Patristic use of Isaiah 53

Is. 53:5 αὐτὸς δὲ ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν· παιδεία εἰρήνης ἡμῶν ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν, τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς ἰάθημεν.

A search for the highlighted text in the Fathers illustrates some predicatble variations. The kind of thing you would expect.

For example
Justin Martyr Dialog Try.
Ch 13, §5, l 2

οὗτος δὲ ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν·

1st Clement
Cha 16, §5, ln 3

Αὐτὸς δὲ ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν·
ἐτραυματίσθ

Origenes Jeremiah
Homily 14, § 9, ln12

αὐτὸς δὲ ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν, καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν·


Origene Comm evang. John
Bk 28, ch 19, § 165, ln 2

καὶ οὗτός γε τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν
ἔλαβεν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν, καὶ ἡ ὀφειλομένη
ἡμῖν εἰς τὸ παιδευθῆναι καὶ εἰρήνην ἀναλαβεῖν κόλασις ἐπ' αὐτὸν
γεγένηται.

Theodoret, Philotheus
Vita 31, § 20, ln 14

Ὁ δὲ προφήτης Ἡσαΐας ὡς
γεγενημένα τὰ ἐσόμενα προεθέσπισε λέγων· «Αὐτὸς
ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ
τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν· παιδεία εἰρήνης ἡμῶν ἐπ' αὐτόν·
τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς ἰάθημεν», καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ὅσα περὶ
τῶν σωτηρίων παθῶν διεξέρχεται.

Ephraem Syrus, Ad Ioannem monachum, ut abstineat a Nestorii insania et blasphemia
Pg 186, ln 8

δὲ ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς
ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν· παιδεία εἰρήνης ἡμῶν ἐπ' αὐτὸν ἔσται· τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς
πάντες ἰάθημεν.
 
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The search string διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν in a single author Theodoret of Cyrus illustrates the same variation.

Theodoret, Philotheus
Vita 31, § 20, ln 14

«Αὐτὸς
ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ
τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν·

Theodoret De incarnatione domini .
Vol 75, pg1468, ln 27

αὐτὸς δὲ
ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, καὶ μεμαλά-
κισται διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν·

Theodoret Interpretatio in xiv epistulas sancti Pauli
V 82, p 349, l 21

Αὐτὸς δὲ
ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν, καὶ μεμαλά-
κισται διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, παιδεία εἰρήνης
ἡμῶν ἐπ' αὐτόν.

Theodoret De providentia orationes decem
V 83, p 756, l 10

ἀλλὰ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον διὰ τοῦ προφήτου διδάσκει,
ὅτι αὐτὸς ἐτραυματίσθη διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας
ἡμῶν, καὶ μεμαλάκισται διὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν.
 
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Are you trying to bring out a certain point?
I think at the time when this was posted I was looking into "Progressive Christianity" with special reference to the atonement and thinking about the historical development of the doctrine of the atonement in patristics. I also post snippets of greek text to see if anyone is going to respond. The CARM forums show up in my searches for Greek texts and early church fathers in Greek are rare enough that you get some visibility by simply posting some text. In other words I am putting out bait to find people who are reading Greek Patristics.

Now that I actually read what I posted I not certain what I was thinking about.
 
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rakovsky

Active member
I think at the time when this was posted I was looking into "Progressive Christianity" with special reference to the atonement and thinking about the historical development of the doctrine of the atonement in patristics. I also post snippets of greek text to see if anyone is going to respond. The CARM forums show up in my searches for Greek texts and early church fathers in Greek are rare enough that you get some visibility by simply posting some text. In other words I am putting out bait to find people who are reading Greek Patristics.

Now that I actually read what I posted I not certain what I was thinking about.
Well one problem that I have is that I can't speak Greek. Occasionally scholarly Christian theologians know it. Otherwise it's an arcane issue unless you notice something serious.

So in my case, translating what you wrote would be good into English.

As far as the development of the doctrine, what do you mean by "Progressive Christianity?"
Certainly the concept of the atonement was an early Christian belief already in the time of the Gospel writers, but probably from Jesus Himself. In Luke 24, Jesus says that the Passion and Resurrection needed to happen, and Jesus pointed to the Torah as a place for this. And a way that the Torah relates to this is the Atonement concept found in the Torah rituals like Yom Kippur.

Also, Isaiah 53 comes up in Peter's epistles repeatedly, as well as in the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts.

As far as Old Testament usage by the Church Fathers early on, I recall Melito of Sardis being one Church Father who emphasized prophetic prefigurements in the Old Testament.
 
As far as the development of the doctrine, what do you mean by "Progressive Christianity?"

Alisa Childers has addressed this at length. I have a slightly different perspective because I grew up in a different era.

Probably the most important thing I learned by the age of 25 was how to identify philosophical frameworks also known as world-views. Historical Christianity can be defined as a certain set of assumptions about reality. Progressive Christianity differs dramatically from historical by having a dramatically different set of basic assumptions.

Historical Christianity shares with classical Judaism a foundational notion of the creator creature distinction. This is bedrock upon which everything else is built. All of reality can be divided into two kinds of being: The Creator and everything else.

The 1960s cultural revolution in the west undermined this basic assumption. The gurus of progressives are promoting monism which is a whole different way of looking at reality.

The atonement is a more specific issue of doctrine where Historical Christianity is abandoned by progressives.
 
Something that we need to understand about the issue of the atonement in reference to so called Progressive Christianity, the major voices in the movement are not quibbling with orthodoxy over some minute doctrinal issue. They are rejecting wholesale the idea of Jesus dying on behalf of sinners to reconcile them to a Holy God. They mock the idea, calling it divine child abuse. They claim this idea was invented by this or that church father. Augustine is a favorite villain. The idea that Augustine, Calvin or Luther invented a doctrine that is taught clearly in the epistles of Paul is silly. Seeing how the Greek fathers talk about Isaiah 53 is a way to satisfy curiosity about how these ideas were expressed in the early church. The term Historical Christianity includes the notion of development over time. The history of theological discourse is one filled with disputes over how these things should be put into words.
 
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rakovsky

Active member
Something that we need to understand about the issue of the atonement in reference to so called Progressive Christianity, the major voices in the movement are not quibbling with orthodoxy over some minute doctrinal issue. They are rejecting wholesale the idea of Jesus dying on behalf of sinners to reconcile them to a Holy God. They mock the idea, calling it divine child abuse. They claim this idea was invented by this or that church father. Augustine is a favorite villain. The idea that Augustine, Calvin or Luther invented a doctrine that is taught clearly in the epistles of Paul is silly. Seeing how the Greek fathers talk about Isaiah 53 is a way to satisfy curiosity about how these ideas were expressed in the early church. The term Historical Christianity includes the notion of development over time. The history of theological discourse is one filled with disputes over how these things should be put into words.
I am Eastern Orthodox, and in Eastern Orthodoxy ie the Eastern Christian Tradition, Atonement theory is only one of several theories, such as Ransom theory, and Theosis. Atonement theory is Biblical, but making emphasis on Atonement the central or sole explanation is more Western and Augustinian.
 

rakovsky

Active member
Alisa Childers has addressed this at length. I have a slightly different perspective because I grew up in a different era.

Probably the most important thing I learned by the age of 25 was how to identify philosophical frameworks also known as world-views. Historical Christianity can be defined as a certain set of assumptions about reality. Progressive Christianity differs dramatically from historical by having a dramatically different set of basic assumptions.

Historical Christianity shares with classical Judaism a foundational notion of the creator creature distinction. This is bedrock upon which everything else is built. All of reality can be divided into two kinds of being: The Creator and everything else.

The 1960s cultural revolution in the west undermined this basic assumption. The gurus of progressives are promoting monism which is a whole different way of looking at reality.

The atonement is a more specific issue of doctrine where Historical Christianity is abandoned by progressives.
Protestantism emphasizes Augustine, but Protestantism is also very much a progressive, modern phenomenon.

Progressive Christianity is not necessarily bad I think. For instance, 100 years ago there was much more conflict and tension between Christian groups, and Progressive Christianity helped to have a more positive attitude. Between the groups. In many ways, conservative Christian indie or conservative protestantism is frequently Progressive.

With is Eastern Orthodoxy, you are getting the views of the church fathers in the first several centuries of Christianity. So when you find atonement theology in the Eastern Church fathers, what you are doing is showing that Eastern Orthodoxy has this atonement theology as one of its views.

In the views of both Protestants and Eastern Orthodox, the Catholic Church in the West changed major doctrines. However in the case of the Eastern Orthodox, the Orthodox Church was preserving the doctrines that it continued to have since those Early times of the church fathers. With the Protestant movement on the other hand what they were doing was deciding what they believed the correct theology was, and then imposing those beliefs onto early Christians. So for example on the topic of Augustine's theology, the augustinian theology was specific to the western church, and not necessarily held by the Eastern Church. So for instance, the augustinian idea of original sin being passed down biologically wasn't held by the Orthodox Church in the time of the early church fathers nor as a result was it passed down to today. I would not be surprised if you could find something like it expressed by some Eastern Church fathers or something that reminds you of Augustine's idea, but certainly it did not have the same emphasis that it did in Augustine's thought. Augustine was a great thinker but not necessarily correct about everything. I can think of a couple examples in which protestantism and Catholicism followed Augustine in ways that the Eastern Church fathers did not or else did not hold his view on the topic as a consensus like Catholicism and protestantism does. So as a result, the Catholic church can look to its centuries of augustinian tradition and use that as a guide to interpret early Christianity as augustinian. But protestantism does not really follow this method of following tradition. And in rejecting tradition as a key guide, protestantism is following a method that you are calling the method of progressive Christianity, like following other ideas. So certainly what you are calling Progressive Christianity is in fact an outgrowth of protestantism. In terms of what Protestants do were often do is that they have come to the idea that Augustine's ideas were correct, and so they read Augustine's ideas when they read the Bible. It's not really an issue of reading the Bible together with an emphasis on 1000 years of Catholic tradition so much as it is picking up the Bible with Augustine's theology in mind and then concluding that the early Christians believed what the Protestants believe.

I guess you and I really have to Define progressive Christianity. Because if we just say that it is liberal Tendencies or liberal theologians ideas, then we can't really say that Progressive Christianity is monistic or denies atonement Theory, Etc. Certainly there are progressive or left-wing Christians who contradict key Christian theology, but there are also Progressive or left-wing Christians who did not.

If we are going to talk about Progressive Christianity as being this idea formulating theology anew to match modern trends instead of holding fast to older doctrines, then protestantism is very much in that vein. One Protestant critic of Eastern Orthodoxy noticed that both Martin Luther and John Calvin put on Modern scholarly robes like professors, and this particular critic agreed with that step because he felt that taking the scholarly approach was the correct one. In any case whether you agree with a modern scholarly approach or not, certainly it is in the vein of what we can call broadly speaking Progressive Christianity in that it formulates or reformulates teachings instead of Simply carrying on the Traditions that it inherited. So for instance, John Calvin emphasized the idea that major traditional Supernatural ideas or practices or teachings were ridiculous and they therefore were in his View incorrect. A key example of this was Calvin's idea about the Eucharist, but there are other ones like the idea of holy relics being involved in prayer and miracles. Martin Luther took issue with Calvin's rejection of the direct presence in the Eucharist, complaining correctly that Calvin was using the idea of the natural order as a criteria to reject Supernatural doctrines. And in fact Calvin was openly doing this in his writings explicitly referring to the Natural order as a logical reason why the Catholic Supernatural ideas could not be correct. Calvin's defense against Luther was that Calvin did accept Supernatural beliefs in some other cases like the idea of Jesus resurrecting. But despite Calvin's defense, when it came to the Eucharist he openly used criteria of absurdity and ridiculousness and the natural order as key criteria for judging the direct presence. So while you may be taking issue with some Progressive Christian theologians dispensing with atonement theology or promoting monism, their way of doing this does come in the Protestant tradition of rejecting Christian Traditions being passed down and creating a new one's own tradition. So those particular Progressive Christians might imagine that atonement and trinitarian Resurrection theology is false, and in doing so they go against earlier traditions, and rely on their own modern ideas about the natural order.
 

rakovsky

Active member
So in order for me just to avoid being negative on the topic what I can say is that Luther had a good idea about picking up the Bible and reading it on its own merits instead of just blindly accepting that whatever the Catholic Church said on the topic was correct. But his problem was one of emphasis in my view. His idea of taking the Bible on its own and reading the Bible on its own to get the meaning implies that the biblical meaning is obvious. But in fact the biblical meaning on major salvation issues is often unclear, and in fact Luther often did resort to the church fathers to help interpret scripture. So when it comes to understanding what the Bible taught in fact, Luther's Progressive Christianity had a helpful aspect since the Catholic magisterium was incorrect on some things like the idea of original sin being passed down biologically. Luther's method of emphasizing the biblical meaning without being forced to follow the magisterium allows this biblical view to come out more. But at the same time, by looking at the Bible in terms of whatever you believe the truth to be today or whatever you believe modern science to teach, then you can miss what the biblical writers were intending to say because in fact modern scientific views of the natural order are sometimes in major disagreement with what this biblical writers believed. And here of course we get into a separate quandary. Can the biblical writers be mistaken on some topic, whereas Progressive Christianity can be factually correct? Certainly Luther and others in the augustinian tradition would answer No. For Augustine, the Bible was always correct according to whatever intention that particular direct biblical writer meant to say. So if a particular biblical writer intended to mean that the great flood was literally true, then Augustine's method implies that one should take the great flood to be a literally true event. In the Eastern Orthodox approach though the idea of biblical infallibility is not such a clear consensus or defining feature of our church or tradition. So the idea that every verse or every idea must be true literally according to the way that a particular biblical writer intended is not a consensus view in Orthodoxy. This lack of consensus on many topics in Orthodoxy does not mean that Progressive but rather it always goes back to the teachings of the church fathers and looking to see what their range of views were on the topic. Certainly on the topic of monism, the Orthodox Church would reject that theory and emphasize trinitarianism, but on the topic of atonement theology there is a range of views as to how salvation works. Atonement theology is seen as a correct biblical theology but it is also seen as only one of several correct explanations of how salvation works.

Since Orthodoxy does not treat the church Fathers as infallible oh, and it doesn't have a consensus idea on biblical infallibility, and since the great flood is not a Core teaching like the ideas in the Nicene Creed, then I think that it is open to the idea that the flood might not have been literal. So from the Orthodox perspective I think that there is room to agree with some Progressive Christians who don't take the great flood story to be literal truth. Probably when you look at the church fathers, you will typically find them referring to the Old Testament Supernatural Miracles as if those Miracles were true and literal, but typically they probably would not get into debates over whether the Miracles were literally true. I mean they would not be making an argument that the Bible is infallible and that therefore the great flood story must be literally true, and they wouldn't be going around looking for geological proofs that this story was true. Rather, they would retell the story usually and the implication that I would get from those texts in the patristic era would it be that those fathers believed the great flood to be literally True by asserting it to be factual was not one of their major goals so much as preaching the basic Christian doctrines like we see in the Nicene Creed.
-------------
It is nice to find someone else like yourself who is interested in the ideas of the church fathers. Peace.
 
Excellent posts. You cover a lot of territory here. My primary motivation in reading patristic authors is to improve my understanding of "Historic Christianity" and that includes everything. My formal training in the '70s was focused on the reformation and reformed dogma. I am not the least bit interested in promoting a reformed framework. My quest is to reach a better understanding of what has been taught from the beginning and formed the core of what it means to be Christian everywhere. Greek Patristic authors are not an easy read in Greek. So I move very slowly and have to be somewhat selective in what I chose to study.

When I use the label "Progressive Christianity" it is a title adopted by a very recent contemporary movement who self-identify as "Progressive Christians." I would describe them as post post modern. I discovered these people when over a decade ago friends and family started making reference to Rob Bell and Richard Rohr. I did some reading of Richard Rohr. I didn't much care about him because I knew about Henry Nowen and Thomas Merton. Seemed that this happens regularly. What I was not aware of was the thing called "Progressive Christianity." That last time I talked to Gib Martin my college mentor he was quoting Henry Nowen. I didn't get alarmed because people were reading mystics. Half a century ago everyone I knew had a copy of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. Mystics were always a part of our reading. On the otherhand "Progressive Christianity" is something more than casual reading. My artist friend from half a century ago was a disciple of Alan Watts when I met her in '71 and now she is reading Richard Rohr. In the interim she was married for 30 years to a Baptist Pastor. Progressives in the pulpit are nothing new. They just have a new name. We used to call them liberals in the 1960s. What is notable about the current thing called progressive is their overt attack on all things orthodox. They are militant heretics. Not being shy about their heterodoxy. What I would call the Bishop Pike Syndrome seems to be the new model.
 
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I just read a reply to a quote from a testimony on Centering Prayer which is a practice associated with "Progressive Christianity." Courses on this are taught in colleges and seminaries[1] for example Richard Rohr at Fuller Seminary. My nephew a campus ministries professional in SoCalif who self identifies as a "Progressive" attended Fuller Seminary and is a disciple of Richard Rohr. See the comment by Jay posted bellow.

Jay

June 6, 2020 at 2:23 pm

Those were the same techniques I learned when I practiced Zen.
The wages of Zen is death. Empty your mind. Meditate mindlessly.
[1] The college I attended and the seminary I attended are on the list. This doesn't shock me in the least. We had an Ingmar Bergman film festival at Seattle Pacific and I was attending films like Satyricon Fellini and Blowup Antonioni. This was after all a liberal arts education. We were not in school to be protected from exposure to J P Sartre or Samuel Beckett. The idea the education is supposed to shield you from exposure to dangerous ideas isn't what we wanted. Half of my friends were Cultural Marxists I can still hear them quoting Herbert Marcuse. This is not a myth. Steve Graham my child hood neighbor attended SPC at the same time and was spouting Herbert Marcuse in 1971. The idea that this is a myth is itself a myth.
 
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rakovsky

Active member
On my website rakovskii.livejournal.com, which is dedicated to the Old Testament prophecies, I got into the uses of Isaiah 53 in the New Testament. Peter repeatedly uses verses from it in one of his epistles. Atonement theology comes up in the New Testament theme of Christ as the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, like how John the Baptist calls Christ, IIRC in John's Gospel.

I am not sure how exactly the idea of atonement theology in the church fathers was tying together in your mind with Progressive Christianity. There has been an occasional criticism that atonement theology implies that God is an Angry God who demands sacrifice or punishment. I am not sure how to take a full view of that criticism, because it is evaluating something like the nature of God, and God is very much a Transcendent being. It is kind of like getting into the issue of the theodicy, where we try to Grapple with something that is above our normal experience. So on one hand we can say that God is loving and wants Mercy, and there is a Old Testament reference to God wanting Mercy instead of sacrifice, and at one point Jesus even brings up this Old Testament passage when he was in a debate with the Pharisees. And there are other theories that someone can focus on instead of atonement Theory, like the theory of theosis, where by Christ raises us out of our fallen state in the course of his resurrection and his own entrance into God's Heavenly Realm. And yet on the other hand atonement theology does show up in New Testament ideas of Christ and understandings of his salvation.

I think that there is a Temptation on a conservative based Forum like Carm, which has calvinist roots and is therefore based in the augustinian tradition, to just complain about Progressive Christianity wholesale. But if a theologian Who belongs to Progressive Christianity is criticizing atonement theology along the lines that I just mentioned, then I think that they are at least bringing up a worthwhile issue. It's worth noticing that the New Testament doesn't lay out and emphasize atonement theology in as systematic of fashion as the augustinian tradition does. In this case, the augustinian tradition is bringing attention to something that is in the New Testament and is formulating it more, and the augustinian tradition is not mistaken on this point. But it is also important at least to give comparable attention to Alternative explanations of how salvation works.

There has been a concept called penal substitution atonement Theory that is considered special for the calvinist tradition. I am not sure how the calvinist idea of penal substitution differs from the classical augustinian idea, but my understanding is that for one thing, the calvinist version emphasizes punishment much more strongly. Certainly the emphasis on punishment in general with something that has long pushed me away from Calvinism.

There are some Eastern Orthodox who say that atonement theology does not exist in Orthodoxy and that according to them we only have soteriologies such as emphasis on Redemption and humans becoming United with God and becoming more and more like him. When I read those Orthodox saying that, I don't take them to necessarily be coming from a place of openly promoting something called Progressive Christianity but rather I see them as looking at theological differences between eastern and western Christianity. But in any case those Eastern Orthodox today who think that atonement theology is not part of the Orthodox tradition are mistaken in the sense that in fact there have been Church fathers like Augustine who have taught this idea. But none-the-less I would say that just because a teaching exists in the Orthodox Church or some church fathers have a certain interpretation of theology, it doesn't mean that their particular idea is a Dogma for all orthodox.


As far as I can tell, something like Progressive Christianity or conservative Christianity is classified in a term that is Broad enough that includes Christian theologians who could have classical or non-classical theology. So for instance as far as I can tell, someone can be dedicated to Progressive Christianity because they emphasize social justice and helping the poor in the sense of the Catholic Social Justice teachings, and person like that can still have classical Christian theology.

Meanwhile at the same time you could have a person who identifies as a conservative Christian because they want some version of conservative values or conservative politics, whatever those might be, but in reality that person might not care about the church fathers that you are caring about, or that person might even believe that reading the church fathers is harmful and that the church fathers have ideas that are opposite to that conservative person's own ideas. Probably if you have moved enough in conservative circles then you have met people who think that reading Greek Church fathers is not helpful and that the church fathers had antithetical ideas about Bishops or councils or Creeds or whatever. The church fathers and the Christian Community of the first several centuries had a Institution for organized religion in a way that typically many self-identified conservative non-denominational Christians would disagree with today I think. Probably a person who identifies as Conservative Christian would be more likely than someone who identifies as Progressive Christian to say that we should follow things the same way that they did in the first century. But I find these terms of conservative and Progressive to be misleading when it comes to whether a person is actually dedicated to doing that.

What you seem to be concerned about is people reinterpreting Christian theology or remaking it or re making their own theology in a way that matches modern naturalistic scientific ideas. You bring up monism, for example, as being a feature of what you consider Progressive Christianity to be. But Jehovah's Witnesses as far as I can tell seem to be rather in the range of conservative Christianity or at least they seem conservative culturally. The same goes for Adventist groups. And yet those groups do not have classical Christian theology either as far as I can tell. The Jehovah's Witness idea is seemingly based on the idea of emphasis on the natural order that something like Jesus Jesus's corpse re enlivening did not happen and that the only thing that happened was that his Spirit lived on. There is a forum user here called Gary Mac that repeatedly writes about this idea. Maybe he is a Jehovah's Witness. So I think that it is better to use more specific terms for what your concern is than conservative and Progressive Christianity.
 

rakovsky

Active member
Your desire to understand early Christianity more by reading the church fathers in Greek is certainly appealing interesting and impressive because I don't know Greek and if you do then you get a bit better idea of your material. Maybe 1 to 5% of the material that I came across from the early Christian writings had something that was confusing or unclear that could be cleared up by better knowing the Greek.

I had a similar interest to yours and focused on the writings about Christianity that were put down in the time of the Apostles and those who lived when the apostles were still alive and were old enough to have some basic idea of Christian theology at that point in their lives. This is commonly called the apostolic age and the age of the apostolic fathers. I made a list of all the writings from that time and planned to read them all, but to do so would take a very long time. So far I've only read the writings from the first century.

Here is my list of the 1st Century ones:

Extra-canonical, Deuterocanonical
50-120 Didache
80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
(Clement Alexandrine & Origen used it, Jerome considered its authorship genuine & Eusebius didn't, Vulgate used it as apocryphal)
80-140 1 Clement
88-160 Shepherd of Hermas
(included in Codex Sinaiticus; Muratorian fragment says it "ought indeed to be read; but it cannot be read publicly"; Clement Alexandrine uses it but notes "many people despise it")
90-150 Apocalypse of Peter (Most of it extant. Muratorian canon has it but says some ban it from reading in church, Accepted by Clement Alexandrine, not counted genuine by Eusebius)
90-218 4 Esdras (Vulgate) / 2 Esdras (Protestant) / 3 Esdras (Slavic), including Chp 7 w/ NSRV verses 35-105(Canonical in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible, Apocryphal in the Vulgate, Russian, and KJV)
95-160 2 Clement (Part of Alexandrian Codex; Eusebius doubted its authorial authenticity)

Fragmentary, Status Unknown, or Acceptance Varied
50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
(maybe part of the Gospel of Peter)
50-140 Gospel of Thomas (Hippolytus and Cyril of Jerusalem rejected it as gnostic; scholars debate if it was)
1st-4th c. Epistle to the Laodiceans (Maybe multiple versions eg. Paul's vs. Marcion's; Vulgate version: Apocryphal in Vulgate Bibles, St. Gregory the Great accepted it, Jerome said "All reject it")
70-120 Egerton Gospel (could be fragments from a rejected gospel that we only have in fragments like g.Peter)
70-200 Fayyum Fragment (too short to tell what writing it belongs to)
73-200 Mara Bar Serapion (pagan or Christian)
80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews (Fragments. Used by Origen, Jerome, Didymus Blind, Papias, Hegesippus; rejected by Pseudo-Cyril Jerusalemite & Philip Sidetes as heretical)
80-250 Christian Sibyllines (Books I-XIV and citations from Josephus, Justin, Theophilus, Origen, Lactantius, & the Anonymous Preface)
93 Flavius Josephus (Likely a Christian sympathizer; Origen labeled Josephus nonChristian; Some Greek Orthodox Bibles included Josephus' writings; Eisenman and W. Whiston considered him Christian, most scholars don't)(Researched & read church fathers' mentions of Josephus: http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/josephus/josephus.htm)
------ Wars of the Jews
------ Antiquities of the Jews (contains passages on John the Baptist, James, Jesus) (Completed w/ LOEB)
------ Autobiography
------ Against Apion
100-150 Preaching of Peter (Fragmentary. Accepted by Clement Alexandrine, not counted as genuine by Eusebius)
100-160 Gospel/Traditions of Matthias
(EW dates it to 110-160 ntcanon.org/Traditions_of_Matthias.shtml dates it to 100-150)(Clement Alexandrine respects it & Codex Baroccianus lists it as canonical; Eusebius & Gelasian Decree consider it heretical)
100-380 Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers (from J. Charlesworth, "The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha"; From Books 7-8 of Apostolic Constitutions. Are the Apostolic Constitutions Arian?)
100-400 Gospel of Bartholomew / The Questions of Bartholomew (maybe the same work. Rejected by Gelasian Decree. Not sure what heresy, if any, it falls under)

Likely Christian influenced works about the OT period but not in Biblical apocryphas.
Early 1st to 4th c. Lives of the Prophets
(Was widespread in mainstream Church)
1st - 2nd c. Testament of Abraham (once widespread among Christians)
1st - early 3rd c. Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah (Apostolic Constitutions consider it apocryphal; an Armenian Bible included it as apocryphal; Numerous translations suggest widespread use; some scholars find it Docetic)
1st c. - 300 3 Baruch (Origen could have cited it)
1st c. - 300 4 Baruch (part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible)
1st c. - 380 Testament of Isaac (Egyptian Jewish or Coptic; once widespread among Christians)
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (Has Qumranite themes; St.Athanasius lists it among Apocrypha; 17th c. Armenian Bible apocrypha)
70-200 Odes of Solomon (quoted by Lactantius, 6th c. Synopsis Sacrae Scripture says it's read to catechumens, The stichometries of Pseudo-Athanasius (6th c.) and Nicephorous (9th c.) list it among the Scriptures; quoted by Pistis Sophia & maybe gnostic)
2nd-3rd c. Testament of Jacob (Egyptian Jewish or Coptic; once widespread among Christians)
100-400 Testament of Adam (maybe gnostic or Encratitic. Differs from canonical story, making Cain's jealousy to be over his sister)
100-500 Apocalypse of Sedrach (EJW synopsis dates it to 150 AD or later)
100-850 Greek Apocalypse of Ezra (referred to in the Canon of Nicephorus c. 850 AD; Many writers date it as 150 or later)

Messianic Jewish/Judaizers
70-160 Gospel of the Nazarenes/Nazoreans
(Torah-observant, theologically orthodox Christian Nazarene sect; Jerome used it; 7th c. Trullo council banned Christians from praying in synagogues)
70-160 Gospel of the Ebionites / ?-250 Gospel of the Twelve (Origen calls Gosp.Twelve heretical, Jerome calls it the same as the Ebionites' gospel)

Celibate / Encratitic? / Naassene?
80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
(Clement Alexandrine quoted it as having real Jesus sayings, Origen called it heretical)

Docetic (eg. Jesus only appeared to suffer)
70-160 Gospel of Peter
(Including P.Oxy 4009 and P.Oxy. 2949. Rejected by Serapion Antiochene, Eusebius, & Philip Sidetes)

Gnostic
50-150 Apocalypse of Adam
(IMO it's Sethian Christian gnostic)
50-150 Eugnostos the Blessed (Nag Hammadi)
90-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ (Nag Hammadi)
100-150 Apocryphon(Secret Book) of James (Nag Hammadi. Work supports James & Peter but dissents from other disciples. Cerinthian? Cerinthus the gnost required Torah observance & conflicted w St.John who was 1 of 3 church pillars)
100-200 Gospel of Eve (used by Borborite sect)
100-230 Thunder, Perfect Mind

NonChristian Jews writing on Christianity
70-100 Shmuel ha-Katan's Birkat Ha Minim
(A story on its background is in Talmud Bab. B'rakhot 28b-29a & Talmud Jer. Ber. 4:3, 8a)

Pagans writing on Christianity
112-109 BC - 180 AD Thallus' History
(on the darkness or eclipse)
41-51 Seneca's On Anger (maybe not about Jesus)
77-79 Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis, Book V (about the Essenes and Nazerini / Nosairis)
 

rakovsky

Active member
Let me give you an example where knowing Greek would help.

In this early., a Greek writer named Thallos wrote about the sun having an ekliptos, probably in the course of Thallos' commenting on the Christian story. An English translation of the passage translates it as eclipse, as if it was referring to a solar eclipse in astronomy. But I thought that the Greek term might instead mean that the sun disappeared or was hidden from sight.
I wrote about this translation issue here:
I posed three questions on that link and feel that the 1st question was answered well enough there. I welcome your contribution if you have one.
 
Breathtaking analysis. Thank you.

I had a moment of truth on the atonement question way back years ago when John Piper was saying that Mark Driscoll passed his litmus test by affirming Penal Substitutionary Atonement. I found that idea mildly absurd. Give Driscoll a free pass because he checked the right box on the Atonement. I had some personal stake in this. People I respected were Driscoll aficionados.

Vicarious Atonement comes in different flavors. I like to keep it tied directly to statements and grammar. This is where the Hermeneutic becomes an issue.


NA27 Rom. 5:8 συνίστησιν δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀγάπην εἰς ἡμᾶς ὁ θεός, ὅτι ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν Χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀπέθανεν.

RSV Rom. 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀπέθανεν is adequate to secure the foundation of the Vicarious Atonement.

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν on our behalf

Louw & Nida
90.36 ὑπέρa (with the genitive): a marker of a participant who is benefited by an event or on [p. 803] whose behalf an event takes place


I have no problem getting along with people who will accept Rom 5:8. I get along with militant arrogant pagans[1] all the time.

[1] adapted from D. Elton Tureblood
 
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I have read in English many of those works. I undertook a study of Coptic for a few months just long enough to become familiar with scope of the task using the standard textbooks downloaded for free "20 lessons in Coptic." Worked my way through half of this and then it got kind of difficult. There is a Cambrige fellow friend of Peter J. Williams who knows Coptic well, Simon Gathercole. I read some things of his. Very impressed. You need to start young and have all your other distractions take care of so you are able to focus. I just got a taste of Coptic and Syriac. Nothing more than a taste.
 
Let me give you an example where knowing Greek would help.

In this early., a Greek writer named Thallos wrote about the sun having an ekliptos, probably in the course of Thallos' commenting on the Christian story. An English translation of the passage translates it as eclipse, as if it was referring to a solar eclipse in astronomy. But I thought that the Greek term might instead mean that the sun disappeared or was hidden from sight.
I wrote about this translation issue here:
I posed three questions on that link and feel that the 1st question was answered well enough there. I welcome your contribution if you have one.
The grammar in Josephus isn't particularly difficult. The answer you got from ADMIN is close to what I would say. I don't understand the motivation behind the emendation. I am not a reader of Josephus or familiar with this text, I am clueless why anyone would want to emend it.
 
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