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History of Theology Volume I

The Patristic Period

Angelo Di Berardino and Basil Studer, O.S.B., Editors; Matthew J. O'Connell, Translator

In this, the first of a multiple-volume series, Father Studer offers a detailed study of how theology "was done" in the socio-cultural scene of the Christian community in the Constantinian and Theodosian eras (known as the age of "the Church of the Empire" or the "Imperial Church"). It defines the conditions in which pastors sought to help the faithful understand their religion and develops the thought through which the writers of the post-Nicene Church set out to actualize the Word of God as found in the sacred writings. Rather than narrowly focusing on major figures and their works, this historical investigation defines the context in which patristic theological inquiries were formed, since what is termed "theology" today only gradually took shape in the early centuries of Christian living. Terminology, literary genres, the Bible, philosophy, heresy, art and architecture, theological currents, and sociopolitical circumstances in addition to people and events are some of the categories this volume explores to integrate in a holistic manner the developing theological methods of the Church. Translated from Italian, this scholarly work is carefully organized and annotated. Text and chronological tables are included along with a list of abbreviations and a topical index. Chapters in Part One are: "The Beginnings of Christian Theology," "The Greco-Roman World: Challenge and Response," "Defense of Truth and Attack on Heresy," "The School of Alexandria and Its Fortunes," "A Theology Without Learning," "The East After Origen," "The Beginnings of Theological Reflection in the West," and "The Christian Apocrypha and Their Significance." Chapters in Part Two are: "The Situation of the Church," "Instituta Veterum," "Concluding Thoughts," "Eruditio Veterum," "Sapientia Veterum," "The Characteristics of Theological Work," "The Bible as Read in the Church," "Synodal Orthodoxy," "The Fathers of the Church," "The Beginnings of the Doctrinal Authority," "A Rational Knowledge of the Bible," "A Search for a Synthesis of Biblical Thought," "Summaries of Christian Doctrine," "The Role of Heresies," and "Reflection on Theological Systematization." Basil Studer, OSB, a monk of Engelberg Abbey in Switzerland, is professor of history of ancient Christianity and patrology at the Collegio di San Anselmo and the Instituto Patristico Augustinianum in Rome. He is also the author of Trinity and Incarnation, also published by The Liturgical Press.

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History of Theology Volume III

The Renaissance

Giulio D'Onofrio, Editor; Matthew J. O'Connell, Translator

In this, the third volume of a multiple-volume series, Giulio D'Onofrio examines the history of theology and the basic innovations in theological thought during the Renaissance era. He explores the councils, people, movements, pedagogy, and theological methods of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. From the beginning of the fifteenth century on, the unresolved crisis that was fragmenting Christendom led to an urgent call for a renewal of the methods, themes, and purposes of theological thought. To the humanists who had a renewed interest in the works of the Church forebearers the patristic sources were no longer simply authorities to be regularly cited in support of the technical divisions of the questions under discussion. They also represented another way of thinking that followed freer and more fruitful criteria than those rigidly fixed by medieval Aristotelian rationalism. This new relationship with the patristic model was one factor that distinguished the periods of the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. In History of Theology III: The Renaissance Giulio D'Onofrio points out how this call for a renewal of the methods, themes, and purposes of theological thought established important and unrenouncible premises both positive and negative for the development of philosophical and theological thought in the modern age. Translated from Italian, this scholarly work is carefully organized and annotated. Text and chronological tables are included along with a list of abbreviations, a topic index, and an index of names. Chapters are: "The Theology of Italian Humanism in the Early Fifteenth Century," "Italian Scholasticism and Ecclesiastical Culture in the Fifteenth Century: Continuity and Innovation," "The Theology of Nicholas of Cusa," "The Mature Stage of Humanist Theology in Italy," "Theology in Fifteenth-Century Spain," "Scholastic Culture and Humanist Culture in France in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries," "Traditionalism, Humanism, and Mystical Experience in Northern Europe and in the Germanic Regions in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries," and "The Crisis of Late Humanism and the Expectations of Reform in Italy at the End of the Fifteenth and Beginning of the Early Sixteenth Centuries."

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History of Theology Volume II

The Middle Ages

Giulio D'Onofrio, Editor; Translated by Matthew O'Connell

2009 Catholic Press Association Award Winner!At last, a thorough, balanced, and readable history of medieval theology for nonspecialist readers! This is that book we so often ask for and so seldom get: written by a scholar for everyone to read. Giulio D’Onofrio, a historian of philosophy and theology, uses his deep and broad-ranging knowledge of the thought of the scholars (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) of the Middle Ages to describe in a thoroughly readable style the development of ideas from the beginnings of what can rightly be called Western culture to the Renaissance and the eve of the Reformation. No longer can medieval theology be regarded as merely Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure with appendages fore and aft. This book is a page-turner, as readers are continually invited to join scholars and mystics of another age in the perennial pursuit of faith seeking understanding. It is this quest for a synthesis of faith and reason that guided the medieval thinkers and is the unifying thread running through this book. Readers follow as the Roman world of thought gives way to a Christian world whose philosophy builds on that of Greeks and Romans. That early phase in turn yields to the era of the monastic and cathedral schools, where Christian learning was nurtured until the rise of the universities. In that high flowering, the encounter with Jewish and Arabic thought brought a new energy that issued not only in the work of great masters like Thomas and Bonaventure but also in a flowering of mysticism. Along the way, the great controversies of the era sparked new thinking and new learning, as suppressions of thought proved only temporary setbacks and correctives on the way to greater understanding. Matthew O’Connell’s translation is masterful. Readers will be captivated as much by his lucid and readable English as by D’Onofrio’s clear presentation. It is a work of great merit that should be on the shelf, and frequently in the hand, of everyone who is at all curious about how human beings in the past, as in the present, have sought to understand the faith that is in them. Giulio d’Onofrio teaches the history of medieval philosophy at the University of Salerno, Italy, and also teaches the history of medieval philosophy, Latin, and the exegesis of philosophical texts at the Pontifical Lateran University. He is the editor of Volume III, The Renaissance, in this series.

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