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Earliest Christianity


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#1 Annalise

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 07:32 AM

Yesterday at Bible study we had a discussion that highlighted that the Ecumenical Councils merely confirmed what the church had believed all along since its beginnings. Please can someone enlighten me about the characertistics of earliest Christianity (the "true church"?) and its relationship to the post-Constantine church when the church became formalized? Were they quite different or were the essentials the same? What was the structure, the worship and the theology like? Apparently Metropolitan John Zizoulas has written on this. Any suggestions about books or articles would be most welcome. Many thanks,

Annalise

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 01:51 PM

Yesterday at Bible study we had a discussion that highlighted that the Ecumenical Councils merely confirmed what the church had believed all along since its beginnings. Please can someone enlighten me about the characertistics of earliest Christianity (the "true church"?) and its relationship to the post-Constantine church when the church became formalized? Were they quite different or were the essentials the same? What was the structure, the worship and the theology like? Apparently Metropolitan John Zizoulas has written on this. Any suggestions about books or articles would be most welcome. Many thanks,

Annalise


I think that Fr. Peter Gillquist writes extensively about his group's research into what the early Church looked like in his book Becoming Orthodox. If you want to really get scholastic, look up Jaroslav Pelikan, the renown former Lutheran church historian (now Orthodox) and his works.

Beyond that, there are plenty of the writings of the members of that early church right here on this website!

Herman

#3 Matthew Namee

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 04:27 PM

I can recommend The Way to Nicaea, by Fr. John Behr.

The most interesting book I've ever read on early Christianity is The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, by Robert Wilken. The author looks at various pagan Roman perspectives on the early Christians. This book totally changed my understanding of early pagan-Christian relations. As a bonus, it's exceptionally readable, not overly "academic" at all.

#4 Annalise

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 08:13 AM

Thank you Hermann and Matthew for this advice. Matthew, I did not find Fr. John Behr's "The way to Nicea", but have found a book with the same title by Bernard Lonergan. If I understand correctly, Lonergan seems to be saying that the various facets and strands of the ancient church was unconsciously creating dogma during the struggle to indentify truth from reality in a multicultural setting. He says that the Nicene dogma, when it emerged was inevitable but also new.

"It marks a transition from multiplicity to unity...from things related to us as they are in themselves ...to an ontological conception of the divine substance itself...a transition from the word of God as accomodated to particular people, at particular times, under particular circumstances, to the word of God as it is to be proclaimed to all people, of all times, under whatever circumstances.. from the mystery of God hidden in symbols, hinted at by a multiplicity of title and apprehended in a vague and confused manner in the dramatico-practical pattern of experience, to the mystery of God as circumscribed and manifested in clear, distinct and apparently condradictory affirmations..."

#5 Matthew Namee

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 01:48 PM

He says that the Nicene dogma, when it emerged was inevitable but also new.

That's certainly not what Behr would say. I don't know who Bernard Lonergan is, but you can view parts of Behr's book at Google Books:

http://books.google....r way to nicaea

And here is a link to the SVS Press page with Behr's book: http://www.svspress....?products_id=67

#6 Vasily

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 02:29 PM

Glory to Jesus Christ,

I did not know exactly what thread to post this on, but it pertains to the early church. I realize that the entire church from the beginning was Orthodox, in theology and dogmas. As the Latin Church began to change, those churches that kept their "orthodoxy", became the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox. To put it simply.

Are there examples in the Councils and Church Fathers that reference or affirm an "Orthodox Church". I have been told that example of this are stated in the Ephesus Session I, where it is called,"God's Holy Catholic and Orthodox Church." The Council of Chalcedon in sessions 1.270 & 1.343 simply refer to "The Orthodox Church." Is this correct? Can someone supply me with the entire session where these are stated? Are there others?

#7 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 03:05 PM

As the Latin Church began to change, those churches that kept their "orthodoxy", became the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox. To put it simply.

Not exactly the non-Chalcedon lost there Orthodoxy before the See of Rome as there a still Saints such as Gregory the Dialogist/Great and the Venerable Bede about 200 years after the non-Chalcedons split of from the Church. It is just that after all the changes to the Latin Church the non-Chalcedon is closer to the Orthodox Church as it has not changed as much.

Are there examples in the Councils and Church Fathers that reference or affirm an "Orthodox Church". I have been told that example of this are stated in the Ephesus Session I, where it is called,"God's Holy Catholic and Orthodox Church." The Council of Chalcedon in sessions 1.270 & 1.343 simply refer to "The Orthodox Church." Is this correct? Can someone supply me with the entire session where these are stated? Are there others?


As far as I know the term Orthodox was first used to show the Church from the heretics such as Arians but it was normally referred to as the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, or sometimes just the Catholic Church.

I think the C.C.E.L. has the session 1 for Chalcedon here http://www.ccel.org/...214.xi.iii.html I think but I'm not sure it is the whole of it.

#8 Vasily

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 12:19 PM

Glory to Jesus Christ,

Thank you. That website does not have the whole session. Do you know where this info can be obtained ? Are there other examples that reference or affirm an "Orthodox Church?

#9 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:18 PM

Where does Holy Scripture and the writings of the Fathers NOT affirm a right-worshipping, true-believing Church? This is what "ortho-doxa" means. When they speak of the Church, do they talk about anything else? The Holy Apostle Paul goes on and on in his letters about the importance of being "of one mind" on thingsā€”to be "orthodox". I think we are going down a pedantic rabbit hole here. The Russians don't talk about an Orthodox Church, they say Pravoslavnie, which, of course, literally means "true glory" (worship) but it is technically different "words". Actually we mostly and simply refer to ourselves as "the Church", or we adopt the terminology of others imposed upon us that differentiates us from them and refer to ourselves as the "right-believing" AND "universal" (catholic) Church (as in the Creed).

Herman the universal Pooh

#10 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:11 PM

Dear Mr Vasily,

Mr Baydoe makes a good point. However if you would still like to find some references and the session I will take a look online for you and see what I can find. Also John of Damascus wrote Ekdosis akribes tes Orthodoxou pisteos, that is: An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, or in Latin: De Fide Orthodoxa. Which can also be found at the C.C.E.L. [http://www.ccel.org/...209.iii.i.html].

Yours Daniel

#11 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 07:58 PM

Dear Mr Vasily,

Just to let you know I'm still looking I just have not found anything else yet.

#12 Dieter Schneider

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 06:02 PM

Check Dr. Nick Needham - 2000 Years of Christ's Power, volume 1
also P Schaff (see my blog for link marked ***)






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