Adventus

probus adventus

From A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (1979), adapted:

παρουσία [parousia], ἡ

1. presence . . .

2. coming, advent as the first stage in presence . . .

a. of human beings, in the usual sense 2 Cor 7: 6f. . . . Phil 1: 26

b. in a special, technical sense of Christ (and the Antichrist). The use of παρουσία as a technical term has developed in two directions. On the one hand the word served as a cult expression for the coming of a hidden divinity, who makes his presence felt by a revelation of this power, or whose presence is celebrated in the cult . . . On the other hand, παρουσία became the official term for a visit of a person of high rank, especially of kings and emperors visiting a province . . . These two technical expressions can approach each other closely in meaning, can shade off into one another, or even coincide . . .

α. of Christ, and nearly always of his Messianic Advent in glory to judge the world at the end of this age: Mt 24: 3, 1 Cor 1: 8; 15: 23; 2 Th 2: 8; 2 Pt 3: 4 . . .

β. in our literature probably only in a few late passages of Jesus’ advent in the Incarnation: Justin, Apology I 52, 3; Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians 9: 2, τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ σωτῆρος, κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὸ πάθος αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν ἀνάστησιν [the advent of the saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, his suffering and his resurrection] . . .

From Light from the Ancient East [Licht vom Osten], Adolf Deissmann, trans. Strachan (1927), 370-1

It is the legitimate continuation of the Hellenistic usage that in the Imperial period the parusia of the sovereign should shed a special brilliance. Even the visit of a scion of the Imperial house, Gaius Caesar († 4 A.D.), a grandson of Augustus, was, as we know from an inscription, made the beginning of a new era in Cos. In memory of the visit of the Emperor Nero, in whose reign St. Paul wrote his letters to Corinth, the cities of Corinth and Patras struck advent-coins. Adventus Aug(usti) Cor(inthi) is the legend on one, Adventus Augusti on the other. Here we have corresponding to the Greek parusia the Latin word advent, which the Latin Christians afterwards simply took over, and which is today familiar to every child among us. How graphically it must have appealed to the Christians of Thessalonica, with their conception of the parusiae of the rulers of this world, when they read in St. Paul’s second letter (2 Thess. 2: 8-9) of the Satanic “parusia” of Antichrist, who was to be destroyed by “the manifestation of the parusia” of the Lord Jesus!

From Striking New Images: Roman Imperial Coinage and the New Testament World, by Larry Kreitzer (1996), ch. 8, “The Roman Imperial Coinage of Hadrian,” 213:

As I noted in Chapter 6, in the concluding years of his reign (from 134-138 CE), Hadrian produced a large and fairly comprehensive series of coins, gold, silver and bronze, which all bore the reverse inscription Adventus Augusti in some form. These Adventus coins celebrated the arrival of the Emperor in the various provinces and bear inscriptions to that effect, usually accompanied by an additional inscription of the name of the province concerned.

The numismatic evidence is often alluded to by scholars as they give background information about the term παρουσία itself . . .

From Handbook for Liturgical Studies, ed. Anscar J. Chupungco (1996), vol I, “Liturgy and the Fathers,” by Basil Studer O.S.B., 77-8:

In a certain sense we can even speak of a an imperial spirituality. To the extent that Christians identified themselves with the Roman Empire, they borrowed ideas and terms from the political matrix to express their faith in Christ. Almost from the beginning the concepts of salvation and savior entered the Christian vocabulary. But it displayed the marks of Roman soteriology much more in the third century, as Cyprian attests. During the age of Constantine this Roman interpretation of the Gospel of Christ finally gained the upper hand. More than ever, Jesus Christ was honored with the imperial titles or biblical titles reinterpreted. We see this especially in the spread of the title Dominus Salvator. His work was described in triumphal terms. Christians had almost unanimously accepted the idea that unity of belief was the basis for the political unity of the empire. The fact that they were rooted in such a mentality had its natural repercussions in the area of liturgy. Rituals for major solemnities were adapted to the ceremonial of the court. Political vocabulary found its way into liturgical language. The clearest proof of this is the manner of celebrating feasts introduced in the fourth century. We need only recall the acceptance of the idea of the adventus salvatoris. Moreover, it is clear that if this phenomenon of the imperial Church changed the sentire cum Ecclesia, it also favored the Christocentrism mentioned above. The fourth-century Christians’ manner of celebrating the liturgy was determined not only only by a new concept of the Christian community, but also by a renewed reverence for Jesus Christ, the true emperor and king of glory . . .
constantine adventus

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5 Responses to “Adventus”

  1. Id rather not say Says:

    The first image is an adventus coin of the emperor Probus (276-282), the second of Constantine (306-337).

  2. Katherine Says:

    Thanks! I was trying to connect them to the text you posted, and couldn’t.

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