Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Tradition and Exegesis in Early Christian Writers

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Tradition and Exegesis in Early Christian Writers

Article excerpt

Tradition and Exegesis in Early Christian Writers. By C. P. Bammel. London: Variorum, 1995. xii + 312 pp. $87.50 (cloth).

Caroline Bammel of Cambridge, wife of Ernst Bammel and daughter of N. G. L. Hammond, and student of Origen's Commentary on Romans, published these valuable essays during the last fourteen years. The first, a venture into New Testament criticism, deals with a resurrection appearance in the Gospel of John and boldly suggests that "Peter, while at Jerusalem, experienced a vision in which he was encountered by the risen Jesus at the Sea of Galilee." In the second, "Ignatian Problems," she elaborately refutes claims that Ignatius's letters are forgeries. The third and fourth are encyclopedia articles on Justin, called the "Einzelfigur zwischen den apostolischen Vatern und Irenaeus" (p. 66; this neglects Melito, Tatian, and Theophilus) and the Valentinian Gnostic Heracleon. The fifth discusses the Contra Noetum of Hippolytus via a review of Frickel, but as Bammel herself points out in the preface, the whole question has been reshaped by A. Brent, Hippolytus and the Roman Church in the Third Century (Brill, 1995; see my review in Church History, December 1996).

In the sixth, "Peacemaking and Religious Tolerance," she rightly concludes that a great deal of "passive tolerance," plus the "active tolerance" of Irenaeus and Dionysius of Alexandria, was needed to hold the churches together. She follows this with (7) Irenaeus's prescription for "Unity of Faith and Multiplicity of Usages in Christian Tradition." Perhaps in spite of Irenaeus's peace-making it remains a question whether controversial usages are minor. Certainly he criticized the bishop of Rome over usage when, on his own theory, he should have followed him. …

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