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THE TENTH BOOK OF THE COMMENTAR Y ON THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS herefore do not let your good be reviled. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For whoever serves Christ in this is pleasing to God and approved by men.1 (2) I ask how our good can be reviled. It is good to understand the law spiritually and to avoid as unclean and defiled foods the godless and absurd doctrines of the heretics and of those who are zealous for false philosophy. For this is what is decreed by the spiritual law.2 But suppose, for example, anyone from the Jews or those called the Encratites3 would like to believe in Christ, but he thinks that it is a matter of no small importance to observe self-control either in respect to their foods, which are prohibited by the law, or those that, as many think, must be rejected even by the authority of the Scriptures since they are opposed to chastity. Now if you put pressure on such a person to [take] foods that are common to everyone, and you tell him that otherwise he cannot be saved and cannot attain to the faith and grace of Christ, unless he consumes these foods from which he has fled, then truly the good of spiritual knowledge will be reviled, as he whom you are pressuring thinks that this faith is held among us, that we believe that [M1250] no one can be saved except the one who eats swine flesh or other common and neutral foods of this sort. 1. Rom 14.16–18. 2. Cf. Rom 7.14. 3. The word is transliterated from the Greek ejgkrathv~, “self-controlled.” According to Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.28.1 (ANF 1:353), the Encratites rejected marriage and the eating of flesh; they also denied Adam’s salvation. Their originator was Tatian (110–72), a disciple of Justin (110–65) who evidently fell into this heresy after his master’s death. Cf. Cels 5.65; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.29. 254 (3) But to these things he adds, “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Once again I passionately admire the wisdom of Paul, who keeps in check the faults of the present time by the authority of the future mystery and, as he establishes a model for the Church, he reveals the mystery of the kingdom of heaven . He says, therefore: What need is there to disturb fraternal peace and love so greatly for the sake of foods and the kinds of things we eat since the kingdom of God, for the sake of which we labor and strive, is established neither through foods nor through drink but these things are foreign to the kingdom of God and to that future way of life? For there, just as “they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels of God,”4 so they consume neither food nor drink, but they are like the angels of God. Consequently, by an absolutely clear dogma and by an unambiguous declaration from the Apostle, it has been settled that in the kingdom of God bodily food and drink have no place, but righteousness and peace in the Holy Spirit. And he therefore urges that we train ourselves in these things and prepare here and now to have these goods and to possess that substance that [M1251] can pass with us into the kingdom of heaven: peace and righteousness and if there are things of this sort that are procured through the Holy Spirit. (4) These will be our food and substance in the kingdom of God. And, therefore, through these things he is teaching that care must not be exhibited over matters of bodily foods, which will be null in the future, but over the virtues, which would continue with us both in the present life and in the future kingdom of God.5 And this is why he says, “For the one who serves Christ in this is pleasing to God and approved by men.” This is what he says in another passage about himself, “Just as I also please everyone in everything, not seeking what is useful to myself, but what [is useful to] many.”6 For it is for this reason, even though he was an Apostle...


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