Sunday, December 27, 2009

Call For Submissions- Patristics Carnival XXXI

Hi all;

A quick note for the next Carnival. We'll be back at hyperekperissou.

The guidelines remain the same as the Modest Proposal entry back in November, 2006 and my additions in August, 2007.

The last day of submission will be December 31 and the postings will be up in the week of January 6th.

Remember you can offer submissions on the carnival site or the dedicated e-mail (


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Patristics Carnival XXX- November, 2009

New Under the Tent: New Patristic Blogs And Announcements.

brandonw on the Sitz im Leben blog calls attention to the Call for Paper's for the North American Patristics Society annual meeting in May.

Hi all! Welcome back to hyperekperissou and Patristics Carnival XXX, covering November, 2009. I'm late, as usual, but there are some excellent offerings over the last month. Enjoy!

Front Gate: Introductions to the Fathers

Father John Peck on the Preacher's Institute blog extolls the virtues of patristic blogging, especially for Orthodox writers.

The Midway: Articles on the Fathers

Roger Pearse on his self-named blog discusses the 'evil bishop of Amida' featured in the Chronicle of Zuqnin, discusses a garbled quotation of Origen on the British Druids of his day,
updates progress on his commissioned project of translating 14 homilies of Origen on Ezekiel, discusses the lost Hypotposes of Clement of Alexandria,

Kevin Edgecomb on his biblicalia blog reveals a peculiar typo in the an edition of the Penguin Classics edition of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (who knew that the Fathers were so concerned with sartorial issues!)

Rick Brannon on his ricoblog announces his new translation of the Didache with notes.

Turretinfan on the Thoughts of Francis Turretin blog defends the perspicuity of Scripture throught his reading of Athanasius and the Ethiopian Eunuch among other concerns.

David Waltz on the Articuli Fidei blog questions TurretinFan's suggestion in the above post that St. Athanasius was trying to mock Pope Liberius in his History Against the Arians. He continues his debate with TurretinFan in his post on Scripture and Tradition.

David Cullitan on the One Fold blog considers patristic arguments on Real Prescence as presented on several Catholic websites, takes issue with the Catholic Answers website's use of Papias on the Apostolic tradition and Irenaeus on the same issue.

Michial on the Ladder on Wheels blog considers Edgar Allan Poe's (sole?) mention of the Church Fathers and what it reveals about Poe's and, possibly, evangelical's view of those 'crazy uncles to whom we are related but to whom no one wishes to speak at the family reunion'- the Church Fathers.

Scot McKinight on the Jesus Creed blog questions reading the Bible through a historical/patristic lens.

Adam Kotsko on the An und fur sich blog posts his AAR paper on patristic perspectives on the Cross.

Jordan Cooper on the Just and Sinner blog considers St. Ignatius and patristic soteriology. He follows up with a post on St. Clement of Rome and patristic soteriology.

David Neff on the Christian History blog reports on the opening of the Wheaton Centre for Early Christian Studies and Robert Louis Wilken's keynote address on why evangelicals should read the Fathers.

David and Tim Bayly on the BaylyBlog considers, in the light of Sarah Palin's new autobiograpy, the role of women in civil and military realms through the Church Fathers and John Calvin. Whew, that is a tall order!

aaronandbridghid on the Logismoi blog considers the passage of the soul through some patristic sources.

Stephen Huller on the stephen huller's observations blog critisizes the Patristics Carnival for missing his series on Clement of Alexandria and his links to the Markosian heresy. He helpfully provides us with the links to these post for which we are very grateful (Editor's note: Simply put, I missed this in the information I sent to Polycarp, so the omission of these posts was accidental and not malicious. My apologies for Stephen for this oversight and I further encourage him and anyone else to please send links to their patristics posts to either the dedicated e-mail or the carnival site listed on the Call for Submissions issued every month. This way we may avoid further confusions in the future). He continues with a post tracing the basic misunderstanding of the Gospel found, in Stephen's opinion, most New Testament scholarship back to Irenaeus and his presumed link to the court of Commodus. Additional posts includes Irenaeus' knowledge of the Secret Mark tradition, Athanasius' connection of Purim to Passover and much, much more. The sheer volume of Stephen's posts is dizzying. Wow!

shane lems on The Reformed Reader blog discusses the Western tendency to dismiss church authority by referring to 1 Clement and Cyprian on the importance of the church.

David on the Pious Fabrications blog begins a series on sola scriptura and the Fathers.

Brianroy on the Brianroy's Input blog expresses his enjoyment of learning from the Fathers.

diglot on the diglotting blog discusses the patristic view of the Rock in Matthew 16,18.

The Marketplace: Book Reviews (and other media)

Matthew Hoskin on the pocket scroll blog features a review of the new entry in Routledge's Early Church Fathers series, Leo the Great by Bronwen Neil.

Exhibition Place: Biographies of the Fathers

aaronandbridghid on the Logismoi blog commemorates the life of St. John Chrysosthom on his feast day.
The Rodeo: Patristic catenae

No new entries this month.

The Foreign Exchange Tent: Translations and Summaries

No new entries this month.

The Talmudic Tabernacle: Christianity and Judaism in the Ancient World

Well, not exactly Talmudic, but close enough. Nick Norelli on the Rightly Dividing the Truth blog defends the usefulness of Josephus for the Historical Jesus debate.

The Apocryphal Aisle: Christian Apocrypha

April DeConick on The Forbidden Gospel blog discusses whether Gnostics were heretics, attempts to categorize the various types of Gnostics, raises concerns over National Geographic's documentary on the Gabriel Stone, following up this discussion with correspondance with Israel Knohl, the person who discovered the Gabriel Stone and announces the Codex Judas papers book has been published by Brill.

That is it for the month of November. Just as a heads-up, I will be writing a blog piece on the future of the Carnival (whose load is becoming crushing at this point in my life) and this blog in the next few days. Stay tuned for that discussion.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Call for Submissions: Patristic Carnival XXX

Welcome to Patristic Carnival XXX. This month, we're back at hyperekperissou. It's been over four months since I've hosted, so I'm looking forward to getting back in touch with the patristi-blogging world. Thanks to all the hosts over the last few months who have helped me through a very busy summer and fall.

The guidelines remain the same as the Modest Proposal entry back in November, 2006 and my additions in August, 2007.

The last day of submission will be November 30 and the postings will be up in the week of December 6th.

Remember you can offer submissions on the carnival site or the dedicated e-mail (


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Patristics Carnival XXIX is up

Polycarp has the Patristics Carnival XXIX up on his blog, The Church of Jesus Christ. It looks like an exciting series of links. Thanks very much for taking this on this month!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Call for Submissions: Patristic Carnival XXIX

Welcome to Patristic Carnival XXIX. This month, we're over at The Church of Jesus Christ blog again. Thanks to Joel (Polycarp) for taking this month. I've been very appreciative of the efforts of both Joel and Rod in taking the last few Patristic Carnivals as I deal with my excessively busy fall. Thanks very much. You are gentlemen and scholars!.

The guidelines remain the same as the Modest Proposal entry back in November, 2006 and my additions in August, 2007.

The last day of submission will be October 31 and the postings will be up in the week of November 6th.

Remember you can offer submissions on the carnival site or the dedicated e-mail (


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Patristic Carnival XXVIII is up at Political Jesus

I'm a little late with this as this carnival has been up for a few days. Unfortunately, busyness and a cranky computer have prevented me from posting earlier. However, Rod has Patristics Carnival XXVIII up!

Thank you to Rod for his hard work on this Carnival and for a job well done! I very much appreciate the help.

I think the next carnival will be back here at hyperekperissou unless someone wanted to take this carnival as well.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hiatus and Future Directions

It has been quiet here on hyperekperissou over the last couple of months, so I thought I'd better write a short post about why. This year is proving to be an incredibly busy one at work and some of my work-related volunteer projects which, added to getting used to a longer commute with the new house, has sapped up most of my free time and energy which I ususally would give to blogging. This is one reason why I've been incredibly grateful to Joel and Rod for taking on the Patristics Carnivals over the last few months because that has freed me up considerably. But the larger problem of what to do about this blog remains because things do not look like they're going to settle down anytime soon.

Add to this, I've really not been getting ideas about what I should personally be writing. That may be a function of lacking time to read and reflect or it could be symptomatic that it is time to change my approach or my projects in regard to patristics. I really don't know.

So, the long and the short of where I am right now is that I think I have to accept that I need to take a step back from blogging over the next few months. I will continue to coordinate the Patristics Carnvival and post a carnival or two, if I need to (although I can still use help with hosting!). If I get any brilliant ideas about a blog post, I'll do that, but I just don't want to force it. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to figure out what direction God is leading me as far as my patristics interests and this blog. Prayers are always gratefully accepted and any brilliant ideas welcomed.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Call of Submissions- Patristics Carnival XXVIII

Welcome to Patristic Carnival XXVIII. This month, we're over at Political Jesus. Thanks, Rodney, for taking on the Carnival for this month.

The guidelines remain the same as the Modest Proposal entry back in November, 2006 and my additions in August, 2007.

The last day of submission will be September 30 and the postings will be up in the week of October 4th.

Remember you can offer submissions on the carnival site or the dedicated e-mail (


Monday, September 07, 2009

Patristics Carnival XXVII

Patristics Carnival XXVII is now up at The Church of Jesus Christ blog. Thanks very much to Joel (Polycarp) for his willingness to take on this month's blog and for his hard work. Enjoy!

I do have a tentative host for next month, although I do have to confirm it in the next day or two. Watch this space and we'll announce where Patristics Carnival XXVIII will be.



Friday, August 21, 2009

Observations on the City of God

Over the last month or so, I've been working through Augustine's massive, but justly revered, work, the City of God. It has been a good, if slow read. That is a dramatic change from the last few times I've tried to return to this classic. Over the last ten years, I think I've started the City of God at least three or four times. Each time, I've tried, I easily worked through the fun (for me) historical sections, but I bogged down in the Greek religion/Platonist philosophy section in books 6-10 (not fun for me!). This time, I've made it to the second section in which St. Augustine builds his case for the two cities in history- the City of Man and the City of God. I'm just winding up Book 11.

My first encounter with the City of God was way back in the fall of 1991, when I was a new M.A. student enrolled in a course which we jokingly called Beginners Intensive Augustine (really, it was Topics in Mediaeval History). In one term, we read the Confessions and the City of God at what could only be called a breakneck speed. Wow! Thinking back on it, I can't say we did anything but skim over both works as only source-mining historians can. Forget the theology, kids. We focused primarily on issues of audience, historiography and influence. Perhaps that is why I don't recall much about what I did besides a rather lacklustre research paper I wrote on Augustine's historical sources and building 'ramparts' of quotations to defend my interpretations in class on key questions (it was a little bit of combative class). So, what I thought might be helpful is to give some general impressions I've had on the first ten books this time.

First, what has really struck me this time around is just how effective St. Augustine was in appropriating his contemporary cultural inheritance and refracting it through an entirely different Christian lens. His use of the moralizing Roman historiographical tradition, exemplified by Sallust, against the contention that neglect of the gods was what responsible for the sack of Rome in AD 410 is the obvious example, especially his use of the moralizing digressions found in the Bellum Catilinae. Perhaps unnoticed by most people is the exploitation of the moral exemplars used in Latin rhetorical education for a similar end. Using Lucretia, the very model of a noble Roman matron, as a negative example of virtue not trusted is an impressive reversal of a time-worm exemplar. We could multiply the examples all night.

Second, having fought my way through the religion and philosophy section, it is interesting to notice a similar methodology to Augustine's handling of his historical sources. He uses a philosophic critique, first, to undermine both the poetic and civic versions of Graeco-Roman religion by condemning them as superstitious and, then, uses it to undermine the very philosophers he used earlier by condemning them for cowardice and tolerance of superstition. In the first case, he uses the Platonic concept of a natural theology to condemn the morally questionable tales of the gods found in poetry and, particularly, in stage shows and, then, transfers this opprobrium onto the civic cult which, Augustine argues, repeats the same stories as part of their sacred stories. The reluctance of even the Platonist philosophers (the school of philosophy which Augustine believed was closest to the truth represented by Christianity) to condemn the civic religion or even the magical art of theurgy is, in Augustine's eyes, mere cowardice and shows the limits of philosophical religion which might apprehend the truth in its reasoning, but didn't have the courage of its own convictions.

Third, Augustine's theories about daemones and the gods also struck me as interesting, partly in their own right and partly because of conversations I was having with a friend on the subject. Augustine develops a modified Euhemerism when he deals with the nature of the Greek and Roman gods. He argues that the major gods were really historical persons who committed adultery, murdered and such like in their lifetimes, but which were so revered by members of their community that they were considered gods, likely in an analogous form to emperor worship in the pre-Christian Roman Empire. He, then, adds that daemones, which he defines as made of ether and with an eternal life-span, but filled with passions and deceit, exploited this worship and began to perform wonders and portents to transfer the devotion felt to these dead heroes to them. Thus, practices such as sacrificing, telling the sacred, if obscene sacred stories and, eventually, the morally corrupt stage shows come from. What interested me was just how real Augustine felt the daemones were in contrast with our own modern tendency to dismiss such creatures as needless superstition. Personally, I don't know what to do with this. but I'm not comfortable with either tendency.

That, I think, is enough to chew on. I'll probably post again on the City of God, but after I've worked further into the second section.



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Call for Submissions- Patristics Carnival XVII

Welcome to Patristic Carnival XXVII. This month, we're over at The Church of Jesus Christ blog. Thanks to Joel (Polycarp) for taking this month. I always appreciate when someone else hosts because it takes the load off me and I get to see other takes on how the carnival should work.

The guidelines remain the same as the Modest Proposal entry back in November, 2006 and my additions in August, 2007.

The last day of submission will be August 31 and the postings will be up in the week of September 6th.

Remember you can offer submissions on the carnival site or the dedicated e-mail (


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Patristics Carnival XXVI

Patristics Carnival XXVI is now up at Compliant Subversity. There are many fine blog entries on offer, so go out and enjoy them!

Thanks to Seumas McDonald for hosting this month and taking pressure off of me while I move.
The next carnival will probably be back at hyperekperissou...unless someone wants to volunteer!


Sunday, August 09, 2009

History and the Four-Fold Senses of Scripture- Joshua Revisited

It has been a while since I've written, I know, but haven't been able to do so what with moving into our first house, the packing and unpacking and the inevitable long list of errands to get done. It, also, didn't help that it took just over a week to get the Internet hooked up. So, that is by way of excuse for my silence over the last few weeks.

Now that I'm back, I thought the most helpful thing I could do would be to revisit the Joshua discussion that we were having last July. In that post, I attempted to apply the four-fold sense of scripture to Joshua 1-7; a passage which I had read recently and which struck me could benefit from this exegetical approach. In the course of the discussion which followed, a regular commenter, Jim, suggested that the anagogical level of the exegesis ran the risk of becoming eisegesis- that is, could be seen as reading in meaning, not extracting it from the passage. I countered with a suggestion that it was on this level that the the different readings of the OT by Jews and Christians becomes much more prominent as well as agreeing on the importance of reading the OT. Maureen (also, a regular) defended the anagogical level of exegesis by suggesting that it was implicit in the way that biblical writers wrote. Here is the link to that post for those of you who may have missed it and want to see the full discussion.

In thinking about this exchange, I did want to add a few things in retrospect.

Firstly, I don't think I made it clear that, strictly speaking, what I was attempting to do was more typology than allegory. Now, that isn't that big a deal, I grant, as typology is a species of allegory- the difference being that typology is rooted historically because the types are drawn from the history of Israel and linked to later events, usually in Jesus' lifetime. Thus, the earlier event is seen as predicting and preparing the way for the much more significant later event. Thus, the blood of the lamb in Passover is a type of Jesus' blood shed on the cross or Moses extending his arms during the battle against the Amalkites (Exodus 17, 8-15) is a type of Jesus on the cross. The type is, in this sense, a dim reflection of the later event which is, usually, associated with the life of Christ. However, there is a contextual similarity. In the context of the blood of lamb type, the contextual similarity which seems meant is that of sacrifice through blood leading to salvation (of Israel and of the world). In the context of the Moses example, it is that of suffering leading to victory (again, Israel against the real threat of the Amalkites in the first case and people (especially of God) against the forces of evil in the world).

The distinguishing mark between typology and allegory is that typology relies on history rather more than allegory. Allegory is, ultimately, ahistorical, while typology keeps a two-fold sense to history- the event itself is what it is, but it has a hidden significance which only comes to light later, after the coming of Jesus. This, I think, connects to my point about reading the OT in Christian eyes because the type can only be detected in retrospect, when the event it connects to, actually happens. In this case, this is the life of Christ.

A second and more important point in this connection is that my discussion of the typology in Joshua was, in fact, incomplete. I think there is a modified typology between Exodus and Joshua, as I argued, but I didn't try to extend that to what I think the real referent is- Jesus. The fact that the Exodus story was widely considered a type for Jesus and his relationship with the Church (as Israel) suggests that such a connection is essential for understanding this passage and may explain why Jim protested the anagogical level as much as he did as it did kind of come from nowhere. However, if we see in the Exodus story and the wanderings of the Jews in the wilderness as a type of the Church's sojourn in the world, the types will make better sense in a Christian interpretation. I think I've made the link to the Passover story more explicit, so the Rahab story may be considered a secondary type because the red string is intended to recall the blood of the lamb which is, as we observed above, is a type of Jesus' blood. So, the two OT stories share the same typological referent- Jesus' blood and its saving power. This would hold true of the crossing of the Jordon and the crossing of the Red Sea as a type of baptism, especially previewed by Jesus. I'll have to think more on the other parallels, but I think you see where I'm going with this.

My last point is a rather more theological point and one that I think Jim may have problems with. Ultimately, Jim's concern about my anagogical exegesis will probably not be solved by the more full explanation of my allegorical method. I say this because the core of the concern is that I'm reading in meanings which are inconsistent to the meanings intended by the author and remembered by the community addressed by these writings. In a sense, he is right because central to my application of typology to this (or any text) is a suggestion that there is a layer of meaning which the original writers did not understand fully and which we, as Christians, do. That is, we are forced, as Christians, in light of Jesus' life and teaching, to read the Bible quite differently than the original Jewish writers and readers did. In that sense, we are committed to an eisegesis because we are, frankly, reading in the story of Christ into the story of Israel in the firm belief that the story of Israel was meant as a way of previewing and preparing for the salvation of story implicit in Jesus' life, death and resurrection.

So, this begs the question of which reading should we privilege and here we come to precisely where Jim and I are in disagreement. Jim rightly points out that the original intent of the text is more consistent with a Jewish/historical reading. While I agree that this is the original intent and we need to pay strict attention to it, I'm arguing that a second, hidden level of meaning which is deeply Christocentric is key to fully understanding the passage. I am, of course, opening a huge exegetical can of worms here because issues like who decides on a valid allegorical/typological meaning, what to do about the spectre of supersessionism implicit in patristic allegory/typology and what to do about history to name just a few issues before us. Yet, the promise of this kind of patristic reading to get us away from the narrow-minded literalism (in both its conservative and liberal incarnations) characteristic of the current series of church wars as well as help us to understand the OT more fully.

As always, comments and criticisms are welcome.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Ancient Christian Faith Initiative

Once in a while, something comes to my attention which really must be shared. Today, I got an e-mail from Tim Becker of the Ancient Christian Faith Initiative, a ministry with the aim of opening up the wisdom of the Church Fathers for today. Their aim goes beyond merely the academic and wants to reveal to the wider Church the riches of the patristic era as a way of revitalizing Christians today. You can see why I'm excited by this. If you aren't, listen to Tim Becker's introduction on the home page and you soon will be.

The Ancient Christian Faith Initiative is based in Pittsburgh and has been offering courses there since spring. So, if you're in Pittsburgh, take full advantage of these seminars ($120 for the course) Frankly, I'm envious.

If you aren't in Pittsburgh, the ACFI (sorry, just had to abbreviate this) offers an online version which includes a 45-50 minute lecture (weekly), a lengthy pastoral reflection and interaction/feedback on the blog for the course. All this for 60 dollars, besides the books (which you'll want anyway)! This is an excellent chance to learn more about the Fathers from two very qualified teachers.

This is an initiative which deserves to spread and to inform the practice of the whole Church. I know I'm considering the the online version of fall seminar on the Pillars of the Church.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Call for Submissions- Patristics Carnival XXVI

Welcome to Patristic Carnival XXVI. This month, we're over at Compliant Subversity. Thanks Seumas for taking on the Carnival for this month. If there are any other people who would like to host, let me know through the dedicated e-mail given below.

The guidelines remain the same as the Modest Proposal entry back in November, 2006 and my additions in August, 2007.

The last day of submission will be July 31 and the postings will be up in the week of August 3rd.

Remember you can offer submissions on the carnival site or the dedicated e-mail (


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Joshua and the Promised Land

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about biblical interpretation. Reading a book on St. Jerome as a biblical scholar and another dealing, in part, with St. Justin Martyr's approach to the Old Testament has put those issues to the forefront. Scriptural interpretation is, of course, central to both St. Jerome' and St. Justin Martyr's theological projects. Yet, this is scriptural interpretation of a very different sort from the interpretations that we are used to these days. It is richer in many ways, but quirkier. I've blogged about this subject before, but it has always struck me that my discussions of theory, while useful to a degree, need application. So, that is what I propose to do in this post.

This week, I've started reading through the Book of Joshua- not the most studied book of the Bible, of course, but that makes it more of a challenge. What I'm going to try is to frame a discussion about Joshua 1-7- the beginnings of the conquest of the Promised Land by Joshua, son of Nun. As the basis of my exegesis, I will be using the classic fourfold senses of Scripture originally formulated in the patristic era, but applied more consistently in the mediaeval period.

Let me emphasize a few things before I proceed. First, I don't claim any authority in making this exegesis. This is only a trial by an admitted amateur. Second, while I'm only making a trial of this exegesis, I sincerely doubt that I am the first to come up with it. Third, I welcome input, especially if you think I'm reading the passage wrongly. I haven't done extensive research or commentary searches, so the chances that I'll screw something up, especially in the historical area, are great.

So, let's start with the literal level. The Book of Joshua opens up right where the book of Deuteronomy ends- with the death of Moses . Immediately after Moses' death, God, as promised to Moses, calls Joshua to lead the Israeiltes across the Jordon to take possession of the Promised Land. God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous (three times- Joshua 1, 6; 1, 7; 1,9) and that the inhabitants of the land will not be able to stand against them (Joshua, 1,2-9). Joshua sent spies to spy out the land and they found themselves welcomed in Jericho, one of the major cities in the Promised Land, by Rahab the prostitute. The King of Jericho discovered that Israeilites had entered the city and were staying with Rahab. He demanded that Rahab hand over her guests, but she lied that they had already left. She, then, makes a deal with the spies that, when Jericho would be captured (she has no doubts about this), she and her household would be saved. The spies agreed and gave her a sign (a scarlet cord tied around the window through which they would escape) so that her house would be bypassed in the general destruction (Joshua 2). The spies escaped and returned to Joshua. Joshua, then, led the Israelites across the Jordon dry shod- the Ark of the Covenant holding back the onrushing waters until the Israelite army passed through the river bed (Joshua 3-4). As ordered by God, the Israelites all were circumcised at Gilgal and God announced that he had rolled away the reproach of Egypt (Joshua 5). The Israelites, then, attacked Jericho. For six successive days, the Ark of the Covenant and the Israelite army circled the city. On the seventh day, they circled it seven times, the priests made a trumpet blast and the walls of Jericho collapsed. The Israelites captured the city immediately. They killed all its inhabitants except for those with Rahab as agreed. Rahab was allowed to accompany the Israelites with her household (Joshua 5, 13- 6, 27).

There is much here to comment on in the literal level, including, as it does, historical explanation (grammatical parsing of Hebrew is beyond me). We could talk about the political structure of the region before the Israelite invasion which, looks to me, to be based on a series of city-states with no really clear central authority. Jericho appears to be one of the more important of these city-states. We could talk about the size of the Israelite army and its nature as a group of Aramaic desert nomads seeking a permanent home. We could talk about the episode with Rahab as reflecting the hospitality codes, since the demand of the King of Jericho to hand over her guests was in clear violation of that code. There are parallels to this kind of breach of hospitality and its importance, especially in the story of Abraham. Most of these would demand more research and knowledge than I currently have, but, I think, it suffices to point out the directions that a literal-historical analysis could pursue and leave those more learned than I to flesh it out.

On the tropological level, we look for the moral lessons that this passage offers. There are, I think, several lessons that we are meant to draw from this passage, but I want to focus on what I think is the main one. I think we are supposed to contrast the reliance on God of Joshua and this new generation of Israelites to the faithlessness of the previous generation. Time and again, the previous generation failed to have faith in God's saving power which led to a series of incidents of mistrust and apostasy. Even Moses was implicated. This explained the fact that all from that generation including Moses were not considered worthy to enter the Promised Land. However, Joshua's and the Israelite's reaction to God's call to lead his people across the Jordan (Joshua 1, 2-9) is simple acceptance and obedience (Joshua 10-18). Furthermore, they do exactly what God tells them to do, even if it might have seemed unusual like taking the Ark of the Covenant into the Jordon River and going in circles around Jericho for a week. The result is that they are unstoppable and Jericho (and, ultimately, all the Promised Land) fell.

The allegorical level, I think, offers rich possibilities. What struck me most about this section of Joshua is how similar they are to the Exodus story, but with an important difference. The call of Joshua (Joshua 1, 2-9) bears a marked resemblance to the call of Moses to save his people at the burning bush (Exodus 3) with the notable exception that Joshua didn't argue. The sending of the spies (Joshua 2) echoes Moses' sending of the spies with the exception that the news from the spies was encouraging and the people didn't panic and disregard God's promises of assistance (Numbers 13-14). The crossing of the Jordon (Joshua 3-4) recalls the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 13, 17- 14, 31) with the exception that it is the Ark of the Covenant which causes the waters to hold back. The circumcision at Gilgal(Joshua 5, 1-12) recalls the consecration of the firstborn males of Israel in the aftermath of the last plague in Egypt (Exodus 13, 1-16). The rescue of Rahab (Joshua, 2; 6, 22-25)) recalls the Passover (Exodus 12, 1-30), although it is not the angel of the Lord who destroys just the firstborn, but the Israelites themselves as agents of God who destroy the whole city. I know that these parallels aren't in chronological order, but I don't think that matters for what I think is going on here.

The general picture in this rather jumbled picture is a re-casting of the Exodus story in which the rebellion and lack of faith of the earlier generation of Israelites is replaced by the obedience and faithfulness of the new. In each of these cases, key moments in the Exodus narrative are played out and the new Israelites react in concert with God. As a result, there is no surprise they are successful where the previous generation failed. This new Israel is now deserving of the Promised Land through their obedience to the God of Israel. I think this is made clear when God announces, in the circumcision at Gilgal, that the stain of Egypt was now removed (Joshua, 5,9). This is a very different generation to that of its fathers.

If we extend this allegory further, we can see this contrast as an allegory of how humanity deals with God. Many of us call on God in an emergency as the first-generation Israelites did throughout their sojourn in the desert, but baulk at the truly risky work of faith or relax and disregard God when things are better. This makes us double-minded and faithless because we simply don't have the sticking power. God is faithful- as we see in the Exodus narrative. He continually saves His people as he covenanted, despite the disobedience of that people much of the time. Yet, this people only inconsistently do His will and, thus, don't reach the Promised Land (which I think we can take as standing for entering God's Kingdom or resurrected).

The second-generation Israelites are a different breed. Here we find obedience and faith in God's promises. The result: they enter and take possession of the Promised Land. Now, I want to be careful here and emphasize that this is no prosperity gospel. It isn't a question of being holy enough and enjoying the benefits in the here and now. If we accept the Promised Land as an allegory of entering God's Kingdom or the resurrected life, we rightly remove this from material prosperity to spiritual health. Yet, the point I'm making is that, unlike the previous generation, this second generation believes God's promises, acts to fulfill them and, as a result, experiences them.

This last point, of course, links us to the anagogical meaning of this passage. If we accept that the Promised Land is the resurrected life, we, also, find ourselves discussing how does one achieve spiritual salvation. The Book of Joshua here emphasized the importance of faith in God's promises and obedience to His commands as the way that the second-generation Israelites succeed in occupying the Promised Land. If, we follow the allegory I set out above, we also find that the way to God's Kingdom is also through faith in God's promises and obedience to His commands. Central to this is the person of Jesus and his teachings. It is, I think, striking that the Exodus story has, since the early days of the Church, has been taken as an allegory of salvation through Christ. If that is so, this re-cast Exodus in Joshua is also pointing to this same salvation and with the virtues we need to arrive at it.

I hope this exegesis makes sense. I was hoping to link Rahab in more closely because she is, after all, a distant ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1,5), but I just couldn't see how to do it. Constructive feedback is, of course, welcome.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Patristics Carnival XXV

Well, here is the twenty-fifth installment of the Patristic Carnival. Enjoy!

New Under the Tent: New Patristic Blogs And Announcements.

This isn't so much a new blog as the relaunch of an old one. Josh McManaway moves away from Blogger and his old title, New Testament Student to Wordpress and The Son of the Fathers blog. This blog shows considerable promise as a patristics blog, so welcome to the world of patristic blogging, Josh.

Front Gate: Introductions to the Fathers

Nothing new this month.

The Midway: Articles on the Fathers
Mike Aquilina on The Way of the Fathers blog discusses the Ancient Christian Faith Initiative in Pittsburgh, announces the Catholic Heroes of Faith video series whose first video deal with St. Perpetua.

Polycarp on the Church of Jesus Christ blog considers the patristic willingness to combine the female Wisdom with the male Logos. He follows up with a consideration of gender and the Holy Spirit in which he examines the gender used by several patristic authors. He also considers the pivotal role that Proverbs 8 had, especially the link of Sophia with Jesus in the Arian controversy. As a continuation of his series on the Arian controversy, he examines a letter by Arius and his Egyptian supporters to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria. He also considers the influence of Numenius on St. Justin Martyr's trinitarian theology.

Seumas MacDonald on the Compliant Subversity blog published a huge series on patristic trinitarian thought, including a very handy index! You'd think he was preparing for an exam. Oh, right, he was and it sounds like it went well. Congratulations, Seumas!

James Pate on his James' Thoughts and Musings blog considers St. Augustine and his views on the deutero-canonical books, especially on the books of the Maccabees. He follows up with a consideration of whether Judaism in the Diaspora or in Palestine had the deutero-canonical works and why Christians would adopt these works if they didn't. He considers Numenius' concept of the Trinity and the question of whether it influenced or was influenced by Christianity. He discusses how several Church Fathers distinguished between divination and prophecy. He considers Tertullian's understanding of the injunctions that priests should be the 'Husband of one wife' in Leviticus 20-21. He briefly discusses the notion that Genesis 1-3 was not interpreted literally until the 19th century. He considers Clement of Alexandria's views on Marcion, the divinization of humanity, Christian sects and substitutionary atonement. He discusses Origen's views on the fall of pre-existant humanity and follows up with a discussion of Origen's universalism. He discusses Dionysius of Alexandria's view that the Book of Revelation was written by the heretic Cerinthus. He analyses Hippolytus' views on recapitulation and soteriology. He analyses what the epistimological basis of Christianity is with consideration of patristic evidence. Phew, it just makes me tired listing them. For those who are interested, James also has several interesting posts on ancient philosophy as well as commentary on media. Be sure to check below for his discussion of rabbinic sources.

Matt on the grace and peace blog commemorates the Council of Nicaea, the First Ecumenical Council.

Stanford Gibson on the A Fiercer Delight and a Fiercer Discontent blog sets out eight thoughts on St. Clement of Rome with a modern context in mind.

Jason Engwer on Triablogue considers why evangelicals are unwilling to accept the expanded Old Testament canon including an argument that there was no firm consensus on these book in the patristic era.

Father Milan Medakovic on the VONMEN blog publishes a sermon on the Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Council.

TurretinFan on the Alpha and Omega Ministry blog considers the reliability of the oral tradition in early Christianity with St. Irenaeus's writing as a test case.

C. Baxter Kruger on the Baxter's Ongoing Thoughts blog discusses St. Irenaeus' view of the Incarnation as a foil to today's 'Western deistic legalism'

Nick Norelli on the Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth considers how to pronounce some patristic names- complete with reader participation.

Dave Armstrong on the Biblical Evidence for Catholicism blog discusses John Calvin's rejection of the Letters of Ignatius in the light of Catholic-Protestant apologetics. Nice new look to the blog, by the way, Dave!

vorjack on the Unreasonable Faith blog discusses competing patristic teachings about marriage and their mixed effect on the position of women.

Matthew Bellisario on the Catholic Champion blog considers the teachings of St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus and St. Jerome on free will in light of Reformed Protestant views on predestination.

Jennie Letchford on the Little Miss Giggles blog shares a school speech on how the canon of Scripture was established. It is good to see a teen interested in issues like the canon.

Deidre Richardson on the Men and Women in the Church blog considers two assumptions about the role of women in the early Church.

Daniel Egan on the Bible Tidbits blog discusses patristic testimony about Mary as the New Eve.

nhiemstra on the Flotsam and Jetsam blog considers the effect of a dependence on translation had on the understanding of the Old Testament including a section on the patristic era.

The Beggars of the King blog considers the evidence for the Trinity in the Bible and the Fathers.

Jared Cramer on the Scribere orare est discusses a current Episcopal controversy through a discussion of St. Irenaeus' view of recapitulation.

David Waltz on the Articuli Fidei blog considers the relationship between Scripture and tradition in the early Church Fathers.

Ben Blackwell on the Dunelm Road blog highlights several new translations of St. Cyril of Alexandria's writing and discusses St. Macarius on Galatians 5-6.

On this blog, I consider how St. Athanasius' example is used polemically in Anglican controversies.

The Marketplace: Book Reviews (and other media)

Josh McManaway on the Son of the Fathers blog reviews Christopher Hall's book, Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers.

Aaron Taylor (I think) on the Logismoi blog gets a hot tip from his 5-year old daughter and reports on his new purchase, The SCM Press A-Z of Patristic Theology, 2nd ed., by Fr John Anthony McGuckin. He highlight Father McGuckin's entry on St. Macrina as a tribute to Macrina on the A Vow of Conversation blog who retired this month (God bless, Macrina!)

Jeffrey C. Waddington on the Feeding On Christ blog considers resources for Reformed Christians for approaching the Church Fathers including the Ancient Christian Commentary series and the new Ancient Christian Doctrine series (I hadn't heard of this one!)

Exhibition Place: Biographies of the Fathers

Jean M. Heimann on the Catholic Fire blog discusses the life of St. Ephrem Syrus.

Aaron Taylor on the Logismoi blog discusses the life of St. Justin Martyr on the occasion of his Orthodox Feast Day.

James Woodward on his self-named blog discusses the life and theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

The Rodeo: Patristic catenae

TurretinFan on the Thoughts of Francis Turretin blog sets out a patristic catena on the Atonement.

deartheophilus on his self-named blog publishes a patristic catena on Christians and how to deal with wealth and the poor.

The In Communion blog features a patristic catena dealing with the Beatitudes.

The Foreign Exchange Tent: Translations and Summaries

Nothing new this month.

The Talmudic Tabernacle: Christianity and Judaism in the Ancient World

James Pate on his James' Thoughts and Musings blog considers the Talmud's non-literal teachings on the 'eye for an eye' passage in Exodus 21,24. He , also, considers the rabbinic attitude to human nature and evil in contrast to Middle Platonism.

The Apocryphal Aisle: Christian Apocrypha

Nothing new this month.

Well, that is it for this month. Stay tuned for the next Patristic Carnival, hosted next month by Seumas MacDonald at Compliant Subversity. Thanks, Seumas for taking this on this month.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

St. Jerome and Allegory

I have to admit that I struggle with allegory. There is no doubt that there are many allegorical readings which bring light to difficult passages. There is also no doubt that even biblical writers like Paul used it. But, it has never sat comfortably with me. It hasn't because it has always felt like cheating to me- a way to avoid the hard passages. There is no shortage of Christian writers in the past or in the present who use allegory this way. For example, Origen frankly admitted that he used allegory to explain passages which were so offensive to his and other people's sensibilities that they couldn't possibly be taken literally. This is the reason why I'm always a little uncomfortable with the Alexandrian Fathers and why my wife occasionally teases me about being an Antiochene. To some degree, she has a point.

Yet, it is important to remember that even the Antiochenes used allegory (or typology), even though they preferred historical and grammatical exegesis. Allegory is useful, but I've always felt that there has to be some strict controls on it or else it becomes a way of avoiding the hard passages or for making Scripture say what we want it to say. I'm sure many of my readers will recognize these self-serving allegories and will recognize just how it is to counter it, if we don't agree how to limit allegory.

So, you'll understand why this passage by Jerome, quoted by Megan Hale Williams, The Monk and the Book, struck me this afternoon. It comes from St. Jerome's commentary on Habbakuk:

"The historical sense is narrow, and it cannot leave its course. The
tropologogical sense is free, and yet it is circumscribed by these laws, that it
must be loyal to the meaning and to the context of the words, and that things
strongly opposed to each other must not be improperly joined

What works for tropology (the figurative sense of Scripture which includes, but it isn't limited to, allegory) works for allegory. Allegory is necessary because the historical sense is so limited (it is classed as a variety of the literal level), but it needs controls. St. Jerome sets limits which I think work. Ultimately, if the meaning and context don't match, the allegory becomes non-sensical. If they do, the allegory becomes an important tool. It makes sense to me.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Book Review: Euan Cameron, Interpreting Christian History. The Challenge of the Churches' Past

I ran into this book rather by chance, as I was scanning the shelves at my theological library of choice. I think that there are, at least, two things that have just marked me as a historical geek in that statement, I know, but I am a sucker for historiographical discussions. I am even more of a sucker for attempts to figure out what it means to be a Christian historian. I have, of course, written on the subject and it is never very far in my writing. I am, in my heart, a historian, but one who is trying to figure out how to write history from a Christian worldview. There have been people on this blog who have argued that it is impossible to do (either you are a theologian or a historian, not both), but I strongly suspect that that is a unnecessary narrowness of vision. Euan Cameron's book is an attempt to confront these same issues and this is what interested me in it.

Dr. Cameron's book, after a short introduction in which he outlines his project, breaks into four sections. First, he gives a very quick outline of church history. He follows this section with a discussion of key approaches to church history, especially on the issue of change and diversity, over the ages from Eusebius to post-modern approaches. All this is followed by a section which review attempts at a theology of history by many theologians, ending with some final thoughts by Dr. Cameron on the issue. Dr. Cameron, of course, covers a lot of ground in these sections and, particularly, his focus on developing a theology of history are important because it is done far too little by Christian historians. I suspect that this is the Christian historian's equivalent to the aversion felt by most historians to theoretical approaches and the philosophy of history. Yet, it is a problem which begs for attention because, if anything is going to make us Christian historians, it is these kinds of theological considerations. How does one write as a Christian historian, if we don't reflect on just who God is and how He appears in history? Many try to do without this reflection, but the result is to fade into the more generalized background of academic history in general. What make us a peculiar people with a particular history, if I can get all Hauerwasian for a moment?

Central to this book is Dr. Cameron's historical vision. Dr. Cameron' historical approach centres on his consideration of diversity and change in history. That is, he attempts to steer between an absolutist, 'fundamentalist' approach which argues for only one 'true' Christianity in Church history (church history being the history of that one 'true' Christianity) and unrestrained relativism in which the no church, sect or denomination has any logical or theological priority. Instead, Dr. Cameron argues that every visible manifestation of Christianity is only a partial revelation of what the church is- the final manifestation of the Church being reserved for an eschatological time in the undetermined future. As a theology of history, this position is relentlessly Protestant, so I expect to see my Catholic and Orthodox readers rolling their eyes and muttering 'Not again....". Mind you, given my own hesitations about the whole Protestant visible vs. invisible churches, I find myself slightly uncomfortable. I say only slightly because I am a Protestant and I'm not sure that Luther wasn't expressing something useful when he coined these terms, even if I think the vulgar interpretation that this somehow lets us off trying to act like the Church in the here and now (rather than a hypothetical time in the remote future) has caused more harm than good.

The other striking element of Dr. Cameron's approach is the emphasis on change and discontinuity. In historical scholarship, there are two poles in how we approach historical data. One pole looks for continuity and attempts to chart change in light of a line of organic development. The other pole looks for discontinuity- the breaks and inconsistencies which characterize historical developments. Few historians are so extreme so as to stick to one of these poles solely, but they do tend to lean towards one or the other. My own tendency is to lean towards the former approach. Dr. Cameron leans towards the latter. That is, in order to avoid the 'fundamentalist' danger, he emphasizes the discontinuities of Christian history to the point that he tends to dismiss attempts to get at the 'essence' of Christianity as a misconceived approach. Thus, he criticizes such people (who I mostly like) such as Karl Barth, Alasdair MacIntyre, John Millbank and C.S. Lewis for presuming that there is an 'essence' that we can talk about. He is much more sympathetic to the heroes of the 'liberal' Christian- the Niebuhrs, Bultman because, at the end of the day, he shares a variety of historicism with them which breeds a mild form of cultural relativism in which a given cultural expression is not really in continuity with any other expression. I might be over-stating this a little bit, but it is where his thinking is leading. Now, that said, this is also the direction that most historians, both Church and secular, approach their subjects, so this is very much an expression of our times.

This is ultimately what I have found disappointing about this book. I confess that the reason I find this disappointing is because I tend to look for continuity, for essence. That means I'm swimming upstream historiographically. I okay with that, but I wonder how this book might have looked using continuity as a guiding principle.

That said, this is still a very worthwhile book. It opens up the issue of how Christian historians should develop a theology of history and it is worthwhile working with Dr. Cameron's ideas as a backboard to develop one's own. Its theology is liberal Protestant, but it is an erudite book which raises important historical, historiographical and theological questions. It is well worth the read.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Call for Submissions- Patristics Carnival XXV

Welcome to Patristic Carnival XXV. This month, we're still here at hyperekperissou. (If there is anyone, anyone, who'd like to host, let me know. Please!)

The guidelines remain the same as the Modest Proposal entry back in November, 2006 and my additions in August, 2007.

The last day of submission will be June 30 and the postings will be up in the week of July 5th.

Remember you can offer submissions on the carnival site or the dedicated e-mail (


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Use of A Saint: St. Athanasius and Christian History

While I was compiling the last Patristics Carnival, two posts, both posted on May 2nd, the feast day of St. Athanasius, caught my attention. First, Fred Sanders, an evangelical Protestant theologian teaching at Biola University, considered St. Athanasius' multi-front- ten, according to Sanders, but who's counting- theological wars. This is a classic conservative take on Athanasius, emphasizing the theme of Athanasius contra mundum in all its heroism. In this view, Athanasius was the stubborn theological warrior who continued to stand for what was right, despite almost universal imperial, ecclesiastical and theological hostility to his spirited defence of the decision made at Nicaea in 325 BC. While, ultimately vindicated, Athanasius was forced to stand alone for more than a generation, enduring imperial violence, no less than four exiles and endless vitriol aimed at him by his enemies. His resistance preserved orthodoxy in an age where heterodoxy was ascendant. Sanders' treatment of this theme is careful and scholarly, yet aimed at bringing out Athanasius' heroic qualities.

Sanders' article is contrasted by an article by the Rev. Laura Toepfer, an Episcopal priest, in which Athanasius' arguments against his opponents, the Arians, are analysed with an attempt to linking them used in current Anglican disputes. In particular, she notes that Arians claimed that Athanasius' term homoousios (of the same substance-which was at the heart of Christological issue which Arius raised) was unscriptural and against tradition. She notes that this is similar to the claims of the theological conservatives in the Anglican church and enlists St. Athanasius in the attempt to 'sort out this whole 'orthodoxy' thing'. The picture that is left for us is St. Athanasius as a theological innovator and his opponents, the conservatives of the day. In the context of Anglican-speak, there is strong implication that, since St. Athanasius proved right, the innovators in the Anglican Church today will also prove right as well.

My intention in drawing attention to these posts is not so much to condemn one or the other position. Neither position is precisely right or wrong. Nor do these two positions represent the sum total of ways to understand St. Athanasius' career or impact on how Christians think about their faith. A much more hostile view might emphasize the occasional riots caused by Athanasius' strongest supporters, the monks, or weave a conspiracy out of the court gossip that Athanasius was plotting with the usurper, Magnentius, to cut off Egyptian grain to Constantius' capital, Constantinople. Ultimately, both of these views represented are as positive as you can get, given the theological predispositions of the posters. The heroic churchman, defending orthodoxy against all comers, appeals to conservatives, who see Athanasius as setting an example of how to deal with a church culture which seems to have turned against the faith we have received. The bold innovator makes sense to liberals, who see themselves as boldly fixing the errors of the past, brushing past the erroneous traditionalists who quote faulty understanding of Scripture and tradition to support their untenable positions.

I should, of course, say that I'm more sympathetic to the first poster I cite than to the second. I think that the view of St. Athanasius as the theological innovator has a basis of fact, but it is rather overdone by the second poster (drawing, whether directly or indirectly, on Rowan William's Arius). I think this because Arius can only be considered a conservative only by assuming that Originism and Platonic Christianity was the sum total of tradition. That would, I suggest, be a faulty understanding of tradition which had, from the beginning, some real concerns with Origen and the influence of Greek philosophy on Christian theology. It would also ignore St. Athanasius' own debt to Origen. Athanasius drew on Origen, but he also drew on other streams of the tradition than that (his debt to St. Irenaeus is, I note, considerable). Still, I am a moderate conservative and an evangelical at heart, so it shouldn't be surprising that I would hold this position.

What I am trying to emphasize in this post, however, is that important historical figures such as St. Athanasius are much more complex than we necessarily remember in conventional treatments. Nor do I think it right to adopt too monolithic a view of anyone, whether that view was positive or not. It neither helps the cause of Christian history to white-wash a saint, or, conversely, to tar and feather them. I firmly believe that, if Christian history is to be taken seriously, we have to look with open eyes at the virtues and the sins of our saints. St. Athanasius was a brilliant polemicist, organizer and theologian, but he wasn't always scrupulous in his political tactics. Ignoring one or the other aspect of him will produce a distorted picture of a very important person in the life of the Church.

Ultimately, we have to remember our saints are men, not plaster statues. They strove to do right. They sometimes failed in ways that are obvious to us, but, perhaps, weren't so obvious to them. That doesn't make them any less of a saint. It merely makes them human. It merely makes them accessible representatives of what God's grace can do in our own lives.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Patristics Carnival XXIV

Well, here is the new Carnival for May. The posts are a bit uneven as far as my categories, but there is a lot of good reading!

New Under the Tent: New Patristic Blogs And Announcements.

David Neff on the Christianity Today Liveblog announces a new patristics program at Wheaton College, the bastion of evangelical thought.

The admin of the Opus Imperfectum blog reviews the 2009 North American Patristics Society conference amid many, many jokes about naps, NAPS and naps.

Front Gate: Introductions to the Fathers

Brad Raburn on the Life's Journey according to Romans 15,13 blog considers the importance of the patristic period for historical theology.

The Midway: Articles on the Fathers

Robert Gotcher on the Classic Catholic blog discusses the importance of orthodoxy through three examples from the Desert Fathers.

Polycarp on The Church of Jesus Christ blog comments on a letter of the Emperor Constantine to Archbishop Alexander and Arius asking that both to back off from their conflict, offers a similar commentary on a letter by Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia in 318 AD, cites another fragment of Eusebius of Nicomedia to Arius and ends up with a discussion of a letter of Eusebius fo Caesarea to Euphatrion of Balanea.

Fred Sanders on The Scriptorium Daily: Middlebrow assesses St. Athanasius' contributions to the Church in ten different areas.

Laura Toepfer on The Infusion blog takes a rather different take on St. Athanasius by analysing the objections of Athanasius' Arian opponents and comparing them to the arguments of Episcopalian traditionalists today.

David on the He Lives blog discusses early Christian heresies as part of Church History series. He continues with a discussion of how the challenge of these heresies caused Christians to define the faith more closely.

Andrea Elizabeth on the Words, Words, Words blog consideres Athens and Jerusalem, comparing the relative importance of the Greek and Jewish strands within Christian thinking.

NTWebmaster on the Nicene Truth blog features an article by Anna Zhyrkova (Tel Aviv University) on St. John Damascene's discussion of the hypostatic union in the Fountain of Knowledge.

GS Don Morris on the Writing the Wrongs blog features an interview with Dr. Pieter van der Horst on the origins of Christian anti-Semitism.

Father Abe, CRS on The Splendor of the Church blog discusses the patristic evidence for the virginity of Mary.

David Burnett on The Time has been Shortened blog considers the patristic teaching on the Descent of Christ and its use of the 'Jeremiah Logion' as a major source for its defence.

Jason Engwer on Triablogue defends himself against a charge of inconsistency in his reliance on the Fathers as a defence of the canon. He continues with another consideration of apostolic authority and the NT canon. He continues his discussion about the messyness of the canon and asks why we should trust the Early Church's judgement on the canon.

Michael Svigel on the Parchment and Pen blog proposes Retro-Christianity as an antidote to rigid traditionalism and flaccid accomodation to the contempoary culture.

orrologion on the Metaphysics Definition considers Aristotelian Metaphysics, Arius and the origins of the Great Schism.

Shammah on The Rest of the Old, Old Story blog argues (from Tertullian) that the concept of apostolic succession was, in fact, more useful for Protestant apologetics than for Catholic.

Paenitit on the Paenitentia blog considers the challenge that patristic ideas about repentence have for us today.

John Mark Reynolds on the Scriptorium Daily: Essays previews the preface of his new books, When Athens met Jerusalem.

The Breaking Through To God blog considers Theophilus of Antioch, the first 'Christian' Trinitarian.

Roger Pearse on his self-named blog considers Bede's account of Theodore of Tarsus' exegesis about the depths of the sea in 2 Corinthians 11:25. He discusses Constantius II's anti-pagan legislation. He outlines the discovery of a manuscript of Origen and Didymus found in 1941 in Egypt. He investigates whether Firmicus Maternus was a Christian or not. He discusses St. Augustine on Attis and the Galli. He alerts us to a new Italian movie on Hypatia in which St. Cyril appears as a villain. He considers what to do about off-line Origen. He continues his discussion of the homilies of Origen.

Phil Sumpter on the Narrative and Ontology blog considers the Gospel of Nicodemus' exegesis of Psalm 24 and follows up with more ancient authorities on the same Psalm.

Mary on the Milk and Honey blog appreciatively considers the Fathers of the Church.

R.E. Aguirre on the regula-fidei blog considers David Yeago, Scripture and the Early Church in connection with the Protestant belief in sola scriptura.

The Marketplace: Book Reviews (and other media)

Kansas Mom on the Our Home on the Range blog reviews Cardinal Jean Danelieu's The Angels on their Mission which, as appropriate to a patrologist, discusses the patristic take on angels in depth.

Nick Norelli on the Rightly Dividing the Truth blog discusses three books which were influential on him: Larry Hurtado's Lord Jesus Christ, J.N.D. Kelly's Early Christian Doctrines and Letham's The Holy Trinity.

The Bryn Mawr Classical Review blog posts a review of Bernard Pouderon' Histoire de la littérature grecque chrétienne, 1. Introduction. Initiations aux Pères de l'Église. It also review Peter Brown's re-issue of Body and Society.

The Reformed Reader on his self-named blog commends A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature to those trying to find parallels between early patristic and the NT.

Katia on Katia's Esoteric Christianity blog discusses Nathaniel J. Merritt's Jehovah Unmasked: The True Identity of the Bible-God Revealed. As a warning, this is a neo-gnostic view.

John Sanidopoulos on the Mystagogy blog reviews Panagiotes K. Chrestiou's Greek Orthodoxy Patrology.

John G on the furtherandfaster blog reviews Jostein Gaardner's (best known for his philosophical novel, Sophie's world) novel, Vita Brevis: A Letter to St. Augustine- a book critical of St. Augustine's alleged attitude to sex because of his decision to live as a celibate.

R.E. Aguirre on the regula-fidei blog reviews Thomas Scheck's Origen and the History of Justification.

Exhibition Place: Biographies of the Fathers

Thomas on the Faith and Reason blog considers St. Polycarp of Smyrna's life and, especially, his reaction to scandal in the Church in part two of a series on St. Polycarp. His wife has also had their third child this month (which seems to have slowed down his blogging-funny that). Congrats, Thomas!

The Rodeo: Patristic catenae

Nothing new this month

The Foreign Exchange Tent: Translations and Summaries

Nothing new this month

The Talmudic Tabernacle: Christianity and Judaism in the Ancient World

Nothing new this month

The Apocryphal Aisle: Christian Apocrypha

Nothing new this month.

Well, that's it for the month. If you want to host the Carnival for June, let me know!