Resources for teaching Cyril and Thomas Aquinas

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ValiantforTruth

Puritan Board Freshman
In a few months I will be co-teaching a one quarter adult SS class that's basically "Twelve Theologians Every Christian Should Know". There are two out of my six I am less familiar with and would appreciate any reading suggestions that any of you have:

Cyril of Alexandria (I have read McGuckin on the Nestorian controversy)

Is there a more general overview of his life/thought/writings/significance?

Is there a good one volume history of the seven ecumenical councils era?

Thomas Aquinas

As a philosophy major I have read Thomas extracts many times, but how do I approach a 50 minute SS class to laymen who are not experts in Aristotle? For our people, I think the most important thing will be his influence both within and outside of the Roman Church.

Any good, fair one-volume works (preferably from Protestant or Reformed perspective) that treat the contemporary significance and influence of his theology? Maybe the one-volume Summa?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Carl Trueman is writing a brief introductory text to Aquinas, but I don't know if it will be available in time for you to make use of it.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
In a few months I will be co-teaching a one quarter adult SS class that's basically "Twelve Theologians Every Christian Should Know". There are two out of my six I am less familiar with and would appreciate any reading suggestions that any of you have:

Cyril of Alexandria (I have read McGuckin on the Nestorian controversy)

Is there a more general overview of his life/thought/writings/significance?

McGuckin thinks Cyril of Alexandria could do nothing wrong, and regards him as the greatest theologian of his day. There are two overviews I've read and recommend in addition to McGuckin's work.

1) See Thomas G. Weinandy and Daniel A. Keating, eds., The Theology of St Cyril of Alexandria, A Critical Appreciation (London: T & T Clark, 2003), p. 240. This Book is a series of essays by different scholars (including one by McGuckin) on this ancient theologian.

2) Norman Russell, Cyril of Alexandria (New York: Routledge, 200). I think Russell offers a more balanced assessment of Cyril. In fact, in an essay in the first book I mentioned above, McGuckin is critical of Russell's treatment of Cyril's complicity in the murder of a woman philosopher named Hypatia in Alexandria in March of 415. Cyril's works in Greek can be found in Migne's volumes, PG 68-77. There is also a more critical edition of Cyril's works by Philip Edward Pusey, and can be found online for download...

[Opera]; : Cyril, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria, ca. 370-444 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
[Opera]; : Cyril, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria, ca. 370-444 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
[Opera]; : Cyril, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria, ca. 370-444 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
[Opera]; : Cyril, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria, ca. 370-444 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
[Opera]; : Cyril, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria, ca. 370-444 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

He had a high view of Scripture, and among the eastern theologians, affirmed what we would call a penal substitutionary view of the atonement.

Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444) commenting on John 19:16-18: Bearing the Cross upon His shoulders, on which He was about to be crucified, He went forth; His doom was already fixed, and He had undergone, for our sakes, though innocent, the sentence of death. For, in His own Person, He bore the sentence righteously pronounced against sinners by the Law. For He became a curse for us, according to the Scripture: For cursed is everyone, it is said, that hangeth on a tree. And accursed are we all, for we are not able to fulfil the Law of God : For in many things we all stumble; and very prone to sin is the nature of man. And since, too, the Law of God says: Cursed is he which continueth not in all things that are written in the book of this Law, to do them, the curse, then, belongeth unto us, and not to others. For those against whom the transgression of the Law may be charged, and who are very prone to err from its commandments, surely deserve chastisement. Therefore, He That knew no sin was accursed for our sakes, that He might deliver us from the old curse. For all-sufficient was the God Who is above all, so dying for all; and by the death of His own Body, purchasing the redemption of all mankind. See Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Vol. 48, trans. Thomas Randell (London: Walter Smith, 1885), Vol. 2, Book XII, Chapter XIX, p. 623.
Greek text: Τὸ δὲ ἐφʼ ὧπερ ἔμελλε σταυροῦσθαι ξύλον ἐπωμάδιον ἔχων πρόεισι λοιπὸν κατακεκριμένος ἤδη καὶ τὴν ἐφ' αἵματι ψῆφον ἐπʼ οὐδενὶ παντελῶς ὑπομείνας κακῷ, καὶ τοῦτο διʼ ἡμᾶς. τὰς γὰρ τοῖς ἡμαρτηκόσιν ἐπηρτημένας εὐλόγως ἐκ τοῦ νόμου δίκας εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἐκομίζετο. «Γέγονε γὰρ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα,» κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, «Ἐπικατάρατος γάρ φησι, πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου.» Ἐπάρατοι δὲ πάντες ἡμεῖς, τὸν θεῖον ἀποπληροῦν οὐκ ἀνεχόμενοι νόμον, Πολλὰ γὰρ πταίομεν ἅπαντες, εὐολισθοτάτη τε πρὸς τοῦτο λίαν ἡ ἀνθρώπου φύσις. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ πάλιν ὁ θεῖος ἔφη που νόμος «Ἐπικατάρατος ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει πᾶσι τοῖς ἐγγεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τούτου, τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά·» ἡμῶν ἄρα, καὶ οὐχ ἑτέρων ἡ ἀρά. Οἷς γὰρ ἔγκλημα μὲν ἡ παράβασις, τὸ δὲ τοῦ διορισθέντος ἐξολισθεῖν εὐπετέστατον, αὐτοῖς ἂν εἴη καὶ τὸ εὐθύνεσθαι πρέπον. οὐκοῦν ἐπάρατος δι' ἡμᾶς ὁ μὴ εἰδὼς ἁμαρτίαν, ἵν' ἡμᾶς ἀπολύσῃ τῆς ἀρχαίας ἀρᾶς. Ἐξήρκει γὰρ τοῦτο παθὼν ὑπὲρ πάντων ὁ ὑπὲρ πάντας Θεὸς, καὶ τῷ θανάτῳ τῆς ἰδίας σαρκὸς τὴν ἁπάντων λύτρωσιν ἐξωνούμενος. Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis, Liber XII, Caput xix, vv. 16-18, PG 74:649.

Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444) commenting on John 19:16-18: The Cross, then, that Christ bore, was not for His own deserts, but was the cross that awaited us, and was our due, through our condemnation by the Law. For as He was numbered among the dead, not for Himself, but for our sakes, that we might find in Him, the Author of everlasting life, subduing of Himself the power of death; so also, He took upon Himself the Cross that was our due, passing on Himself the condemnation of the Law, that the mouth of all lawlessness might henceforth be stopped, according to the saying of the Psalmist; the Sinless having suffered condemnation for the sin of all. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Vol. 48, trans. Thomas Randell (London: Walter Smith, 1885), Vol. 2, Book XII, Chapter XIX, p. 624.
Greek text: Ἐπικομίζεται τοίνυν, οὐ τὸν αὐτῷ πρέποντα σταυρὸν ὁ Χριστὸς, ἀλλὰ τὸν ἡμῖν ἐπηρτημένον τε καὶ χρεωστούμενον, ὅσον ἧκεν εἰπεῖν εἰς τὴν διὰ νόμου κατάκρισιν. Ὥσπερ γὰρ γέγονεν ἐν νεκροῖς, οὐ διʼ ἑαυτὸν, ἀλλὰ διʼ ἡμᾶς, ἵν' ἡμῖν ἀρχηγὸς τῆς εἰς αἰῶνα ζωῆς εὑρεθῇ, καταλύσας διʼ ἑαυτοῦ τοῦ θανάτου τὸ κράτος, οὕτω καὶ τὸν ἡμῖν πρέποντα σταυρὸν εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀναλαμβάνει, τὴν ἐκ τοῦ νόμου κατάκρισιν ἐν ἑαυτῷ κατακρίνων, ἵνα πᾶσα λοιπὸν ἀνομία ἐμφράξῃ στόμα αὐτῆς, κατὰ τὸ ἐν Ψαλμοῖς μελῳδούμενον, τοῦ μὴ ἔχοντος ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ τῆς ἁπάντων ἁμαρτίας καταδεδικασμένου. Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis, Liber XII, Caput xix, vv. 16-18, PG 74:649, 652.

Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444) commenting on John 19:19: For God's anger did not cease with Adam's fall, but He was also provoked by those who after him dishonoured the Creator's decree; and the denunciation of the Law against transgressors was extended continuously over all. We were, then, accursed and condemned, by the sentence of God, through Adam’s transgression, and through breach of the Law laid down after him; but the Saviour wiped out the handwriting against us, by nailing the title to His Cross, which very clearly pointed to the death upon the Cross which He underwent for the salvation of men, who lay under condemnation. For our sake He paid the penalty for our sins. For though He was One that suffered, yet was He far above any creature, as God, and more precious than the life of all. Therefore, as the Psalmist says, the mouth of all lawlessness was stopped, and the tongue of sin was silenced, unable any more to speak against sinners. For we are justified, now that Christ has paid the penalty for us; for by His stripes we are healed, according to the Scripture. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Vol. 48, trans. Thomas Randell (London: Walter Smith, 1885), Vol. 2, Book XII, Chapter XIX, pp. 627-628.
Greek text: Οὐ γὰρ δήπου λελύπηται μὲν ἐν Ἀδὰμ διαπταίσαντι Θεὸς, οὐκέτι δὲ ἦν τοιοῦτος ἐν τοῖς μετʼ ἐκεῖνον ἀτιμάζουσι τὸ τῷ κτίσαντι δοκοῦν, ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐφʼ ἑνὸς κατὰ πάντων ὁ τοῖς πλημμελοῦσιν ἐπηρτημένος ἐξετείνετο νόμος. Ἦμεν οὖν ἐπάρατοι, καὶ τῇ θείᾳ ψήφῳ κατακεκριμένοι, διά τε τὴν ἐν Ἀδὰμ παράβασιν, καὶ τὴν ἐκ τοῦ μετʼ ἐκεῖνον διορισθέντος νόμου· ἀλλὰ τοῦτο τὸ καθʼ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον ἐξήλειψεν ὁ Σωτὴρ, προσηλώσας τὸν τίτλον τῷ ἰδίῳ σταυρῷ, σαφῶς εὖ μάλα σημαίνοντα τὸν ἐπὶ τῷ ξύλῳ θάνατον, ὃν ὑπὲρ τῆς τῶν καταδεδικασμένων ὑπέστη ζωῆς. Ἐξέτισε γὰρ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὰς ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐγκλημάτων δίκας. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ εἷς ἦν ὁ πάσχων, ἀλλʼ ἦν ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν τὴν κτίσιν, ὡς Θεὸς, καὶ τῆς ἁπάντων ζωῆς ἀξιώτερος. Διά τοι τοῦτο, καθὰ καὶ ὁ Ψάλλων φησὶν, «Ἐνέφραξε μὲν ἀνομία πᾶσα τὸ στόμα αὐτῆς,» κατηργήθη δὲ τρόπον τινὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἡ γλῶττα, καταλέγειν ἔτι τῶν ἡμαρτηκότων οὐκ ἔχουσα. Δεδικαιώμεθα γὰρ, ἐκτετικότος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὰ ὀφλήματα τοῦ Χριστοῦ· «τῷ γὰρ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς ἰάθημεν,» κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον. Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis, Liber XII, Caput xix, v. 19, PG 74:656.


Is there a good one volume history of the seven ecumenical councils era?

There is a standard work in this area by a Romanist that is very helpful with factual information, but one needs to recognize a priori that he expresses a bias for his communion. You can go to the link on TurretinFan's blog, and follow his links to download these volumes...

Thoughts of Francis Turretin: Karl Joseph von Hefele - A History of the Christian Councils: from the original documents

I also recommend the two following books, though they do not cover much beyond the first four councils.

1) An Eastern Orthodox work, Peter L'Huillier, The Church of the Ancient Councils (Crestwood: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1996). Very helpful.

2) Gerald Bray, Creeds, Councils, and Christ: Did the Early Christians Misrepresent Jesus? (Mentor, republished 1997).
 
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