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Given that the concepts of dogma and history of dogma go back only to the end of the 18th c., and since then have evolved considerably under the influence of the historical sciences, in particular in the discussions of the positions of liberal Protestantism von Harnack and others and of modernism see Sll; Lehmann, two approaches are possible for a patristic consideration of dogma in history. Bakersfield Map Tourist Attractions One could examine to what extent the ancient churches have in some way contributed to modern reflections on the history of dogma; or, departing from the modern conception of the history of Christian doctrines a conception certainly unknown to the Fathers one can try to show how the historical phenomena of the patristic era should be evaluated in light of modern research.
The patristic contribution. Taking up the first perspective, we will start from the fact that the patristic use of the term dogma reflects that of classical Hellenism. In it the fundamental idea, that which seems dokei to be right, is applied both in a somewhat theoretical sense opinion, doctrine, philosophical principle and in a practical sense, i.e., a decision taken and promulgated by an authority never religious, i.e., edict, decree. In the NT esp. Acts 16:4 and the apostolic fathers we find only the latter use, but this had no influence on the immediate development of the concept Elze, Begriff, 423f.. Under the influence of Stoicism, the apologists, esp. Justin and Tatian, but also Clement and Origen, who see Christianity as the true philosophy, take up the first sense, which is also connected with the idea of hairesis, i.e., distinguishing between the dogma or dogmas of philosophers, heretics and Christians see Orig., C. Cels. 3,39. Eusebius of Caesarea understands dogma not just in the sense of doctrine, identifying it with pistis, but he also refers it to synodal authority Elze, Begriff, 429f.. We would thus expect dogma in this sense to appear in the acts of the councils. This is not the case, however, perhaps because it includes too much of the idea of something subjective, human Elze, Begriff, 430f.. Sozomen Elze, Begriff, 432 and Justinian Mirbt, n. 484 are exceptions.
Moreover, it is remarkable that Cyril of Jerusalem Cat. 4,2 and Gregory of Nyssa contrast fidelity to dogma doctrine with good moral conduct, and that Basil distinguishes dogma, doctrine still to be considered secret, and kerygma, public teaching Spir. Sanct. 27,66: SC 17 bis, 89ff. Among the Latins use of the term dogma was somewhat rare. Obviously it became more frequent under the influence of Origen’s works, translated into Latin by Jerome and Rufinus Elze, Begriff, 434. While for these and others it can mean either the false doctrines of philosophers or heretics, or Catholic doctrine, Augustine uses it exclusively in a negative sense dogmata nefaria, also in Mendac. 4; C. duas ep. pelag. II, 3,5. Gest. Pel. 6,16.18, with negative overtones. Entirely different is the use of dogma in Vincent of Lrins’s Commonitorium only 7 of 28 instances have a negative sense; see Becker, Dogma, 339. For him, while the Arian error is a dogma novum, the true doctrine guaranteed by the consensio Ecclesiae catholicae universitatis et antiquitatis Comm. 38; see Sieben, Konzilsidee, 154 is called dogma Ecclesiae Comm. 120, dogma caeleste Comm. 122, even prisca illa caelestis philosophiae ! dogmata Comm. 135.
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