The Black Swan

The late 1st Century Roman Poet Juvenal is generally credited with the earliest written reference to the Black Swan and like so much of his work it was satirical. He characterised something as being  ”a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan” by which he pretty much meant  what we might mean when we say…

Gnosticism

Gnosticism is a Heresy, and yet as a term it covers a branch of heresy which has many manifestations. The term comes for the Greek word gnosis meaning ‘knowledge’ and the fundamental root of the heresy is that possession of particular or special knowledge will act as the passkey to salvation. This fails the test of…

Advent & Apocalyptic Literature

I am writing this on Advent Sunday. The Gospel reading for this morning Mark 13:24-37. It comes from the eschatological discourse in Mark, foreshadowing the destruction of the Temple. In terms of writing in Mark’s Gospel it stands a little apart and the style in this passage is Apocalyptic and not found in Mark beyond…

Filioque (u3a)

Filioque Presentation The PDF here are the notes used for the presentation of a 3 week tutorial on the Filioque Clause, history, politics, and some theology. As the course progressed it seemed clear that there was some need to look at some of the theology more clearly, including a consideration of how authority operates within the…

Donatism

Essence The essence of Donatism is a gracelessness that expect the Christian, and especially the ministers of word and sacrament to perfect and devoid of any serious sin post baptism. History Donatism was the error first taught by Donatus, bishop of Casae Nigrae, that the effectiveness of the sacraments depends on the moral character of…

Docetism

Essence Jesus only seemed to have a body, but he was actually only a divine spirit appearing to be a body. History This teaching comes from dualistic outlook which understands matter as evil by nature as opposed to the spiritual which is seem to be good. As such it was impossible that God could not be…