Tutorial accompanying Doctrinal Developments in the Christian Churches in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages [MEDS 5280]

Course Status: 
CEU code: 
MEDS 5280
CEU credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
10 Jan 2011 - 28 Mar 2011
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies (CEMS)
Non-degree Specialization: 
ACRS—Advanced Certificate in Religious Studies
István Perczel
Learning Outcomes: 
The tutorials' function is to discuss assigned and recommended readings in the community of students. Hopefully they would contribute both to an increased erudition in matters relevant to doctrinal history and to a sharpening of the students' critical judgment and skills.
Assessment : 
Participation in the debates, oral presentations, interim tests and a final paper will constitute the criteria for the assessment.

The tutorials will be dedicated to the reading of primary and secondary sources relevant to the subject treated at the corresponding lecture. Primary sources will be read in English translation. When reading secondary literature, it will be expected that students realise the points of view, the inner convictions, the biases and the stakes involved. At every tutorial one or two students will present relevant articles and chapters and the whole group will discuss them. The bibliography for the reading seminars will be gradually uploaded. The detailed lists given for each reading seminar and labelled "Tentative bibliography" are not mandatory readings but only serve the purpose of information! However, if students are interested in presenting one or another item of the literature indicated, they are most welcome to do so.

General Bibliography:

G. L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought (London: SPCK, 1985, c1952) – CEU-ELTE Med. Lib.

J. Daniélou, Histoire des dogmes avant Nicée I-III (Tournai-Paris) - ELTE University Library

       I. Théologie du Judéo-Christianisme, 1958 (English translation: London 1964)

      II. Message évangélique et culture hellénistique, aux IIe et IIIe siècles, 1961

     III. Les origines du christianisme latin 

J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (San Francisco: Harper, first edition 1960, fourth revised edition 1978) – CEU-ELTE Med. Lib.

J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition. A History of the Development of Doctrine I-IV (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) – CEU-ELTE Med. Lib.

I. The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600)., 1992, c1971.

II. The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700), 1993, c1974.

III. The Growth of medieval theology (600-1300), c1978.

IV. Reformation of Church and Dogma (1300-1700), 1983, c1984.

volumes II and III are also available from I. P.

John Meyendorff, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought (Washington-Cleveland: Corpus Books, 1975) – CEU-ELTE Med. Lib.

John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (New York: Fordham University Press, 19833, 19741) – CEU-ELTE Med. Lib.

Johannes Quasten, Patrology I-IV (Utrecht-Antwerp/Westminster, Maryland: Spectrum/Newman, 1990-1992, 19501, 19531, 19601,?) – CEU-ELTE Med. Lib.

I. The Beginnings of Patristic Literature

II. The Ante-Nicene Literature after Irenaeus

III. The Golden Age of Greek Patristic Literature from the Council of Nicaea to the Council of Chalcedon

IV. The Golden Age of Latin Patristic Literature from the Council of Nicaea to the Council of Chalcedon

 Supplementary volume:

 Angelo di Bernardino, Patrologia Vol. V. Dal Concilio di Calcedonia (451) a Giovanni Damasceno (+750). I Padri orientali (Genova: Marietti, 2000) – available from I.P.

Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition I. From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon, tr. J. S. Bowden (New York: Mowbray, 1965) – available from I.P.

Week 1. What is the history of dogma? The paradox of the impossibility of a metalanguage for religious history. On the question how the doctrinal debates themselves have shaped the discipline of doctrinal history. The effects of the translatio imperii et studii around 800 AD; of the rise of the Protestant movement and of the Enlightenment; German classical philosophy and the birth of Dogmengeschichte; the Papal condemnation of Modernism in 1907/1910 and the subsequent rediscovery of the “Fathers”; Orthodox doctrinal historians in Russia and in the emigration; modern Ecumenism and anti-Ecumenism and their impact on doctrinal history.

Mandatory reading: Katalin Vidrányi, “The Twentieth-Century Reanimation of Patristic Traditions,” (A patrisztikus hagyományok XX. századi felélesztése) transl. by Gy. Geréby,  I. Perczel and M. Suff in: Adamantius: Journal of the Italian Research Group on “Origen and the Alexandrian Tradition” 10 (2004), 267-277

 Tentative bibliography for the first encounter:

A.    von Harnack,

Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte I-III. Freiburg: Mohr (Sammlung theologischer Lehrbücher)

I.       Die Entstehung des kirchlichen Dogmas, 1886

II.    Die Entwickelung des kirchlichen Dogmas, 1887

III.  Die Entwickelung des kirchlichen Dogmas, 1890 (MTA Library)

Many later editions, among which the English:

History of Dogma 1-7, tr. by N. Buchanan. London: Williams and Norgate (Theological Translation Library), 1895-1899

Grundriß der Dogmengeschichte I-II, Freiburg: Mohr (In hand)

I.       Die Entstehung des Dogmas und seine Entwickelung im Rahmen der morgenlandischen Kirche, 1889

II.    Die Entwickelung des Dogmas im Rahmen der abendländischen Kirche, 1891

English translation:

Outlines of the History of Dogma, tr. E. Knox Mitchell. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1893

 Recent judgement on Harnack’s approach:

E. P. Meijering, Theologische Urteile über die Dogmengeschichte (Ritschls Einfluss auf von Harnack). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1978

Die Hellenisierung des Christentums im Urteil Adolf von Harnacks (Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. Afd. Letterkunde. N. R. 128). Amsterdam-Oxford-New York: North Holland Publishing Co., 1985

Week 2. Basic outline of the course; doctrinal developments and schisms; a list of the presently existing pre-Protestant Churches; ecumenical councils; an introduction to the main doctrinal concepts.

Week 3. 1st to 3rd centuries: The formation of the New Testament canon; the Apologetes: discussions on the temporal creation versus eternity of the world; early Trinitarian and Christological theories in function of the creation of the world. An alliance between theology and philosophy: The Alexandrian School and Origen.

Week 4. 312-373: The Constantinian turn; The Arian controversy and the council of Nicaea (325); Eusebius of Caesarea as the ideologist of the Christian Roman Empire; Arius and Athanasius of Alexandia.

Week 5. 373-400: The epistemological crisis of late Arianism and Appolinarism; the Eunomian controversy; the Cappadocian Fathers and the first council of Constantinople (381); Marius Victorinus and Neoplatonism; Augustine's Epistula de videndo deo and the imperceptible germs of the East-West divide; imperial legislation against heretics; the first “Origenist” strife and Evagrius of Pontus.

Week 6. 385-433: The greatest riddle of Christian doctrinal history: Augustine and his new theology; the Pelagian controversy in the West and the Nestorian controversy in the East; the first council of Ephesus (431); what constitutes the unity of Christ?: the doctrinal and political stakes of the strife; the philosophical intricacies of the concepts of hypostasis and nature; the union formula of 433.

Week 7. 431-480: Cyril of Alexandria and his importance; the strife for Cyril's mantle; dyophysite strategies of survival; Pope Leo the Great and the new role of the Papacy; the council of Chalcedon (451) and its aftermath; one hypostasis in two natures: a philosophical impossibility?; a new art of writing as a hiding place: the Pseudo-Dionysian Corpus; the Persian Church goes its own way.

Week 8. 451-553: The defence of Chalcedon in East and West; Severus of Antioch, Julian of Halicarnassus and the rise of miaphysitism; the empire wavers between Chalcedonism and anti-Chalcedonism; the Chalcedonian turn under Justin I and Justinian I; “Origenists” or “Theosophers”?: the second “Origenist” strife. “Neo-Chalcedonism” - what does it stand for and who invented it? a “middle way”: the second council of Constantinople (553). Boethius and a new Latin theology.

Week 9. 553-681: Justinian I - an orthodox theologian-emperor tainted with heresy; failed attempts after Justinian to unite the Churches; the birth of the Syrian Orthodox Church; Boethius and a new Latin theology; the third council of Toledo (589) and the beginnings of the Filioque controversy; the last failed attempt at union under the Persian threat: Emperor Heraclius and monotheletism; Maximus the Confessor and Pope Martin I: the defence of Chalcedon as a factor of military failure and of lasting spiritual achievement; the rise of Islam and the third council of Constantinople (6 81); Hormisdas: a heretical Pope?

Week 10. 680-842: Iconoclasm and icon-worship: the period that has formed the Byzantine Orthodox Church; translatio imperii et studii: the Western Church and the Byzantines part ways.

Week 11. 850-1204: the “Photian Schism”; controversies around the Filioque and the azymes; Symeon the New Theologian and a new Byzantine spirituality; the supposed “schism” in 1054; doctrinal debates in Constantinople in the eleventh century; the evolution of a real schism before the Fourth Crusade.

Week 12. Overview on the entire history; a recapitulation of the main concepts; what kind of legacy has this history left to us?