Allen Brent: Discussion:

The Development of the Roman Christian Community

in the Second and Third centuries.





Brent focuses on the trajectory between the Roman Community of the first century and that of the late second-early third century, in what Lampe has described as a fractionalized community of house churches in a loose confederation under a secretarial figure who communicated with external churches in the name of the whole. (Brent, Hippolytus)

Anticipating Lampe's work before he became personally aware of it in an article published in 1987, Brent traced in his major work on Hippolytus the tensions between such house Churches, in the literature falsely attributed to a single writer called Hipplytus who was in fact one of three writers in the school of the anonymous author of the Refutatio Omnium Haeresium.
The Statue reconstructed by Pirro Ligorio as a personal figure was the monument of a school that had clashed with the group lead by Callistus, but who were reconcilled with Pontianus his successor but one.

BAV Hippolytus

The revolution began by Callistus with the object of creating an episcopal monarch (but not completed as Lampe implies) finally succeeded with Pontianus who has true regnal dates in the archetype of the Chronographer of 354. It was then that Hippolytus and his group, as successors of those who had clashed with Callistus, were reconciled with the latter's heirs, and won in Christology what they lost in acknowledgement of their former leader's office

Brent's work was reviewed critically but with commendation by Professore Manilio Simonetti of the Pontifical Lateran and State (La Sapienza) universities of Rome.

Two practical implications have arisen from this research project.:

    1. Firstly, the creation of cultural bishops for the Aboriginal and Islander peoples of Australia, developed in terms of an Ignatian theology in which bishops stand as icons of the saving acts at work in a community in process of redemption.

    2. Secondly, the defense of the priority of the Apostolic Tradition as the earliest surviving liturgy of the Church of Rome is part of the historico-critical defense of the post-Vatican II Order of the Mass, as well as the new rites of other Churches such as the Anglican Series Three that has become Common Worship.

In is in such a context that the recent historical and literary criticism on the character of the Apostolic Tradition as a Roman document emanating from Brent's Hippolytan community could be read.

Would the counter thesis of Bradshaw, Cerrato, and Baldovin against the development of Brent's work in the important commentary of Alistair Stewart-Sykes not seriously undermine the liturgical reform of the Tridentine Mass at Vatican II? For discussion see further, HippolytusDiscussion.