Christ Pantocrator (Sixth Century Icon: St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai Peninsula)

Course Description

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. The Son is his Father’s definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him” (n.73). Therefore, since encountering Jesus is to encounter the Person of God the Son, this course on Christology is of vital importance!

From Apostolic times the Christian faith has always taught that Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly human. As Christians living in the 21st century we can tend to take this assertion for granted. But in the first four centuries of Christianity great debates raged concerning the identity of Jesus Christ and how it was possible for him to be both truly God and truly human.

In this course you will study much of the theology derived from the fruit of these debates. After a short investigation into the nature of sacred theology, this course looks at what theologians called the various ‘States of Nature.’ This opens the way to understand Jesus’ claims and what he has come to do. The course then looks at the chief errors and heresies concerning Christ’s Incarnation, the reasons for the Incarnation, and certain consequences of the Incarnation. Finally, the course briefly investigates various aspects of Mary, the Mother of Christ the Saviour.

So come and join us for this most interesting course in Christology: Christ the Saviour!

Course Objectives

  1. To become aware of the early Christological debates in the Church and to see their importance for future developments in understanding Jesus Christ.
  2. To be able to identify the errors concerning Jesus that arose from these early debates.
  3. To gain an appreciation of the difficulties the Church had in gaining clarity concerning issues of Christology.
  4. To learn about the distinctions in Christ of his natures (divine and human) and his divine Person-hood.
  5. To fall more deeply in love with Jesus Christ and what he has done for us!

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Cantalamessa, Raniero. Jesus Christ: The Holy One of God. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991.

Sheed, Frank J. Theology and Sanity. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993.

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

Ocáriz, F., L.F. Mateo Seco and J.A. Riestra. The Mystery of Jesus Christ. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998.

Popular Level Reading:

Aquinas, Thomas. Catechetical Instructions of St. Thomas Aquinas. Edited by Paul A Böer Sr. Translated by Rev. Joseph B. Collins. Veritatis Splendor Publications, 2012.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Réginald. Christ the Savior: A Commentary on the Third Part of St. Thomas’ Theological Summa. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011.

_________. Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought. Translated by Patrick Cummins. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1950.

Kelly, Joseph F. The Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: A History. Collegeville, MN: the Liturgical Press, 2009.

O’Collins, Gerald. Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Palmer, Robertson O. The Christ of the Covenants. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reforming Publishing Co., 1980.

Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth: From Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration. Translated by Adrian J. Walker.Great Britain: Bloomsbury, 2007.

_________. Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection. English translation provided by the Vatican Secretariat of State. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011.

Ratzinger, Joseph. Behold the Pierced One: An Approach to a Scriptural Christology. Translated by Graham Harrison. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986.

_________. Introduction to Christianity. Translated by J.R. Foster. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.

_________. On the Way to Jesus Christ. Translated by Michael J. Miller. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.

Rausch, Thomas P. Who is Jesus? An Introduction to Christology. Collegeville, MI; Liturgical Press, 2003.

Tanner, Norman P. The Councils of the Church: A Short History. Fort Collins, CO: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2001.

Wright, N.T. The Challenge of Easter. Downers Grove, IL: InterVasity Press, 2009.

_________. Who is Jesus? London: SPCK, 1992.

Thematic Work for this Course:

Catholic Church. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Scholarly Level Reading:

St. Anselm of Canterbury. Cur Deus Homo. (various editions)

Aquinas, Thomas. ‘Light of Faith’: The Compendium of Theology. Sophia Institute, 1993. (Reprint of Herder edition 1958).

_________. Summa theologiæ, vols. 4 & 5. Westminster, Merryland: Christian Classics, 1981.

St. Athanasius. On the Incarnation of the Word. (various editions)

Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to New Testament Christology. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1994.

Congar, Yves. Jesus Christ. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1966.

Davies, Brian and G.R. Evans (eds.). Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Davis, Stephen T., Daniel Kendall and Gerald O’Collins, (eds.). The Incarnation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Davis, Stephen T., Daniel Kendall and Gerald O’Collins (eds.), The Redemption. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald. Christ the Saviour: A Commentary on the Third Part of St Thomas’ Theological Summa. Translated by Dom Bede Rose. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1950.

_________. Our Savior and His Love for Us. Translated by A. Bouchard. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1951.

Hill, Charles. Jesus and the Mystery of Christ: An Extended Christology. North Blackburn, Victoria: Collins Dove, 1993.

Keener, Craig. The Historical Jesus of the Gospels. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009.

Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines. (Fifth Edition). New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000.

Levering, Matthew. Christ’s Fulfillment of Torah and Temple: Salvation According to Thomas Aquinas. Notre dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002.

Meier, John P. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. (Vol. 1: The Roots of the Problem and the Person). New York: Doubleday, 1991.

_________. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. (Vol. 2: Mentor, Message and Miracles). New York: Doubleday, 1994.

_________. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. (Vol. 3: Companions and Competitors). New York: Doubleday, 2001.

Norris, Jr. Richard A. (ed.). The Christological Controversy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980.

O’Collins, Gerald. Jesus our Redeemer: A Christian Approach to Salvation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

_________. Interpreting Jesus. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1993.

_________. Jesus: A Portrait. London: Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd., 2008.

_________. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1973.

Schönborn, Christoph. God Sent His Son: A Contemporary Christology. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010.

Witherington III, Ben. The Many Faces of Christ. Fort Collins, CO: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1998.

Woodbury, Austin. Christ the Saviour. Sydney: Aquinas Academy (unpublished text), ca. 1946.

Wright, N.T. The Contemporary Quest for Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002.

Scholarly Journal Articles:

Ratzinger, Joseph. “Seven Theses on Christology and the Hermeneutic of Faith.” Letter & Spirit 3 (2007): 189-210.

White, Thomas Joseph. “Jesus’ Cry on the Cross and His Beatific Vision.” Nova et Vetera, vol. 5, no. 3 (2007): 555-582.