Essays on the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity
Edited By Jan Dochhorn
The Creed and the Development of the Liturgical Year in the Early Church Wolfram Kinzig
This paper examines the question of how faith develops into orthodoxy, and considers the role of the liturgy in that process. I will argue that the develop- ment of a confession of faith, the symbolum fidei, is central to this process. The creed becomes normative after 381 in its neo-Nicene form. Measures such as imperial laws make this Neo-Nicene faith incumbent upon all inhabitants of the empire; aberrations of that faith are banned. But what impact did these measures have in reality? Above all, how was the prescribed stipulation to a particular formulation of the faith enforced in practice, and what conse- quences did that have for the religious life of believers? I would like to propose that it is no historical coincidence that the reli- gious feasts of Christmas/Epiphany, Easter with Lent, the Triduum sacrum and Easter Octave, and Ascension and Pentecost (the latter sometimes accompa- nied by its own Octave) were introduced almost at the same time. Rather, the implementation of these celebrations is a mechanism consciously utilized by the ecclesial authorities to enforce the normative definition of the Christian faith and was thus instrumental in the formation of a Corpus Christianum. To establish this thesis I will proceed in three steps: In the first and short- est section I would like to call to mind certain stages in the aforementioned path towards a normative form of the Christian faith. Thereafter I will take a look at the development of the liturgies of the most important dominical feasts...
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