From Nicaea to Chalcedon by Frances Young

  I’m thoroughly impressed with this excellent scholarly work on early church history: From Nicaea to Chalcedon (second edition) by Frances M. Young.  I don’t have time to explain the entire thing here, but I do want to recommend it for those of you who need a comprehensive resource for studies of the Nicene and Chalcedonian eras of Christianity.  Here’s one section about Theodoret, bishop of Antioch in the 5th century.  In some ways Theodoret was an apologist and historian like Eusebius.  Here’s how Young summarizes Theodoret’s view of the Arian controversy.

“For [Theodoret], the Arian heresy was simply explicable as a work of the devil, inspired by jealousy at the sight of the Church prosperous, peaceful and successful under Constantine: Satan was ‘unable to bear the sight of the Church sailing on with favourable winds’ and ‘eager to sink the vessel steered by the Creator and Lord of the universe.’  As Christians, the Greeks had given up worshipping the creature instead of the Creator, so, not daring to declare open war on God, the evil one insidiously set about reducing the Creator to a creature, by playing on the ambition of Arius and instigating his heresy.  Like Eusebius, Theodoret saw history as the triumph of the true Church against enemies, external or internal, in league with the evil powers” (p. 36).

This book is easy to use for studies because it is outlined well, organized clearly, and written in an engaging manner.  It certainly is not for the average layperson, since it is around 400 pages of small print, containing tons of details about these years in the early church as well as a lengthy biography.  It is, however, for those of you who want a detailed and scholarly discussion of the era of church history from Nicaea to Chalcedon.  Highly recommended!

shane lems