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Passages: Nicaea
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Passages: Nicaea

Author: Caleb Wait

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Who wrote the Nicene Creed? Why did the estimated 300 bishops present at the Council of Nicaea use terms such as “Light of Light... consubstantial... proceeding...” and more to describe God? Is the creed even intelligible to us today in the same sense its early proponents understood it? Does the Nicene Creed have anything constructive to contribute to our context today, to those disillusioned with traditional forms of religion, or those merely interested in spirituality?

In Passages: Nicaea, Joshua Heavin and Caleb Wait give an overview of the Council of Nicaea while grappling with its caricatures and criticisms.
13 Episodes
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Of everything that can or should be said as a statement of Christian belief, why has the church confessed the Nicene Creed for seventeen centuries? Where did this creed come from? What figures or texts in its backstory might provide further context for, or develop the implications of, these articles of faith – some of which are less intuitive than others? Is the theology of this creed even intelligible to us today, who inhabit very different plausibility structures of the modern, secularizing West? Differently, is this creed merely the product of ancient imperial politics, implicated in failures of Christian exploitation and oppression in ages past and present? How might we, in a culture of expressive individualism, tie our deepest convictions about God, self, others, and the world to a symbol of faith given to us, which we entrust to others, participating in something ever ancient and ever new, something that precedes us and will long outlast our fleeting and desperate lives? In 'Passages,' Joshua Heavin and Caleb Wait look at the theological contents of the documents that lead to the Nicene Creed, the personal stories behind them, and how these texts and passages also became the passageways of history, propelling not only the Christian church but all of society down new corridors, new periods, and new eras.  
Where does the Nicene Creed come from? What figures or texts in its backstory might provide further context for, or develop the implications of, these articles of faith – some of which are less intuitive than others? Is the theology of this creed even intelligible to us today, who inhabit very different plausibility structures of the modern, secularizing West? Joshua and Caleb discuss these questions and more as they explore the backstory to the Council of Nicaea. 'Passages' is a project from Mere Orthodoxy. 'Passages' is written and produced by Joshua Heavin and Caleb Wait, with original music from Aaron Feeney.
In the second installment of 'Passages,' Joshua and Caleb look into the Nicene Creed's testimony to "one God." They explore early Christian theological interpretation of the Bible, more & less helpful ways to approach the complicated early histories of Judaism and Christianity, & much more. To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show.
In this episode of 'Passages,' Joshua and Caleb are joined by Dr. Michael Horton and Dr. Fred Sanders to discuss some of the backstories behind the article in the Nicene Creed that we says the One God is the "maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible." Listen in to hear commentary on Gnosticism, Marcionism, and Tertullian. To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show. Disclaimer: the first musical track in this episode is not original to the 'Passages' production crew.
In this episode, Joshua and Caleb begin to explore the second portion of the Nicene Creed on the Son. The hosts give an introduction to the Council of Nicaea, the reason Constantine convened the council in the first place, as well as the life and work of Athanasius. To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show. Disclaimer: the musical tracks beginning at the timestamps 7:44 and 26:00 are not original to the 'Passages' production crew.
What happened at the Council of Nicaea? Did Certain Bishops use imperial power to impose a Greek version of Christianity that, today, we call orthodoxy? Did Constantine impose the term homoousios in the Nicene Creed as a way to infuse paganism and Christianity? Can Christians use and apply non-biblical terms and categories without distorting the faith? In this episode, Joshua and Caleb investigate how these questions can be answered and more as they look at the controversy between the pro-Nicene Bishops and their opponents: the Arians. To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show. Disclaimer: the music at timestamps 8:00 and 40:00 are not original to the 'Passages' production team.
How can the Son be begotten, but not made? In this episode of 'Passages,' Joshua and Caleb introduce us to Gregory of Nazianzus and his Theological Orations on the Son. To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show. Disclaimer: the music at timestamp 28:00 is not original to the 'Passages' production team.
In this episode of Passages, Joshua and Caleb further explore the line in the Nicene Creed about the Son being "begotten, but not made," and they do so by looking at the remaining theological orations of Gregory of Nazianzus. While doing so they look at the implications that a doctrine such as the eternal generation of the Son has on modern theology: is the Trinity a model for human societies, is the Son functionally eternally subordinate to the Father, what practical application is there in such a doctrine if any? To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show. Disclaimer: the music at timestamp 28:00 is not original to the 'Passages' production team.
In the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit is called, "the Lord and giver of life," but how can the Spirit and the Son both be called Lord? What does it mean that the Spirit "proceeds" from the Father and Son? Joshua and Caleb explore these questions and how they're answered in the writings of Basil the Great.   To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show. Disclaimer: the music at timestamp 28:00 is not original to the 'Passages' production team.
Beyond beautiful hymns and prayers, what else did worship involve for Basil of Caesarea? And what are some of the practical implications for those who confess the Nicene Creed? What do these lines of the Creed look like in the church and in the lives of its people? Joshua and Caleb further discuss Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus's writings on the Holy Spirit and look at their implications on justice, the question of the subordination of the Spirit, and worship in the church.  To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show. Disclaimer: the music at timestamps 3:20 and 19:15 is not original to the 'Passages' production team.
In this episode, Joshua and Caleb turn to the writings of Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of Basil the Great, and his contribution of a trinitarian grammar, as well as the implications of the creed's final lines and how they impact the Christian life.   To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show.  
In this episode, Joshua and Caleb delve into the meaning and story behind the last line in the Nicene Creed: "I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." Listen in as the hosts compare what popular notions about what the resurrection and heaven are, how they square with the Bible, and specifically the writings and teachings of Macrina, the teacher and elder sister to Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesarea. To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show.
In this final installment of Passages, Joshua sits down for an extended interview with Fr. Khaled Anatolios to discuss the Nicene theology and his two prominent works, 'Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine' and 'Deification Through the Cross: An Eastern Christian Theology of Salvation.' We also hear highlights from our interviews with (in order of appearance): Dr. Scott Swain, Dr. Stephen Bagby, Dr. Fred Sanders, and Dr. Amy Brown Hughes. For a list of our guest's books and resources, please see the Passages Reading List HERE. To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy. Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires. Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show.
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