On my Intentions

I hate to start my first post on my blog like this, but I thought it necessary to clear the air. This response is motivated by a post I made at Dr. Philip Blosser’s blog on The Eastern Schism. In return, Elliot and Diane two people I’ve never interacted with, chimed in.

Elliot,

You might want to get to know a little more about me before throwing out what you think is condescension and special pleading on my part. I don’t remember having any engagements with you, and those that have with me don’t really take that sort of an attitude with me. The probability that they are right and you are less than prudent is obvious by my lights.

My understandings are being motivated by realistic thinking, that much of neo-Platonism I’m proud to embrace. The issues of free-will, union, theology proper, and just being consistent are paramount. By my lights, the essence and energies distinction just isn’t compatible with Vatican I ecclesiology. In other words, I think Orthodoxy has a principled reason for rejecting Rome’s ecclesiology, since Theology is not compartmental. [1] None of the patristic quotes can overturn it, since the argument turns on a theological basis and not on historical ones. And [2], I’m not convinced that the quotes that you or anyone has profited forward IMPLY the papal theory. Quoting fathers is different then interacting with the text and getting at the meaning of that text. Demonstrating how those quotes imply or presuppose permanency or absolute simplicity has yet to be demonstrated. [3] None of the quotes touch my argument since the quotes will be read in light of it and not vice-versa.

This argument is not about me or what I’m going to do. I believe in prudence sir. And I’m not absolutely clear on what I need to do yet–whether or not it is absolutely necessary that I believe in absolute simplicity, papal infallibility, or even the immaculate conception to be in sacramental union with Roman Church in light of statements by Dulles and others. I’m an M.A. student at a Catholic University so I don’t think I’m in any lack of council about the issue. I see Rome moving in the right direction on MANY issues, and it would be a little imprudent for me to jump ship yet as tempting as it is for me. I would just like to see things moving quicker, at least in the direction I believe in.

I tossed out that I was a Roman Catholic to Diane, NOT because I claim to be a consistent one by any means. I recognize I am not. But I’m tired of garbage being tossed the Orthodox way without an engagement of the argument. Something that she continually has done in my observation of her. If someone can’t understand the argument, get a ladder. My argument above didn’t turn on polemically driven history, but logical ones.

Now, sir, do you have an argument?

Daniel

23 Responses to On my Intentions

  1. Jonathan Prejean says:

    Perry:
    I’m going to have to beg off, because I haven’t really thought it through entirely yet, but I can give you my first impressions. The argument that left the biggest impression was the inconsistency on the pure-form beings. I was unimpressed with the assertion that there must be other possible-world Gods, something that strikes me as counter-intuitive, and I thought Hughes wasn’t nearly creative enough with the Nile analogy. Had he used any of the quantum mechanical examples that commonly crop up in these situations, I think he would have had a better example than just particles moving down the Nile. Light waves seem to also present a decent analogy for something that exists without subsisting in anything (space contains light, but it doesn’t mediate it). So basically, I think he didn’t work hard enough on the concept of the Trinity, but I’m not sure that he didn’t raise enough objections to give one pause.

  2. Tim Enloe says:

    Thanks for that conciliatory post, Elliot. I only hope I can reciprocate by continuing my turn away from “e-pologetic pillaging” (great description, btw!) and toward learning instead. I’ve shown anger toward you too in the past, and it’s certainly led to some intemperate posts by me. I ask you to forgive me as I forgive you. Here’s to more fruitful discussions.

  3. Perry Robinson aka Acolyte says:

    JOnathan,

    The argument is open to friendly revisions and objections. I just threw it out there to get the ball rolling.

    Yes “having” might be problematic. We could say true of him necessarily and then fight about de re or de dicto necessity. I was just t rying to capture the basic idea.

    Also Plantinga for example speaks of God as having a nature. See his “Does God have a Nature?”

    I am curious to know your thoughts on Hughes’ work since it seems that you are familiar with it now.

  4. Jonathan Prejean says:

    Elliot:
    That’s a good observation. I found an article summarizing that aspect of identity here:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-indiscernible/

    In the context of Perry’s argument (assuming he follows Hughes), it wouldn’t matter, because absolute simplicity excludes haecceitistic (thisness) properties as well as substantial or accidental properties. Moreover, St. Thomas defines identity (secundum rem) in a way that does not lend itself to such fine distinctions, even if we don’t accept the definition given be Leibniz. We could simply susbtitute St. Thomas’s definition of identity secundum rem in place of Leibniz’s Law, and the result would be the same. Although he claims a relational distinction in the Trinity, it’s unclear how that distinction can possibly be formulated in a way that does not conflict with absolute simplicity. I don’t think that challenging (6) on those grounds is sufficient.

    I do have some misgivings about whether (6) or (7) are phrased accurately in terms of divine simplicity. I’m hardly claiming that it is a defeater for the argument, but something bothers me about speaking about God “having” an essence. As I understand simplicity in both East and West (either by the essence/energy distinction or ADS), the divine Essence isn’t something that can be “had.”

  5. Elliot B says:

    Oh yeah, afore I go, Perry, is Leibniz’s law also known as the indiscernibility of identicals? If so, Tim, you may want to have a look at Max Black paper on the converse idea, the identity of indiscernibles. If not, well, that’s just me in the corner.

  6. Elliot B says:

    Who was it that said half the tumult of European history could be boiled down to university students, theology and beer (all at work together)? Hmm, maybe it’s Elliam Fakespeare. I appreciate y’alls patience with this cub.

    Tim, I apologize for my “gunslinging” attitude. This may sound like a rationalization or whatever, but much of the trouble stems from the fact that I can’t stand squishy academic language (e.g., “I feel…”, “in my opinion…”, “it seems to me…”, etc.). I take it for granted (too much so I guess) that what I say is always implicitly driven by my OPINIONS. The squishy language is there, but it just pains me, as a wordsmith, to clutter what I write with such redundant padding. I do apologize for angering you. I hope you can appreciate the fact that it’s not intentional. I don’t regret the straightforwardness of my approach, but I must be aware of the effects it has. Thank you for your grace.

    Let me also say I truly admire the turn you’ve taken (and have stuck to) in the past few months. It’s evident you are focusing on learning rather than e-pologetical pillaging, and I salute you. As for me, I’ve been learning to do the same (no one’s really heard from me for several weeks, you might notice); but, hey, I confess, old reflexes die hard. If my repeated mention of my respect for your (and Daniel’s and Perry’s) learning hasn’t sufficed, let me say again: when it really comes down to it, I don’t think ANYONE is actually “stupid,” least of all you, Daniel or Perry. The trouble is that I have little compunction at least trying to call an intellectual bluff when I sense one. I have no problem simultaneously admitting my incompetence about some (most!) things and voicing clear opinions, since “competence” is a very strong word. Otherwise, I may as well stop living if I admit I’m not “perfect.” At any rate, I pray this little explanation goes some way towards ameliorating our “history.”

    As for the rest, I agree, Perry and Daniel, the present time is all about me assessing and reassessing my commitments. The painful part for me, however, is that, largely due some personal problems in the past few years, I’ve been starving for a home, a place to belong. And I’ve been languishing in lonely ecclesial agnosticism. I need a liturgical home and I need to be able to receive Christ in the Eucharist. I need a habitat in which to move and breath and FROM THERE assess my commitments. I need a home, and, alas, having a home means having some biases. Just imagine my presuppositionalism carried over from my days as a Calvinist.

    The argument is what it is and I’ll spare you any more words, especially ones sent hurtling to crash and die against ADS.

    Grace be to you and I hope to continue dialoguing in some charitable fashion.

  7. Tim Enloe says:

    Will do, Perry. Thanks.

  8. Perry Robinson aka Acolyte says:

    Tim

    You want to take a look at Muller’s Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics Vol 3 on the Reformed teaching on simplicity.

  9. Tim Enloe says:

    Perry: I followed most of that (but Leibniz’s Law looks a bit too much like the ever-dreaded ALGEBRA for me, I’m afraid). Still, it looks to me like your basic argument is sound. You may remember some time back I posted some stuff on my blog from Colin Gunton’s book The Triune Creator which argued that much of Western theology after the patristic age failed to continue developing along Trinitarian lines, and thus ended up constantly compromising the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. I think Gunton made a strong case that this was so.

    I haven’t looked at simplicity in the Reformed confessions, so I can’t comment on that. However, I have read enough on Medieval papalism to recognize some serious applications of your argument to the doctrine of the papacy as it is commonly held by Roman Catholics. And I think that that doctrine is incorrigibly “unitarian” (which in my lingo may be a synonym of sorts for your “simplicity”) and therefore not Trinitarian and therefore not any part of the Apostolic Deposit at all. But of course, as you know it’s difficult to get Catholic apologists to talk seriously about these sorts of issues.

  10. Perry Robinson aka Acolyte says:

    Tim,

    Well, ok, let’s leave the “history” behind us for the moment. Here is an argument to think about.

    Hypothetical Syllogism (HS)

    If A, then B
    If B, then C
    If A, then C

    This is a valid inference rule. If the premises are true, it will always lead you to the truth. The same can be said for Modus Ponens.

    If P, then Q
    P
    Therefore Q

    Clear? Good. Now try this,

    1. IF p, then q
    2. IF q, then r
    3. Then, If p, then r (1,2 HS)
    4. p (premise)
    5. Therefore r, (3,4 MP)

    Clear? Good. Now try this…

    1. If God is absolutely simple (P), then his act of will to create is identical with his essence (R).
    2. If God’s act of will to create is identical with his essence (R), then his act of will to create is necessary. (Q)
    3. If God is absolutely simple (P), then his act of will to create is necessary. (Q) (From 1,2 by Hypothetical Syllogism)
    4. God is absolutely simple. (Premise S)
    5. Therefore, God’s act of will to create is necessary (R). (From 3,4 by Modus Ponens)

    Support for (2) is given by the following argument.

    (2)If God’s act of will to create is identical with his essence (R), then his act of will to create is necessary. (Q)

    6. If God’s essence is had by him necessarily, then if anything is identical with his essence it is necessary.

    7. God’s essence is had by him necessarily. (Premise)

    8. Therefore, anything identical with his essence is necessary. (From 6, 7 MP)

    Seven (7) I take to be uncontroversial and by that I mean that any Christian should agree with it on its face.

    (6) can be supported by Liebniz’s Law:

    (x) (y) [(x = y), then (P) (Px, ≡ Py)]

    For any x and any y, if x is identical to y, then if x has a property P then y must have that same property P and vice versa.

    So if God’s essence has the property of being had by God necesarily, then anything identical with God’s essence is had by God with the same necessity. This would rule out creation ex nihilo, among other free and voluntary acts by God. The world would become necessary and hence eternal. This is one reason why the eternality of the world is a continuing problem. If my argument is valid (it is) and sound (I think it is) then any view of God that includes absolute simplicity is incompatible with core Christian teachings. By incompatible I mean that they both cannot be true.

    Now, by my reading, Protestants hold to the same basic doctrine of absolute simplicity as Rome does. It is mentioned to various degrees by most if not all of the Reformed Confessions and expounded in all the major systematic theologians from the period of Reformed Scholasticism forward. Much the same can be said of the Lutherans because it is their common heritage. It seems that Protestants and Rome have a serious theological problem if my argument is correct.

    Thoughts?

  11. Tim Enloe says:

    Perry: I don’t see a “problem” with what you and Daniel are saying. As you know, I scarcely comprehend the concepts you are both making use of, and am more than willing to sit and be educated by you both on those. Heck, I am even willing to consider how those things may tell against my Protestantism (as I briefly mentioned to you the other night re: monergism / monothelitism). I want to have CONVERSATIONS, and that’s why pontificators like Elliot burn me up. But there’s a history there, just so you know.

  12. Perry Robinson aka Acolyte says:

    I think it would be more profitable to stop the comments about the amount of pride is involved. It is my experience that young men interested in theology and such have plenty to go around. I can be just as cocky as the best of them but it is not relevant.

    Why don’t we do this. Elliot, Tim, et al, if you want to engage on the issues, that would be fun. Daniel and I would surely find it profitable. So why don’t we do this, why don’t we do a “tell back” where Tim or Elliot (or anyone for that matter) tries to articulate to Daniel and myself what you take the problem to be that we are posing. Then perhaps a possible line of response. We can then move on from there.

    Soung good?

  13. Tim Enloe says:

    Well Elliot, if you KNOW you’re incompetent, perhaps you’ll see fit to change your “gunslinging” attitude. There’s no reason for you to treat others as if they’re stupid and have read nothing merely because you’ve read a handful of things yourself. But that’s exactly what you do. I was that way too when I was 23. Boy do I look back on that and feel stupid now.

  14. Perry Robinson aka Acolyte says:

    Pretty much what Daniel said.

    It is my understanding that the Palamite councils are ecumenical councils if by that one means general councils of the church. They are not ecumenical if by that one means convoked by the Imperial authorities.

    As to Roman deities, I never said, at least not that I recall, that Catholics worship a different God. At most I probably wrote something like that they end up with a different conception of God.

    To respond about Orthodox/Catholic ecclesiology I would have to know where your post is to read it first.

    As to Daniel’s integrity, all I can say is that months ago, Daniel and I went at it pretty hard. We are both pretty hard headed. Daniel was intelligent enough to actually see what the theological problem was and he set out to solve it. Daniel was honest enough to come around, humble himself and admit that the problem is a serious one and doesn’t look as if it is in principle solvable. It might still prove to be. We could be mistaken. In any case, Daniel sucked up his pride and contacted me and that took alot of honesty.

    I am not so much interested in if I am correct. I am interested in recognizing that there is a problem here that undergirds many subsequent theological ideas. Even if the problem is solved or disolved eventually, it seems that there is a genuine problem here. It is my belief that this problem is the locus for the substantial theological differences between East and West. It provides a handy dividing line for explaining the differences in theology proper and christology but also in the sacraments and other areas. It takes a while to see the full implications. This is made more difficult in that Palamism isn’t Augustinian per se in its’ use of terms and categories. It takes some time to re-orient one’s thinking.

    Elliot, I would ask that you take this as an opportunity to explore the concepts rather than as an opportunity to defend your theological committments. We all have those but I don’t think anyone here is specifically interested in pummeling others with them. Rather, we are more interested in increasing our understanding and tracing out the concepts.

    My arguments do not just cut against Catholicism either and I have made that clear in other venues. I think the problems are just as serious, if not more so for Protestantism in all of the heads of that hydra. If I am anywhere near right, then the problems generated by absolute simplicity should serve as a conceptual dividing line between Orthodoxy and Protestantism as well. And we should see problems just like those in Origenism pop up. And I think that is what we do see with the debates about grace and free will.

  15. Daniel Jones says:

    Elliot,

    First if it seems I have been talking out both sides of my mouth, I apologize. I have used it as a motivation to keep the discussion focused on the argument, because most the responses Perry or myself get are largely dismissive.

    Because I make arguments against “Latins” does not make me anti-Latin, or at least how you are using the term by my lights. I’ll defend the scholastics as far as it goes from piss poor scholarship that is thrown there way, but I maintain on a few key points they were wrong and wrong-headed. Thinking someone was wrong and thinking someone like Maximus had better ideas, does not make me anti-Latin.

    Your appeal to Fr. Kimel is noteworthy and I have a high regard for Al. But I think I have a little better grasp of Roman Catholic theology than he does. Furthermore, because Rome holds to consequential truths like creatio ex nihilo does not solve the problem. Many heretics have been condemned as such by the Saints showing reducio ad absurdum of their antecedents. Pyrrhus is a good case in point. Regarding appeals to ADS as keeping RC Church together, well, that’s just the problem. The filioque controversey is a perfect test case. Having ecclesial existence isn’t the same as having right doctrine. To say, that the filioque is not movtivated by absolute simplicity would be truly unbelievable. Without absolute simplicity, the filioqe is just not needed in terms of the hypostatic existence of the Holy Spirit. Rome is moving to understand it differently, closer to Orthodoxy. Such can be seen in her recent clarification, but it doesn’t go quite far enough. It still confuses generation and procession with energy in a few key places, and I’m not alone in thinking that. Other Orthodox scholars have had the same admiration for the document all the while having the same key concerns.

    It is true that you will not find an Ecumenical Council EXPLICITLY condemn absolute simplicity, unless we are to regard the Palamite Councils as Ecumenical (more on that one in a moment). Having said that, EVERY single one of those councils and the Fathers that those Councils were represented by or Fathers that the Councils followed, the essence and energies distinction is absolutely necessary and here is why. Athanasius in his dispute with Arius made a distinction between acts of nature and acts of will. Arius believed that to safeguard God’s freedom, that the Son was contingent and was an act of will. Athanasius on the other hand believed that the Son was an act of nature and was necessary. Without the essence and energies distinction Athanasius argument collapses, likewise the Cappadocians in their defense of the Trinity collapses in the face of the Semi-Arian Eunomians. Such is what the Creed and the Fathers of that Creed’s theolgy is built upon. Next, we can go to Augustine, and I would be the quickest to correct Orthodox theologians (Romanides for example) that dismiss him on the grounds that he isn’t a Father of an Ecumenical Council (or a Father that an Ecumenical Council followed). Ephesus condemned Pelagianism, and that condemnation is dependent on a metaphysical distinction between nature and grace, whom Augustine is the most explicit of the Fathers [in my opinion] on that issue. I also take the much hesitancy in his publishing De Trinitate as an indicator that he hadn’t worked all that issue out with his theology. The 6th Council in Constantinople followed St. Maximus’ teaching against the monothelites. His is obvious: without the essence and energy distinction, he has no argument against them. As far as the Palamite Councils, I’m at a loss as to why they aren’t Ecumenical in character–perhaps some of my Orthodox friends can help me with that. 1) They were dealing with a doctrinal issue. 2) They’re teaching has been received by all autocephalous Orthodox Churches. 3) Their teachings follow someone who has had prophetic experiences of the uncreated light of God–Gregory Palamas as his life and teaching bear witness too. This seems consistent with the other gentleman above and with the nature of a council. So, regarding THAT, I agree with Romanides, it has all the requirements to be an ecumenical council. But something does not have to be in an ecumenical council to have binding authority. Even if the Palamite Councils are claimed not to be Ecumenical in character does not mean that they are not binding–Orange II is binding for Orthodox and it is not an Ecumenical council.

    Regarding Florence, not all the East Romans signed up. There were also councils held in Jerusalem and I think Antioch that condemned the decrees. St. Mark Bishop of Ephesus was probably the only one at the Council that understood what the issue was AND what was at stake for the Orthodox. The Latins demanded an understanding from Mark on the nature of the essence and energy distinction, since they saw it as peripheral to the discussion on the filioque. That discussion was squashed by the Emperor; obviously he knew that discussion wasn’t going to bring about the reunion he needed. However, I think that discussion was absolutely necessary if the parties were going to have doctrinal agreement. Too bad it wasn’t discussed.

    Since, you are in the middle of conversion, now is the best time for you to start with the fundamentals and that means theology proper, and that means getting out reading beyond the apologetics stuff. I think it would be a more worthy endeavor to take the Fathers you quote and read them in light of their theology proper. It doesn’t do much good to start with ecclesiology if you aren’t grounded in theology proper first, and you ARE NOT going to learn that from the apologetics community. Not that I despise apologetics, but they aren’t going to give you the foundation you need if you are serious about theology.

    In conclusion, if you want to become Roman Catholic, I largely have little problem with it, although I would give Orthodoxy a fair look and keep in mind the practicality of each body. Furthermore, it is not my purpose to lead people out of the Roman Catholic Church. If we were living in the pre-Vatican II day, I think the lines would be much clearly drawn. But as I have indicated, I think Rome’s moving in a better direction. She is coming closer to taking more seriously the essence/energy distinction. She is much more open to discussion in ecclesiology. She is more open to understanding the filioque in an Orthodox sense, and closer to removing it from the Creed. If the direction I believe in fails and is in utter opposition to what it means to be an Orthodox Catholic, then I will decide where I need to be. That day hasn’t come just yet.

    I hope this is the last I have to say about ‘me.’

    Daniel

  16. Elliot B says:

    Tim:

    As for your first comment, yawn.

    As for your second one, I’m glad you approve, but I’ve said that before (and not just about philosophical issues). Address what else I said to Perry and Daniel, if you like, but even if not, you really do need to believe me when I say I KNOW I’M INCOMPETENT. Anything I do say with a modicum of confidence is based on the few shards of knowledge I have. Having them waved away by you or anyone else is just so boring, though.

  17. Elliot B says:

    OKay, the breaks come in after the preview. Not the coolest thing on earth, but whatevs.

  18. Tim Enloe says:

    Oh, and Elliot. I don’t think it’s coincidental that you happen to have treated Daniel the way you’ve treated me: come out of the blue, guns blazing, before you even know anything at all about who you’re dealing with or what they’re talking about or what makes them tick or anything. But hey, at least you admit that you’re not competent to deal with Daniel’s and Perry’s philosophical arguments. That’s a significant start at some very much needed humility on your part.

  19. Tim Enloe says:

    You’re welcome, Elliot. Whenever you’re ready to exhibit a little discernment in your reading, those of us who have been the victims of your little “But it’s so plain and obvious you obfuscator!” tirades will certainly appreciate it.

  20. Elliot B says:

    Garsh, it’s a regular roast in here. Thank you for all your pats on the back, guys, I’m sure you appreciate them. With my ears still burning, let me say I’m honored. To see an Orthodox, an Orthodox Catholic and a catholic Calvinist so readily circle a Catholic Presbyterian — I get the ecumenical warm fuzzies! Yuck yuck yuck. ;p +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    Tim:

    Thanks for your paternalism. Pots, black kettles and whatnot. How’s your patristic rhetoric rhetoric (series) coming along? +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    Daniel:

    I apologize if I came across as harsh. It’s just that I found it very unsavory that I’ve seen you apparently speaking for some time out of both sides of your mouth about your allegiances. (The painful irony is that I, as a would-be-Catholic Protestant, have had my motives impugned enough times [yep, by Tim Enloe more than anyone else] that I should have curbed my cynicism.) On the one hand, I’ve heard you defend yourself as “only canonically Roman Catholic” when your competence or genuineness about EO was challenged. On the other hand, as with Diane, I’ve heard you play your Catholic card for all its worth when your objectivity was challenged. So, my first “argument” was/is about your MO. It’s very nice to hear about your prudence, truly; but it’s just as difficult to detect much other than anti-Latin orientalism in some of your comments. I (from my own experience) understand how liberating it can be in the midst of a total theological “identity crisis” to create arguing space on both sides of the line so you can explore all the angles with immunity. So, please forgive me of any undue harshness. But [if it even matters to you] also try to understand that to me, at least, you sometimes come across a little less than genuine. +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    Perry (and Daniel):

    As for my “argument” about ADS, I’m happy to admit LOUD AND CLEAR ONCE AGAIN I am not competent to critique your philosophical or theological arguments. The thrust of my reservation, however, is that neither do I think you’re competent to push the arguments as you do. +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    First, as the Pontificator has pointed out, ADS just doesn’t have the full heretical effects in RCism you think it should. (Wasn’t it you, Perry, that actually insinuated RCs worship a different God?) ADS or not, the RC Church still affirms creatio ex nihilo and all the binding dogmas you insist its ADS negates. I’ll give a half-dozen ecclesial eggs for six doctrinal ones: if not submitting to the papacy still enables the EO Church(es) to remain, well, orthodox after all this time, then ADS clearly enables the RC Church to do the same. +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    Second, please point me to one universally binding council that anathematizes ADS (not to mention Vatican I ecclesiology). Show me the EO council that trumps the dogmatic decrees of the Catholics AND ORTHODOX at Florence (all cries about forced complicity and conciliar imperialism aside for the minute, please). It’s no secret EO has been warming up for some time for “the next great council,” so, until that council does so, by what authority do you renounce ADS as a heresy and defend Maximian (and Palamite) theology as anything other than a hugely successful theologumenon? You guys are incredibly smart, and I respect you both a great deal more than any of my inveterate cheekiness might suggest, but the painful truth is neither of you are bishops and neither of you have the conciliar authority to bind me, Catholics, or even yourselves to the views you are defending. I’m sure this offends you (and your graduate acumen) as a mind-numbingly arrogant and low-brow case of petitio principii, but, hey, leave it us to salt of the earth Catholic types to kowtow to the bishops in a council. +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    And now, a final request: I’ve heard both of you say the Fathers I -/-shamelessly ripped out of context and manipulated for my own dark papal schemes-/- quoted do not support Catholic ecclesiology (nor even imply it!?), and that they are all of them perfectly compatible with EO ecclesiology. I’ve followed up on the works you guys have suggested, and am “in country” now trying to make my way through it all. But in the meantime, I’d like you – in all humble, unsneering honesty – to explain in as few words as necessary how or why any EO layman, priest or bishop would ever say what the Fathers said in my post. How, in as few words as necessary, do you reconcile all the Eastern papalism of the pre-schism Church with EO ecclesiology? Further, why does the East still have to make space for the apostate Roman see, when any other apostate see would go the way of, well, apostate sees – into the margins? On the one hand, why can’t (or doesn’t) the East just ignore the Pope and, on the other hand, how could it ever embrace him? +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    Notice I am NOT implying you CAN’T answer of these questions; I am simply admitting in a roundabout way (and now in a direct way) that I’m just too dumb to see how it can be done. I genuinely want to hear your explanation. (And please don’t pay too much mind to the Calvinist up above; since he’s withdrawn from the apologetics biz, I’m his hobby hunting great white whale.) +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    Many thanks and God bless you, +++++++++++++
    +++++++++++++

    (PS. I previewed my comment and it came out without paragraph breaks, so I tossed in the ungainly plus signs to try rectifying that.)

  21. Perry Robinson aka Acolyte says:

    Tim,

    Those books won’t help him discuss the Origenistic dialectic nor metaphysics in late antiquity or in medieval scholasticism, which are most germane to this thread.

    Perry

  22. Perry Robinson aka Acolyte says:

    Daniel,

    It seems to me that the response has largly been dismissive, namely skepticism that Rome is even stuck with absolute simplicity. This was much the same line we saw on other blogs.

    Just as a note, thinking of God as beyond being would preclude one from predicating absolute unity to his essence since number is a category of being. This explains nicely for example why the Cappadocians refrain from applying number to God.

  23. Tim Enloe says:

    Be careful trying to inject context into discussions about patristic matters with Elliot Bougis. Elliot has read him a couple or three “bowel quivering” Catholic apologetics books, and is accordingly quite convinced that any talk of contexts beyond “face value” meanings is an attempt to make the Fathers guilty of using “unreliable modes of communication”. He’s a cocky thing. Needs to be taken down a few notches, that’s for sure.

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