This book offers a fresh interpretation of the relation between Greek thought and ancient Christian theology through an analysis of three foundational and controversial thinkers: Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Athanasius. Rather than opposing certain cagegories such as philosophy besides scripture, or orthodoxy besides heresy, the author examines how language about Christ and the world functions as a theological model. This allows the recovery of the theological
and religious significance of certain ideas such as subordination or the obedience of Christ, which were rejected by later orthodoxy. As an urban teacher, civic apologist, and ascetic bishop, each of
the three theologians discussed offered a distinctive Christian response to the religious and ecclesiastical ideas of the third and fourth centuries. Each cosmology and Christology therefore reveals particular concerns about individual and social identity and salvation in the developing Christian community.
'this is a valuable study which offers a useful perspective on the debate between free-will and determinism in the early church'
Gerald Bostock, Expository Times
'Lyman's thesis ... repays patient study and I believe she is successful in showing that more complex models are needed by modern scholars in order to grasp and describe the complexities of early Christian expositions of theology.'
Michael Insley, Anvil, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1994
`This fascinating and illuminating discussion should be read not just by the patristic specialist, but by the systematic theologian. It may not be a work that alerts us to new material, but it most certainly puts familiar material into a different perspective. The book overtly challenges imbalances in previous expositions. The readings offered ring true to the texts, providing an important corrective to the standard judgements offered in the textbooks. ...
the plurality of settings and models within early Christian theology needs the kind of recognition it is given here.'
Frances M. Young, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1, Apr '96