Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Today I'm with Valentinus (I wish)

I'm thinking about that perennial question, if you could travel back in time, where would you go, and who would you most want to meet?

For me, there is one answer to that question. I would want to go back to the second century and meet Valentinus and his students, spending some time in their lecture halls, listening to them and asking questions. The Valentinian system is truly remarkable. It is the first representative of a complete systematic Christian theology, a system that began developing in the 110s. And we are only now beginning to piece it back together and see the major impact it had on the development of apostolic or mainstream Christianity.

At any rate, I'm immersed in these voices now, as I prepare an article for the conference hosted by the Russian Orthodox Church on the Christian sacramental system. And there are several questions I need to ask Valentinus or one of his students. Why is it that old papyri always is broken in just the spot where your answer lies?

What is your time travel dream?


David said...

1. Yeshua strategizing with John the Baptizer
2. James the Just preaching at the Temple Mount

Jim said...

well mine is disgustingly predictable: Zurich- 1519-1531.

Michael F. Bird said...

I'd be rather interested to find out if a certain tomb in Palestine around ca. 30 AD was vacated by a recently deceased messianic pretender around a certain passover. said...

The historical Jesus - just to say I told you so.

Colin Toffelmire said...

This is a harder question that I thought at first. Well if I answered honestly I'd be with David, Michael and Geoff, but spending a week with Jesus in 1st century Palestine has already been taken. Instead I'll pick a short sit down with St. Paul, preferably just before his death. That way before he dies I get to ask him about everything he's ever written, and after he dies I can go back to his room and root through his stuff for a cool souvenir (wow, how heartless am I?).

Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

I'd like to be with that group of English Separatists led by John Smyth and Thomas Helwys to Amsterdam in 1507. Would I have stayed with Smyth's group and joined the Mennonites in 1511 or returned to London with Helwys to help found the first Baptist church on English soil? I don't know, but I would love to have found out.

I don't feel the need to see Jesus' empty tomb, I'll meet him soon enough.

I might want to go to 19th C. America and help the Christian abolitionists argue their case and struggle to end slavery--and meet such wonderful folk as Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, the Grimke sisters, and others.