A Brief History of Communion: Apostolic Fathers

This post is part of an ongoing series on the history of communion. The Apostolic Fathers The earliest non-canonical references to Communion come in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, namely Ignatius of Antioch (c. 108 CE) and the Didache (c. 110 CE). Ignatius, much like Paul in 1 Corinthians, indicates that he is veryContinue reading “A Brief History of Communion: Apostolic Fathers”

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Montantism and the Authority of (Female) Confessor-Martyrs

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. In “The Role of Martyrdom and Persecution in Developing the Priestly Authority of Women in Early Christianity: A Case Study in Montanism,”[1] Frederick Klawiter contends that from its beginnings Montanism enabled women to rise to ministerial status through theirContinue reading “Montantism and the Authority of (Female) Confessor-Martyrs”

Gnosticism, Women, and Elaine Pagels

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. For today’s reflection, I outline and reflect on Elaine Pagels’ “What Became of God as Mother? Conflicting Images of God in Early Christianity.”[1] In so doing I argue that while Pagels’ approach to the question of the divine feminineContinue reading “Gnosticism, Women, and Elaine Pagels”

The Christology Debate

The Early Christian Church spent hundreds of years seeking a definitive answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” The answer to this all-important question formed the basis for much of Christian theology and practice. Who is Jesus? Is He God? Is He Man? How does Jesus save us? These are the questions that early theologiansContinue reading “The Christology Debate”

Reflections on Communion

These reflections originally appeared as part of a Round Table discussion at Conciliar Post. What is communion and how does it impact my faith? For me, Communion is the sacramental participation in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus, a visible and real “joining together” with our Lord that, among other things, is aContinue reading “Reflections on Communion”

Book Review: The Ancient Path (Talbot)

When you want to understanding something, you look for information. When you want to make sense of a story, you ask people to explain things from the beginning. When you want to comprehend a complex event, you consult eyewitnesses and experts. In an age of self-help, independence, internet “research”, and self-sufficiency, however, fewer people takeContinue reading “Book Review: The Ancient Path (Talbot)”

Origins of the New Testament

The two most common questions that I am asked are some variation of “Where did we get the New Testament?” or “Why are these specific books included in the New Testament?”1 Obviously complete answers to these questions are long, nuanced, and complex (i.e., scholarly discussions of dissertation length answer). But there are also relatively straight-forwardContinue reading “Origins of the New Testament”

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”

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”