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Christ in the Early Christian Hymns
 0809138093

Table of contents :
Preface ..vii
I. Christology inWorship.1
II. The Significance of Hymns; The Rule ofFaith.8
III. Early Hymns—A Preface to a Dialectical
Interpretation of the Meaning of ChristJesus.33
IV. The Pre-Nicaean Hymns Concerning Christ and the
Belief Expressed in Those EarlyHymns.38
V. The Early Church’s Declarations
about Christ in Its Hymns.87
VI. The Development of the Controversies Leading Up to
Chalcedon: The Dialectic between Antioch and Alexandria.99
VII.The Need for Tensive Dialectic to
ExpressMystery.123
Vlll.The Tensive Approach to ChristJesus.134
Notes.140
Bibliography.145
Index.152

Citation preview

Christ in the Early Christian Hymns

Christ in the Early Christian Hymns

Daniel Liderbach

PAULIST PRESS New York / Mahwah, N J.

Acknowledgements The Publisher gratefully acknowledges use of the following materials: English translations of “Ales Dei Nuntius,” “Quicumque Christum Quaeritis,” “Salvete Flores Martyrum,” “Audit Tyrannus Anxius” and “O Sola Magnarum Urbium” from The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal, edited by Dom Matthew Britt, O.S.B., copyright © 1948, Benziger Brothers, New York. Used by permission of Benziger Publishing Company. Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, 1971 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A Used by permission. Cover design by Nick Marked Copyright © 1998 by the Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo¬ copying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system with¬ out permission in writing from the Publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Liderbach, Daniel, 1941 Christ in the early Christian hymns / by Daniel Liderbach. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8091-3809-3 (alk. paper) 1. Jesus Christ—Natures—History of doctrines—Early church, ca. 30-600. 2. Hymns, Early Christian—History and criticism. 1. Title. BT212.L53 1998 232'.09'015^c21 98-28762 CIP Published by Paulist Press 997 Macarthur Boulevard Mahwah, New Jersey 07430 www.pauhstpress.com Printed and bound in the United States of America

Contents

Preface .

.vii

I. Christology in Worship.1 II. The Significance of Hymns; The Rule of Faith.8 III. Early Hymns—A Preface to a Dialectical Interpretation of the Meaning of Christ Jesus.33 IV. The Pre-Nicaean Hymns Concerning Christ and the Belief Expressed in Those Early Hymns.38 V. The Early Church’s Declarations about Christ in Its Hymns .87 VI. The Development of the Controversies Leading Up to Chalcedon: The Dialectic between Antioch and Alexandria.99 VII. The Need for Tensive Dialectic to Express Mystery.123 Vlll. The Tensive Approach to Christ Jesus.134 Notes.140 Bibliography.145 Index.152

V

This book is dedicated to Brian, Susan, Kathleen, Mary, Sharon, Mark, and John, my brothers and sisters, the soil that supports me and the atmosphere that nurtures me.

Preface

This project was carried out with the assistance of sev¬ eral people whom I want to acknowledge. Lawrence Boadt, my editor at Paulist Press, helped me to sculpt the text. The Society of Jesus made time available to me and provided me with the research tools needed for this work, and for that I express gratitude. Daniel P. Jamros, a specialist in the works of Georg F. W. Hegel, read and critiqued my use of Hegel’s synthetic dialectic. And finally, Jean Campbell kindly proof¬ read the manuscript and assisted me with the index.

vii

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From the first days of the church, Christians confessed their faith in Jesus Christ in both theological discussion and in popular hymns of devotion. After the major church coun¬ cils from Nicaea to Chalcedon brought clarification and defini¬ tion to Christological doctrines, the hymns began to express clearly this belief in Jesus as truly God and truly human. Were the new Christological doctrines deductively devel¬ oped and imposed by the coun¬ cils? Or did they arise from the beginning out of the faith of the Christian community as known by its prayers and worship? Father Liderbach shows that pre-Nicaean hymns induc^’"*" held in tension both thi humanity of Jesus and his than-human status. Then d| the councils from Nica€

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Chalcedon, deductive do