Journal of Early Christian Studies

Journal of Early Christian Studies 8.2, Summer 2000

Contents

Articles

    Hill, Charles E. (Charles Evan), 1956-
  • Cerinthus, Gnostic or Chiliast?: A New Solution to an Old Problem
    [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Cerinthus, 1st cent.
    • Heresies, Christian -- History -- Early church, ca. 30-600.
    Abstract:
      Despite the potential importance of Cerinthus for understanding the development of Christianity in Asia Minor, his teaching and legacy have been obscured in the patristic reports about him. One can identify two contrasting images of Cerinthus in the sources: an early "gnostic" in conflict with the Johannine tradition (Irenaeus); a Judaistic chiliast who opposed the apostles (beginning with Gaius of Rome and culminating with Epiphanius of Salamis). This has resulted in an impasse in understanding the early heretic and his significance which has continued up to the present. This article proposes a way of sorting out the traditions concerning Cerinthus and making sense of the earliest accounts. Upon critical investigation, Irenaeus' profile of Cerinthus as an early ditheistic and adoptionistic Christian emerges as essentially unproblematic and plausible. But most elements of the "Judaic" portrait are shown to be the product of confusion. What remains from this portrait, namely Cerinthus' chiliasm, may however be understood as consistent with Irenaeus' report if it was the type of chiliasm taught later by Marcion. The article shows how Cerinthus' chiliasm finally can be accounted for as a natural, not a heterogenous, part of his dualizing and anti-Judaistic system. It suggests that a coherent picture of Cerinthus' teaching can now be of help in elucidating the background and history of the Johannine churches and the rise of Christian gnosticism.
    Attridge, Harold W.
  • Valentinian and Sethian Apocalyptic Traditions
    [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Nag Hammadi codices.
    • Apocalyptic literature -- History and criticism.
    • Gnosticism.
    Abstract:
      The paper reexamines the relationship between "apocalyptic" and "gnostic" traditions, on the assumption that global definitions of these phenomena are problematic. Valentinian and Sethian corpora in the Nag Hammadi collection display different appropriations of apocalyptic literary forms and conceptual schemes. Apart from a few late works with traces of Valentinian positions, this tradition largely ignores features characteristic of apocalyptic literature. Valentinian eschatology seems to be founded primarily on philosophical cosmology and psychology. Sethian texts preserve many features of Jewish revelatory literature, and many details associated with various eschatological schemes familiar from apocalyptic sources. The most extensive use of the characteristic "heavenly ascent" topos in Sethian literature, however, seems to be a third-century development, perhaps responding to contemporary forms of religious propaganda.
    Miller, Patricia Cox, 1947-
  • "The Little Blue Flower Is Red": Relics and the Poetizing of the Body
    [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Relics.
    • Aesthetics -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
    • Body, Human -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
    Abstract:
      Viewing relics from the perspectives of the rhetoric and art in which they were embedded, this essay argues that the transformative process whereby human body-parts became relics was aesthetic. Attentive both to the specter of idolatry and to the danger of a spirituality that negates "matter," late ancient Christians created a religio-aesthetic environment within which the remains of special human beings could be apprehended as relics, that is, as spiritual objects worthy of ritual devotion. More specifically, the paper focuses on such relic-minded Christians as Prudentius, Asterius of Amaseia, and Paulinus of Nola. Their use of a particular rhetorical form, the ekphrasis, is highlighted as a major component of the aesthetic style that vested in bones a signifying capacity that marked their emergence as relics. In addition, the paper explores literary and artistic dependence on an aesthetic sensibility associated with the late ancient cultural taste for color and brilliance that contributed to the sensuously intense atmosphere within which the cult of relics achieved expression.
    Martin, Thomas F.
  • Vox Pauli: Augustine and the Claims to Speak for Paul, An Exploration of Rhetoric at the Service of Exegesis
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo -- Literary style.
    • Paul, the Apostle, Saint -- Influence.
    • Rhetoric -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
    Abstract:
      This article explores one aspect of the pervasive presence of Paul in Augustine of Hippo's thought, what might be called his "Pauline voice." From the mid-300s C.E. to the mid-400s, there was a marked turn towards the figure and theology of Paul, indicated by the flurry of commentaries on Pauline letters written during that period. "Who correctly interprets Paul?" emerged as a bitterly contested question, with disparate voices claiming to speak in his name. This article considers how Augustine entered into this debate, analyzing a series of "dialogues" or "conversations" with the Apostle that occur within the course of his preaching. Augustine uses this rhetorical technique to permit Paul's own voice to affirm Augustine's reading of the Apostle. The article concludes with a consideration of the implications of these dialogues, in particular, the authority they conferred upon Augustine's own understanding of Paul.
    Frankfurter, David, 1961-
  • "Things Unbefitting Christians": Violence and Christianization in Fifth-Century Panoplis
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Besa, Abbot of Athripe, 5th cent. Letters and sermons of Besa.
    • Panoplis (Egypt) -- Religion.
    • Christianity and other religions -- Egyptian.
    Abstract:
      Near the end of the fifth century C.E., the new abbot of Shenoute's monastery in Atripe, Besa, was called upon to pacify local villagers who had been "fighting for nothing over a piece of wood." Using Besa's sermon as a starting point, this paper explores the possibility that the village strife addressed here revolved around Egyptian religious images and their dwindling community of devotees. Papyri, inscriptions, and Coptic sources show Egyptian religion's striking resilience in the region of Atripe through Shenoute's own time; and comparative sources on local Christianization describe cases of local violence in the last stages of Christianization, meant to cleanse "pagans" regarded as dangerous to local fortune. This paper explores an additional dimension of such modern antipagan purge movements, their inevitable leadership by youths and their aim at the elderly, and looks at ways in which late antique Christianization also involved intergenerational tensions.

Book Reviews

    Spoerl, Kelley McCarthy.
  • Athanasius: The Coherence of His Thought (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Anatolios, Khaled, 1962- Athanasius: the coherence of his thought.
    • Athanasius, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria, d. 373.
    Steinhauser, Kenneth B., 1946-
  • L'extirpation de l'Arianisme en Italie du Nord et en Occident: Rimini (359/60) et Aquilée (381), Hilaire de Poitiers (367/8) et Ambroise de Milan (397) (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Duval, Yves-Marie. Extirpation de l'Arianisme en Italie du Nord et en Occident: Rimini (359/60) et Aquilée (381), Hilaire de Poitiers (367/8) et Ambroise de Milan (397)
    • Arianism -- Italy, Northern -- History.
    García Bazán, Francisco.
  • L'évèque dans la cité du IVe au Ve siècle: Image et Autorité (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Rebillard, Eric, ed. Évèque dans la cité du IVe au Ve siècle: image et autorité.
    • Sotinel, Claire, ed.
    • Bishops -- Temporal power -- History -- Congresses.
    Pang-White, Ann A.
  • Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Fitzgerald, Allan, ed. Augustine through the ages: an encyclopedia.
    • Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo -- Encyclopedias.
    Tilley, Maureen A.
  • The Limits of Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R.A. Markus (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Klingshirn, William E., ed. Limits of ancient Christianity: essays on late antique thought and culture in honor of R.A. Markus.
    • Vessey, Mark, ed.
    • Church history -- Primitive and early church, ca. 30-600.
    Harrison, Rebecca R.
  • Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Sawyer, John F. A. Sacred languages and sacred texts.
    • Language and languages -- Religious aspects -- History.
    Norris, Frederick W., 1941-
  • Early Christians and Animals (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Grant, Robert McQueen, 1917- Early Christians and animals.
    • Animals -- Religious aspects -- Christianity -- History of doctrines -- Early church, ca. 30-600.
    Brower, Gary.
  • The Human Couple in the Fathers (review)
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Sfameni Gasparro, Giulia, ed. Human couple in the fathers.
    • Magazzù, Cesare, ed.
    • Aloe Spada, Concetta, ed.
    • Halton, Thomas P. (Thomas Patrick), tr.
    • Marriage -- Religious aspects -- Christianity -- History of doctrines -- Early church, ca. 30-600.



[Project MUSE] [Search Page] [Journals] [Journal Directory] [Top]