Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Series: Lesser Known Fathers

The Rad Trad knows his readers seem to like series and t like all things liturgical. The liturgical orientation will not be stopping, but seeking to write something new and at a loss for material, the Rad Trad has decided to begin, starting next week, a series on the Fathers of the Church less known to us. Our tendency is to look primarily to the four original Latin doctors: Ss. Augstine, Ambrose his mentor, Jerome his amusing correspondent, and then Pope Gregory the Great. For diversity we often add the original Greek doctors: Ss. Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, and Basil the Great. Aside from Athanasius, who figures prominently in Cardinal Newman's conversion, and John the Golden Mouth, whose homilies make many appearances in the Office, we are not readily familiar with the Greek doctors or many other Fathers, East or West. 

I propose to discuss and review works of the following "lesser known" Fathers of the Church on a weekly basis:
  • St. Gregory the Theologian (or Gregory Nazianzus)
  • St. Gregory of Nyssa
  • St. Basil the Great
  • St. Isaac of Syria
  • St. Anthony the Abbot (as told by St. Athanasius)
  • St. John of Damascus
  • St. Hilary of Poitiers
  • St. Maximus the Confessor
  • St. John Climacus
  • St. Cyprian of Carthage
  • St. Isidore of Seville
  • Wildcard: Origen's book on prayer. His posthumous condemnation for heresy gave him a bad reputation until the last few decades. In some sense he was the first person to attempt theology as we know it and no one, to my knowledge, reproached him while he lived. That does not make his odd theories on the soul doctrinally sound, nor do I give much credence to his ideas on salvation, but I cannot help but think the negatives of his reputation are exaggerated. His book on prayer has always been popular in Eastern Christendom and does not involve the dodgy opinions that elicited his condemnation at Constantinople II. This one is a maybe.
  • Any more ideas?

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