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Inventing Authority Cover

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Inventing Authority

The Use of the Church Fathers in Reformation Debates over the Eucharist

Esther Chung-Kim

Adding great historical insight to the events of the sixteenth century, Inventing Authority uncovers how and why the Protestant reformers came, in their dissent from the Catholic church, to turn to the Church Fathers and align their movements with the early church. Discovering that the reformers most frequently appealed to patristic sources in polemical contexts, Esther Chung-Kim adeptly traces the variety and creativity of their appeals to their forebears in order to support their arguments—citing them to be authoritative for being “exemplary scriptural exegetes” to “instruments of choice.” Examining three generations of sixteenth-century reformers—from such heavy-weights as Calvin and Luther to lesser-known figures like Oecolampadius and Hesshusen—Chung-Kim offers an analysis of striking breadth, one that finds its center by focusing in on the perennially contentious topic of the Eucharist. Filling a significant lacuna in the early history of the Lutheran and Reformed traditions, Inventing Authority is an important and eye-opening contribution to Reformation studies.

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The Invention of Peter

Apostolic Discourse and Papal Authority in Late Antiquity

By George E. Demacopoulos

On the first anniversary of his election to the papacy, Leo the Great stood before the assembly of bishops convening in Rome and forcefully asserted his privileged position as the heir of Peter the Apostle. This declaration marked the beginning of a powerful tradition: the Bishop of Rome could leverage the cult of St. Peter, and the popular association of St. Peter with the city itself, to his advantage. In The Invention of Peter, George E. Demacopoulos examines this Petrine discourse, revealing how the link between the historic Peter and the Roman Church strengthened, shifted, and evolved during the papacies of two of the most creative and dynamic popes of late antiquity, ultimately shaping medieval Christianity as we now know it.

By emphasizing the ways in which this rhetoric of apostolic privilege was employed, extended, transformed, or resisted between the reigns of Leo the Great and Gregory the Great, Demacopoulos offers an alternate account of papal history that challenges the dominant narrative of an inevitable and unbroken rise in papal power from late antiquity through the Middle Ages. He unpacks escalating claims to ecclesiastical authority, demonstrating how this rhetoric, which almost always invokes a link to St. Peter, does not necessarily represent actual power or prestige but instead reflects moments of papal anxiety and weakness. Through its nuanced examination of an array of episcopal activity—diplomatic, pastoral, political, and administrative—The Invention of Peter offers a new perspective on the emergence of papal authority and illuminates the influence that Petrine discourse exerted on the survival and exceptional status of the Bishop of Rome.

Irenaeus Cover

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Irenaeus

Life, Scripture, Legacy

edited by Paul Foster and Sara Parvis

Champion of martyrs, scourge of heretics, erudite theologian, shrewd politician—no account of early Christianity is complete without careful consideration of Irenaeus of Lyons. Here a team of international scholars examines aspects of the saint’s life, historical context, engagement with scripture, and his ecclesiastical and theological legacy for succeeding generations.

Jewish-Christian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies Cover

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Jewish-Christian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies

By Donald H. Carlson

The pseudo-Clementine writings are one of the most intriguing and valuable sources for early Jewish Christianity. They offer a second- or third-century polemic against the form of Christianity that eventually won out, the Gentile-majority, law-free Christianity that took Paul as its champion. Carlson's interest here is in the highly unusual theory expressed in the Homilies that the Pentateuch is saturated with “false pericopes,” and that the teaching of Jesus, the “true prophet,” is the criterion for establishing what the Pentateuch really means. This, creative study examines the pseudo-Clementine writings and sheds light on our understanding of the early Jewish followers of Jesus.

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Journal of Moravian History

Vol. 12 (2012) through current issue

One of the fascinating aspects of the history of Christianity is its incredible diversity of expression and evolution, particularly as Christianity left Europe, bound for the shores of America. The Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum or “Unity of the Brethren”) arose in what is now known as the Czech Republic in the late fourteenth century. Fleeing persecution, the Moravians arrived in North America, settling especially in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and later in what is now Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The history of the Moravian Church is vital for understanding not only European church history but also the history of the church in North America.

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The King James Bible and the World It Made

David Lyle Jeffrey

The King James translation of the Bible ushered in a new eloquence that until 1611had not existed in the English language. Four centuries later, the literary and historical power of this Bible continues to awe. Originally conceived to help unify Protestants during the English Reformation, many of the Bible’s phrases still saturate popular prose—as evidenced by sayings such as “an eye for an eye” and Abraham Lincoln’s famous “a house divided against itself,” and even in the intonations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the music of Johnny Cash. The King James Bible and the World It Made brings into conversation leading contemporary scholars who articulate how this celebrated translation repeatedly influenced the language of politics, statecraft, and English literature while offering Christians a unique resource for living the faith.

Including Mark Noll, Alister McGrath, Lamin Sanneh, David Bebbington, Robert Alter, Philip Jenkins, and Laura Knoppers, this collection highlights the most notable facets of the King James Bible and the history it created, and astutely reflects on its relevance to the modern world.

Later Medieval Metaphysics Cover

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Later Medieval Metaphysics

Ontology, Language, and Logic

Charles Bolyard

This book begins with standard ontological topics--such as the nature of existence--and of metaphysics generally, such as the status of universals, form, and accidents. What is the proper subject matter of metaphysical speculation? Are essence and existence really distinct in bodies? Does the body lose its unifying form at death? Can an accident of a substance exist in separation from that substance? Are universals real, and, if so, are they anything more than general concepts? Among the figures it examines are Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Walter Chatton, John Buridan, Dietrich of Freiburg, Robert Holcot, Walter Burley, and the 11th-century Islamic philosopher Ibn-Sina (Avicenna).There is also an emphasis on metaphysics broadly conceived. Thus, additional discussions of connected topics in medieval logic, epistemology, and language provide a fuller account of the range of ideas included in the later medieval worldview.

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Let Her Speak for Herself

Nineteenth-Century Women Writing on Women in Genesis

Marion Ann Taylor and Heather E. Weir, editors

The women of Genesis - Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel - intrigued and informed the lives of nineteenth-century women. These women read the biblical stories for themselves and looked for ways to expand, reinforce, or challenge the traditional understanding of women's lives. They communicated their readings of Genesis using diverse genres ranging from poetry to commentary.

The Life of Blessed Bernard of Tiron Cover

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The Life of Blessed Bernard of Tiron

Geoffrey Grossus

The first English translation of the Vita Bernardi, this book makes accessible to medieval and religious historians one of the more interesting and lively stories of the twelfth century.

Linking Sexuality and Gender Cover

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Linking Sexuality and Gender

Naming Violence against Women in The United Church of Canada

Why did it take so long for the United Church of Canada to respond to violence against women?

Tracy J. Trothen looks at the United Church as a uniquely Canadian institution, and explores how it has approached gender and sexuality issues. She argues that how the Church deals with these issues influences its ability to name violence against women.

In examining the Church’s early approaches to gender and sexuality, Tracy J. Trothen discovered that the United Church had tended to see certain structures or roles as sacred and others as demonic. For example, while sex outside marriage was bad or improper, sexual expression within marriage was largely deemed as proper or good, no matter what manifestation it took. This assumption allowed much violence within families and marriages to go unchallenged.

Trothen uncovers significant shifts in this approach through the examination of such issues as redemptive homes, marriage, pornography, abortion, the ordination of women, and family. Then, analyzing three recent case studies, she demonstrates the value of women’s voices in challenging dominant world views. Finally, she suggests how the Church’s approach to human sexuality and gender has facilitated or obstructed the move to address violence against women.

The findings in Linking Sexuality and Gender can be applied to faiths outside the United Church and will be important to anyone interested in church and society, sexuality, gender, or the causal dynamics behind one Canadian institution’s response to violence against women.

Tracy J. Trothen is an assistant professor of systematic theology and ethics, and director of field education at Queen’s Theological College, Queen’s University, Canada. She was ordained in the United Church of Canada. Why did it take so long for the United Church of Canada to respond to violence against women?

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