Bogdan Gabriel Bucur, Angelomorphic Pneumatology: Clement of Alexandria and Other Early Christian Witnesses. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 95. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009. 232 pages. ISBN 978-90-04-17414-6. | Trinity | Nontrinitarianism

The Festal Letters oI the Patriarchs oI Alexandria

Evidence Ior Social History in the Fourth and FiIth Centuries
Pauline Allen
Worldview and Melodic Imagery in
Clement the Alexandrian, Saint Athanasius,
and their Antecedents in Saints Ignatius and Irenaeus
Doru Costache
Clement oI Alexandria`s Exegesis oI Old Testament Theophanies
Bogdan G. Bucur
'The Passions oI His Flesh¨
St Cyril oI Alexandria and the Emotions oI the Logos
Andrew Mellas
Trinitarian Hermeneutics in Hilary oI Poitiers`
Commentary on the Psalms
Rebecca Burgess
ISSN 0819-4920
Number 1
1ournal of St Andrew`s
Greek Orthodox Theological College
Sydney, Australia




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" St Andrew`s Greek Orthodox Theological College 2014
A Journal Published by the Faculty oI St Andrew`s
Greek Orthodox Theological College
Volume 29, Number 1, 2014
Editorial ................................................................................................... v
The Festal Letters oI the Patriarchs oI Alexandria
Evidence Ior Social History in the Fourth
and FiIth Centuries ................................................................................. 1
Pauline Allen
Worldview and Melodic Imagery in Clement the Alexandrian,
Saint Athanasius, and their Antecedents
in Saints Ignatius and Irenaeus ............................................................. 21
Doru Costache
Clement oI Alexandria`s Exegesis oI Old Testament Theophanies ...... 61
Bogdan G. Bucur
'The Passions oI His Flesh¨
St Cyril oI Alexandria and the Emotions oI the Logos ......................... 81
Andrew Mellas
Trinitarian Hermeneutics in Hilary oI Poitiers`
Commentary on the Psalms ................................................................ 101
Rebecca Burgess
Book Reviews ..................................................................................... 121
InIormation Ior Authors ...................................................................... 147
Bogdan Gabriel Bucur, Angelomorphic Pneumatologv. Clement of
Alexandria and Other Earlv Christian Witnesses. Supplements to Vigiliae
Christianae 95. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009. 232 pages. ISBN 978-
Structured in three parts and equipped with a section on
methodology and various indices, Bucur`s Angelomorphic Pneumatologv
presents an enthralling study in several witnesses oI early Christian
pneumatology, Iocusing on the rapports between the Holy Spirit and the
angels as articulated within the relevant sources. For this undertaking, the
author takes the weak pneumatology that characterises most early Christian
writings as a pretext and Clement the Alexandrian as a guide (cI. ix-x,
xii, 189) an approach, the author warns us, not deprived oI diIfculties.
Indeed, Clement`s pneumatological thinking is not at the IoreIront oI
contemporary scholarship, a situation which is very likely related to
the overall dismissal oI 'the other Clement¨ (a catchphrase coined by
Bucur himselI), oI the Hvpotvposeis and its remnants, namely, Eclogae
propheticae, Adumbrationes and Excerpta ex Theodoto, as unimportant.
Nevertheless, the current indiIIerence oI scholars seems to have historical
roots. Bucur reIers their lack oI enthusiasm Ior the Iorgotten parts oI the
Clementine program back to the suspicions levelled, in the ninth century,
against the 'blasphemies¨ oI the Alexandrian by Photius oI Constantinople
(cI. 25-26). Precisely against this background, Bucur undertakes to explore
'the other Clement¨ in search oI the more developed pneumatology oI
the Alexandrine (cI. 3-6, 189-90). In terms oI its methodology, the book
considers both the primary sources and the latest scholarship through
!"#$%&'( )$*+'& -./012 -304
the lens oI Christian Oeyen`s !"#$%&"$'()*+%+#,$ interpretation oI
Clement and St Justin Martyr (cI. x-xi, 3-4, 30 etc.), together with Bishop
Alexander Golitzin`s 'interiorized apocalyptic¨ (cI. xxv, 50-51). Alongside
this Irame oI reIerence, however, a range oI key scholarly concepts are
being utilised to unlock the signifcance oI the early Christian texts, such
as spirit christology and angelic pneumatology, or, as Bucur justifably
preIers, angelomorphic pneumatology, and binitarianism, whose defnition
precedes the actual study and with reIerence to which the author takes due
precautions in terms oI their inherent limitations (cI. xxiii, xxv-xxix).
The analysis oI Clement`s teaching begins with a review oI
!"# -*)*'- /')$-*,+",- in relation to the pedagogical criterion (cI. 27)
that possibly underlies the plan oI the corpus, which would Iollow the
schema Protreptikos Paidagogos Didaskalos (cI. 11-24). OI Platonic
resonance, this schema illustrates, the author proposes, an almost typical
progression Irom ethics to physics and then to epoptics, with 01&+*1&+-$,-
or 2,3)-4)%+- and its components corresponding to the last and loItiest
stage (cI. 18-21). The relevance oI this discussion consists in that it prepares
the reader to properly grasp the complexities entailed by writings oI this,
third-stage calibre. Whilst this classical schema is readily noticeable in
the outline oI the Clementine corpus as drawn by the author, behind this
Iamiliar Ieature there is discernible another dimension, which is given equal
attention. More precisely, and reiterating the conviction oI Osborn that the
literary corpus oI Clement undertakes to record the traditional wisdom oI
the 'elders¨ (cI. 11-12), Bucur points out that by all accounts the latter were
Jewish Christian teachers whose approach was more mystagogical than
pedagogical (cI. 43-51, 87); a crucial aspect Ior the understanding oI both
the plan oI the Clementine corpus and, more importantly, the angelic or
angelomorphic language oI the early Christians, as we shall soon fnd. The
signifcance oI this aspect becomes increasingly obvious in the book under
consideration yet receives Iull disclosure only in its conclusion, which
assesses the Clementine corpus in terms oI a 'mystagogical curriculum¨
The author has returned with more caveats to these concepts in a recent study,
'Early Christian Binitarianism¨: From Religious Phenomenon to Polemical
Insult to Scholarly Concept,` 5+3$6" 78$+%+#1 27:1 (2011): 102-20.
!""# %&'(&)
(cI. 189). In a nutshell, Bucur exploits the underlying plan oI the corpus
as an instrument or a criterion that, the reader discovers throughout this
Iascinating work, illumines progressively la cour des miracles oI early
Christian pneumatology.
Another important aspect pertaining to the methodology oI this
book, Ior some reason not mentioned in the introductory outline, consists
in the distinction between unity and multiplicity oI which Bucur makes
use at any step, including when he addresses structures pertaining to
Clement`s theological worldview. This consistency makes the Ieature oI
unity and multiplicity a key component oI the argument, alongside the
angelomorphic typology. For instance, it emerges as a distinction within
the binitarian schema reIerring to God and the Son/Logos/Spirit (cI. 28-32),
where God is one whereas the Logos/Son/Spirit appears as the 'unity oI
the many¨ or the cosmos. OI course, this theological distinction reIers to
the diIIerent rapports that God and the Logos/Son/Spirit maintain with the
cosmos. Nevertheless, whilst the Logos/Son/Spirit is more involved in the
cosmos than God the Father, it is not a multiple entity itselI. The author
proposes that in Clement multiplicity is an exclusive characteristic oI the
creation, being signifed beIore anything else by the seven protoctists or
the frst created angels/spirits (cI. 31-32; these correspond to the 'seven
spirits,¨ 'seven angels¨ or 'seven stars¨ oI the Book oI Revelation; cI.
93-99), which are themselves part oI a broader, hierarchical schema a
term not used by Clement, warns Bucur, and applicable only to the creation
(cI. 33). In turn, this broader hierarchy comprises archangels and angels
(cI. 32-42). This 'hierarchically ordered cosmos, Ieaturing several angelic
ranks¨ (80), within which the protoctists appear 'as an angelomorphic
representation oI the Spirit¨ (83) and thus pose the problem oI divine
unity and cosmic diversity, draws on Second Temple Judaism and Jewish
Christian traditions, anticipating the Dionysian system oI the world.
I put aside Ior a while the distinction between unity and multiplicity
to remark that in pointing to the ancient Jewish and Jewish Christian
sources oI this worldview (cI. 59-71), Bucur returns to that other parameter,
mystagogical in nature, Ior his construal oI Clementine pneumatology, i.e.
the interiorised apocalypticism. More specifcally, whilst analysing the
!"#$%&'( )$*+'& -./012 -304
Alexandrian`s vision oI the ascending movement oI the angelic hierarchies
Irom the lower ranks toward the higher ranks a transIormative process
which Irom a morphological viewpoint can be taken as spiritual evolution
(cI. 43-51) the author observes that when fltered through 'a sustained
process oI internalization and spiritualization¨ (50-51; cI. 40, 61), as seems
to be the case in Clement, the inherited angelic imagery appears as actually
signiIying the mystical experience. Thus, the Clementine metaphors oI
angelic evolution and transIormation should be understood as pointing
to the change oI one`s perception in the spiritual journey. This renders as
unwarranted, notes Bucur, any literal reading oI Clement`s reIerences to
the Spirit and the angels (cI. 81). In the light oI the above, indeed, and
again by making explicit use oI Oeyen`s interpretation (cI. 73), Bucur
sees the angelic imagery oI the Alexandrine, more precisely the seven
protoctists, as reIerring to the Spirit in its various maniIestations an
approach that seemingly borrows Irom the Shepherd of Hermas (cI. 115,
119). What makes possible this pneumatological interpretation oI the
protoctists is the realisation that more oIten than not angelomorphisms
are tightly connected in Clement and his sources with the process oI
divine inspiration and prophecy (cI. 52-54) or the mystical experience
Iacilitated by the economic` maniIestations oI God. Both points, namely,
the metaphorical condition oI Clement`s angelomorphic pneumatology and
the economic` nature oI such representations, constitute the backbone oI
Bucur`s argument and are highly relevant to the theme oI binitarianism and
its relation with the doctrine oI the Trinity; a topic to which I shall return.
What matters Ior now is that Ior Bucur, defnitely, the pneumatology
oI Clement and its angelomorphic stances cannot be dissociated Irom
the Alexandrine`s spirit christology, within the broader scheme oI a
'binitarian theological Iramework¨ (cI. 73). Within this Iramework, the
author agrees with a plethora oI scholars, there is not much room Ior a
distinction between the Son/Logos and the angelomorphic Spirit (cI. 75),
and so Ior a strong pneumatology; a Ieature shared in common with the
Shepherd of Hermas (cI. 120-26) and St Justin (cI. 139-41). In Iact, as
the author points out, most times when Clement mentions the 'Spirit,¨
the 'Spirit oI Christ¨ and even the 'Holy Spirit,¨ he actually reIers to
!""# %&'(&)
the Son, more precisely the Son in his activity as Logos/πνεῦμα (cI. 75-
79, 80-81). Thus, in many instances pneumatology, disguised or not in
the veils oI angelology, becomes Clement`s preIerred way shaped by
earlier traditions oI speaking oI the economy` oI the Son (cI. 79-80).
The same conclusion is reached in the analysis oI inspiration in the Book
oI Revelation (cI. 104-10), one oI Clement`s early Christian sources. OI
interest here is that the binitarian schema, within which the Son and the
angelomorphic Spirit represented by the protoctists appear as two sides
oI one divine agency in the world, brings us back to the recurrent theme
oI unity and multiplicity. In Bucur`s words, 'The interplay between the
Logos as πνεῦμα and the angelic πνεύματα (or, Ior that matter, Logos as
δύναμις and the angelic δυνάμεις) refects Clement`s understanding oI the
interplay between unity and multiplicity, more precisely, his understanding
unity as multiplicity¨ (80). Clement`s binitarianism is thereIore about a
logical, and strongly metaphorical, way oI mediating between the oneness
oI God and the plurality oI the creation through the rich imagery oI the
Son/Spirit who at once is one and maniIested in many (angelic) Iorms. It
emerges that the themes oI unity and multiplicity, which Bucur specifcally
addressed elsewhere,
and the angelomorphic imagery,
are inextricably
connected in the book`s argument.
The second and third parts oI the work confrm the above fndings
both in certain sources oI Clement, such as the Book oI Revelation (Ch.
3), the Shepherd of Hermas (Ch. 4) and the writings oI St Justin Martyr
(Ch. 5), and later in the Syrian tradition as represented by Aphrahat (Ch.
6). Needless to say, the exploration oI these sources unIolds according
to the same outline oI the angelomorphic pneumatology, binitarianism
and spirit christology (cI. xxiii), Bucur fnding out that a coherent and
See his Foreordained Irom All Eternity: The Mystery oI the Incarnation Ac-
cording to Some Early Christian and Byzantine Writers,` Dumbarton Oaks
Papers 62 (2008): 208-209.
CI. Bogdan G. Bucur, From Jewish apocalypticism to Christian mysticism,` in
Augustine Casiday (ed.), The Orthodox Christian World (New York: Routledge,
2012): 466-80; idem, Hierarchy, Prophecy, and the Angelomorphic Spirit: A
Contribution to the Study oI the Book oI Revelation`s Wirkungsgeschichte,`
Journal of Biblical Literature 127:1 (2008): 173-94.
!"#$%&'( )$*+'& -./012 -304
shared vision pervades all these early Christian sources. For instance,
in terms oI binitarianism, the author notes that the Book oI Revelation
both aIfrms the enthronement oI the Son/Lamb together with the Father
and assimilates the Spirit with the glorifed Christ (cI. 89, 100-104).
Similarly, the theology oI the !"#$"#%& () *#%+,- uses spirit` to reIer
either to Christ or the angelic spirits (126-36, 138), and so advances the
typically binitarian schema oI the transcendent God and the economic`
Son/Spirit rendered in angelomorphic terms. Furthermore, Bucur asserts
the binitarian character oI St Justin`s theology; in his words, 'the Logos
and the Spirit are, Ior Justin, the same reality, which presents itselI in a
complex and paradoxical relation oI simultaneous unity and multiplicity,
and with defnite angelomorphic traits¨ (155). In terms oI angelomorphism,
and entirely like 'the other Clement,¨ the 'angelic imagery¨ oI Revelation
conveys a 'pneumatological content¨ and thus points to a typical depiction
oI the Spirit with angelic Ieatures (cI. 92, 99, 111) as likewise do the
!"#$"#%& () *#%+,- (cI. 120-26, 138), St Justin Martyr (cI. 148-55) and
later Aphrahat (cI. 185-86). And so on. The main argument oI the book,
that there is a complex pneumatology hidden behind the angelomorphic
imagery and language oI most early Christian writings, including 'the
other Clement,¨ is consistently addressed and abundantly substantiated
with textual evidence, whilst the author keeps up with his promise not to
read too much (cI. x) into the sources under scrutiny.
Seeking to conclude my review, I believe that, apart Irom the
Iormidable scholarship displayed throughout Bucur`s book, his demarche
opens up interesting avenues Ior making sense oI the slippery slope
represented by the binitarian stances within the sources explored therein.
The author points out already in his introduction the challenges experienced
by a modern reader accustomed to the canonical doctrine oI God as
Iormulated in later ages when Iacing the widespread use oI binitarian
schemas in the early Christian centuries. To counteract any possible
objection, Bucur aptly shows that such schemas were not perceived as
jeopardising monotheism (cI. xxvii-xxviii). Nevertheless, his argument
oIIers an implicit solution Ior a more typically Christian problem, namely,
the rapports between trinitarian and binitarian representations oI God.
!""# %&'(&)
Indeed, the wide range oI materials analysed in this book lead to the
conclusion that, Iar Irom competing (as the relevant scholarship reviewed
by the author suggests, mainly by opposing the preIabricated` liturgical
Iormulae oI the ancient Church and the mature` Trinitarian speculation oI
later theologians; cI. xxiii, xxviii, 3, 4, 74, 92, 110, 139-40, 142, 175-76,
177-78, 187, 191 etc.)
the two schemas Iunctioned in the early Church not
only in parallel but likewise in complementarity. The elucidation oI this
complexity resides within Bucur`s very argument and mainly in his use oI
the categories oI unity and multiplicity, and interiorised apocalypticism.
Let me explain.
As the author states at some juncture in relation to the angelomorphic
pneumatology oI Clement, nothing can be taken literally in the textual
evidence analysed within the book. What prompts Bucur to posit this is his
distinction between the language oI theology and reality or the content oI
theology (cI. 191), Iollowed by the conviction that both angelomorphism
and spirit christology pertain to the language oI theology and thus require
a decoding through the lens oI interiorised apocalypticism. In other words,
the reIerences to both Christ as Spirit and the Spirit as angel(s) should
not be considered aIfrmations regarding reality; they are ways in which
reality is perceived and represented by the human mind. This aspect is
very signifcant. Since binitarianism is directly connected with both the
angelomorphic pneumatology and the spirit christology oI the ancients,
the same judgment should be applied in its case; thereIore, any literal
binitarianism has to be discarded. For instance, given that the analysed
early Christian writings employ scriptural passages like Isaiah 11:2-3,
Zechariah 3:9 and Matthew 18:10, both as sources Ior a theological
language and purposely to give expression to God`s activity, it Iollows
logically that the binitarianism witnessed to by such writings both pertains
to the language oI theology and attempts to articulate God`s maniIestations
in the multiplicity oI the world not God`s inner liIe. It is precisely God`s
economic` activity, to use this anachronism opposed by Bucur (cI. 192),
and not God in God`s selI that is the object oI binitarian speculations. As
For Bucur`s newer insights into this matter, see his 'Early Christian Binitari-
anism¨,` esp. 111-14.
!"#$%&'( )$*+'& -./012 -304
such, the binitarian elaborations are meant neither to parallel nor to compete
against the trinitarian doctrine; they simply reIer to another aspect than
the inner liIe oI God, namely, God`s activity. Binitarian schemas such as
those present in 'the other Clement¨ and its sources, both anticipate St
Athanasius` discourse on the one economic` energy oI God, and predate
by centuries the Palamite elaborations on the divine energies. The Iocus
oI the early Christian authors on the concrete aspect oI God`s activity or
economic` maniIestation, rather than on the loIty matters oI God`s inner
liIe, should not come as a surprise. Apart Irom their awareness oI the Holy
Trinity, as proven by their liturgical and catechetical Iormulae, their use
oI binitarian schemas was just another way in which they conveyed the
message that theology is about participating in God`s presence and not
about speculative representations oI the divine.
There is another, and related, aspect that may be implied yet not
aIfrmed by Bucur`s distinction between the language and the content oI
theology, together with his conviction that the categories oI binitarianism,
spirit christology and angelomorphic pneumatology cannot be dissociated
Irom the mystagogical Iramework oI the Church (cI. 191-92). I am thinking
oI the modern category, defnitely consistent with the ecclesial tradition, oI
!"# disciplina arcani, which is presupposed by Clement`s loIty theology,
pertaining to epoptics, oI the Hvpotvposeis or Didaskalos and its sources.
The useIulness oI this category resides in that it can easily accommodate
both languages, namely, the trinitarian and the binitarian ones, whilst
speaking to diIIerent audiences. As illustrated by the baptismal ritual
described, Ior example, by St Justin Martyr (cI. First Apologv 61), in the
early Christian centuries the disclosure oI the Trinity to the neophytes
took place only aIter a long process oI catechetical induction, at the very
moment oI their baptism. Thus, the mystery oI the Trinity, oI the inner liIe
oI God, was exclusively shared by the initiated or the enlightened ones,
i.e. by those Iully integrated in the liIe oI the Church, and not something to
be divulged to the uninitiated. It is only natural that superior insights into
the mystery oI the Holy Trinity were available to those advanced in Iaith,
contemplation and the Christian experience. In turn, the uninitiated were
granted access to aspects pertaining, say, to divine providence and so the
!""# %&'(&)
binitarian teaching, which articulated the complexities pertaining to the
one God variously active in the world and which as shown by Bucur
were usually conveyed via an entrancingly rich imagery, angel(omorph)ic
and otherwise. Given that it required a mystagogical decoding Irom the
vantage point oI the interiorised apocalypticism, this second Iorm oI
preaching God both protected the mystery and lured the curious into the net
oI ecclesial assimilation. Thus, to wrap this matter up, whilst the trinitarian
discourse, reserved Ior the enlightened, would have been seen by the early
Christians as pertaining to what later Church Iathers called theology` or
the inner liIe oI God, binitarianism, as a public teaching oI the Church,
would have been construed as addressing the multiIarious economic`
activity oI the one God in the world. And so, iI applied to the issues at
hand, in dismissing the logic oI either/or when discussing the rapports
between trinitarian and binitarian representations oI God the category oI
"#$ disciplina arcani which in my opinion is perIectly compatible with
Bucur`s mystagogical criterion oI interiorised apocalypticism could
be another way oI solving the impasse. In Iact, and Iollowing the same
methodology adopted in the book here considered, in his recent study on
the author arrived at similar conclusions without making
recourse to the disciplina.
Convincing in its argument, impressive by its scholarship
and challenging in its various propositions, Bucur`s book should
be acknowledged as a major contribution to Clementine studies, to
pneumatology and to the general understanding oI the early Christian
representations oI God. Furthermore, it represents a genuine vindication
oI 'the other Clement¨ as theologically sound within the landscape oI
early Christian literature, both against the indiIIerence oI contemporary
scholars and the accusations levelled against him by Photius.
Doru Costache
St Andrews Greek Orthodox Theological College
CI. Bucur, 'Early Christian Binitarianism¨,` 112.

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