In a seldom discussed episode from Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus, the wonderworking bishop converts a pagan temple custodian using the written word and a miracle. Physical proofs seem essential for teaching this outsider about divine power. Yet in the very next episode the narrator praises Thaumaturgus for disregarding physical appearances and for keeping silent. A close reading of the Life 34-47 demonstrates that Gregory of Nyssa models, within the narrative, a progression from basic catechesis through signs to the more complex work of interpreting signs, making inferences from what is seen to that which remains unseen. Contextualizing this paradoxical sequence of Thaumaturgus vignettes in Cappadocian discussions of divine condescension and principles of fourth-century Christian paideia, I show that Gregory of Nyssa uses the juxtaposition between Thaumaturgus’ teaching and conduct to model the flexible approach required for bishops to communicate the nature of divine power to varied audiences.
Paul McKechnie, Christianizing Asia Minor. Conversion, Communities and Social Change in the Pre-Constantinian Era, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019, VIII + 332 pp., ISBN 9781108481465, £ 75.00 (hb).
In this readable book, Paul McKechnie (henceforth: M.) turns away from the major cities that usually are the focus of studies on early Christianity and directs our attention to Phrygia, which is not quite what the title promises. It thus is part of a movement that also locates early Christianity outside the urban world of metropoleis like Rome or Alexandria.1 Phrygia had a long
O. Dufault, Early Greek Alchemy, Patronage and Innovation in Late Antiquity, Berkeley, CA: California Classical Studies 2019, X+168 pp., ISBN 978193992618, US$ 29.95 (pb).
Olivier Dufault hat ein Buch vorgelegt, das äusserst inspirierend ist. Es sei aber vorweggenommen: der Titel hält nicht, was er verspricht; denn das im Umfang doch kleine Buch geht bisweilen weiter über das hinaus, was im Titel steht, und bleibt dafür an manchen Stellen hinter den Erwartungen zu „Early Greek Alchemy, Patronage and Innovation“ zurück.
Dufault teilt sein Buch nach einer Einleitung, die seine Kernthesen sowie knappe Arbeitsdefinitionen der wichtigsten
This article argues that John 8:44 helped to inspire the early Christian view that the creator was an evil being. John 8:44 has at least four possible readings allowed by grammar. In two of these readings, taken by a variety of early Christian groups (including early catholics), there is indication that the devil has a father. Since the desires of this father are known from the parallel desires of his children, some early Christians inferred the hostility of the devil’s father toward Christ, and thus his evil nature.
Editio princeps of P.Duk. inv. 660, a possibly third- or fourth-century papyrus fragment containing a mixture or patchwork (i.e. a cento) of citations of and allusions to the Greek bible: Gen 27:28, Pss 26:2, 4, 41:2, 123:7, and 2 Cor 6:2 are present and a number of other scriptural references are likely. What remains of the papyrus indicates that it held some personal or devotional function.
Bieler, Jonathan, Der Einheitsbegriff als Kohärenzprinzip bei Maximus Confessor. Eine Studie zu Ps-Dionysius-Rezeption, triplex via und analogem Weltbild bei Maximus Confessor (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 152), Leiden– Boston: Brill 2019, IX, 417 pp., ISBN 978-90-04-39974-7, € 138/ US$ 166 (hb).—Dissertation Universität Zürich; supervisors Silke-Petra Bergjan, Benjamin Gleede a.o.: ‘… lays out the importance of the concepts of transcendent divine unity, goodness and truth for understanding the coherence of the whole of Maximus’ thought, which brings together theology, anthropology and Christology into a unified vision that is based on an analogy between creator and creation.
Marianne Bjelland Kartzow, The Slave Metaphor and Gendered Enslavement in Early Christian Discourse: Double Trouble Embodied (Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World), London: Routledge 2018, xiii + 167 pp., ISBN 978-0-8153-7465-7, £ 120.
Slavery was one of the most pervasive social institutions to shape the thought of early Christianity. Despite much contention, nowhere does the Bible explicitly denounce slavery and call for its abolition. Not only was slavery as a social practice and institution accepted in early Christian communities, but it was also readily utilized as a metaphor in early Christian discourse. This latter occurrence
In the fifth century, the author of the Life and Miracles of Saint Thekla transformed Thekla’s story from a simple Greek work into a grand epic. He collected stories and rewrote the Acts of Thekla using methods that were similar to other Christian and non-Christian works. The author employed classicizing language and allusions to Homer and other ancient writers in order to convey the high status he deemed appropriate to the story. Like other Christian works, the author rewrote scripture as a way of reinforcing and updating its importance. Through these stylistic features, the Life and Miracles conveys an appreciation for literary education and suggests a context in which reading, writing, and devotion were mutually reinforcing.
Christian Thrue Djurslev, Alexander the Great in the Early Christian Tradition. Classical Reception and Patristic Literature. Bloomsbury, London/New York 2020, x + 232 pp. ISBN 9781788311649. £ 85.
The Middle Ages inherited from antiquity a view of the ancient past that was structured around the Succession of the Four Empires—Assyrian, Persian, ‘Greek’ or Macedonian, and Roman. Alexander the Great was thus a pivotal figure in medieval articulation of history. The direct source from which medieval writers acquired this picture was the Historia adversus paganos of Augustine’s pupil Orosius (ca. AD 385–425), whose portrayal of
Guillaume Berthon, Bibliographie critique des éditions de Clément Marot (ca. 1521–1550). [Travaux d’ Humanisme et Renaissance 602]. Droz, Geneva 2019, 877 pp. ISBN 9782600059381. CHF 119; € 98.
Clément Marot (1496–1544) was one of the most popular French poets in the sixteenth century. The number of editions of his works published between 1532 (the year of the first publication of L’ Adolescence clementine) and 1544 (the year of his death), easily surpasses a hundred, a unique number for works of poetry in French. Publishers-booksellers supplied the market with collections and anthologies of all kinds, both with and