2020
WEBCOURSE for ABSENT SEMINARIANS
CH 517: THE PATRISTIC CHURCH to 800 AD
 

 

 

 

BELOW are 16 downloadable lectures, each paired with a webpage to be viewed during the lecture. Lectures average 13-20 minutes each; thus the total is less than the time that will be spent in .live in-class lectures during the remainder of the semester.  Lectures 5 and 6 on St. Augustine review in greater detail subjects already mentioned in class

DEPENDING on how much material is covered in the live class, it may be possible to add an additional two or three lectures on the rise of Islam at the bottom of this page, corresponding to the last week of the semester. However, whether or not this is done, the subject of early Islam will be reviewed at the beginning of next semester as part of our introduction to the middle ages.

 

 

 

 


 

MONASTICISM, EVANGELISM,
and
INCREASING ISOLATION of the WEST

 


THE sometimes-stormy interrelationship between monastery and diocese is typified by the person and writings of Pope Gregory the Great, a former-monk and the author of the Life of St. Benedict.  He tries to make part of the monastic spiritual tradition available to diocesan clergy and laity.  Another important area of overlap and development may be seen in the application of the monastic model of the spiritual abba or amma to the developing penitential discipline of the Church in the nascent sacrament of penance and reconciliation.
1
) Gregory the Great (Eucharistic Theology): AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
2
) The Early Penitentials and Celtic Christianity: AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE


 

LITURGICAL CATECHESIS and CHRISTIAN  FORMATION:
 Praying, Preaching, and Teaching the Mysteries of Faith

 


WE now jump back somewhat to the fourth and fifth centuries to observe the development of catechetical instruction: that is, how bishops employed homilies as a means of instructing the faithful and teaching Christianity to catecheumens.  It is delightful and perhaps a little surprising to note the forthrightness of such famous preachers as Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose, and Augustine in communicating what might be considered "advanced" spiritual doctrines in the context of public homilies.

FIRST we will note how the mysteries of faith, including the easily misunderstood doctrine of theosis formed part of the catechesis of three famous fourth- and fifth-century bishops who represent both the Greek and Latin theological traditions:
3
) Cyril of Jerusalem: AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
4
) Ambrose: AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
5
) Augustine (lect.1): AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
6
) Augustine (lect.2): AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE

ONE of the greatest and most influential Christian mystical / liturgical theologians was a monk who called himself Dionysius.  He presents the liturgy not only as a source of contemplative wisdom and vision, but also as a means of theosis - divinization. He wrote the most influential text in Christian tradition on apophatic theology, The Mystical Theology, given here in full.  Please read Louth, ch 8; pp. 159-178, in conjunction with these two texts and lectures.
7) Dionysius the (pseudo-) Areopagite:  (selections) AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
8
) Dionysius the (pseudo-) Areopagite: The Mystical Theology AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE

FINALLY the monk-bishop Maximus Confessor typifies the effort to take monastic spirituality and contemplative insight and make it available to the Greek-speaking laity.  We will look briefy here at his efforts to make comprehensible the mystical theology of Dionysius the Areopagite, including the conviction that liturgical prayer transforms those who participate in the liturgy:
9) Maximus Confessor: AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE


 

EARLY CHRISTIAN ICONOGRAPHY,
T
HE SEVENTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL,
and
THE THEOLOGY OF IMAGES

 


THE last council to be fully acknowledged in both the Christian East and West is the Second Council of Nica, the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which met just after the patristic era (as it is usually defined) in 787.  This council reflects a strange and destructive period of iconoclasm, during which an entire epoch of Christian art was almost completely destroyed by zealous Christians. 

FIRST we will survey Christian imagery and iconography in the centuries that preceded the iconoclastic controversy, tracing the legend of the Icon "not made by human hands" and reviewing a summary of the spirituality of icons:
10
) Early Christian Images: AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
11
) The (Abgar) Legend of the Icon "Not Made by Human Hands": AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
12
) Kallistos Ware on the Spirituality of Icons: AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE

 NEXT we will note the painful period of the iconoclastic controversy and the text of the Seventh Ecumenical Council:
13) The Iconoclastic Crisis:   AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
14
) The Second Council of Nicea (selections)  AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE

 FINALLY, we will allow the patristic era to reach forward into the middle ages and beyond by noting features of Christian iconography both characteristic of the Christian East and common to East and West:.
15) Christian Iconography After Iconoclasm: AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE
16
) Eastern and Western Images of the Blessed Trinity, : AUDIO_LECTURE _:_  TEXT_FILE


 

 

 




This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2015....x....   .