Theodoret of Cyrrhus "sola fide" reference in Fitzmyer's Commentary on Romans

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DTK

Puritan Board Junior
In his commentary on Paul's epistle to the Romans, the Jesuit commentator Joseph Fitzmyer observes that the Reformers, particularly Luther, were not the first to coin and/or use the phrase sola fide with respect to justification. Fitzmyer goes on to list the references by others on pp. 360-361 of Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1993).

One of the early church Fathers he references as a source for sola fide is as follows: "Theodoret, Affectionum curatio 7 (PG 93.100; ed. J. Raeder [Teubner], 189.20-24)."

Being the nerd that I am, I double-checked the reference in Migne, listed above as "PG 93.100." For some reason this particular reference of Theodoret from Migne is an error as it is listed in Fitzmyer's commentary. The actual reference should be PG 83:1001. At any rate, I am supplying below the citation from Theodoret, with an English translation and the Greek text from Migne...

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): For clearly it is not through praiseworthy actions but by faith alone that we obtain mystical blessings. It is for this reason that the divine apostle has also proclaimed: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God⸺not the result of works, so that no one may boast. Thomas Halton, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus: A Cure for Pagan Maladies, Ancient Christian Writers, #67 (New York: The Newman Press, 2013), p.165.
Greek text: Οὐ γὰρ δὴ διʼ ἔργων ἀξιεπαίνων, ἀλλὰ διὰ μόνης πίστεως τῶν μυστικῶν τετυχήκαμεν ἀγαθῶν. Τῷ τοι καὶ ὁ θεῖος ἀπόστολος κέκραγεν· «Χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι· καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.» Graecarum affectionum curatio, VII, PG 83.1001B.

I mentioned to Lane in a private post that I think the value of Fitzmyer's commentary on Romans, apart from the theological and exegetical scholarship, is what he admits therein, an example being with respect to the meaning of δικαιόω, which he says can be translated as "declare upright," i.e. in a forensic sense. e.g. pp. 117-119.
 
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DTK

Puritan Board Junior
I thought it might be pertinent for me to add other instances I've found of Theodoret's usage of sola fide...

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Romans 3:22-23: He (Paul) briefly showed all to be guilty and in need of grace. Justified gratuitously by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (v.24): bringing faith alone, we received the forgiveness of sins, since Christ the Lord offered his own body as a kind of ransom for us. Whom God put forward as a mercy seat by his blood effective through faith (v.25). The mercy seat was of gold leaf, situated on the ark; on either side it had the carvings of the cherubim. From there God’s benevolence was revealed to the high priest as he ministered. The divine apostle, then, teaches that Christ the Lord is the true mercy seat: the old one had the function of a type of the latter. Now, the title belongs to him as a man, not as God: as God he gave a response through the mercy seat, while as man he receives this name as he does others, like sheep, lamb, sin, curse and suchlike. Whereas the old mercy seat was without blood, insofar as it was lifeless, and drops of the blood of the victims fell on it, Christ the Lord is God and mercy seat, high priesnt and lamb, and with his blood worked our salvation, requiring from us only faith. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 1 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 64.
Greek text: Ἐν συντόμῳ πάντας ὑπευθύνους ἔδειξε, καὶ τῆς χάριτος ἐνδεεῖς. Δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι, διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χπριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Πίστιν γὰρ μόνην εἰσενεγκόντες, τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων τὴν ἄφεσιν ἐδεξάμεθα· ἐπειδὴ οἷον τι λύτρον ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ὁ Δεσπότης Χριστὸς τὸ οἰκεῖον προσενήνοχε σῶμα. Ὅν προέθετο Θεὸς ἱλαστήριον διὰ τῆς πίστεως, ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αἵματι. Τὸ ἱλαστήριον πέταλον ἦν χρυσοῦν· ἐπέκειτο δὲ τῇ κιβωτῷ· ἐκατέρωθεν δὲ εἶχε τὰ τῶν Χερουβὶμ ἐκτυπώματα. Ἐκεῖθεν τῷ ἀρχιερεῖ λειτουργοῦντι ἐγίνετο δήλη τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ εὐμένεια. Διδάσκει τοίνυν ὁ Θεὸς Ἀπόσλολος, ὡς τὸ ἀληθινὸν ἱλαστήριον ὁ Δεσπότης ἐστὶ Χριστὸς. Ἐκεῖνο γὰρ τὸ παλαιὸν τούτου τὸν τύπον ἐπλήρου. Ἁρμόττει δὲ αὐτῷ ὡς ἀνθρώπῳ τὸ ὄνομα, οὐχ ὡς Θεῷ. Ὡς γὰρ Θεὸς, αὐτὸς διὰ τοῦ ἱλαστηρίου χρηματίζει· ὡς δὲ ἄνθρωπος, καὶ ταύττην δέχεται τὴν προσηγορίαν, καθάπερ καὶ τὰς ἄλλας, οἷον πρόβατον, καὶ ἀμνὸς, καὶ ἁμαρτία, καὶ κατάρα, καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα. Καὶ τὸ μέν παλαιὸν ἱλαστήριον καὶ ἄναιμος ἦν, ἐπείπερ καὶ ἄψυχον· τοῦ δὲ τῶν ἱερείων αἵματος τὰς ῥανίδας ἐδέχετο. Ὁ δὲ Δεσπότης Χριστὸς, καὶ Θεός ἐστὶ, καὶ ἱλαστήριον, καὶ ἀρχιερεὺς, καὶ ἀμνὸς, καὶ ἐν τῷ οἰκείῳ αἵματι τὴν ἡμετέραν ἐπραγματεύσατο σωτηρίαν, πίστιν μόνην παρʼ ἡμῶν ἀπαιτήσας. Interpretatio Epistolae ad Romanos, Cap III, PG 82:84-85.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Ephesians 2:8-9: By grace, in fact, you are saved through faith (v.8): the grace of God regaled us with these good things; we had only faith to offer, but divine grace worked with it. He went on in this vein: This is no doing of yours: it is the gift of God, not from works lest anyone boast (vv.8-9): we have not believed of our own volition; rather we made our approach when called, and when we did he did not require of us purity of life―instead, he accepted faith alone and granted us forgiveness of sins. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 39.
Greek text: «Τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως.» Ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ χάρις τούτων ἡμᾶς ἠξίωσε τῶν ἀγαθῶν. Ἡμεῖς δὲ μόνην τὴν πίστιν προσενηνόχαμεν. Ἀλλὰ καὶ ταύτης ἡ θεία χάρις γεγένηται συνεργός. Τοῦτο γὰρ ἐπήγαγε· «Καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν· Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.» Οὐ γὰρ αὐτόματοι πεπιστεύκαμεν, ἀλλὰ κληθέντες προσεληλύθαμεν, καὶ προσελθόντας οὐκ ἀπήτησε καθαρότητα βίου, ἀλλὰ μόνην τὴν πίστιν δεξάμενος, τὴν τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων ἄφεσιν ἐδωρήσατο. Interpretatio Epistolae ad Ephesios, Caput II, PG 82:521A-B.

Theodoret of Cyrus (393-466): I own myself wretched—aye thrice wretched. I am guilty of many errors. Through faith alone I look for finding some mercy in the day of the Lord’s appearing. NPNF2: Vol. III, Letters of the Blessed Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, Letter 83.
Greek text: Ἐγὼ δὲ ἄθλιον ἐμαυτὸν καὶ τρισάθλιον οἶδα· πολλοῖς γὰρ ὑπόκειμαι πλημμελήμασι· διὰ μόνην δὲ πίστιν ἐν τῇ τῆς θείας ἐπιφανείας ἡμέρᾳ φειδοῦς τινος ἀπολαύσεσθαι προσδοκῶ. Epistola LXXXIII, PG 83:1269.
 
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Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Wonderful quotes.

Of course, each time I have leveraged them with a Romanist, I am met with the usual wave off denial that conclusions and opinions of professional academic biblical scholars and theologians mean absolutely nothing. Sigh.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
Of course, each time I have leveraged them with a Romanist, I am met with the usual wave off denial that conclusions and opinions of professional academic biblical scholars and theologians mean absolutely nothing. Sigh.
Agreed Patrick, but it proves the claim that Luther was the first to "invent" the phrase sola fide to be a lie. That said, Roman apologists are not averse to sticking their heads in the sand to ignore reality. They remind me of what Spurgeon said about some commentators . . . "They follow one another, and all go astray."
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Agreed Patrick, but it proves the claim that Luther was the first to "invent" the phrase sola fide to be a lie. That said, Roman apologists are not averse to sticking their heads in the sand to ignore reality. They remind me of what Spurgeon said about some commentators . . . "They follow one another, and all go astray."
Indeed, when faced with irrefutable proof, they retreat behind smokescreens of the magisterium.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Wonderful quotes.

Of course, each time I have leveraged them with a Romanist, I am met with the usual wave off denial that conclusions and opinions of professional academic biblical scholars and theologians mean absolutely nothing. Sigh.

In one of my debates with Orthodox Bridge's moderator, I quoted Lars Thunberg's book on Maximus the Confessor. I was waved off as "he wasn't part of Holy Tradition." I then found out that the Orthodox seminary St Vlad's publishes a lot of Lars's work.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
But, Jacob, aren't you being just a bit too fact oriented? Honestly, one would think that you cared about what actually happened. In the world of RCC and EO, you just can't think that way at all. You have to unlearn what you have learned (speaking in hushed Yoda voice). In your case, that would, unfortunately, be too long a process, so...you're hopeless. ;)
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
In his commentary on Paul's epistle to the Romans, the Jesuit commentator Joseph Fitzmyer observes that the Reformers, particularly Luther, were not the first to coin and/or use the phrase sola fide with respect to justification. Fitzmyer goes on to list the references by others on pp. 360-361 of Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1993).

One of the early church Fathers he references as a source for sola fide is as follows: "Theodoret, Affectionum curatio 7 (PG 93.100; ed. J. Raeder [Teubner], 189.20-24)."

Being the nerd that I am, I double-checked the reference in Migne, listed above as "PG 93.100." For some reason this particular reference of Theodoret from Migne is an error as it is listed in Fitzmyer's commentary. The actual reference should be PG 83:1001. At any rate, I am supplying below the citation from Theodoret, with an English translation and the Greek text from Migne...

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466): For clearly it is not through praiseworthy actions but by faith alone that we obtain mystical blessings. It is for this reason that the divine apostle has also proclaimed: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God⸺not the result of works, so that no one may boast. Thomas Halton, trans., Theodoret of Cyrus: A Cure for Pagan Maladies, Ancient Christian Writers, #67 (New York: The Newman Press, 2013), p.165.
Greek text: Οὐ γὰρ δὴ διʼ ἔργων ἀξιεπαίνων, ἀλλὰ διὰ μόνης πίστεως τῶν μυστικῶν τετυχήκαμεν ἀγαθῶν. Τῷ τοι καὶ ὁ θεῖος ἀπόστολος κέκραγεν· «Χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι· καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.» Graecarum affectionum curatio, VII, PG 83.1001B.

I mentioned to Lane in a private post that I think the value of Fitzmyer's commentary on Romans, apart from the theological and exegetical scholarship, is what he admits therein, an example being with respect to the meaning of δικαιόω, which he says can be translated as "declare upright," i.e. in a forensic sense. e.g. pp. 117-119.
So even though a catholic scholar, he would agree with the reformed view on justification, or he was just showing how others in the past did?
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
So even though a catholic scholar, he would agree with the reformed view on justification, or he was just showing how others in the past did?
No, Fitzmyer would not (after all, he was a Romanist), and it's best to leave the "reformed view" (as we understand it today) out of the matter, for that would be anachronistic. All I'm saying is that the seed form of sola fide, which came to its mature expression in and by the Reformers, was anticipated by writers in the early church. Luther did not invent sola fide; others beat him to the punch.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
No, Fitzmyer would not (after all, he was a Romanist), and it's best to leave the "reformed view" (as we understand it today) out of the matter, for that would be anachronistic. All I'm saying is that the seed form of sola fide, which came to its mature expression in and by the Reformers, was anticipated by writers in the early church. Luther did not invent sola fide; others beat him to the punch.
In the same fashion that Calvin did not invent Calvinism, but was adding to what others as Augustine had recorded down regarding salvation?
 
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