The Wilderness and Early Christian Monasticism

In the sixth chapter of his The Word in the Desert, Douglas Burton-Christie reflects on the influence of eschatology, compunction (penthos), asceticism, and the struggle against evil on the shape of the scriptural interpretation of the Desert Fathers (and Mothers). Highlighting monastic awareness of coming death and judgment (182-3), compunction and the power of scriptureContinue reading “The Wilderness and Early Christian Monasticism”

Scripture in 1 Clement: Composite Citations of the Hebrew Bible

This post is part of an ongoing series examining the function and use of scripture in the early Christian writing known as 1 Clement. Central to the considerations here are the “composite citations” of the Jewish Scriptures, where Clement fused together different passages and presented them as a single citation. There are several characteristics indicativeContinue reading “Scripture in 1 Clement: Composite Citations of the Hebrew Bible”

Reflections on Imago Dei

What does it mean to be made in the image of God? This topic has a long and varied history of discussion, spanning at least the four thousand-or-so-year history of Judeo-Christian religion. For Christians, our reflections on this topic must begin with the words of Genesis:

Textual Plurality and Biblical Interpretation

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. This article reflects upon considerations of textual plurality and biblical interpretation as found in Lucas Van Rompay’s “The Christian Syriac Tradition of Interpretation”, James Kugel’s Traditions of the Bible, and the pseudepigraphal Jubilees. In each of these works thereContinue reading “Textual Plurality and Biblical Interpretation”

Reflections on Ephrem’s Commentaries

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syriac Christianity. Though said to have written a commentary on every book of the Bible, the only authentic and extant prose commentaries of Ephrem the Syrian are those on Genesis and (part of) Exodus. These commentaries, following the more traditional “textContinue reading “Reflections on Ephrem’s Commentaries”

Would Christ Have Come If Humanity Had Not Fallen?

Or, On the Value of Speculative Theology A common criticism of medieval Christianity theology centers on the practice of speculative theology, the asking of seemingly obscure questions which have little bearing (or none at all) upon the vicissitudes of human life or Christian faith. Perhaps the most common example of this are stories about medievalContinue reading “Would Christ Have Come If Humanity Had Not Fallen?”

Ephrem’s “Hymns on Paradise”

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. Given the length of Ephrem’s Hymns on Paradise and the number of reflection-worthy aspects of his thought demonstrated in these hymns, this essay offers several general reflections on Ephrem’s concepts of Paradise (historic and cosmic), the limiting of investigation,Continue reading “Ephrem’s “Hymns on Paradise””

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”

Reflections on the Institute for Creation Research

The topic of “Creation versus Evolution,” at least in many circles, often elicits a good deal of debate, many times in rather a heated manner. The point of this post is not to provoke strong emotions in anyone, but only to offer a few thoughts about the Institute for Creation Research, an outspoken advocate ofContinue reading “Reflections on the Institute for Creation Research”

Book Review: The Genesis of the Dead (Casberg)

As a PhD student, I read a lot. I read for work, school, and fun—hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages each week. Very rarely, however, do I encounter a book that is uproariously funny. Even rarer are books which are simultaneously hilarious and theologically sound. C. T. Casberg’s Genesis of the Dead: A Zombie Comedy ofContinue reading “Book Review: The Genesis of the Dead (Casberg)”