Sacred Scripture and Secular Struggles


Twelve leading scholars have collaborated on this unique volume, bringing their biblical and patristic expertise together to show how the first followers of Jesus used their own canonical scriptures to address concerns central to life in the Roman Empire. Sacred Scripture and Secular Struggles offers an overview of how early Christians approached and appropriated biblical texts in addressing wider societal issues of imperial power, slavery, the use of wealth, suicide and other fundamental issues brought about by the convergence of empire and ecclesia.

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Fr. David Vincent Meconi, S.J., D.Phil. (Oxon.) is an associate professor of patristic theology at Saint Louis University. He most recently published The One Christ: St. Augustine’s Theology of Deification (Catholic University of America, 2013), and co-edited, along with Eleonore Stump, the Cambridge Companion to Augustine (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

I: The Canonical Beginnings
Nicole Kelley, The Fragmentation and Inversion of Empire in the Christian Apocryphal Acts
Jonathan Yates, Sic est uoluntas Dei: Latin Patristic views on 1 Peter 2:13-17
Clayton Jefford, Power and Tradition in Apostolic Constitutions

II: 2nd and 3rd Century Developments
Geoffrey D. Dunn, Tertullian and Military Service: The Scriptural Arguments in De corona
D. Jeffrey Bingham, Irenaeus and the Kingdoms of the World
Roberto De La Noval, The Weak God of the Gospels: Mercy, Mysticism, and Martyrdom in Origen’s Contra Celsum

III: Scripture in the Service of Urban Unity
Benjamin Wayman, Psalm 2 and Kingship in Diodore of Tarsus
Alden Bass, Iustus Sibi Lex Est: The Donatist Interpretation of Rom 2:14
Stephen Hildebrand, Should a Christian Sell Everything? Patristic Interpretations of the Story of the Rich Young Man

IV: Augustine’s Legacy
Melanie Webb, Abraham, Samson, and ‘Certain Holy Women’: Suicide and Exemplarity in Augustine’s De ciuitate dei 1.26
Joseph Capizzi, From Slave to Friend: John 15, Philemon and Slavery in Augustine
David Vincent Meconi, From Potestas to Ordo: Augustine’s Reading of Romans 13:1

This volume will serve scholars interested in the intersection of biblical application and societal questions facing early Christians living in the Roman Empire.