The dazzling display of emotional intelligence that gives the Confessions, Augustine's most famous work, its resonance for students of the inner life is evident, albeit in more muted hues, in nearly everything that he wrote: sermons, letters, scriptural commentaries, polemical and apologetic works, and theological meditations. This essay examines Augustine's theology of the emotions. First, it takes a closer look at Stoicism in City of God and Augustine's eventual rejection of its theory and practice of emotion. Augustine's rejection of Stoicism is importantly symptomatic of a shift in his notion of will, from a facility for consent to a focus of internal conflict and incoherence. This essay also discusses the connection between sin and self-undoing by entering into Augustine's fascination with a first or original will to sin. The primary resources used are his psychological analysis in City of God of the Adam and Eve of Genesis and his parallel analysis of himself in Confessions, where he describes a fall of his own.
Maxwell E. Johnson
To study the rites of Christian initiation in the early church is to encounter not one but several liturgical traditions in development. This article seeks to provide an introductory overview of the sources, issues, and problems encountered in the development and interpretation of the rites of Christian initiation within early Christianity. It proceeds in two parts: from the first century to the Council of Nicaea; and from the Council of Nicaea to Augustine of Hippo. Augustine of Hippo serves as a fitting conclusion to this focus since, as a result of his controversies with both Donatism and Pelagianism, a new article in Christian initiation begins and continues throughout the medieval and even Reformation periods of church history.
This essay explores philosophical and theological frameworks for the development in Christianity of notions of “head” religion and “heart” religion. Such notions are the product of a complex and sustained historical interplay of ideas about the soul, body, matter, spirit, thinking, acting, and feeling. While not exclusively the province of Christianity, ideologies of head and heart in religion nevertheless have developed distinctive forms within the Christian cultures of the West, changing over time and leading, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, to an engagement with scientific theories of emotion. In discussing head and heart, this essay focuses on Apollo, the Greek god of reason, and Dionysius, son of Zeus and Bacchus. The essay also looks at representative key historical figures and their theories, namely, Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine as well as Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Edmund Husserl.
Luther criticized the medieval restriction of baptism to an initiating role in the Christian life and expanded its place on the basis of Romans 6:3–11 to embrace daily dying and rising in repentance and reception of forgiveness. God commanded baptism as a form of his Word and promised forgiveness, life, and salvation through it. Luther opposed both veneration of baptismal water apart from the Word and rejection of the saving power of the Word connected to the water. He insisted that baptism leads to and requires faith. Christ also commanded confession and absolution. Luther rejected ‘satisfactions’ as a part of this sacrament, stressing private confession for the forgiveness of sins.
Dogmatic interpretations of Luther’s treatment of Christ’s atoning work dominated much of nineteenth- and twentieth-century assessment of his Christology and soteriology. Marc Lienhard and Ian Siggins moved toward more careful historical research into Luther’s appropriation and adaptation of medieval views of Christ’s two natures, focused on the communication of attributes which Luther refined in his dispute with Zwingli over the Lord’s Supper. Luther abandoned emphasis on the imitation of Christ for focus on his atoning work for the sinner’s reconciliation with God and the liberation of sinners from all forms of evil. Stressing Christ’s being ‘for us’ and the trust that grasps him, Luther taught that Christ is present through faith for the forgiveness, comfort, and guidance of believers.
Allan D. Fitzgerald, OSA
The study of penance in the early church can be challenging because of the variety of opinions among scholars; it can also be difficult because of the apparent diversity in penitential practices among the Christian communities in the first 600 years. Studies of penance have often described it in terms of its severity, rigour, or laxity. Hence, the terminology for this period should stay as close to the texts of that time as possible, so as to allow frameworks and descriptions to be the result of careful study. Some interpretations of the history of penance have presumed an individualistic appreciation of the penitential experience. Liturgy, however, was a significant dimension of the earliest Christian experience, and the communitarian and liturgical contexts for Christian penance need to be given greater importance than they have yet received.
Early Christian pilgrimage involved a journey to a place in order to gain access to sacred power, whether manifested in living persons, demarcated spaces, or specific objects. Movement towards the sacred site, as well as ritualized movements once at the destination, shaped pilgrimage. Places associated with the Bible drew large numbers of pilgrims from throughout the Empire. Yet, local martyrs' shrines and pilgrimage centres with international appeal drew visitors to Italy, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. Travel to sacred centres was common in Mediterranean religions. The Jewish pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles drew large crowds to Jerusalem until the Temple's destruction in 70
For Anglicans there has never been a distinct division between public and private, political and personal, when it comes to matters of faith and their application in Christian ethics. This chapter considers Anglicanism’s engagement with politics. It looks at how Anglicans have addressed issues of justice, righteousness, and redemption from the ethics of individual choice through to national and international politics and economics. This chapter analyses the history of Anglican approaches to politics by unpicking scripture. It discusses how Anglicanism has interacted with politics by looking at churches and nations, the evolution of the Anglican Communion’s institutional life, and contemporary culture.
Columba Stewart OSB
Prayer is a universal feature of human religious practice. Among early Christians, it had two broad and frequently overlapping categories. First, and primordially, there was communal or liturgical prayer, consisting largely of conventional words and actions. Second, there was individual or ‘private’ prayer, more variable in form. This article focuses on private prayer, though the language of private prayer often drew from liturgical prayer. Silent prayer, like silent reading, was rare in antiquity. The study of prayer in early Christianity highlights the uneasy position of Christian religion in late antiquity. Oriented toward Judaism by their sacred writings and devotional practices, Christians found themselves in their early years struggling on two fronts to define their distinctive religious identity and to justify their understanding of God as disclosed in Jesus Christ.
Scholarly reflection on the people behind the Qumran documents has been coloured by the use of the term ‘sect’ from very early on, ever since the first announcement of the discovery of the scrolls was made in 1948. However, more and more scholars have also made an effort to be sociologically informed when hypothesizing about the Qumran movement and its nature. This article discusses the prospects of using the sociology of sectarianism in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The emphasis is on sociological approaches, even though some social-psychological perspectives are also referred to. The aim of sociological approaches in biblical studies is, in the end, to ‘challenge, to broaden and to reformulate the methods of historical criticism’, as well as to understand those processes of social life that cannot be unravelled or reconstructed without the aid of sociological concepts and imagination.
This article examines the relationship between the Trinity and creation, which belongs to the broader dogmatic framework of God's interaction with the world. It outlines some traditional and contemporary views of the human being as an image of God and discusses the analogical relationships between the triune God and creation. It explores the problem of avoiding anthropomorphism and examines contemporary theologies that seek to affirm ontological links between the Trinity and created realities.