Early Church Writing

Didache: Early Church Writing

What is the Way of Life? You shall Love God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and all of your mind and with all of your strength, and you should love your neighbor as yourself, and you should never do to others what you do not want done to yourself. Thus opens the first paragraph of the Didache, which may be among the most ancient patristic works surviving. […]

Early Church Writing

Clement of Rome, Epistle to Corinthians

Love binds us fast to God. Love casts a veil over sins innumerable. There are no limits to love’s endurance, no end to its patience. Love is without servility, as it is without arrogance. Love knows of no divisions, promotes no discord; all the works of love are done in perfect fellowship. It was in love that all God’s chosen saints were made perfect; for without love nothing is pleasing to Him. It was in love that the Lord drew us to Himself; because of the love He bore us, our Lord Jesus Christ, at the will of God, gave His blood for us, His flesh for our flesh, His life for our lives. […]

Reviews - Stoic Philosophers

The Great Courses Lectures on the Stoic Philosophers

Readers looking neither for sublime language nor complex theories but for wisdom have long known that that Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus are worth reading. Those fortunate enough to encounter them either in their schooling or on library shelves have heard these ancient moralists speak with remarkable freshness and force to the basic issues of human character with which we all must struggle. For such readers, the popular philosophers of the Greco-Roman world deserve their self-designation as doctors of the soul. Precisely because they focus so precisely on everyday life, the character of the individual and the health of the family their ideas are as fresh today as they were millennia before. They analyze the passions of fear and desire, of envy and rage with brilliant insight. They precisely delineate the virtues and vices. They understand the process of moral development and the necessity of moral education. […]

Early Church Writing

Epistle of Barnabas

The Epistle of Barnabas is a curious epistle that surprisingly has some messages that ring true with modern Christians. This epistle was likely written just after most of the books of the Bible, and was considered by some Christian communities as inspirational. Eusebius in his early History of the Church says the Epistle of Barnabas was “not canonical but disputed, yet familiar to most churchmen,” […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus, Blog 2, Modern Search for Historical Jesus

What is the theological agenda for this third historical Jesus movement? Opposition to fundamentalism. They do not want the fundamentalists to monopolize the airwaves, so they shamelessly promote their views so they fit in thirty second sound bites. They value radical academic independence, and denigrate subservience to tradition, and have no fear for ignoring Scripture they personally do not judge is historical, and for elevating newly discovered gnostic writings over Scripture in their quest for the historical Jesus. Witherington quotes Funk as saying, “methodology is not an indifferent net – it catches what it intends to catch.” […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus, Blog 1, Let us vote on what Jesus really said

Let us vote on each of the sayings on Jesus, a red bead for each truly authentic saying of Jesus, a pink bead when the saying sure sounds like Jesus, gray, maybe, a black bead for a saying Jesus could not have said, although centuries of biblical scholars thought and taught otherwise. Using this voting method, the self-appointed members of the Jesus Seminar in 1985 pronounced that only fifteen sayings were truly said by Jesus, while another seventy-five sayings were probably words of Jesus. […]

Epictetus and Rufus

Epictetus Discourses Blog 1

To Epictetus, only the good can be truly happy, only the good can truly be free, tyrants may take all you own, but they can never take your most prized possession, your freedom of will; tyrants can throw you in jail, but they can never take away the freedom of your mind; tyrants can take your life, but they can never have your soul. Epictetus, the great philosopher of freedom, was a former slave, a slave to a freed man, and was both poor and a cripple, eking out a living by teaching philosophy. Epictetus was not wealthy like Plato, and although Socrates was executed like Jesus, and is often compared to Jesus, Epictetus was closer to Jesus in social status, and like Jesus many of his teachings teach the common man how to live a godly life. Epictetus lived shortly before St Paul, close enough that it is doubtful they directly influenced each other, but like the Church Fathers Epictetus did not seek to teach original teachings, but rather repeated in his own distinctive fashion the teachings of the stoic philosophers who preceded him. […]