Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
March 2nd, 2017 by Joel Watts

Medieval Anglo-Saxon homily, Lent and Christ’s Temptation

From the Bodley Ms 343.

The Temptation of Christ

Beloved people, we want to tell you about this holy time that has now arrived, in which we have an especially greater fast and abstinence than in any other common time, when we do this for the help and cleansing of our souls and also because Christ himself established an example of this fast for us. It is written that the Savior went immediately after his baptism to a certain desert and fasted there for forty days and forty nights together before he everywhere openly taught humankind. He did not fast because he ever committed a sin and had need to atone for it with that fast. But he fasted so that he might heal and redeem the sins of humankind and set an example for us so we might know that everyone who thinks that he might obtain the joy of heaven now must by fasting and by alms and by frequent prayers and by bodily abstinence earn it here in the world and by no means by gluttony or by drunkenness or by bodily lusts. Moreover, Christ was suffering in the desert when the accursed Devil found him, as we are about to tell you.1

  1. Bernard McGinn, ed., Anglo-Saxon Spirituality: Selected Writings (trans. Robert Boenig; The Classics of Western Spirituality; New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2000), 148.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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