Perichoresis 15.1

Perichoresis 15.1 (2017)


Pilgrimage In The Celtic Christian Tradition

Rodney Aist


This papers explores the diversity of pilgrim expressions in the Celtic Christian sources, focusing largely upon scriptural and theological images-namely, the image of Jerusalem, the example of Abraham, and journey as a metaphor for the earthly life. Discussion on Celtic interest in Jerusalem will focus on the text, De locis sanctis, by Adomnán of Iona (d. 704). Central to Abrahamic pilgrimage is the ideal of being a stranger, foreigner, exile and alien in the world. Columbanus (d. 615) and Columba (d. 597) are both described as pilgrims in the tradition of Abraham. The life of Patrick raises the question of the relationship between Abrahamic pilgrimage and the missionary life. The phenomenon of the seafaring monks, most famously St Brendan, will also be discussed through the lens of Abraham, while the corresponding text, The Voyage of St Brendan, will lead to a short discussion of liturgy as a form of pilgrimage. Finally, the lifelong journey of the Christian life-expressed through the metaphors of road and journey in the writings of Columbanus-will be discussed. PDF

Sin as an Ailment of Soul and Repentance as the Process of Its Healing. The Pastoral Concept of Penitentials as a Way of Dealing with Sin, Repentance, and Forgiveness in the Insular Church of the Sixth to the Eighth Centuries

Wilhelm Kursawa


Although the advent of the Kingdom of God in Jesus contains as an intrinsic quality the opportunity for repentance (metanoia) as often as required, the Church of the first five-hundred years shows serious difficulties with the opportunity of conversion after a relapse in sinning after baptism. The Church allowed only one chance of repentance. Requirement for the reconciliation were a public confession and the acceptance of severe penances, especially after committing the mortal sin of apostasy, fornication or murder. As severe as this paenitentia canonica appears, its entire conception especially in the eastern part of the Church, the Oriental Church, is a remedial one: sin represents an ailment of the soul, the one, who received the confession, is called upon to meet the confessing person as a spiritual physician or soul-friend. Penance does not mean punishment, but healing like a salutary remedy. Nevertheless, the lack of privacy led to the unwanted practice of postponing repentance and even baptism on the deathbed. An alternative procedure of repentance arose from the sixth century onwards in the Irish Church as well as the Continental Church under the influence of Irish missionaries and the South-West-British and later the English Church (Insular Church). In treatises about repentance, called penitentials, ecclesiastical authorities of the sixth to the eight centuries wrote down regulations, how to deal with the different capital sins and minor trespasses committed by monks, clerics and laypeople. Church-representatives like Finnian, Columbanus, the anonymous author of the Ambrosianum, Cummean and Theodore developed a new conception of repentance that protected privacy and guaranteed a discrete, an affordable as well as a predictable penance, the paenitentia privata. They not only connected to the therapeutic aspect of repentance in the Oriental Church by adopting basic ideas of Basil of Caesarea and John Cassian, they also established an astonishing network in using their mutual interrelations. Here the earlier penitentials served as source for the later ones. But it is remarkable that the authors in no way appeared as simple copyists, but also as creative revisers, who took regard of the pastoral necessities of the entrusted flock. They appeared as engaged in the goal to improve their ecclesiastical as well as their civil life-circumstances to make it possible that the penitents of the different ecclesiastical estates could perform their conversion and become reconciled in a dignified way. The aim of the authors was to enable the confessors to do the healing dialogue qualitatively in a high standard; quantity was not their goal. The penitents should feel themselves healed, not punished. PDF

The Logikē Latreia of Romans 12: 1 and Its Interpretation Among Christian Humanists

Kirk M. Summers


Scholars have debated whether the sentiment of sixteenth century reformers against material forms of worship derived from certain Neo-Platonic ideas proliferating in parts of Europe and disseminated by Erasmus or from strictly Scriptural principles that were initially formulated by the Old Testament prophets and given fuller expression in the New. This essay studies the reformers′ interpretation of the phrase logikē latreia at Romans 12:1, as well as other key passages. It concludes that, whether consciously or subconsciously, the reformers borrowed language concerning the material-spiritual dichotomy of worship, not directly from Neo-Platonists, but from a commonplace used by numerous Roman writers. Early Church Fathers had long ago turned the same commonplace against pagan rivals, but now the reformers were employing it against the Catholic Church itself. PDF

Ensouling the Beatific Vision. Motivating the Reformed Impulse

Joshua R. Farris, Ryan A. Brandt


The beatific vision is a subject of considerable importance both in the Christian Scriptures and in the history of Christian dogmatics. In it, humans experience and see the perfect immaterial God, which represents the final end for the saints. However, this doctrine has received less attention in the contemporary theological literature, arguably, due in part to the growing trend toward materialism and the sole emphasis on bodily resurrection in Reformed eschatology. As a piece of retrieval by drawing from the Scriptures, Medieval Christianity, and Reformed Christianity, we motivate a case for the Reformed emphasis on the immaterial and intellectual aspects of human personal eschatology and offer some constructive thoughts on how to link it to the contemporary emphasis of the body. We draw a link between the soul and the body in the vision with the help of Christology as reflected in the theology of John Calvin, and, to a greater extent, the theology of both John Owen and Jonathan Edwards. PDF

Re-Thinking Atonement in Jonathan Edwards and New England Theology

S. Mark Hamilton


Jonathan Edwards′ New England theology has a great deal more to say that is of contemporary doctrinal interest than it is often credited with, particularly as it relates to the doctrine of atonement. This article explores several anomalous claims made be this 18th and 19th century tradition, and in this way, challenges the recent and growing consensus that Edwards espoused the penal substitution model and his successors a moral government model. I argue that of all that is yet to be considered about their doctrine of atonement, we ought to begin with those claims made about the nature and demands of divine justice. PDF

Salvation and Speech Act. Reading Luther with the Aid of Searle’s Analysis of Declarations

Jacob R. Randolph


Many Luther scholars have made passing reference to Martin Luther’s theology of the Word as a ‘speech-act’ theology. This essay aims to probe points of continuity and discontinuity between Luther’s understanding of the Word, as exemplified in the promise of God, and a particular speech-act philosophy as posited by John Searle. The analysis of Searle in the area of declarations, as well as a survey of Lutheran conceptions of the Word of promise in both sacrament and Scripture, will evidence specific moments of clarity in Luther’s so-called ‘speech-act’ theology and provide a helpful paradigm for viewing the creative impact of the Word as conceived by Luther. PDF