Category Archives: Research

Digitized classics of historical theology

Here are links to English translations of some classics in the field of historical theology that have been digitized:

Bardenhewer, Otto. Patrology: The Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church.

Brück, Heinrich and Joseph Hergenröther. History of the Catholic Church, vol. 1.

Brück, Heinrich and Joseph Hergenröther. History of the Catholic Church, vol. 2.

Campenhausen, Hans von. The Fathers of the Greek Church.

Cobham, Claude Delaval. The Patriarchs of Constantinople.

Delehaye, Hippolyte. The Legends of the Saints: An Introduction to Hagiography.

Duchesne, Louis. Early History of the Christian Church, vol. 1: From its Foundation to the End of the Third Century.

Duchesne, Louis. Early History of the Christian Church, vol. 2: From its Foundation to the End of the Fourth Century. 

Duchesne, Louis. Early History of the Christian Church, vol. 3: From its Foundation to the End of the Fifth Century. 

Fortescu, Adrian. The Orthodox Eastern Church. 2nd ed.

Fortescu, Adrian. The Lesser Eastern Churches.

Hackett, John. A History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus: From the coming of the Apostle Paul and Barnabas to the Commencement of the British Occupation (A.D. 35-A.D. 1878).

Harnack, Adolph von. The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, vol. 1.

Harnack, Adolph von. The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, vol. 2.

Harnack, Adolph von. History of Dogma, vol. 1.

Harnack, Adolph von. History of Dogma, vol. 2.

Harnack, Adolph von. History of Dogma, vol. 3.

Harnack, Adolph von. History of Dogma, vol. 4.

Harnack, Adolph von. History of Dogma, vol. 5.

Harnack, Adolph von. History of Dogma, vol. 6.

Harnack, Adolph von. History of Dogma, vol. 7.

Hefele, Karl Joseph von. A History of the Christian Councils from the Original Documents, vol. 1: To the Close of the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325. 

Hefele, Karl Joseph von. A History of the Christian Councils from the Original Documents, vol. 2: A.D. 326 to A.D. 429.

Hefele, Karl Joseph von. A History of the Christian Councils from the Original Documents, vol. 3: A.D. 431 to A.D. 451. 

Hefele, Karl Joseph von. A History of the Christian Councils from the Original Documents, vol. 4: A.D. 451 to A.D. 680.

Hefele, Karl Joseph von. A History of the Christian Councils from the Original Documents, vol. 5: A.D. 626 to the Close of the Second Council of Nicaea, A.D. 787. 

Kellner, Karl Adam Heinrich. Heortology: A History of the Christian Festivals from their Origin to the Present Day.

Lagrange, Marie-Joseph. Historical Criticism and the Old Testament.

Lebreton, Jules and Jacques Zeiller. The History of the Primitive Church.

Lietzmann, Hans. The Founding of the Church Universal.

Loisy, Alfred Firmin. The Gospel and the Church.

Neale, John Mason. A History of the Holy Eastern Church, vol. 1: The Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Neale, John Mason. A History of the Holy Eastern Church, vol. 2: The Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Neale, John Mason. A History of the Holy Eastern Church, vol. 3: The Patriarchate of Antioch.

Newman, John Henry. An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.

Percival, Henry R. The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church: Their Canons and Dogmatic Decrees.

Schaff, Philip. The Creeds of Christendom with a History and Critical Notes, vol. 1: The History of Creeds.

Schaff, Philip. The Creeds of Christendom with a History and Critical Notes, vol. 2: The Greek and Latin Creeds with Translations.

Schroeder, Henry Joseph. Disciplinary decrees of the general councils, text, translation, and commentary.

Seeberg, Reinhold. Text-Book of the History of  Doctrines.

Thurston, Herbet J. and Donald Attawater, eds. Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Complete Edition.

Tixeront, Joseph. History of Dogmas, vol. 1: The Antenecene Theology.

Tixeront, Joseph. History of Dogmas, vol. 2: From St. Athanasius to St. Augustine (318-430).

Tixeront, Joseph. History of Dogmas, vol. 3: The End of the Patristic Age (430-800).

Tixeront, Joseph. A Handbook of Patrology.

Wace, Henry and William C. Piercy. A Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies.

Digitized Greek Books

Many Greek books which have been printed from the sixteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century have been digitized by various Greek libraries. These digitized printed books in Greek can be search for on http://openarchives.gr/ It should be noted that this search engine is sensitive to the accent mark (monotonic Greek).

Uploaded articles

I have uploaded the following two old articles from 2010 on Academia.edu:

The Orthodox and the Other

Next month I will present a paper entitled “Eastern Orthodox Canon Law and Non-Orthodox Persons” at the Seminar “The Orthodox and the Other” organized by the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Abstract

Eastern Orthodox Canon Law and Non-Orthodox Persons

This paper will analyze the status of non-Orthodox persons in Eastern Orthodox canon law and ecclesiastical law. The first part will analyze confessional status in the ordre public with focus on the historical development of the concept of state. The second part will analyze confessional status in relation to the Eastern Orthodox Church per se with focus on the concepts of communion and communicatio in sacris. The parting of the ways between Christianity and Judaism as well as the antithesis between heresy and orthodoxy in the development of Christian doctrine made the theological idea of universal church (καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία) explicit. The communicatio in sacris was viewed as the manifestation of this idea. This communicatio in sacris presupposed certain bonds of unity (e.g., the rule of faith, the episcopal ministry, and the creed). The development of the regulation of confessional status in canon law aimed at ensuring the visibility of the universal church through the communicatio in sacris. After Constantine, the Roman state bestowed various privileges on the Christian church; however, this forced the state to legislate on Christian doctrine in order to determine which theological party was the legitimate beneficiary of these privileges. According to the worldview of antiquity, the Roman and Byzantine state also came to view Christian orthodoxy as a part of the salus publica. This also led to the discrimination and criminalization of other religious affiliations.

September – A Month of Conferences

This month has been the month of conferences. First I attended the 21th Congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches in Bari, September 10-13. The next week I cohosted a colloquium at the Center for Theology and Religious Studies at Lund University on September 18.

The Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches is an ecumenical canon law society founded in 1969 with its seat in Vienna. The society promotes the scholarly study of the internal and external juridical and canonical regulation of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and Eastern Catholic Churches. The current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was one of the founding members of the society.

The topic of the 21th congress was “Particular law and Current Issues in the Churches.” The congress was originally planned to be held in Lebanon, but the venue was change to Bari, Italy, as a result of the current political situation in the region. The papers presented dealt with particular law from the perspective of both ius internum (i.e., the autonomous regulation of ecclesiastical institutions and affaires) and ius externum (i.e., the regulation of ecclesiastical institutions and affaires in national and international law). The program of the congress is available here.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Catholic Churches face very different issues with regards to particular law. The Eastern Catholic Churches have their own codified ius commune – the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The possibility of particular law was originally meant as a way to ensure a place for the patrimony of the Eastern Churches sui iuris in their juridical order. A challenge for particular law in the Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris is the territorial limits of their legislative competence to enact particular law. The primates and synods of the Eastern Churches sui iuris are competent to enact particular law in their proper territory, but not for communities in other territories (e.g., Eastern Catholic communities in North America) which belongs to the rite of Eastern Churches sui iuris. Another challenge to particular law is to balance fidelity to the patrimony of the Eastern Churches sui iuris and the actual needs of the churches in the contemporary context. Fidelity to the ritual patrimony must not result in a juridical antiquarianism which is unable to address the juridical challenges of the church today. Finally, there is the issue of the relationship between particular law of the Eastern Churches sui iuris and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

The situation of the Eastern Orthodox Churches with regards to particular law is very different. The Eastern Orthodox Churches do not have a codified ius commune. They have a common canonical tradition based on the decision of the seven ecumenical councils and the canonical material received and transmitted in the classic Byzantine collections of canon law. The Eastern Orthodox Churches have in a sense only particular law. While the “sacred canons” are an important element in the confessional identity of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, most of them are unusable since they presuppose ancient and Byzantine sociopolitical structures and cultural institutions which do not exist anymore. The Eastern Orthodox Churches also face new political structures and institutions which do not have any analogy in history (e.g., labor unions and labor law). Adaptation to the changing sociopolitical contexts of the Eastern Orthodox Churches has historically take place through customary law and juristic reinterpretations of the classic Byzantine canonical material. But today’s legal culture with its emphasis on the rule of law, juridical certainty, and legal codification creates new challenges for the development of particular law in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

On the last day of the congress we elected Bishop Dr. Kyrillos Katerelos to replace Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Pitsakis, who passed away last year, as president of the society. I was also elected vice secretary of the society. Then we visited the relics of St. Nicholas and had dinner at the Dominican Community which is in charge of the Basilica of St. Nicholas.

The next week it was time for yet another conference at my university which I organized and cohosted together with Jonas Otterbeck, assistant professor of Islamic Studies. This conference was a small one day colloquium on religions, law, and democracy. The purpose of this colloquium was to lay the initial foundation of a future Nordic interdisciplinary network for research on religion, law, and politics. At the colloquium we discussed papers on democracy, religious freedom, political theology, Christian social ethics, Jewish law, and Islamic law. After this colloquium we decided to arraign a limited series of interdisciplinary seminars about religion, law, and politics during three semesters. The topics of the first three seminars are the following: (a) religions and family law, (b) religious rights and human rights, and (c) religious organizations and property. After the series of seminars we will hold another conference which will hopefully be the beginning of a Nordic interdisciplinary network for religion, law, and politics.

Somewhat incidentally I also received this month an invitation to attend the workshop “The Orthodox and the Other” at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights in December this year. I was asked to present a paper with a historical overview of the regulation of persons with other confessional and religious affiliation in Eastern Orthodox canon law. I have accepted this invitation and begun to work on the paper.

Zonaras – Eastern Christian Canon Law

I have collected links to editions and classic studies on Eastern Christian Canon Law available online on my other blog: zonaras.wordpress.com

New article on Eastern Orthodox Ecclesiologies

I received to day the issue of Theoforum which contains an article I wrote on Eastern Orthodox ecclesiologies in the era of confessionalism (i.e., ca 1600-1900). It is an analysis of the concepts of ‘church’ in Metrophanes Kritopoulos’ Confession (1625), St. Peter Mogila’s Confession (1653), Dositheos of Jerusalem’s Confession (1672), and St. Filaret Drozdov’s Longer Russian Catechism (1839).

  • Heith-Stade, David. “Eastern Orthodox Ecclesiologies in the Era of Confessionalism” in Theoforum 41:3 (2010): pp. 373-385.

Free will and the human act in seventeenth century Eastern Orthodox theology

Free will and the human act in seventeenth century Eastern Orthodox theology

DOI:
10.1080/0039338X.2011.628125

David Heith-Stade*

pages 134-145

Available online: 21 Nov 2011

Abstract

This article analyses the doctrine of free will (autexousion) in the confessions of St. Peter Mogila and Dositheos II Notaras of Jerusalem. Free will is a central concept in Eastern Christian anthropology and these two monuments of theology represent how the understanding of the concept of free will developed in Eastern Orthodox theology in the context of the confrontation with Western theologies in the seventeenth century.

Forthcoming Article on Free Will

I recently returned the proofs for a forthcoming article on the concepts of free will and the human act in seventeenth century Eastern Orthodox theology.

I am very interested in the concept of free will (to autexousion) since I sympathize with personalism and existential philosophies. ‘Free will’ is also interesting since it is the only theological concept which has been more clearly defined in the Eastern Orthodox Churches’ creedal statements (i.e., the so-called “symbolic books”) than in contemporary Roman Catholic doctrinal statements. The article is scheduled to be published in the next issue of Studia Theologica. The abstract reads as follows:

This article analyses the doctrine of free will (autexousion) in the confessions of St. Peter Mogila and Dositheos II Notaras of Jerusalem. Free will is a central concept in Eastern Christian anthropology and these two monuments of theology represent how the understanding of the concept of free will developed in Eastern Orthodox theology in the context of confrontation with Western theologies in the seventeenth century.

Receiving Converts in Eastern Orthodoxy

The various Eastern Orthodox Churches employ contradictory norms and practices for the reception of converts baptized in other Christian denominations. The great nineteenth century canonist Bishop Dr. Nikodim Milaš (1845-1915) states in his classic handbook of Eastern Orthodox canon law that here are three ways in which converts are received: (a) by baptism; (b) by chrismation with myron; and (c) by a profession of faith and participation of the eucharist (see Das Kirchenrecht der morgenländischen Kirche, part 4, ch. 1, §145).

Nikodim Milaš (1845-1915)

The three rites of reception

Milaš states that the first way is used for converts coming from av non-Christian faiths such as Jews and Muslims. He states that the second way is used for receiving converts coming from denominations which do not deny the Trinity but disagree with some Orthodox doctrines, i.e., Protestants who baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (cf. Matt. 28.19) but do not have the sacrament of confirmation. (This way is also used for Roman Catholics who have not received the sacrament of confirmation from their legitimate bishops.) The third way is used to receive Roman Catholics and Armenians who have previously received the sacrament of confirmation in their own churches.

The validity of non-Orthodox baptisms

Milaš notes that because of the extraordinary circumstances in the relations between the Greek and Latin Churches, the synod of Constantinople decreed in 1756 as a general norm that all members of the Latin Church who converted to the Eastern Church should be baptized again. A similar decision, due to similar circumstances, had been made by the Muscovite synod of 1620. Milaš notes that these two decisions are contrary to the general praxis of the Eastern Church from the great schism (1054) until the seventeenth century and concludes that they can have no obligatory character.

The Russian theological tradition

Milaš who belonged to the Russian theological tradition perceived the practice of rebaptizing Roman Catholics as an abuse caused by extraordinary circumstance in the relations between the Latin and Eastern Churches and as an expression of inadequate theological education. Milaš himself adheres to the sacramental theology of the Eastern Orthodox Churches’ symbolic book, especially Dositheos of Jerusalem’s Orthodox Confession of Faith (1672). In decree 15 (in finem) of this creedal document it is stated that “heretics” are not rebaptized since their baptism is perfect while their faith is imperfect.

The contradictory practices of receiving converts was from the perspective of Russian nineteenth century school theology seen as an abuse explained by the lack of sufficient theological education of the Greeks living in the Ottoman Empire. From the perspective of modern Greek theology it has since the publication of the Pedalion (1800), an annotated collection of canons, been explained by various theories of “sacramental oikonomia.”

Patriach Cyril V and Nikodemos Hagioreites

I have written two historical studies on the question of the canonical norms for receiving converts from other Christian denominations. The first study was an analysis of the theological reasoning behind the Greek decision to rebaptize converts. This decision was heavily influenced by the theology of the physician and lay theologian Eustratios Argentis, which Timothy Ware (i.e., Metropolitan Kallistos Ware) has previously studied in Eustratios Argenti: A Study of the Greek Church under Turkish Rule (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964).

After careful analysis I could show that the reasoning behind the decision of Patriarch Cyrill V to rebaptize converts as well as the theological justification of this norm in the Pedalion were based on false premises and an anachronistic and acontextual reading of the canons. This study was published as “Receiving Converts in the Orthodox Church: A Historical-Analytical Study of Eighteenth Century Greek Canon Law” in Ostkirchliche Studien 59 (2010): pp. 99-110.

My study had, however, raised many more questions in my mind. I knew the reasoning behind the modern Greek practice and I knew the position of nineteenth century Russian school theology. But what was the reasoning behind the pre-eighteenth century norms for receiving converts?

A comprehensive study of the documentary sources

I decided to make a thorough historical study of the development of norms for receiving converts in Greek Orthodox canon law. I wanted to see how official documents (e.g., canons, decrees, canonical replies, etc.) received earlier norms and arguments and developed or rejected these in response to new circumstances.  This study was published as “Receiving the non-Orthodox: A Historical Study of Greek Orthodox Canon Law” in Studia Canonica 44:2 (2010): pp. 399-426.

In this study I argued on the basis of historical evidence that the main idea behind the various norms for receiving converts had been a realist pneumatological ecclesiology. I furthermore argued that the theological concepts of ex opere operato and ex opere operantis, which since the middle ages have been central in Western sacramental theology, only obscure the reasoning behind the norms of Greek Orthodox canon law which rather presumes an ex opere communionis.