Mind the Gap: First Principles and Popular Theology

Theologizing in the internet era is a tricky business.  We can and must do better.

by Father John Cox

Rule of Faith‘s managing editor addressed the faculty and students of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary on October 13, 2020.

Your Eminence, your Grace, Reverend Fathers, esteemed seminarians, brothers and sisters in Christ, I happen to know that Father John Parker, the dean of this institution, loves ice cream. In his honor, I have structured my talk accordingly. Did you ever eat an ice cream sundae? The kind with scoops of ice cream piled up, with whipped cream on top of that, and with a cherry on top of that? Imagine that someone came along and flicked the cherry off the top of your sundae. You might reasonably weigh the consequences of second-degree homicide against this shocking display of immorality. Read More

The Year of the Spoon

by Father John Cox

Orthodoxy is no stranger to theological disagreement. Our most fundamental doctrinal affirmations emerge from the forge of heated debates about the person and nature(s) of Christ and the hypostasis (or lack thereof) of the Holy Spirit. Among the many larger than life figures that belong to the story of these events Ss. Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor loom particularly large, not only for the theological acumen of their contributions, but also because of the pathos of their lonely struggle for Orthodoxy in the face of overwhelming opposition. But for every critical doctrinal dispute, Read More

Is Black Lives Matter Iconoclastic?

by Matthew Cooper

One of the common charges against the participants in the protests which began in Minneapolis[1] and spread virally around the country, and which frequently included the defacing and toppling of public statuary, is that the protesters are engaged in a new wave of iconoclasm[2]. Coming from political and cultural conservatives, these arguments claim that the protests are imbued with a new and dangerous religious impulse[3]. Now for Orthodox Christians, who follow the canons of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and venerate the great Orthodox iconophile, Saint John of Damascus, this charge of iconoclasm is grave, and should be investigated in earnest.
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Descending to Ascend: Prayer as Initiation Into Divine Judgment in the Apophthegmata Patrum

The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee has ever been a cornerstone of Orthodox spirituality. But as the Desert Fathers remind us, it has eschatological significance as well.

by Father Joseph Lucas

In Late Antique Christian monasticism, there existed an interplay between scriptural exegesis and the mystagogy of prayer. Reading the Bible through the lens of asceticism, the monks looked for keys to understanding their spiritual practices. There are numerous biblical passages that deal directly with prayer, such as Jesus’ directive to ‘go into your closet to pray,’ which is generally interpreted in ascetical literature as entering into the heart when praying. But other passages are more subtle, such as Luke 18: ‘The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee.’ And yet this parable greatly influenced the way in which monks have understood prayer. Read More

Jerome and Ezra as Instaurator: A Study in Tradition

A mistranslation of Jerome has had far-reaching consequences. It is high time to put paid to this error.

by Father Stephen De Young

In the field of biblical criticism, few figures of the early Christian centuries carry greater weight of authority than Jerome.[1] The enlistment of Jerome in the service of arguments against the traditional Mosaic dating of the Torah, at least at its earliest redactional layers, may, therefore, serve as a locus classicus of this form of argumentation. Jerome is presently named as an early proponent of late[2] dating of the composition of the Torah by scholars across the hermeneutical spectrum. An investigation of Jerome’s comments in this regard in their original context reveals the weakness of this modern approach Read More