Archive E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene

Your Best Afterlife Now

Early in his most recent book, The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity, Peter Brown directs the reader’s attention to a remarkable passage from the conclusion of Cyprian’s Exhortation to Martyrdom. In it, he reflects on the immediacy of the beatific vision for the martyr after death–one closes one’s eyes here, […]

Archive Nota Bene Steven Wedgeworth

Peter Brown, the Fall of the Roman and Sassanian Empires, and the Rise of Islam

Dr. Peter Brown here reviews three books which, he says, highlight “submerged worlds.” The political struggles between the late Roman Empire and the neo-Persian or Sassanian Empire have received relatively scant treatment over the years, certainly when compared to the body of work dealing with earlier Greek and Roman interactions with Persia. But this struggle, […]

Archive E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene

The Historical Situatedness of the Patron Saint

In his classic introduction to late antiquity, Peter Brown notes that the idea of the “patron saint” is an outgrowth of the social dynamics of the late Roman Empire, in which common people – clients – needed advocates at a distant court to which they did not have access. It was, then, not an outgrowth […]

Archive Authors Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth

The Patristic Critique of Icons

The liturgical use of icons is one of the disputed points which has a mixed foundation in the early church. Most people are familiar with the Second Council of Nicaea, which demanded the veneration of icons and claimed the practice as apostolic. Not as many people, however, know the opposing patristic voices. To help counter-balance […]