Scraps II

October 30, 2010

Just some bits from two of the most well-known representatives of the Nouvelle Théologie, namely, Fr. Louis Bouyer of the Oratory, and Henri cardinal de Lubac, S.J.

Fr. Bouyer, in his The Meaning of Sacred Scripture (p. 151) writes

“before examining this singular expression [see God only “from behind.”], let us notice how, in this page in which the divine transcendence finds one of its most exacting formulas, the antropomorphisms, far from disappearing, accumulate. Read the rest of this entry »

Saint Gregory Palamas: Time Traveller Extraordinaire

August 10, 2010

“Then they asked, ‘Is it altogether necessary to speak of wills and energies on the subject of Christ?’ He answered, ‘Altogether necessary if we want to worship in truth, for no being exists without natural activity. Indeed, the holy Fathers say plainly that it is impossible for any nature at all to be or to be known apart from its essential activity. And if there is no such thing as a nature to be or to be known without its essential characteristic activity, how is it possible for Christ to be or be known as truely God and man by nature without the divine and human activities? For according to the Fathers, the lion who loses his roaring ability is no lion at all, and a dog without the power to bark is not a dog.  And any other thing which has lost something naturally constiuative of it is not any more what it was.'”

The Trial of Maximus the Confessor, 23

Saint Cyril on Divine Simplicity

July 16, 2009

Bekkos over at De Unione Ecclesiarum has posted some citations from Saint Cyril of Alexandria. Since he has the Greek text there I won’t bother reproducing it here. Peter seems to think that Cyril’s position on simplicity, particularly with respect to the divine will and being are isomorphic with that of Aquinas rather than say Palamas. I don’t think that’s the case, but let’s take a look at the passages.

Hermias. And how, they say, is the divine simple if, in existence on the one hand and in will on the other, it is conceived of separately? For then it would be composite and as though it existed, in a way, out of parts that had come together into a closer unity.

Cyril. Therefore, since, in your view, the divine is simple and exists above all composition (and this view of yours is correct), his will is nothing other than he himself. And if someone says “will,” he indicates the nature of God the Father.

 Hermias. So it would appear.

St. Cyril of Alexandria, Dialogues on the Trinity (Ad Hermiam), book V; SC 237 (de Durand, ed.), p. 290; PG 75, 945 C.

 With the first citation here I’d like to call your attention to a few things. First, the Palamite position doesn’t deny that God is simple, but rather denies a specific understanding of divine simplicity so that references employing terms such as those above will be inadequate until a demonstration is forthcoming showing what concept is picked out by said terms.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anglicans In Exile

March 8, 2009

I wrote this a long time ago, before this blog existed when I was writing on Kimel’s Pontificationsblog. I get requests for it and it is easier to just post it than to send out emails over and over again. Since it was originally a blog post, I have cleaned it up a bit and made it more or less a stand alone piece.

Anglicans in Exile

As a former Anglican myself I can sympathize with the troubles of my former brethren. On the one hand they do not see any good reason to abandon the tradition as it was handed on to them. Their problem is that they seem to be forced to leave the communion, but not the tradition that they are in. It is this loyalty that keeps them in place. Certainly loyalty has its limits and there is eventually a point where someone has to jump ship. I agree with many people who have already articulated the idea that going to Rome the eternal city (because after all, there’s always Rome!) because of problems in Anglicanism seems less than justified. By the same token I would agree with them that going to Constantinople for the same reason also lacks justification on that basis alone. But still, there is the pressing reality of what is going on in ECUSA and even in England. These are something like William James’ “forced decisions.” One doesn’t have eternity (let alone the brains) to study through all of the issues completely and yet one is compelled to make some decision. You have to dosomething. If Anglicanism does recover, it looks like things are going to get worse before they get better, at least in the long run. As an Anglican I never found a move to either body justified on strictly the basis of the quackadoxy of Spong or other individuals. What one needs is a positive reason that will tip the scale in favor of one body or another. And a positive reason that also cuts against Anglicanism would be even better since it would motivate one to leave Anglicanism for some other reason other than the presence of quackadoxy. Such a reason would allay the fears that one is being disloyal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Political Hesychasm: the thought of Fr. Johns S. Romanides and Christos Yannaras

May 23, 2008

The Revival of Political Hesychasm in Greek Orthodox Thought: A Study of the Hesychast Basis of the Thought of John S. Romanides and Christos Yannaras

This looks very interesting. The man is a convert to the Orthodox faith and was heavily influenced by these men. I’m happy to see someone writing in a very positive manner about Father John Romanides. It’s about time.

Don’t know how long this dissertation will be up on Baylor’s page, but get it while you can.

Essence and Energies in the Fathers

January 20, 2008

“Is it not ridiculous to say that the creative power is an essence, and similarly, that providence is an essence, and foreknowledge, simply taking every energy as essence?” Basil the Great, Contra Eunomius, I.8, PG 29, 528B

“The energies are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His energies, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence.  His energies come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reach.” Basil the Great, Epistle 234

“And if we may reckon that the Cause of our existence did not come to the creation of man out of necessity but by benevolent choice, once more we say that we have seen God in this way too, arriving at an understanding of his goodness, not of his being…He who is by nature invisible becomes visible in his operations, being seen in certain cases by the properties he possesses.” Gregory of Nyssa, Homily on the Beatitudes, VI.

“Essence and energy are not identical.” Cyril of Alexandria Thesaurus 18, PG 75:312c

“The man divinized by grace will be everything that God is, apart from identity of essence.” Maximus the Confessor Ad Thalassium 22, PG 90:320a

“But He Who is beyond every name is not identical with what He is named; for the essence and energy of God are not identical.” Gregory Palamas Triads, p. 97

“Nor does indeed everything predicated of him denote the substance, for relation is predicated of him, which is relative and refers to relationships with another but is not indicative of substance. Such also is the divine energy in God, for it is neither substance nor accident, even though it is called a quasi-accident by some theologians who are indicating solely that it is in God but is not the substance.” Gregory Palamas Capita 127

“God also possess that which is not substance. Yet it is not the case that because it is not a substance it is an accident. For that which not only does not pass away but also admits or effects no increase or diminution whatever cold not possibly be numbered among accidents. Gregory Palamas Capita 135,

“Nature and energy are not identical.” Gregory Palamas Capita 143

Norman Russell on Theosis

January 12, 2008


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