Mike Aquilina

Why’s Words

Friday April 30th 2010, 9:31 am

Deanna at Not Lukewarm reviewed my little book Why Me? When Bad Things Happen.

Everyone should get a copy of this book. Why? Because bad things happen to people all the time and either you need an answer for yourself or need to be able to help someone else.

Read more.

Or Is It Patristic Poetics?

Thursday April 29th 2010, 10:36 am

Adrian Murdoch posted a poem by Peter Porter — a perfect pick for our progressive anthology of poetic patristics. Read The Last Hours of Cassiodorus.

Journal Ease

Wednesday April 28th 2010, 9:34 am

In WSJ, Stuart Ferguson reviews the book Ravenna in Late Antiquity, by Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis. Ravenna remains my dream vacation destination.

Old Syria New Again

Tuesday April 27th 2010, 9:04 pm

From the New York Times blogs, news of restoration of Byzantine sites in Aleppo, Syria:

In this ancient fortress city in northern Syria, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements, an ambitious restoration project is near completion in the Old City. Bloomberg is reporting that a master plan for development has been laid out for the next 15 years.

Happyness

Monday April 26th 2010, 2:46 pm

Go now, quick, and see what Happy Catholic said about my book The Fathers of the Church — quick, quick, before my head swells any more.

Easter Uprising

Monday April 26th 2010, 9:47 am

Roger Pearse has just posted the translation he commissioned of Eusebius’s On Easter. It’s a great time to be alive.

I Never Know When Family Will Turn Up

Sunday April 25th 2010, 9:00 am

Rogue Classicism leads us to a fascinating Byzantine burial unearthed in Sicily.

When Children Became People

Saturday April 24th 2010, 10:55 am

Lots of you were fascinated by two books I mentioned here last month: “Let the Little Children Come to Me”: Childhood and Children in Early Christianity, by Cornelia B. Horn, John W. Martens, and When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity, by O. M. Bakke.

Now BMCR reviews another, somewhat related title: Cecily Hennessy’s Images of Children in Byzantium.

To Life, To Life, To Brian

Friday April 23rd 2010, 10:12 pm

Brian at Theologia Perennis reviewed my book The Mass of the Early Christians.

I do love it when reviewers say things like …

The wonderful, almost poetic concluding chapter stands out in this excellent, beginner-friendly yet academic-oriented look at the ancient Mass.

Muy BN

Friday April 23rd 2010, 8:47 pm

Thanks to those of you who’ve written to ask if I’ve died. I haven’t. I have been busy in the Projects, though. And they’re all fascinating projects. The Fall harvest should be very good this year.

Last night, however, I snuck out with my dear daughter Mary Agnes and gave a presentation at a local Barnes & Noble on my book Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols. It was challenging — probably the youngest audience I’ve ever pitched patristics to. I’ll guess the average age was 12 or so. But what bright kids. By the end of the show, they were decoding inscriptions from the catacombs in seconds flat.

The event was organized elementary-school teacher Zee Ann Poerio, who is author of the “chapter book” A Griffin In Her Desk (about an elementary-school teacher much like Zee). Zee teaches Latin and history using ancient coins and artifacts. She’s amazing.


Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

Saturday April 03rd 2010, 11:55 pm

St. Melito of Sardis, On Pascha, second century.

1. First of all, the Scripture about the Hebrew Exodus has been read and the words of the mystery have been explained as to how the sheep was sacrificed and the people were saved.

2. Therefore, understand this, O beloved: The mystery of the passover is new and old, eternal and temporal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal in this fashion:

3. It is old insofar as it concerns the law, but new insofar as it concerns the gospel; temporal insofar as it concerns the type, eternal because of grace; corruptible because of the sacrifice of the sheep, incorruptible because of the life of the Lord; mortal because of his burial in the earth, immortal because of his resurrection from the dead.

4. The law is old, but the gospel is new; the type was for a time, but grace is forever. The sheep was corruptible, but the Lord is incorruptible, who was crushed as a lamb, but who was resurrected as God. For although he was led to sacrifice as a sheep, yet he was not a sheep; and although he was as a lamb without voice, yet indeed he was not a lamb. The one was the model; the other was found to be the finished product.

5. For God replaced the lamb, and a man the sheep; but in the man was Christ, who contains all things.

6. Hence, the sacrifice of the sheep, and the sending of the lamb to slaughter, and the writing of the law–each led to and issued in Christ, for whose sake everything happened in the ancient law, and even more so in the new gospel.

7. For indeed the law issued in the gospel–the old in the new, both coming forth together from Zion and Jerusalem; and the commandment issued in grace, and the type in the finished product, and the lamb in the Son, and the sheep in a man, and the man in God.

8. For the one who was born as Son, and led to slaughter as a lamb, and sacrificed as a sheep, and buried as a man, rose up from the dead as God, since he is by nature both God and man.

9. He is everything: in that he judges he is law, in that he teaches he is gospel, in that he saves he is grace, in that he begets he is Father, in that he is begotten he is Son, in that he suffers he is sheep, in that he is buried he is man, in that he comes to life again he is God.

10. Such is Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen. …

100. But he arose from the dead and mounted up to the heights of heaven. When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity, and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer, and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned, and had been judged for the sake of the condemned, and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,

101. he rose up from the dead, and cried aloud with this voice: Who is he who contends with me? Let him stand in opposition to me. I set the condemned man free; I gave the dead man life; I raised up the one who had been entombed.

102. Who is my opponent? I, he says, am the Christ. I am the one who destroyed death, and triumphed over the enemy, and trampled Hades under foot, and bound the strong one, and carried off man to the heights of heaven, I, he says, am the Christ.

103. Therefore, come, all families of men, you who have been befouled with sins, and receive forgiveness for your sins. I am your forgiveness, I am the passover of your salvation, I am the lamb which was sacrificed for you, I am your ransom, I am your light, I am your saviour, I am your resurrection, I am your king, I am leading you up to the heights of heaven, I will show you the eternal Father, I will raise you up by my right hand.

104. This is the one who made the heavens and the earth, and who in the beginning created man, who was proclaimed through the law and prophets, who became human via the virgin, who was hanged upon a tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from the dead, and who ascended to the heights of heaven, who sits at the right hand of the Father, who has authority to judge and to save everything, through whom the Father created everything from the beginning of the world to the end of the age.

105. This is the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end–an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father. He bears the Father and is borne by the Father, to whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen.

For Holy Saturday

Saturday April 03rd 2010, 1:01 am

Archeologists have made some early-Christian selpulchral discoveries in the last couple of weeks.

Twenty Christian sarcophaguses were found in the Urbnisi village of the Kareli region of the Republic of Georgia. They’ve been dated to the fourth or fifth century. I haven’t seen much in the way of detail yet.

A one-ton lead coffin — which has been dubbed the “lead burrito” — was found near Rome. It hasn’t yet been dated; nor have its contents been examined. But experts say its occupant must have been a VIP. A ton of any metal cost a lot of money back then. Beloved Banshee Maureen had some fascinating reflections on the find.

Misspelled, it could prove a useful name for a Tejano heavy-metal group: Led Burrito.

The Whole Earth Keeps Silence

Saturday April 03rd 2010, 12:30 am

Holy Saturday, according to Epiphanius of Cyprus.

Something strange is happening … there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying, “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” . . .

You can read the rest by clicking here.

Oxy Envy

Friday April 02nd 2010, 8:24 pm

At BMCR, Robert Mazza reviews a book I (thanks to his review) want to own: Greetings in the Lord: Early Christians and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.

The city of Oxyrhynchus has attracted the attention of scholars in early Christian studies since the first archaeological season of Grenfell and Hunt on the site (1896-1897), which, amongst others, brought into light the Greek original of what came to be known about fifty years later as the Gospel of Thomas (P. Oxy. I, 1). From that moment onwards the ancient rubbish heaps of the city have given to us a wide range not only of Christian literature, but also of documents — such as letters, lists and contracts — relating to the everyday life of Christians and Christian institutions in that city and its neighbourhood.

AnneMarie Luijendijk’s “Greetings in the Lord” is an updated and well-structured presentation of the papyrological material relating to early Christianity from the site. The book, mainly addressed to students and scholars in early Christian studies, is divided into three parts (“Meeting Christians at the Marketplace”; “Papa Sotas, Bishop of Oxyrhynchus”; “Legal matters and Government Dealings”), preceded by a general introduction (“Destination Oxyrhynchus: Historical Detective Work in the Footsteps of Monks and Papyrologists”) and ended by a concluding chapter (“Early Christians in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri: New Voices in Ancient History”).

Read on for more detail.

Chronicon — at Last! Daniel — Very Soon!

Friday April 02nd 2010, 8:07 pm

Roger Pearse points us to a translation of Eusebius’s Chronicon, posted online. The same translator, T.C. Schmidt, promises to post (very soon) a translation of Hippolytus’s Commentary on Daniel.