Reflection on Two Patristic Theologians

One night you doze off while trying to do your friggin' RS-125 reading, and a deep sleep falls over you. In your slumber, an angel visits you and takes you up to the second heaven, where theologians go. It's below the third, where biblical scholars go. There, in the Spirit, you see Augustine and Athanasius sitting at a table! As you near them, you notice that they're eating buffalo chicken pizza. It's not the ordinary Sodexo variety, but glorified pizza, whose scent dazzles you the way the materials of God's throne dazzled Ezekiel.

You are close enough now to speak to them, and you are about to protest that you are a person of unclean lips, when you remember that that's Isaiah, not Ezekiel, and you don't want to make a fool of yourself in case you end up here someday. You expect that to produce an awkward silence, but the two go right on talking and eating as if you weren't there, and you realize that they can't see you, or at least don't give a rip about your presence. They just carry on their conversation. As it happens, they are conversing in English through thick Greek and Latin accents. Apparently everyone is using English nowadays! That's a relief, you think; one less thing for you to learn. Then it occurs to you that by the time you get here everyone will probably be speaking Chinese.

Their conversation seems almost too coincidental to be real! But you know that only Arminian heretics believe in coincidences, right Dr. Greene? So you set that impious thought aside. It turns out that they've set up something they call the Not-Yet-Dead Theologians Society, where they review books from earthly theologians. It's just for kicks and the reviews are mainly for laughs, but hey, the Church Triumphant learns a thing or two from the Church Militant along the way. Anyway, they're beginning to work through Divine Teaching by Mark McIntosh for the next issue. No! Way!

As you pick up their complaints about what a ridiculously complicated language English is, you surmise that they just speak whatever language the book was written in. Awe-some-ness!

Then Augustine shoots a stern look through you (at you?) and you get a sudden wave of conviction that grace's glory is displayed not in learning, but in holiness.

Whoa, how'd he know? Do they know I'm here? Would I have made that up in a dream of my own?

You set aside the existential questions swirling in your head as they are getting down to business. They begin with McIntosh's chapters on what theologians do and what theology is, and....

Finish the account. Describe the rest of your vision of their conversation over McIntosh's claims about theology and theologians in the first section of Divine Teaching. Consider that these two would likely draw from their own works to make their points, and would also know and appreciate one another's.

As to format, you have creative latitude: You might write a dialogue between these two church fathers, perhaps with stage directions, or else a straightforward report or analysis of their conversation, or that section of the review they produce, or you might adopt some other genre. Write in whatever way helps you answer the question well. Regardless of your format, rely on all three readings, and include references to where you are drawing from them. If references in the text would break the flow of conversation, put them in footnotes that indicate that you, the visionary, want to point them out to the reader. They do that kind of thing in the Bible, you know.

Please keep your paper around four pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers.

Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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