The Sacraments

The Sacraments The word sacrament historically was used for something sacred. The Latin term sacramentum was used to translate the New Testament word for mystery. In a broad sense all religious rites and ceremonies were called sacraments. In time, the term sacrament took on a more precise and narrow meaning. A sacrament became defined as […]

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Human Depravity

Human Depravity As we said in the previous chapter, a common point of debate among theologians focuses on the question, are human beings basically good or basically evil? The hinge upon which the argument turns is the word basically. It is a virtual universal consensus that nobody is perfect. We accept the maxim “To err […]

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The Holy Spirit as Comforter

The Holy Spirit as Comforter In His teaching in the upper room on the eve of His death, Jesus spoke at length about the Holy Spirit. He said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper” (John 14:16). The word Helper is sometimes translated “Comforter” or “Counselor” and comes from the […]

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Divine Revelation: Paradox, Mystery, And Contradiction

Divine Revelation: Paradox, Mystery, And Contradiction The influence of various movements within our culture such as New Age, Eastern religion, and irrational philosophy have led to a crisis of understanding. A new form of mysticism has arisen that exalts the absurd as a hallmark of religious truth. We think of the Zen-Buddhist maxim that “God […]

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The Original Text of Holy Scripture and the Translations

The Original Text of Holy Scripture and the Translations Since Scripture is intended for the use of all Christians, of whatever station, sex, age, etc. (Deut. 6:6–9; Joshua 1:8; Is. 34:16; Neh. 8:2–8; 2 Kings 23:1–2; Luke 16:29 ff.; John 5:39; 20:31; Acts 17:11: “They searched the Scriptures daily”; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 John 1:4; […]

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Shenoute’s Place in the History of Monasticism

Shenoute’s Place in the History of Monasticism A LITTLE MORE than 1,500 years ago, inside the massive church whose ruined hulk has come to be known as the White Monastery (Arabic Dayr al-Abyad), on an occasion near the middle of the fifth century when the monastery’s longtime leader Shenoute was about one hundred years old, […]

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The Ancient Rules of Shenoute’s Monastic Federation

The Ancient Rules of Shenoute’s Monastic Federation WORK IS NOW well under way to produce a critical edition of Shenoute’s vast work entitled Canons. My own editorial task is volumes 4 and 5 of the Canons. Now, this title—Canons—is a bit odd. In Christian usage of the Greek language, ‘canons’—kanones—meant ‘rules’ or ‘laws,’ and so […]

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Monks and Scholars in the Panopolite Nome: The Epigraphic Evidence

Monks and Scholars in the Panopolite Nome: The Epigraphic Evidence DURING THE CONFERENCE “Perspectives on Panopolis,” which took place in Leyden in 1998, Lucia Criscuolo discussed the evidence of the Greek inscriptions, including Christian ones, from the Panopolite nome, the present-day Sohag-Akhmim area. Already in the beginning of her paper, she observed that it would […]

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John of Shmoun and Coptic Identity

John of Shmoun and Coptic Identity After the Council of Chalcedon in ad 451 and in particular after the Arab conquest of Egypt in ad 641, the need to demonstrate Coptic self­ identification became more important than before.[1] Usually, there is the need to stress one’s identity and define or form its features when one […]

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