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According to the growing assent of scholars, marks off chronologically the Alexandrian from the Byzantine period of Greek literature, and it is that cleaves into uneven but appropriate parts that career of Eusebius Pamphilil. In training and in literary taste, Eusebius belongs to the earlier time. Officially and in literary productivity, he belongs to the later. It was shortly after that Eusebius became a bishop, as it was, for the most part, after that his works were actually composed.

Of events contemporary with these later years, Eusebius recorded much that is valued, but it is for what he tells of the earlier period—of the days before the Peace of the Church—that he looms so large in the history of history and of literature. Through him—through him almost alone—are preserved to us the feeble memories of an age that died with himself. Friend of John Chrysostom and pupil of Diodore of Tarsus, the founder of the method of exegesis practiced in Antioch, Theodore was appointed bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia in His works were condemned by the fifth ecumenical council of , and only the Commentary on the Twelve Prophets , here appearing in English for the first time, survives entirely in Greek.

Does Theodore deserve either or both of these extreme assessments? Why did his adversaries allow this one work to survive the flames untouched? Theodoret of Cyrus in the decades after Theodore's death had his works open before him as he commented on prophets, just as modern commentators will also appreciate his work.

That may have been the reason why in he visited the Alexandrian scholar Didymus the Blind and requested a work on this prophet. Though long thought to be lost, the work was rediscovered in at Tura outside Cairo along with some other biblical commentaries. As a result we have in our possession a commentary on Zechariah by Didymus that enjoys particular distinction as his only complete work on a biblical book extant in Greek whose authenticity is established, which comes to us by direct manuscript tradition, and has been critically edited.

Thus it deserves this first appearance in English. Even Cyril of Alexandria in the next generation will lean rather to the historical style of commentary found in the Antiochene scholars Theodore and Theodoret, whose works on the Twelve are also extant and who had Didymus open before them. Didymus alone offers his readers a wide range of spiritual meanings on the obscure verses of Zechariah, capitalizing on his extraordinary familiarity with Holy Writ despite his disability , and proceeding on a process of interpretation-by-association, frequently invoking also etymology and number symbolism to plumb the meaning of the text.

His zealous and intrepid defense of the orthodox faith and his contribution to handling the external affairs of the Eastern Church were by no means the whole service to which St. Basil the Great devoted his considerable talents. His life both exemplified and shaped the ascetical movement of his time.

After renouncing a brilliant career as rhetorician, he traveled widely, studying the various forms of asceticism practiced in Eastern Christendom. On his return, he retired in the year to a place near Neocaesarea to put into practice the best of what he had seen, and there disciples soon joined him. When his friend Gregory of Nazianzus visited him there in , he began to write his Rules and other works that have had great importance in promoting and regulating the common life of monasticism.

Benedict in legislating for Western monasticism. The ascetical writings of St. Basil contained in this volume, addressed to both monks and laymen, are of prime importance for understanding the role their author played in the Church of the fourth century and, through his influence, still plays today. The letters of St. Basil, in number, which comprise the most vivid and most personal portion of his works, give us, perhaps, the clearest insight into the wealth of his rich and varied genius. They were written within the years from , shortly before his retreat to the Pontus, until his death in , a period of great unrest and persecution of the orthodox Catholic Church in the East.

Their variety is striking, ranging from simple friendly greetings to profound explanations of doctrine, from playful reproaches to severe denunciations of transgressions, from kindly recommendations to earnest petitions for justice, from gentle messages of sympathy to bitter lamentations over the evils inflicted upon or existent in the churches.

As may be expected, the style in these letters is as varied as their subject matter. Those written in his official capacity as pastor of the Church, as well as the letters of recommendation and the canonical letters, are naturally more formal in tone, while the friendly letters, and those of appeal, admonition, and encouragement, and, more especially, those of consolation, show St.

He had the technique of ancient rhetoric at his fingertips, but he also had a serious purpose and a sense of fitness of things. To St. He himself disapproved of a too ornate style and carefully avoided it. His early education, however, had trained him for the use of rich diction and varied and charming figures, and, when the occasion warranted it, he proved himself a master in their use.

Whether we look at them from an historical, an ecclesiastical, or a theological point of view, the letters are an important contribution. These exegetical homilies explore numerous Psalms and the Hexaemeron—and ancient theological treatise on the six-day creation account. These writings on the Hexaemeron are the earliest written and were noted to be extremely popular among the educated Christians of his era, and display a profound devotion to God and evidence of his goodness in the workings of creation.

In Against Eunomius , we see the clash not simply of two dogmatic positions on the doctrine of the Trinity, but of two fundamentally opposed theological methods. Thus Against Eunomius marks a turning point in the Trinitarian debates of the fourth century, for the first time addressing the methodological and epistemological differences that gave rise to theological differences. Amidst the polemical vitriol of Against Eunomius is a call to epistemological humility on the part of the theologian, a call to recognize the limitations of even the best theology.


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While Basil refined his theology through the course of his career, Against Eunomius remains a testament to his early theological development and a privileged window into the Trinitarian controversies of the mid-fourth century. The Christian funeral oration is one of the most elaborate of Christian literary forms. It represents an attempt to adapt to Christian use a pagan Greek form with many hundreds of years behind it. The Christian masterpieces presented in this volume reflect a long, rich, and varied pagan literary tradition in East and West, and at the same time exhibit modifications and new elements which give them their specific Christian character.

The volume presents the most generally admired ancient Christian funeral orations—four from the Greek those of St. Gregory Nazianzen , four from the Latin those of St. From the Bishop of Nazianzen, we have words spoken in honor of three kinsmen, his father, a brother, and a sister, and of the great St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea. Two of the orations from the lips of St. Ambrose are likewise for a kinsman, his brother Satyrus, while the other two are for wearers of the purple, the youthful Valentinian II and the emporor Theodosius.

Raised in a multi-generational Christian family, Gregory of Nazianzus was also well-educated, well-traveled, and tutored in almost every discipline of the Greek arts, philosophies, sciences, and literatures. The numerous poems written by Gregory had a profound influence over Byzantine hymnology, although, beyond that, they largely provide a treasure trove of autobiographical and historical data.

This translation makes available nineteen orations by the fourth-century Cappadocian father Gregory of Nazianzus. Most are appearing here in English for the first time. Composed in a variety of rhetorical formats such as the lalia and encomium, the sermons treat topics that range from the purely theological to the deeply personal. Up until now, Gregory has been known primarily for his contributions as a theologian, indifferent to the social and political concerns that consumed his friend Basil.

This view will change. It has been due in large measure to the interests and prejudices of the nineteenth-century editors who excluded the sermons translated here from the Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Church. This new translation will help the English-speaking reader appreciate just how deeply Gregory was engaged in the social and political issues of his day. Exemplifying the perfect synthesis of classical and Christian paideia, these homilies will be required reading for anyone interested in late antiquity. The introduction and notes accompanying the translation will assist both the specialist and the general reader as they seek to navigate the complex environment in which Gregory lived and worked.

In the Christian world of the fourth century, the family of St. Gregory of Nyssa was distinguished for its leadership in civic and religious affairs in the region of the Roman Empire known as Pontus. Cardinal Newman, in an essay on the trials of St. Macrina, a work included in this volume, we learn of the fortitude of the three preceding generations. On her death-bed, St.


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Macrina, recalling details of their family history, speaks of a great-grandfather martyred and all his property confiscated, and grandparents deprived of their possessions at the time of the Dioceltian persecutions. Their father, Basil of Caesarea, a successful rhetorician, outstanding for his judgment and well known for the dignity of his life, died leaving to his wife, Emmelia, the care of four sons and five daughters.

Gregory praises his mother for her virtue and for her eagerness to have her children educated in Holy Scripture. After managing their estate and arranging for the future of her children, she was persuaded by St. Macrina to retire from the world and to enter a life common with her maids as sisters and equals. This community of women would have been a counterpart of the monastery founded nearby by St. Basil on the banks of the Iris River.

In a moving scene, St. Gregory tells of his mother's death at a rich old age in the arms of her oldest and youngest children, Macrina and Peter. Blessing all of her children, she prays in particular for the sanctification of these two who were, indeed, later canonized as saints. Newman notes the strong influence of the women in the family, and in one of his letters, St.

Basil gives credit to his mother and his grandmother, the elder Macrina, for his clear and steadfast idea of God. The homilies on St. The 88 homilies, which date from about , work systematically through the text of St. In his exposition Chrysostom reflects his youthful Antiochene training in the interpretation of Holy Scripture through his emphasis upon the literal or historical meaning of the sacred text.

The exposition focuses sharply on practical morality and thus often supplies telling information about fourth-century life and times. Judged by modern tastes the Discourses may seem lengthy, and Chrysostom himself admits that they taxed his energies when he complains of having become hoarse. In Antioch of the late fourth century two highly divisive forces contributed to deteriorating Judaeo-Christian relations: very successful Jewish proselytizing, and Christian Judaizing.

Both activities profoundly disturbed a vigilant leader and eloquent preacher such as Chrysostom was. These Discourses , frequently interrupted by applause from the audience, present in their historical context one facet of the deteriorating relations. Antedating Chrysostom by some two centuries, emerging views that the Jews were a people cursed and dispersed in punishment for their unbelief and deicide were gaining credence; witness some statements by Irenaeus in Lyons and Tertullian in northern Africa.

In the course of time certain passages of sacred Scripture began to be reinterpreted, when occasion presented itself, in such a way as to endow the polemics with divine authority. A simplistic view of the complex problem of anti-Semitism raised the cry, almost a century ago, that the Church nurtures hatred against the Jews and at the same time protected them from the fury she had unleashed. Acta apostolicae sedis 58 — Therein the Council officially re-affirmed the common religious patrimony of Jews and Christians.

It clearly rejected any alleged collective guilt of the Jewish people for the death of Christ and their alleged rejection of God. John Chrysostom presented here were delivered at Antioch over a period of several years beginning in AD The final two homilies were delivered in after Chrysostom became patriarch of Constantinople. All but one of the homilies aim at refuting the Anomoeans, heretics who revived the most radical tenets of Arius and blatantly claimed that man knows God in the very same way that God knows himself. He departed from this series of refutations only in the sixth homily, which he delivered on December 20, , again at Antioch.

It consists of a panegyric of St. Philogonius, bishop of Antioch ca. AD —, who before his episcopal ordination had led a very exemplary life, practiced law and contracted a marriage that was blessed with a daughter. In addition to their theological content, these homilies contain many other points of interest. On one occasion, people applauded the speaker and were very attentive to the homily but then left the church so that when Christ is about to appear in the holy mysteries the church becomes empty Hom III.

Chrysostom also indicates that people kept talking to one another at the sacred moment when Christ becomes present Hom IV. He also mentions that chariot races often proved more enticing than going to church Hom VII. Chrysostom relates the story of St. Babylas, bishop and martyr, who defended the Church against an evil emperor and whose relics produced sobriety at Daphne and silenced the oracle of Apollo. Although a product of Christianized sophistic rhetoric, the discourse on Babylas furnishes interesting new material on the development of the veneration of relics and church-state relations in the third and fourth centuries.

This translation makes available for the first time in English one of the most significant Old Testament commentaries of the patristic period. The Genesis homilies, his richest Old Testament series, reveal a theologian, pastor, and moralist struggling to explain some of the most challenging biblical material to his congregation in Antioch. While critical exegetical details go without mention and Chrysostom was limited to the Greek version of the Old Testament in his studies, his oratory has been judged golden and his theology profound. He was a preacher satisfied with commenting on Scripture with his moral purpose always to the fore.

Chrysostom studied the Scriptures with Diodore of Tarsus, a distinguished exegete known from fragments of his commentaries on Genesis and Psalms, and a polemic style developed from his pastoral concern to protect his congregation from the dangerous influences of fourth-century Antioch. As such, his Genesis homilies constitute a milestone in the history of biblical interpretation. This first of several volumes on Genesis contains homilies 1—17, delivered in Antioch before Chrysostom moved to Constantinople in Robert C. He continues in Homily 18 with Genesis 3 and finishes in Homily 45 with Genesis They seem to have been delivered perhaps as early as , half just before and during Lent and the remainder, from Homily 33 onward, after Pentecost.

The Genesis homilies reveal Chrysostom as commentator, preacher, moralist, and profoundly theological and precise exegete of Scripture, the truth of which he teaches for the betterment of this congregation. In the homilies in this volume, the last of three, Chrysostom concludes his examination of the lives and virtues of the Old Testament patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as recounted in the last three chapters of Genesis.

Known for his eloquent preaching, Chrysostom delivered these final 22 homilies after Pentecost. His motive for examining the accounts of the lives of the patriarchs is to show how the just forebears of the Israelites, in a time when both the law and the Gospel were yet unpreached, were able to live Christian lives with only simple trust in God and the balanced, almost ingenuous manners of antiquity.


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His interest in the events and characters of Genesis is largely moral, even moralistic; he tends to see Scripture as hagiography. As an exegete, Chrysostom may seem disappointing to those grounded in the methods of modern biblical scholarship, since he largely ignores any sense of Scripture other than the literal and is generally unaware of how to resolve difficulties and appreciate subtleties that a knowledge of the original text would provide. However, what lacks in scientific accuracy he more than compensates for with his earnest practice of pastoral care.

John Chrysostom delivered nine homilies on repentance in Antioch of Syria sometime between and With conviction and certitude, he preached that repentance was a necessity for both the sinner and the righteous man. He believed that repentance is the liturgical tool that rejuvenates sinners and admits them into the life-giving Eucharist where they experience fully and dynamically the concrete presence of God. The powers of repentance have rich biblical roots, and Chrysostom masterfully weaves his teaching with a plethora of Old and New Testament citings.

From Scripture, the reader learns that repentance is never confined to the eucharistic context—it becomes a way of life for the believer. In his introduction to the homilies, Fr. Gus Christo includes a succinct biography of Chrysostom within which he sets the homilies in their chronological context.

This volume presents for the first time in the Fathers of the Church series the work of an early Christian writer who did not write in either Greek or Latin. It offers new English translations of selected prose works by St. Ephrem the Syrian c. AD — The volume contains St. The translators have enhanced the volume with a general introduction, extensive bibliography, and specific introductions to each of the works. Together these features provide an overview of the major scholarship on St.

Ephrem and Syriac Christianity. In the two commentaries presented here, Ephrem focuses only on portions of the sacred text that had a particular theological significance for him, or whose orthodox interpretation needed to be reasserted in the face of contemporary heterodox ideas. He does not provide a continuous, verse by verse exposition. Ephrem marshaled his considerable theological and rhetorical talent to challenge the appeal that the doctrines of the Arians, Manicheans, Marcionites, and the followers of Bardaisan might have had to the minds and hearts of Syrian Christians.

In the face of their rational systems, his was the voice that insisted on the incomprehensibility of the divine nature. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria — , is best known as a protagonist in the christological controversy of the second quarter of the fifth century. Readers may be surprised therefore to find such polemic absent from this early work on the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament.

Indebted to the diverse approaches of Didymus, Jerome, and Theodore, Cyril appears in this work as a balanced commentator, eclectic in his attitude and tolerant of alternative views. Although he displays an occasional uncertainty in his grasp of historical and geographical details, as well as an inclination to verbosity, Cyril has conspicuously influenced the exegesis of his younger contemporary Theodoret of Cyrus, and has made a vital contribution to the development of biblical interpretation in the church.

Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from to Cyril was well educated, wrote extensively, and was a leading figure in the First Council of Ephesus in , the third ecumenical council of the early Christian Church. The council convened amid disputes over the teachings of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Cyril led the charges of heresy against Nestorius.

Drawing insights from older contemporaries, Cyril examines in depth the historical contexts of prophetic texts, utilizing his knowledge of events and geographical locations in deriving his interpretations. Cyril in turn has exerted a direct influence on Theodoret of Cyrus, thus forging a link in the succession of patristic exegetical developments. For Cyril, as for the Fathers in general, the internal unity of the Bible guarantees that its texts can be applied to the interpretation of other texts within the scriptural canon.

This relationship is the basis of a motif that unifies the Old and New Testaments, with the prophets serving as precursors of the Savior; thus their proclamations, though often aimed at the events of their own times, speak to believers of all eras. Applying his knowledge of ancient Israelite history in his analysis of the immediate context for each of these prophetic books, Cyril believes that Zephaniah was addressed to the residents of Jerusalem in the years preceding the Babylonian Exile, and the other three were addressed to a newly repatriated, post-exilic nation.

An emphasis on theodicy is a primary theme of this book. When no repentance ensues, God sends harsh but just punishments, employing the brutality of enemy nations as his instruments, yet always doing so with the loving purpose of returning his people to himself. Where the prophetic oracles mention the Jewish priesthood, altar, or sacrifices, Cyril takes the opportunity to exhort Christian priests to preserve their moral purity and to fulfill their liturgical duties with devotion.

This extrapolation from the ancient to the contemporary, from Israel to the Church, is compatible with the typological interpretation that Cyril utilizes in conjunction with his literal, historical approach. The Temple is a type, or foreshadowing, of the Church, and the sacrificial lamb of the Passover prefigures Christ. Thus Cyril maintains his connection with the Alexandrian tradition of allegorical exegesis while presenting a balanced, multi-faceted interpretation that applies passages from many other parts of the Bible to extract a wealth of meaning from the prophetic books.

Cyril of Alexandria famously took up the debate against Nestorius on the theological interpretation of the deity of Christ, a number of which are addressed in these volumes. This fifth-century Christological controversey comprises most of the teaching of these letters, notably even letters not addressed to Nestorius. The conflict with Nestorius eventually brought Nestorius to condemnation after the Council of Ephesus in , in which Cyril presides at the request of Pope Celestine. Almost the entire collection here has to do with the controversey surrounding the Council of Ephesus and the schism of bishops on either side of the theological controversey.

Cyril of Alexandria is best known for his role in the Christological disputes of the fifth century. In recent years, however, scholars have turned their attention to Cyril the exegete. Cyril wrote extensive commentaries on nearly every book of the Bible; in fact, two-thirds of his extant corpus is devoted to biblical interpretation. Yet, despite this strong interest in Cyril as theologian and biblical interpreter, his activity as the Patriarch of Alexandria remains obscure. In Alexandria, festal letters functioned primarily as a vehicle for announcing the beginning of Lent and the proper date for the celebration of Easter.

They also served an important catechetical purpose by providing the patriarch with an annual opportunity to present his flock with a pastoral version of the theological issues that found more formal and complex expression elsewhere. Cyril of Alexandria is best known for his role in the Christological controversies of the fifth century.

In recent decades, scholars have been attending more carefully to his exegetical legacy. Indeed, during his long career he wrote commentaries on nearly every book of the Bible.

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Here the Festal Letters are especially helpful. The present volume completes the set. Festal letters were used in Alexandria primarily to announce the beginning of Lent and the date of Easter. They also served a catechetical purpose, however, allowing the Patriarch an annual opportunity to write pastorally not just about issues facing the entire see, but also about the theological issues of the day. Thus, in these letters we catch a glimpse of Cyril the pastor writing about complex theology in an uncomplicated way. These letters also illuminate other realities of the ancient church in Alexandria, especially the relationship with the Jewish community and the rising influence of asceticism.

This volume makes available for the first time in English the major biblical commentary by one of the leading exponents of Antiochene exegesis, Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus. Though commentators less well acquainted with this lengthy work have been ready to dismiss Theodoret as lacking originality, a sounder assessment would acknowledge his willingness to take account of previous work, from both Alexandria and Antioch, and steer a middle course. He deliberately avoids the excesses of allegorical interpretation of Origen, on the one hand, and of the historicism found in Diodore and Theodore, on the other.

Moderation and flexibility are the hallmarks of his own approach to the Psalms, to which he comes not as scholar or preacher but as teacher and pastor. This translation respects the conciseness which the bishop sets as one aim for himself, his other principle being to let the text speak for itself. The work thus bears the marks of the theological currents of those years, especially as Theodoret was instrumental in convening that Council and was involved in the Christological and trinitarian debates of the period.

Theodoret was the leading theologian of his time in the Antiochene tradition, and in the Eranistes written in he offers a lengthy exposition of his Christology, coupled with a refutation of the so-called Monophysite Christology that, despite its condemnation at the General Council held at Chalcedon in , survives to this day, having been embraced by several large churches of the East. The Eranistes is written in the form of three dialogues between two characters: Orthodox, who represents Theodoret's thought, and Eranistes, who is presented as a heretic.

In two dialogues Theodoret argues that the Word of God was immutable and impassible in his divine nature, and that Christ experienced change and passion only in his human nature. A third dialogue argues that, in the union of the divinity and humanity in the one person of the Word incarnate, the natures remained unmixed.

To bolster his arguments Theodoret incorporates extensive citations, not only from orthodox ecclesiastical writers, but also from the heretic Apollinarius and the suspected Arian, Eusebius of Emesa. The texts of many of these citations are known only from the Eranistes and are therefore important witnesses to the development of patristic Christology. Critical issues in Antiochene and Alexandrian Christology are broached by Theodoret in the text and are further discussed by the translator in the introduction and notes.

Bishop of Jerusalem for nearly forty years, he experienced three expulsions from his see, these due as much to politico-ecclesiastical rivalry as to his participation in the contemporary theological controversies, in which Cyril played an important and still disputed role. The present volume carries about half of the bishop's most valuable production, a series of catechetical lectures for Lent and Easter week. The introductory lecture the Procatechesis admitted the catechumens to the instructions to follow.

Of these, the Catecheses proper, the first twelve appear in this first volume, the remaining six, with the five Mystogogical Lectures for Easter Week , are in volume 2. The conferences are based firmly in the sacraments and in the successive articles of the Creed. It is upon the Creed and the various forms of it with which Cyril was involved that much of the extended Introduction centers. This volume includes the remaining six lectures for catechists and the five Mystogogical Lectures.

Ambrose was an archbishop of Milan and one of the most influential figures of the fourth century. He is one of the original four Doctors of the Church and Latin theologians. His writings had a direct influence on St.

He furthered fourth-century Mariology, Christology, and soteriology, and allegedly ended Arianism in his diocese, Milan. These volumes of his collected and translated writings bring the intensity of his ancient rhetoric back to the present, allowing us an unusually full glimpse at the early church. He is one of the four original Doctors of the Church and Latin theologians. This volume contains 59 homilies preached by St. Jerome on selected Psalms.

As far as can be determined now these homilies were intended primarily for the instruction and edification of the monastic community that Jerome had established in Bethlehem where he spent the closing years of his life. They were recorded by scribes in the audience, and consequently the text may at times reflect the inadequacies of the listener. Some scholars believe that an affirmative answer is correct, others citing the evidence of Homily 69 on Psalm 91, think that the content of some homilies is too deeply theological to be an impromptu composition.

In any event, some patristic scholars have been bold enough to declare Jerome the most learned Latin Father of the Church. Capelle; the other on the First Sunday of Lent, edited by I. In the present volume, they are Homilies 89 and Dom Germain Morin, as noted in the Introduction of Volume 1 of this translation, discovered fourteen homilies, providing a second series on the Psalms, in four Italian Codices dating from the tenth and fifteenth centuries.

This chief obstacle is that of chronology. The De viris illustibus was written in all probability in —, whereas the homilies appear to have been written in , the date determined by the study of Dom Morin. Other scholars, as U. Moricca, A. Penna, G. There is question also whether the Septuagint or the Hebrew Psalter was in the hands of Jerome when he wrote or preached the homilies on Psalms 10 and They seem, in fact, to have been written rather than delivered, for he speaks of readers rather than hearers.

They differ from the regular series of sermons in their greater erudition, more sophisticated language, many Greek expressions, and variations from the Hexapla. The closing doxology so characteristic of the other sermons is missing in them. They are much longer, and Jerome speaks of certain details as if he had already explained them. On the whole, they give evidence, too, of greater care in preparation.

The important service that he rendered to the Church in his doctrinal works is often overlooked or minimized by those who look for originality and independence of thought. Jerome was not a theologian in the strict sense of the word. He was no original thinker, and he never abandoned himself to personal meditation of dogma as St. Augustine did. Although he kept strictly to what he found in tradition, the importance of his doctrinal authority is not thereby lessened.

After spending twelve years of his early life at his native Stridon, he was sent to Rome in the year to finish his literary studies.

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For the next eight years, from to , St. Jerome studied very diligently grammar, the humanities, rhetoric, and dialectics. He also took a passionate interest in the Greek and Latin classics, in the philosophers and poets, and especially in the satirists and comic poets. These studies, it seems, tended not to soften, but to exaggerate the temperament of St. Jerome who was by nature irascible and impulsive, and sensitive to criticism and contradiction. The reading in the satirists and the comic poets developed in him a taste for caricature and a penchant for making damaging allusions. Moreover, the trials before the Roman tribunes, which he attended eagerly, and wherein the advocates indulged in mutual personal invective, further developed in him the art and science of polemics which he was to employ so effectively and skillfully in the controversies which were to engage his attention seriously.

Jerome stressed the fact that the Church must always be regarded as the supreme rule and decisive standard of the Christian faith; and that that Church gives the true sense of the Scriptures, and is representative of tradition. It was owing to this firm conviction on the part of St.

Jerome that the years of his later life were consumed in endless conflicts with the enemies of the Church. Jerome never spared heretics, but always saw it that the enemies of the Church were his own enemies. His encounter with the Sabellians was St. Jerome's first quarrel with an enemy of the Church. He gave notice early in his life that he would be a staunch protector of the doctrinal authority of the Church, and that he stood ready to attack any and all heresies that raised their heads against the Catholic faith.

Often cited as a source of biographical information on ancient Christian authors, On Illustrious Men provides St. Heterodox writers and certain respected non-Christians Seneca, Josephus, and Philo are included in this parade of luminaries, which begins with the apostles and concludes with St.

Jerome himself and a list of his own works prior to , the year in which On Illustrious Men was composed. Jerome produced this work in his monastery at Bethlehem, to which he had retreated after his precipitous exit from Roman ecclesiastical politics. He had, however, maintained correspondences with several of his former associates, such as Dexter the son of Pacian, bishop of Barcelona , to whom he addressed the work.

Jerome attempts to demonstrate the erudition and nobility of character which render Christianity immune to the criticisms of its cultured despisers. Since this work can be regarded as the patrology textbook of its day, its translator, Thomas P. Halton, has continued St. Extensive footnote material and appendices furnish a wealth of information useful for patristic research. In addition, an index to all of the Fathers of the Church volumes published to date, listed by individual authors, appears in this, the hundredth volume of the series.

Jerome — has been considered the pre-eminent scriptural commentator among the Latin Church Fathers. His Commentary on Matthew , written in and profoundly influential in the West, appears here for the first time in English translation. Although he himself resided in Palestine for forty years, Jerome often relies on Origen and Josephus for local information and traditions. His stated aim is to offer a streamlined and concise exegesis that avoids excessive spiritual interpretation.

His polemic against theological opponents is a prominent thrust of his exegetical comments. The Arians, the Gnostics, and the Helvidians are among his most important targets. Against Arius, Jerome stresses that the Son did not lack omniscience. Against Marcion and Mani, Jerome holds that Jesus was a real human being, with flesh and bones, and that men become sons of God by their own free choice, not by the nature with which they are born. Against Helvidius, Jerome defends the perpetual virginity of Mary.

In this commentary, Jerome calls attention to the activity of the Trinity as a principal unifying theme of the Gospel of Matthew. He also stresses that exertions are necessary for the Christian to attain eternal salvation; that free will is a reality; that human beings cooperate with divine grace; and that it is possible to obtain merit during the earthly life.

Prior to the middle of the fourth century, the exegesis of St. Paul had been monopolized by Greek and Syriac commentators. Then, in the space of half a century c. Jerome was the greatest biblical scholar of the ancient Latin church, and his Commentary on Galatians is one of the crowning achievements of his illustrious career.

It far outclasses the five other contemporary Latin commentaries on Galatians in its breadth of classical and patristic erudition, Hebrew and Greek textual criticism of the Bible, and expository thoroughness. It is unique also because it is the only one of the Latin commentaries to make the Greek exegetical tradition its main point of reference.

This volume contains roughly a third of St. The sermons offer readers a glimpse into the daily life, religious debates, political milieu, and Christian belief and practice in the second quarter of fifth-century Ravenna. Chrysologus preached and served as bishop at a time when the seat of the western Roman Empire was located in Ravenna.

His sermons attest to his relations with the ruler of the state, the Empress Galla Placidia, as well as his familiarity with some of the significant theological controversies of the day. His chief importance, however, was not as an outstanding theologian, but as a shepherd who ruled his flock and preached well to its members. Loyally orthodox, he urged them to practice Christian virtues. He was concerned with their moral rectitude and spiritual growth, their understanding of the basic tenets of the Christian faith, their reverence and love for God, and their immersion in the Scriptures.

The imagery that he employs indicates how attuned he was to the experiences of his congregation, how enamored he was of the beauty of the countryside or seashore, and how thoroughly imbued he was with the letter and the spirit of the Scriptures. In , the Fathers of the Church series published selected sermons of St. Peter Chrysologus ca. This volume is the third in the Fathers of the Church series to make available selected sermons of St. A gifted homilist, Chrysologus manifested great reverence for the Scriptures as divine communication and made them accessible to his congregation.

The Gospels occupy the foreground in most of his sermons, yet Chrysologus allows the reader a glimpse of the daily life, religious debates, political milieu, and Christian belief and practice in mid-fifth-century Ravenna. In this volume are several expositions of St. Most of the selections, however, are homilies on texts from the four Gospels that Chrysologus interpreted throughout the year. Of particular note is his preaching on specific liturgical seasons—the end of Lent, Easter, Pentecost, the period immediately prior to Christmas, and the Christmas and Epiphany cycle.

Hilary was a gifted orator, a zealous Christian philosopher, and a defender of orthodoxy. He often did theological battle with the Anomoeans and the Semi-Arians, and traveled across Europe to bring the local bishops out of the hold of Arianism. Here, twelve books on the Trinity by St. Hilary are compiled, bringing his throughts together on the deity, sonship, and interrelationship of God. When the writing of Latin biblical commentaries was still in its infancy, a young bishop from Poitiers, in Gaul, penned a passage-by-passage exposition on the Gospel of Matthew. It is the first of its kind to have survived almost completely intact.

Nonetheless, there exists in this text an oft-stated concern with those who interpreted the Incarnation as grounds for construing Christ as only a man rather than professing Christ as God and man. In his view, the importance of the Law before the Gospel was indisputable and necessary. For Jews, it was considered the way of redemption. With the advent of Christ, it became an eschatological guide directing all future believers into the grace that comes by faith.

Marius Victorinus, a contemporary of St. Ambrose and one who had considerable influence on St. After his conversion, probably AD , he turned his vast learning to the composition of theological treatises in refutation of Arianism and the errors of Ursacius and Valens expressed in the Creed of Sirminum as well as those of Basil of Ancyra and of the Homoeans in the credos of Sirmium and Rimini in Both documents are quite probably literary devices helping to bring into sharp focus the matters under discussion. These are followed by four books Against Arius , a short treatise demonstrating the necessity of accepting the term homoousios of the same substance , and three Hymns , mostly in strophic structure, addressed to the Trinity and explaining the names and functions of the divine Persons in salvation history.

In the Treatises , Marius Victorinus adopts, in addition to the then traditional arguments, Neoplatonic concepts—adapted probably from Porphyry—to present a systematic explanation of the Trinity. Posthumous influences of the Treatises are discernible in works of Alcuin. The present translation is made from the latest critical text and has profited greatly from the vast erudition of Pierre Henry and Paul Hadot. Each of these reflect his dissatisfaction with public policy and law, his thoughts on theology and polity, and his relationships with friends and family in the context of Christian vocations.

As the vestiges of the Roman political machine began to collapse in the fifth century AD, the towering figure of Pope St. Leo the Great came into relief amid the rubble. Sustained by an immutable doctrine transcending institutions and cultures, the Church alone emerged from the chaos. Eventually, the Roman heritage became assimilated into Christianity and ceased to have a life of its own.

It would be practically impossible to understand this monumental transition from Roman world to Christendom without taking into account the pivotal role played by Leo—and not the emperor—who went out to confront Attila and Hun. It was Leo who once averted and on another occasion mitigated the ravages of barbarian incursions. As significant as his contribution was to history, Leo had an even greater impact on theology.

When partisans of the monophysite heresy had through various machinations predetermined the outcome of a council held at Ephesus in , Leo immediately denounced it as a latrocinium robbery rather than a concilium council. Pope Leo also developed the most explicit and detailed affirmations known up to that time of the prerogatives enjoyed by successors if St. Many theological principles find their clearest, and certainly their most eloquent, expression in his sermons.

Leo spoke with all the refinement of a Roman orator, without the pagan trappings, and thus epitomized a Christian appropriation of the classical heritage. In the midst of it all, however, Pope St. Leo thought of himself simply as the humble servant of those entrusted to his care. This volume presents the first English translation of the complete Sermons. For centuries, the writings of St.

Nicetas, bishop of Remesiana were mistakenly attributed to others who share similar names with him. Now, for the first time, the writings of St. Nicetas have been gathered together in the same volume and made available in English, allowing readers to inspect closely his ecclesiastical writings and poetry. Throughout his writings, there are clues that point to his contribution to the Catholic Church as a whole—such as the similarities in his poems to the Te Deum , and his writings on early catechetical instruction. Tiro Prosper of Aquitaine. Prudentius, often acclaimed as the greatest Latin Christian poet, was born probably in Calahorra, Spain, the son of highly cultured Roman citizens and fervent Christians.

His death occurred after The metric structure of his poems clearly shows the great influence of Horace although echoes of other Latin poets are likewise detected. The Book of Hymns for Every Day Liber Cathemerinon is a collection of hymns for use at times of prayer that were once customary in the early Church: at cock-crow, morning hymn, hymns before and after repast, hymn at time of lamp lighting, hymn before sleep.

Hymns to be used for special feasts and occasions conclude the work. Three more hymns honoring the memory of Quirinus, Romanus and Cyprian conclude this work. The accounts of the martyrdom of Sts. It cannot be said that poetry, in a literary sense, truly prospered in Christian surroundings. However, the greatest of the Latin Christian poets was the present author, who was born in any one of the three cities: Tarragona, Saragossa, and Calahorra. Modern scholarship favors Calahorra.

Any estimate of Prudentius must include a recognition of certain defects in his works, notably the length and prolixity of his hymns, the crude realism in his descriptions of the torments of the martyrs, the long declamatory speeches, the unreality of his allegory, and his excessive use of alliteration and assonance. Though his writings as a whole cannot be ranked among those of the great poetry in many instances. Prudentius has a technical skill surpassing that of the other Christian Latin poets.

He is the creator of the Christian ode and the Christian allegory. He has something of the epic power of Virgil and the lyric beauty and variety of Horace. Prudentius has still greater claims to greatness, however, in the Christian thought and inspiration of his poetry. In his poetry, Prudentius celebrates the triumph of Christianity over paganism. He saw the Church emerging from its three-hundred-year struggle against the forces if idolatry and heresy, triumphant through its saving doctrine and the blood of its martyrs.

He saw the magnificent basilicas, both in Spain and in Rome, rising in the place of the pagan temples. As an historian of Christian thought and culture at the end of the fourth century, Prudentius cannot be overestimated. In recent years historians and theologians have focused considerable attention on the church of late antiquity. The Constantinian revolution of the early fourth century produced changes that would affect profoundly and permanently the fabric of traditional Greco-Roman society and early Christian spiritual life.

This volume—the third of the works of the Iberian Fathers in the Fathers of the Church series—brings together writings from Pacian of Barcelona and Orosius of Braga, two notable Iberian authors and orthodox partisans of the turbulent late fourth and early fifth centuries. Pacian, bishop of Barcelona, was renowned in his own day for both his active ministry and his literary talents. Admired by St. Augustine of Hippo and St. But, in addition, in the two treatises translated here he furnishes mush insight into the contemporary heretical movements in Spain and the course of Peligian controversy.

Extensive notes and helpful introductions offer readers further guidance and detail. Most readers are quite likely to have some basic information about St. Cyprian d. Ambrose ca. Augustine — Fewer readers are likely to be equally informed about St. Anthony ? Paul the Hermit d. Hilarion ca. Perhaps hardly any reader is acquainted with the holy monk Malchus, presumably a contemporary of St.

Jerome ca. The primary requisite of this genre is to serve a religious purpose: edification. Herein hagiography differs considerably from a modern critical biography which demands historically verifiable events and accounts. Nevertheless the account of Malchus, as it is presented in this volume, is unique.

If we may take St. Jerome at his word, the Life of Malchus could well be an autobiography. In any event, many generations have come to look upon these accounts as classics. Augustine attempts to prove that the Roman Empire suffered as many disasters before as after Christianity was received. It was a common argument among the pagans that the abandonment of the worship of their deities had led to the general break-up of the Roman Empire and all its attendant evils.

Augustine was annoyed by the persistence of this argument and hoped that a history of all the known people of antiquity, with the fundamental idea in mind that God determines the destinies of nations, would put an end to that pagan thinking. Augustine called upon his young friend Orosius to do this work.

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The great St. Augustine, in his declining years, requested the youthful and far less gifted Orosius to perform a most important task. The work completed in shows sign of haste. In addition to Holy Scripture and the chronicle of Eusebius revised by St. All the calamities suffered by the various peoples are described often with annoying monotony. Yet the work is valuable as history, containing as it does contemporary information on the period after AD. It was used widely during the Middle Ages, and the existence today of nearly manuscript copies is evidence of its past popularity.

Format: Digital. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. My Account. Tracing two thousand years of female leadership, influence, and participation, Elizabeth Gillan Muir examines the various positions women have filled in the church. From the earliest female apostle, and the little known stories of the two Marys — the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene — to the enlightened duties espoused by the nun, the abbess, and the anchorite, and the persecutions of female "witches," Muir uncovers the rich and often tumultuous relationship between women and Christianity.

The book includes a timeline of women in Christian history, over 25 black-and-white illustrations, a glossary, and a list of primary and secondary sources to complement the content in each chapter. Save UP TO. By Elizabeth Gillan Muir. This groundbreaking volume packed full of helpful notes and sources is a must-read for those who want a more complete understanding of the history of the Christian Church.

Women in the Early Church: Part I 2. The Nun, the Abbess, and the Anchorite 5. La Papesse and La Pucelle 6. Woman as Witch 7. The Mystics 8. Methodism The Missionary Impulse Women in the Church Today. You are about to donate to the Champlain Society.