A Brief Introduction to Ephrem the Syrian

“The greatest poet of the patristic age and, perhaps, the only theologian-poet to rank beside Dante.” — Robert Murray Over the next several weeks, Pursuing Veritas will be running a series on reflections on the theology and hymns of St. Ephrem of Nisibis (often called Ephrem the Syrian). Before launching into these discussions of Ephrem’sContinue reading “A Brief Introduction to Ephrem the Syrian”

NT Canon: What You Need to Know

Most Christians, and I would dare say most Americans, know some basic things about the Christian New Testament. But many people don’t know (or don’t want to know) how the New Testament came into being. Some people seem to think that Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation fell from the sky in a nicely leather boundContinue reading “NT Canon: What You Need to Know”

Syrian Clothing Terminology and the Goal of the Christian Life

The use of “clothing terminology” by early Christians offers an opportunity to investigate the development of an important theological metaphor, one that would become rife with Christological implications by the fourth century. While Paul certainly employed clothing imagery in several of his letters (one immediately thinks of Romans 13, 1 Corinthians 15, and Ephesians 6),Continue reading “Syrian Clothing Terminology and the Goal of the Christian Life”

ECA: Definitions

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. The great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that “every argument about something which is rationally undertaken should proceed from a definition so that it is understood what is being disputed.”[1] The importance of clear definitions, however, has often been neglected byContinue reading “ECA: Definitions”

Book Review: Ancient Christian Worship (McGowan)

There are few times in history so important and yet so obscure as the years following the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, when the movement bearing his name transformed from a band of several dozen followers hiding in terror into an international community that would shape the subsequent history of the world. DespiteContinue reading “Book Review: Ancient Christian Worship (McGowan)”

Book Review: The Didache (O’Loughlin)

“There are two ways: one is the Way of Life, the other is the Way of Death; and there is a mighty difference between these two ways.” (Didache 1.1) Thus begins the Didache, that early Christian text also called the “Teaching of the Lord Given to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles.” Since its rediscoveryContinue reading “Book Review: The Didache (O’Loughlin)”

ECA: Shepherd of Hermas

This post is part of our ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. Even after nearly 2000 years, the Shepherd of Hermas remains an intriguing set of apocalyptic writings from the early Church. The central concern of Hermas revolves around post-baptismal sin: What can Christians do if they have fallen into sin after their baptism? InContinue reading “ECA: Shepherd of Hermas”

ECA: Epistle of Polycarp

This post is part of our ongoing series on Early Christian Authority. Polycarp of Smyrna remains one of the best attested figures of the early Christian Church. As bishop of Smyrna (cx. Rev. 2.8), recipient of a letter from the Ignatius of Antioch, and a martyr of the church, Polycarp stands apart as an exceptionalContinue reading “ECA: Epistle of Polycarp”

ECA: Ignatius of Antioch

This post is part of our ongoing series on Early Christian Authority. Ignatius of Antioch and the letters he wrote on way to his martyrdom in Rome have long fascinated those studying early Christianity. Killed around 117 CE by the Emperor Trajan, Ignaitus’s tale reads like a drama: the bishop of Antioch (one of theContinue reading “ECA: Ignatius of Antioch”

ECA: First Clement

To “kick off” our Early Christian Authority Series, we begin with First Clement, which is the earliest non-canonical, specifically Christian, and still extant writing available to us today. First Clement claims to have been written from the Church at Rome to the Church at Corinth, and seems to have been written around 95-96 CE (thoughContinue reading “ECA: First Clement”