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A Critical Reappraisal of Augustine’s Doctrine of Grace in his Sermones ad Populum on Liturgical Feasts and during the Donatist Controversy
Augustine of Hippo (354-430) became known as the ‘doctor of grace’. He developed his theory of divine grace mainly in his systematic treatises directed against the Pelagians (ca. 411-430). Did he however also preach about this complex, and at first sight ‘demoralizing’, issue in his sermons to the people? In his previous book (BSCH 59), Anthony Dupont studied the profile of the treatment of gratia in the anti-Pelagian sermones ad populum. In a Preacher of Grace Dupont offers an account of the presence of the theme of grace in Augustine’s sermones not situated in the Pelagian controversy. He first studies sermons preached on important liturgical feasts, which belong to the (non-polemical) pastoral preaching genre. They are distributed throughout the 40 years of Augustine’s preaching activity, and are Christological in content and moralising in intention. Secondly, he examines sermons situated in the Donatist controversy, preceding the anti-Pelagian sermons chronologically and differing from them in terms of content. This research provides a global picture of the presence and treatment of gratia in Augustine’s sermones and clarifies the interaction between context, audience and preaching genre on the one hand, and the theme of grace as a whole on the other. It also contributes to the debate on (dis)continuity in Augustine’s thought on grace.
The Jesuit Mission to Christian Ethiopia, 1557-1632
In Envoys of A Human God Andreu Martínez offers a comprehensive study of the religious mission led by the Society of Jesus in Christian Ethiopia. The mission to Ethiopia was one of the most challenging undertakings carried out by the Catholic Church in early modern times.
The book examines the period of early Portuguese contacts with the Ethiopian monarchy, the mission’s main developments and its aftermath, with the expulsion of the Jesuit missionaries. The study profits from both an intense reading of the historical record and the fruits of recent archaeological research. Long-held historiographical assumptions are challenged and the importance of cultural and socio-political factors in the attraction and ultimate estrangement between European Catholics and Ethiopian Christians is highlighted.
One of the earliest and most ambitious projects carried out by the Society of Jesus was the mission to the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia, which ran from 1557 to 1632. In about 1621, crucial figures in the Ethiopian Solomonid monarchy, including King Susenyos, were converted to Catholicism and up to 1632 imposing missionary churches, residences, and royal structures were built. This book studies for the first time in a comprehensive manner the missionary architecture built by the joint work of Jesuit padres, Ethiopian and Indian masons, and royal Ethiopian patrons. The work gives ample archaeological, architectonic, and historical descriptions of the ten extant sites known to date and includes hypotheses on hitherto unexplored or lesser known structures.
Protestants entering Africa in the nineteenth century sought to learn from earlier Jesuit presence in Ethiopia and southern Africa. The nineteenth century was itself a century of missionary scramble for Africa during which the Jesuits encountered their Protestant counterparts as both sought to evangelize the African native. Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa, edited by Robert Alexander Maryks and Festo Mkenda, S.J., presents critical reflections on the nature of those encounters in southern Africa and in Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Fernando Po. Though largely marked by mutual suspicion and outright competition, the encounters also reveal personal appreciations and support across denominational boundaries and thus manifest salient lessons for ecumenical encounters even in our own time.

This volume is the result of the second Boston College International Symposium on Jesuit Studies held at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) in 2016. Thanks to generous support of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, it is available in Open Access.

In The Mission of the Portuguese Augustinians to Persia and Beyond (1602-1747), John M. Flannery describes the establishment and activities of the Portuguese Augustinian mission in Persia. Hopes of converting the Safavid ruler of the Shi’a Muslim state would come to naught, as would the attempts of Shah ‘Abbas I to use the services of the missionaries, as representatives of the Spanish Habsburgs, to forge an anti-Ottoman alliance with the papacy and the Christian rulers of Europe. Prevented from converting Muslims, the Augustinians turned their attention to Armenian and Syriac Christians in Isfahan, later also establishing new missions among Christians in Georgia and the Mandaeans of the Basra region, all of which are described herein. The history of the Augustinian Order is generally under-represented by contrast with other Orders, and this study breaks new ground in existing scholarship.
Ecumenical Initiative and Sacramental Strife in the Anglican Communion
Costly Communion: Ecumenical Initiative and Sacramental Strife in the Anglican Communion seeks to engage with Anglicanism’s theological responses to the onset of the twilight of empire and to explore the diversity of Anglican sacramental and ecumenical controversies during the twentieth century. From sacramental initiation and the doctrine of Eucharistic sacrifice to church order and the historic episcopate, Costly Communion offers insights into Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical attempts to resolve the divisions provoked by the impact of the Oxford Movement from the 1830s. In its engagement with sub-Saharan African contextualization of the Anglican, moreover, Costly Communion analyses the unanticipated threat that Anglican diversity now poses for the unity of the Anglican Communion.

Contributors are: Jeff Boldt, Jeremy Bonner, Hugh Bowron, Mark Chapman, Colin Buchanan, Ken Farrimond, Joseph Galgalo, Benjamin Guyer, Charlotte Methuen, Thomas Mhuriro, Esther Mombo, Zablon Nthamburi, Kevin Ward.