St. Athanasius Seminar

This course will look at the development of Christian theology in the period leading up to the Council of Nicaea. It will focus on the most important figures while treating various themes: Christology, triadology, and anthropology; sin, passion, and death; and Scripture and its exegesis. Fundamental questions will include: what did each figure see as the nature and method of theology itself — what is theology and how does it work? — and what is the canon or criterion, if any, that regulates it (raising questions of uniformity and diversity)? What texts are to count as sacred scripture and how are they to be interpreted? What are the central teachings of Christianity regarding 1) the person of Christ and his relation to God and the Spirit, and 2) what is sometimes called “salvation history” (creation—fall—redemption) and 3) how do the Fathers understand and articulate such teachings? The course will also examine the question of how a Christian should follow Christ by looking closely at the witness of the martyrs.


Texts to be studied:

  • Melito of Sardis, On Pascha
  • St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letters
  • St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies
  • Origen, Commentary on John; First Principles
  • St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation