The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer:
Christology, Trinity, and Liturgical Theology
February 24 - 27
The Conference brings together international liturgical scholars and theologians to address the articulation of trinitarian faith and christology in worship practices of the churches, past and present.
Paul Bradshaw • God, Christ, and Holy Spirit in Early Christian Praying
It is commonly asserted that liturgical prayer in the early church was made to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. The true picture, however, is by no means as simple as that. This paper will trace some of the complexities of the forms and addressees of Christian praying in the first few centuries as it evolved from its Jewish roots and was gradually shaped by the growing need for adherence to emerging doctrinal orthodoxy.
Margot Fassler • Modes of Address in Hildegard’s Sequences
Augustine, acknowledging that God spoke to humans, asked how we should talk back. His question was of major importance in the twelfth century, when theologians turned to grammar and theories of language to explore basic questions of the divine nature and of the human relationship to it. Some theologians cared deeply about the way in which theories of address were embodied in new liturgical poetry of the times. It was also an age in which some thinkers concerned with grammar and language were themselves poets of distinction, with Peter Abelard serving as the most famous example. This paper explores the language of another theologian who was also a liturgical poet, the Benedictine nun Hildegard of Bingen. Focus is upon a small group of her works, her sequences, which are liturgical poems to be sung before the Gospel of the Mass liturgy. The works will be examined within the context of her theories of sacred speech and her eucharistic theology as elaborated in the treatise Scivias. Attention is paid to the way the texts sounded musically as well as to poetic structure. It will be seen that because Hildegard was also a composer, her ideas about language and its working are conditioned by musical considerations, both general and refined.
Daniel Findikyan • Christology in Early Armenian Liturgical Commentaries
The Armenian Church boasts a singularly rich tradition of medieval commentaries on various liturgical services and books. Recent scholars have found these works to be extremely valuable for reconstructing the historical evolution of the Divine Liturgy, Daily Office, Lectionary, Liturgical Calendar and other ceremonies. Yet the medieval authors of these exegetical works are unabashedly allegorical in method and theological in purpose. This paper examines several nearly contemporary liturgical commentaries from the first millennium, revealing in them a common and distinctive hermeneutic method that defies easy classification into conventional exegetical categories and differs fundamentally from contemporaneous Byzantine mystagogical approaches. Moreoever, these works are shown to be overtly christological in their aim, making them indispensable witnesses to the Armenians’ understanding of the mystery of Christ, and an imperative complement to better-known dogmatic, creedal and canonical sources.
Kathryn Greene-McCreight • The Place of Christ in Biblical Interpretation: The Rules of Faith, Love and Hope
The Rule of Faith in the early centuries until the modern period guided the interpretation of Scripture. This can be seen in Polycarp and Ignatius, Tertullian and Irenaeus, and throughout the history of interpretation of the early, medieval and Reformation Church. The Rule of Faith casts the shape of scripture in Trinitarian terms, and as one integral narrative about the God who loves creation and whose righteousness demands the creature’s repentance. Combined with the additional Rules of Love and the Rule of Hope, the Rule of Faith is a crucial hermeneutical guideline for the interpretation of Scripture for the life of the Church.
In the interpretation of scripture in the modern and postmodern periods, the Rules of Faith, Hope and Love have seemed to cease functioning hermeneutically. If so, we might say the obvious: that we simply no longer interpret scripture with the same tools, questions and presuppositions about the Bible as the early church did. Have these Rules been supplanted by another overarching framework for understanding the Bible?
Larry Hurtado • The Binitarian Pattern of Earliest Christian Devotion and Doctrinal Development
Earliest observable Christian devotion exhibits a “binitarian” shape, in which Jesus is linked with God (the “Father”) in a notable manner. This involves a whole constellation of practices in which Jesus figures prominently, including hymns, prayer, prophetic words, and the use of Jesus’ name in healing, baptism and other actions. Particularly in the context of Roman-era Jewish devotional practice, this is a remarkable and unprecedented development. Yet it is also difficult to account for this development on the hypothesis that early Christians appropriated pagan notions of multiple deities and apotheosis of humans. In their earliest attempts to articulate Jesus’ position and to justify their practice, Christians claimed God’s own appointment or designation of Jesus as recipient of such devotion, and they made use of categories from biblical tradition to express Jesus’ status, e.g., Jesus’ sharing in, and as expression of, God’s name. It is important to note a clear concern both to include Jesus as recipient of cultic devotion, and also to affirm “one God”. I contend that this remarkable pattern of devotional practice practically required further reflection, and decisively shaped the directions of subsequent doctrinal developments in christology, especially in the second century, which involved creative efforts toward understanding “God” in a way that included Jesus.
Peter Jeffery • The Meaning and Functions of ‘Kyrie eleison’
Josef Jungmann argued forcefully that the Kyrie of the Roman Mass was originally directed to the Lord Jesus, not to the Trinity as liturgical commentators had affirmed for over 1000 years. This interpretation was incorporated into the Roman Missal of 1970, along with newly-created “tropes” that express the Christological interpretation and redirect the Kyrie into the newly innovated “penitential rite” of the reformed Mass. A review of the evidence, however, shows that Jungmann’s position is very difficult to support. Trinitarian and Christological interpretations of “Kyrie eleison” circulated throughout the church from very early times, and particularly in the Roman rite.
Maxwell Johnson • Theotkos and Worship
Thanks to the magisterial essay by Joseph Jungmann, S.J., “The Defeat of Teutonic Arianism and the Revolution in Religious Culture in the Early Middle Ages,” the first essay in his 1960 volume, Pastoral Liturgy, it has become common to view the beginnings of the cult of Mary in relationship to the fifth-century doctrinal decree naming her Theotokos at the Council of Ephesus (CE 431). Such a doctrinal statement, it is argued, gave rise to a flowering of Marian piety and devotion which, ultimately came to take the place of the human mediatorial role of Christ, a role that in the course of further Christological development tended to be lost or covered by increased attention to his divinity. While Jungmann’s insight remains crucial for understanding the place of Christ in liturgical prayer in its historical development, especially in the West, I wish to argue for a more nuanced approach to the question of devotion to Mary Theotokos prior to these doctrinal developments. The title of Mary Theotokos is not simply doctrinal but devotional and the increase in Marian piety following Ephesus should be viewed not as “revolution” but as “evolution.” Further, if the recent work of Walter Ray is correct, some form of “Marian” Feast on August 15 was a part of the Jerusalem liturgical tradition long before there was a church at the Kathisma between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Lester Ruth • The Explicit and Implicit Role of the Trinity in the Core of Contemporary Christian Music since the Mid-1980s
Among the many changes in the worship of churches in the last forty years has been an explosion of newly composed worship music often called “Contemporary Christian Music.” These songs typically share several characteristics: connection to popular music, highly repetitive lyrics, and an emphasis on direct address to God, among some of the most obvious features. In addition, as this paper will argue, a common piety shapes the writing and use of this music. So important is this piety that the intensity of love for God (lex amandi) shapes the manner in how users of these songs pray (lex orandi). The paper will examine the Trinitarian aspects of the most used Contemporary Christian worship songs in the United States since the mid-1980s. This list will be ascertained by examination of the data of Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc. (CCLI), an organization that monitors use of these songs for royalty purposes and to which nearly 135,000 American congregations subscribe. Examining this corpus of music will show how marginal a highly-developed contemplation of the Trinitarian nature of God is to evangelical Christian piety. Complicating matters is a common liturgical theology among some that speaks of liturgical music itself as the mediator between humanity and God, potentially unraveling certain classic aspects of Trinitarian doctrine regarding Christ. The paper will conclude will a comparison to a few examples of musicians who have been more intentionally incorporating a Trinitarian nature in their compositions.
Bryan Spinks • Reflections On What Jungmann Omitted To Say
Although the conference is not about Joseph Jungmann, the main title is borrowed directly from his book of that very title. This paper reviews Jungmann’s thesis, and re-examines some of his arguments; it also considers liturgical material that he would not have considered relevant. It concludes that public prayer, including hymns, needs to be addressed both to the Father through the Son in the Spirit, and to the Father, to the Son and to the Spirit in order for there to be a balanced Christology and Trinitarian theology.
Kenneth Stevenson • Christology and Interpretations of the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer has been used and interpreted in many different ways from its first appearance down to the present day, and it has been subject of biblical scholarship for some time. However, the moment that it is looked at in context, whether in its place in the Gospels (Mt 6:9-13 or Lk 11:2-4), or in the worshipping traditions of the Church (liturgies ancient and modern), one is immediately faced with the need to view the prayer in terms of liturgical theology: the text has an inevitable place in the praying lives of ordinary people, as well as an often strategic place in the teaching of theologians and preachers, who in their writings echo both the liturgical customs of their time and their particular theological concerns.
The four examples taken in the paper are Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, the seventeenth century Anglican preacher and theologian Lancelot Andrewes, and Karl Barth. Each one of them is looked at in context, with a summary of their interpretation, and the way in which the prayer was used liturgically in their time. Attention therefore focuses on Augustine’s treatise on the Sermon on the Mount (394), Maximus’ Commentary on the Prayer (probably before 634), Lancelot Andrewes course of nineteen sermons (published in 1611), and Karl Barth’s seminars at Neuchatel University (delivered between 1947 and 1949). These four figures raise many questions about interpretation, which include the number of petitions (6 or 7), and the way petitions both relate to each and bear the weight of teaching about the Trinity and the person and work of Christ.
Robert Taft • Christology in the Eastern Orthodox Divine Office
The Byzantine Divine Office is a synthesis of the liturgical traditions of Constantinople and Palestine. By the end of the tenth century the rite of Constantinople had adopted the new Palestinian liturgical poetry under the influence of Palestinian monastic hymnographers who had joined the Byzantine Studite monks in their struggle against Iconoclasm (725-843). In this highly theologized liturgical poetry some common Christological themes appear repeatedly: 1) the notion thateverything Christ did was done for our salvation; 2) the belief that this salvific work is still operative now, especially in the liturgical mysteries; 3) the omnipresent theme of the resurrection, the central mystery of Byzantine soteriology and liturgical theology; 4) the Johannine theme of Christ as the light of the world, our illuminator-i.e., savior. This Christology, that of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed and first seven ecumenical councils, sometimes called “neo-Chalcedonianism,” is strongly developed in the texts of the Byzantine liturgy itself, a liturgy the Byzantines believed was not only a representation but also a re-presentation-a rendering present again-of the earthly saving work of Christ.
Baby Varghese • Christology, Trinity, and Liturgical Theology: the Syrian Orthodox Tradition
Prayers Addressed to Christ in West Syrian Tradition:
Even though the Eucharistic prayer has a Trinitarian structure and orientation, it is Christo-centric in formulation, giving emphasis to the salvific work of Christ. The Christological concerns were sometimes expressed by addressing the anaphora to Christ. In the early Syriac tradition we have sevral examples of such prayers. This tradition has left traces of influences on the East Syrian anaphora of Addai and Mari, Maronite Peter Sharar and Syriac St James. As late as the 9th century, there existed such prayers in the West Syrian anaphoras, which were modified under the inflence of the Anaphora of St James and the liturgical commentaries. However, the West Syrians often expanded individual elements of some of the ancient anaphoras to bring out their christological concerns. Though the anaphoa as such does not contain any prayer addressed to Christ (except the final one), the Preparation rites, Pre-anaphora, Ordo-Communis and Post Communion contain sevral such prayers. Other liturgical rites also contain such prayers,and their number is limited compared to the other eastern liturgical traditions. There are examples of a “ritualisation” of the ‘mia-physite’ Christology. In this regard, their approach is in agreement with other eastern liturgical traditions and also in continuity with the patristic tradition of the undivided christendom.
Geoffrey Wainwright • “[Jesus] rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank thee, Father…’”: Systematic Reflections on Luke 10:21-22
Karen Westerfield Tucker • Christology in Hymns
Gabriele Winkler • Trinity and Liturgy: the Syrian Tradition
During the 5th to 6th centuries the majority of the eastern eucharistic liturgies included the creed. This inclusion, however, was preceeded by another process, the reshaping of crucial parts of the anaphora by inserting credal statements. A very good example is the Anaphora of Basil, in particular in the prayer after the Sanctus, but also in the expansion of the Anamnesis, which achieved its definitive shape via the inclusion of christological statements reflecting the beliefs of the period. The formation of the lengthy prayer after the Sanctus and of the fully expanded Anamnesis, however, do not reflect the influence of the Nicene Creed (or the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitanum), as one might expect, but the tenets expressed in the creeds of the Synods of Antioch in 341 and 345. In order to understand the significance of several statements in the “Oratio Christologica” after the Sanctus of the Anaphora of Basil, one has to realize that the Nicene Creed of 325 was initially not at all normative.
The paper will explore the various Egyptian redactions of the Anaphora of Basil - Greek, Coptic, and Ethiopic - and compare the Egyptian versions with the Armenian, Syriac, and Byzantine redactions.
The reshaping of important parts of the anaphora (in particular the prayer after the Sanctus, and to some extent also the prayer before the Sanctus, as well as the formulation of the Anamnesis) must have taken place around or shortly after 345. The two extant Armenian versions were shaped under Syriac influence. Furthermore, the consecratory verbs of nearly all the versions of Basil also mirror Syriac models.
John Witvliet • The Place of Christ in Liturgical Proclamation, Prayer, and Piety: Contributions from Reformed and Presbyterian Theology and Liturgy