Passages: Nicaea

Joshua Heavin and Caleb Wait

Of everything that can or should be said as a statement of Christian belief, why has the church confessed the Nicene Creed for seventeen centuries? Where did this creed come from? What figures or texts in its backstory might provide further context for, or develop the implications of, these articles of faith – some of which are less intuitive than others? Is the theology of this creed even intelligible to us today, who inhabit very different plausibility structures of the modern, secularizing West? Differently, is this creed merely the product of ancient imperial politics, implicated in failures of Christian exploitation and oppression in ages past and present? How might we, in a culture of expressive individualism, tie our deepest convictions about God, self, others, and the world to a symbol of faith given to us, which we entrust to others, participating in something ever ancient and ever new, something that precedes us and will long outlast our fleeting and desperate lives? In 'Passages,' Joshua Heavin and Caleb Wait look at the theological contents of the documents that lead to the Nicene Creed, the personal stories behind them, and how these texts and passages also became the passageways of history, propelling not only the Christian church but all of society down new corridors, new periods, and new eras.

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