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Panel to discuss the “The Bond between Christian East and West: Cultures and Theologies in Dialogue” during the first millennium
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Ellen Scully
Ellen Scully
Dana Iuliana Viezure
Dana Iuliana Viezure
Barbara Crostini
Barbara Crostini

The Department of Catholic Studies will present a panel discussion entitled "The Bond between Christian East and West: Cultures and Theologies in Dialogue" on November 11. The event will take place between 4 and 6 p.m. in Beck Rooms A-C, Walsh Library.  

The panel is a part of the Department of Catholic Studies Medieval Catholicism Lecture Series. Ellen Scully, Ph.D., of the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, Seton Hall University; Barbara Crostini (D.Phil. Oxon), Ars edendi, Department of Classics and Romance Languages at Stockholm University, Sweden; and Dana Iuliana Viezure, Ph.D., of the Department of Religion, Seton Hall University are presenting their papers.

Hilary and Florovsky on the Merits of a Christ-Centered Ecclesiology by Ellen Scully:

The 20th century Orthodox theologian Georges Florovsky argued that the unity of the Church requires a return to a Christ-centered, rather than Spirit-centered, theology of the Church. He sets the 4th century Latin doctor of the Church, Hilary of Poitier, forward as an example of the necessary movement away from a Spirit ecclesiology toward a Christ ecclesiology. Both Hilary and Florovsky are figures who have crossed the boundaries of East and West—Hilary as a Western bishop exiled to the East and Florovsky as a Russian orthodox priest who lived and taught for most of his life in the West—and both conclude that the universality of the Church requires a Christ-centered ecclesiology. This study will address the question: does our conception of the Church affect the possibility of world-wide Christian unity?

This paper will follow Florovsky's suggestion of looking at the ecclesiology of Hilary, the ecclesiology of Poitiers, and through a study of Hilary’s exile-inspired movement from a Spirit to a Christ ecclesiology. I will analyze Florovsky’s claim that a Christ-centered ecclesiology is a necessary step on the path toward a renewed unity between eastern and western churches.

It will conclude that Spirit ecclesiology is indeed inadequate to our ecumenical needs, because at its most reduced and simplified form, Spirit ecclesiology teaches that the church is simply a gathering of individuals who agree. Those who do not agree are not part of the same church. However, according to Christ ecclesiology, unity depends not on what we as individuals think but on the fact that, as Christians, we are incorporated into Christ’s body.

"A Meeting-Point Between East and West: Hesychios of Jerusalem and the Interpretation of the Psalter in Byzantium" by Barbara Crostini:

The Psalter is in itself a special "place" - a meeting-point of histories and cultures, and a timeless voice expressing both the universal and the particular truths that pertain each and every human being who experiences life in its different facets. The intimate, prayerful voice of this Jewish-Christian text makes it suitable for different adaptations, and also lays it open to different interpretations. Hesychios of Jerusalem, writing in fifth-century Jerusalem, adopts, on the one hand, a scholarly and didactic approach open to different meanings and on the other, emphasizes aspects of forgiveness and repentance in reflecting on the impact of the psalms on the soul's journey. In Byzantine catenae, he was a popular author, but the use of his glosses in the West and the Latin translation of his Commentary on Leviticus argue for his suitability in East-West dialogue especially during the eleventh-century crisis. I will illustrate such possible function from a specific illuminated Byzantine Psalter.

"Rome and Constantinople: Interpreting the Council of Chalcedon and forging unity at the end of the Acacian schism" by Dana Iuliana Viezure:

Rome and Constantinople started negotiations in 518 to end the Acacian schism, which had begun in 484. After nearly 35 years during which Constantinople and the East grew apart from Rome in their views of the importance and correct interpretation of the Council of Chalcedon, the negotiations to end the schism re-opened the issue of the proper reception of this council. Rome’s insistence on the definition of faith of Chalcedon, strictly interpreted against the diphysite discursive background of Pope Leo I’s Tome, clashed with a vocal movement in Constantinople and the East which claimed that such a framework of interpretation left the two-nature formula of Chalcedon vulnerable to misuse by Nestorians. This presentation examines the new ways of construing Chalcedon that emerged from this clash and the extent to which the reconstrual of Chalcedon was successful in bringing Rome and Constantinople closer together. In a related analysis, the presentation looks at the way in which Rome and Constantinople negotiated broader issues of tradition and authority during the years 518-533.

About the Department of Catholic Studies
Established in 2012 -- the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II -- the Department of Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University, America’s oldest diocesan university, fosters Seton Hall's Catholic identity and mission by exploring the relationship of Catholicism with all areas of culture and learning. Since its focus is the Church’s encounter and dialogue with society or the Church in the world, Vatican II designated a special place for Catholic Studies as a discipline in academic life. As a result, Catholic Studies is a dialogue between Catholicism and culture that occurs in a special way at Catholic universities. While respecting other disciplines, Catholic Studies explores theology and philosophy in relation to culture, humankind and the world. This methodological approach opens up a place for all other disciplines; these enrich Catholic Studies and are enriched in return. Catholic Studies builds upon and develops the themes and questions addressed in the University Core Curriculum and is complementary to other disciplines. A bachelor's degree in Catholic Studies is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts degree — a major that enhances every other major.

For more information please contact:
Brittany Venturella
(973) 275-2175


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