by George Faithful, Saint Louis University

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“Shout on, children, you never die. Glory, hallelu!”[1] As jubilant and bold as ever, the voice of the poet resounds, drowning out centuries of physical oppression and subsequent decades of scholarly neglect. Few genres of song have been as significant historically, literarily, musically, and theologically as the “Negro spiritual.” For their original singers, they were songs of praise, lamentation, and resistance. I maintain that the spirituals present a coherent theology, which may be discerned upon a close reading of the songs’ texts.

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by T. R. LeCroy,[1] Saint Louis University

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Introduction

From 1402-1415 Jan Hus served as the face of the Bohemian reform movement, a movement that began before his time and would continue after his death.[2] The dozen years, from the time of his installation as rector of Bethlehem Chapel (Betlemská Kaple) until his death at Constance, may seem a short time for a career to have such a great impact; but many other factors also coincided with Hus’ ministry to make this a formative time in the history of the Czech nation and the church at large. While there are many directions that an exploration of Hus’ life and ministry could take, this paper will focus on the developments in liturgical practice that Hus effected through his ministry at Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, and will emphasize that Hus was indeed a leader in the liturgical arm of the Prague reform.
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by C. Michael Shea, Saint Louis University

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The goal of this paper will be to explore the possibilities which Balthasar’s theological aesthetics presents for scriptural hermeneutics. One of the central issues with which any Christian theology must contend is that of the interpretation and use of the Word of God. This is undoubtedly important, for different ways of approaching the Bible lead to different conclusions on issues extending to all aspects of Christian life. If we consider the problem in connection to our own academic context, disparities in method regarding scripture have amounted to fields which have drifted apart, such that the systematic theologian, the ethicist and the exegete can only critique one another in a limited manner, if at all.

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by Donna Reinhard, Saint Louis University

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Thomas Madden states the question regarding the fourth crusade well: “what happened to transform an effective and limited intervention in Byzantine politics into mass slaughter at Constantinople?”[1] Madden argues that historians have spent too much energy on deterministic thinking when, in fact, Constantinople’s fall was not inevitable; it was a shock to the world.[2] He proposes that the key to understanding the tragedy of 1204 is not in the tensions between East and West but in “the treaties that had governed the crusaders’ actions since 1201.”[3] While broken treaties provide critical insight into the impetus for the tragedy of 1204, is it possible to understand why the 13th century chroniclers presented deterministic thinking in their historical narratives?[4] While Jonathan Harris proposes that the deterministic underpinning of Byzantine historian Nicetas Choniates account was due to his dependence upon classical models,[5] I propose that theological aspects may also have been at work in Choniates’ interpretation of the events, especially since the same theological presuppositions can be seen in the Western church’s interpretation of the fall of Constantinople. In this essay I will explore how the importance of relics in medieval Christian spirituality, combined with the pilgrimage nature of the crusade, led some in the Western church to interpret the sacking of Constantinople as the partial fulfillment of crusader vows. In addition, I will investigate how theological presuppositions about icons, specifically Marian icons, in Constantinople may provide insight into the Eastern analysis of this crusade.

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At long last, the 2007-2008 issue is again available.

A PDF of the original title page and table of contents is available here.

PDFs are also attached to each of the following articles.