08 February 2006

Patristic Quote for the Day

'You have been bought with a price; do not become the slaves of men.' (1 Cor. 7:23) What greater price is there than that the Creator shed His blood for the creature? - St. Jerome, Homily 29 on Psalm 102 (103)


Anonymous said...

The price that Jesus paid was enormous, but notice that he doesn't say that he paid that price to somoene. His sacrifice was massive, he "gave up" equality with God to become a lowly creature- this is what is meant by the price paid. Training for the Olympics "costs" quite a lot, most of which does not involve money or paying someone, but time, energy, sacrifice of family, friends, free time, etc. King George paid for his marriage to a divorcee by losing the throne, but he didn't paying "the throne" to his brother Edward.

William Weedon said...

Running with Nazianzus, eh? Yes, the image of payment is big. The message is simply: "You're mine!" The question of to whom payment is rendered is not answered in Scripture. Though I'd not go so far as to throw out Nyssa and Origen on the question the way Nazianzus and John of Damascus do. The problem is pushing the metaphor beyond what it is meant to give you: what it gives you is that you are the Lord's doubly so. For He made you and when you lost and sinful, He bought you for Himself. You are his by creation and by redemption. And that is joy indeed - and we really don't need to go further than that. That alone leads us to say: Glory be to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever!

Anonymous said...

Nazianzus was only declared equal with the other of the Three Hierarchs: John Chrysosom and Basil the Great. So, fie on your Nyssa and Origen. :)

I agree, though about throwing the image out completely. For instance, using a clover leaf to explain the Trinity perfectly correct, to a point. It is only wrong if you set that image in stone as the only and best description of the fulness of the Trinity.

Depending on the stress one wants to point up the "Western" way might be better (e.g. God's holiness, justice, hatred of sin), other times the "Eastern" way (e.g. the seriousness which we must bring to fighting against sin, struggling, not being 'comfortable' with our imperfections).

William Weedon said...

Now fess up, isn't Nyssa more fun to read than Nazianzus? And shouldn't that be the ULTIMATE theological criterion? ;)

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to hear what some crusty old Desert Father would say to that! Though I have to admit coming home from Easter services shouting, "Church is fun!". I am a God nerd.

Wartburg said...

Luther hated Jerome on account of his monkery, and says: “He ought not to be counted among the doctors of the church; for he was a heretic, although I believe that he was saved by faith in Christ. I know no one of the fathers, to whom I am so hostile as to him. He writes only about fasting, virginity, and such things”.He was tormented by carnal temptations, and loved Eustochium so as to create scandal. He speaks impiously of marriage. His commentaries on Matthew, Galatians, and Titus are very thin.
Philip Schaff

William Weedon said...

Typical Luther exaggeration. Jerome WAS a problematic character - rather intolerant of others - but his insights can be quite good. Chemnitz especially praises his exegetical prowess.

Chris Jones said...

If Luther was so hostile to Jerome, then how come our whole polity is based on Jerome's questionable views on the equality of bishops and presbyters? We let the episcopal ministry go far too easily. It was the Reformers' biggest mistake, in my view.

William Weedon said...


I honestly think it was a grasping at straws. AC XIV had tried to sneak by under the radar, but Eck caught it and insisted that "rite vocatus" mean exactly what it had always meant: canonical ordination.

Melancthon in Ap concedes that the Lutherans are not employing the term as it has been used, but does not actually there define it.

I think that's where the Tractatus comes in and for his argument Jerome is the lynch pin. He probably searched a while to come up with it, but it gave him the grounds to redefine "rite vocatus" in line with presyberal ordination on the grounds that there is no real distinction between a bishop and a pastor. The rest is, as they say, history.

The loss of the bishopric was tragic, I agree. The idea that it was retained in Sweden is actually not true: Sweden retained it *as an adiaphora* and was fully in fellowship with those who did not have it. So really it ceased among us in the 16th century and we've been paying the price ever since. I'm not sure that it was the Reformer's biggest mistake, but it was a big one. I think I'd also say putting the liturgy in category of adiaphora has done just about as much damage in the long run.