The Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: A   HistoryThe Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: A History
Joseph F. Kelly
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In this accessible, readable, and yet substantial account of the councils Joseph Kelly provides both the historical context for each council as well as an account of its proceedings. Readers will discover how the councils shaped the debate for the following decades and even centuries, and will appreciate the occasional portraits of important conciliar figures from Emperor Constantine to Pope John XXIII.
     

First Seven Ecumenical CouncilsFirst Seven Ecumenical Councils
Leo Donald Davis
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A careful look at the history and theology of Christianity's most important councils: Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (680--681), and Nicea II (787). What controversies were involved; how were they resolved; what was the overall impact? This unique work--no other work yet available in English treats this subject--illustrates the contribution of these Councils in the development and formulation of Christian beliefs. It then shows how their legacies lingered throughout the centuries to inspire--or haunt--every generation.
     

 

 The First Ecumenical Council (Council of Nicea) - 325AD

The Way to Nicaea: Formation of Christian Theology, Volume 1The Way to Nicaea: Formation of Christian Theology, Volume 1
John Behr
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In this opening volume to his Formation of Christian Theology series, John Behr looks at the implications formed out of Jesus' question of "Who do you say I am," and journeys into the formation of the earliest churches who truly believed him to be the Christ. From here Behr makes an accounting of Christendom's most vehement defenders concerning Christ's lordship, from Ignatius of Antioch through Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, to Paul of Samosata and the Council of Antioch. Ultimately, Behr offers discussion and commentary on the formation of Orthodox theology, through the eyes of its earliest founders.
     

 
The Nicene Faith: Formation of Christian Theology, Volume 2 (Parts One & Two)The Nicene Faith: Formation of Christian Theology, Volume 2 (Parts One & Two)
John Behr
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"This is a remarkable contribution to contemporary patristic scholarship, at once fully informed in both primary and secondary literature and forthrightly committed to profound respect for the teaching of normative Christianity. Solid and insightful, it is warmly recommended,"---Calvin Theological Journal. 480 pages total, two softcovers. SVS Press.
     

 
The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381
R.P.C. Hanson
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First published in 1988, Hanson's study of the Trinitarian conflicts of the fourth century combines exacting research with clear composition to provide the standard English-language description of the Arian/Nicene controversy. His translation and synthesis of primary and secondary literature and illuminating opinions about patristic theology and exegesis turn this complex period into an intelligible---even dramatic---story. 960 pages, softcover from Baker.
     

 

 The Second Ecumenical Council (Council of Constantinople) - 381AD

A Brief History of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early ChurchA Brief History of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early Church
Franz Dunzl, Andrew Louth
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A brilliant condensation of the issues leading up to the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 and how they continued into the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381. Reveals what the church fathers believed about the Godhead; the terminology and models they used; political infighting; the long-range consequences of decisions made. 148 pages, softcover. T. & T. Clark.
     

 

 The Third Ecumenical Council (Council of Ephesus) - 431AD

Theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria A Critical AppreciationTheology of St. Cyril of Alexandria A Critical Appreciation
Thomas Weinandy

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The Theology of St Cyril of Alexandria brings together an unprecedented collection of essays probing the great Church Father's thought. In doing so, the essays seek to move beyond the general stereotypical knowledge of Cyril as the "winner" of the fifth-century christological debates (The Third Ecumenical Council) and arrive at a more holistic and nuanced understanding of his theology. The topics treated include Cyril's: interpretation of the Old Testament, christology, soteriology, trinitarian thought, pneumatology, theology of sanctification and divinization, eschatology, pastoral and vocational accomplishments, and enduring legacy (from Chalcedon to the present).
     

 

 

 
Chalcedon in Context: Church Councils 400-700Chalcedon in Context: Church Councils 400-700
Edited by Richard Price & Mary Whitby

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"With regard to thoroughness and overall attention, there is no equivalent to this collection available in English; each essay, followed by a comprehensive bibliography, offers yet one more illustration of how Chalcedon continues to speak to all of Christ's church. A required purchase,"---Journal of Ecclesiastical History. 208 pages, softcover. Liverpool University.
     

 

 

 The Sixth Ecumenical Council (Third Council of Constantinople) - 680AD

Maximum the Confessor: Selected Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality)Maximum the Confessor: Selected Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality)
Maximus the Confessor
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Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings contains critically selected writings from Maximus the Confessor on love, The Lord's Prayer in addition to his theological and philosophical reflections that would prove critical to the triumph of Orthodoxy during the Monothelite controversy at the Sixth Ecumenical Council. Maximus is called the Confessor because of his sufferings and labors for the true Christian faith. During the seventh century when the monothelite heresy (belief that Christ had only one will--a divine one) plagued the Church, Maximus eloquently demonstrated that Christ had both human and divine natures, as well as both a human and divine will. From the introduction to this volume, Jaroslav Pelikan highlights the relevance of Maximus' writings for today. "It was the genius of Maximus the Confessor that, in a measure that has been granted only to a few, he was fully bilingual, affirming by means of negation and speaking both the language of spirituality and the language of theology with equal fluency."
     

 

 The Seventh Ecumenical Council (Second Council of Nicea) - 787AD

Three Treatises on the Divine Images (Popular Patristics)Three Treatises on the Divine Images (Popular Patristics)
John of Damascus
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In the 8th Century, when the iconoclastic controversy erupted, Christians began destroying religious imagery of all types. In the first-ever translation of these remarkable discourses today entitled Three Treatises on the Divine Images, St John of Damascus defends the use of religious imagery in worship by arguing that icons and other religious images are not idols, but merely windows that point us toward a greater heavenly reality. Much like the Holy Scriptures, it is not the printed book itself that is hallowed but the life-changing message of God's truth contained within the pages that we hold sacred.

Further, John of Damascus argues that the Old Testament offers many instances where imagery was not only venerated, but commanded by God for our use--the bronze serpent on Moses' staff, the engraved tablets of the Ten Commandments, or the Ark of the Covenant. In each of these instances, the images were not worshipped, but merely revered.

Lastly, John teaches that when God became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, he effectively delivered an image of Himself to all of humanity. To deny the use of images in worship then, is to deny the Incarnation itself. In all, these seminal treatises of St John were so effective that they were the primary texts used at the Seventh Ecumenical Council to defend the use of iconography in churches and houses of worship.

About the Popular Patristics Series
The Popular Patristics series published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press provides readable and accurate translations of a broad range of early Christian literature to a wide audience--from students of Christian history to lay Christians reading for spiritual benefit.

Recognized Patristic scholars provide short but comprehensive and clear introductory essays according to their specializations for each volume.

Texts include classics of Christian literature, thematic volumes, homily collections, letters, spiritual guidance, and poetical works from a wide variety geographical contexts and historical backgrounds. The purpose of the series is to mine the riches of the early church and to make these invaluable writings available to all.
     
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