Skip to main content

Getting the Short End of the Stick

Below are three quotes. Who wrote each of the following?

Commenting on Galatians 4:21-31
However, the free woman Sarah, who bore the free son, signifies the grace of the New Testament that begot the Christian people who are liberated in their baptism not only from original and actual sins but from every form of legal servitude. This is the inheritance of Christ, the homeland of Christ that they will inherit.
On the same passage:
This people was born through the promise because God mercifully promised to save them through faith. It was through the promise, therefore, because this people did not serve God out of any desire for fleshly things, which are visible, but rather out of an affection for spiritual things, which are invisible. They trust that they will obtain these things based upon God's promise alone.
Commenting on Galatians 2:16
In short, there is no way that one can be justified except through the faith of Christ Jesus, referring to the faith by which one believes in Christ...The apostle does not say that by faith good works are thereby made meaningless, for God renders to each person according to that person's works. Rather it is because works proceed from grace - not grace from works. Faith working through love does nothing unless the love of God is poured into us through the Holy Spirit. Nor does faith abide in us unless God bestows it. Paul says that we are to be justified by faith because faith comes first. It is from this that the rest of these are to be accomplished.
Again, who wrote each of these?

The first is by Haimo of Auxerre, the second by Bruno the Carthusian, and the last by Peter Lombard. What do they all have in common? They were all Medieval Catholic theologians. Just like the New Perspective on Paul helped bring some corrective to the ways we understood Judaism, I wonder if we need a New Perspective on Medieval Catholicism.

I haven't read a ton of Medieval Catholic Theology but reading the Galatians commentary put together by Ian Christopher Levy in the Bible in Medieval Tradition series makes me wonder if we're really describing them accurately. In particular from New Perspective advocates, you'll hear something along these lines, "the Judaism of Paul's day wasn't a legalistic works righteousness religion where the Jews believed they were earning their acceptance before God. Luther was just projecting the Medieval Catholic church backwards into first century Judaism."

If you just listen to the way Medieval Catholicism is described by some NT scholars you could very easily get the impression that there was little room for grace. Quotes like the above make me think that that's probably not true. Just like we shouldn't unfairly beat up on first century Judaism to elevate our brand of Christianity, we should also avoid the same with Medieval Catholicism. I'm not saying that there weren't legalistic elements in Medieval Catholic teaching (I haven't read enough of it to fairly answer that), but that we need to be fair.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Aquinas and Conclusion

When we reach Aquinas we come to the pinnacle of orthodoxy when it comes to the Trinity and Christology. Christology was important to Aquinas and he dedicated the first fifty-nine questions of Tertia Pars of his Summa Theologiae[1] to the topic. In many ways it is refreshing because he does not treat solely the more philosophical questions of who Jesus was that preoccupied theologians from the third century on. He also spent extended time on Jesus earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification which was a major innovation.[2] Of course every possible topic of Trinitarian and ontological speculation is also probed. For the sake of space we will only hit some highlights.

Aquinas is clearly in step with the tradition that can be traced from Nicea, through Augustine and the Lombard, to the heart of the Middle Ages. One thing to briefly note is that even in his densest argumentation, Aquinas was not trying to prove elements of his theology via rational argument as that…

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Irenaeus

Starting from Irenaeus, Christology, in some respects, moves on. A big part of this would have been due to the “gnostic” controversies. It became increasingly important to clarify the relationship between Father and Son and to minimize their distinctiveness, while still maintaining Jesus’ full humanity. From this point on, clashes over heresy about the nature of Christ and discussions related to Trinitarian theology dominate Christological discussion to the point that the original emphasis on Jesus’ Messianic identity fades to the background.[1] Maintaining the affirmation that Jesus was both human and divine was critical for Irenaeus and those after him because they saw that as the necessary grounds of salvation.[2]

Of particular interest to Irenaeus was the baptism of Jesus. What happened when he received the Spirit?[3] It was not the means by which the Word entered Jesus. He was not merely human before that point.[4] Rather it was a divinization of the human nature of Jesus, a nat…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …