The theology of Vincent of Lérins is often reduced to a memorable slogan: "We hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by everyone." Thomas Guarino argues that this "Vincentian canon" has frequently been taken out of context. This book introduces Vincent's thought and its reception in Christian history, exploring Vincent's creative and innovative understanding of the development of doctrine and showing how it informed the thought of John Henry Newman. Guarino contends that Vincent's theology contributes significantly to theology and ecumenism in the twenty-first century. The volume is the second in a series on the church fathers edited by Hans Boersma and Matthew Levering.
About the Series
The Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality series critically recovers patristic exegesis and interpretation for contemporary theology and spirituality. Each volume covers a specific church father and illuminates the exegesis that undergirds the Nicene tradition.
Thomas G. Guarino (STD, Catholic University of America) is professor of systematic theology at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. He is the author of several books, including Vattimo and Theology and Foundations of Systematic Theology.
Any student of theology interested in the problem of the development of doctrine must take seriously the full measure of Guarino's carefully researched book. He not only provides us with brilliant historical scholarship but also demonstrates the enduring pertinence of the Vincentian Canon, which is too often reduced to a catchphrase. This volume is a splendid example of authentic ressourcement.
-Lawrence S. Cunningham,
John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
Guarino not only rescues Vincent of Lérins from the textbook stigma of a static view of Christian truth (what has been held 'always, everywhere, and by everyone'), he also lifts up the nuances in the Lérinian's full view of the dynamic development of doctrine (identity within change), a view appreciatively received by John Henry Newman and worthy of ecumenical 'rereception' today.
-Paul Rorem, Benjamin B. Warfield Professor of Medieval Church History, Princeton Theological Seminary
Of the splendid Commonitorium of Vincent of Lérins many Christians know only one sentence--if that. Thomas Guarino remedies the situation superbly. He offers a full reading of the Commonitorium and of Vincent's complex thought on the development of doctrine. He then moves on to John Henry Newman's cautious interpretation of Vincent and ends with a reflection on Vincent in contemporary theology and ecumenism. From the Council of Nicaea to Vincent to Newman to Vatican II and beyond, this is a challenging journey, beautifully presented.
-Fr. Joseph T. Lienhard, SJ,
Routinely cited and just as routinely dismissed for allegedly holding that authentic doctrine simply never changes, Vincent here comes to life as a much more complex and theologically imposing figure who articulated sophisticated criteria for ensuring both the conservation and the authentic development of Christian doctrine. This is historical theology at its finest and most relevant.
professor of historical theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Guarino successfully moves Vincent and his Rule from their long-term plight of either benign neglect or ahistorical appropriation. Instead, Vincent stands as a perennial reminder to the Church that it must be very deliberate in preserving and guarding the deposit of doctrine bequeathed to it.
-D. H. Williams,
professor of religion in patristics and historical theology, Baylor University