Dr. Peter Gilbert has responded to my post about Anastasius the Librarian here. He closed the combox so this is my final response to him:
Let me be honest and frank here, I really don’t see a lot of familiarity with my thesis or Dr. Farrell’s thesis in what you write. I think you’re informed sensibilities are making much more than what I really am and you confuse my competitive edge and spirit with aggression. Really, the most that you confessed to have read is Farrell’s translation to Photios’ Mystagogy, which was his point of view at the time. Not that the later works would be a repudiation of this work, but there is some refinement, especially when one considers Dr. Farrell’s interpretive grid (we all have them).
“When I say that this is an ideology, I mean that it is maintained only through a kind of willful disregard of Christian history.”
What do you mean by this? Do you think Augustine holds to a Neoplatonic view of divine simplicity or not? I think that he does. A.H. Armstrong thinks so. In fact, many scholars think so. Where do you think I learned it from? A non-historical reading of Church History? Of course not, and neither did Farrell. Because of that, we have a reasoned basis to think so. Even someone like Gilson says, that Augustine made his “philosophical first principle one… with his religious first principle”(Etienne Gilson, God and Philosophy, p. 41) and that his notion of divine being was ultimately greek and pagan. Was Gilson wrong to think this or perhaps you think that elements of pagan notions of deity really are compatible? Perhaps they are, but I think otherwise. I think the Orthodox Church thinks otherwise.
“Neither the East, nor certainly the West, was ever as monolithically Photian in its understanding of the trinitarian mystery as you make it out to be. That is one of the things, in writing this blog, that I have tried to show.”
Of course not, nobody is claiming it to be so. What we believe to be the case is that there is a general confusion after the Apologists and Origen in which philosophy and theology and their relationship is fundamentally confused at times, and even so in many Orthodox Fathers. That is, there are movements towards and away from Hellenization up until the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Even after St. Justinian condemned Origenists and closed the Academy, these ideas still did not go away and sometimes these views never go away. So when one stands in the place of say a John Bekkos and attempts to read History without the awareness of these movements, one can be easily confused on what exactly is Orthodox. Compare Newman’s understanding to Joseph Farrell’s understanding of the Nicene crisis and Pre-Nicene theologians. I find Joseph’s account far superior as an explanatory model of why there were so many different views of Christ the Logos; he amplified some of the intuitive insights of Johannes Quasten in giving them real explanatory power where Quasten still seemed dumbfounded (as was I for many years) though spot on. Nicea to Constantinople III 879/880 (and on) is a purification of Theology and its autonomous divorce from philosophy as a handmaiden. St. Photios the Great’s Triadology is a long drawn out purification and retrospect of what all the heresies have in common: the confusion between Person and Nature.
I don’t know why you want to pick on St. Augustine or make him out to be my demon. I think a theologian like St. Justin Martyr’s Logos theology was wrong and was a stepping stone to Origen and then later the Nicene Crisis. What this means is that error, even extreme error, doesn’t exclude someone from being a Holy Man or even a Father. What constitutes heresy is a willful dogmatic posture towards the Church, which none of these men had. *In of themselves*, St. Justin’s speculations or Augustine’s speculations are quite healthy and good. I wish people felt the desire to speculate and felt more free to do so and that they would state that they are doing so when they are performing it. You want me to embrace the Fathers in some kind of doctrinal purity that fundamentally doesn’t exist, I’m quite happy excepting them warts and all (and leaving their warts at the door of dogmatics), and recognizing that some Fathers have more warts than others.
“Theoretically and rhetorically, the ideology of those who gave fuel to the Bosnian war.”
Again, how is this so? I mean why would you think a commitment to truth and that there has been those that are true and that there has been those that are wrong constitute violence. There is not a thing violent about my claim. What you say here could be predicated of any exclusive truth claim. C’mon.