on ecclesiology.

Father Z on the What Does the Prayer Really Mean? blog features a discussion of Pope Benedict and St. Augustine's bones.

purifyyourbride on the Purify Your Bride blog features a discussion of the Fathers and evolution.

Father Stephanos on the Me Monk, Me meander blog features a discussion of the Niceno-Constaninopolitan Creed.

Tony Jones on the Theoblogy blog discusses the importance of patristics to an emergent/post-modern approach in which orthodoxy is an event, not a foundational set of propositions.

Carl Olsen on the Insight Scoop blog reports on Pope Benedict's references to Origen in his catchecetical lectures.

The cathedra unitatis blog features a discussion of and links to Orthodox vs 'Western' soteriology with particular reference to the Fathers.

Allen Thornburgh on The Point blog refers us to a quiz about whether we are a heretic (and don't know it.). I'm, happily, Chalcedon compliant. Yeah!

Kevin Edgecomb on biblicalia posts the locations for the relics of various Church Fathers.

Rick Brannon on the Pastoral Epistles blog continues his series on the use of the Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers with St. Ignatius (Parts One and Two)

The Apocryphal Corner

The Current Era blog features an interview between Steven Colbert (aka St. Irenaeus?)and Elaine Pagels on the Gospel of Judas. . Doesn't that Gospel just show up in the weirdest places? Hat tip to Mike Aquilina et al.

April DeConick on the Forbidden Gospels blog features an article by Peter Head on the Gospel of Judas, some comments on the Colbert interview with Elaine Pagels, a plea for the release of the photographs of the Gospel of Judas, , discusses the influence of Irenaeus and pseudo-Tertullian on our understanding of the Gospel of Judas and posts a review of Andrew Bernard's book on the manuscripts of other Gospels.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Patristics Withdrawl and Future Directions

This last few months have been quite busy on a lot of fronts and the next two look equally busy. What that has meant over the last few weeks has been that I've had less time for reflection and reading than I have in a while. That is fine, of course. Family and gainful employment take precedent over study and always will in my life. As shocking as it sounds, blogging isn't my main priority in life.

Along with this busyness, though, I've been missing the Fathers in my reading. Part of that is the fact that I've spent most of the last few months reading allowance reading N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God. It is, I note, an exceptionally good academic book and, as an academic book, it is extremely dense and tightly argued. So, working through the 661 pages has been a time-consuming, if rewarding exercise. The result has been that I've not been reading as much Fathers as I'd like. And I find I miss their voices.

That is an odd admission to make, but, in many ways, over the last few years of reading the Fathers, I've become used to their Scripture-immersed, faithful, occasionally strident voices urging their culture (and our as well) to, finally, confess Jesus and to consider what that confession meant. They, in many ways, do a better job doing that than many contemporary theologians (N.T. Wright being something of an exception) in conveying the immediacy of the Christian faith. In our modern academic-based theology, we are rather too polite and afraid of causing offense. A dose of the Fathers is bracing and reminds us of a time when we weren't ashamed of being distinctive in the society around us.

The Fathers aren't for everyone, I know. I find myself drawn to them because I understand something of the Graeco-Roman society with which they were interacting. My background in Classics has helped me with their culturally distinctive mindsets, although I would fight shy of claiming anything close to expertise in the area.

Over the March Break, I was reading Os Guinness' The Call, which focuses on vocation outside of ordained ministry. One of the more memorable things he said was that it is possible to have a vocation and only be able to pursue it as an amateur. That, I think is true here because I feel that I'm pursuing a teaching vocation in the Church through this blog. He also had a sobering comment that, sometimes, being an amateur means admitting that you can't do the 'best' job at the subject you love. I have to admit that I was, first, annoyed at this comment; then, I had to recognize its truth. I am not going to be able to read all the Fathers, all the Reformation theologians (a side interest of mine is the use of the Fathers by the Reformers) and all modern theologians in order to create some kind of patristic-Reformation-post-modern synthesis or some kind of masterwork in Christian historical writing. All I can do is to tend my corner of the patristic garden and do my best to contribute to the patristic revival we've all heard about.

With that in mind, I've been thinking about future directions. I'm thinking that a series on Cyprian wouldn't be the worst idea at this time. I'm thinking especially about the upcoming General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada; a synod which has to reflect on some serious theological and ecclesiological matters in early June. Reflecting on Cyprian may be helpful for me as I think over what it means to be the church and how we should relate to the world. In all likelihood, these reflections will not impact on the church I joined fifteen years ago (although a little dose of Cyprian would do wonders!), but, perhaps, it will help me with seeing the path ahead.

But, next week, we're back with St. Martin!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Patristics Roundsup- April 12-19, 2007

It hasn't been a very busy week in the patristics garden. Either that or I haven't been as diligent because of having a cold all week and being snowed in with work (the end of the school is nigh and the marking is piling up). I hope you enjoy the offerings there are.


Mike Aquilina on The Way of the Fathers features reflections on Robert Wilken's book, Remembering the Christian Past, and again on Wilken and reminds us about St. Clement of Alexandria.

Will Weedon on Weedon's Blog offers his Patristic Quotes of the Day featuring St. Athanasius, St. Symeon, and St. Ambrose

Danny Garland at Irish-Catholic and Dangerous features a quote of St. Justin Martyr on baptism.

Daniel Newman on the Christ and Covenant blog features a discussion of the Fathers on penal substitution.

Al Hsu on The Suburban Christian blog discusses a session at a Wheaton College conference which talks about evangelism and the early church.

James Swan on the Beggars All blog discusses the attitude of the Church Fathers to the Deuterocanonical authors.

Jason on Jason's blog features a discussion of Origen as the origin of scholarly theology.

Father Z on the What Does The Prayer Really Say blog connects us to a podcast of Pope Benedict on St. Leo the Great.

Rick Brannon on his Pastoral Epistles blog continues his series on the Pastoral epistles with posts on the Didache and 1st Clement ((Parts one, two, three and four). I'm a little behind on these, I'm afraid.

James Siemens on the East and West blog provides us with an updated bibliography of Theodore of Tarsus.

Apocryphal Corner

Tony Chartrand-Burke on his Apocryphicity blog alerts us to a response by John Dart about a review of his book on the Secret Gospel of Mark.

April DeConick on The Forbidden Gospel blog provides us with an extensive annotated bibliography on the Gospel of Judas

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On Virginia Tech

Anyone who is a teacher or has spent as much time in universities as I have can't help but have strong feelings about recent events at Virginia Tech. Like most people, I've read the news reports, studied the stories of survivors, been inspired by the stories of heroism now coming out, tried (and failed)to fathom the mind of the killer and grieved for the victims, their families and friends. Evil did stalk the campus of Virginia Tech that day. Its first victim was Cho Seung-Hui; thirty-two others followed.

This is not the time for fault-finding or what-ifs or second guessing. There are elements of this story which will encourage reflection on how to deal with this kind of situation better. This is the time for grief for lives lost.

So, in this little corner of blogosphere, I offer my prayers for those who died, for their families, for those who were injured and all those who are suffering from grief and loss and for all those whose sense of security on campus or elsewhere has been shattered.

May God be with you all.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sulpicius Severus, Life of Martin, 8

Just a short passage this week for the Life of Martin. Martin has already signalled his identification with Jesus, not only in word, but in practice, through his healing of the catechumen. We continue very much in the same vein in today's installment.

Not much later, while Martin was passing by the estate of a certain Lupicinus, a man honoured as befitting the age, he was received by the shouting and laments of a lamenting crowd. (2) When he anxiously stood nearby and asked for whom these tears were, he was told that one of the little slaves from the household had hung themselves with a noose. (3) When he understood this, he entered the room in which the body was lying. After the whole crowd was shut out, he stretched over the body and prayed for sometime. (3) Soon, his face gaining colour and his eyes drooping open on his face, the dead slave was raised. He struggled to get up with difficulty, he stood on his feet, clutching the right hand of the blessed man. In this way, he proceeded right up to the entrance of the house while the whole crowd watched.


To some extent, this passage seems a bit repetitive. That is, if Suplicius' point was that Martin was, in some way, imitating both the apostles and Christ himself and, as a result, was participating in their power and virtue in his own ministry, one incident would seem to show this. In its outlines, this story is really the same as the healing of the catechumen. A person dies in an undesirable time/way (the catechumen as a catechumen and, hence, not baptized or immune from attack from the devil--it we take that particular theology of baptism) and the slave who killed himself (not a problem in pagan circles, but a problem in Christian ones), then is raised by Martin to, presumably, escape an eternity of suffering (explicit in the catechumen passage, but implicit in this one). So why is this passage here?

Honestly, I'm not sure. One answer is the historical one. This incident happened at this point of Martin's real life story. Fair enough, although a tough sell to an modern audience who don't buy the whole saints, miracle and Christian thing. Yet, if we, as Christians, believe that miracles can happen, a strictly historical reading is not outside of the realm of possibility. The problem with miracles, of course, is that, by nature, they are improbable and, since history relies primarily on assessing evidence on the basis of probability, we as historians have a serious problem of proof. I can live with that because I don't think the historical realm is the only way to approach a text.

One thing that could be happening is that the point of the repetition is to express equality with the apostles. That is, both Peter and Paul raise someone from the recently dead and Jesus raised two people from the dead, so Martin raises two people. If this is so, we'd have to look for some resemblances between the episodes. What I propose is a bit complicated, but please accept it as trial balloon.

The healing of the catechumen seems to resemble the healing of Dorcas (Acts 9,36-43). In both episodes, the holy men (Peter and Martin) are away from the person who dies (the catechumen and Dorcas). In both cases, the holy men stumbled upon the early stages of the funeral, interrupt it and locked themselves in with the body. They emerge with the dead person. If I was to extend this parallel, I would also call attention to the healing of Lazarus by Jesus (Gospel of John 11) which follows a similar outline as these two episodes.

The healing of the little slave seems to match the healing of Eutychus (Acts 20, 9-12), largely because little time seems to have elapsed between the death and the arrival of the holy man. I think I might be stretching it for the slave incident in Sulpicius Severus, but I don't think we've even at the point of discussing funerals, but rather dealing with the initial shock (let me know if you think I'm way off base here). I had been hoping for a better link to the healing of the daughter of Jairus (Gospel of Luke, 8,40-1, 49-56), but, unfortunately, the parallel isn't as clean. Yet, Jairus set off to find Jesus before his daughter died (hoping for a simple healing), but, when news come that his daughter has died, Jesus hastens to the house and does the raising. So, sort of a parallel (Yes, I'm straining here).

A last point concerning the language. What I found striking is that the language in both of Sulpicius' passages is much more descriptive of the process of waking up than the biblical ones. In the biblical raisings, a calling out is sufficient to raise the dead. In Sulpicius, Martin has to drape himself over the bodies and pray for a while. Then, we have these very descriptive waking up moments which feature colour returning to the face and eyes languidly opening. Yet, the language used is different in both cases and bears no resemblance to the vocabulary of the biblical passages. I think this is the 4th century tendency to ornate and slightly archaic language, but it is a striking element of these passages.

I think that is it for the commentary. Have a good week!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Patristic Roundup- April 7-12, 2007

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Here are this weeks offerings in the Patristic garden. Enjoy!

Mike Aquilina on The Way of the Fathers blog features a quote from Epiphanius on Holy Saturday and the results of Mike's Which Church Father are you? quiz.

Will Weedon on Weedon's Blog features Patristic Quotes of the Day with St. Augustine and Augustine again.

Danny Garland on Irish-Catholic and Dangerous marks Easter with St. Epiphanius , quotes St. Caesarius of Arles on the Church,

God-Fearin' Fiddler on God-Fearin' Forum finds himself pre-empted on the body of Christ by St. Ambrose. I hate that when it happens!

Brian Cosby on Brian's blog features a discussion on the Patristic contribution to the doctrine of the Trinity.

Joe Black on the Athens Independent News blog features a (long and rather Anabaptist) article exposing the 'great heresy' of the Patristic age.

Edgar Foster on the Foster's Theological Reflections blog asks was Lactantius an Arian?

GWS in What's New in Papyrology featues a review of a new book on Didymus the Blind's Commentary on Zechariah and another on some new Gnostic material.

James Swan on the Beggars All blog quotes St. John Chrysosthom as part of his Ancient Voices series.

Michael Pailthorpe on the Intellectus Fidei blog features quotes of St. Athanasius and St. Gregory Nazianzus on the Trinity
Apocryphal Corner

Tony Chartrand-Burke on Apocryphicity lets us know about Fredrica Matthews-Green's book on the lost gospels dealing with Mary.

April DeConick on the Forbidden Gospels blog features a cautionary note on the Gospel of Judas.

Blogcritics blog features a review of Elaine Pagel's book on Judas.

He is risen indeed!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Meditation

This year I was privileged to serve as crucifer at the Easter Vigil service at my church. I say privileged because, not only do I love this service, but it is also a very complex service and I take it very much as a compliment to ask to serve on that night. We start with the church in complete darkness. Our rector, then, lights a fire in a brazier and the service begins. Much of the early part of this service is a meditation on light, so, as we slowly process up the centre isle, halting every few steps, the Paschal candle leading the way. Watching the Paschal candle burning in the pitch dark and slightly smokey church (the thurifer was out ahead merrily making smoke)is something I cherish and watching it from the back of the procession was a rather different perspective than I usually have. At each stop, the Master of Ceremonies lit more candles until, when we reach the front, the whole procession and congregation are holding candles and the whole church is bathed in the soft candle light. It was a wonderful moment.

Of course, what we are invoking in that procession is the light of Christ, briefly suppressed after the horrific events of Good Friday, but breaking forth anew in the apparent darkness. We are also remembering that, as dark as this world can get, the light that Jesus gives us continues to shine and continues to give us hope for a better world. It is, ultimately, that hope which keeps me Christian, despite my failures and my shortcomings which are, all too often, before my eyes. I know that I'm far from perfect as a human being or a follower of Christ, but I also know that Jesus gives us hope that all will be redeemed, perhaps not in this world, but, certainly, in the next.

This Lent has been a rather too busy one. What with having a new baby in the house and added work pressures, I found it very difficult to spend a lot of time meditating or praying, past the minimal prayers I do at the beginning and end of the day. I missed that and I think a lot of my feelings of being stretched are related to this. It isn't that Lent was unrelieved busyness. We had a wonderful vacation in Palm Springs in March with my wife's mother and, of course, I found time to relax on weekends, when I could. But, I missed the meditation time and I think I realize that I need to make that time as I enter into the home stretch for school in May and June.

What did come up this Lent was the theme of conversion . Conversion came up because I'm sitting on the Christian Ed. committee at my church and we're trying to work out how to do a Christian Basics course. In the course of our discussions, I started to think about my own conversion fifteen years ago (has it been so long?!). In some ways, of course, it seems slightly wrong to talk about a specific date for converting because I feel like I'd been at it for years. My family respected Christian values and encouraged them, even if they weren't church goers by the time I came along. My own seeking began in my last year of high school when a dream set me on the path of trying to figure out my spirituality, even if I didn't know I was doing it at the time. By university, I was reading and writing about topics in religious history-indeed, in one term, I was writing 5 out of 6 papers due that term on religious topics). All that came to a head in my first Masters degree, when I started praying and going to an Anglican church. And I've been going ever since.

When you set out the facts of a conversion as I have just done, it doesn't look that momentous. Like many people, I experienced a slow slide to faith, not a sudden 'Road to Damascus' conversion. What I think I was really looking for was not the kind of things that many people assume that faith is about--reassurance, immortal life, a feeling that I was better than anyone else. The first two things in that list come into it, but, first and foremost, I think I was looking for hope. That is, I came to believe that, if I was left to my own devices, I just wouldn't be able to deal with the world as it is. What faith promised me was that there was hope for something better than this world (not that it is all bad, but there is too much bad in it) and that I can participate in God's efforts to make it better, person by person, moment by moment, here and now.

At the end of the day, I honestly believe that Jesus died and was raised again, physically, as the decisive act in redeeming the mess that we human beings have done to God's Creation. He became human like us, died (perhaps in a more horrific way that most humans do) and rose again because that is what he had to do to break the powers which were destroying us and the world. Those powers are out there still. Even though we all know that their power is broken, they still create a lot of havoc. Yet, God's goodness is breaking out among us all and that is what gives us hope, even when that hope is a candle shining in the pitch dark world.

Happy Easter.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Patristics Roundup- March 29-April5, 2007

Welcome to the Maundy Thursday edition of the Patristics Roundup. I know a lot of my readers will be busy this weekend going to various church events (as will I), so let me wish you all Happy Easter. Look for my Easter reflection later on this weekend.

Mike Aquilina on The Way of the Fathers has had a busy week. He celebrated his first year anniversary for his blog (Happy anniversary!). He quotes Egeria of Gaul about the Palm Sunday processions in 4th century Jerusalem. His Which Church Father Are You quiz is sweeping the patristic garden. Take it. I did. (Origen, Origen, how did I come out Origen!!!!)

Will Weedon on Weedon's Blog features in his Patristic Quote of the Day quotes by St. Augustine, St. Augustine again, St. Leo the Great, Cyril of Alexandria

Danny Garland on theIrish-Catholic and Dangerous blog features St. Jerome on daughters entering religious life and St. Maximus of Turin on Psalm 22.

God-Fearin' Fiddler on the God-Fearin' Forum gives us a brief history of Gnosticism,

Greg Boyd on the Christus Victor Ministries blog discusses the influence of Platonism on the formation of doctrine in the patristic era. He isn't a fan.

James Swan on the Beggars All blog features St. John Chrysosthom on Scripture in his Ancient Voices series.

Jason Engwer on Trialogue features a discussion of the importance of the resurrection on the Church Fathers.

Steven C. Carson on the Hypotposeis blog features a quote by St. Clement of Alexandria on Buddha. Who knew? Hat Tip: Mike Aquilina.

James Siemens on the East to West blog features the Latin version of Venatius Fortunatus' Pange, lingua gloriosi’ hymn.

Father Z on the What does the Prayer Really Say? blog reports on a Palm Sunday podcast with St. Andrew of Crete,
discusses St. Augustine on the Lord's Passion, features a prayer to St. Isidore of Sevile, the unofficial patron saint of the Internet, pints us to a podcast featuring St. Augustine on the True Vine.

Rick Brannon on ricoblog features quotes by J.B. Lightfoot on the genuineness of 1st Clement

On his other blog, Rick Brannon features a discussion of the Pastoral Epistles in the Didache and the first series on I Clement.

The Apocryphal Corner,

Tony Chartrand-Burke on the Apocryphicity blog features a continuation on his discussion of a fragment which he believes to feature the funeral of Jesus, a brief Gospel of Judas roundup, and notes the Vatican's displeasure about media portrayals of apocrypha (surprise, surprise!?)

April DeConick on The Forbidden Gospels blog features entries on Excerpts of Theodotus by St. Clement of Alexandria, the second installment on her very helpful discussion on communal memory and continues her discussion about recovering the shards of our communal memory of early Christianity and adds a third post to the same series.

David Mills on Mere Comments blog gives an extremely unfavourable review to Elaine Pagel's book on the Gospel of Judas. I'm not sensing he's a fan.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sulpicius Severus- Life of St. Martin 7

Well, here we are, Palm Sunday already. I hope you all had a good time waving palms and processing (that is, if that is your thing as it is at my church). Oh yes, and welcome to the St. Martin offering for this week.

In the last installment, we found St. Martin returning to his home province, Illyricum, to try to convert his parents. While there, he became embroiled in the Arian controversies shaking the Church in the late 350s. In this installment, something closer to peace is established and Martin is able to join his mentor, St. Hilary, back in Gaul.


Since Hilary had already passed by, Martin followed in his footsteps. When he was met very happily by Hilary, Martin established a monastery not far from town. At that time, a catechumen joined Martin, desiring to be instructed in the discipline of that very holy man. After a few days went by, he was seized by weariness and suffered under a violent fever. (2) At that time, Martin, by chance, had left. After he had been away for three days, he returned to find a dead body. Death was so sudden that he yielded his life without the benefit of baptism. The body was placed in public and was crowded in accordance with the sad duty of the mourning brothers, when Martin ran in weeping and lamenting. (3) Then, truly receiving the Holy Spirit in his whole mind, he ordered the rest to leave the cell in which the body lay. After the door was closed, he stretched himself over the lifeless limbs of his dead brother. After he had applied himself to prayer for some time and perceived that power was present through the Holy Spirit, he stood up, he fixed his eyes on the face of the dead man and boldly awaited the outcome of his prayers and God's mercy. He had interceded for scarcely two hours, but he saw the dead man gradually move all his limbs and trembling with his eyes opening to see. (4) Then, turning to the Lord and thanking Him with a great voice, the catechumen filled the cell with his shouting. When those who were standing in front of the door heard this, they immediately burst in. It was a marvelous sight because they saw living one whom they had left dead. (5) Having been returned to life in this way, he immediately pressed for baptism. He lived for many years afterwards and was the first subject of and witness to the virtues of Martin. (6) Moreover, the same man was accustomed to report that, after his body was put aside, he was led to the tribunal of the judge and it was necessary to condemn him to take up a sad sentence in obscure places and among a common crowd. Then, it was suggested to the judge by two angels that this one was the one for whom Martin was praying. Thus, it was ordered that he be led back by those same angels. He was returned to Martin and was restored to his old life. (7) For the first time, the name of the blessed man shone out so that he who was already thought to be holy by all, was now thought to be powerful and almost an apostle.


With peace more or less re-established in the West, we see Martin returning to Gaul, presumably back to Poitiers, the see of Martin's patron, St. Hilary of Poitiers. Presumably, this is around 360-61 AD, when the rest of the world was concentrating on the titanic contest between the Emperor Constantius II and his erstwhile Caesar, Julian, who had risen in revolt in 360 AD. Constantius would, eventually, die on the way to reckon with Julian and Julian would gain the throne without further fighting.

This incident is an odd one in one sense and quite usual in another. Clearly, in a historical sense, any raising from the dead is unusual, not to mention improbable. Considerable effort has been given to explaining these incidents in hagiographic works. The most common suggestion is that, somehow, the person in question is not so much dead as in a deep coma or sleep. The holy man in question, by delaying interment in order to pray, allows the 'dead' person the chance to regain strength and emerge from the coma. If he hadn't intervened, the poor person would have awoken in the coffin which wouldn't have been a pleasant experience for anyone. All this gives an air of plausibility to an otherwise incredible story and, of course, shouldn't be discounted.

Yet, this argument avoids the sense of this passage quite neatly. This story is clearly meant to be sensational and incredible; shall we say, even miraculous. That is rather the point because, as Sulpicius makes clear, this is the first indication of the true sanctity and sheer power behind Martin and his prayers. Nor is it coincidental that Sulpicius' conclusion about the whole affair is that Martin, on this day, graduated from being merely holy (!) to being potent and almost an apostle.

It is that last point which, I think, helps us in the interpretation. Clearly, Martin here is being equated with both Peter and Paul. Peter raised Dorcas in Acts 9, 36-43 and Paul raised Eutychus in Acts 20, 7-12. So, the 'almost apostle' comment is, likely, looking back to these two raisings. Of course, both of these look back to Lazarus in Jesus' own ministry, so, in a sense, we are seeing Sulpicius identifying Martin with Jesus in the same close way that he does in Life of St. Martin, 5 and for pretty much the same reason.

The question, of course, comes up why hagiographers insist on doing this. I think a clue can be given, oddly, in a comment that my wife picked up at a Jewish event she attended. The speaker had commented that, in the Talmud, there are a fair number of stories in which a given rabbi experiences a story which clearly is intended to evoke a scriptural story. The purpose of these episodes, it seems, is to show that this rabbi participated in the virtues of the scriptural hero. So, if we apply it here, Martin experiences a situation similar to Paul and Peter (who experience a situation similar to one that occurs in Jesus' own ministry) which should imply that he will exhibit similar virtues as these early predecessors. So, at the very least, we should expect an apostolic-like character in Martin. Given the fact that he will become a bishop and embark on a program of rural evangelism, that parallel is likely to be developed further. Stay tuned!