"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).

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Florentine Fate of the Epiclesis (Updated)

Given the sheer volume of books emerging today, it is hard to maintain excitement for a lot of them, but there are some coming along to which I am greatly looking forward as much for the topic as for the author, and one such book, just released, is The Epiclesis Debate at the Council of Florence (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019), 380pp., by Christiaan Kappes, whom I previously interviewed about his groundbreaking and revealing work on the Immaculate Conception. I've been on panels with him, and read some of his other articles, and both he and them are always dynamite, so we have every reason to look forward with delight to this new book. I am also in contact with him about a blog interview, to which he's agreed. So I hope to be able to run that in the coming weeks.

The council of Ferrara-Florence has not occasioned a lot of recent scholarship, which is curious if it is indeed the last "council of union" between East and West. Cambridge University Press, back in 2011, sent me a republished copy of Joseph Gill's 1959 study, but apart from that I have not seen a lot. So this book will be welcome for more than one reason.

Before reading the publisher's blurb, listen to what one widely respected scholar, no stranger to this blog, says about this forthcoming book:

“In this book Christiaan Kappes lays before the reader the genesis of an important, albeit often neglected, ecumenical stumbling block. Although the filioque, papacy, and azymes are traditionally considered the three great causes of the Catholic-Orthodox split, for many today the epiclesis debate remains a significant unresolved issue dividing the two churches. By detailing the theology, setting, and personalities of the first stage of that debate, along with the translation of relevant texts, Kappes has indeed provided an invaluable service to all liturgists, ecumenists, and interested historians of dogma.” --A. Edward Siecienski, Clement and Helen Pappas Endowed Professor of Byzantine Civilization and Religion, Stockton University.

And from the publisher we learn this:
The Epiclesis Debate at the Council of Florence is the first in-depth investigation into both the Greek and the Latin sides of the debate about the moment of eucharistic transubstantiation at the Council of Florence. Christiaan Kappes examines the life and times of the central figures of the debate, Mark Eugenicus and John Torquemada, and assesses their doctrinal authority. Kappes presents a patristic and Scholastic analysis of Torquemada’s Florentine writings, revealing heretofore-unknown features of the debate and the full background to its treatises. The most important feature of the investigation involves Eugenicus. Kappes investigates his theological method and sources for the first time to give an accurate appraisal of the strength of Mark’s theological positions in the context of his own time and contemporary methods. The investigation into both traditions allows for an informed evaluation of more recent developments in the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in light of these historical sources. Kappes provides a historically contextual and contemporary proposal for solutions to the former impasse in light of the principles rediscovered within Eugenicus’s works. This monograph speaks to contemporary theological debates surrounding transubstantiation and related theological matters, and provides a historical framework to understand these debates. The Epiclesis Debate at the Council of Florence will interest specialists in theology, especially those with a background in and familiarity with the council and related historical themes, and is essential for any ecumenical library.

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