Okay, so I’m reading (as part of an independent study project this summer, on account of I wasn’t able to get into a Clinical Pastoral Education program — if you don’t know, don’t ask) the Library of Christian Classics, starting with the first volume, the Early Christian Fathers. Most of the writings are from the very early second century A.D. through the middle, and cover some writings that were, for a time, part of the Christian canon in some places (the First Letter of Clement, the Didache, for example).
There’s not great doctrine here yet, since Christians are still working on the words to articulate the concept of Trinity and how Jesus really gets to be both fully God and fully human at the same time (though that is fervently believed, just as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are as well), and most of the writings are fairly simple (to simplistic, such as the Martyrdom of Polycarp). I’ve run across a few good quotes, but none as good as what I just read in the Apology of Justin.
It’s the longest piece in this collection, but it isn’t a very sophisticated piece. He spends a lot of time blaming pagan religion on demons who, overhearing what God said to Moses or what Moses said and did for Israel, repeated those tales as lies to gentiles in order to foster unbelief. There’s a really good description of a Eucharist service, but mostly he spends his time trying to “prove” the merits of Christianity, which was as much a waste of time than as it is now.
This is one way he tries to do that. In paragraph 64 (p. 285 in my edition), Justin writes:
“In imitation of the Spirit of God, spoken of as borne over the water, they spoke of Kore, daughter of Zeus. With similar malice they spoke of Athena as a daughter of Zeus, but not as a result of intercourse — since they knew that God designed the creation of the world by the Word, the spoke of Athena as the first Concept. This we consider very ridiculous, to offer the female form as the image of an intellectual concept.“[italics mine — CHF].
I dunno, I rather think female forms are very intellectual and very conceptual. Certainly they are worth conceiving of.
And I’ll shut up about the subject now.