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In his commentary on Gregory of Nyssa’s Adversus Macedonianos, Piet Hein Hupsch highlights the carefully composed structure of this work and the important connection between its theological, rhetorical and stylistic elements. In his capacity of arbiter fidei, which was bestowed upon him by the Council of Constantinople in 381, Bishop Gregory wrote this circular letter in the form of a counteraccusation against the Pneumatomachi, developing his Trinitarian theology of adoration in which the Spirit occupies a central role.

In a systematic-theological synthesis of this work, Hupsch shows how the Spirit draws baptised human beings and human language into the relatio of the three divine persons, the dynamic circle of divine glory of which the Spirit is the personification.
In Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Matthew V. Novenson brings together thirteen state-of-the-art essays by leading scholars on the various ways ancient Jewish, Christian, and classical writers conceive of God, Christ, Wisdom, the demiurge, angels, foreign gods, and other divine beings. In particular, the book revisits the “early high Christology” debates of the 1990s, identifying the lasting contributions thereof as well as the lingering difficulties and new, emerging questions from the last thirty years of research. The essays in this book probe the much-touted but under-theorized distinctions between monotheism and polytheism, Judaism and Hellenism, Christianity and paganism. They show how what we call monotheism and Christology fit within the Greco-Roman world of which they are part.
Providence, Dualism, and Will in Later Greek and Early Christian Philosophy
Author: Dylan M. Burns
Is God involved? Why do bad things happen to good people? What is up to us? These questions were explored in Mediterranean antiquity with reference to ‘providence’ ( pronoia). In Did God Care? Dylan Burns offers the first comprehensive survey of providence in ancient philosophy that brings together the most important Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac sources, from Plato to Plotinus and the Gnostics.

Burns demonstrates how the philosophical problems encompassed by providence transformed in the first centuries CE, yielding influential notions about divine care, evil, creation, omniscience, fate, and free will that remain with us today. These transformations were not independent developments of ‘Pagan philosophy’ and ‘Christian theology,’ but include fruits of mutually influential engagement between Hellenic and Christian philosophers.
This volume, edited by René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati, deals with the debate about fate, providence and free will in the early Imperial age. This debate is rekindled in the 1st century CE during emperor Augustus’ rule and ends in the 3rd century CE with Plotinus and Origen, when the different positions in the debate were more or less fully developed. The book aims to show how in this period the notions of fate, providence and freedom were developed and debated, not only within and between the main philosophical schools, that is Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism, but also in the interaction with other, “religious” movements, here understood in the general sense of groups of people sharing beliefs in and worship of (a) superhuman controlling power(s), such as Gnosticism, Hermetism as well as Judaism and Christianity.
Johannine Christology provides a snapshot of the foremost investigations of this important topic by a selection of scholars representing a range of expertise in this field. The volume is organized into four major parts, which are concerned with the formation of Johannine Christology, Johannine Christology in Hellenistic and Jewish contexts, Christology and the literary character of the Johannine writings, and the application of Christology for the Johannine audience and beyond.

The fifteen contributors to this volume comprise an international set of Johannine scholars who explore various ways of both describing and then pursuing the implications of Johannine Christology. Their contributions focus primarily upon the Gospel, but involve other key texts as well.
Author: Matthieu Pignot
In The Catechumenate in Late Antique Africa (4th-6th centuries) Matthieu Pignot explores how individuals became Christian in ancient North Africa. Before baptism, converts first became catechumens and spent a significant time of gradual integration into the community through rituals and teaching. This book provides the first historical study of this process in African sources, from Augustine of Hippo, to canon of councils, anonymous sermons and 6th-century letters. Pignot shows that practices varied more than is generally assumed and that catechumens, because of their liminal position, were a disputed and essential group in the development of Christian communities until the 6th century at least. This book demonstrates that the catechumenate is key to understanding the processes of Christianisation and conversion in the West.
Essays in Christian Teachers in Second-Century Rome situate Christian teachers in the social and intellectual context of the Roman urban environment. The teaching and textual work of well-known figures such as Marcion, Justin, Valentinus, and Tatian are discussed, as well as lesser-known and appreciated figures such as Theodotus the Cobbler. Authors probe material and visual evidence on teachers and teaching activity, adopting different theoretical perspectives that go beyond the traditional “church – school” dichotomy: comparative looks at physicians, philosophers and other textual experts; at synagogues, shops and other sites where students gathered around religious entrepreneurs. Taken as a whole, the volume makes a strong case for the sheer diversity of Christian teaching activity in second-century Rome.

Abstract

While the majority of previous scholarship on Augustine’s theology has treated his references to rhetorical concepts as incidental, Robert Dodaro (2004), Michael Cameron (2010), Mark Clavier (2014) and Adam Ployd (2017), have recognized recently that Augustine incorporated sundry aspects of rhetorical theory into his theology in a consequential manner. In this article I advance this new scholarly movement in two ways. First, I show that Augustine also used rhetorical theory in a consequential manner in his early theology of creation; I argue that Augustine utilized the rhetorical concept of economy (oeconomia) as the logic justifying God’s declaration that the completed creation was “very good” (Gen 1.31) by means of a close reading of De Genesi aduersus Manichaeos 1.21.32. Secondly, I combine my findings in this article with previous research to contend that future scholarship on Augustine’s theology should treat his references to rhetorical concepts as potentially consequential.

In: Vigiliae Christianae

Abstract

Brent D. Shaw has questioned the historicity of the Neronian persecution based on two arguments from silence: Tacitus’s use of the term “Christians” is an anachronism; and Suetonius knows of no connection between the fire in Rome and Nero’s police actions against the Christians. Both of these untestable arguments from silence are inherently weak logically. One can make a good case for the claim that Chrestianus, Christianus, and Χριστιανός are not creations of the second century and that Roman officials were probably aware of the Chrestiani in the 60s. Tacitus’s and Suetonius’s accounts of the persecution are fundamentally reliable.

In: Vigiliae Christianae