As the winter semester heads into the home stretch, the students in my “Reading with the Fathers” course will be turning their attention to the towering figure of St. Augustine of Hippo. The influence of Augustine upon the Western theological tradition, through his copious written output, is unfathomable. While a strong case could be made for assigning Augstine’s Confessions, I have opted to have the students read significant chapters from his massive City of God. With the end of semester and graduation fast approaching, I don’t have a lot of time for extensive blogging, but I did think I could in the days ahead share some of the stimulating and provocative quotes from The City of God against the Pagans. Continue reading Some Lighter Reading from “The City of God”
A rich, but very busy semester has cut into the frequency of my blog postings this year. However, a spring “snow day” here in Manitoba has provided me with the opportunity to share a quote from the 4th century Church Father Gregory Nazianzus. I was lecturing on the Cappadocian Fathers last week in my “Reading with the Fathers” class and we will be discussing Gregory’s “Defense of His Flight to Pontus,” as well as his “Last Farewell” (delivered at the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.) this coming week. Continue reading Gregory Nazianzus on the Pursuit of Wisdom
“This language of loss and diminuition clearly suggests the possibility of coming to nothing, of annihilation stricto sensu. That is what gives it the undeniable power it has. For Augustine, as for most of the fathers of the church, the possibility of self-annihilation is suggested by a grammar of participation and gift. On this view, the fact that you are is sheer unmerited gift, and what you are is a participant in the LORD. Continue reading Griffiths on The Lure of the Void
It was able to share an enjoyable evening last night with an engaged group of people at the McNally Robinson bookstore in Winnipeg. One of the things I was attempting to do in my lecture was to recover the eschatological character of the Christian faith, bound up as it is with the coming of Messiah and the pouring out of the promised Spirit. The irruption of the eschaton introduces the distinction between church and world, which is clearly elucidated by Hauerwas and Willimon in the following quote which appeared in my lecture: Continue reading It’s Still the End of the World!
Thomas G. Weinandy concludes his book Athanasius: A Theological Introduction (Aldershot: Ashgate, 207) with a set of brief, but penetrating reflections upon lessons that the contemporary North American church and academy would do well to learn from the 4th century Church Father. Here are a few of the incisive paragraphs on what Athanasius has to teach us about reading Scripture: Continue reading Athanasius Addresses the Contemporary Church
I’ve been revisiting Philip J. Lee’s incisive study Against the Protestant Gnostics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987) in anticipation of lecturing on the life and work of the second century Church Father Irenaeus. Lee’s diagnosis of Protestant Gnosticism seems just as apt in 2019 as when he first published the book some thirty years ago. Here’s a few quotes from a chapter entitled, “Results of a Gnosticized Protestantism” that caught my attention. Continue reading American Protestant Gnosticism