This is the first English translation of the last two theological works of Eusebius of Caesarea, Against Marcellus and On Ecclesiastical Theology. The first text was composed after the deposition of Marcellus of Ancyra in 336 to justify the action of the council fathers in ordering the deposition on the grounds of heresy, contending that Marcellus was “Sabellian” (or modalist) on the Trinity and a follower of Paul of Samosata (hence adoptionist) in Christology. Relying heavily upon extensive quotations from a treatise Marcellus wrote against Asterius the Sophist, this text provides important information about ecclesiastical politics in the period before and just after the Council of Nicea, and endeavors to demonstrate Marcellus’s erroneous interpretation of several key biblical passages that had been under discussion since before the council. In doing so, Eusebius criticizes Marcellus’s inadequate account of the distinction between the persons of the Trinity, eschatology, and the Church’s teaching about the divine and human identities of Christ.
On Ecclesiastical Theology, composed circa 338/339 just before Eusebius’s death, and perhaps in response to the amnesty for deposed bishops enacted by Constantius after the death of Constantine in 377 and the possibility of Marcellus’s return to his see, continues to lay out the criticisms initially put forward in Against Marcellus, again utilizing quotations from Marcellus’s book against Asterius. However, we see in this text a much more systematic explanation of Eusebius’s objections to the various elements of Marcellus’s theology and what he sees as the proper orthodox articulation of those elements.
Long overlooked for statements at odds with later orthodoxy, even written off as heretical because allegedly “semi-Arian,” recent scholarship has demonstrated the tremendous influence these texts had on the Greek theological tradition in the fourth century, especially on the orthodox understanding of the Trinity. In addition to their influence, they are some of the few complete texts that we have from Greek theologians in the immediate period following the Council of Nicea in 325, thus filling a gap in the materials available for research and teaching in this critical phase of theological development.
The past thirty years have seen an unprecedented level of interest in early Christian biblical interpretation, from major scholarly initiatives to more popular resources aimed at pastors and general readers. The fields of Biblical Studies and Patristics/Early Christian Studies each arrived at the study of early Christian biblical interpretation largely from their own standpoints, and they tend to operate in relative isolation from one another. This books aims to bring the two fields into closer conversation, in order to suggest new avenues into the study of the deeply biblical dimension of patristic theology as well as the contribution that patristic exegesis can make to contemporary views of how best to interpret the Bible.
Based on a multi-year consultation in the Society of Biblical Literature, The Bible and Early Trinitarian Theology features leading scholars from both fields, who bring new insights to the relationship between patristic exegesis and current strategies of biblical interpretation, specifically with reference to the doctrine of the Trinity. Following an account of how each field came to study patristic exegesis, the book offers new studies of Trinitarian theology in Old Testament, Johannine, and Pauline biblical texts and the patristic interpretation of them, combining the insights of modern historical criticism with classical historical theology. It promises to make a valuable contribution to both fields, suggesting several new avenue into the study of early biblical literature and the development of Trinitarian theology.
Under the broad umbrella of the Christian religion, there exists a great divide between two fundamentally different ways of thinking about key aspects of the Christian faith. Eugene Webb explores the sources of that divide, looking at how the Eastern and Western Christian worlds drifted apart due both to the different ways they interpreted their symbols and to the different roles political power played in their histories. Previous studies have focused on historical events or on the history of theological ideas. In Search of the Triune God delves deeper by exploring how the Christian East and the Christian West have conceived the relation between symbol and experience.
Webb demonstrates that whereas for Western Christianity discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity has tended toward speculation about the internal structure of the Godhead, in the Eastern tradition the symbolism of the Triune God has always been closely connected to religious experience. In their approaches to theology, Western Christianity has tended toward a speculative theology, and Eastern Christianity toward a mystical theology.
This difference of focus has led to a large range of fundamental differences in many areas not only of theology but also of religious life. Webb traces the history of the pertinent symbols (God as Father, Son of God, Spirit of God, Messiah, King, etc.) from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament through patristic thinkers and the councils that eventually defined orthodoxy. In addition, he shows how the symbols, interpreted through the different cultural lenses of the East and the West, gradually took on meanings that became the material of very different worldviews, especially as the respective histories of the Eastern and Western Christian worlds led them into different kinds of entanglement with ambition and power.
Through this incisive exploration, Webb offers a dramatic and provocative new picture of the history of Christianity.
This study will be useful for those who study the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as those who are interested in the role of scriptural and philosophical resources in Christian theology. Fi
In this magisterial work, Michele M. Schumacher seeks to promote dialogue between disciples of the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (d. 1988) and those of the church's common doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) on a critical theological question. How are analogies and metaphors from the philosophy and theology of the person (anthropology) rightly used to address the mystery of the Trinity? She does so by considering the specific setting of Balthasar's theology: the inseparability of his work from that of the Swiss physician and mystic Adrienne von Speyr (d. 1967).
This book explores Basil's Trinitarian thought as the meeting place of the worlds within which he lived, that of ancient Greek culture and learning, and that of Christian faith lived in the liturgy and expressed in the Scripture.