The Very Rev Professor Geoffrey W. Bromiley (1915-2009)

I was saddened to hear today of the death of Geoffrey Bromiley on 7th August. Amongst his numerous works he will probably be best remembered for his translations of significant German language works, such as Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament and Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. He also edited the revised International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Among the 10 books he himself wrote I have particularly valued his Historical Theology: An Introduction.

 

I wrote to Professor Bromiley a couple of years ago and obtained his permission to place online all his articles from Evangelical Quarterly which should start to appear on my websites in the next few months.

 

You can find a bibliography of some of his works here. Fuller Theological Seminary has an obituary here, T & T Clark (who published many of his books) here. Ben Myers has a blog entry here, as does Michael L. Westmoreland-White here and David Guretzki here,

Introductions to Tertullian, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr by Johnson Thomaskutty

The following short introductions were originally published on Facebook. In order to make them available to a wider audience Dr Thomaskutty has kindly granted permission for them to be republished on earlychurch.org.uk

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the First Systematic Theologian of the Second Century (Johnson Thomaskutty, Faculty of New Testament, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India)

Tertullian, the Father of Latin Western Theology and an Advocate of “Freedom of Religion” (Johnson Thomaskutty, Faculty of New Testament, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India)

Professor Henry Chadwick, “one of the last great Anglican Scholars”, dies aged 87

Anyone who has studied church history will be familiar with the works of Henry Chadwick, particularly his book The Early Church, which is still a standard textbook on many courses, remarkably so, as it was first published in 1967. It was therefore with a great sense of loss that I read of his death today in The Telegraph. The Guardian’s obituary can be viewed here.
Professor Chadwick’s 1968 Ethel M. Wood Lecture is available on-line, thanks to the author’s kind permission a couple of years ago:

 

It used to be said that you had to study patristics for at least 50 years to be considered an expert. If that is true then men like this will prove hard to replace.

F.F. Bruce on the Lessons of Church History

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

F.F. Bruce, “Church History and Its Lessons,” J.B. Watson, ed., The Church: A Symposium. London: Pickering & Inglis, Ltd., 1949. pp.178-95.

George Santayana famous said that “Those who fail to learn the lessons that history teaches, are doomed to repeat them”. It is therefore helpful to some of the lessons that Church History can teach today’s Church regarding the form and ministry of the Church, the Church’s relationship to the State and the Church’s mission.

Chris Gousmett on Patristic Eschatology

The following Ph.D. thesis is now available on-line:

Chris Gousmett, “Shall the Body Strive and Not be Crowned? Unitary and instrumentalist anthropological models as keys to interpreting the structure of Patristic eschatology,” PhD. Thesis, University of Dunedin, NZ, 1993.

My thanks to Dr Gousmett for reformatting his thesis and allowing me to place it on-line.

Abstract:

It is possible to discern a structure underlying the myriad details of Patristic eschatology through the use of two anthropological models, a unitary model, which sees the person as a unity of body and soul, and an instrumentalist model, which locates the person in the soul, which uses the body as its instrument. This latter view makes possible a judgement and entry into the appropriate eschatological state immediately after death, while the unitary view requires the resurrection to occur first. Some who held a unitary view (notably but not exclusively the Syrians) thought that the soul slept until the resurrection, while others held that the soul experienced pleasure or pain in anticipation of their future rewards or punishments to be received after the judgement.

The unitary anthropology is correlated with a positive assessment of bodily life, including marriage and sexuality, and (particularly during the first few centuries) expectation of life on a renewed earth in the eschaton following a millennium of peace.

The decline in millennialism, rise of asceticism, and glorification of virginity and denigration of marriage, as well as an eclipse of the centrality and significance of the resurrection of the body, are correlated with an instrumentalist view. Bodily life was often seen negatively, as the occasion, if not the source, of sin, and even innocent bodily gratification was shunned as a hindrance to the communion of the soul with God.

There is no direct correlation with the frequent contrast between the “resurrection of the body” and the “immortality of the soul” and the structures of Patristic eschatology. Many who held to a unitary anthropological model thought the soul immortal (although earlier Patristic writers rejected this concept), but also stressed that eschatological life also required the immortalisation of the body through its resurrection.

Those who held to an instrumentalist anthropological model mostly thought the soul was innately immortal, and provided sophisticated philosophical arguments for this view. However, it was the idea that the person was located in the soul, with the body as its instrument, that is the determining characteristic for the structure of their eschatology.

These ideas provide the background to the interpretation of Psalm 1:5, which in conjunction with John 3:18 was taken to mean that neither the saints nor the obdurate wicked would face the judgement on the last day. Others took Psalm 1:5 to mean that the wicked would not be judges, as they were wont to do during life. While there is no direct correlation between these interpretations of Psalm 1:5 and the two anthropological models discussed, it is not possible to understand the reasons for these interpretations without considering the influence of these models on Patristic eschatology.

Patristic anthropology and eschatology was shaped by the synthesis between pagan thought and Christian thought. The negative assessment of bodily life can be traced to pagan influences, and the consequences are considerable even today. Only by repudiating the method of synthesis can an authentically Christian anthropology and eschatology be developed.

Gerald Bray on the Theology of Tertullian

The following book is now available online in PDF:

Gerald L. Bray, Holiness and the Will of God. Perspectives on the Theology of Tertullian. Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1979. Hbk. ISBN: 0551055936. pp.179.

Contents

Preface
1: Past and Present
2: The Man and his Times
3: The Nature of Holiness
4: The Pattern of Authority
5: The Holy Life
6: Epilogue
Notes [now included as footnotes in each chapter]
List of Tertullian’s Work’s
Bibliography
Index

My thanks to Professor Bray for his kind permission,

Nigel Scotland on Signs and Wonders in the Early Church

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Nigel Scotland, “Signs and Wonders in the Early Catholic Church 90-451 and their Implications for the Twenty-First Century,” European Journal of Theology 10.2 (2001): 155-168.

It is refreshing to find a good academic defense for the continuance of spiritual gifts after the Apostolic Age and this one is probably the best I have read. Given my own experience with Ellel Ministries I found myself agreeing heartily with Dr Scotland’s comments about its founder.

Those wanting to read further on this subject should look out for the following title when it appears:

G.L. Prestige’s 1940 Bampton Lecture on Origen

The following article is now online in PDF:

G.L. Prestige, “Lecture 3: Origen: or, The Claims of Religious Intelligence,” Fathers and Heretics. Bampton Lectures 1940. London: SPCK, 1940. Pbk. pp.43-66.

G.L. Prestige’s lecture is (in my opinion) one of the best short summaries of the life, works and significance of Origen. It should be required reading for anyone taking a course in early church history.

Images of Early Church Fathers Available on CD-ROM

Several years ago I purchased a number of images of the early church fathers and others) from André Thevet, Les Vrais Pourtraits et Vies Hommes Illustres, 1584 edition from the Special Collections Library, University of Michigan. I have permission from the Special Collections Library to sell scans of these images on CD-ROM to support my website. These images would of be of interest to anyone teaching a course on early church history, publishing a book on that subject – or who just wants a cool desktop for their computer. Full details and thumbnail images can be found here. The cost is £14.99 (post-free worldwide).

Proceeds from these sales go toward site development.

Francis Watson on Christians, Jews and Scripture in Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho

I have just uploaded the following lecture in PDF:

Prof. Francis Watson, “Have you not read…?” Christians, Jews and Scripture in Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho . The Ethel M. Wood Lecture, University of London, 3 March 2005.

My thanks to Professor Watson for providing me with the text of his lecture, which is published here for the first time.