Thursday, 26 June 2008

What did the regula fidei mean for the Church Fathers?

In short, according to Hägglund, when the Church Fathers talk of the rule of faith they are referring to the total doctrine of the church. This teaching was proclaimed by the prophets and apostles and has been preserved for us in Scripture. As such, the rule of faith can be associated with any attempt to formulate it, whether scripture, baptismal creed, or apostolic tradition.
In this thread, we will be following Hägglund as he attempts to determine the content of the regula fidei as it was understood by three key thinkers in the early church, namely Irenaeus, Tertullian and Clement of Alexandra. We will conclude by looking at the implications this analysis has for the question of the relation of the regula fidei for both doctrine and church history.

Tomorrow we will look at the meaning of the rule-of-truth for Irenaeus.


Anonymous said...

If memory serves me correctly J H Newman argued that for the ECF the 'rule of faith' was the Creeds.

Phil Sumpter said...

I think this was the position of older theologians such as Zahn, Kattenbusch and Harnack, who saw the regula fidei as a concrete entity, a particular summary of doctrine. I don't know when Newman wrote (Hägglund's article is from 1958), but the whole article is dedicated to contradicting this. I'd appreciate it if you could give me the reference. I think, by the way, that McDonald in his The Biblical Canon confirms this.