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Theophilus of Alexandria (The Early Church Fathers)
Theophilus of Alexandria (The Early Church Fathers)
by Norman Russell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $38.01
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5.0 out of 5 stars Russell's book is a valuable assessment of a controversial figure in pre Chaledonian church studies, offering a different view, April 18, 2015
"There are many ways in which Norman Russell's virtual 'discover' of Theophilus, for the benefit of a mainstream audience, contributes to fill in gaps in our understanding of various episodes in the early Church. . , erudite and persuasive in the opening introduction, clear and fluid in the translation.'--Khaled Anatolios, Weston Jesuit School of Theology

Theophilus of Alexandria by Norman Russell is a valuable study of an Early Church Bishop, that offers a resourceful study of a major ecclesiastic figure of his time, using his letters and writings, not previously available. Theophilus is rather a dimmed figure in patristic studies, since the primary sources having not been fair to his person, creating a lasting impression, of a ruthless and manipulative Bishop. Russell challenges this portrayal, and aspires 'to be fairer to The controversial Patriarch.

Theophilus may be best known today for his involvement in the first Origenist Controversy of his time, his role in the deposition of John Chrysostom at the Synod of the Oak in 403, and his alleged role in the destruction of the Serapeum of Alexandria. While overcoming centuries of negative press might ultimately prove impossible, R. does succeed at least in presenting the more revered side of Theophilus, particularly through his translations of letters and sermons (some were previously not available in English).

The book has two main parts, the first is a meticulous reconstruction of Theophilus' biography, by critically reassessing of the sources, and the second being a collection of four sections of translations, preceded by brief introductions. The book demonstrates Russell's distinguished scholarship and good style. While faithfully pursuing a fresh reassessment of Theophilus, lack of relevant sources deters a thorough examination of his early career, so a brief development of the See of Alexandria at the time is offered.

Russell's attempts to rehabilitate Theophilus' reputation by reinterpreting the major events of his life, casting doubt on Theophilus' complicity in the destruction of the Serapeum, and alleging that the peacemaking bishop was persistently asserting the Alexandrian primacy by convening councils, and interpreting Church canon law. Russell even contends that Theophilus was 'trusted by his peers and respected as an expert on ecclesiastical law'.

Theophilus’ attitude toward his friend Isidore seemed to have changed, attacking Isidore who turned for protection to the monks of Nitria. Theophilus then turned against them and Origen’s teachings and followers, and at a synod in Alexandria, Theophilus had Origenism condemned. Leading a group of soldiers and armed servants, Theophilus attacked the residence of Nitrian monks, burned their buildings and treated poorly captured monks.

The author challenges this assertion and highlights Theophilus' powerful use of rhetoric in articulating the disparities he found in Origen's writings, arguing that Theophilus was concerned with monastic obedience to ecclesiastical authority, and he took necessary measures to ensure his position was not undermined. While this may have been a good goal, perhaps Russell is too kind to Theophilus, who used theological justifications for the harsh treatment and eviction of his opponents.

The deposition of John Chrysostom, was the central role Theophilus' took after he led his consecration, has left him with many 'historical account' foes. Reconstructing the sequence of events, Russell demonstrates that the dispute was a power struggle, not a belief conflict. He thinks Theophilus action was a reaction to the sensed the intrusion of John on the see of Alexandria authority regarding the Tall brothers. He portrays Theophilus as acting in the best interests of his see, directly challenged by the bishop of Constantinople.

In part two, Russell who praises Theophilus as an able theologian and fine leader, echoes the Coptic tradition. He does not have but little surviving of Theophilus' writings, mostly incomplete or of unreliable authenticity. Besides, the surviving fragments are scattered, written in Coptic, Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Arabic. Yet the author brought them together, as disparate parts and rendered them accessible in one volume, for the first time.

The first set of translations entitled 'Earlier Festal Letters,' include small fragments of the annual letters issued by the Archbishop of Alexandria before the great Lent, announcing the date of Easter, of these only five survive, written by Theophilus. The second section includes seven homilies delivered on various topics, showing Theophilus pastoral care, and keen intellect, and use of rhetorical devices and restrained allegorical exegesis, to impress the seriousness of the Christian vocation' on his hearers.

'Ecclesiastical Legislation,' makes the third section, gathering various statements and letters, including one to Emperor Theodosius defending Alexandria's long established right to determine the yearly date for Easter celebration. These transactions really do show Theophilus augmenting the power of his "second only to Rome" ecclesiastic office. Other intended included texts give us a glimpse into the Alexandrian bishopric office work day.

'The Origenist Controversy, is the final and longest section, and most engaging for Origen students, and the ensuing contradiction. Seven letters written by Theophilus are included, four of which are preserved in Jerome's Latin, and Russell provides their new translations. He carries out some critical work in joining various fragments of the Origenist controversy texts unveiling a nasty side of Theophilus against Origen, heretics, and personal enemies.

Russell's book is a valuable fair assessment of an important figure in pre Chaledonian church studies, offering a different view of Theophilus giving him justice than most available evaluations. The book highlights the shifting balances of ecclesiastical power and authority in late antiquity through the life of colorful characters of the 'Ecumenical Judge, of the church to scholars and students of church history, and patristics.

Dioscorus of Aphrodito: His Work and His World
Dioscorus of Aphrodito: His Work and His World
by Leslie S. B. MacCoull
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.00
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5.0 out of 5 stars Watching "Dioscorus of Aphrodito," a lawyer at work, in an Egyptian provincial capital of the sixth century, April 9, 2015
"It has become possible for us 'to watch a lawyer at work, in an Egyptian provincial capital of the sixth century' . . . , this reveals 'the high level of civilization attained by the Coptic leisured class', which attests to the compatibility of classical and Coptic culture."-- T. Hainthaler

Bilingual Saidic Copts
My first brief encounter with Dioscourus of Aphrodito was on one page by T. Hainthaler, describing the accidental papyri discovery reported then by L . MacCoull, admiring the literary legacy of a Coptic jurist and poet. The bilingual Dioscourus, a representative of the Coptic dynatoi, probably influenced also by the works of the great Nonnus, reveals in his occasional works, in MacCoull's view, the extent to which Coptic culture was a 'culture founded . . . on praise'."

I was amazed to encounter all four Saidic poets and philosophers in the interior upper Egypt, on the pages of Hainthaler's book, on the Church of Alexandria, Three in Panopolis, and the jurist Dioscorus of Aphrodito, who traveled to Constantinople, to defend Aphrodite's self-responsibility rights of tax collection in 551. My enthusiasm, as a non specialist Copt, and my attention turned from Dioscorus of Aphrodito to his cultural milieu, of Cyrus, Pamprepius, and Nonnus of Panopolis.

Dioscorus of Aphrodito
Dioscorus was born to a Hellenised Coptic family in an Upper Egyptian town. He received the classical education of his time at Alexandria, in philosophy (most likely under John Philoponus) and trained further in the law. Like his father Apollos, a mayor of Aphrodite, and later became administrator of the monastery Apollos (founded by him in 546). Dioscorus resided for thirteen years at Antinopolis, seat of the governor of the Thebaid, administrative center of Upper Egypt. He practiced law, from which activity many documents in his own hand, in both Greek and Coptic, are preserved, and composed numerous Greek acrostic poems in honor of Lords of the Thebaid. Later he returned home and continued to write and administer his lands.

Dioscorus work and world
From the hand of Dioscorus of Aphrodito, sixth-century Coptic lawyer and poet, we have unique autograph poems to come down to us preserved on papyrus from late ancient Egypt. A favorite informal type of the 6th century is shown in an acrostic poem, that bears a clear relationship to the Menander Dyskolos hand, probably written in the later 3rd century. Similar writings could be found to illustrate the continuity in transformation of the biblical uncial and its Coptic styles. The latest Greek papyrus from Egypt is during the 8th century, with a big lapse of time before any Greek writing resumed at Byzantium.

MacCoull reveals the man and his world as inheritors of and contributors to the fusion of society and intellectual life that gave birth to both Gnosticism and Desert Wisdom. Dioscorus of Aphrodito epitomizes the little-known cultural flowering of late antique Egypt, to many pseudo Gnostics of American academia with the exception of few. Coptic Gnocticsm now seen as a stage of heresy and decadence, but as the home of Cheno-boskion, Panopolis and Aphrodito an original intellectual and creative culture whose eclipse is still felt!

Coptic Literature (4th-7th century AD)
The discovery of the Aphrodito find- papers of Dioscorus of Aphrodito- in 1905, and their ensuing publication by J. Maspero, brought not only this Middle Coptic village to the foreground but indeed sparked interest in this period in the life of the Coptic intellectuals.
The study of ancient multilingualism has been gathering momentum in the last decade or two, a collection of articles on multilingualism in ancient Egypt with a chronological span from the third century BC to the eighth century AD.

MacCoull was able to present a comprehensive picture of Dioscorus and his milieu of late antiquity. Through her thorough analyses of the documents and poems, some previously unknown, she leads us to a fresh perception of the Coptic culture of Byzantine Egypt. With the publication of "Dioscorus of Aphrodito: his work and his world," in the University of California Press on the Classical Heritage’, made the village more famous among the students of late antiquity, than among American Copts, even before its inclusion as one of two case studies on Egypt in Oxford's Framing the Early Middle Ages ( 2005).

"Both the poetry he wrote for special occasions and the documents he produced in his legal career, in Greek and Coptic, reflect the major preoccupations of Dioscorus' society and his age:..., the patronage of the powerful elite, and the spirituality of the Egyptian Christian church." Leslie MacCoull

Dioscorus of Aphrodito Poems
Ever since the poems of Dioscorus of Aphrodito (ca. 520-585 C.E.) were discovered on papyri in Upper Egypt, they have perplexed and disturbed scholars. Written largely in an Homeric vocabulary, many appear to be praising dukes and other government officials according to encomiastic conventions. Yet the poems do not adhere closely to these conventions and contain many verses and passages which are nearly incomprehensible. This book demonstrates that many of these problematic passages have mystical significance and that the encomia possibly have an allegorical level of meaning.

The study also reveals the valuable contribution these poems make to our understanding of early Christian mysticism and Late Antique culture.As a poet he owes much to Nonnus and Cyrus of panopolis, to Philoponus philosophical debates. throughout his language and piety, Dioscorus was a true Cyrillian Miaphysite; and his sense of the majesty of the law, reflected his age's sensibility and Coptic tradition of splendor and display. These are the oldest surviving poems written by the hand of a known poet.

Coptic Egypt in Late Antiquity
The archive of Dioscorus is a rich source of information from which we recover our lost memory of life in Coptic Egypt at the time of its highest cultural flowering. As a landowner, he was engaged in daily transactions involving both lay and monastic property. As a trilingual man of letters, he composed a Greek-Coptic poetic glossary of interest to linguists and historians. His poetry is a rich blend of Christian tradition, tinted with pagan imagery, especially in praise of the emperor, wedding songs, and Egyptian scenery imagery.

Dioscorus’s sixth-century manuscripts, with revisions and corrections, were discovered on papyrus in 1905 beneath the village of Kom Ishqaw, Egypt, the modern site of ancient Aphrodito). The manuscripts are now held in museums and libraries around the world. Although Dioscorus was an Egyptian, he composed his poetry in Greek, the cultural language of the Byzantine Era. This critical edition begins with one of Dioscorus’s masterpieces, Hymn to St. Theodosius, a spiritual allegory.

On First Principles:
On First Principles:
by Origen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $39.83
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5.0 out of 5 stars The pioneering foundational work in the development of Christian thought and doctrine, February 6, 2015
This review is from: On First Principles: (Paperback)
"The history of Dogmatics does not go back to the time of the Apostles, but only to the beginning of the third century, when Origen wrote his Peri Archon." Louis Berkhoff

Origen's Systematic Theology
Berkhoff wrote defining the History of Dogmatics, "Origen was the first to construct something like a system of theology. His work was written about the year 218 AD., in it he attempts to transform the doctrine of the Church into a speculative science, acceptable to the cultural and philosophical classes of his day."
Origen theology, rests mainly on two of his works,'On First Principles,' and 'Contra Celsus', his defense of Christianity, in response to the attacks of the pagan philosopher. On First Principles, is Origen's major systematic and philosophical work where he established his main doctrines, including that of the Holy Trinity, the preexistence and fall of souls, transmigration of souls, and the eventual restoration of them, in proximity to the Godhead, in 'Theosis', a state of dynamic perfection. He was pioneer in his insistence on the free will of souls. He is unique, introducing history, within his speculations on metaphysical cosmology.

Origen's Creative Thought
Origen was a genuine theologian ahead of his era; a speculative thinker, when for Christians faith was not a matter of intellectual exploration. Origen drew upon Neoplatonic philosophy in an effort to elucidate the Christian faith in a manner conceivable to the Greek minded intellectuals, and he succeeded in converting many pagan students of philosophy to Christian faith. Origen was a great humanist, who believed that all creatures will eventually be granted salvation, including Satan, the devil himself. Origen exposed and criticized the Gnostic dualism, and his theology surpassed the pristine expressions of the Christian faith, still being expressed in our present day.
Origen's Thought, notably those in the treatise; On First Principles, gave rise to a doctrinal movement in the early Church, known as Origenism. From the third through the sixth centuries this movement was quite influential, especially among the learned and mystical monastics. It developed an articulate form, in the fourth century by Dedymus and Evagrius Ponticus. Origen's spirit of philosophical inquiry was mostly absent from the movement bearing his name, but use of Origen's far more creative concepts and themes was made by Gregory of Nyssa, who adopted Origen's doctrine of apokatastasis or 'restoration of all things,' articulating more clearly the notion that redeemed souls will remain in a state of 'dynamic intellectual activity.'

On First Principles
Origen was probably not more than thirty, when he wrote De principiis (On First Principles), perhaps his greatest work in systematic theology, to express Christian faith in Neoplatonic terms, Saccha's Christianized philosophy of Alexandria. Most of 'De principiis' is expressed in an orthodox Christian universal thought, and there is no evidence that he ever modified in any respect. The first book of De Principiis deals with God and creation; the second and third with Creation and Providence, with Man and Redemption; and the fourth with Holy Scripture. Written for scholars, Origen affirms one God, creator and ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ begotten before all creation, divine in His incarnation, and the Holy Spirit in the glory of the Father. He expressed that humans depend in their existence on the Father, their rational nature from the Son, and their holiness from the Holy Spirit. In spite of his guiding principle; 'Nothing which is at variance with the tradition of the apostles and of the church is to be accepted as true,' Origen's genius speculative flights lead some early church leaders to question his orthodoxy.

Fall & Redemption
Origen concluded that there were two creations, as narrated in the two accounts in Genesis. The first creation was of spirits without bodies, possessing free will, but some strayed away from the purpose of their creation, doxology for the Lord, and fell. The second creation, of the material universe, thus followed. The souls who fell most remotely became demons, the others were made human. The reason we possess human bodies, and experience suffering is our sin during preexistence. Origen claims this notion is supported by the Bible, while it is influenced by Neo-Platonic philosophy. Universalism presents Origen's other controversial issue of De Principiis; he deducted that since God is Love, everyone, even Satan, will be ultimately saved, and the entire creation will return to its original state of pure spirituality.
Scholars confirm, "Origen denies metempsychosis and explicitly affirms the uniqueness of Christ's sacrifice, and, although the salvation of the devil must be left open as a possibility in a system emphasizing the divine pedagogy and human freedom of will to the degree that Origen's does, there are passages in which he rules it out." (Dr. John Cavadini of Notre Dame: Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Harper & Raw, 1995, p. 941)

In Origen's Defense:
Origen's defenders, some of the most outstanding theologians, from Gregory of Nyssa and Rufinas in late antiquity to Bishop K. Ware who declared in 'The Inner Kingdom, pp. 201, "Origen's apocatastatis is not simply a deduction from some abstract system, it is a hope."
The eminent Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar defended Origen's salvation for all in his book, 'Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?' He dares to believe that the love of God will soften the heart of the most heinous of committed sinners. Existentialist Nicolai Berdyaev, echoed Origen's humanism, many centuries after. Berdyaev, a Russian Orthodox theologian, admits Origen's influence on his thought and insists that the doctrine of hell and the eternal suffering of sinners is not compatible with authentic Christianity.

Koetschau's Reconstruction:
Koetschau's work to recover the original, of De Principiis is a great work, of few peers in philosophy or Patristic literature. His edition of Origen's lost Greek original writings, is a reconstruction from fragments from Greek and Latin quotations. Koetschau reconstruction although helpful for text continuity had necessarily to fill lots of gaps, based on his best guess. Butterworth, complex statements trying to be precise may have caused confusion. He comments on a Koetschau's reconstruction as, "a composite passage from Gregory of Nyssa, "or," Koetschau's arguments for including it in the text of Origen are given in his introduction, pp. 117-118," etc. Rowan Greer, in 'Origen: An exhortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, etc.' was more explicit, for more than ten times repeating, "there follows Koetschau's conjectural attempt to fill a lacuna of 'x' lines in the manuscript."

De Lubac's Overview:
"The shortcomings of his doctrine-inevitable in a thinker of the third century who was the very first to build a theology-must not make us mistake the pure quality of his faith." H. De Lubac, introduction.
The concise introduction by de Lubac, one of Origen's leading experts is a masterpiece commentary on his works, piety and orthodoxy. Henri de Lubac, French Jesuit, and a great expert on Church Fathers, is one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, joined the Society of Jesus, was educated at the Jesuit Houses of study, and earned his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and became a faculty member at Catholic Faculties of Theology of Lyons. His pupils included Jean Danielou and Hans Urs von Balthasar.. De Lubac died in 1991, after he was made cardinal in 1983.

Translator's Introduction:
G. W. Butterworth, translator of 'On First Principles,' translated also 'Clement of Alexandria: Exhortation to the Greeks,..' His articulate thorough introduction and notes include life and writings of Origen, Date of Composition of 'De principiis' and its doctrine, Rufinus Latin translation, its character, and his controversy with Jerome renders the work more vivid.

Subject: Origen, Rufinus, and Koetschau
"Alan Scott, in the light of research done since Koetschau's work and the subsequent downplaying of Rufinus' text in scholarship, has the following to say: [p. 169]
The prevailing scholarly opinion until recently has been that [p. 170] Rufinus himself interpolated Origen's text and suppressed and rewrote controversial passages -- Rufinus' translation is 'ein Werk absoluter Willkur' according to Grutzmacher, who is quoted with approval by Koetschau.[13] The original sense of the cosmology set forth in De Principiis had to be reconstructed by piecing together the charges of Origen's various fourth- and sixth-century opponents and forming a coherent system (it was presumed that Origen had one). The crowing achievement of this effort is Koetschau's edition of De Principiis (GCS 22, 1913), which prints along with the text of Rufinus a wide variety of sources which either explicitly or (In Koetschau's view) implicitly refer to teachings allegedly once in De Principiis but suppressed by Rufinus.

The impact of this edition was enormous. Many scholarly works in this century have made claims about Origen's teachings based on the Koetschau edition, and when one looks up the passage in question one discovers that it is not written by Origen but by one of his opponents, or even by someone who does not refer to Origen at all but is assumed to oppose a view that Origen once had. Koetschau's deservedly high reputation as a philologist and the status of the GCS series in scholarly circles ensured the widespread influence of these editorial decisions. The impact of this new text in English-speaking circles was furthered by a translation of this edition into English by G. W. Butterworth, who retained Koetschau's collection of the fragments and (if anything) even strengthened its strong editorial bias against Rufinus. Radical scepticism about Rufinus' text had become a widespread scholarly assumption.

The first major challenge to this assumption was Gustave Bardy's Recherches sur l'histoire du texte et des versions latines du De Principiis d'Origene in 1923.[14] Bardy investigated Rufinus' work as a translator against extant Greek passages (mostly in the Philocalia), and noted that there was little evidence to support Koetschau's radical conclusions. Rufinus' work is often periphrastic, 'but in the end he translates, and on the whole it is very much Origen's thought that he expresses.'[15] After the Second World War, an extensive Greek portion of Origen's commentary on Romans was published. This work too had previously [p. 171] only been available in Rufinus' Latin translation, and so should have contained at least some evidence of his allegedly radical textual alterations, but again this was not found to be so.[16] Another important event was the publication in 1958 of Evagrius Ponticus' Kephalaia Gnostica (in Syriac translation).[17]

This text and the renewed study of fourth- and sixth-century Origenest monasticism led many to conclude that Origen's opponents in this later period were in large part directing their criticism against contemporary followers of Origen rather than against Origen himself.[18] It would appear that later Origenists did make his work more systematic, and were at times much more adventurous in their cosmological speculations. Their opponents tended to read these tendencies into Origen's writings, often without justification. As with so many other controversial figures in history, Origen is frequently associated with views that are a caricature of his real position, because this is what his enemies saw or wanted to see.

Increasingly scholars (with some exceptions) have concluded that Rufinus' work, though not a strict translation by modern standards, has suppressed little for doctrinal reasons, and is generally a more reliable guide for Origen's cosmology than the fragments in the Koetschau edition. It would appear that Rufinus has changed some of Origen's language to bring it into line with later views of the Trinity (as Rufinus himself admits), but there is little reason to think that major changes have been made in his cosmology. Jerome's complaints about the translation must be viewed in light of his bitter hatred of Rufinus, and his less than scrupulous treatment of theological opponents. His evidence cannot be dismissed, and indeed is often of great value,[19] but it should only be used with due caution. Charges made by other opponents also must be examined in light of both their theological settings (often polemical), and the reliability of the source.[20]
Henri Crouzel has been a leader in this approach to Rufinus' text of De Principiis, and together with Manlio Simonetti has edited a new edition of the text with these presuppositions."

Alan Scott: Origen and the Life of the Stars: a History of an Idea (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1991), --

John Uebersax, PhD

The Coptic Christian Heritage: History, Faith and Culture
The Coptic Christian Heritage: History, Faith and Culture
by Lois M. Farag
Edition: Paperback
Price: $44.95
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sympathetic introduction to Coptic Christianity, and the traditions of the great Church of Alexandria and its history, December 6, 2014
"Readers embark on a journey through the history of the church and its religious, literary, and artistic culture. Written by scholars from within the tradition, the volume furnishes a much needed, sympathetic introduction to an important and often overlooked branch of Christianity."--James E. Goehring, University of Mary Washington

The Coptic Christian Heritage presents information that promotes the understanding of Coptic history, faith, and culture. It constitutes an invaluable compendium on most issues for the avid reader. It serves as Coptic Christianity appetizer, that irons out old doctrinal prejudice and reconsider western world view, bringing to life one of Christianity founding and richest faith traditions.

The book essays offer an across-the-board introduction to Coptic Christian heritage, exploring the history, culture, literature, with various living aspects of the Christians of Egypt. The contributors' roster includes a combination of American educated academics, and Coptic experts on the subject issues, with personal and intellectual knowledge of the Coptic Orthodox Church heritage.

The essays furnishing the book chapters explore historical, cultural, literary and material aspects, including the history of Christianity in Egypt, proclamation era to the modern day. Development of faith, spirituality, and culture in theology, monasticism, liturgy and music. A fine section on Coptic language, heritage and literary activity, writing in Greek, Coptic and Arabic.

Part IV discusses material culture and explores the various artistic expression of the Copts. Icons are invented in Egypt before christianity, with mosaics and frescos, culminate in the manuscript which informed the world on early Christianity, while Coptic woodwork and textiles stun Coptic Museum visitors. The book 16 chapters is appended with fine illustrations, maps, and tables.

Christ in Christian Tradition Vol2 PT 4
Christ in Christian Tradition Vol2 PT 4
by Aloys Grillmeier Sj
Edition: Hardcover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offering the reader a vivid picture of the state of Christian faith from Alexandria, Upper Egypt, Nubia And Ethiopia, December 4, 2014
"Probably in no other early church mission field, outside the 'fertile crescent', do we find such peculiar geographical and cultural conditions for proclaiming of the gospel of Jesus Christ as in the long stretch of the Nile valley from the Delta to the Ethiopian highland."-- Alois Grillmeier

This volume of "Christ in Christian Tradition" extends the comprehensive work of Alois Cardinal Grillmeier, and his associates, on the early Alexandrine history of Christology, before the advent of Islam. A consideration underlying the entire volumes is whether the lay reader seeking to understand the non Chalcedonian position in his own terms, of Roman Catholic faith. In part one, his discussion of Severus of Antioch, as a brilliant disciple of Cyril of Alexandria, in stalwart opposition of Chalcedon, enacting Egyptian and Syrian churches refusal to join diophysitism !

Grillmeier expounds what had developed in Egypt after the Council of Chalcedon, AD 451, to the advance of Islam. The text covers a variety of theological work by Coptic exegetes, philosophers poets, and others, contributing to the reader inlightenment with a vivid description of the development of Christian faith in Alexandria, and covers the southern kingdoms to the conquest of Islam. The narrative begins in the megalopolis of Alexandria, and travels south the Nile valley kingdoms leading to Ethiopia, where an extraordinary synthesis exists of Judaism and Christianity.

Four chapters offer substantial Christological studies, published for the first time in an integral treatment of the Alexandrine Church. Chapters on John Philoponus, Cosmas Indicopleustes, Shenute of Atripe, and Besa offer the reader a unique picture of the state of Christian faith in Alexandria and upper Egypt's Pachomian monasteries, before the Islamic conquest. Chapter 2, in both section I & II, have been collected, and edited extensively, by Theresia Hainthaler, Grillmeier's associate and book's co-editor, whose research was very effective, and helpful for Coptic scholars.

The authors were tactful, reviewing Cyril's mia-physis formul, hypostatic union and Christology, versus Eutyches mono-physitism, but translated 'one united nature' of Christ as 'one composite nature'. "The brilliant investigations of Halleux has put judgments about the council of Chalcedon on a new footing ...On the basis of detailed analysis of the texts and sources (accepted by Grillmeier, Ritter and Abramowski), Halleux has shown that the council's definition contains no more than two word-for-word quotations from Leo's tome, a Leonine 'thorn in the flesh."--Cardinal Kasper, Theology & The Church

One way to explore the wide coverage of this fine work is to just list the variety of subjects, that the avid reader will enjoy the book's in depth treatment of the soteriological aspects of Cyril's Alexandrine theological genius.
Part I, Alexandrian Greek Christology
Christology of the patriarchs: rejection of Chalcedon, Theodosius of Alexandria, Melkites.
Christology of the scholars: exegetes & Poets, John Philoponus, Cosmas indicopleustes
Part II, The province of Coptic Christology
Founder Shenute, exhortations as faith, Origenistic infiltration, Shenute and Nestorius
In the light and shadow of the master: Archimandrite Besa
Christology in Coptic church liturgical prayer
Part III, The cross of christ over Nubia
part IV, Christ in a new messianic kingdom of Ethiopia
Axum, non-Chaledonian kingdom, Ethiopian Christian faith, Jewish motifs, Jesus in worship

House of Robots
House of Robots
by James Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.49
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It rests on my grandson Noah, 9, to give the consent to the intervention in Sammy's everyday life, November 28, 2014
This review is from: House of Robots (Hardcover)
Written with a mission to expose school bullies, educating middle school students about bullying, which became an American youngsters nightmare. Robots may well help ease young peoples life in such stressed society. While robots help can be appealing to young people, it uncovers poor social interaction in families. Parental care and family love, a robot's support cannot provide. However, this seems a year of the supportive Robot, in books.

The best selling authors reveal the central character (Hayes-Rodriguez) comes from a mixed ethnicity family, who has a sibling with a need that consumes his mother's time and attention. As a consequence, it was hard for Sammy to fit in his class, and school, while carrying such a heavy personal bag. Now, he's anxiously anticipating the day when his mother presses him to take E, her latest invention smart robot, to school. Guardian Robot E feels it's Sammy's nerdy guardian brother.

While the story setting and plot reflect the challenges which kids face with bullies, it adds the burden of an inventor mom, consumed by her talents on one side and her being pressured to provide her needy son with robotic support, that Sammy has to test in class and on the school's lawn. As a grandpa who has strong feelings to protect bullied kids, it rests on my grandson Noah, 9, who may or not give the consent to intervene in Sammy's life, rather than resisting tyranny himself.

Reality & Evangelical Theology: The Realism of Christian Revelation
Reality & Evangelical Theology: The Realism of Christian Revelation
by T. F. Torrance
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.00
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge of God in and through Jesus Christ is inevitably a profoundly personal knowledge, November 26, 2014
"Because knowledge of God arises from God's self-revelation in Christ, there is no external, independent court of appeal by which such claims to knowledge could be adjudicated." -- Dr Martin Davis

"Because God is a being far beyond our capacity as human beings to comprehend, anything we can say of him is necessarily limited by our finite human understanding and his reality far surpasses our power of expression. In the Eastern Christian tradition, (the via negativa) was first introduced to Christianity in the late fifth century by an anonymous author in the name Dionysius Areopagite (Pseudo-Dionysius). Apophatic theology refers to negation as way of speaking about God and his attributes.

In 'Questiones Disputatiae de Potentia Dei, Thomas Aquinas says, "This is the ultimate in human knowledge of God: to know that we do not know Him." According to this way, we use words like 'infinite', 'incorporeal', 'immutable', and 'ineffable' to describe God. Even to call God "perfect," says Aquinas, we do by way of negation, because we understand perfection as "lacking nothing." In contrast to a negative theology that wrongly seeks to tell us what God is 'not'.

In contrast, Thomas Torrance, seeking to develop a positive approach to theology based upon God's self-revelation in Jesus, describes theology as a positive science. "Knowledge of God in and through Jesus Christ is inevitably a profoundly personal knowledge, the result of the Trinitarian pattern of God's self-revelation becoming stamped on our minds. We therefore can come to know God better through meditating on how much greater he is than anything we can conceive.

Torrance 'realist' approach to theology, confirmed by Martin Davis research, reaches back to the Patristic era theology of Alexandria, particularly that of Athanasius and Cyril. In accordance with the Alexandrian fathers, Torrance asserts that to know things in strict accordance with their nature is "the only way to reach real, exact or scientific knowledge in any field of inquiry, through the faithful assent of the mind to the compelling . . . claims of reality upon it."

Torrance also spotted this realist approach to knowledge in John Calvin;s theology, arguing that knowledge was derived objectively and 'actively' from God "through modes of knowing imposed on us from the nature of God and from his self-manifestation through his Word." As Torrance notes, this "principle of objectivity," wherein we detach ourselves from all presumptions and prejudgments in favor of the indisputability of reality, played a forceful role in scientific knowledge after the Reformation.

Torrance argues for a realist approach to knowledge of God wherein the apprehender participates in Christ's own knowledge of God. Thus, we must get past all cognitive distortions of the knowledge of God in order to concieve the reality of God independently of received language and culture, so that our minds may be transformed by God's revelation of himself in Christ. Theological realism confirms, that we apprehend God ‒ not merely ideas about God, in apprehending Jesus Christ.

In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World
In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World
by Ian Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.81
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Stewart continues the hard, but refreshing task of Gamow to render fundamental physical laws meaningful, September 12, 2014
"Seemingly basic equations have enabled us to predict eclipses, engineer earthquake-proof buildings, and invent the refrigerator. In this lively volume, mathematician Ian Stewart delves into 17 equations that shape our daily existence, including those dreamed up by the likes of Einstein, Newton, and Erwin Schrödinger."--Discover

Ian Stewart's refreshing book,"In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World," is the 21st century sequel to George Gamow's inspirational math classic, 1, 2, 3, . . . Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science. Mathematics celebrity Ian Stewart continues the hard, but refreshing task of Gamow to render fundamental physical laws meaningful, of their mathematical expression. He untangles the most encountered basic mathematical statements, to prove that equations have long been the root cause, and main driving force behind almost all meaningful aspects of our physical and intellectual lives.

Opening with Pythagoras Theorem, expressed in Euclid's terms, Stewart then shows us how Logarithms shortened calculations, more precise than the Slide-rule. He then delves to calculus from the ghosts portal, and joins Newton probing our world's physical systems; Apple Law of gravity! Tackling the elusive 'square root of -1', he links 'Much ado about nothing', knotting Shakespeare with Euler. This is a marvelous review of our mathematical know -How, into vivid math, in an effort to render such knowledge much more meaningful. In the same spirit of novel views of mathematics, following are two similar tomes.

The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity by Strogatz, Steven (2013) Paperback

Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality

Saving Lucas Biggs
Saving Lucas Biggs
by Marisa De los Santos
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.59
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The plan to save Lucas Biggs involves readers in an exciting adventure within the heart of several genuine characters, August 22, 2014
This review is from: Saving Lucas Biggs (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Margaret O’Malley, a 13-year-old girl living in the small mining town of Victory, Arizona, has just found out that her father, a whistle-blower geologist, not intimidated by Victory Fuels bad practices, has been sentenced to death for arson and murder by the vindictive Judge. Desperate to help her father and save his life, Margaret is assured by her best friend’s grandfather that she has the special ability to do so.

Charlie’s grandfather, Joshua Garrett, has a complicated history with Victory and the coal mining company that founded it. The Garrett family moved to the dry desert climate of Arizona to alleviate young Preston’s asthma, but when Frederic Garrett went to work in the mine, the family began to experience another form of hardship and danger. Frederic Garrett and his friend Aristotle Agrippa, along with many other miners, take on Victory Fuels, but the cost is high.

Decades later, their actions result in John O’Malley’s conviction. The secret, both O’Malley family and Joshua Garrett kept, is that they are able to time-travel. Grandpa Joshua hopes that sending Margaret back in time to the moment his friend Luke Agrippa becomes the hard-hearted Lucas Biggs will save her father and rectify past wrongs. But Grandpa Joshua and Charlie quickly learn that trying to change the past is not enough, so they turn their attention to find a plan to save Lucas Biggs

The threatening execution of John O’Malley subsidizes the story with painful strain, but hopefulness, and ethics in standing up for what is right, resisting corruption makes up for that tension and pain. Despite the O’Malley ability to time-travel, the elements of fantasy are actually kept to a minimum, bringing the story to a factual resolution. The story starts with these questions and takes readers on an exciting adventure within the heart of several genuine characters.

Wisdom Has Built Her House: Studies on the Figure of Sophia in the Bible
Wisdom Has Built Her House: Studies on the Figure of Sophia in the Bible
by Silvia Schroer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.11
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schroer brings a formidable amount of iconographic evidence in the interpretation of the Figure of Sophia., August 17, 2014
"The theme of 'Wisdom' has never let go of me through these years, even if it was not always central to my work. I, like many others, have my teacher Othmar Keel to thank for my interest in the figure of Wisdom. As early as 1974 he published a very intriguing little book on personified Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22-31."--Silvia Schroer

Sylvia Schroer's 'Novena essays' bring an all-inclusive, thorough study of the figure of Sophia as Hebrew Wisdom. Schroer discusses the importance of Wisdom in post-exilic Judaism and early Christianity in the Levant. And how, those developments of Divine Wisdom in the Book of Wisdom; and Book of Ben Sirach; the figure of Divine Wisdom overlapped with, and influenced, late antiquity Judaic monotheism and early Christianity.

As a religious symbol, Sophia creates intellectual unity in religious thought; contributing to combating of ethnicity "through national identities that are open to the world." As one of her major contributions, Schroer attempts to make the figure of Divine Wisdom a central resource for women's spirituality. In almost all essays, she expounds how the figure of Wisdom may be assigned, or not, for feminist spirituality.

The wisdom literature of the Old Testament includes Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. Ecclesiastes are extended reflections on the mystery and meaning of life, and the Great Teacher of Ecclesiastes (known as Qoheleth) resigns himself to see no meaning in anything 'under the sun'. But as a young man who related himself to the Alexanndrine Therapeutae, I was fascinated especially with chapter 8 of the book of Proverbs, and still is.

My fascination was where Sophia says, "The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth's foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence" It revealed the Logos!

Mary Shields underlines that, "Personified Sophia in the Book of Wisdom, "breaks the most new ground, where Schroer argues that the figure of Divine Wisdom in the Book of Wisdom is not only the most developed of the Divine Wisdom constructions of the Wisdom Literature, but reflects a social structure in which women held positions of power and enjoyed a great deal of autonomy."

This book brings together much of current debates on the figure of Sophia, which became favorably compared through 'Pestas Sophia' to Gnostic thought that was enhanced after publishing of the Chenoboskion Coptic library, of Nag-Hamadi. Amongst the articles, there is some overlap that unavoidably causes repetition. On the other hand, Schroer initiates wide-ranging historical reconstructions, that require much more convincing evidence.


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