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.





Patrologia Latina/Graeca

22 04 2007

I’m not sure where I came across this, but for those who do not have access to Migne’s Patrologia Latina or Patrologia Graeca, it seems that many of the volumes can actually be located by using the Google ‘book search’. The instructions I printed from the Internet are as follows:

‘To locate volumes of the Patrologia Graeca on Google Books, use the search “cursus completus series” (without the quotes). To get volumes of the Patrologia Latina as well, leave out the term “series”. NB: It is important to sepcify “full view”, otherwise nothing much comes back….

‘I find that the online displayed copies often seem to be missing pages; but the PDF available for download for them all does not.’





Bibliography Update

15 04 2007

Due to time constraints, it has been more than two weeks since I last added anything significant to ‘East to West’. More material should be posted this week, but in the meantime, I will simply draw your attention to the slightly updated bibliography on Theodore of Tarsus.

None of the bibliographies posted here can pretend to be exhaustive, and so it is with secondary sources on Theodore of Tarsus. Since the mid-1990s, a great number of references to Theodore have appeared in academic sources, at least partly due to the work of Bernard Bischoff, Michael Lapidge and Jane Stevenson. Significantly, alot of these references have appeared in discussions surrounding the proliferation of the Syriac Christian tradition, and more particularly, the work of Ephrem the Syrian.





Venantius Fortunatus in Passiontide

30 03 2007

The ‘Pange, lingua gloriosi’ presents not only an apt study in Passiontide; it also begs the question as to what traditions Fortunatus was drawing on. Verses two and three are of particular interest for their suggestion that recapitulation is inherently medicinal.

Pange, lingua, gloriosi proelium certaminis
et super crucis tropaeo dic triumphum nobilem,
qualiter redemptor orbis immolatus vicerit.

De parentis protoplasti fraude factor condolens,
quando pomi noxialis morte morsu corruit,
ipse lignum tunc notavit, damna ligni ut solveret.

Hoc opus nostrae salutis ordo depoposcerat,
multiformis perditoris arte ut artem falleret
et medelam ferret inde, hostis unde laeserat.

Quando venit ergo sacri plenitudo temporis,
missus est ab arce patris natus orbis conditor
atque ventre virginali carne factus prodiit.

Vagit infans inter arta conditus praesaepia,
membra pannis involuta virgo mater adligat,
et pedes manusque crura stricta pingit fascia.

Lustra sex qui iam peracta tempus implens corporis,
se volente, natus ad hoc, passioni deditus,
agnus in crucis levatur immolandus stipite.

Hic acetum, fel, arundo, sputa, clavi, lancea;
mite corpus perforatur; sanguis, unda profluit,
terra pontus astra mundus quo lavantur flumine.

Crux fidelis, inter omnes arbor una nobilis,
nulla talem silva profert flore, fronde, germine,
dulce lignum dulce clavo dulce pondus sustinens.

Flecte ramos, arbor alta, tensa laxa viscera,
et rigor lentescat ille quem dedit nativitas,
ut superni membra regis mite tendas stipite.

Sola digna tu fuisti ferre pretium saeculi
atque portum praeparare nauta mundo naufrago,
quem sacer cruor perunxit fusus agni corpore.





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.





Theodore of Tarsus – Secondary Sources

13 03 2007

Bischoff, B. & Lapidge, M., eds., Biblical Commentaries from the Canterbury School of Theodore and Hadrian, Cambridge, CUP, 1994.

Brock, S., ‘St Theodore of Canterbury, the Canterbury School, and the Christian East’, in The Heythrop Journal, 36(4), October 1995, pp.  431-38.

Cubitt, C., Anglo-Saxon Church Councils c.650-c.850, London, Leicester University Press, 1995.

Finsterwalder, P.W., ed. Die Canones Theodori Cantuariensis und ihre Überlieferungsformen, Weimar, 1929.

Lapidge, M., ed. Archbishop Theodore: Commemorative Studies on His Life and Influence, Cambridge, CUP, 1995.

Lapidge, M.,

‘The Career of Archbishop Theodore’;

‘The Study of Greek at the School of Canterbury in the Seventh Century’;

‘The School of Theodore and Hadrian’;

‘Theodore and Anglo-Latin Octosyllabic Verse’,

in Anglo-Latin Literature 600-899, London, The Hambledon Press, 1996.

Siemens, J., ‘Christ’s Restoration of Humankind in the Laterculus Malalianus, 14′, in The Heythrop Journal, 48(1), January 2007, pp. 18-28.

Siemens, J., ‘A Survey of the Christology of Theodore of Tarsus in the Laterculus Malalianus‘, in The Scottish Journal of Theology, 60(2), 2007, pp.  1-13.

Stevenson, J., The Laterculus Malalianus and the School of Archbishop Theodore, Cambridge, CUP, 1995.

Stevenson, J., ‘Ephraim the Syrian in Anglo-Saxon England,’ in Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies Vol. 1, No. 2, July 1998.