Theology Update for the Week of August 13

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Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ

On August 13 and 20, at 10 a.m., the Rector offers a two-class series on the Blessed Virgin Mary, reflecting on the 2004 “Seattle Statement” of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). In particular, the class explores references to Mary in Scripture, and her place in the continuing life of the Church and its theology. Recent study guides from ARCIC are provided.

Auden, the Psalms, and Me

On August 27 at 10 a.m., guest lecturer J. Chester Johnson presents his story of the retranslation of the psalter for the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Johnson served on the drafting committee for that project, taking the place of W. H. Auden in 1971, when the poet returned to England. Despite Auden’s ambivalence about making changes to the American Book of Common Prayer, he wrote several articles and poems on the topic, and authored many letters – including several to Johnson himself – of spiritual and theological significance. Johnson’s book, Auden, the Psalms, and Me, will be published by Church Publishing in September.

The Genesis of Orthodoxy

On September 3, at 10 a.m., we begin a study of the origins of the Christian orthodox tradition. The first session, on September 3, focuses on the Church’s engagement with Gnosticism, a diverse set of religious groups in the early centuries of the Church. Gnostics tended toward what one historian described as “world rejection coupled with … a transcendentalist habit of mind,” and were prevalent in the Greco-Roman world, making a response to Gnosticism one of the Church’s first theological tasks. Subsequent classes in this series focus on the first four ecumenical councils, as the Church began formally to articulate the orthodox faith.