"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Visible God of our Fathers

To do anything in patristics today is to come across the name of the Jesuit scholar Brian Daley, whom I have met at least twice, always finding him to be a very gracious and unassuming man. His scholarship has been widely respected for years now, and recognized, inter alia, by the Ratzinger Prize several years ago. His scholarship has also been valuable in advancing the cause of Orthodox-Catholic unity, which he has served faithfully for many years now in the official North American dialogue.

He has a new book out: God Visible: Patristic Christology Reconsidered (Oxford UP, 2018), 317pp. The book is based in part on lectures Daley gave in 2002 at the Jesuit Campion Hall in Oxford on the occasion of the Martin d'Arcy Memorial Lectures. (D'Arcy was himself a Jesuit who instructed and received Evelyn Waugh into the Church.)

About this book the publisher tells us the following:
God Visible: Patristic Christology Reconsidered considers the early development and reception of what is today the most widely professed Christian conception of Christ. The development of this doctrine admits of wide variations in expression and understanding, varying emphases in interpretation that are as striking in authors of the first millennium as they are among modern writers. The seven early ecumenical councils and their dogmatic formulations are crucial way-stations in defining the shape of this study. Brian E. Daley argues that the scope of previous enquiries, which focused on the declaration of the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451 that Christ was one Person in two natures, the Divine of the same substance as the Father, and the human of the same substance as us, now seems excessively narrow and distorts our understanding. Daley sets aside the Chalcedonian formula and instead considers what some major Church Fathers--from Irenaeus to John Damascene--say about the person of Christ.

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