Church History Repeating Itself

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David Heddle has a nice post up giving a synopsis of five key Christian figures from the mid-fourth to mid-fifth centuries: John Chrysostom, Ambrose, Jerome, Leo the Great, and Augustine. This is part of a larger series on church history that's been very good overall, much worth checking out. Two things in this post caught my attention as worth saying something about. (There's much more in the post that caught my attention, but not to the point of wanting to flag it.)

1. David ends the post with a very nice discussion of Augustine's theology as a systematic development of what was later called Calvinism, leading into an especially good treatment of limited atonement as a theological issue independent of Augustine himself.

2. In the section on Jerome, we see a precursor of contemporay translation debates, though David doesn't mention it as such:

In 382 he returned to Rome and was charged by Damasus, bishop of Rome, with the job of revising the Latin New Testament. Jerome was reluctant, knowing that he would be "blamed" by those who found their favorite translations altered, and this time with the Church�s authority. (Indeed, "I think the original must be wrong," said one such malcontent when told that his favorite translation had been undone by an appeal to the earliest manuscripts.)

Hmm. Haven't I heard that exact claim about the earliest manuscripts before?

3 Comments

As to Bishop Augustine, see the synopsis of comments by Fr. Michael Azkoul at http://orthodoxcanada.org/062002/theology.html
Augustinian teaching was also the progenitor of the Jansenist heresy that infected the Roman Catholic denomination in the 17th century. From that infection came the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht and later, in the U.S.A., the Polish National Catholic Church.
It is on account of the heresies that his thinking later generated that Bishop Augustine is not and never will be venerated as a saint by Orthodox Christians. He was, however, enormously influential in the West. Had there been no Augustine of Hippo, there might never have been a falling away of Western Europe from Orthodox Christianity.

I think we're going to have to disagree about Augustine and the Jansenists. The Jansenists were declared heretics because they were believed to have denied Trent, whereas I think the motivations behind Trent were in a direction opposite of the historic gospel, and it's only with the latest two popes that we've had reversal on that.

True as to why the Jansenists were declared heretics, but the Jansenists themselves claimed they were simply being faithful to the teaching of Bishop Augustine, and they were probably right. I presume you have read the Pensee and what it had to say as to the Jansenists v the Jesuits. The irony, of course, is that from the Orthodox point of view they were equally guilty of being Augustinian.

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