Friday, February 25, 2011

Why We Need Augustine

“If we need Aristotle, I think, we need Augustine more. Augustine was human enough, brilliant enough to realize that Plato’s search for a true public order, which corresponded to our inner order and to the good, was not an unworthy one. Augustine freed us, moreover, by insisting that this search that, if we be human, we discover in our restless hearts, after we have met both Ramiro de Lorqua and the pursuit of happiness in this world, has its proper and final answer as a gift from God, after the completion of our very lives among the existing cities. Augustine remains someone to whom we can turn. We are probably lucky if, in our studies, in our workings, we learned not to reject prayer and fasting, let alone Augustine.”

-James V. Schall, Another Sort of Learning

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

When Was The First Epistle Of Clement Written?

I hold in my hands a book whose publication I have been waiting for in anxious anticipation for some time now. That book is Clement and the Early Church of Rome: On the Dating of Clement’s First Epistle to the Corinthians by Msgr. Thomas J. Herron. Msgr. Herron, who worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, originally wrote this book as his doctoral dissertation at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome back in 1988. This book is truly groundbreaking as Herron persuasively argues for a pre-70 A.D. dating of First Clement. One of the key arguments is the polemic against the Jerusalem Temple, which Clement speaks against as though it were still standing. Had the Temple already been destroyed (which it would have been based on the traditional 96 A.D. dating), that would have furthered Clement’s argument for the superiority of Christianity over and against Judaism. Yet, Clement never even alludes to the destruction of the Temple. Herron’s thesis has many theological and ecclesiastical implications, most notably: the early existence of a normative presbyterate (priesthood) and Roman primacy. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Apostolic Fathers or Church History in general.