REQUEST: Pre-Reformation Reading on the Incarnation

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Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Dec 1 2019 1:00 AM

Hi everyone, 

A couple of years ago I had an enjoyable advent reading Athanasius' On the Incarnation of the Word of God. I was thinking about doing something similar this year but was unsure what to go choose. I'd love it if you lovely logosians would be kind enough to make a few suggestions. 

A few points to guide suggestions: 

  • It needs to be available in Logos
  • it can be from eastern or western church tradition
  • I'd like to read something outside of my tradition, so pre-reformation would be preferable (some flexibility granted to non-protestant logosians here).
  • It does not necessarily have to be an entire book, a section of a book which deals with the incarnation is fine too).

That's about it, I'd say. Looking forward to reading your suggestions. 

Blessings, Liam

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 1 2019 2:29 AM
  1. The Seven Books of John Cassian on the Incarnation of the Lord, Against Nestorius (can't really recommend the translation from NPNFSS 11)
  2. Cur Deus Homo of St. Anselm ... ranges far beyond incarnation but ...
  3. Part IV On the Incarnation of the Word of Breviloquium of Bonaventure
  4. A Digest of the Doctrine of S. Thomas on the Incarnation (Thomas Aquinas)

But I would actually be inclined to read sermons for Christmas and Epiphany such as:

  • St. Leo the Great, Sermons 23,24
  • John Chrysostom Sermon V
  • Sermon for Christmas from Vercelli Book in Anglo-Saxon Spirituality
  • Johannes Tauler Sermon 1,2,5
  • Luther's Christmas Sermons
  • S. Bonaventura - A Sermon on Christmas Eve (next few are all from Mediaeval Preachers and Mediaeval Preaching)
  • Guarric, Abbat of Ignaic - The Mystery of the Incarnation
  • S. Peter Damiani - The Wise Men an Example to all Christians
  • Nicholas of Cusa - The Spirituality of Ignorance
  • and, no, my favorite ancient Christmas sermon is not available in Logos - the Christmas sermon of St. Peter Chrysologus an excerpt of which my parish used for years as a lesson in Lessons and Carols. See https://preachersinstitute.com/2009/12/21/the-sacrament-of-christs-incarnation-by-st-peter-chrysolgus/

If you don't have a reasonable collection of sermons available in your collection and can't pick more up in the Verbum monthly sale, see https://preachersinstitute.com/category/patristic-sermons/festal-sermons/sermons-on-christmas/ for a nice selection.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 462
Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 9:37 AM

Wow thanks M.J., this is great stuff. And dipping into sermons is a good idea. I’ve got Schaff’s Church Father’s Collection so I have a pretty good pool of resources to draw from in that regard. Out of interest, what is the passage reference for Chrysostom’s ‘Sermon V’? Schaff organises the non-miscellaneous sermons by book (eg. John) and then assigns a Roman numeral, so there are a few ‘sermon Vs’.

My thanks again, Liam

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 10:16 AM

I second everything MJ wrote, including the part about preferring not to use the Schaff translations, though I too am not sure which of Chrysostom's sermons she is referring to.

EDIT: And since Liam did allow for "some flexibility" for us "non-protestant logosians", I dare suggest the wonderful and well-illustrated book of meditations known as The Blessing of Christmas by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, whom I consider the greatest living Catholic theologian, period. A fair amount of the beautiful art in it is pre-Reformation, at least!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 12:53 PM

Liam & Abi Maguire:
assigns a Roman numeral, so there are a few ‘sermon Vs’.

I was thinking Matt 1:22-23. I'd used a Sermons guide on Matt 1:18-25 to see what was available in Logos ... obviously a broader passage and the addition of Luke would bring up more possibilities ...

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 462
Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 3:45 PM

MJ. Smith:

I'd used a Sermons guide on Matt 1:18-25 to see what was available in Logos ... obviously a broader passage and the addition of Luke would bring up more possibilities ...

Doh! That is a good idea, I always forget about the sermon guide... Thanks for the speedy reply.

L

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

Posts 462
Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 3:57 PM

SineNomine:

I second everything MJ wrote, including the part about preferring not to use the Schaff translations.

Interesting, would you be willing to give a paragraph Schaff's weaknesses (presumably it is more than age)? Also, is there series which you might suggest as an alternative? MJ: Feel free to wade in these two Qs too if you would like/have time.

SineNomine:

EDIT: And since Liam did allow for "some flexibility" for us "non-protestant logosians", I dare suggest the wonderful and well-illustrated book of meditations known as The Blessing of Christmas by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, whom I consider the greatest living Catholic theologian, period. A fair amount of the beautiful art in it is pre-Reformation, at least!

That is perhaps a flexible definition of "some flexibility" Wink, but I'll let you off because the high praise you heaped upon the author has piqued my interest. Providentially, I already have a copy - presumably from a past Verbum FBOTM - which was a pleasant surprise. 

L

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 4:12 PM

Liam & Abi Maguire:

SineNomine:

I second everything MJ wrote, including the part about preferring not to use the Schaff translations.

Interesting, would you be willing to give a paragraph Schaff's weaknesses (presumably it is more than age)? Also, is there series which you might suggest as an alternative? MJ: Feel free to wade in these two Qs too if you would like/have time.

Age is a big one, but what I've found is that the more I've looked at source material being translated from--primarily works by St. Augustine, so far--the more upset I've been by the translations' combination of being difficult to read and insufficiently literal. I've spent much too much time reading Latin and comparing it to Schaff only to find that I had to either re-translate the Latin myself in order to quote it or to abandon the passage in question because it didn't actually say in Latin whatever useful thing it said in English. Googlebooks and access to some hard copies from The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century have not caused that consternation...but I don't own them in Logos edition. The Fathers of the Church series from CUA Press and the Ancient Christian Writers series I prefer greatly to Schaff, not only for being newer, but--insofar as I have checked them--being more careful and more literal. Schaff's editorial work is also famously polemical, though I don't know if/how his theology (and his strong anti-Catholic theological animus) affected the translations themselves. I do find it rather annoying that a number of works theoretically within his collection are there with titles only or pieces missing.

Liam & Abi Maguire:
That is perhaps a flexible definition of "some flexibility" Wink, but I'll let you off because the high praise you heaped upon the author has piqued my interest. Providentially, I already have a copy - presumably from a past Verbum FBOTM - which was a pleasant surprise. 

Yes, I think it was a FBotM at one time. (Right now it's 30% off for anyone reading this who hasn't acquired it.)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 4:38 PM

Liam & Abi Maguire:
Interesting, would you be willing to give a paragraph Schaff's weaknesses (presumably it is more than age)?

My main objection is that some books are edited to shorten them but the editing is not noted. CUA, ACW and Popular Patristics are both more readable and, when edited, it is clearly marked.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 3154
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 4 2019 5:01 PM

MJ. Smith:

Liam & Abi Maguire:
Interesting, would you be willing to give a paragraph Schaff's weaknesses (presumably it is more than age)?

My main objection is that some books are edited to shorten them but the editing is not noted. CUA, ACW and Popular Patristics are both more readable and, when edited, it is clearly marked.

Oh yes, I forgot about Popular Patristics. They're good, too.

Posts 462
Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 10 2019 7:30 AM

Thanks for the further info both. I didn't know about his anti-catholic views. In occasion have a feeling there was a bit of editing going on, but as MJ noted, it isn't always clear. Good to have that confirmed. I also did not know that translation is sketchy. Hmmm... not good.

The Popular Patristics series is a little more in my price range, I'll keep an eye out for a sale.

Out of interest, SineNomine, where do you access your Latin patristics texts and are they hard to dig into? 

Thanks again for all of the help here. Much appreciated.

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

Posts 3154
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 10 2019 12:44 PM

Liam & Abi Maguire:
Out of interest, SineNomine, where do you access your Latin patristics texts and are they hard to dig into? 

It depends. Not infrequently I consult Googlebooks or other websites legally hosting scanned copies of old Latin editions. For St. Augustine, I may consult this next time. Whether the Fathers in Latin are "hard" to read varies by author, text, and how good one's own Latin is.

Liam & Abi Maguire:
The Popular Patristics series is a little more in my price range, I'll keep an eye out for a sale.

The challenge is that the Popular Patristics series is very limited in terms of its (present) contents relative to the other series, so I suggest you look first for the works/authors/topics you're most interested in; many appear in more than one of the series. All three series appear in whole or part in various base package libraries and discounted collections as well.

EDIT: I should have noted by now that a few recent(ish) translations of patristic works appear in the Classics of Western Spirituality series as well.

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