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Discipleship and ImaginationChristian Tradition and Truth$

David Brown

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198270188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198270186.001.0001

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Apostolicity and Conflict: Peter and Paul

Apostolicity and Conflict: Peter and Paul

(p.293) 6 Apostolicity and Conflict: Peter and Paul
Discipleship and Imagination

David Brown (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

The conflict between Peter and Paul is explored and taken as indicative of deep‐seated conflicts within the New Testament. These, however, are not viewed negatively but as part of the creative process working towards truth, which is then seen to continue in the subsequent history of the Church, with heresy in the patristic period and Reformation conflicts alike benefiting the Church's search for the truth. The chapter then ends with an exploration of literary and artistic images of Peter and Paul and their relevance to this more complex notion of a discovered rather than established authority.

Keywords:   apostolicity, art, authority, heresy, Paul, Peter, Reformation

The most famous theological discussion of development was offered by its author as his justification for his move from the authority of Canterbury to that of Rome.1 Few today would regard the tests Newman offers as persuasive, far less decisive. The continuing significance of the Essay is the impetus it gave to less wooden approaches to how development occurs, with entailments from an earlier deposit now accepted as altogether too simplistic.2 To his credit, that is one of the reasons why to begin with Newman expressed reservations over the subsequent promulgation of papal infallibility in 1870;3 why too he acknowledged tensions between the prophetic, priestly, and regal aspects of the Church in the 1877 Preface to his Via Media.4 Yet as an Anglican Newman is found expressing a desire for a very simple authority structure. Christ is presented as investing in his apostles the main powers that he himself possesses, and indeed the image of prophet, priest, and king is used to make that point, but without any of the (p.294) tensions noted that he would later make explicit in his 1877 Preface.5 Did the realities of his new communion perhaps force upon him the beginnings of the recognition of a more complex picture?

However that may be, modern biblical scholarship and the development of non‐partisan research into the history of the Church certainly now compel such a recognition.6 We can no longer think as Newman did of the apostles after the death of Christ acting in unanimity as a college with power to act as ‘sole channels of grace’ and ‘sole governors’,7 and this authority then being transmitted to their successors. Conflict runs deep both in Scripture and in the subsequent history of the Church, and it is impossible to substantiate any claim that truth has always unqualifiedly flowed in one stream and one stream alone. Increasingly, attention is being drawn to a range of positions within the New Testament, with, for instance the views of James, Peter, and Paul no longer easily reconcilable. Similarly, in treatments of the early Church more positive assessments are being offered of heretical movements that were until recently seen in largely negative terms, just as Reformation and Counter‐Reformation are being contextualized, not only through greater acknowledgement of their common medieval inheritance, but also in the way in which the decrees of both distort except when read in relation to the alleged faults of the other side: in other words, neither can claim to offer self‐contained truths. These are some examples of the historical issues to which attention will be drawn shortly. The reader should note, though, that it is impossible to offer here more than cursory comment on any particular example, and that the examples are intended in any case to be subordinate to consideration of the theological implications of such a changed understanding of the community of faith's past. With that end in view, I shall consider first the pattern that emerges within Scripture itself before turning to a consideration of what happens in the subsequent history of the Church.

(p.295) Contesting a Biblical Consensus

My subheading here is deliberately ambiguous, for not only do I wish to challenge the notion of any simple idea of an Old or New Testament biblical consensus, I also want to argue that it is in fact commonly through the process of contest and conflict that a consensus eventually emerged, to which some authority could then legitimately be attached. Even that limited claim, though, may be altogether too much for some scholars. They might rightly observe that all such forms of consensus came at a price, with the exclusion of some group or other, as for example in the New Testament with the Church's eventual rejection of those Ebionite or Jewish Christians (probably to be especially associated with the apostle James) who strongly supported continued observation of the Law. This must be conceded, but equally we need to guard against the supposition that any proper search for the truth can ever avoid some losing out. In much modern interfaith and ecumenical dialogue there is an insidious temptation to identify tolerance with indifference. This can appear, most obviously perhaps, in the supposition that the only way to respect those with whom one disagrees is to declare their opinion as good as one's own, and thus the conviction can easily emerge that it is only in issues that do not ultimately matter that one may legitimately disagree. One unfortunate expression of this idea in ecumenical dialogue is in the notion that what are labelled adiaphora should be read as implying that doctrines thus characterized are of no intrinsic, or at most only minor, importance.8 A recent instance of the same kind of problem in interfaith discussion comes in the work of a German scholar who equates anti‐Judaism in the New Testament with any suggestion from the Christian side that continued adhesion to Judaism cannot of itself lead to salvation.9 Certainly, it must be conceded that the New Testament does (p.296) contain some of the seeds for later anti‐Semitism and that despite almost all its authors being themselves Jews, but we must surely resist the view that any declaration of disagreement necessarily of itself constitutes an act of hostility. Indeed, it is worth noting that in the original arguments for religious toleration in England, the philosopher John Locke opposed forced conformity not because he held all views on such matters to be of equal worth but because he argued that God valued something more: the free assent of the individuals concerned.10 In other words, what matters is the degree of respect one accords those with whom one disagrees, not the strength of one's disagreement. It is of course not always easy to keep the two issues separate, but that does not alter the importance of the principle. Christianity and Judaism may both lead to salvation, but it is important in the search for truth that all options be kept open, including of course the possibility that neither religion is true.

Because moral, political, and religious views can profoundly affect the way in which we live, inevitably the search for truth in these areas often tends to have an acerbic edge. But there is also another, more positive way of viewing the matter. Because positions are deeply held, it can sometimes take powerful expressions of a contrary view to shock us into taking opponents seriously. Conflict can thus at times be creative in widening horizons, and in compelling either the adoption of one's opponent's perspective or at the very least its incorporation into a wider frame. That, I suggest, is the way in which we should read the conflicts lying just beneath the scriptural text. In a moment we shall consider how such an observation might apply in respect of disagreements among the apostles, but it will be helpful first to set such conflict against the wider background of the way in which the Judaism they had inherited was itself created through contested opinions. In a sense, God's apostles or ‘accredited agents’ have always been in dispute with one another,11 and that is how growth in the tradition has occurred.

(p.297) Hearing Plural Voices: Jewish No Less Than Christian

Given its probable thousand‐year span it is perhaps not all that surprising that a great diversity of opinion is to be found within the Old Testament canon. Attention has already been drawn to some of its features in the earlier volume. Here, while offering additional examples, I want my primary focus to be rather different, not so much on the question of how revelation works as on the issue of what authority might legitimately be attached either to the final result or to the various conflicts themselves. Over the past twenty years or so Brevard Childs has been prominent in arguing that decisive weight should be given both to the final redactional shaping of particular books and to how that final shaping fits into the structure of the canon as a whole. In arguing thus he has offered valuable lessons in how later material can sometimes significantly modify earlier, which can then in retrospect be seen as offering a distorted picture of God's nature or purposes unless read with the complementary later material. An example would be the way in which Amos's message of unrelieved condemnation is given a wider frame by the later redactor's offer of eschatological hope in chapter 9.12 More recently, Childs's position has become more firmly ecclesiastical, with the Church's understanding of Christ apparently held to be what should finally determine our understanding of the shape of Christian Scripture, both Old and New.13

In developing such theories of ‘canonical criticism’, he has been subjected to some severe adverse comment, partly because of the way in which his method seems to allow later perspectives to determine legitimate interpretation and partly because of the inevitable downgrading of earlier strands in the tradition even though these may well bear in their own right a readily accessible meaning.14 Although he takes care to make some reference to (p.298) post‐biblical exegetical history, there is no wrestling with the possibility that this history might also open up legitimate alternative options as radical as the New Testament had done with respect to the Old.15 More recently, however, another distinguished Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann, has argued that ‘testimony’ and ‘countertestimony’ are integral to the way in which the Hebrew Scriptures developed, and so something irretrievable is lost unless due note is taken of such conflict. His use of this interpretative category is plausibly applied across a great range of cases. Encouraging too is the key role he gives to the imagination in generating alternative narratives and images.16

Where, however, he can be faulted is for his postmodernist insistence that God is only available to us through such conflict and that it is somehow destructive of the significance of the text to attempt to dissolve or lessen it.17 If communities are to make progress and develop, it would seem inevitable that they will try to attempt some resolution of conflict, and, in reflecting on its past, at one level it must be seen as not only natural but also right that any community discussion in the present will need to begin with its existing assumptions about consensus.18 Therein lies one great strength of Childs' approach. Yet, the danger is that in the process of achieving consensus valid insights will be lost, and that is why there is always a need periodically to revisit sites of conflict, not least to recall the creative role it once exercised. Although it is a huge oversimplification, much of the history of Protestant interpretation of Scripture has been dominated by the assumption that the real core of the Old Testament lies in the prophets and that (p.299) this core was then taken up by Paul, while conventional Catholic thinking can be characterized in terms of ‘Peter’ anticipated in the priestly tradition and presented with particular effectiveness in Matthew's Gospel and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the one seen as offering a new priesthood and new Law, and the other as reflecting the sacrifice of the Mass. If modern biblical scholarship has required a different interpretation for Matthew and Hebrews, equally Protestants have been forced to acknowledge a more positive role for the priestly tradition, not least because of the Psalms now being seen as central to Temple worship.19 Even so, there remain conflicts that have not yet in my view been fully integrated. As an example I want to consider first Christianity's perception of its relation to Judaism, and then secondly the related issue of Judaism's own perception of its history.

It is all too easy for Christianity to present itself as a natural, inevitable, and self‐contained development from Judaism. But even at its very beginning the issue may not have been quite that simple. For it is not impossible that even the notion of Yahweh itself was fostered through creative dialogue with the surrounding culture. For there is some evidence to suggest that ‘Yahweh’ began as a local Midianite god, adopted by the Hebrews to symbolize the freedom they now sought.20 There we are in the mists of early history, where certainty is impossible. What we can say, though, is that increasing recognition is now being given to the role that dialogue with the surrounding culture played within the canon itself. Partly under the influence of Barth, earlier this century many biblical scholars offered accounts of the Old Testament that dismissed the presence within Scripture of any debts to natural reason. But the whole Wisdom tradition tells a different story, and it is to his great credit that this was eventually fully acknowledged by Gerhard von Rad in a book published in the last year of his life, a trend that has been continued in the (p.300) Gifford Lectures of James Barr.21 That desire not to restrict unduly the range of significance of Scripture has been continued in one of von Rad's erstwhile pupils and eventual successor at Heidelberg, Rolf Rendtorff, whose work has been notable for its concern to take seriously the theological concerns of Jewish scholars. One instance is his desire not to force the ‘new covenant’ of Jeremiah into an attack on law (Jer. 31: 33).22 One wonders, though, whether in general the best strategy is really the search for a common meaning in the same text, or whether the more realistic option is not the recognition of the possibility of alternative trajectories, and the question then raised of what either can teach the other. In the case of law this is particularly pertinent, as New Testament scholars are now increasingly acknowledging the presence within the New Testament of parties who favoured continued observation of the Law and indeed, as we saw in Tradition and Imagination, this may well have been the view of Jesus himself.

In that same volume we also observed that Paul's claim to find in the story of Abraham an evaluation of faith over works may not be nearly as securely grounded as Christian exegetes normally suppose.23 Even if it were shown that Paul's claim were not true historically, though, it might be thought that his position would be immeasurably strengthened by the now widely accepted recognition that the primary emphasis on law is really a post‐exilic development; for then it could be argued that, if elements of that attitude are embedded in Abraham's story, they are really merely a retrojection of later attitudes. But what grounds have we for thinking later attitudes degenerate? As a Psalm like 119 makes abundantly clear, law could be experienced as profoundly liberating. Moreover, if we reflect upon the later history of Judaism, it is hard to deny that Christianity has been repeatedly guilty of caricaturing what Judaism understood law to entail. One recent study from a Jewish scholar has been at pains to emphasize how open that later tradition in fact was. Not only did the Mishnah deliberately record two opposed interpretations, but also the later (p.301) Talmud, while in theory offering a more strictly didactic approach, widened the options still further by arguing for reinterpretations of the Mishnah that transform its meaning.24 Some rabbis sought closure, but the continued recording of minority views, as also the insistence on the relevance of philosophy or mystical experience as interpretative frames for understanding the Law, shows how wide in fact the options remained.25

That same scholar, Moshe Halbertal, observes that the modern Jewish return to the primary authority of the Hebrew Bible as against its interpretation through the lens of the Talmud has in fact led in some ways to a narrowing of options, and not their widening.26 The process began with the eighteenth‐century Enlightenment desire to see the particularity of Judaism as an instance of universal rational truths, while with the rise of Zionism this has been combined with the desire for a distinctively national epic that can attach itself to the value of the land. The result is that the Bible is now the almost exclusive focus of religious teaching in Israeli schools, whereas in earlier centuries study of the Bible would have been contextualized and focused through study of the Talmud. It is ironic to find those who would otherwise be highly critical of the consequences of the Enlightenment enthusiastic for this particular change. A more fundamental criticism, though, would be to ask whether it is really so self‐evident that stress on the possession of a God‐given land is a finer religious ideal than the attempt to conform one's life in every detail to obedient delight in God's service. Although all that Jews have suffered in the twentieth century makes attachment to the land natural, when due account is taken of all the ambiguities in the biblical elucidation of that notion,27 one cannot help wondering whether the more profound critique of Christianity might not in some ways come from Judaism's later history rather than from the Old Testament on its own.

Different strands in contemporary Judaism operate with different (p.302) notions of canon, and it is obviously not for me as a Christian to seek to determine on what basis adherents of Judaism might choose to begin dialogue. I make these remarks rather because of their relevance to Christianity's situation in the first century and how it might now be perceived. As Qumran reveals, at that time there was some fluidity in the Jewish canon,28 and of course it only gradually emerged that Christianity would need to separate to form its own distinct faith community. Not that it was alone in this. Qumran itself could not be accommodated to rabbinical thought because of its insistence on a different liturgical calendar. Christology was one factor in Christianity's split, but so too was Paul's attitude to law. Neither religion will do adequate justice to the history of its developing tradition, so long as its own trajectories are seen as simple and obvious, and the creativity of other alternatives not fully acknowledged. The fact that certainly James, and possibly Peter, had a different view on law from Paul means that complex issues of authority are raised for Christianity no less than for Judaism. It is to these issues that I now turn.

Peter and Paul: Law and Authority

The final version of Christianity that was to emerge rejected both detailed observance of the Torah and any necessity for the Temple, reformed or otherwise. Yet, as I argued in Tradition and Imagination, this was not the picture which the earliest Church inherited from its Lord.29 Jesus had certainly been critical of both, but the critique appeared to be combined with continuing respect, and thus to indicate a desire for reform rather than necessarily their abolition.30 That would then explain why the first Christians continued to attend the Temple (e.g. Acts 2: 46; 3: 1; 5: 42) why too Paul's arguments for the abrogation of the Law were offered (p.303) with such heat and not always welcomed by his fellow‐Christians. That very scenario, though, does open up the possibility of very opposed analyses and interpretations of how later developments are to be perceived. On the one hand, one might argue that Paul went in directions that Jesus himself would not have allowed, and so the more Jewish version of Christianity associated with James should be seen as his more natural inheritance. On the other hand, one might insist that Paul constitutes a legitimate trajectory from Jesus' less developed position. My own interpretation comes nearer to the second view. Where I differ from most of its advocates would be in insisting that the conflict was in itself valuable not only in terms of what finally emerged but also in the losing side continuing to offer us legitimate elements of critique with which to challenge what might otherwise be the unassailable dominance of Paul. To illustrate this, I would like to reconsider at this point first the relation between Peter and Paul on law, then their respective positions on authority, before concluding with some observations on how voices elsewhere in Scripture also offer a challenge to both.

The issue of Law Before considering the rival theologies, some attempt must first be made to reconstruct that early history. While Luke in Acts makes the story of the transition to the new view more smooth than it could possibly ever have been, Paul's own evidence is also somewhat vitiated by his natural human desire to present himself in the best possible light. The result is the denigration of others and what are almost certainly exaggerated claims to independence.31 For it is surely inherently unlikely that his integration into Christianity was little affected by the work of others, or that, initially at least, his authority would have been recognized without strong support from the Jerusalem church, and particularly from those who had known Jesus while alive. Indeed, it is not improbable that others than he were the first to have the ideas that are usually credited to him alone. One possibility is that he had already been anticipated in some respects by (p.304) the ‘Hellenists’ associated with Stephen.32 Although other explanations are possible, the term ‘Hellenists’ is likely to have been a disparaging way of referring to Diaspora Jews, caricatured as speaking only Greek or adopting ‘Greek’ attitudes.33 Therein may lie part of Stephen's reason for disparaging the Temple. For what is fascinating about the account of the history of God's people that he offers in Acts as part of his defence is that he makes the burden of this also an essentially Diaspora history (Acts 7: 2–53).34 His argument seems to be that the covenant people did not always need the Temple in the past, and so by analogy it cannot be held to be indispensable for Diaspora Jews in the present. Scholars often argue that such a critique was combined with conservatism, and in particular a conservative attitude to the Law,35 but, if one takes seriously the events surrounding the speech and to some extent the speech itself as an historical source,36 then surely one must accord similar credence to the precise form of accusation laid against Stephen, which describes him as speaking ‘words against this holy place and the law’ (Acts 6: 13 RSV).37

None of this is to deny the considerable opposition that was ranged against Paul, not least from the circle round James. Ironically, it is only thanks to Paul that we know that it was probably as a result of an experience of the resurrection that James came to belief in his brother's ministry (1 Cor. 15: 7). Admittedly, the Gospel of Thomas appears to make him a disciple in Jesus' own lifetime, but on the other side must be weighed the canonical Gospels' consistent portrayal of opposition to his mission from (p.305) Jesus' family and brethren.38 In trying to explain why James so quickly assumed a position of leadership in the early Church, scholars sometimes appeal to traditional Jewish attitudes to the family,39 but a better explanation would seem to me to lie in the dramatic change of position from his earlier hostility, combined presumably with his ability to claim detailed knowledge of his brother's life and views. It is often assumed that this went with strict Jewish orthodoxy and a very low Christology, but against is the need to explain why he was so quickly able to assume a role superior to the narrow band of disciples who had accompanied Jesus in his earthly ministry. That surely suggests a commanding figure of some insight, and so it is perhaps better to think of him as zealously guarding a rather literal transmission of the Jesus inheritance. Any suggestion of change would thus be met with the objection that it was this and not that which his brother had said or done.

The force of such an objection may perhaps receive its best illustration in the story of Paul's confrontation with Peter in Antioch (Gal. 2: 11 ff).40 The incident is often used to tar Peter with a further instance of the inconstancy of purpose that he had already displayed at the time of the crucifixion. But it could also be read as indicative of neither inconstancy nor compromise but the real difficulty of determining in what direction Jesus' teaching should now be carried in the very different circumstances that have emerged subsequent to his death. Jesus had only occasionally directed his ministry towards Gentiles, whereas now significant numbers were joining the new community. Despite Paul's own attempt to confine Peter's mission to Jews in much the same way (p.306) as his own was to Gentiles, Acts, and indeed Paul's own letters, suggest a more complicated picture.41 As the incident itself illustrates, Peter was willing to become involved with mixed congregations, and it may be that this reflected his own uncertainty about how far developments should go in the new situation. If we accept the view that Matthew's Gospel originated from Petrine circles, its teaching, and in particular the Sermon on the Mount, demonstrates how profound an intermediate position could be, with law not discounted but constant stress placed on the spiritual core at the heart of such observation.42

The Church did not of course finally accept the view that ‘every jot and tittle’ should be observed, but it did endorse the implicit Matthean (and thus Petrine) critique of aspects of the Pauline view as presented in Mark. For instance, whereas Paul had expressed indifference to the observance of holy days, Matthew carefully rewrites Mark to ensure, not that this message is drawn, but rather the conviction that such rules should remain except when overridden by more pressing needs.43 So we should beware of characterizing the early conflict as resulting in an unqualified victory for Paul. The losing side is also present in the canon, helping to give a more nuanced overall position. Such supplements were in any case essential, if Paul's position was not in the end to be fundamentally undermined by the inadequacy of his own arguments. That may seem a strong judgement to make, but the difficulty with letting Paul have the exclusive final say is that we are then confronted with a bewildering number of arguments which one way or another either founder on the strangeness of the exegesis employed or on the arbitrariness of the picture thus gained of divine providence.

(p.307) Galatians 3: 15–19 may be used as illustrative of the problematic character of Paul's exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures. In that short paragraph the use of the singular in the promise of ‘seed’ to Abraham is presumed to require fulfilment in Christ, while the fact that the Law was given through angels is taken as a sign of disfavour and not importance.44 This is not to deny that such midrash could well have carried conviction at the time, nor that revelation might work through such means, but it is to observe that it makes the connections more problematic for our own day.45 This becomes still more obvious once we turn to the more general pattern of Pauline arguments on this question. For so concerned is Paul to present the Christian gospel positively that by contrast the Law comes to be presented in crudely negative terms. The gentler version is of the one outshining the other; the more severe version of the Law's sole purpose being as a foil, in bringing slavery and condemnation.46 The great sweep of Jewish history thus remains under God's charge, but at the puzzling price of God instituting a form of religion that can only condemn. Some scholars have attempted to reconcile such attitudes with Paul's occasional more positive statements,47 but it would seem to me that not only do ‘contradictions and tension have to be accepted as constant features of Paul's theology’, it is also in the end the negative attitudes which predominate and which resist easy integration:48 in the words of one New Testament scholar, ‘Paul's major explanation . . . was that the law was given to (p.308) condemn’.49 Admittedly, this Pauline emphasis on what was new in Christianity was probably highly effective as a missionary strategy, but in the long term Paul's stress on radical discontinuity could only undermine a religion that claimed a God so deeply involved within the historical process as the incarnation implied. It was no doubt for this reason that the later Church subtly modified Paul's claims. While there remained the negative side in the claim that the Law had not been properly understood, the positive is the assertion that Christianity was in fact the true inheritor of the whole sweep of Old Testament religion, including Law.

The issue of authority One reason why Paul so often gets a much better press than Peter is because we read both figures in the light of later history. In other words, our imaginative grasp of them as individuals is clouded by what later history made of them. So because Peter became the primary symbol for the papacy, it is assumed that he must have acted as a similar authority figure in New Testament times. Likewise, because Luther found great personal liberation in the writings of Paul, it is assumed that his reactions to Peter constitute resistance to illegitimate claims to authority, whereas the actual position seems immeasurably more complex.50 One notes, for instance, that Paul's normal practice is not to substitute an alternative authority to himself, such as derivation from the teaching of Jesus or some wider principle of consensus within the Christian community as a whole. Instead, he insists that ‘the “pillars” in Jerusalem could add nothing to his own personal authority,’51 and that this derives from God alone, in his commissioning as an apostle and his role as founder of some of the communities to which he writes.52 That Paul was in no way a (p.309) figure tolerant of views different from his own emerges with particular clarity when he is faced by challenges to his own position. Some highly pertinent examples are to be found in 2 Corinthians, where his own charismatic form of leadership is seen to have been subject to serious challenge. Although some have detected ‘a pattern of authority that enabled a set of social relations through which there was new freedom, energy and mutuality’,53 that needs to be set against the denigration of opponents and the attempt to outdo them in revelations and charismatic powers.54 Paul could even threaten ‘a rod’, which may be less metaphorical than is usually supposed, since some of the communities to which he writes do exhibit clear structures of authority and indeed in the case of the Corinthian church an excommunication is even proposed.55 Certainly, his approach is more subtle than that found in the pastoral or catholic epistles, but that does not mean that it is necessarily any less authoritarian. None of this is to doubt Paul's sincerity, nor that he is in general, as it were, ‘on the right side’. But being on the right side should not be allowed to blind us to how differently we might feel if such appeals to apostleship and so forth were being used to bolster James' very different understanding of the future of Christianity. Significantly, from Acts onwards later imaginative portrayals of the two principal apostles do not in general differentiate between the way in which either exercised his authority: Peter no less than Paul acts charismatically, and Paul no less than Peter is found relying on exercises of power such as miracles.

It is easy to be dismissive of the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Acts of Peter as worthless romantic fiction in which even a lion can end (p.310) up being baptized.56 But dating as they do from the second century AD, they can be used to provide valuable evidence of what it was that popular Christian culture most valued and perceived in the lives and writings of the two saints. Facing the question of whether in any sense these stories can be described as ‘true’, one commentator opts for characterization of them as ‘structure‐maintaining narratives’, in the sense that they embody values that the community of the time would have held to be true.57 Another points out that this involved challenges to established social structures,58 while yet another notes the way in which baptizing the lion can convey mythically the adoption of alternative strategies of power.59 But most relevant here is the recognition that Paul and Peter alike become charismatic workers of miracles.60 If to this it is objected that any such characterization is far from the Paul of the letters, in response it may be noted that on several occasions Paul appeals to demonstrations of ‘power’ using the same Greek word as is used elsewhere for ‘miracle’ (1 Thess. 1: 5; Gal. 3: 5; 1 Cor. 2: 4; 2 Cor. 12: 12; Rom. 15: 18–19). That being so, highly pertinent is the following question: ‘Who more distorts the “genuine” Paul, the ancient writer who tried to imagine what these remarkably persuasive miracles were like, or the modern scholar who systematically deemphasises something that is pervasive in Paul's thought and important to his self‐understanding?’61

(p.311) Indeed, Peter's action at Antioch may possibly suggest that of the two it was Peter and not Paul who was the more accommodating figure. Certainly, it looks as though it was Peter's influence that prevailed.62 To respond that even so it was Paul who showed the greater loyalty to the gospel would be, in my opinion, grossly unfair to Peter, since such a critique in effect retrospectively applies categories, the applicability of which only became clear in the subsequent history of the Church. At that stage, it was still not at all obvious what was the correct course to pursue. The rejection of table‐fellowship makes it sound as if only Paul could possibly be right, but it might be that James was worried about exposing the Jerusalem church to persecution, or that Paul was pressurizing converted Jews further than they wished to go.63 Anyway, it looks as though as a result Peter no less than Paul paid a price in his missionary work, in his case losing leadership of the church at Jerusalem to James.64 Again, although it is impossible to be certain that Matthew's Gospel originates from Antioch,65 of the four it is undoubtedly the one most interested in Peter,66 but yet not in a way that turns him into a highly authoritarian figure. That may seem belied by the famous passage (Matt. 16: 18–19) to which appeal is now so often made for the endorsement of papal authority, but not only does the history of its exegesis tell a different tale, but also both its (p.312) historical context and Matthew's Gospel as a whole argue for a quite different reading.67

Much depends on how early in his ministry Jesus envisaged the new order beginning without his personal presence, but the consensus seems to be that, though the saying requires a different context,68 probably a resurrection appearance, its origins are early, and its meaning one which envisages Peter leading by personal example and confession.69 Moreover, the way in which it was understood by the Petrine community can only properly be grasped once it is set against attitudes to authority elsewhere in Matthew's Gospel. Far from being authoritarian, these suggest a deep willingness on the part of the Petrine tradition to listen to the views of the community as a whole.70 No doubt, to go too far in this direction would result in too seductively modern a portrait. That is not my aim. Rather, it is to suggest that in form of leadership neither apostle quite matched how the popular imagination now views the two figures. Peter almost certainly was far distant from the kind of authority figure that ultramontane Catholics would like, while Paul cannot be seen as quite the unqualified apostle of liberty that so many Protestants suppose him to be. (p.313) Indeed, there is a nice irony in the way in which Paul is so often used as a model with which to critique the papacy, for the charismatic authoritarianism of Pope John Paul II may in some ways have its closer analogue in his namesake than in Peter's communitarian church.71

The names of the two apostles were soon closely joined.72 It is common to read that linking as little more than a strategy to give added weight to the authority of Rome, but the evidence for their martyrdom in Rome is in fact quite good, while it is not altogether impossible that they ended their lives engaged in a joint mission.73 However, whether so or not, what we can say is that the gospel message is immeasurably enriched by such a combination. If the fundamental direction for the future of Christian doctrine was provided by Paul, we can also be thankful that there are countervailing tendencies in the New Testament which provide some useful correctives. On the subject of Law, Christianity had to hear more firmly what was good in its Jewish past, while on the issue of authority it had to move to a more consensual approach if something nearer the totality of God's revelation to humanity was to be heard.

Scriptural challenges from elsewhere The approach I have adopted thus far may sound like too neat a solution. Perhaps the internal conflicts ran much deeper,74 and were in general as traumatic as (p.314) the severance from Judaism must have been for many Jewish Christians.75 Even so, I would stand by my claim that conflict is not necessarily a bad thing, since sometimes it is only in this way that the significance of what is at stake becomes clarified; it is also worth remembering that every difference of emphasis need not necessarily point to profound, or even irresolvable, conflict. Yet, contrary to any impression that may have been created thus far, I certainly did not intend to imply that all forms of disagreement find their creative resolution in a perfect balance between the two opposing factions. Even in the case of the Law, that was not my meaning. The greater weight it seems to me lies with Paul. But, however limited the qualifications are on any specific issue, it remains vital that they should be heard, given the constant Protestant temptation to create a canon within the canon, and suppose that Paul has most, if not all, of the answers. It would be a mistake, though, to think that such criticism could only come from within the Petrine tradition itself, or that it is only Paul who can be brought into creative conflict with Peter. Voices from elsewhere in the Bible have also their role to play.

Take the Gospel of John. One way in which to read the author's treatment of Peter is to surmise that it is the author's way of countering Petrine groups who remained resistant to changes in Christology. Not only is Peter no longer the first disciple to be called, he has a less honoured seat at the Last Supper. Moreover, he is presented as slow to comprehend the significance of both the foot‐washing incident and the empty tomb, while it is only the beloved disciple who is to be found at the foot of the cross.76 The aim may have been to place the primary emphasis on the living Lord as now imaginatively experienced, in preference to conservative appeals to the authority of the past. This would be particularly so if the beloved disciple is supposed to represent the reader, with us presenting ourselves at the foot of the cross and before the (p.315) empty tomb and still believing (John. 20: 8), though we remain without the benefit of any direct contact with the past.77 Yet, even in that instance there is something to be said in favour of the need for some counterweight to be allowed from the other side. For, if for me John in general represents the culmination of the gradual appropriation of the full nature of God's involvement in the life of Christ, there is also a negative side to be acknowledged in a certain docetic tendency in parts of his narrative. Christ goes too confidently to his death and with too much self‐awareness. If that had been our only perspective, divine identification with our humanity would have seemed less than complete, but fortunately there are more ‘primitive’ Christologies in the New Testament to counter and balance any such presentation.

If John may be used to illustrate a challenge to Peter from elsewhere in Scripture, the possibility of a similar challenge to Paul may be approached more indirectly. The absence of the concept of a sacerdotal priesthood and related notions from the New Testament except as fulfilled in Christ is often thought to constitute a decisive argument against the return of such concepts in later Christianity, and indeed the Epistle to the Hebrews is commonly now used to construct a defining argument of this kind.78 But matters are scarcely that simple. As with Paul on law, not only are the details of that particular epistle's appeal to Jewish history often strained,79 there are unresolved tensions in what is usually thought to be its underlying philosophical argument: the Old Testament cult seen as a sort of Platonic shadow or image of what Christ has achieved in gaining direct access to the Father in heaven. There are at least two reasons for doubting whether this establishes dispensability. The first is that complete access still remains a heavenly reality, and so shadows are in some sense still the order of the day. Secondly, what the argument surely shows is the lack of complete congruence between Temple cult and (p.316) heavenly reality rather than the illegitimacy of all such symbols under the new order. There should no longer be limited access confined to one person on one day of the year, but that hardly of itself argues the illegitimacy of something like a daily mass rich in symbolism, at which all may communicate.80

My point in raising such issues here is not to resolve them but rather to insist that they do not admit of as easy resolution as biblical scholars sometimes suppose. Certainly, Hebrews offers a trajectory that could have led to the Christian Church in general abandoning notions of priesthood, and, had it done so, it could well have claimed the authority of Paul. But that did not happen, not primarily because Hebrews was misunderstood, nor because of the influence of pagan practice (though both factors played their part).81 More important was the way in which the problematic aspects of the book's argument opened up the possibility of an alternative approach that took the Old Testament dispensation with greater seriousness. In other words, just as the difficulties in Paul's presentation helped create a more positive attitude to moral law, so those in Hebrews allowed the ceremonial side of the Torah to be given new life. That could be seen as a retrograde step (and undoubtedly aspects were), but its positive side was to maximize the revelatory content of the canon as a whole. The early Church thus sought out its final view by working through the tensions between Hebrews and Leviticus, and not simply by jettisoning one in favour or the other. It was thus a notion of progress that continued to take the community's past with maximum seriousness.

But if reconsideration of the Hebrew Scriptures is one way in which modification occurs to what the community may initially have thought to have been revealed, another is the way in which (p.317) the Church's changing cultural context across the centuries forces re‐examination of particular perspectives. There is no need to repeat here any of my earlier examples. Suffice it to note my repeated emphasis that this need not entail simple conformity to one's surroundings, since it is the interaction between the deposit of faith and the cultural context that is important and not the social setting in itself. But it did mean that the closure of the canon could not put an end to the question of where trajectories might finally lead, nor where the balance of conflicting perspectives might finally fall. It is to that later history that I now turn.

The Pattern Repeated in Church History

Two thousand years of Christian history can hardly be dealt with in a few pages. So what I propose to do here is illustrate the theme of this chapter in two ways, first by examining the question of heresy and secondly by considering the related issue of forms of authority. As we shall observe, the biblical pattern of conflict generating insight is one that we shall find repeated in the community of faith's later history. Nor should this turn out to be entirely unexpected, since disagreement is one of the most powerful pressures towards more careful formulation of one's own ideas.

Heresy and Its Teaching Role

My subtitle may initially puzzle the reader, but the question of how heresy is to be evaluated is not nearly as simple a subject as it has been understood to be for most of the history of the Church. Conventional histories presented it as a quite alien root, whereas not only has its source often been found at the very heart of the living tradition, but also the way that tradition subsequently develops remains incomprehensible until due acknowledgement is made of how the heretic has helped shape both its course and its content. To illustrate that thesis, I propose to offer an all too brief survey of Christian history, noting first the impact of heresy in the patristic period, then possible ways of characterizing the reform movements that eventually culminate in Reformation and Counter‐ Reformation, before finally considering how my own communion of Anglicanism might be viewed from this perspective.

(p.318) Patristic insight as parasitic In assessing the role of the heretic, at least two major difficulties have to be faced. Not only has that history been written from the perspective of the victors, these victors have more often than not ensured the successful destruction of any adequate expression of the countervailing views. So for instance, if we take some of the major heretics of the patristic period, apart from fragments we are left to piece together how Arius might have defended himself from Athanasius' polemical Contra Arianos; of Apollinaris' extensive writings nothing would have survived had it not been for some cases of false attribution; while Nestorius' fortunes were only reversed in 1895 with the discovery of a Syriac translation of his long‐lost defence of his position in the Bazaar of Heracleides.82 Even the greatest Christian intellect of the earlier centuries before Augustine was to suffer a not dissimilar fate. In the fourth century, under pressure from Jerome, Rufinus in his Latin translation of Origen's Greek writings may have deliberately sought to modify Origen's views in order to make them more acceptable to the Church of his own day, while the condemnation of Origenism in 553 led to the loss of the great mass of his works.83

Much contemporary scholarship has been concerned to redress the balance. Admittedly, there are problems. The most obvious is an absolute lack of evidence or else a lack of balance in what has survived, and the consequent danger of reading too much into a few surviving sentences that in fact admit of a wide variety of differing interpretations.84 Another is the romanticism of the modern world which prefers the rebel to the advocate of established institutions. That is an issue to which we will need to return when considering the issue of submission to authority at the end of this chapter. Yet another is the desire to find antecedents for a (p.319) form of Christianity seen as more congenial to contemporary concerns. With Gnosticism, for example, Elaine Pagels has done much valuable work in demonstrating how its mythology may be understood in a more favourable light, but even so she moves with disconcerting speed in finding its attitudes congenial to modern feminism.85 Again, in presenting Arius it is tempting to emphasize the more human Jesus that is on offer, but that needs to be carefully counterbalanced by due recognition of Arius' continuing stress on Christ's pre‐existence.86

Yet, these limitations acknowledged, modern scholarship still, it seems to me, has its point, and indeed in some ways has not gone far enough. Take the issue of Arianism. Whatever consensus finally emerges, what cannot survive is a typical nineteenth‐ century judgement on the movement, that it was ‘a lifeless system of unspiritual pride and hard unlovingness’.87 Whether the concern was to defend the majesty of God or Christ as a properly salvific agent or some related variant, the intention was a genuinely religious one,88 and this is probably as true of later stages of the movement as of earlier.89 Moreover, its relative grading of the two (p.320) persons, Father and Son, overwhelmingly reflects the Christian witness of earlier centuries, including that of the New Testament itself, even if its appeal to Scripture was not always as our intuitions might expect.90 It was thus Nicaea and Athanasius that were the innovators, not Arius, who in some senses can be viewed as the biblical conservative in this debate. Indeed, had Athanasius lived longer, it might have been his turn to be condemned for heresy.91 Not, though, that this means that Arius deserved to win. The question the Church faced was how the basic datum of God's total identification with humanity in the incarnation could best be preserved, and it saw that this could not be done without also asserting the complete equality of Father and Son. But it is important to observe that the Church came to see the necessity for such a declaration through being confronted with a far more explicit assertion of subordination than had hitherto been advocated. Arius offered superficially the more obvious trajectory, but it took its full expression before the Church came to realize the need for a different approach. In other words, it was the attempt to draw out one potential trajectory from the biblical revelation that led to the endorsement of another, quite different line. So in a sense orthodoxy needed heresy, in order for the deeper implications of revelation to be noted, with the Church now able to turn back to its classical texts and give them new meanings.92

Equally, one might argue that Gnosticism served a similar purpose. For although John's Gospel stands at a considerable remove from Christian Gnosticism as it formulated itself in the second century, in a more general sense there are elements in John that can be seen as pulling in similar direction, such as his dualism, his stress on knowledge and experience in the present and the very (p.321) limited role assigned to Christ's humanity. Indeed, if Bultmann is right about sacramental additions to this Gospel, it is not inconceivable that it was part of the later redactor's aim to use eucharistic theology as a way of correcting any such perceived bias.93 So, though the details of Bultmann's theories are now widely discredited, it remains the case that John could still be used to argue for the New Testament having a Gnostic trajectory.94 But, what Gnosticism as a whole effectively did by exaggerating that trend was pull the Church towards a fuller recognition of counter‐trends within the incipient Church and so towards recognition of a complementary canon of four Gospels.95 None of this is intended to challenge the attractiveness of Gnostic religion,96 nor to suggest that its advocates were insincere or bereft of religious sensibility, but it is to claim that, despite its no doubt often deep spirituality, where all Christian versions can be found wanting is in their one‐ sided focus in presenting revelation. In effect, the significance of Christ was dramatically lessened both through its elaborate mythology of intervening aeons and its strong assertion of personal initiative and responsibility over against divine grace.

If it be asked why logical argument or even exposition of Scripture could not of itself have sufficed, then we need to face firmly the openness of the biblical text which I have so often stressed across my two volumes. To talk of strict logical deduction is to speak of a tighter conceptual system than Christianity has in fact inherited. It is only in retrospect that certain options are seen as inadequate or illegitimate, but for this to be so they need first to have been lived fully as spiritual realities. It is after all a religion (p.322) with which we are dealing. So it is one thing to see something as a possible trajectory from the text; quite another to experience it as part of the daily practice of one's faith, in worship, ethical obedience, and apologetics: in short, for it imaginatively to become part of a lived reality.97

But if prepared to go this far in acknowledging a debt to heretics, why not go further and continue to allow the possibilities they raised as legitimate options within the Church? Is it not an accident that one side triumphed rather than another, if the opposition also had its appealing and effective religious content? Certainly, one strong modern trend is to treat all possible trajectories impartially, and this can be seen in the work both of some biblical scholars and of those who attempt to throw a bridge between biblical and systematic considerations.98 One might also look back to the earlier arguments of Walter Bauer that non‐orthodox positions were once in the ascendancy throughout the ancient world.99 How much that was in fact true is now widely contested.100 But let us for the sake of argument concede their wide dissemination, and ask what implications then follow. Surely it would be naïve to use success as a criterion for truth or legitimacy. My point perhaps can be put by contrasting two types of inclusivity, the modern tendency to treat all trajectories on a par as though fairness and equality demanded it, and the other (my own view) which maintains that, although heresy is usually sincere in its pursuit of truth, what its projections commonly (p.323) reveal is a one‐sidedness that needs correction if the overall balance of the Church's existing understanding of revelation is not to be fundamentally distorted.

In saying this I do not of course wish to endorse the practice of early Christian generations in persecuting heretics, but there is no escaping recognition that there comes a point when certain perspectives cannot be easily contained within the same worshipping community. This is not necessarily an argument for exclusion, but it will mean that expressions used in worship, exhortations in sermons and so forth will all inevitably reflect the ideology of the dominant grouping. Even so, it is worth noting that Nicaea did try to be as inclusive as possible, and not purely for pragmatic reasons. There was, for instance, a natural reticence not to proceed too quickly in the introduction of non‐biblical language into the definition of Christian faith.101 But there is also another way in which due note is taken of the heretic. Hitherto I have spoken of what is only a positive reaction to the heretic from the point of view of orthodoxy, of something learnt through conflict that might not otherwise have been clarified, but not of anything specifically adopted from heretics themselves. It is sometimes, however, possible to detect elements incorporated from the heretic's own position, and so to find its positive religious value acknowledged, however seldom such a debt is ever given explicit recognition. This may even be true of Arianism since later orthodox images of the Father as the source of the godhead certainly often retain in them, like Arianism, the notion of God as awesome and unfathomable ground, while an unkind critic might even detect in orthodox elucidation of trinitarian relations a continuing subordinationism. Likewise, not only did some of the language of Gnosticism find favour with Clement of Alexandria and Origen, but also orthodox interest in hierarchies of angels has some obvious parallels with Gnostic aeons; fourth century forms of baptismal practice could also be seen as deliberately intended to rival the sense of mystery that the Gnostic initiate had come to expect.102

(p.324) Reform and heresy as mirror images For a few centuries questions of heresy seemed to become quiescent, but the problem was to return once more in the Middle Ages with the revival of popular heretical movements.103 Although once thought to have been an import from Eastern Christendom, explanations are now largely sought in the wider changes that were taking place in society at the end of the eleventh and beginning of the twelfth centuries, among which were better living conditions and so more space for reflection, as well as a stronger sense of social identity that went with greater readiness to identify threats to it.104 But most relevant to our discussion here is the role played by the Reform movement as that began to emerge during the papacy of Gregory VII, and the contemporaneous rise of heretical groupings. As with the patristic period, what has come down to us is a story of ‘them’ and ‘us’, but this needs to be treated with great caution. Gregory himself reinstated one condemned heretic, after his death, who had refused to take the sacrament from ‘unworthy’ priests, and in the popular mind it was not always easy to distinguish between such an officially endorsed policy of boycott and actually declaring the sacraments of suspect priests ‘invalid’.105 Likewise, there was often a fine line between the behaviour of reformer and heretic, and how far either was prepared to go in the rhetoric of critique.106

More often than not, we are given ‘a description not of what happened but of the meaning of what happened’, and so in effect an inferred moral and physical corruption that was almost certainly (p.325) not there.107 Valdès was even personally praised by Pope Alexander III at the Third Lateran Council in 1179, and it was only gradually that the Waldensians were turned into heretics.108 Some commentators still wish to stress the contrasts, as for example between the lay emphasis of the heretics and the increasing sacralization of Church reformers, but this seems to me too simplistic.109 The reformers also helped to introduce new forms of lay piety, and if some of these were essentially sacral such as eucharistic devotion, even among them were some that could enhance the status of the laity, such as the increased sense of marriage as a sacrament, now performed at the church door. The complex history of the Franciscans and in particular the role played by the Spirituals illustrates how easily a very different story might have been told. For it takes little historical imagination to envisage the Franciscan movement as a whole having been condemned, and so the necessity for a quite different account, with the movement now seen as essentially anticipatory of the more radical elements in the Reformation. Heretic and reformer are thus quite often on a continuous scale, rather than represented by some absolute division, as the later official view was to present them.

In considering the more substantial upheavals of the sixteenth century, historians are also forcing upon us a more complex picture. At the time each side saw the reform movement of the other as merely heresy in plausible guise, whereas now it is easier for us to detect strengths and weaknesses on both sides. For a start, the extent to which both emerged from a common heritage is now widely acknowledged. For, however much popular Protestant piety may continue to see its antecedents only in those duly condemned as heretics such as Wyclif and Hus,110 historians (p.326) are increasingly forcing the recognition of how deeply the Protestant reformers were indebted to medieval Catholicism.111 As part of that reappraisal, due recognition is also now being given to the religious vitality of much of what was swept away.112 Moreover, many of the reforms initiated by one side have their parallel on the other. Thus, historians have not been slow to draw attention to a common pattern of increasingly individualistic piety, with private biblical study on one side matched by a regular pattern of confession and spiritual direction on the other. Likewise, both introduced private pews, and insisted on patterns of clerical training that tended to separate the clergy into a more obviously distinct and educated caste. Examples might be multiplied,113 but there remains to be mentioned what is perhaps the most striking element in such mirror‐imaging, the extent to which the pronouncements of Reformation and Counter‐Reformation are virtually unintelligible without reference to what is being opposed.

Despite its lengthy deliberations, the Council of Trent is an obvious case in point. The exclusion of large areas of Catholic doctrine, such as the significance of the Virgin Mary,114 clearly demonstrates that there was no real intention to produce an overall, balanced account,115 and much the same could be said of many a corresponding Reformation settlement. The result was that until (p.327) the arrival of the ecumenical movement, each side tended to regard the other, if I may put it in this way, as wallowing in various depths of heretical slime. Fortunately, attitudes have now changed significantly, but there is still little sense of how that past history may in itself have been beneficial. To establish such a case convincingly, a more detailed investigation would be required than I have space for here, but one way to read subsequent history is to see each side acting as a standing rebuke to the other, and, if it has taken a long time for the message to sink in, the twentieth century does at least offer quite a number of hopeful signs that this has indeed happened. So, for instance, both Luther and Calvin thought of weekly communion as the ideal,116 but the Protestant churches have only begun to move in this direction, at varying speeds, in modern times. Again, Rome has witnessed a rediscovery of the importance of Scripture. Not only did this find expression in the style and reforms of the Second Vatican Council, it is now also the case that some of the world's most outstanding biblical scholars are Roman Catholics.117 As a new millennium is entered, Protestant and Catholic alike have been immeasurably strengthened by at last taking into themselves the insights that have been better preserved by the other. Had the Church remained united, this might still have happened, but an alternative scenario is also worth pondering, in which one side had triumphed but ossified, with, for example, Rome never admitting the relevance of biblical criticism or Geneva the importance of symbol and liturgy.

Anglicanism as a test case If that is what can be said looking across the great divide in Western Christendom, it is salutary also to reflect upon what is often presented as its most divided church, my own communion of Anglicanism. To an outsider it can seem like a hopeless amalgam of irreconcilable tensions between Catholic, Evangelical, and Liberal.118 To some degree that reflects (p.328) the accidents of history. As a recent biography of Cranmer observes, had Lady Jane Grey succeeded Edward VI a church firmly entrenched in a more uniform Protestant style might well have been the result.119 Instead, the sympathies of Elizabeth I and Charles I ensured that the Oxford Movement would not seem a complete aberration when it began its campaign to push the Church of England in a more decisively Catholic direction. In the appearance of more Liberal thought in the eighteenth century, it of course reflects a wider European pattern. Even so, two qualifications need to be noted. The caricature of English religion of the time has now been widely challenged by historians;120 secondly, its characteristic method in appealing to reason had already been given a prominent place as early as Hooker.121 So, while it is possible to tell a see‐saw story of the ascendancy of now one group and now another, this needs to be qualified by recognition of the presence of underlying currents from each throughout that history, most obviously represented in the classical ‘threefold cord not quickly broken’, of seeing the essence of Anglicanism as shaped by Scripture, tradition, and reason.122

If that tells against any group claiming the monopoly or even core of its narrative history, it has still not been sufficient to prevent periodic outbursts of one faction setting itself against some other as heretical. If in the nineteenth century the object of venom tended to be Anglo‐Catholic clergy, in recent years it has been (p.329) Liberal theologians. The diversity is now such, it is sometimes asserted, that the church lacks any common core. To such a critique various types of response are possible. Some would place the main emphasis on a shared liturgy and on common public reading of Scripture,123 but, while not denying their indispensability, more important to my mind is the fact of shared doctrine,124 and indeed even agreement that this can change.125 Also relevant is the way that none of the groups has remained unaffected by the presence of other possibilities. In other words, I would claim that here too we have an example of the teaching role exercised by those whom others may deem heretics.

Currently, for instance, the Evangelical party is in the majority, but it is a quite different form of evangelicalism from that which predated the Oxford movement. To take one example, Bishop Edward King of Lincoln was the first bishop since the sixteenth century to wear a mitre.126 He was also prosecuted for three liturgical offences: facing east at communion, having candles lit during daylight hours, and mixing water with wine.127 A century later, and no Evangelical bishop is found objecting to wearing a mitre or to the non‐functional use of candles, while old disputes about east versus north‐facing have been resolved by the widespread practice of facing west. A new interest in symbolism had been learnt from ‘heretical’ coreligionists. Again, the Oxford Movement began in a concern for the recovery of the past, but it (p.330) developed later in the century, on the one hand, into evangelical zeal in slum parishes and, on the other, into a serious wrestling with the problems thrown up by liberal approaches to the Bible. For, if the new trend was set by Essays and Reviews and Catholics like Pusey and Liddon resisted to the end, a quite different reaction was soon being offered by Lux Mundi and the writings of Charles Gore.128 Such mutual feeding is also found within the same individual. For instance, though Newman's stress on conscience could be traced exclusively to Butler in the previous century, the intensity of moral passion that goes with it suggests to me continuing impact from the Evangelical influences of his youth. Again, one of the great ironies of the twentieth century is the number of theological radicals who have clung to their more conservative liturgical roots in an Evangelical or Catholic past.

To all I have said in this section, it may be objected that I have been altogether too sanguine about the nature of conflict. Certainly, it would be absurd to pretend that it is always beneficial, or that there is always something to learn from the heretic. But I do think that there are grounds for being more positive than is commonly the case and that, more pertinent to our theme as a whole, this is not unconnected with questions of the imagination. The insidious temptation for all who have a deep religious commitment is to suppose that each belongs to a group that has all, or most of the, answers. Imaginations then cease to be fed with anything new, but instead run along well‐worn tracks. The wider society is one way in which fresh stimuli can be produced, but more disconcerting and therefore more effective are the jolts caused by the realization that those claiming an equal commitment draw very different conclusions. To suggest that revelation advances through the imagination is thus in no way to suggest a gentle or smooth transition from one perspective to another.

Authority: Conservative Consensus and Dynamic Continuity

But to leave matters there with the Church divided in conflict is scarcely satisfactory for a community to whom is addressed the (p.331) prayer ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17: 21).129 In a world of accelerating change, it is perhaps too much to hope for the visible unity of all confessing Christians. Nonetheless, it remains an ideal towards which we should strive, and is indeed demanded by my analysis of the Church's conflicts, since without some reconciliation nothing will have been learnt. But it is also important to say something about the interim. That I shall do here under two heads. First, I want to draw attention to the inadequacy of claims to unity based on grounds of continuity alone, but then draw from this not the illegitimacy of all authority but rather the necessity for taking with maximum seriousness whatever degree of consensus may happen to exist in the present. Thereafter I shall return for one last time to Peter and Paul, this time to a consideration of what may be learnt on this topic of authority from the use to which their imagery has been put over the centuries.

Learning from history It would be pleasant were we able to identify some simple type of continuity that establishes authority in the present, but, if my arguments over the two volumes hold any water at all, it seems to me that neither Catholic nor Protestant versions of continuity of authority can continue to be applied in their customary form. In the past the Protestant churches would have argued that identity with the New Testament was what was worth preserving. But, while Scripture is there to continue to challenge us, any attempt at a literal identity would be to ignore the transformations which the Holy Spirit has been seeking to effect since. So, if Peter was not in any meaningful sense the first pope, neither was Paul the first defender of justification by faith, the equality of the sexes or egalitarian forms of government. Peter's nearest equivalent in our own day may well be a Jewish Christian still devoutly observing the major Jewish feasts, while Paul's could be an authoritarian pastor in some charismatic house‐church where miracles of healing are regularly proclaimed. In saying this I do not intend to decry either type of Christian, only to acknowledge the strength of their antecedents while challenging their failure to move with a changing world. The problem for the Protestant, though, is not significantly lessened, even if the (p.332) benchmark is set at some point nearer to our own times. Barth may have insisted that Schleiermacher was an aberration in relation to the Reformation, but Schleiermacher himself had no doubt that the more dynamic continuity lay with his own thought.130

Yet, equally, there is little to be said for Catholic claims for literal continuity, whether these be based on papal chair or in an episcopacy guaranteed by apostolic succession. Certainly, the symbolism is right, expressing as it does the desire to pass something on, but that of itself can provide no absolute guarantee of correctness. Anglicanism went through a brief period of toying with such guarantees,131 but, as the Porvoo agreement has recently acknowledged, there can be other ways of striving for the same continuity.132 Rome too exhibits some signs of a changing attitude.133 One additional advantage it has in such debates is that since at least the nineteenth century it has sought to defend continuity of authority in terms of a more dynamic capacity for change. Even so, such openness has come at a price. Old Protestant jibes about heretical popes have been replaced, even among Catholics, by more substantial problems: not only the difficulty of sustaining any obvious biblical roots to the idea of a continuing central role for Peter and his successors but also discovery of a subsequent history in which any notion of development along one single path becomes hard to sustain. The papacy of the first millennium offers little by way of anticipation of the infallibility at the end of the second,134 while, should its teaching on (p.333) contraception ever be abandoned, this would join many another piece of moral detritus, once firmly held.135 The problem with evidence from the past is that it is so easy to distort its significance by reading it in the light of modern assumptions, and so what was only ever intended at the time to imply a primacy of honour or jurisdiction is expanded into something very much wider. For instance, had not Cyprian in the third century rewritten his key paragraphs to exclude more than a primacy of honour quite different inferences might now be drawn,136 while the fact that a lay pope could even have been considered is one key indicator of how far medieval arguments centred on juridical power rather than on theology and sacramental order.137

One could of course speak of the conciliarism of Vatican II balancing the absolutism of Vatican I,138 but against are Pope John Paul II's covert attempts to extend the notion of papal infallibility even further.139 Conciliarism, though, is, I believe, the way ahead. It has of course a long and venerable history in both the patristic (p.334) and the medieval church.140 Although it could be read as a pale religious aping of the secular move towards democracy, that is not, I think, the point.141 In its history Anglicanism has struggled with what kind of respect was properly due to the early ecumenical councils, and if such respect was due, to how many.142 If those erred who assumed that an early ideal of visible unity guaranteed truth, so too did those who thought that no greater respect was due than what was justified by perceived conformity with Scripture. For individual distortions of truth are inevitable, and so the wider the range of voices heard the more successfully we can guard against what might otherwise be the likely consequences of our prejudices,143 or, putting it in more religious terms, the more likely it is that God's present word to humanity will be heard.

This does not mean, though, that that word will necessarily prevail immediately. The innate conservatism of the religious mind means that, initially at least, few are likely to accept the need for change, and by way of confirmation one could point to numerous instances in history of what is now orthodoxy beginning with what looked like an insignificant minority.144 Indeed, notoriously Arianism remained in the ascendancy long after the Council of Nicaea. Even so, that still does not mean that the heretic is entitled to regard his or her own views as on a par with those of the majority, as though that was what respect for truth required. Instead, those canvassing for change should see themselves as prophets, charged with a mission, but set within a context where the possibility of themselves being wrong requires due submission to the will of the majority. For the Church cannot flourish without shared patterns of worship and a common proclamation. I began this (p.335) chapter by noting Newman's views on the different roles of theologian (‘prophet’) and ecclesiastical authority (‘king’). As it draws to its close, let me offer a specific case, what happened during the 1980s in my own diocese of Durham. As a result of the new bishop, David Jenkins, expressing his controversial opinions on the virgin birth and resurrection, the House of Bishops of the Church of England issued a paper, carefully distinguishing the private views of a theologian and the official position of the Church as represented through its bishops.145 Though the distinction has been much criti‐cized, it seems to me valid and important. If bishops are to be symbols of unity and indicative of the catholicity of the Church, then the public dimension of their role cannot be otherwise than fundamentally conservative. But this does not mean that the theologian or prophet is left free to sit loosely to the Church's rules and conventions, for he or she is also part of that same corporate body, even if less centrally placed within it. So, the duty remains to be respectful of authority and mindful of the fact that one might well be wrong. That is why there is no necessary incongruity in a theologian speaking more cautiously in church than might be the case in the study, though integrity of course requires that, so far as possible, the one should be informed by the other. But that is still to put the matter altogether too weakly. For what that stress on guarding oneself from error (though right and proper) ignores is the extent to which the Church is itself the source of the Christian's life and inspiration, theologian or otherwise. This is not to deny the personal action of God, but it is to insist that even so it comes mediated, through the words and symbols that the Church provides.146 So listening to, and obeying the wider community is a necessary mark of gratitude for one's communal enrichment, however trying such dependence may at times be.

Images of Peter and Paul Authority then lies in the dynamic continuity of tradition as this is gradually and consciously (or implicitly) (p.336) embraced by the Christian community as a whole.147 Certainly, true discipleship must answer the divine call when it is heard to urge the Church towards new directions as these are generated by fresh circumstances, but such a response needs always to be set in the context of recognizing that the Church involves mutual interdependence and not arrogant self‐assertion over against the cares and concerns of others. The imagination of some is naturally tempted towards the past, that of others into an openness towards the future, but being part of the same community enjoins on each a willingness to enter imaginatively into what the other sees as the implications of the gospel, however ‘heretical’ these insights may initially appear. It is important that this should be said, because the imagination can trap as well as create. To illustrate how, I want to conclude by briefly considering how the images of Peter and Paul have in fact functioned imaginatively across the centuries. Inevitably, here Paul takes a secondary place. In respect of Peter, what I suggest we find is, on the one hand, a papacy increasingly entering into his story as though it had already reached its completion, and, on the other, a hugely rich image and complex narrative that subvert any such claim to completion. As we shall see, though, the image of Paul was also not entirely immune from such problems.

The tensions are already there in the early period. Two types of image are common.148 One makes use of a cockerel to present Peter, either in the actual act of hearing the reminder of his betrayal or else simply there as a reminder of how he had once behaved. Although a number of interpretations are possible, most plausible is the notion that the image was intended to speak at once of human frailty and fallibility and of its overcoming in the forgiveness of Christ. Its potential as a universal image in this sense is well illustrated by one particular catacomb scene, which has no other human figures present except Christ but two cockerels on either side looking up to him in expectation. Peter has thus become a symbol for any and every Christian, used, as he thus is, (p.337) to speak of discipleship as a continuing struggle for us all, with promise of complete fulfilment only at the end of our pilgrimage rather in the immediate here and now.149 Quite different, though, is the other major image. This places Christ in the centre with Peter and Paul on either side. Peter is being handed the new Law.150 Only gradually does this give way to the presentation of the keys, just as only gradually does Paul acquire his own distinctive emblem of a sword and characteristic features such as balding head and pointed beard.151 If the latter has the tendency to make Paul appear the more severe of the two, whether he is depicted with the keys or being handed the new law the implication for the appropriation of Peter were profoundly troubling. For it suggested an image of authority that could put the ambiguities of Peter's earlier career firmly behind it in the past.

Although their joint representation was never entirely to die out, and indeed in the Middle Ages took some unusual forms,152 Peter clearly becomes more common on his own, and, sadly, in a way that seemed to imply a Church that had ceased to perceive the need to learn. It is not necessary to reiterate here the repeated appeal to Peter in the writings of successive popes, except to note the extraordinary extent to which his image inspired the pope most responsible for setting the papacy in an authoritarian direction. For there is no doubt that Gregory VII not only had a strong personal devotion to Peter but also wholly identified himself with him.153 He speaks of himself as having been nurtured from infancy (p.338) under Peter's wings,154 and while it is clear that his devotion to Peter antedates his elevation to the papacy, this undoubtedly strengthened his sense of identification. Not only are prayers to Peter frequent in his letters, there are also ejaculations that suggest the pope now sees himself as Peter's mouthpiece.155 He even speaks of the acceptance of papal commands as if the person concerned ‘had received them from the mouth of the apostle himself’.156 The other major pope in shaping the papal monarchy, Innocent III, may have lacked the same intensity of devotion, but the image of Peter was likewise directed to similar ends.157 It was as though it was Peter as he now was, living and perfected in heaven, who guided his earthly counterpart, not the ambiguous story of how he had reached those heights. The certainty of the present dissolved the reality of what had brought him to that point.

Yet even in the medieval period there were some who protested that the same troubled story must also be told of the papacy in their own day. Two examples will suffice. In Dante the image of the keys in the hands of an ideal confessor is contrasted with how in fact they have been used by the papacy; the threat of excommunication should be seldom used:

  • Da Pier le tegno; e dissemi ch' i'erri
  • anzi ad aprir ch'a tenerla serrata.158
(p.339) That was perhaps an expected critique. More pertinent, therefore, is how the conciliar movement also generated a painting of Peter that expresses an attitude quite different from the conventional views of the papacy. Probably attracted to Basle by the Council sitting there, Conrad Witz was commissioned to paint his famous painting of the draught of fishes.159 But, not content with that post‐resurrection scene, he also has Peter once more sink as Christ walks on the water to him. The intention seems to have been deliberate, to invoke at once present perils and future hope. Thereby was expressed both the reluctance of the former Duke of Savoy to serve as pope and the hope of the conciliarists for the future.160 If these are rare examples of different imaginative perspectives on Peter from the Middle Ages, both Reformation and Counter‐Reformation were to open up new possibilities.

If we begin with the Catholic side, pertinent to note is Michelangelo's two great paintings of the conversion of St Paul and the crucifixion of St Peter.161 The latter incident derives from the Acts of Peter, and shows Peter crucified upside down.162 The former with all its dramatic details, including a quite splendid horse, could be read as little more than a piece of Renaissance humanism. But that would, I think, be unfair. Both paintings in fact complement one another, and both speak of the overturning of values and the severe requirements of an adequate imitatio Christi. Peter even looks out from the canvas, interrogating us. It is sometimes suggested that the way Peter is portrayed was Michelangelo's own choice, while the less severe version for Paul was influenced by the then pope, Paul III.163 If so, Caravaggio's more famous version of the same incident made the necessary modifications that would ensure that the same message was taken (p.340) in each case. Gone is the heavenly host, gone too is the splendid steed, and in their place has come a more human reality, with the horse struggling to avoid stepping on the fallen Paul.164 Likewise, Michelangelo's Peter was to be given a simpler form in Zurburán's mystical version, in which all that is left is Peter Nolasco contemplating his upturned namesake as he emerges out of an unadorned, red background.165 That went well with another Counter‐ Reformation image, that of the penitent and weeping Peter, so poignantly expressed by El Greco.166 What these images surely suggest is not confidence in power but a Church that must struggle to be loyal to its Lord and which discovers that obedience in humility, and not self‐assertion.

One of the earliest Reformation images of Paul comes from Dürer in his Four Apostles.167 Paul is to the fore, as is John, Luther's favourite Gospel writer. Behind are Peter and Mark. As one might expect from the Reformation, it is Paul who dominates. Almost certainly present too are underlying assumptions about the four basic types of character and their correspondence to the four humours. The net result is that Paul is made melancholic and thus the one, according to the theories of the time, most disposed to genius. Peter, by contrast, is pressed to the back, and made to look a broken man—old, tired, and downcast. All the new confidence of the Reformation is there, but also, sadly, it seems to me, quite the wrong image of Peter and Paul. Peter's keys are now made an empty boast, but that is combined with a new danger, the cult of the romantic individual genius that Paul's fiery look is so clearly meant to represent. That could end up (and often did) as authoritarian as its predecessor. It is fortunate, therefore, that the (p.341) Reformation was to produce another, quite different image of Paul, Rembrandt's.168 He painted the saint a number of times, once in his own likeness. What, though, is remarkable about these images is their quietly reflective character. Instead of arrogance, there is an implicit call to meditation and prayer.

In our own day, beginning with a critical discussion of Schelling's treatment of Peter, Paul, and John as symbols or types, Balthasar has developed an account of the nature of the Church that speaks of the necessity of all three, but significantly Peter is still characterized as the one to whom unquestioning obedience is due.169 With the long history of the kind of papacy that developed from Gregory VII onwards, it is easy to suppose that no other conception of Christian leadership and authority is possible. It is therefore salutary to recall that the first papal Gregory was made of quite different metal. Not only did Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604) speak of full authority existing in the college of bishops as a whole, he also explicitly objected to the ‘ecumenical patriarch’ usurping such a title to himself, not because he wanted himself designated ‘universal pope’ (the two terms are equivalent), but because the very use of the title implied a different conception of authority to that which he wished to endorse.170 Again, however we read the biblical Paul, in practice the Reformation which he was seen to inspire often ended up no less authoritarian than what it opposed, and thus very far from the model of servus servorum Dei that Gregory I had himself espoused.

Certainly, issues of authority cannot be ignored in a religion whose essence requires a life of shared values and common worship, but at least the competing history of the images of Peter and Paul remind us that there is more than one alternative. Peter (p.342) and Paul have been presented as seekers as well as finders. It is by giving each their due weight that authority in the Church of our own day will be most appropriately exercised, with an insistence that the past be heard but also equally openness to the further transformations in Christian self‐understanding that are undoubtedly yet to come. In the past, as we have seen, those transformations have often come through the imagination in contributions which, from one point of view, are purely ‘fictional’. Why, nonetheless, truth can sometimes be seen to be their deeper content is the subject of my final chapter.


(1) J. H. Newman, An Essay on the Development of Doctrine (1845). For his seven tests, ch. 1, sec. 3.

(2) Well indicated by O. Chadwick, From Bossuet to Newman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957), esp. chs. 2 and 5.

(3) For some context to his famous remark ‘to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards’, S. Gilley, Newman and his Age (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1990), 363–81 esp. 375–6.

(4) Section 7 ff. argues that the theological (‘prophet’), devotional (‘priest’) and ruling (‘king’) aspects of the Church have each a tendency to overstep their proper limits but that this can sometimes serve a useful purpose in securing the legitimate objectives of the Church.

(5) Parochial and Plain Sermons (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), II, 25, esp. 417. Cf. also VII, 17, esp. 1541–2.

(6) Continuing problems with partisan approaches to Church history are illustrated in J. Kent, The Unacceptable Face: the Modern Church in the Eyes of the Historian (London: SCM Press, 1987).

(7) Parochial and Plain Sermons, VI, 14, 1299.

(8) What is ‘indifferent’ in terms of structural unity might still play a vital role in the practice of a Christian's faith. Accepting difference is thus not to be equated with declaring unimportant.

(9) G. Lüdemann, The Unholy in Holy Scripture (London: SCM Press, 1997), 76 ff. For him ‘anti‐Judaism is the other side of “Christ alone” ’ (118), and it looks as though Christianity could only avoid the accusation if it treated Jesus' teaching and significance as equivalent to that of ‘a Reform Jew’ (130).

(10) Force can never produce that ‘faith and inward sincerity’ which alone can ‘procure acceptance with God’: Works of John Locke (1727), II, 243.

(11) For the sense of apostle as Christ's shaliah or accredited agent, C. K. Barrett, The Signs of an Apostle (Exeter: Paternoster, 2nd edn, 1996), esp. 71–4. The different senses assigned to the term by Luke and Paul is only indirectly relevant to the discussion which follows.

(12) B. S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (London: SCM Press, 1979), 395–410, esp. 405 ff.

(13) In Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (London: SCM Press, 1992) he talks of ‘the complete canon of the Christian church as the rule‐of‐faith’ (67) with the Old Testament seen as having ‘functioned as Christian scripture because it bore witness to Christ’ (64).

(14) For some pertinent criticisms, J. Barr, Holy Scripture: Canon, Authority, Criticism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), esp. 75–104, 130–71.

(15) Illustrated by his commentary on Exodus where a commendable concern for the history of exegesis is somewhat vitiated by rather predicable praise for Augustine, Calvin and Luther: B. S. Childs, The Book of Exodus (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster Press, 1974).

(16) W. Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997). Significantly, the book is subtitled ‘Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy’. For the role of the imagination: e.g. 67–71.

(17) For his refusal to allow God beyond the text, e.g. ibid., 66, 70, 722, 725. His acceptance of postmodernism is indicated by the title of an earlier book: Texts under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).

(18) For a work that accepts diversity but shows greater concern to place it on the way towards consensus, J. Goldingay, Theological Diversity and the Authority of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1987).

(19) So long as most of them remained attributed to David, any hint of a connection with the priestly tradition could be quietly suppressed.

(20) R. Albertz, A History of Israelite Religion (London: SCM Press, 1994), I, 49 ff. For a more radical view of ‘evolution . . . through conflict’. with the exodus seen as an ideology to express the desire for internal reform at the time of the exile, G. Garbini, History and Ideology in Ancient Israel (London: SCM Press, 1988), 52–65.

(21) G. von Rad, Wisdom in Israel (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1972); J. Barr, Biblical Faith and Natural Theology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).

(22) R. Rendtorff, Canon and Theology (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994), 196–206. For his involvement with Judaism, e.g. Ibid., 214.

(23) Tradition and Imagination, 213–37.

(24) M. Halbertal, People of the Book (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997), 45, 72–3.

(25) Ibid., 52, 59–72, 109–24. Maimonides played a key role for philosophy, Nachmanides in the Kabbalistic tradition.

(26) Ibid., 129–34.

(27) Not least with the herem. Its distinctively religious character as the ‘sacred ban’ makes it more offensive, not less: Barr, Biblical Faith, 207 ff.

(28) E.g. the book of Jubilees seems to have been treated as canonical.

(29) Tradition and Imagination, ch. 6.

(30) Various passages imply frequent attendance at the Temple: e.g. Mark 14: 49; John. 5: 1 and 7: 10. Jesus also urges lepers to observe the law, and he is described as regularly attending the synagogue: Mark 1: 44; Luke 4: 16. Again, though Mark places the cleansing of the temple between the two halves of the story of the cursing of the fig tree, the symbolism in itself as well as the words used (Mark 11: 17) surely suggest reform rather than destruction: for a different view, E. P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (London: SCM Press, 1985), 61–71.

(31) Gal. 1–2 seeks to minimize any sense of dependence on others apart from God himself (e.g. 1: 16–17; 1: 19; 2: 2) while sarcastic language is used of others in positions of authority: e.g. 2: 6 and 9, a pattern repeated elsewhere: e.g. the ‘superlative apostles’ of 2 Cor. 11: 5.

(32) Explored as one of several possible influences by H. Räisänen, Paul and the Law (Tübingen: Mohr, 1983), 229–63, esp. 251–6.

(33) M. Simon, St Stephen and the Hellenists (London: Longmans, 1958), 1–19, esp. 9–13; M. Hengel, Between Jesus and Paul (London: SCM Press, 1983), 4–11.

(34) Stephen recounts the early history of Israel, but in a way that focuses even with the patriarchs on their sojourn elsewhere, as with Abraham in Haran and Joseph in Egypt.

(35) ‘Law . . . is at the very core of his thought’: Simon, St Stephen 46. Cf. J. D. G. Dunn, The Parting of the Ways (London: SCM Press, 1991), 57–74, esp. 69.

(36) Although clearly adapted by Luke to his wider purposes, its content suggests some attempt on Luke's part to indicate Stephen's own distinctive view.

(37) Although the law is not specifically attacked in Stephen's speech, his last words are an attack on the manner of its observance (7: 53), and this may imply some further radicalization of Jesus' own limited critique.

(38) Gospel of Thomas, 10. It is implied rather than explicit, unlike the fragment of the Gospel of the Hebrews preserved by Jerome, where his presence at the Last Supper is accepted: De viris illustribus, 2. But both could be developments from the resurrection appearance, while if the canonical Gospels had really intended to attack James it is hard to understand why he is never mentioned by name. For a different view, P.‐A. Bernheim, James, Brother of Jesus (London: SCM Press, 1997), 76–100.

(39) Ibid., 216–22.

(40) Though I find the argument implausible, it has been suggested that the common interpretation is wrong, and that Paul supported James's wish for the continuing imposition of the law on Jewish Christian communities, and that the real problem was Peter's failure to keep within one boundary or the other: W. Schmithals, Paul and James (London: SCM Press, 1965), esp. 63–78, 103–117.

(41) For Paul's view, Gal. 2: 7–8; cf. Acts 18: 6. On the other side is not only the Cornelius incident in Acts (10: 1 ff.) but also Paul's own references to Petrine parties in his congregations: 1 Cor. 1: 12; 3: 22; and possibly 2 Cor. 11: 5.

(42) This is the most natural reading of the Sermon on the Mount, with the Law not abolished but reinterpreted as requiring a new level of commitment: e. g. 5: 20.

(43) Contrast Rom. 14: 5 ff.; Gal. 4: 10; Col. 2: 16, and especially Mark 2: 23–28, with Matt. 12: 1–8. Matthew omits ‘the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath’ and adds other material in order to indicate that Jesus did not intend to oppose sabbath obligations, but wished rather to place them in a wider frame.

(44) Contrast Stephen's laudatory reference on the same theme: Acts 7: 53; cf. v. 38.

(45) As the history of its use in worship indicates. Set as the Epistle for the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity in the Book of Common Prayer, by the 1928 revision the rare expedient of an alternative reading (Heb. 13) was offered, while in the 1980 Alternative Service Book it disappears altogether.

(46) For the gentler version, 2 Cor. 3; Phil. 3. For the more severe, Gal. 3–4; Rom. 4–7. Romans 7 is often interpreted as Paul trying to draw back from the full consequences of his earlier argument.

(47) E.g. C. E. B. Cranfield, Epistle to the Romans (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1979), 852–61. Though conceding Paul's ‘regularly negative attitude . . . towards the law’ (129), this is also the direction of thought in J. D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1998), 128–61.

(48) Räisänen, Paul and the Law, esp. 11. A similar view of irreconcilable inconsistencies is accepted by E. P. Sanders, Paul, the Law and the Jewish People (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983).

(49) E. Sanders, Paul (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 94. For Sanders, Paul works ‘in images and figures’, but not as a ‘systematic theologian’ (127–8).

(50) One needs to distinguish between Paul's explicit affirmations and what can be deduced from elsewhere about the general church view at that time: B. Holmberg, Paul and Power (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), 16–33.

(51) The summary of the argument of Gal. 1: 16–2: 14 in W. A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 116. The chapter on ‘governance’ is particularly helpful: 111–39.

(52) Although his right to be called an apostle was contested (1 Cor. 9: 1–2), it is the characteristic form of self‐description that he uses to open his letters, and it often functions elsewhere in the argument. For appeal to his role as founder, e.g. 1 Cor. 4: 14–16.

(53) F. Young and D. F. Ford, Meaning and Truth in 2 Corinthians (London: SPCK, 1987), 207–34, esp. 220.

(54) If we knew who the opponents were in 2 Corinthians 11, we might be more sympathetic to them. Paul speaks of himself being granted ‘abundance of revelations’ and an ability to ‘speak in tongues more than you all’ (2 Cor. 12: 7; 1 Cor. 14: 18 RSV).

(55) 1 Cor. 4: 21 for ‘rod’. The conclusion of that same epistle enjoins obedience to leaders whom Paul has baptized (16: 15–16; cf. 1: 16), while in 1 Thessalonians he urges the recipients ‘to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you’ (5: 12 RSV). For excommunication, 1 Cor. 5: 5.

(56) For the text, W. Schneelmelcher (ed.), New Testament Apocrypha (Cambridge: James Clarke, 1992), II, 213–321. For the incident of the lion, 251–3. For a discussion of the once independent Acts of Thecla: S. E. McGinn in E. Schüssler Fiorenza (ed.), Searching the Scriptures (London: SCM Press, 1994), II, 800–28.

(57) A. Cameron, Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire (Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1991), 89–119, esp. 93.

(58) Senators and patrons are deprived of the honour which they might have expected; so J. Perkins, The Suffering Self (London: Routledge, 1995), 124–41, esp. 133–9.

(59) T. Adamik, ‘The baptised lion in the Acts of Paul’ in J. N. Bremmer (ed.), The Apocryphal Acts of Paul (Kampen: Pharos, 1996), 60–74. The lion as symbol of power and sexuality yields to Christ and to virginity.

(60) Perkins notes that the miracles provide one answer to suffering, but martyrdom another—suffering can be valuable in itself: Suffering Self, 129–30.

(61) S. K. Stowers, ‘What does unpauline mean?’ in W. S. Babcock (ed.), Paul and the Legacies of Paul (Dallas: SMU Press, 1990), 70–77, esp. 72.

(62) Although one brief, later visit is recorded (Acts 18: 22), Paul never mentions Antioch again in his letters. Also in Galatians itself, he makes no mention of winning the debate.

(63) For a sympathetic portrayal from a Protestant of Peter's ‘infinitely more difficult position’ and ‘particularly painful dilemma’, O. Cullmann, Peter Disciple—Apostle—Martyr (London: SCM Press, 1953), 49–51, esp. 51.

(64) After his departure in Acts 12: 17, James assumes leadership (15: 13 ff.), and this appears confirmed by Paul, who places James' name first (Gal. 2: 9). Attempts to counter Cullmann's view fail to persuade. For a detailed response: O. Karrer, Peter and the Church (Edinburgh; Nelson, 1963). Though accepting the fluidity of elder/bishop (109), Karrer assumes that Peter's commission was unqualified.

(65) Accepted, for example, by John Meier in R. E. Brown and J. P. Meier, Antioch and Rome (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1983), 45–72.

(66) Papias (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15) associated Mark with Peter, but this may have been to ensure direct contact with someone who had known Jesus while alive. Although Mark is a common name, the theology of that particular Gospel makes it quite likely that he is to be identified with John Mark, the companion of Paul: Acts 12: 25; Philemon, 24.

(67) Augustine took the passage to refer to Christ as the Rock: e. g. Sermons 76, 147, 149; for a detailed discussion of his various treatments, A.‐M. Bonnardiere, ‘La péricope “Matthieu 16.13–23” dans l'oeuvre de saint Augustin’ Irenikon 24 (1961), 451–99. More commonly, as in Pope Leo (Sermons 4.2), the appeal is to Peter's personal faith. Despite the present prominence of the text in St Peter's at Rome, even in the Middle Ages it seldom formed the core of the argument for papal authority: K Froehlich, Formen der Auslegung von Mt. 16.13–18 im lateinischen Mittelalter (Tübingen: Präzis, 1963).

(68) Drawing on Luke 22: 31–2, Cullmann suggested the Last Supper (Peter, 178–84), but most commentators prefer a post‐resurrection context: R. E. Brown et al. (eds.), Peter in the New Testament (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1974), 85 ff.

(69) The Semitic character of the saying is widely accepted: e. g. Cullmann, Peter, 184 ff.; Brown, Peter, 90 ff. In considering the eschatological context, it has been suggested that ‘Peter is the rock that will stand up to the storms of the last days, over which the gates of Hades, the power of death, will not prevail; James and John are the claps of thunder (Mk. 3.17) that herald the coming storm’: Barrett, Signs, 27–8.

(70) Matt. 16: 18 needs to be balanced against 18: 15–20, where power of resolving issues is invested in the community as a whole. Nonetheless, to Peter alone is reserved the keys, which suggests some form of special standing: Brown, Peter, 96–8.

(71) Somewhat puzzlingly, Barrett takes Matt. 23: 8–10 with its rejection of titles such as ‘teacher’, ‘father’ and ‘master’ as indicative of ‘the Pauline attitude to apostleship’ (Signs, 81–2). Yet he does not postulate any direct influence from Paul, whereas elsewhere it is Paul that we find talking of himself as a ‘father’ prepared to use ‘the rod’: 1 Cor. 4: 14–21.

(72) Both alike characterized as giving commands, as early as Ignatius (d. c. 107): Romans 4.3.

(73) Although the tradition that they died the same day is probably an invention intended to ‘catch the imagination’, and it is unlikely that the three sites in Rome mark their place of burial (would an eschatological community have recorded such things?), the evidence for Rome being their place of martyrdom is strong: H. Chadwick, ‘St Peter and St Paul in Rome’, Journal of Theological Studies 8 (1957), 31–52. More recent excavations, though, do demonstrate how early there arose belief in Peter's association with the Vatican hill.

(74) For a more acerbic version, M. Goulder, A Tale of Two Missions (London: SCM Press, 1994). His account is hard to evaluate because so much is guesswork, as for instance his identification of Nicodemus as ‘a successful Petrine missionary’ (94).

(75) For an attempt to use deviance theory to explain why the conflict was so traumatic for both sides, J. T. Sanders, Schismatics, Sectarians, Dissidents, Deviants (London: SCM Press, 1993), esp. 82–151.

(76) For other examples and discussion, A. H. Maynard, ‘The role of Peter in the Fourth Gospel’, New Testament Studies 30 (1984), 531–48; A. J. Droge, ‘The status of Peter in the Fourth Gospel’, Journal of Biblical Literature 109 (1990), 307–11. A more conciliatory approach is offered in K. Quast, Peter and the Beloved Disciple (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1989).

(77) Some readers will not wish to go that far, but it is hard to deny a mixture of the historical and the imaginative, given so may conflicts with the Synoptics, not least the placing of the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross.

(78) E. g. Dunn, Parting, 86–91, 270.

(79) Although they try to defend its ‘enclosed world of meaning’, many commentators cannot avoid admitting that to modern readers Hebrews' use of Scripture appears ‘alien’ and ‘quite arbitrary’: B. Lindars, The Theology of the Letter to the Hebrews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), esp. 130–2.

(80) Partly because he sees the epistle directed to former Jerusalem priests, C. Spicq has no difficulty in aligning the author's intent with a eucharistic liturgical frame: L'Épitre aux Hébreux (Paris: Librairie Lecoffre, 1952), esp. I, 316–24; II, 123. That could be true, though I think it unlikely. My point in the text, however, is that, even if the author's closest ally would have been a ‘Protestant’ Paul, the argument is by no means over.

(81) The patristic discussion of whether it was the humanity that was offered or the total reality of the eternal Word must also have played its part, since the latter lends itself more naturally to an eternal sacrifice being offered. For discussion of the argument (without its possible eucharistic implications), R. Greer, The Captain of our Salvation (Tübingen: Mohr, 1975).

(82) In the case of Arius the position is complicated by the fact that he appears in any case not to have written much. Works that may be by Apollinarius are included in the corpus of Gregory Thaumaturgus, Athanasius and Pope Julius I.

(83) The story is complicated both by the issue of how far later Origenism is to be identified with the views of Origen himself, as also by the extent to which it is true that Rufinus modified his views. For an attempt to defend his essential ‘orthodoxy’, H. Crouzel, Origen (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1989).

(84) The wealth of post‐war literature on Arius is perhaps the best example. Contrasting analyses have been offered, but it is hard to distinguish between ‘possible’ and ‘probable’.

(85) A chapter that begins by admitting the negative side in the Gospel of Thomas ends by calling for the ordination of women. In the interim she has noted women consecrating among Gnostics, but failed to observe that this remained subordinate to the work of the presiding male. E. Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1980), 48–69, esp. 59–60; Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 1.13.2.

(86) Significantly, one account with such an emphasis leaves pre‐existence to a third chapter, and then insists upon giving it a soteriological interpretation rather than its own independent rationale: R. C. Gregg and D. E. Groh, Early Arianism (London: SCM Press, 1981), esp. 77 ff.

(87) H. W. Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1882), 266.

(88) Unlike Gregg and Groh, Rowan Williams traces the origin of Arius' ideas to Neoplatonism, but unlike Gwatkin, he not only finds ‘a thinker and exegete of resourcefulness, sharpness and originality’, he also accepts his self‐designation as a ‘biblical theologian’: Arius (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1987), 107, 116.

(89) For an intriguing attempt to transform ‘the hair‐splitting pseudo‐ Aristotelian dialectic’ that John Kelly had found in Eunomius into an attempt to ‘ensure . . . that our speech about God has a purchase on reality’, see M. F. Wiles, ‘Eunomius: hair‐splitting dialectician or defender of the accessibility of salvation?’ in R. Williams (ed.), The Making of Orthodoxy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 157–72, esp. 160, 164.

(90) Although John 14: 28 was used by later Arianism, ironically in the earlier stages it was employed by orthodoxy, since it seemed at least to guarantee sameness of substance, if not equality: M. Simonetti, Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994), 129–30.

(91) While not denying a human mind to Christ, Athanasius fails to make any use of the notion, and so the development of a monophysite Christology by his friend, Apollinarius, might be regarded as a legitimate expansion of his own thought. For ‘Apollinaris als Schüler des Athanasius’, E. Mühlenberg, Apollinaris von Laodicea (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1969), 196–209.

(92) For the contrast and the required argument, Tradition and Revelation, ch. 6.

(93) For a brief statement of Bultmann's ideas on Gnosticism, R. Bultmann, Primitive Christianity (New York: Meridian, 1957), 162–71; for Bultmann's own reasons for doubting that parts of chapter 6 were originally part of John's Gospel, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Oxford: Blackwell, 1971), 218–37.

(94) For Gnostic use of John, M. F. Wiles, The Spiritual Gospel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), 96–111.

(95) As in Irenaeus' famous argument, significantly expressed in terms of a complementarity that reflects the four zones of the world, the four winds and so forth: Adversus Haereses 3.11.8.

(96) Apart from Pagels, two other useful books in trying to comprehend its attractiveness as a religious force are H. Jonas, The Gnostic Religion (Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1963) and K. Rudolph, Gnosis (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1983). All, though, in my view tend to exaggerate the modernist side, Jonas the existentialist (320 ff.), Pagels the feminist, and Rudolph the Marxist (esp. 292–4).

(97) The practical dimension of patristic argument is rightly stressed in M. Wiles, The Making of Christian Doctrine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), esp. 62–113.

(98) For examples of the former, J. M. Robinson and H. Koester, Trajectories through Early Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971), H. Koester, Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1982), esp. 2, 147 ff; for an example of the latter, Schüssler Fiorenza, Searching the Scriptures, where the aim is ‘to transgress canonical boundaries in order . . . to undo the exclusionary kyriarchal tendencies of the ruling canon’: 2, 5.

(99) W. Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934; London: SCM Press, 1972). His case is strongest with Edessa, the city with which he begins his analysis. For a limited defence in reaction to some of the criticism, see G. Strecker's Appendix 2: 286–316, esp. 310 ff.

(100) A good response was offered by H. E. W. Turner in his 1954 book The Pattern of Christian Truth. More recently, in The Rise of Normative Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994) A. J. Hultgren has attempted to identify a continuous normative tradition, though his stress on a number of shared features (e.g. 86) strikes me as less secure than it might initially appear.

(101) ‘Essentially a formula of compromise’; so C. Stead, Divine Substance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 223–66, esp. 242.

(102) Perhaps sufficiently indicated by titles of two books on the subject: E. Yarnold, The Awe‐Inspiring Rites of Initiation (Slough: St Paul, 1971); E. Mazza, Mystagogy (New York: Pueblo, 1989).

(103) Apart from isolated individual examples such as Gottschalk (d. 869), there is a long gap in the appearance of more popular movements after the collapse of Priscillianism. Although Priscillian was executed in 386, it was technically for sorcery, and in fact capital punishment only became a key weapon against heresy in continental Europe in the thirteenth century and in England not till 1401.

(104) For the notion of a continuous stream running from Manichaeism through eastern Bogomils to Cathars, S. Runciman, The Medieval Manichee (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947); for social change as explanation, R. Morghen, ‘Problèmes sur l'origine de l'hérésie au moyen âge’, Revue historique 136 (1966), 1–16.

(105) The priest in question was Ramirhdus who was put to death in 1075, two years into Hildebrand's pontificate.

(106) Illustrated by the career of Henry of Lausanne in A. H. Bredero, Christendom and Christianity in the Middle Ages (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1994), 211–24.

(107) The humours theory of mental health meant that leprosy could even be seen as one expression of heresy. Problems of interpretation are stressed in R. I. Moore, The Birth of Popular Heresy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1975), 1–7, esp. 4–5.

(108) E. Peters, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe (London: Scolar Press, 1980), 139–63. This collection of documents also illustrates many other overlaps between reformers and those pronounced heretics.

(109) For such a contrast, P. Boglioni, ‘La perception de l'hérétique au moyen âge’ in M. Gourgues and D. Mailhiot (eds.), L'Altérité (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1986), 333–60.

(110) The views of both were condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415. Though both enjoyed royal protection, only Wyclif died a natural death (in 1384).

(111) Particularly clear from some of the writings of Oberman and Ozment. E.g. H. Oberman, Forerunners of the Reformation (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981); Masters of the Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); The Dawn of the Reformation (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1992); S. Ozment, The Age of Reform 1250–1550 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980); S. Ozment (ed.), The Reformation in Medieval Perspective (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1971).

(112) A view most widely disseminated by E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992). For presentation of the two sides of the debate, C. Haigh and A. G. Dickens in M. Todd (ed.), Reformation to Revolution (London: Routledge, 1995), 13–32 and 157–78

(113) For further examples, J. Bossy, Christianity in the West 1400–1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 115 ff.

(114) Otherwise, mentioned only incidentally.

(115) It is clear that the earlier sessions (1–8, in 1545–7) had as their primary aim ‘to counter the Reformation understanding’ and that when ‘Protestant delegates arrives in January of 1552 . . . they were obviously too late to have any influence’: C. Lindberg, The European Reformations (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 350–6, esp. 352, 354.

(116) ‘At least once a week’: Calvin, Institutes 4.17. 43: ‘administrari decentissime poterat, si saepissime et singulis ad minimum hebdomadibus proponetur Ecclesiae.’

(117) Most notably perhaps, Raymond Brown.

(118) ‘Three churches within one,’ which are ‘as resistant to ecclesiastical management as were the waves of the sea to king Canute's command’: the verdict of a Roman Catholic scholar, A. Nichols, The Panther and the Hind (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993), esp., 155, 177.

(119) D. MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 618–20.

(120) The change of attitude began with N. Sykes, Church and State in England in the Eighteenth Century (1934), but has accelerated since. Influential has been J. Clark, English Society 1688–1832 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). For a helpful survey, the ‘Introduction’ by J. Walsh and S. Taylor in J. Walsh, C. Haydon and S. Taylor (eds.), The Church of England 1689–1833 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 1–64.

(121) In his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity of 1593, not only are the parallels with Aquinas' attitudes to reason and natural law evident (e.g. 1.8–10), but also some of his specific assertions might be said to lead naturally into later questioning, as, for instance, his declaration that ‘Scripture is not the only law whereby God hath opened his will’ (2.2) or his view that ‘unless beside Scripture there were something which might assure us that we do well, we could not think we do well’ (2.4).

(122) Although perhaps most familiar in a transferred context in application to marriage, this use of Ecclesiastes 4: 12 (AV) in defining the essence of Anglicanism has a long history.

(123) The main emphasis in S. W. Sykes, The Integrity of Anglicanism (London: Mowbray, 1978), as indeed also in his larger book on The Identity of Christianity (London: SPCK, 1984), esp. 262 ff.

(124) Despite his primary emphasis, a point also insisted upon by Sykes, who draws attention to a corporate insistence upon certain shared features such as episcopal ordination: Integrity, 43–4. One might also note the unanimity of recent reports from the Doctrine Commission: We Believe in God; We Believe in the Holy Spirit; The Mystery of Salvation (London: Church House Publishing, 1987, 1991, 1995).

(125) Hooker thought only practice could change, not doctrine (3.10), and viewed from the divine perspective he is of course right. But recent reports have significantly modified earlier perceptions, as, for instance, on the impassibility of God, or the existence of hell as a place of eternal punishment: hesitantly on the former, We Believe in God, 157 ff; emphatically on the latter, Mystery, 198–9.

(126) In the intervening period, though, bishops continued to be represented on tombs with mitres.

(127) For a brief outline of the affair which ran from 1888–90, O. Chadwick, The Victorian Church (London: 2nd edn, SCM Press, 1972), 2, 353–4.

(128) The hostility to Essays and Reviews (1860) was intense, eleven thousand clergy eventually signing a protest letter. Even so, the appearance of Lux Mundi in 1889 demonstrated that many of its lessons had been absorbed by Anglo‐Catholics.

(129) Though the prayer is addressed to the Father, John's intention is clearly that it should be appropriated by his readers.

(130) B. A. Gerrish, The Old Protestantism and the New (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1982), 179–95.

(131) It remained a dominant strain in Anglo‐Catholic thinking until K. E. Kirk (ed.), The Apostolic Ministry (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1946) met with a number of robust responses, among them K. Carey (ed.) The Historic Episcopate (London: Dacre Press, 1954).

(132) That underlying continuity might be preserved despite breaks in episcopal succession is accepted in the Porvoo Common Statement (London: Church House Publishing, 1993), paras. 46–54. The relevance of this point to the agreement (between the Church of England and the Scandinavian and Baltic churches) is that not all these churches have preserved a continuous chain of episcopacy.

(133) Vatican II makes it clear that the issue is not just a matter of uninterrupted transmission in the laying on of hands: Lumen Gentium, paras. 22–3; cf. J. Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), 245–6.

(134) Even juridical interventions were rare, with popes on the whole responding rather than themselves taking the initiative.

(135) For examples from a Catholic, B. Hoose, Received Wisdom? (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1994). He argues for a more radical view of development: 151–81.

(136) For text and Jesuit editor's comments, M. Bévenot, De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate, 4 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), xi–xv, 61–5.

(137) For how Ockham's proposal could be seen as congruent with the long history of Catholic thought, M. Wilks, ‘The Apostolicus and the Bishop of Rome’, Journal of Theological Studies 13 (1962), 290–317; 14 (1963), 311–54. As an early example he quotes the seventh‐century Liber Pontificalis which states that gubernandum was given to Clement but omne ministerium sacerdotale to Linus and Anacletus: (1963), 327.

(138) Easier to sustain for the collegiality of bishops than for the role of the laity. The continued hierarchical view of Lumen Gentium leaves unclear how much significance is really being assigned to the laity in Apostolicam Actuositatem.

(139) As in his apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, issued in May, 1994, where the language of infallibility is used to rule out the ordination of women: ‘to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful’. More recently, there has been Ad Tuendam Fidem (30 June, 1998), which emended Canon 750 to require all Catholic theologians to assent to the following: ‘All that is contained in the written word of God or in tradition, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the church and also proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium must be believed with divine and Catholic faith’: Origins 28 (1998), 114–19, esp. 115. Included in the ‘ordinary and universal magisterium’ would be rejection of the ordination of women; so Dulles, ibid., 117.

(140) In the medieval period particularly associated with the Councils of Constance (1414–18) and Basle (1431–49). For the theology behind the latter, A. Black, Council and Commune (London: Burns & Oates, 1979).

(141) The theology of the principal intellectual figure behind Constance, Jean Gerson, was in fact thoroughly hierarchical: D. Luscombe, ‘John Gerson and Hierarchy’ in I. Wood and G. A. Loud (eds.), Church and Chronicle in the Middle Ages (London: Hambledon, 1991), 194–200.

(142) For a brief resumé and bibliography, H. Chadwick and F. H Striver in S. Sykes and J. Booty (eds.), The Study of Anglicanism (London: SPCK, 1988), 91–105, 188–93.

(143) For a secular parallel, J. Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action (London: Heinemann, 1984).

(144) As in the history of attitudes to hell or contraception.

(145) The Nature of Christian Belief (London: Church House, 1986).

(146) A high doctrine of the Church has so often gone with authoritarianism that it is refreshing to find already in the early nineteenth century an impressive, alternative ecclesiology from the Catholic theologian, J. A. Möhler. For a helpful study, M. J. Himes, Ongoing Incarnation (New York: Crossroad, 1997).

(147) ‘Or implicitly’ because, as earlier chapters illustrate, change is often read back into Scripture and so treated as though it had not happened.

(148) L. de Bruyne, ‘L'iconographie des apôtres Pierre et Paul dans une lumière nouvelle’ in B. M. Apollonj Ghetti et al. (eds.), Saecularia Petri et Pauli (Vatican: Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 1969), 36–84.

(149) ‘Comme symbole du simple croyant’ (ibid., 84). For illustration (from catacomb of Priscilla), 83.

(150) The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (d. 359) is among the best known examples of the Traditio Legis.

(151) For the view that the Acts of Paul deduced Paul's appearance from his own writings, J. Bollók, ‘The description of Paul in the Acta Pauli’ in Bremmer (ed.), Apocryphal Acts 1–15.

(152) A seal of Innocent IV (1243–54), found at Coldingham Priory in southeast Scotland, has on it the faces of both Peter and Paul, but for some reason Paul is identified by his pre‐Christian name of Saul.

(153) M. Maccarone, ‘I fondamenti petrini del primato romano in Gregorio VII’, Studi Gregoriani 13 (1989), 55–128, esp. 96 ff. Note Maccarrone's opening sentence: ‘Il nome di San Pietro è omnipresente nelle lettere di Gregorio VII . . . e la sua idea domina nella mente e nell'azione di questo papa, come in nessun altor né prima né dopo’ (55).

(154) ‘Me ab infantia mea sub alis suis singulari quadem pietate nutrivit et in gremio suae clementiae fovit’: quoted in ibid., 78.

(155) E. g. ‘Utinam beatus Petrus per me respondeat’: quoted in ibid., 97.

(156) ‘veluti si ab ore ipsius apostoli accepisset’: quoted in G. Tellenbach, The Church in Western Europe from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 234. Note also his death‐bed remark, that excommunicates were absolved ‘provided only that they believe without doubt that I have this spiritual power as representative of St Peter’ (252).

(157) ‘Christ left to Peter, not only the whole church but also the whole world, to govern’: Innocent's remark is placed on an opening page (unnumbered) as the clue to the period as a whole in C. Morris, The Papal Monarchy: the Western Church from 1050 to 1250 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). Cf. also 431–2.

(158) Purgatorio IX, 127–8; ‘From Peter, I hold them; and he told me that I should err towards opening rather than in keeping bolted’ (my trans.). For further references and discussion, P. Armour, The Door of Purgatory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), 76–99, esp. 83 ff.

(159) Painted c. 1444, and now in Musée d'art et d'histoire, Geneva. Its fame derives not from its theme, but because it is one of the earliest examples of a naturalistic landscape.

(160) A devout man, Duke Amadeus was elected antipope in 1440 as Felix V, and abdicated in 1449.

(161) Painted c. 1545–50 for the Pauline Chapel. For illustration and discussion, H. Hibbard, Michelangelo (London: Octopus, 1979), 174–95.

(162) There are occasional medieval examples; for one from Rouen illustrated, E. Mâle, Religious Art in France: the Thirteenth Century (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1984), 297.

(163) The 1550 version of Vasari's Lives informs us that the subject was to be the Keys. The Pope, though, died late in 1549 with the Petrine fresco still unfinished.

(164) In the Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. By contrast, its companion piece of Peter's crucifixion, seems to me much less successful than Michelangelo's. For illustrations, A. Moir, Caravaggio (London: Thames & Hudson, 1989), nos. 19 and 20.

(165) Now in the Prado, Madrid; illustrated in J. Brown, Zurburán (London: Thames & Hudson, 1991), 58–9.

(166) In Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle; for a reproduction and brief discussion, Plate 8 of this book. The image was widely used to replace the now historically suspect, penitent Magdalene.

(167) Painted c. 1525 in Nuremberg and now in Munich. For discussion, E. Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 4th edn, 1955), 232–5; for further comments on my part, Plate 7 of this book.

(168) For Rembrandt's general approach to Paul, and illustrations, W. H. Halewood, Six Subjects of Reformation Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982), 107–20.

(169) With the love of John ideally inhering the Petrine office, and the ‘teacher’ Paul receiving ‘a not unfriendly but reserved official attitude’: H. U. von Balthasar, The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 160–1. For obedience, esp. 60–4; for the apostles as symbols, 145–61, 308–31.

(170) R. A. Markus, Gregory the Great and his World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); 72–5 for his conception of the episcopate; 91–6 for his disagreement with the Bishop of Constantinople.