Sons in the Son
God and Man in Early Christianity
by Leon J. Podles
Christianity was the fulfillment of Judaism. The masculinity and the patriarchy that Judaism cultivated were fulfilled in the revelation of a tri-personal God who was both Father and Son. All human beings, male and female, were invited to share in the inner life of God, to receive the Spirit and to be conformed to the Son. The early Church knew that the vocation of the Christian was essentially masculine. Later, the white martyrdom of the monk, the replacement and fulfillment of the hero, replaced the red martyrdom of the early Church. Femininity also received a new appraisal, as the godhead itself was shown to be a communion of persons, the unity and communion of all men, and indeed of all creation, accomplished by the divine Spirit himself. Only a few warning signs in the early Church, especially in the West, gave any indication that masculinity would one day find itself at odds with Christianity.
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Leon J. Podles holds a Ph.D. in Old English and Old Icelandic from the University of Virginia and is a senior editor of Touchstone. His latest book is Losing the Good Portion: Why Men Are Alienated from Christianity (St. Augustine's Press, 2020). He and his wife Mary (author of the Touchstone column "A Thousand Words") are the parents of six children. He resides in Baltimore, Maryland.
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