With all due apologies, below are my notes for episode 46, episode 47, episode 48, and episode 50 (as 49 was a round of addressing questions and comments from listeners).
So, going with the oldest first, Episode 46, which was a continuation of episode 45, and touched on the question of St. Constantine’s conversion, I have but the note on the riot in Nicomedia from Lactantius.
The next day, the edict was published. lt commanded that throughout the whole Empire churches were to be destroyed, and sacred books handed over to be burnt. Christians in the public service were to be removed from their offices: in civil life the honestiores were to lose their important privileges of birth and status, and no Christian might act as accuser in cases of personal injury, adultery and theft. Christian slaves might no longer be freed. Only the lives of the sectaries were spared; otherwise they were to be outlaws.
I love Christmas. I love the story of the shepherds, the angels, and the Magi. Luke 2:1-20 was one of the first longer passages ever I had memorized. I love the hymns, both the ones I grew up with (which, given my Fundamentalist upbringing was one of the few times real theology actually crept into my life), and the ones I now sing as an Orthodox. I love being with family, the good cheer, the anticipation of the coming year, and the taking stock of the past year.
When I read myself into Calvinism as an undergraduate I gained an understanding of Christmas a bit different than the one I had grown up with, a skewed view that Jesus came to be the king of Israel, but once the Jews rejected him, his mission turned to the Gentiles. I was not really sure whether he would have faced the cross, but one branch of my upbringing actually thought he wouldn’t.
With Calvinism I’m not sure I was a lot better off: Christ comes to satisfy God’s wrath against my sin, to endure as a man God’s wrath, and to propitiate the divine justice. His life was for the keeping of the law Adam had failed to do, and his death erased the debt my sin and guilt owed. All rather tidy, wouldn’t you say?
But once I started reading Orthodoxy I came up against a completely different understanding. Yes, God was still a God of wrath, angered by my sin, and yes, Christ as the second Adam came to complete what Adam had failed to do, but the similarities largely ended there (if similarities they are).
The Feast of our Lord’s Nativity will soon dawn upon us, and we who have sat in darkness shall see a great Light. While this Feast so near, I should note that we have, counting today, ten days still to this calendar year. I hope that is enough for everyone both to enjoy the holidays, and also to take stock of the past year in preparation for the new.
Tomorrow is promised to no one, and our best-laid planes often come to naught, but, as my high school teacher John Weathers used to say, if you fail to plane, you are planning to fail.
At this point last year I had no idea what the new year would bring. I had no thought that I would have my one knee replaced, and after six months of rehab, I am very happy that I did.
Further, I could not have seen that one very anticipated endeavor would rather, and seemingly unhappily, end.
The most recent iterations of the podcast are up, namely Episode 44 on the beginning of the Great Persecution, and Episode 45 on the question of whether Constantine converted the Church, or the Church converted the empire. Below are the notes and items for each of them.
I will also have another post later today on things I am working on.
Novatian is generally known for his moral rigorism and the fact that he helped begin a schism that lasted several centuries, arising from said rigorism. Following the Decian persecution Novatian taught that those who denied Christ before men could never be allowed back into sacramental fellowship in the Church.
St. Dionysius of Alexandria (pictured) wrote to him about his precisian ways:
St. Hippolytus of Rome on the Incarnation of the Son of God
And if you please, we say that the Word was the first-born of God, who came down from heaven to the blessed Mary, and was made a first-born man in her womb, in order that the first-born of God might be manifested in union with a first-born man.
When they brought Him to the temple to present Him to the Lord, they offered the oblations of purification. For if the gifts of purification according to the law were offered for Him, in this indeed He was made under the law. But the Word was not subject to the law … since He is the law Himself; neither did God need sacrifices of purification, for He purifies and sanctifies all things at once in a moment. But though He took to Himself the frame of man as He received it from the Virgin, and was made under the law, and was thus purified after the manner of the first-born, it was not because He needed this ceremonial that He underwent its services, but only for the purpose of redeeming from the bondage of the law those who were sold under the judgment of the curse.
Today on the podcast (you can find it right here) I give a brief introduction to a much larger question: whether doctrine has in any way been changed over the centuries?
This question has been linked, and probably forever, with John Henry cardinal Newman and his essay on the Development of Doctrine.
Newman was responding to the growing historical consciousness of his day, which he most certainly felt with regard to the Catholic doctrines of papal infallibility and the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Today we hit Tertullian and the Trinity. You can listen here.
Tertullian is the first writer whom we know to use the word Trinity, though he uses it, and other vocabulary, as if he were saying nothing new, and were answering old questions that have been brought up anew.
Tertullian’s mind, sharp, analytical, and precise, made distinctions not previously embraced, and went beyond the Christology/Triadology of the second century by seeing that the Father, though the source of the divinity of the Logos, was not the per se divinity, and that the Son must therefore be identical in every way to the Father to be divine, the error of the Modalists and the Arians of the 4th century.
With all apologies gentle readers (and listeners), I was at the Touchstone Conference last week (which was absolutely fantastic) and so I couldn’t post. Nonetheless, you can find last week’s podcast on St. Justin the Philosopher (St. Justin the Martyr) here: and you can find this week’s on St. Irenaeus of Lyons here.
The texts that I used in both episodes will be below.