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Learning Christ

Gregory Vall

Publication Year: 2013

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xiv

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pp. 1-26

This book is a theological exploration of the economy of redemption, based on a historically informed exegesis of the seven authentic letters of the second-century bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch. Since my approach to early Christian literature does not fit neatly into any established methodology, this introduction will lay before the reader...

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1. Scripture and Economy

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pp. 27-51

Led through Asia Minor in the summer of A.D. 113 on the way to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius of Antioch stopped in the city of Philadelphia (modern Alaşehir, Turkey), where he was allowed to visit the local church and its bishop.1 During his stay Ignatius found that some members of...

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2. Issues in Ignatian Scholarship

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pp. 52-87

Because God has revealed himself and redeemed humanity in and through a historical economy, the true theologian will want to make use of every legitimate means of access to that reality. Sifting through the mountains of accumulated textual, linguistic, and historical research into early...

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3. Jesus and the Father

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pp. 88-117

If Ignatius of Antioch were given an honorific title like those bestowed upon the doctors of the church, it might be Doctor Unitatis.1 Indeed, he describes himself as “a man constituted for unity” (Phld. 8:1). In the six letters sent to Christian communities in southwest Asia Minor, Ignatius’s overriding pastoral concern is to establish the unity of each local...

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4. Flesh and Spirit

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pp. 118-158

In the previous chapter we noted that Ignatius identifies the “union of flesh and spirit of Jesus Christ” as one of the primary dimensions of the unity that he wishes the churches to enjoy (Magn. 1:2), and we interpreted that statement to mean that Christians can, by grace, possess a...

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5. Faith and Love

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pp. 159-199

The nouns πίστις (“faith”) and  ἀγάπη (“love”), along with their cognate verbs and adjectives, are ubiquitous in the Ignatian letters, occurring a grand total of 132 times.1 Within the corpus of early Christian literature only the Pauline epistles contain a comparably dense concentration of these terms.2 Moreover, Ignatius couples “faith” with “love” sixteen...

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6. Judaism and Christianity

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pp. 200-255

In the three previous chapters our exploration of the economy of redemption focused on three dimensions of unity, as suggested by the formulations found in Magnesians 1:2 and 13:1. The present chapter and the four that follow will consider the specifically historical dimension of the economy, in hope of disclosing what Ignatius means by referring to...

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7. Word and Silence

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pp. 256-283

As Ignatius of Antioch sees it, the economy of redemption is fundamentally an economy of revelation. God has redeemed the world by “manifesting himself humanly for the newness of eternal life” (Eph. 19:3). When human beings appropriate God’s self-revelation through faith and love, they become “children of the light of truth”...

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8. A Luminous Mystery

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pp. 284-300

Ignatius of Antioch tells the Christians at Philadelphia that the gospel consists of three pillars: “the advent of the Savior . . . , his passion, and the resurrection” (Phld. 9:2).1 Similarly, he wants the Magnesians “to be fully convinced of the birth and the passion and the resurrection” of Christ (Magn. 11:1)...

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9. Christ and the Church

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pp. 301-358

The vital relationship between pastoral purpose and theological instruction, present throughout Ignatius’s letters, is nowhere more evident than in the realm of ecclesiology. Ignatius constantly brings doctrine to the service of his pragmatic pastoral concern to foster unity and right order...

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10. Unity and Eschatology

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pp. 359-376

“God promises union, which is himself” (Tral. 11:2). Like many of Ignatius’s aphorisms, this one may be read as a summary of the gospel. What God offers to man—namely, “union”—is a participation in God’s own life. The entire economy of creation and redemption flows forth from the primordial Trinitarian unity and leads rational creatures to an eschatological...


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pp. 377-386

Index of Primary Sources

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pp. 387-393

Index of Greek Words and Phrases

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pp. 394-396

General Index

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pp. 397-402

E-ISBN-13: 9780813221595
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813221588

Publication Year: 2013