Chronicles and Eschatology

21 04 2011

You are invited to read my recent article in the Journal for Late Antique Religion and Culture, entitled


and to return to this site to comment.


Book on Theodore of Tarsus released

27 03 2010

Check it out by clicking on the title, below:

The Christology of Theodore of Tarsus

Laterculus Malalianus, Chapter 12

29 04 2007

The following passage represents the primary theological interest, and the sort of hermeneutics which Theodore of Tarsus brought to bear on his examination of the life of Christ. A soteriology of restoration (recapitulation) dominates the text, while the clearly Irenaean (albeit commonly used) motifs of First Eve-Second Eve/First Adam-Second Adam, virgin earth-Virgin Mary are employed to introduce it. This segues into an unexpected use of number-theory and gestational analysis, the purpose of which is to reconcile the number of years it took Zerubbabel to restore the Jerusalem Temple (46) with some aspect of the life of Christ, thereby showing Christ to be the ultimate Restorer. In her commentary on the text, Jane Stevenson informs us that the exegesis of John 2:19 (in Evangelio ait) is shared with Theodore of Mopsuestia. Ideas we might expect from Theodore of Tarsus, especially in light of the biographical information we are now aware of, are certainly evident in this passage.

Hoc namque loco licet inspicere quicquid pertulerit Christus salus et redemptio nostra, omnia gesta esse in homine pleno cum Deo. Nam quod Christus per angelum Virgini nuntiatur, ad evacuandum consilium serpentis ad Evam in paradiso. Quod autem de Virgine natus est, propter protoplastum Adam, quam de virgine terra et impolluta ad suam fecit imaginem; qui cum suadente diabolo mortis incurrisset exitium, a solo Domino Christo rerum reparatore et conditore ejus corporis et animae, per immortalitatem Christi, restauraretur domicilium. Quod autem decimi mensis limitem tetigisset in Virginis utero, id est dies VI supra mense nono perficiens, quod nullus ex filiis hominum tangit metrum nascendo per semen, nisi solus Christus verus Filius Dei et hominis sine semine natus ex virgine; ita ut fiant dies in una collectione constricti CCLXXVI, qui fiunt allegorice vel per typicam quaestionem; quod ipse affatus in Evangelio ait: Solvite templum hoc, et ego in tribus diebus suscitabo illud. Sed Judaei ignorantes capitulum rationis, protulerunt testimonium veritatis, et ita Domino respondentes aiunt: XL et VI annos aedificatum est templum hoc, et tu in tribus diebus suscitabis illud? Ille autem, inquit evangelista, dicebat de templo corporis sui, cujus dispensationem adprehendere nequiverunt Judaei, ideoque numerum annorum aedificationis templi, quod veri templi formam gerebat, Domino protulerunt: quem numerum non sub Salomone conditore ejusdem templi, sed sub Zorobabel, qui et Esdras, restauratore contigisse perlegitur; eo quod gentes, quae in circuitu erant, opus praepedibant. Nam Salomon annis VII complevit opus aedificii templi Domini.

Irenaeus on the Roman Church

18 03 2007

Sed quoniam ualde longum est in hoc tali uolumine omnium Ecclesiarum enumerare successions, maximae et antiquissimae et omnibus cognitae, a gloriosissimis duobus apostolis Petro et Paulo Romae fundate et constitutae Ecclesiae, eam quam habet ab apostolis traditionem et adnuntiatem hominibus fidem per successions episcoporum peruenientem usque ad nos indicantes, confundimus omnes eos qui quoquo modo uel per sibiplacentiam uel uanam gloriam uel per caecitatem et sententiam malam, praeterquam oportet colligunt: ad hanc enim Ecclesiam propter potentiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem conuenire Ecclesiam, hoc est eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique conseruata est ea quae est ab apostolis traditio. (Adv. Haer. 3.3.2.)

‘Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successors of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every church should agree with this church, on account of its pre-eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere’ (3.2), W.H. Rambaut, trans., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol.1, pp. 415-16.

Mary’s Place in Redemption

18 03 2007

from: J. Lawson, The Biblical Theology of Saint Irenaeus, London, The Epworth Press, 1948, pp. 150-51.

For S. Irenaeus this is the chief theological significance of the Virgin Birth, a doctrine to which he attaches great importance.

‘If, then, the first Adam had a man for his father, and was born of human seed, it were reasonable to say that the second Adam was begotten of Joseph. But if the former was taken from the dust, and God was his maker, it was incumbent that the latter also, making a recapitulation in Himself, should be formed as man by God [i.e. not by Joseph] to have an analogy with the former as respects His origin’ (Adv. haer. 3.21.10).

Furthermore, the disobedience of a woman provided the historical occasion of the Fall. In like manner, the obedience of a woman provided the occasion of the Incarnation of the One who recapitulated the Fall.

‘Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ But Eve was disobedient: for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin… having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, became the cause of salvation, both to herself and to the whole human race…. And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary’ (Adv. haer. 3.22.4).

The obedience of the Blessed Virgin Mary is in fact a subsidiary recapitulating action, exactly analogous to the obedience of Christ. She is a subsidiary Champion.

Irenaean Soteriology

11 03 2007

Just as in the invisible world the Logos is already the head of all being created through him, so now in the incarnation he becomes head of the visible and corporeal world, and above all the head of the church, so drawing everything to himself. This represents at the same time a recapitulation of creation and above all, of fallen Adam, i.e. a renewing and saving permeation of the whole history of the world and of mankind by ‘Christ the Head’, from its beginning to its end. In this way, the world, history, man are all brought to their climax, but at the same time, they are all brought back by Christ to their principle, to God. The whole of God’s previous work through the Logos in the world and to men is concentrated in the incarnation of Christ; it reaches its fullness and now in Christ fills the whole of the world and the whole of history.

A. Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1, 2nd ed., trans. J. Bowden, Atlanta, John Knox Press, 1975, p.  102.