A History of a Christian Doctrine and Its Interpretation
Chapter Two The Development of a Christian Theology of Divine Wrath: From Early Christian Apologists to the Medieval Theologians 47
Chapter Two The Development of a Christian Theology of Divine Wrath: From Early Christian Apologists to the Medieval Theologians Greek Philosophy and the Early Christian Apologists Early Christian theologians did not draw upon the Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament, and the extra-scriptural Christian writings alone when articulating their formulations of divine wrath, but delved deeply into the wealth of Greek philosophy that was borne throughout their cultural matri- ces. Therein, Christians found the tools by which they began to develop the theology of divine attributes, especially those of God’s love, sanctity, and justice.1 Drawing on the traditions of the Greek philosophical move- ments, while bringing them into conversation with the sacred Scriptures’ accounts of divine wrath, early theologians were able to construct original understandings of an uniquely Christian God. These origins require an examination of the Greek philosophical movements that mattered most to the maturation of Christian theology on divine wrath, the Stoics and the Epicureans. 1 The best overview of this topic is contained within a superb book by Ermin F. Micka, The Problem of Divine Anger in Arnobius and Lactantius. The Catholic University of America Studies in Christian Antiquity, No. 4, edited by Johannes Quasten. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1943). I am utterly indebted to Micka’s unparalleled analysis of the evolving history of Christian perspec- tives on divine wrath during the Patristic era, and have relied on his basic structure in my analysis of this time period. 48 Chapter Two The Stoics advanced a pantheistic...
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