Classic Christian Texts

Writing is a way of preserving the knowledge and wisdom of one age and passing it along to others.  The Scriptures were first written down to ensure that the teachings and actions of Christ did not become garbled in transmission.  Christianity is, as a result, a decidedly textual religion; we are no doubt affected more by print and digital media more than some other, less text-dependent religions.  God speaks to us as He will; we often find him outside of texts.  Yet the search for God and knowledge and the Great Tradition inevitably brings us into contact with books.  The Classic Christian Texts offer you a sampling of writings right here on this blog; more are listed in the various bibliographies in the sidebar.

The texts below (in the right-hand sidebar) are there to provide readers with access to some of the stuff I talk about here.  It also provides me a place to post my own translations ;).  I have included some of my translations of creeds, those statements of faith that bind Christians around the world and across the ages: the Apostles’, Constantinopolitan, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds and the Chalcedonian Definition of the Faith.

Four pieces of mediaeval liturgy have made their way into the gathered texts, all of them my own translations, two of them according to the Use of Sarum, which was the most popular liturgical use in the British Isles in the Middle Ages until the eve of the Reformation: Vespers and the Order for the Consecration of Marriage. The other two are from Aelfwine’s Prayer Book, a private prayer book in Latin from the Anglo-Saxon age: Office of the Holy Trinity and Office in Honour of the Holy Cross.

Another Latin text from the Anglo-Saxon world offered here is my translation of Bede’s account of the life of Caedmon from his Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

The last text in this category was posted when I had a “Classic Christian” small group as one of the readings.  It is a mystical text from the fourteenth-century English mystic Lady Julian of Norwich (my page about her here): Selections from Revelations of Divine Love.

GK Chesterton’s essay “On Reading” has also been posted under the category Why Classic Christianity?; like Lady Julian’s writings, it was a reading for the small group.

My exploration of the Great Tradition has caused me to post passages from various Christian authors in or as posts, some of my favourites being:

Chesterton Strikes Again! (quotations from The Thing: Why I Am Catholic by GK Chesterton)

Merry Christmas! (passage from Pope St. Leo the Great)

The Venerable Bede on Prayer

Gaudete! (about the similarly-named hymn)

In Light of Bible Sunday (a string of quotations about the Bible)

St. Ambrose and Hymnody (including one of Ambrose’s hymns)

The Cult of the Cross: The New Tree of Life

St. John of Damascus’ Trinitarian Thought

John Donne: Good Friday (a look at, with full text, “Spit in my face, you Jews”)

John Cassian vs. Nestorius

Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns on the Incarnation

The Sign of the Cross (quotations on the subject)


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