The Shaping of Normative Discourse about Creator and Creation in Pre-Nicene Christianity

Paul M. Blowers

in Drama of the Divine Economy

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199660414
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745980 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Shaping of Normative Discourse about Creator and Creation in Pre-Nicene Christianity

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Chapter 4 is an important transitional chapter, dealing at the outset with New Testament sources not only in their authoritative status, but in their historical and textual location “between” Hellenistic Judaism and later patristic theology. This chapter demonstrates how the “drama of the divine economy” of creation and redemption was variously depicted in select New Testament texts, providing resources for pre-Nicene attempts to forge a normative Christian discourse of Creator and creation. An important part of this process is the crafting of a more self-consciously theological or doctrinal discourse out of the largely doxological and narrative discourse of the New Testament (which obviously does not deal systematically with a “doctrine of creation”). The various renditions of the church’s Rule of Faith (regula fidei) in the second and third centuries provide important evidence of this transition. Another critical factor in this transitional process was the challenge posed by sophisticated mythological constructions of the origins and redemption of the world in Gnosticism and Marcionism. Theses traditions induced theologians like Irenaeus, with his influential theory of the “recapitulation” of creation in Jesus Christ, and Origen, with his own strongly anti-Gnostic cosmology and teleology, to construct distinctive accounts of the economy that vindicated God’s “seamless” creative and redemptive activity.

Keywords: narrative discourse; logos; divine freedom; normativization; rule of faith; irenaeus; recapitulation; divine economy; origen; Gnosticism; Marcionism; Tertullian

Chapter.  16282 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Christianity

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