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16 - Homilies as ‘Modes of Knowing’: An Exploration on the Basis of Greek Patristic Festal Sermons (c. 350–c. 450 CE)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2023

Lewis Ayres
Affiliation:
University of Durham and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Michael W. Champion
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Matthew R. Crawford
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

Festal sermons exhibit a distinct mode of creating and communicating knowledge and, hence, constitute one specific element of the late-antique Christian intellectual world. Through their dynamic character and the flexibility of the genre, sermons offered the preacher endless possibilities to spread the word of God and to inspire his audience by drawing them into the liturgical and spiritual world that he created for them. Three elements contributed to this: rhetoric and style; the use of the scriptures; and a theological and liturgical epistemology, in which the sermon transcends the concrete here and now to encompass the past, present, and future of God’s plan of salvation for humanity. The final section shows that the preacher’s liberty was substantial but not unlimited: in the end he remained a servant of the Word and of his congregation.

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The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity
Reshaping Classical Traditions
, pp. 282 - 302
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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