There has been a link between spirituality and learning throughout the Middle Ages, from the first monastic schools, to the rise of the cathedral schools and finally with the development of universities. There are differences between monasticism and scholasticism but there are also movements where these two perspectives converge. In this paper I will provide an overview of monasticism and scholasticism during the medieval period, describing their differences and then going on to discuss two movements, the Dominicans and the Brethren of the Common Life, where spirituality and learning come together. Finally, I will conclude with reflecting on how spirituality might be fostered through learning today.
The Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century took place during a period of great cultural change in Europe. Enlightenment thinkers challenged the traditional sources of authority including the church. Traditionally, evangelicalism has been seen as opposed to the Enlightenment; even being regarded as a Counter-Enlightenment movement. In this paper I will provide an explanation for why this evaluation is not entirely valid by considering to what extent early Methodism was influenced by the Enlightenment era. After providing a brief description of the Enlightenment I will present the evidence for and against the assessment that eighteenth-century evangelicalism was an anti-Enlightenment movement.
The doctrine of the Trinity attempts to describe how the one God is revealed as three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and yet is one substance. The language of Father and Son could be viewed as implying a hierarchy within the Trinity. In this paper I will outline the problems with this interpretation and the use of figurative language when describing the orthodox understanding of the Godhead. After briefly presenting the historical and theological background to the doctrine of the Trinity and describing three common heresies I will explain how the language used to describe God can be regarded are hierarchical, and briefly touch on the problems of using everyday human language to describe the transcendent Trinity.
‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c.296–373) took this verse from the Gospel of John in order to unpack his Christology of the incarnation. In this essay I will examine the work of Athanasius in order to study the claim that ‘The Word became flesh.’ Athanasius argued that God ‘became man, and did not come into man.’ The implications of his conviction are firstly, only God could save humanity and secondly, the Word was fully divine. I will assess the implications of Athanasius’ arguments in his treatise ‘On the Incarnation’ with reference to some of his other works.
Isaiah described Assyria as the ‘rod of YHWH’s anger’ (Isa 10:5). The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the dominant power during the period of First Isaiah. After discussing the historical, canonical and geopolitical background I will explain the imprint of the Assyrian Empire on the book of Isaiah. I will use 10:5-19 as a case study to demonstrate the impact and adaptation of imperial themes within the book.
Isaiah saw a vision of YHWH enthroned in glory and he was commissioned with an unusual task for a prophet – that is to harden the hearts of the people. Judgement had been passed on Israel and Isaiah was charged with communicating the verdict to the people in a manner that would ensure they would not repent. After examining the various scholarly proposals for the hardening motif in Isaiah 6, I will offer my own proposal that the commission to harden the hearts is as a direct result of the idolatry of the people. I will go on to describe how the hardening motif functions in this passage and in the rest of Isaiah.