Perichoresis 15.3

Perichoresis 15.3 (2017)

Windows of the Soul in the Worldview of Philo of Alexandria

Aurelian Botica


One of the most important paradigm shifts in the history of Greek philosophy was the ‘rediscovery’ of transcendence in the movement of Intermediate Platonism. Less than a century before the birth of Hellenism (late 4th century BC), Plato had advocated an intentional preoccupation with the life of the mind / soul, encouraging the individual to avoid being entrapped in the material limitations of life and instead discover its transcendental dimension. The conquest of Athens by the Macedonians, followed by the invasion of the Orient by Alexander the Great, set in motion sociological and cultural changes that challenged the relevance of Platonic philosophy. The transcendental vision of Platonism left the individual still struggling to find happiness in the world created by Alexander the Great. This was the context in which the schools the of Cynicism, Stoicism, Epicureanism and Skepticism challenged Platonism with their call to happiness in this world and by means of the Hellenistic dominance and the rise of Roman supremacy stirred a renewed spiritual and philosophical effort to rediscover the world beyond; that is, the transcendental world of Plato. This was Middle Platonism and the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria was one of its most prolific writers. In this paper, we will examine the concept of the soul in the writings of Philo, with an emphasis on the role that the soul plays in the act of approaching God through the means of the external / material cult (Temple, sacrifices, priests, etc.). Philo offers a complex vision of the soul, one that remains critically relevant to understanding the Greek, Jewish, and Christian thought that emerged after Philo. PDF

What the Emerging Protestant Theology was about. The Reformation Concept of Theological Studies as Enunciated by Philip Melanchthon in his Prolegomena to All Latin and German Versions of Loci

Matthew Oseka


The present paper examines the rudimentary concept of the Protestant theology as an academic discipline which was enunciated by Melanchthon in his prolegomena to all Latin and German versions of Loci which were the instrument indispensable for educating a next generation of the Protestant divines and for disseminating the ideas of the Reformation worldwide. PDF

Céli Dé—Ascetics or Mystics? Máelrúain of Tallaght and Óengus Céle Dé as Case Studies

Patricia M. Rumsey


The Céli Dé monks as we see them in the texts associated with their monasteries had a reputation for extreme asceticism. Following their leader, MáelRúain, who had an especially stern reputation for rigorous observance, they believed heaven had to be earned by saying many prayers, by penitential practices and by intense personal effort and striving on the part of each individual monk. To this end, they engaged in such practices as rigorous fasting, long vigils, confession of sins, strict Sabbath observance and devotional practices involving many prayers. Their view of humanity and of creation generally was negative and they saw God as a stern judge. However, there was another aspect to Céli Dé monasticism which we see in the Félire Óengusso, the metrical martyrology compiled by Óengus the Culdee, a monk of Tallaght. We see from his Félire that he understood holiness as a gift of God’s grace, both for the saints in heaven, whom he describes as ‘radiant’ and ‘shining like the sun’, and for those still on earth, through the mercy and graciousness of God himself. His Félire was compiled as an act of devotion to Jesus and the saints, whom he addresses in terms of great warmth, tenderness and intimacy, in expressions which prefigure the language of the medieval mystics. So by studying the lives of these two monks, MáelRúain and Óengus, his protégée, as case studies, we can see that for the Céli Dé, holiness was less a matter of ‘either asceticism or mysticism’, but rather ‘both and’. PDF

Auricular Confession: the Celtic Gift to the Church

Peter Tyler


This article traces the evolution of auricular confession from its origins in the spiritual diakresis in the early desert tradition and argues that through the Celtic churches of Northern Europe the practice is introduced into the Western Church culminating in the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. By developing the desert tradition of diakresis it will be argued that the Celtic system triumphed because of its stronger psychological verisimilitude compared to the Southern Mediterranean traditions of public one-off penance. PDF

Reformation or Revolution? Herman Bavinck and Henri de Lubac on Nature and Grace

Gregory W. Parker


Henri de Lubac’s treatment of the relationship between nature and grace will be critiqued by Herman Bavinck’s ‘grace restores nature’ theme. In two significant addresses, Bavinck critiqued a Roman Catholic approach to nature and grace. De Lubac’s influence upon Roman Catholic thinking addressing nature and grace occurred post-Bavinck and has altered Catholic thinking on the subject. Neo-Calvinist scholar, Wolter Huttinga admits that Bavinck and de Lubac offer similar critiques of Roman Catholicism (Huttinga 2014). The question remains then, do Bavinck’s critiques still hold? I propose that Bavinck’s account of grace restores nature still makes valid critiques of a post-Vatican II construction of nature and grace. The paper is broken into three sections: (1) an exploration of de Lubac’s nature and grace theme, (2) the framework of Bavinck’s ‘grace restores nature’ theme, and (3) a Bavinckian critique of de Lubac’s nature and grace theme. PDF

Reparative Substitution and the ‘Efficacy Objection’: Toward a Modified Satisfaction Theory of Atonement

Joshua R. Farris, S. Mark Hamilton


The doctrine of the atonement is a subject of perpetual curiosity for a number of contemporary theologians. The penal substitution theory of atonement in particular has precipitated a great deal of recent interest, being held up by many (mostly evangelical) Protestants as ‘the’ doctrine of atonement. In this essay, we make a defense against the objection to the Anselmian theory of atonement that is often leveled against it by exponents of the Penal Substitution theory, namely, that Christ’s work does not accomplish anything for those whom it appears he undertakes his atoning work, but merely makes provision for salvation. PDF