For our readers who are interested in the theology of grace in church history, this entry directs you to some new books and studies on the topic. First, there is a doctoral dissertation by Thomas L. Humphries, Jr. entitled “That They May Learn What They Desire: Latin Pneumatology from Cassian to Gregory the Great” (Emory University, 2011). Most dissertations are available for purchase by Proquest. This dissertation contains the most comprehensive study to date on the authorship of an ancient text which was used in the formation of the canons of the Council of Orange (529) called Chapters from Saint Augustine Transmitted Into the City of Rome. On pages 88-92 and 123-135 Humphries shows that this text was written by the Scythian monks led by John Maxentius.
On Gottschalk of Orbais and the controversy over predestination in the ninth-century, Jenny C. Smith, now studying at the University of Notre Dame, wrote a master’s thesis on Gottschalk when she was attending Valdosta State University in Georgia. It can be read on line at https://vtext.valdosta.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10428/1929/smith-jenny_thesis.pdf?sequence+1&isAllowed=y Jonathan Dixon at the Queen’s University in Belfast has been working on a dissertation on John Scottus Eriugena’s Treatise on Divine Predestination. I am not sure if his has been completed. Connie L. Meyer’s Gottschalk: Servant of God (Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2015) was recently published. It provides English translations of two of Gottschalk’s poems that have not before appeared in publication.
On predestination in the late medieval and early modern periods, I recently came upon James L. Halverson’s Peter Aureol on Predestination, although it was published by Brill in 1998. Guido Stucco’s The Catholic Doctrine of Predestination from Luther to Jansenius (Xlibris, 2014) presents the thoughts of obscure figures like Agostino Mainardi (c 1532) and Domingo Banez. The book also provides a 35-page English translation of the table of contents of Cornelius Jansen’s massive treatise Augustinus. William of Auvergne’s Selected Spiritual Writings translated by the late Roland Teske and published by Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto contains his treatise “On Grace.” It was written to “destroy the error of Pelagius who said…that the powers of our nature and our free choice were sufficient.” (p.63)
Several ancient and medieval Commentaries on Romans have recently appeared in English translations. They include that of Origen translated by Thomas P. Scheck in Fathers of the Church Volume 103 & 104. A two-volume English translation of Theodoret of Cyrus’s Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul was published in 2001 by Holy Cross Orthodox Press. The translator was the late Robert Charles Hill. Peter Abelard’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans was published in 2011 in the Fathers of the Church, Mediaeval Continuation series. That same year Michael Scott Woodward’s translation of The Glossa Ordinaria on Romans was published in the TEAMS Commentary Series. I was pleasantly surprised by the commentary on Romans 8 & 9 by Abelard and the Ordinary Gloss.
My hope is that in these you will find insights regarding the history of the theology of grace and hopefully also some food for the soul.
Merry Christmas 2015