more quotes from The Emergence of the catholic tradition (100-600) by Pelikan

Part of the resolution over the divinity of Jesus came from received liturgy among the church catholic. Liturgy carried an authority akin to tradition but distinct from it. Jaroslav Pelikan describes its important role in his great church history book, The Emergence of the catholic tradition.
...Theology had to come to terms with liturgy.

Of special interest in the liturgy was the language being used about the Virgin Mary, who had come to be called "Theotokos." [Greek for "Mother of God"- jpu] Despite the effort to find evidence of it elsewhere, there is reason to believe that the title originated in Alexandria, where it harmonized with and epitomized the general Alexandrian tradition. The earliest incontestable instance of the term Theotokos was in the encyclical of Alexander of Alexandria directed against Arianism in 324. Later in the fourth century, the emperor Julian, in his polemic against the "Galileans," asked the Christians: "Why do you incessantly call Mary Theotokos?"But the sources of the idea of Theotokos are almost certainly to be sought neither in polemics nor in speculatoin, but in devotion, perhaps in an early Greek version of the hymn to Mary, Sub tuum praesidium; here, too, theology had to come to terms with liturgy. In the conflicts with Gnosticism Mary had served as proof for th reality of the humanity of Jesus: he had truly been born of a human mother and therefore was a man. But as Christian piety and reflection sought to probe the deeper meaning of salvation, the parallel between Christ and Adam found its counterpart in the picture of Mary as the second Eve, who by her obedience had undone the damage wrought by the disobedience of the mother of mankind. She was the mother of the man Christ Jesus, the mother of the Savior; but to be the Savior, he had to be God as well, and as his mother she had to be "Mother of God." In popular devotion these themes were interwoven with other speculations about the manner of Christ's birth and about the later life of the Virgin, but in its fundamental motifs the development of the Christian picture of Mary and the eventual emergence of a Christian doctrine of Mary must be seen in the context of the development of devotion to Christ and , of course, of the development of the doctrine of Christ. p. 241
As Pelikan subtitles the series, this is a survey of the development of doctrine. Doctrine did not emerge complete but developed in response to those who challenged the scriptures and the liturgies and the traditions, all of which were in place before the challenges. I think it demonstrates the wisdom of God to plant these ahead of the controversies. It's like intelligent design for theology, all prepared for ahead of time waiting to be discovered.

The wiki entry on Pelikan has this great quote from him on tradition vs. traditionalism,Jaroslav Pelikan. Personal photographImage via Wikipedia
His 1984 book The Vindication of Tradition gave rise to an often quoted one liner. In
an interview in U.S. News & World Report (July 26, 1989), he said: "Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in

conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide. Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition."
I find this provocative and worth pondering. That means I will probably have to buy that book at some time as well.
Enhanced by Zemanta


Popular Posts