Volume 16, Number 1, Spring 2008
Re-imagining Tatian: The Damaging Effects of Polemical Rhetoric
Abstract: Tatian, a second-century Christian apologist, is best known on the one hand for his much admired and only extant text, the Oratio ad Graecos, and on the other for heresy. Starting with Irenaeus, Tatian develops a reputation particularly among the western Fathers for heresy and extreme asceticism—including sexual renunciation, vegetarianism, and abstention from alcohol. In the late fourth century Tatian reappears as the reputed (and heretical) author of the Diatessaron, possibly the gospel harmony most popular in the Syriac-speaking churches. In medieval Syriac Christian writings, due to a conflation of these two earlier associations, Tatian’s reputation transforms itself yet again. Thus, due to his presumed now generic-heretical standing, these authors further accuse Tatian of removing the NT genealogies from his harmonized text thus undermining the human element in christological theory. Yet I think it can be demonstrated that these two reputations—the one of heretical encratism, and the other of heretical Christology—in fact reflect polemical constructions created to deflect external anti-Christian polemic and internal cross-Christian conflict onto another group rather than historical reality.
Abstract: Clement’s use of the verb μαντευομαι is unique in early Christian literature. Whereas other early Christian authors predicate it of those who, in contrast to authentically inspired prophets, reprehensibly engaged in divination or indulged in mindless prognostication, Clement uses it to characterize the words of a few sages who had an extraordinary presentiment of Christian teachings. Clement predicates the word μαντευομαι of Heraclitus because he regards the Ephesian philosopher as a prophetic figure who had remarkable insight and who bore authoritative testimony in cryptic fashion against his fellow Greeks.
Stroumsa, Guy G.
The Scriptural Movement of Late Antiquity and Christian Monasticism
Abstract: Meletius Monachus’s De natura hominis 24, on male gender physiology, concludes with twenty-one lines about female differentiation, gender dissonance, eunuchs, and an appeal to the φοῖνιξ as a natural paradigm for the difference between male and female. This paper considers the medical and patristic sources for this passage in light of the treatise as a whole, Meletius’s Byzantine identity, and his tentatively ninth-century context. Late antique Christian texts on the phoenix-bird and the eunuch as they related to gender and heresy may inform Meletius’s contrast between “natural” φοῖνιξ and castrated eunuchs. This text offers a unique and little-studied witness to the broader dialogue of gender in religion and medicine in the ancient world.
- Kelly, Joseph F. (Joseph Francis), 1945-Satan: A Biography (review)
- Johnson, Luke Timothy.Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle (review)
- Osiek, Carolyn.From Clement to Origen: The Social and Historical Context of the Church Fathers (review)
- DelCogliano, Mark.The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea: A Synthesis of Greek Thought and Biblical Truth (review)
- Fulford, Ben.Gregory of Nyssa: The Letters. Introduction, Translation and Commentary (review)
- Slusser, Michael, 1940-L’Ancien Testament dans l’ecclésiologie des Pères: Une lecture des Constitutions Apostoliques (review)
- Chin, Catherine M., 1972-The Monk and the Book: Jerome and the Making of Christian Scholarship (review)
- Goodrich, Richard J., 1962-Tradition and Theology in St. John Cassian (review)
- O’Donnell, James Joseph, 1950-The Mysticism of Saint Augustine: Rereading the Confessions (review)
- Marshall, Charles.The Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite: An Introduction to the Structure and the Contents of the Treatise On the Divine Names (review)
- Holmes, Michael W. (Michael William), 1950-Early Patristic Readings of Romans (review)
- Keating, Daniel A.Theōsis: Deification in Christian Theology (review)
- Djuth, Marianne.The Divine Sense: The Intellect in Patristic Theology (review)
- Hurtado, Larry W., 1943-In the Beginning: Bibles before the Year 1000 (review)
- Bolman, Elizabeth S., 1960-Dynamic Splendor: The Wall Mosaics in the Cathedral of Eufrasius at Poreč (review)