Theology Events

Thank you for joining us for

The St. Ignatius Loyola Chair Lecture

From Rivalry to Revelry: Modes of Reception in Early Christian Poetry and Worship

Brian Dunkle, S.J., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Fordham University Loyal Chair, 2023-2024

Wednesday, November 1, 4 p.m. (event has passed)
Rose Hill | Walsh Library | Special Collections Room

As Christian poets gained status and influence in the Roman Empire, they wrote out of aemulatio, that is, the desire to rival and surpass the great pagan poets of antiquity, such as Homer and Vergil. Yet when they engaged new Christian classics, especially the Bible and the church’s creeds, any attempt at aemulatio would be equivalent to heresy. Thus, two modes of imitation inform early Christian poetry: one that rivals literary authorities and another that revels in theological authorities. This lecture explored the interaction of these two modes not only in selected works of ambitious Christian verse, but also in the celebratory hymns of the church’s worship.