NR. 1 – 2015

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2015.1

Cristinel IATAN Elemente de gnoseologie biblică vechi-testamentară

Summary: Biblical Gnoseological Elements in Old Testament

This paper focuses on some of the ways of knowledge (gnoseology) in the Old Testament. This knowledge is expressed by the inspired authors under various names, aspects and expressions. We have a theology of divine knowledge in Old Testament, but also one of man’s knowledge and himself in relationship to others. At the basis of this biblical knowledge stands the biblical language in its simplicity, yet profound, inexhaustible and rich in meanings. This language is articulated by biblical authors in a way that opens a natural and theological perspective on the God’s knowledge, world and people. We note that in common simple words but with highly meanings, Old Testament develops often a theology of obedience, seeing, and thus understanding, knowledge (even by touching), but also one of contemplation and communion with divinity. Old Hebrew language vocabulary actually depicts realities-images that are beyond words, and cannot be understood only in a strictly philological sense. Often a simple word depicts a complex image of reality, and it urges the reader to meditate on the text and its significance. The Israelite didn’t philosophize on the idea about God or world as we encounter in ancient Greek philosophical literature. So we can say that Old Testament presents a practical knowledge expressed in suggestive terms, only so the people could understand the deepness of divine realities. In the process of knowledge, the biblical gnoseology focuses on the human senses or bodily organ functions (hearing, seeing, touching etc.), but presents also a gnoseology that emphasis their transfiguration. Verbs as “hear”, “see”, “sleep” with their main occurrences from the biblical text on the subject of gnoseology will be analysed to show their importance in the process of knowledge, also expressions such as “open the eyes of someone”, “open the ear of someone”, “tree of knowledge” and “knowing” in carnal sense.

The first important term related to gnoseology, widespread all over the Old Testament, is “hearing”. Frequently, Biblical authors are speaking to us about “knowledge through the sense of hearing”. With the Adam and Eve’s creation and their setting in the Garden of Eden, man receives from God the unique commandment (Fc 2, 16-17) of obedience by which fulfilment he will gain the eternal life (Fc 2, 17). But man is stubborn and violates it (Fc 3, 6). Interestingly man already hears His voice (v. 8) before God addresses to him (v. 9). According to Umberto Cassuto and others, the God’s voice in the text indicates actually “the sound of His feet” (this is the anthropomorphic view of Yahwistic source). So just by hearing God’s footsteps approaching, the man realizes his mistake, but there is no indication in the text of his repentance, only the fear that accompanies sin, i.e. man is hiding and he waits for His judgment. Genesis 18 narrates the discovery of future events by sense of hearing. The Three Men’s visit at Mamre tree where Abraham dwelled is understood by the Holy Fathers as foreshadowing the theology of the Trinity, and in addition the promise of a descendant to Abraham shows the importance of listening / hearing in fulfilling the divine will. In fact, hearing is the gateway to fulfilment of this promise, because Sara, Abraham’s wife, got it by listening. Here the Hebrew term שׁמע, šm‘, is usually translated “hear, listen” but can be understood also as “to catch (what someone else has said)” or “to overhear”. Therefore Sara “steals” the promise of her future born son from the visitors’ mouth. Sara was one of the main reasons of visit. But hearing the news did not cause Sarah joy, on the contrary, it causes her disorder. Hearing of childbirth’s promise didn’t convert in obedience to the God’s word that came through angels. She can’t simply believe she could conceive a child in her old age: «After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?» (Fc 18, 12). In Dt 4, 1, part of Deuteronomistic theology, all the elements of past Sinaitic experience and special knowledge, such as fire and revelation of divine glory are now updated in the present life of every Israelite believer and they’ll become fundamental benchmarks of the omnipotence of divine knowledge for future generations. Knowledge of divine will is understood here as hearing (in fact, obey) of His “statutes and rules” (Heb. החקים ואל המשׁפטים, haḥuqqîm wě’el hammišpāṭîm), another example of oral original character of the law. In Dt 18, 15, the promise of a prophet to Israel will become the only certainty of a true knowledge of God. Listen to His prophet it means listening to God Himself.

The second important term in gnoseology is “seeing”. The Hebrew verb rā’â (ראה) is plurisemantic in biblical Hebrew, starting with the usual meaning “to see” with physical eyes (however, when referring to God it must be interpreted as an anthropomorphism) (Fc 1, 4; Fc 1, 10; Fc 1, 25; Is 4, 14 etc.), then with the meaning of “understanding” (Fc 8, 8; Fc 16, 5; Fc 20, 10; Fc 26, 28 etc.), “to look” (Fc 6, 2; Fc 6, 18; Fc 13, 14; Fc 42, 1 etc.), “to consider” ( 32, 1; Lv 13-14 etc.), but has some meanings related to the domain of gnoseology, and to the spiritual knowledge of what there can’t be seen with the physical eye (sense of seeing), but with the “mind’s eyes”, namely “to reveal” (Fc 48, 11; 33, 18; Dt 5, 24; Iz 40, 4; Mi 7, 15 etc.) and “to see in a dream” (Fc 31, 10; Is 6, 1; Iz 1, 1; Dn 8, 15; Dn 10, 7 etc.). Concomitantly, Old Testament presents both a gnoseology that focuses on the human senses or bodily organ functions in the process of knowledge (hearing, seeing, touching etc.), and another that emphasis on their transfiguration. Thus, a common expression is “eyes opening” (Heb. פקח עינים, paqāḥ ‘ênayim and גלוי עינים, gělûy ‘ênayim). Although the first occurrence from Fc 3, 5-7 might mean specifically to “open the eyes after sleep”, here evidently it means metaphorically “to make someone aware of something”, or “to raise awareness” from where we have meaning “to know”, suggesting a new understanding of reality that person has not previously ever experienced. Serpent promised to Eve that if she ate the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of garden she’ll not die but she’ll know good and evil, becoming “like God”.

Instead, the result of eyes opening / knowledge was that man and woman have realized that they were naked. Fc 21, 19 is the next occurrence from the Old Testament, and here for the first time God “opens the eyes” of someone, in this case of Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaiden. Eyes’ opening is preceded first by a promise (v. 18), where Ismael is destined to become a great nation. Visible sign of this promise is opening Hagar’s eyes and awareness that spring water was always beside her, near the bush, according to some commentators, but she “had no eyes” to see it before. Since biblical author doesn’t tells us clear whether the water source was always there or it was there as a divine miracle, the exegete John Skinner leaves open the possibility of interpreting the passage, while agreeing that it was a holy spring.

Another expression synonymous with “eyes’ opening” (פקח עינים, paqāḥ ‘ênayim) used by the Old Testament is “unveiling of the eyes” (גלוי עינים, gělûy ‘ênayim). It seems that when the verb “to open” (Heb. גלה, gālâ) accompanies the noun “eyes” (Heb. עינים, ‘ênayim), he shows us seeing of something special or the desire for a special illumination. Gělûy ‘ênayim appears also in the Qumran sectarian manuscripts, unlike paqāḥ ʻênayim who doesn’t appear at all. We can suppose, therefore, that gělûy ‘ênayim has a longer tradition, both biblical and extra-biblical, as it seems it’s even older than paqāḥ ‘ênayim as it is found in the narrative texts and Yahvistic poetic source (eg. Nm 22, 31; 24, 4, 16; Ps 119, 18 MT). It is the favourite expression of Yahvistic source (and equivalent to paqāḥ ‘ênayim) for expressing the appearance of God to someone. In addition to the expression “eyes’ opening”, Old Testament uses also the expression “opening of the ears” (פקח אזנים, pāqaḥ ‘ōznayim) only at the prophet Isaiah, or the equivalent “unveiling of the ears” (גלה את אזן, gālâ ʼet-ʼōzen) in the books 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Job and 1 Chronicles, when biblical authors are talking about the knowledge of things beyond human comprehension. In 1 Rg 9, 15-16, God opens the ear of Samuel the prophet in order to foretell the future king of Israel. Here we find other terms related to the sphere of knowledge, “to say” (v. 6, 8), “seeking God”, “seer” and “prophet” (v. 9). Moreover, the communication expressed by “unveiling of ear” is not only a supernatural, for it is used with double meaning: the revelation of God to mankind (2 Rg 7, 27; Iov 33, 16; 36, 10 and 15), and human to human revelation (1 Rg 20, 2, 12, 13; 22, 8 and 17).

The phrase “mouth opening” as a poetic image belongs to the sphere of Old Testament gnoseology, but occurs seldom, only in prophet Ezekiel (3, 1-3) and in an anagynoscomena book, Wisdom of Solomon (33, 22). God commanded to prophet Ezekiel to open his mouth and “swallow” the words of the divine message. In fact the only prophet to which is commanded to swallow a roll in order to understand the meaning of God’s words is Ezekiel. Dynamics of divine revelation acquires here apparently fantastic accents. The vocabulary of knowledge is completed by the phrase “heart opening” which appears only in anagynoscomena books of Old Testament, in New Testament, and in extra-biblical literature. The meaning is metaphorical as with the other gnoseologic expressions from this sphere. Another way of knowledge in Old Testament is through trial and experimentation of created realities. In Fc 2, 17, God commands man to eat of every tree of the garden, but not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for he will surely die. Then in Fc 3, 11, after the committed transgression, man knows that he is naked and God asks him whether he ate from the forbidden tree.

In Fc 3, 22, God sees that he knows good and evil, but must not eat from the tree of life and live forever. Therefore, studying these few verses, we can conclude that what is found in the midst of the garden provides a knowledge that is desired (the tree of life and its fruits), but in the same time is prohibited (the tree of knowledge of good and evil and its fruits), an example of ambivalent knowledge of the tree. If until now we talked about ways in which God reveals to His people (hearing, seeing, transfiguration of bodily organs) or objects of gnoseology by which man acquired knowledge (tree of knowledge), the Old Testament presents us a special way of inter-human knowledge, which doesn’t fit the pattern of a simple rational understanding and apparently derives from a kind of relationship of deep communion between man and woman: the specific meaning of the verb ידע, yāda’, used euphemistically. Thus, yāda’ in the euphemistic sense has 17 appearances, 12 occurring in old texts [Fc 4, 1, 17; 19, 5, 8; 38, 26 – L source, Laienquelle (c. X BC), Fc 4, 25; 24, 16 – J source, Yahvistic (c. X BC) and Jd 11, 39; 19, 22, 25; 21, 11, 12 – the book of Judges is considered the oldest book of the Old Testament biblical canon (probably c. XI BC)] and the remaining five in newer texts [Nm 31, 17, 18; 31, 35 – P source, Priestly (c. VI-V BC), 1 Rg 1, 19 and 3 Rg 1, 4 – c. VI-V BC].

Another section of this paper is dedicated to knowledge through contemplation which is rarely mentioned by the Old Testament, but it can’t be argued that there is absolutely absent. Two important texts are debated here: Fc 24, 63 and Cânt 5, 2. The final part of this paper discusses a specific way of knowledge through transfiguration of creation’s elements. Thus, the phrase “opening of heavens” (נפתחו השׁמים, niptěḥû haššāmayim) is unique in the Old Testament, and occurs in the book of Ezekiel. Although it’s not directly connected with epistemology, but with its wider scope, however it facilitates knowledge.

Mihai C. COMAN Program iconografic și funcționalitate liturgică în ctitoriile moldovenești medievale

Summary: Medieval Moldavian churches: Iconographic program and liturgical functionality

The walls of our churches are painted on the inside and at times on the outside as well, rigorously adhering to prescribed rules in the arrangement of iconographic themes. In the early Christian centuries, worship places used to be scarcely adorned. However, as the Church Fathers explained the doctrine and thus clarified the contents of liturgical life, church iconography evolved and the original few pictures turned into a complex iconographic program, covering the entire surface of the walls. The present study, focusing on the iconography within the nave and the altar apse, aims to demonstrate that the arrangement of themes along the walls goes beyond the pictorial preferences of the iconographer and serves the liturgical function of the church. Far from complying with rigid rules that allow no changes, the iconographic program is a living reality, in direct relation to the ecclesial community and its liturgical life.

Based on the common perception of the emperors’ portraits in Byzantium, where the presence of an image was tantamount to the presence of the prototype, our study approaches the iconographic program from the standpoint of the faithful, who turn from mere viewers into participants in the events represented on the walls. Since the picture and, implicitly, the entire iconographic program is centered on the faithful sharing in the same space, time, and liturgical reality, the painter has to keep the viewer in mind while devising the image and indeed the whole iconographic program. This manner of composing and displaying the picture, in relation to the faithful contemplating it – present in the Byzantine art as early as the 11th century – is characteristic to the iconographic programs of all Moldavian churches dating from the 15th-16th centuries.

The study comprises two parts. The first part provides a brief overview of the iconography of medieval Moldavian monuments. It indicates the main themes and cycles that constitute the iconographic program in the nave and the holy altar, mentioning the moments when they emerge and become established. The iconographic program adorning the churches built under Stephen the Great and Petru Rareș is very clear and undergoes no significant structural alterations throughout the respective period. Metopes are placed in three areas across the walls, both in the nave and in the holy altar: standing saints are painted in the lower tier (holy martyrs in the nave, holy hierarchs in the altar); the Passions cycle occupies the middle tier; the upper tier includes liturgical themes (the Mystical Supper, the Communion of the Apostles) inside the altar and heortological themes (illustrating the great feasts of the Christological cycle) in the nave. The episodes or figures in each tier may differ slightly from one church to the next, but the contents of the theological discourse stays the same.

Alongside the inventory of iconographic themes, the first part of the study also includes a commentary on the liturgical significance of icons’ arrangement on the walls. The entire iconographic ensemble conveys an image of the Church – the body of Christ. Actually, the overall Church icon integrates the images of two distinct realities that merge within the church. The saints depicted in the lower tier represent the ranks remembered by the priest during the Proskomedia by placing the corresponding particles on the Holy Diskos. Together with the image of the saints, the image of the faithful attending the Divine Liturgy completes the image of Christ’s Body – the Church. The icons in the upper tier are understood in the same light of the believers’ participation in the events rendered iconically. The cycle of the Passions calls the faithful to join in the salvific events and at the same time indicates the way towards the encounter with Christ shown in the dome as Pantocrator. The medieval Moldavian iconographic program aims to transform and transfigure the faithful, making them participate in the reality of saints and the events in the history of salvation. The images turn the viewer from mere spectator, into a living component of the Eucharistic chalice.

The second part of the study starts by indicating the new iconographic themes, introduced by the founders of Sucevița Monastery into the picture adorning this medieval masterpiece. The main icons, as well as iconographic cycles, are either replaced or altered. The division into thematic iconographic areas, as we find it at Sucevița, seems to comply with the classical Byzantine formula; however, the contents of these areas is radically different from the two-century tradition of previous monuments. In the lower part, the tier of military saints is replaced with the Genesis cycle. In the middle tier, the Passions cycle is replaced by an extremely ample version of the Christological cycle. And in the upper tier, the great feasts usually represented on the vaults have been replaced with representations based on liturgical hymns: the icon of the Crucifixion in the southern conch of the nave was replaced with the icon Only Begotten, the icon of the Pentecost in the northern conch was replaced with the icon What shall we call thee, and the icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God on the western tympanum was replaced with the icon All of creation rejoices in thee. Each of the three new icons placed by the painters on the nave’s vaults depict the entire synaxis of the Church triumphant. Associating the three iconographic areas with the three great stages in the history of the divine economy of salvation (as contemporary theologians divide it, into the periods of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Church, respectively) is based on a Christocentric interpretation of history, expressed in the iconography of Sucevița. Also, both the arrangement of icons and the icon details, clearly evince a marked eschatological dimension of the mural painting at Sucevița. We believe that the presence of the Saviour in all metopes of the nave reveals the obvious influence of hesychasm, known to have existed at the time in the region. Thus, two dimensions of man’s encounter with God are represented in this iconographic program. On the one hand, it renders the encounter between God and man in the Holy Eucharist; on the other hand, it attempts to express the encounter between man and God through direct experience, following the purification from vices and passions, and hesychastic prayer.

The painting of Sucevița marks a step forward in the liturgical development of the iconography of church nave and altar, endeavoring to express both Eucharistic eschatology, and neptic eschatology. The importance of such progress is emphasized by the fact that this bold iconographic choices had been authorized by the church hierarchy, in the person of metropolitan Gheorghe Movilă – the founder of the monument – and enjoyed the support of secular, political hierarchy, represented by Ieremia Movilă, a co-founder and brother of the former. Another important conclusion reached by the study, concerns the attitude of medieval painters towards the creation of a new mural painting. Obviously, being original or innovating were not goals in themselves, therefore were not pursued although they were characteristic of the painting. The quality of the iconographic expression of the thematic-theological discourse, clearly derived from the collaboration and joint efforts of theologian founders and painters, while the rationale underlying the iconographic program was exclusively liturgical.

Oana-Mădălina POPESCU Completări la istoria Mănăstirii Radu-Vodă din București. Referatul Pr. Niculae Șerbănescu, adresat Patriarhului Justinian Marina, în legătură cu săpăturile arheologice din interiorul bisericii

Summary: Additional data about the history of Radu-Vodă Monastery in Bucharest: A report upon the archaeological excavations inside the church

In August 1954, the Patriarch Justinian Marina deputed N. Șerbănescu to be present, as the official of the Romanian Patriarchate, at the archaeological excavations, carried inside the church of Radu-Vodă Monastery in Bucharest. The excavations had started in 1953, at the initiative of the Romanian Academy, in close cooperation with the Museum of Antiquities. But, in 1953, the works had been carried out only in the exterior of the church, inside the courtyard of the monastery and in neighbourhood, on the hill, but not inside the church building. Soon after, the Ministry of the Culture obtained the approval to continue and extend the excavations inside the church. And, for the purpose of attending the archaeological investigations, the Patriarch commissioned N. Șerbănescu, together with Gh. Moisescu, to take part at the works, to be on the spot. On March 31, 1955, N. Șerbănescu wrote his official paper upon the archaeological excavations and addressed it to the Patriarch, who read it, as confirmed a note on the first page. The report is based on the observations and competent conclusions drawn by the team of archaeologists, under the direction of V. Zirra.

The aim of this study is to present, in full text, this important document, held nowadays, by the Romanian Archives-Bucharest Department, as it reveals valuable data on this subject. The document offers more details on the excavations inside the church and it completes therefore other important studies, which give information on the investigations outside the building, as are the studies of I. Ionescu, V. Zirra, P.I. Panait and Gh.I. Cantacuzino. The text is not a hand-writing, it is typed and displayed on 18 pages and it has some valuable and unpublished photos and drawings, annexed at the end. The text is organized in three distinct parts. The first one shortly presents the history of Radu-Vodă Monastery, its founders and several historical data. The second part, briefly presents the excavations carried out in 1953, outside the church and the most important archaeological discoveries. But, the most valuable part of the paper is the third one, which describes, in detail, the excavations organized in 1954.

So, on the basis of this document, we can determine several important aspects, steps and methods followed in the archaeological works. The method of excavation consisted in digging a main ditch along the church, in the direction West-East, from the entrance door to the altar. This principal ditch was perpendicularly cut by other secondary, smaller trenches and several cassettes, cut in the narthex, for a better supervision of the archaeological complexes revealed. Based on the statements of the archaeologist V. Zirra, the chief of the site, N. Șerbănescu presented in his report the main targets of the excavations, namely: to identify some vestiges of a previous building inside the church erected by Alexander II Voivode; to determine the period of construction of the porch and to dig the graves inside the church. The excavations also revealed several different periods of human habitations on the space where the actual church was built. The conclusion was drawn by the examination of all the layers of clay inside the building. The investigation finally proved that the place was inhabited from the ancient times.

The archaeologists also investigated all the strata of earth in the interior of the church, in order to discover an older building, previous than the construction built by Alexander II Voivode. The results conducted to the conclusion that, indeed, there was a previous building inside of the actual church, older the one built at the middle of the 16th century. It was located mainly in the central part of the actual church and it was made of wood and clay. So, one important task of the excavations was attained. Other important conclusion drawn by the investigations was that the actual church was built in two different stages of construction: at the middle of the 16th century, then at the beginning of the 17th century.

Thus, the archaeological excavations confirmed the written historical sources and proved that the church erected by Alexander II Voivode was destroyed by fire and then it was rebuilt, on its previous foundations, by Radu-Mihnea Voivode, at the beginning of the 17th century, as the charters and chronicles showed. So, the excavations clearly showed that Radu Mihnea Voivode constructed his church on the ancient foundations of the older church. That was another important conclusion of the investigations. But there was a difference in the architectural plan between the two constructions: the church built by Radu Mihnea had 3 or 4 spires, while the ancient one had probably only one spire.

The tombs inside the church were also excavated. The archaeologists discovered that the graves had been opened before, in the past; some of them presented traces of consecutive burials. Then, the works were extended in the church porch and they proved that it was constructed later than the rest of the building, in the 18th century. Its spires were added later on, in the 19th century. In other words, the porch was not built in the same period of time with the church itself. So, the archaeological investigations completely confirmed the written sources. They elucidated the stages of construction of the church, its original architectural plan and they also testified its violent destruction, by fire, at the end of the 16th century, in the historical context of the Turkish invasion, during the reign of Michael the Brave.

In the end of his report, N. Șerbănescu suggested that further excavations should be done, in the future, only in the needed and determined parts of the church and only if required, in order not to destroy in vain the historical building. Similar recommendations for possible investigations were done by the architect I. Paraschivescu, who was named by the Patriarch to assist at the excavations. He also made the checking of the reparations works, which were necessary, as, during the archaeological excavations, several slabs of marble were completely destroyed and they had been replaced by new ones. The Patriarch Justinian Marina, whom the report was addresses to, strongly encouraged the architectural restoration of the religious monument, in 1968-1973. In 1977, on his death, he was buried inside the church, in the left side of the nave, in an elegant marble sarcophagus. And, for his activity and constant support of revival the Radu-Vodă Monastery, he was considered one of its founders.

Andrei MACAR Structuri de învățământ religios în Edessa: «Școala perșilor»

Summary: Structures of the religious education in Edessa: “the school of the Persians”

The city of Edessa, located in the northern part of Mesopotamia, starts to be mentioned in sources from the end of the 4th century BC. At that time, Seleucos I Nicator ordered the extension and fortification of and old city located on the Silk Road, which came to be called Edessa, a prestigious name, because it had been borne by the first capital of the Macedonian Kingdom. After the disappearance of the Seleucid Empire, Edessa obtained its autonomy from the Parthians in 312 BC, and became the capital of the province Osrhoene. This status was maintained until 214 BC, when Edessa became a Roman province, and started to act as a buffer state between the Roman and the Sassanid Empires. At that moment, the city was a mosaic of peoples, cultures, and languages, Hellenistic, Arab and Partho-Iranian elements being added to the existing Aramaic substratum, composed of autochthonous culture, language and religion. We should also mention the Judaist influences from the city, because the Jewish people influenced also the cultural and economic life of Edessa.

From the religious point of view, Edessa gathered Paganism, Judaism and Christianity. The city became famous all over the world thanks to the Legend of King Abgar and Jesus. This well-known writing (translated into Greek, Latin, Armenian, Copt, Ethiopian, Georgian and Slavonic) show the apostolic origin of the Edessian Christianity, but the academic world does not acknowledge the historical truth of these events. The legend would have been written at the beginning of the 3rd century by the representatives of the Orthodox Christianity from Edessa, for combating some concurrent thinking schools, and for the legitimacy and prestige of their own Church, by showing the apostolicity of the Church through the connection of their bishops to the Apostles Thomas and Addai.

As a consequence, we cannot say anything about the beginnings of Christianity in Edessa based on this legend. More than that, other references to the Christian life from here are totally missing. The first sure information about the Christian presence in the city is in the Chronic of Edessa, which mentions that, after some flood from 201, a Christian Church was affected too. Apart from this, we also have an inscription of the bishop Abercius, dating from the beginning of the 3rd century, and which mentions that he traversed the North of Mesopotamia, by passing through Nisibis (therefore, through Edessa also), and that he found Christians everywhere on his way. Based on this source, the scholars consider that at least from the beginning of the 2nd century, the Christianity penetrated the area of Edessa. Furthermore, the Edessian Christian tableau was not, in the beginning, at all homogenous. It was full of gnostico-manichean groups of such characters as Marcion, Valentin, Bardesanes or Mani, and the Orthodox Christian became the majority of the city starting with the second half of the 4th century.

In 363, Emperor Jovian concedes the city Nisibis to the Persians, and thus Edessa becomes the greatest Roman fortress from Northern Mesopotamia, being permanently exposed to the Persian danger. At this moment, St. Ephraim the Syrian, coming from Nisibis, finds refuge in Edessa, and starts to fight insistently against the heretical groups from the city, and organizes some education forms for the Christians from here. Some authors consider that he would have been the founder of the famous School of Persians from Edessa, a fact which is not supported by the available sources, as we have already shown. Form of education and teachers had existed in the city even in the pre-Christian period, but they were meant especially for the aristocracy and the merchants who would reside in Edessa, and it is possible that different groups of study had been organized in the 3rd and 4th century and in the interior of some Christian groups. The existing fourth century Edessian school was seen by many scholars as a real study institution, where Biblical, theological and philosophical texts were studied very rigorous, and which was known as the School of Edessa. Many translations from the Syrian into Greek were made, both from the theological culture (the work of Theodor of Mopsuestia), and from the philosophical one (works by Aristotle and commentaries on them). But this description is not entirely exact and shows the lack of a critical approach to the existing sources. The one who brought into attention this fact for the first time was the American researcher Adam H. Becker, in his Ph.D. thesis on the forms of Christian education of Syro-Oriental tradition (defended in 2004 at Princeton University, revised and published in 2006). He classifies and presents the sources chronologically, according to their provenience: Syro-Jacobite (Miaphisite), Constatinopolitane and Syro-Oriental (Diophisite – “Nestorian”). Among these, the most reliable information is given by the Syro-Oriental writings, because the Miaphisite sources present tendentiously the School of Persians, while the Constantinopolitane (Calcedonian) show a low interest towards them.

  1. Becker shows that, according to our sources, we cannot say that St. Ephraim the Syrian would be at the origin of the School, nor that writings of Greek philosophers would have been translated here. More than that, the sources show that this School was not the only studying place of the Christians from Edessa, and that the School developed inside the community of the Persian Christians from the city. Similar studying places were held by the Armenian and Syrian in Edessa, and the organization on ethnical criteria should not surprise us, given the ethnical diversity from the North-Mesopotamian metropolis. We think that it was a normal fact that the intellectuals Armenian, Persian or Syrian merchants who were coming to Edessa, to look first for the Christian communities were they could find their brothers speakers of the same language. Therefore, the name School of Edessa, used often in the secondary literature for the study group of the Persian Christians, is imprecise. At the same time, we have to keep in mind that we cannot see the School of Persians as an institution of education similar to a modern school. This way of seeing the things is based on the fact that the word school from modern languages is related with the Greek term σχολή, with the different form schola in Latin and eskolē in Syriac, all used in the sources for the School of Persians.

The School of Persians was in the beginning just a small studying group of the Persian Christian, strongly related to the Liturgical life of the community, through which the instruction of the future members of the clergy was wanted. This group extended in the 5th century and had an intern organization in three stages. The first stage, called mhagyānā, was held by the one who was teaching reading and vocalization of texts, using the psalms as working texts. The second stage was called maqryānā and was held by the teacher of grammar and writing, while the leader of the school was a mephašqānā, the exegete. A. Becker considers that the development was stimulated by certain similar evolutions in the monastic environment, an argument in this favour being the loan of the word rabban by the theologian and poet Narsai, which had referred originally to the leader of a monastery, for referring to the leader of the School of Persians. If, at the end of the 4th century, the writings of St. Ephraim the Syrian had the greatest importance at the School, starting with the developing of the School in the 5th century, more and more Theodor de Mopsuestia’s writings started to be appreciated. This preference is connected to the closeness of Edessa to the Antiochian theology in the context of the Christological disputes between the Alexandrians represented by Saint Cyril and the Diophisite Antiochians. It is interesting to mention that not all who went to the School of Persians were representatives of Antiochian Diophisitism. Alumni as Philoxen of Mabbug and Jacob of Sarug are considered the greatest representative theologians of the Syro-Jacobite Church (miaphisite) in the Late Antiquity, though their theological education had been acquired at the School of Persians.

These examples show that despite the School was close to the Antiochian theology, it did not imposed a certain way of thinking to its students but educated them in the spirit of liberty of thinking and theological expression. Also, in the 5th century were the first Theodor of Mopsuestia’s writings translated into Syrian, and especially to these writings we have access today to the thinking of the great Antiochian exegete, because the greatest part of his writings was lost or destroyed during the Christological controversies from the 5-6th century. An example that illustrates this is the bishop Rabbula of Edessa (412-435), who fought so vigorously against the Antiochian theology that would have fired publicly the writings of Theodor. Because in the second half of the 5th century the diophisite nature of the christology perpetuated by the School of Persians started to became widely known, more voices accused the School’s sympathizers of nestorianism. The accusations were brought by the miaphisites, which became more numerous in Syria and Northern Mesopotamia, and, through the Henoticon promulgated by the emperor Zenon in 482, thay had won the emperor’s trust too. Taking advantage of this situation, bishop Qiyore (Cyrus) talked to the emperor and showed him the danger represented by the School of the Persians. This was not exclusively religious, but also political, because, given the connection of the School with the Christians form the Persian Empire who embraced the diophisite Christology, an immixture of the rival power into the Roman territory was suggested. As a consequence, in 489, emperor Zenon gives a decree which closed forever the School of the Persians. This was followed by an exodus of the members of the School, which crossed the East border of the Roman Empire, and settled in the city of Nisibis, were they perpetuated undisturbed the Antiochian theological tradition.

Octavian FLORESCU Despre numirile divine YHWH și Iisus în rostirea SAT (Speech Act Theory). Studii de caz: Lc 4, 16-30; FA 3, 1-10

Summary: On The Divine Names Yhwh and Jesus in SAT (Speech Act Theory) utterance. Case studies: Lc 4, 16-30; Acts 3, 1-10

The present article is a methodological exercise that analyzes several New Testament texts from a SAT (Speech Act Theory) point of view. The author starts with a preliminary distinction between name and naming, id est between the graphics and the utterance of the divine names, focusing on their oral-auricular feature, which is prevalent in the Old Testament where most of the theophanies are actually theo-rhemata or theo-utterances. The poetical (creative) feature of the word of God, The One who just says and it is done accordingly (Gen 1, 3), is even more obvious when the creative-, redeeming- or life giving act involves the utterance of the divine name, may it be Yhwh or Jesus. Already initiated during Jesus’earthly life, the use of the divine and humane name “Jesus” for the performance of miracles, healings and exorcisms is done both by the apostles and by other disciples of Jesus. Far from being a magical act, the power of the name of Jesus depends altogether on the faith of the believer. A recent attempt to explain scientifically (socio-linguistically) the impact of human communication and thus some events that go beyond human understanding, like the miracles made in Jesus’ name, is the Speech Act Theory, a philosophy of language with practical applications. J.L. Austin, the author of SAT, claims that in order for a speech-act to be fulfilled or “happy”, the performative utterance of the speaker must satisfy three conditions or infelicities: there must exist an accepted conventional procedure having a certain conventional effect, that procedure to include the uttering of certain words by certain persons in certain circumstances; the particular persons and circumstances in a given case must be appropriate for the invocation of the particular procedure invoked; the procedure must be executed by all participants both correctly and completely.

Austin realized that language and words are not neutral carriers of meaning, but actually have effects and achieve. People can indeed do things with words. All speech is rule-governed behaviour, postulates Searle, Austin’s most famous disciple. The hypothesis of Searle is that speaking a language is engaging in a rule-governed form of behavior or, in other words, talking is performing acts according to rules. This is even more significant if one takes the nature of biblical texts into consideration: these texts were not intended to be literary products; they were pragmatic, created in a real life situation with a view to persuade, to change attitudes, to get people to do things and to act in a specific way. And in the field of pragmatics, SAT is a very useful tool to enable interpreters to focus on the performative aspect of language as well. Speech acts are, in a sense, what makes language work; without speech acts language describes truth and falsity and such but with speech acts language allow us to regulate and modify our reality based on the power of words. Speech act theory allows one to look at language not only as a device for communication but also as an instrument of action. However, we must also emphasize that SAT should not be viewed as a comprehensive theory of language which can be used in isolation, and through which one can achieve a comprehensive reading and understanding of a particular biblical text. SAT must rather be seen and used for what it is, and what it can contribute to the total analysis of a particular text. It focuses attention on the effects of the use of certain utterances in a specific speech situation. As such its focus is narrow, determined by the markers in the text, and can be used to supplement other exegetical tools to get a better understanding of a communication and eventually of the biblical text.

Since SAT seems to support the so-called dynamic theory of language (“words have power”), it has been successfully applied in biblical exegesis (Evans, Ladrière, Botha, Briggs, Tovey). Evans is the pioneer of SAT method in bibical exegesis with his logic of self involvment, illustrated by God’s performative language in the act of Creation: “Let there be light!”. Unlike the formal logic, with its impartial dihotomy between true and false, Evans’s logic asserts that God did involve and make Himself known to man when he created the world by the power of His Word. By the same token, man involves himself in a relationship to God when he confesses: “God is my Creator!”, and with the whole creation when he names the animals. Ladrière, inspired by Evans, focuses on the operational language of liturgy in which he notices three types of perfomativity. For the Belgian philosopher faith is the reception of the Word. And if liturgical language receives from faith its characteristic performativity, then language is itself an echo of the Word. In the celebration it is the Word to which faith allows access that becomes present and operative in our own words. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Insofar as in and by faith we become participants in the mystery of the incarnation, our speech acts, in the liturgy, become the present mainstay of the manifestation of the Word. Thus Ladrière makes a point that reflects itself even in the conclusion of this article. Having learned from such successful attempts to “utter” the biblical text as a speech-act, the author of the present article decided to use SAT as an exegetical tool for the analysis of Jesus’ fulfilling prophecy in the synagogue of Nazareth (Lk 4, 16-30) and of the pericope about the healing of the crippled beggar from the gate of the Temple (Acts 3, 1-10).

Jesus’ discourse in the synagogue of Nazareth (Lk 4, 16-30) is a manifest that inaugurates his salvific, universal mission on Earth. It’s a programmatic document, in the opening of Luke’s gospel, which describes Jesus’ preaching in the language of the Septuagint. It is neither a vaticinium ex eventu nor a self-fulfilling prophecy, but a prophecy come true under the “closed” eyes and hearts of Nazarenes. The pericope is ripe with multiple meanings and unanswered questions regarding Jesus’ literacy, the language of the text read in synagogue or Nazarenes’s sudden change of heart against their neighbour. Luke’s quotation doesn’t follow LXX ad litteram, it rather applies a principle of midrashic exegesis, known as gezerah shavah according to which one word or verse from a certain biblical text can help clarify another. In this case, the common link of Is 61, 1 and Is 58, 6, respectively Is 61, 2, is the word aphesis (“liberty”). After analyzing many evidences, the author comes to the conclusion that Jesus was reading, in the synagogue of Nazareth, from a Hebrew scroll of Torah. He was currently speaking Aramaic, the common language of Judeea, and He might have a good mastery of Greek, lingua-franca of the Mediteraneean world. Apart from these features, which the author strives to clarify by his abilities, Jesus’ discourse is a piece of speech-act, a cluster of performative utterances that bring words to life and Isaia’s prophecy to fulfillment. SAT sheds also light on the Nazarenes’ puzzling change of atittude toward Jesus, from sheer admiration to manifest hostility. With regard to this, the author suggests that it was triggered by Jesus’ pronunciation of the Ineffable Name YHWH (present only in the Hebrew text and not in LXX) – a blasphemy for His fellow citizens. However, in Lk 4, 16-30, SAT fails to explain why Jesus could not make any miracle, although all the conditions formulated by Austin for a “happy” outcome seem to be fulfilled.

Speech-Act Theory proves to be a valuable tool when it comes to the biblical exegesis of Acts 3, 1-10. In this particular case all the infelicities stated by Austin are present. First, there’s an accepted conventional procedure having a certain conventional effect that includes the uttering of certain words by certain persons in certain circumstances. There was a custom in the Second Temple Judaism to bring a paralytic to the gate of the Temple in order to get blessings and alms, and to pray three times a day (cf. Ps 55, 17; Dn 6, 10). Austin’s second rule (the particular persons and circumstances in a given case must be appropriate for the invocation of the particular procedure invoked) is observed through the fact that both Peter and John are apostles invested with authority by Jesus Himself: “He called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” (Lk 9, 1-2). Finally, the third condition (the procedure must be executed by all participants both correctly and completely) is fulfilled by Peter’s performative utterance to the crippled man: “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!” (Acts 3, 6). Since all of Austin’s “infelicities” are cleared “happy” and the paralytic is healed, one can subsequently assume that the cripple’s healing was due to the convergence of some lingustic conventions, social customs or to self-suggestion, and not to the invocation of Jesus’ Holy Name by the apostle. Therefore the author comes with a few examples in support of the latter conclusion: Lk 4, 16-30 (where Jesus can’t do any miracle because of his people lack of faith) and Acts 19, 13 (when the sons of Sceva get a fair chastisment for the magical and unauthorized use of Jesus’ name).

Although SAT seem to be a valid socio-linguistical tool in Acts 3, 1-10, it has some limitations in other cases like Lk 4, 16-30 (cf. Acts 19, 13; Lk 9, 49), where SAT fails even if all the conditions of Austin are fulfilled or “happy” . These limitations of SAT are exposed by the author to show that not the convergence of some external factors (customs, language, oral mimesis, suggestion) accounts for the miracle, healing or exorcism, but the unconditional faith in the power of Jesus’ name (Acts 3, 16) the revelead Name of the New Testament, “the Name above every name”.

Pr. Cătălin VARGA Îndumnezeire și restaurare între typos și antitypos în cea de-a doua epistolă a Sfântului Apostol Petru

Summary: Deification and restoration: typos and antitypos in the second Epistle of the Holy Apostle Peter

The present paper aims to provide an original analysis of 2 Pet, centered on only two key verses (1, 4-3, 13) which, in my opinion, seem to provide the reader with the correct understanding of the true purpose of life: deification, parallelled by the promise «ἐπάγγελμα» of our recapitulation in Christ. Text analysis must be preceded by a thorough investigation, to select – out of the many versions offered by manuscripts differing because of the traditions generating them – the most accurate form, closest to the original, which allows a better understanding of Apostle Peter’s meaning. Therefore I have examined the oldest extant versions of verse 1, 4 in the light of the modern critical editions of the Greek text (NA27; UBS4; BYZ), in order to ascertain which one is closest to the Petrine original’s intentions. I based my decision on both the textual characteristics of the manuscripts, and the external / internal criteria of the text. I paid close attention to the tradition of Romanian translations, pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of each edition (the Bible of Bucharest, 1688; the Bible of Blaj, 1795; Gika 1857; the Bible of the Holy Synod, 1914; Cornilescu, 1921; the Bible of Galaction-Radu, 1939; the Bible of the Holy Synod, 1982; the Bible of the Holy Synod, 1988; the Bible of the Holy Synod, 2005; the Bible of Metropolitan Anania, 2009), which in their various versions fail to render some of the nuances of verse 1, 4, omitting in the respective translations both the implications of aorist subjunctive «γένησθε» (which should be translated „that you may become” and not „you are made”) as well as the singular form of the noun «ἐπιθυμίᾳ» (erroneously translated by „lust” in Bible of Blaj, 1795; the Bible of the Holy Synod, 1914; Cornilescu, 1921). The translations into the main modern languages of verse 1, 4 are not uniform. Part b has been translated as follows: «so that you may participate in the divine nature» (VRV 1960; NIV 2011), «so that you may come to share in the divine nature» (NAB 1970), «to gain communion with the divine nature» (TOB 1988), «to become partakers in the divine nature» (ZB 2008), «so that you may become partakers of the divine nature» (ESV 2008), etc. We find more care for accuracy and the intentions of the original, in the English-language editions.

In examining the exegesis and theology of verse 1, 4, I stress the implications of «ἐπαγγέλματα» which in the New Testament means to announce, to proclaim an intention, to offer to perform an action, to promise, to make a commitment, etc. When it is so used, it never refers to God’s promises, but the promises made by man before God. In old Greek, the noun means „promise, announcement” and is used only twice in the epistle 2 Peter – where the term „promise” points to the second coming of Christ, as well as the sharing in the eternal life or the communion with the divine nature. I think that the Holy Apostle Peter, remembering the promises made by the Saviour about the eternal life and the Kingdom of Heaven, reiterates the topic in order to call his readers to a godly life. Then I analyze the prospect of partaking of the divine nature from an anthropological standpoint, acknowledging the importance of P. Nellas’ contribution but undertaking the discussion on eschatological grounds; I consider the „partaking of the divine nature” as type (typos) of the recapitulation of creation in Christ (3, 13). The deification of man is a prefiguration, a foretaste of the eschaton. Along the same lines, I explore according to the Wirkungsgeschichte method the impact of this verse (1, 4) in the history of the Church, insisting on Western Christianity because, unike the Eastern one, it still seems to have some difficulty in understanding theosis, with the notable exception of the Oxford movement (I mention theologians Williams, Caldwell, Wesleys, Hooker or Küng – who, however, speaks of the humanization of man, rather than man’s deification).

The logion «καινοὺς δὲ οὐρανοὺς καὶ γῆν καινήν» – or the perfecting of creation in light of its recapitulation in Christ (3, 13) is the topic of the second part of the present paper. Our verse is implicitly related to the answer given by Peter to those who denied the actuality of the Parousia (3, 1-7) on the one hand, and on the other hand it continues the vivid description of the Lord’s coming (3, 8-12). Peter stresses that the Lord will come unexpectedly, like «a thief in the night» (3, 10); the day of the Lord will bring about, to all who have led holy and godly lives («in all holy conversation and godliness» – 3, 11) the fulfilment of Christ’s promise of communion between the faithful and the Holy Trinity, on a new earth (3, 13), in the holy city of Heavenly Jerusalem, where there will be no weeping and no death, no pain, no mourning or crying, for the old order of things will have passed away (Rev 21, 1-4). I see St Peter’s approach as a tripartite structure: promise – redemption – rebirth. Before the fall, the entire created world used to live in harmony and communion with both man and God, while the intrinsic rationality of creation – the logoi or God’s intelligible, ineffable thoughts on His creation, achieved this communion. Adam’s fall has perturbed the original harmony of the created world, and Adam’s failure is tantamount to the failure of creation; thus the redemption of the whole created world or its recapitulation in Christ becomes more than a cosmic necessity. As Christ is simultaneously the cause and goal of creation, he imbues with unity and unicity its final purpose, that of restoration (Rm 8, 21), as He assumes the entire creation in order to renew it incessantly. This is why the Parousia will not abolish creation but transfigure it, because it too has been deeply affected by the sin of man, losing its original beauty.

In keeping with the logic of the present paper, this prospect of the final recapitulation becomes the antitype of our deification, which to an extent is achieved even in this life, and makes a continuous process. The corolary of the new dimension of creation is dictated by the «δικαιοσύνη» concluding the verse, which I analyzed philologically, theologically and exegetically, reaching the following conclusion: the Holy Apostle Peter employs this term in order to describe this new world, recapitulated in Christ, a world governed by justice and purity, in striking contrast with the old world, subject to corruption and inequity. Both in this context, and 1 Pet 3, 14, the term denotes «fair, proper behaviour» as well as «living correctly, doing only what is just». Whether we apply it to ancient Israel or early Christian circles, δικαιοσύνη designates the fulfilment of God’s will by the man (Job 27, 6; Ps 45, 7; Mt 3, 15). On the new earth, the eschatological earth, justice will reign and all injustice will cease. According to the intertextual perspective, it is my opinion that this δικαιοσύνη should have occurred in the text of 2 Pet. 3, 13.

I emphasize the ecological intention of the text (pointed out by theologians and scholars such as E. Lucas, E. Adams, D.G. Horrell, J. Moo, etc.) because Christian ethics includes the ethical approach to the way in which we tend to the earth, especially as many verses stress our responsibility towards the earth we live on (Gen 1, 31a; Ne 9, 5-6; Ir5, 20-24; Ps 105, 24; Rm 8, 19-22; 1 Tim 4, 4-5; Rev 11, 18 etc.).

Proclaiming the impending establishment of the Kingdom of God, a recurring theme of the Gospels, also has ecological implications although the motif is not explicit. Christ’s miracles must be interpreted as the prefiguration of the renewal and healing of the entire created world; when our Saviour offers the major commandments of the new Kingdom’s ethics, he indicates only two (Mk 12, 29-31). Christian ethics includes the ethics of the way in which we tend to our earth. Through Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection, God has defeated the powers of darkness, sin and death, inaugurating His providence for the entire creation. By emphasizing the concept of a new earth, the text under discussion might leave the impression of lack of interest in preserving the old earth, as E. Adams points out; however, while this earth is destined for the purifying fire, this does not mean we must exploit it excessively, because the final recapitulation of the creation may occur in one year, or a thousand years as well (2 Pet 3, 8).

In conclusion, the eschatological progress from foretasting, to reaching the Kingdom of God, can be understood typologically in this epistle, because the notion of theosis indicates a long, difficult process. The same reality remains, to some, only a type and will reach the antitype (perfection) only in the Kingdom of God (1 Co 15, 35-54); but others, as history demonstrates, experience theosis to a great extent even in their earthly life, and their deification is more than a mere postulate. The present paper is centered on the concept of type/antitype, precisely because in this text, the Holy Apostle Peter leaves open the possibility of achieving deification, and since God will never cease to deify the world, the theology of theosis still awaits its fulfilment, still awaits its saints.

Ciprian-Flavius TERINTE The Christology of the Apostolic Preaching Recorded in the Book of Acts

Rezumat: Hristologia propovăduirii apostolice consemnate în scrierea Faptele Apostolilor

În anii imediat următori Revoluției din dec. 1989 nu doar Dumnezeu Își întorsese privirile către România, ci se părea că și că poporul român Îl căuta mai stăruitor pe Dumnezeu. Spre deosebire de omul occidental, care, în ciuda libertății religioase de care se bucura, întorcea spatele glasului lui Dumnezeu ce răsuna în Biserică, omul răsăritean își folosea cu nepregetare libertatea, căutând să-și stâmpere setea duhovnicească prin comuniunea tainică cu Dumnezeu, în Biserică. Totuși, situația avea să se schimbe curând, pe măsură ce societatea românească era atrasă în vârtejul materialismului și consumismului caracteristice unei piețe moderne a liberului schimb. Ademeniți de mirajul belșugului inaccesibil în perioada comunistă, românii L-au uitat repede pe Hristos, dătătorul bunătăților nepieritoare, lăsându-și inimile îngreunate „de mâncare şi de băutură şi de grijile vieţii”. În aceste condiții, slujitorii Bisericii lui Hristos trebuie să-și asume îndatorirea misionară de a-L vesti pe Mântuitorul, și chemarea Sa la Împărăția lui Dumnezeu, semenilor vrăjiți de Mamona sau, mai nou, de secularism, agnosticism și neoateism.

De aceea, studiul de față aruncă o privire asupra discursurilor kerigmatice rostite de Sfinții Apostoli, așa cum ne-au rămas consemnate de Sf. Ap. Luca în cartea Faptele Apostolilor, pentru a sintetiza principalele idei hristologice ale propovăduirii apostolice. Considerăm că predicarea Sfinților Apostoli este un izvor nesecat de învățătură pentru activitatea omiletică și catehetică a păstorilor poporului lui Dumnezeu din toate vremurile. Astfel, cuvântările apostolice din Faptele Apostolilor, abordate exegetic în prezentul studiu, sunt: cuvântarea Sfântului Apostol Petru de la Cincizecime (FA 2, 14-40), cuvântarea Sf. Ap. Petru de la Poartea Frumoasă (FA 3, 12-26), cuvântarea Sfântului Apostol Petru din casa lui Corneliu (FA 10, 34-43), cuvântarea Sf. Ap. Pavel din Antiohia Pisidiei (FA 13, 16b-41) și cuvântarea Sf. Ap. Pavel din Areopagul atenian (FA 17, 22-34).

În încercarea de a contura și sistematiza hristologia acestor texte, se s-a observat în primul rând faptul că prin cuvântările lor Sfinții Apostoli L-au avut în centrul propovăduirii lor pe Domnul Iisus și lucrarea Sa mântuitoare. El este figura centrală a tuturor discursurilor evanghelice din această scriere nou-testamentară. O atenție sporită este acordată realității învierii Domnului Hristos și importanței ei în planul veșnic de mântuire al lui Dumnezeu. Învierea este descrisă ca o lucrare a nemărginitei puteri a Tatălui și ca dovadă inconturnabilă a faptului că moartea Mântuitorului a fost jertfă bineplăcută lui Dumnezeu. De asemenea, prin învierea Sa Iisus a biruit moartea, făcându-Se urzitor al învierii întru viață veșnică pentru toți cei care cred în El.

Jertfa Domnului Hristos este o altă noțiune fundamentală a predicării apostolice din Faptele Apostolilor. Moartea lui Iisus este jertfă de ispășire pentru păcatele celor care cred în El. Chiar dacă cei care L-au osândit, din neștiință și răzvrătire, au fost iudeii, totuși ea face parte din planul dumnezeiesc de mântuire întocmit din veșnicie de Dumnezeu. Jertfa este urmată de Învierea și Înălțarea lui Iisus ca Domn. În această calitate, pe de o parte El Își împuternicește ucenicii prin Duhul Sânt, Care purcede de la Tatăl, iar pe de altă parte devine judecătorul tuturor celor care nu ascultă de porunca dumnezeiască a pocăinței. Însă hristologia propovăduirii apostolice nu este articulată ca speculație filozofică. Ea nu rămâne o doctrină abstractă, menită să îmbogățească spectrul ideologic al vremii. În retorica Sfinților Apostoli, din propovăduirea lui Hristos decurge în mod coerent chemarea la credință și pocăință, care este însoțită de trei făgăduințe principale: iertarea păcatelor, acordarea darului Duhului Sfânt și dobândirea vieții veșnice.

Considerăm că proclamarea acestor adevăruri despre Domnul Hristos este imperios necesară pentru mântuirea neamului românesc, aflat într-o luptă aprigă pe de o parte cu neajunsurile specifice așa-numitei perioade de tranziție, dar și cu amăgirea falselor valori ale veacului prezent, atrăgătoare prin strălucirea lor, dar amăgitoare prin caracterul lor efemer.

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