Patristics. Prof. Paul Gavrilyuk. Introduction. A course overview. Course requirements. Methodological reflections. Christ Enthroned. San Vitale, Ravenna. c. 547 AD. Major Questions. Hermeneutics. How do we read/ interpret early Christian sources?
Prof. Paul Gavrilyuk
Christ Enthroned. San Vitale, Ravenna. c. 547 AD.
Orthodoxy and heresy
Continuity and discontinuity
Role of scripture
Vasily Bolotov (1853-1900)
Revelation 4: 2: At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! 3 And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. 4 Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; 6 and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal. Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle […]
Revelation 5: 1 Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals […] 6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne.
Perseus with the Head of Medusa. Antonio Canova, 1800. Vatican Museum.
Grand Ludovisti Sarcophagus, front panel. 3rd c. C. E. Rome, Museo Nazionale in Palazzo Altemps
REPLACES ORTHODOXY/ HERESY MASTER NARRATIVE
Proto-orthodox Nicaea, Chalcedon, etc.
Proto-Jewish Christians Ebionites, ‘Judaizers’, Adoptionists (?)
Proto-Gnostics Valentinians, Basilideans, Sethians, etc.
Proto- subordinationists some Apologists, Arius, Eunomius
Proto-everyone else Everyone else
“All history is written from the standpoint of the present.”
“Our emperor, God’s friend, acting as interpreter to the Divine Logos, aims at recalling the whole human race to the knowledge of God.”
--Eusebius, In Praise of Constantine, II. 4.
Constantine’s head. Capitoline Museum.
“Constantine was the origin and the beginning of the present destruction of the empire.”
The ruins of ancient temples at the foot of Palatine. Rome.
Commitment to ORTHODOXY conflicts with pluralism
Suppression of HERESIES reveals intolerance and violates freedom
Defense of absolute truth-claims leads to violence
All knowledge claims are reducible to power claims (Nietzsche)