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Revelation of St. John

The Book of Revelation, often called the Book of Revelations, Revelation to John, the Apocalypse of John, The Revelation, or simply Revelation, the Revelation of Jesus Christ (from its opening words) or the Apocalypse, is the final book of the New Testament, and therefore also the final book of the Christian Bible. It occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. Its title is derived from the first word of the text, written in Koine Greek: apokalypsis, meaning “unveiling” or “revelation” (before title pages and titles, books were commonly known by the incipit, their first words, as is also the case of the Hebrew Five Books of Moses (Torah).
The Book of Revelation is the only apocalyptic document in the New Testament canon (although there are short apocalyptic passages in various places in the Gospels and the Epistles) The only extended passage in the Old Testament is in the Book of Daniel.
The author names himself in the text as “John”, but his precise identity remains a point of academic debate.
Second-century Christian writers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Melito the bishop of Sardis, and Clement of Alexandria and the author of the Muratorian fragment identify John the Apostle as the “John” of Revelation.
Modern scholarship generally takes a different view, and many consider that nothing can be known about the author except that he was a Christian prophet.
Some modern scholars characterise Revelation’s author as a putative figure whom they call “John of Patmos”.

John of Patmos (also called John the Revelator, John the Divine or John the Theologian) is the author named as John in the Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic text forming the final book of the New Testament. The text of Revelation states that John was on Patmos, a Greek island where, by most biblical historians, he is considered to be in exile as a result of anti-Christian persecution under the Roman emperor Domitian.

Translated by Alexander Walker

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The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicity

The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicity is one of the oldest and most notable early Christian texts. It survives in both Latin and Greek forms, and contains a first person prison diary of the young mother and martyr Perpetua. Scholars generally believe that it is authentic although in the form we have it may have been edited by others. The text also appears to contain, in his own words, the accounts of the visions of Saturus, another Christian martyred with Perpetua.
Perpetua and Felicity (believed to have died in 203 AD) were Christian martyrs of the 3rd century. Vibia Perpetua was a married noblewoman, said to have been 22 years old at the time of her death, and mother of an infant she was nursing. Felicity, a slave imprisoned with her and pregnant at the time, was martyred with her. They were put to death along with others at Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.

Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240 AD) was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. Of Berber origin, he was the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was an early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy, including contemporary Christian Gnosticism.
Tertullian has been called “the father of Latin Christianity” and “the founder of Western theology.”

Translated by R.E. Wallis

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The Epistle of Barnabas

The Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle written between 70–132 CE. It is preserved complete in the 4th-century Codex Sinaiticus, where it appears immediately after the New Testament and before the Shepherd of Hermas. For several centuries it was one of the “antilegomena” writings that some Christians looked on as sacred scripture, while others excluded them. Eusebius of Caesarea classified it as such. It is mentioned in a perhaps third-century list in the sixth-century Codex Claromontanus and in the later Stichometry of Nicephorus appended to the ninth-century Chronography of Nikephoros I of Constantinople. Some early Fathers of the Church ascribed it to the Barnabas who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, but it is now generally attributed to an otherwise unknown early Christian teacher, perhaps of the same name. It is distinct from the Gospel of Barnabas.

Barnabas born Joseph, was according to tradition an early Christian, one of the prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They traveled together making more converts (c. 45–47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c. 50). Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the “God-fearing” Gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia.

Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis

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L’Introduction à la vie dévote

L’Introduction à la vie dévote est l’une des œuvres majeures de la littérature chrétienne. C’est au cours de l’année 1608 que l’évêque de Genève, saint François de Sales, âgé de 41 ans et prêtre depuis 15 ans, écrivit son œuvre la plus connue, l’Introduction à la vie dévote. Au début, François de Sales écrivait de nombreux conseils à la femme d’un cousin, Madame Louise du Chastel, qui voulait apprendre à être dévote, et connaître une vie de prière. François de Sales rédigeait donc à son attention, lui prodiguant des conseils spirituels.

Or celle-ci faisait lire les lettres de François de Sales autour d’elle, jusqu’à ce qu’un jésuite lui demandât de les publier. François de Sales accepta donc de reprendre les lettres et de les publier après quelques retouches, sous le titre d’Introduction à la vie dévote. Le langage et le style utilisés étaient très simples pour l’époque, sans citations latines ni grecques, permettant une lecture beaucoup plus large que les traités spirituels qui existaient alors. L’ouvrage est destiné à des laïcs ne se destinant pas à la vie religieuse, et a pour principal but de montrer qu’il est possible de mener une vie sainte tout en vivant dans le monde. Les vies des saints, et particulièrement de ceux qui ont vécu dans le monde, sont souvent prises comme exemple.

Il se divise en cinq parties : la première partie enseigne comment passer du désir de la vie dévote à la résolution d’embrasser cette vie ; la deuxième partie cherche à apprendre la perfection par l’« oraison », c’est-à-dire la prière structurée, conduite et raisonnée, et les sacrements ; la troisième partie est consacrée à la pratique des vertus ; la quatrième partie indique l’attitude à avoir vis-à-vis des tentations ; et la dernière considère la façon de renouveler la ferveur du dévot.

Ce livre eut très vite un énorme succès : il fut ainsi réimprimé plus de quarante fois du vivant de François de Sales ; le roi de France Henri IV lui-même le lut et la reine Marie de Médicis en offrit un exemplaire « orné de diamants », au roi d’Angleterre.

François de Sales, né le 21 août 1567 au château de Sales près de Thorens-Glières en Savoie et décédé le 28 décembre 1622 à Lyon, est un prêtre catholique savoyard. Nommé évêque de Genève, il ne put jamais prendre possession de son siège devenu la “Rome des calvinistes” et resta en résidence à Annecy. Proclamé saint et docteur de l’Église il est liturgiquement commémoré le 24 janvier.

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