At [the heart of the patristic understanding of "mysticism" is] the understanding of Christ as the divine mysterion: an idea central to the epistles of the Apostle Paul. This secret is a secret that has been told; but despite that it remains a secret, because what has been declared cannot be simply grasped , since it is God’s secret, and God is beyond any human comprehension. The secret of the Gospel is the hidden meaning of the Scriptures: for Christians the whole of what they call the ‘Old Testament’ finds its true meaning in Christ. God’s plan for humankind to which the Scriptures bear witness is made plain in the Incarnation. And this is the most common context, as we have seen, for the use of the word mystikos: it refers therefore to the hidden meaning of the Scriptures, the true meaning that is revealed in Christ, a meaning that remains mysterious, for it is no simple message, but the life in Christ that is endless in its implications. Christians, however, share in the life of Christ pre-eminently through the sacraments - mysteria in Greek - and the word mystikos is used therefore in relation to the sacraments as a way of designating the hidden reality, encountered and shared through the sacraments. The final use of the word mystikos refers to the hidden reality of the life of baptized Christians: a reality which is, as St Paul put it, ‘hid with Christ in God’ (Col. 3: 3). (205)
Friday, 19 September 2008
The awesomeness of Andrew Louth ...
... consists, for me, in his ability to elucidate the canonical approach of Brevard Childs, and perhaps that of Karl Barth, as evidenced in my post on Barth's biblical exegesis. Interpretation of the Bible is all about the subject matter, and that has huge hermeneutical implications (see my The Bible and the Historian). I still have only access to Louth via my reading of Childs and the wonderful posts of Sister Macrina. Here is her latest goody which has just sent me reeling in ecstasy: