Prayer, Poem, and Dialectic to God

May 14, 2009


by +photius farrell


We pray Thee, O Christ,

We acknowledge Thee to be the Lord,

The God of Adam, and Saviour of Eve,

The Hope of Abraham, the Blessing of Isaac,

The Inheritance of Jacob;

O Thou in Whose humanity art the true promised land;

Thou, O Lord God of our fathers, fulfilling all,

hast filled all things with Thyself.


For whither shall I Go from Thy presence,

Whence shall my mind take wings and flee,

That Thou art not there for me to find

For if to Heaven supernal above, Thou art there, O Christ

From thence didst Thou descend as God, and thence ascend as man.  Read the rest of this entry »

Higher Criticism as the old Gnosticism vis-à-vis Apostolic Succession

May 12, 2009

“The Gnostic appeal to a secret tradition embodied in its own Gospels or modifications of the existing Christian gospels thus highlights the situation of the “Two Churches within One Institution” Model, for the Gnostic “tradition” is esoteric, and can only be arrived at by initiation into methods known to the Gnostic.  The situation is all too similar to the claims of much modern textual criticism, which asserts the right of its own scholarly elite to modify the text of Scripture, or in actual fact, to reject the ecclesiastical texts, in favor of its own highly questionable conjectures and reconstructions of the “original autographs”.  Seen in this light, the Gnostic is little more than a second century textual critical peritus, and the modern textual critic as little more than a nineteenth or twentieth century Gnostic.”

“Specifically, by the latter part of the second century, when the orthodox insisted upon “one God,” they simultaneously validated the system of governance in which the church is ruled by “one bishop.” Gnostic modification of monotheism was taken—and perhaps intended—as an attack upon that system.  For when gnostic and orthodox Christians discussed the nature of God, they were at the same time debating the issue of spiritual authority. Thus, even the idea of apostolic succession is transformed in the hands of some Gnostic systems who claimed succession from different teachers, who form, according to Ptolemy, “an esoteric supplement to the canonical collection of Jesus’ words.” Bodily resurrection, apostolic succession, and the canonical and textual form of the Scriptures form a continuous strand of orthodox response to Gnosticism, as Gnosticism forms a continuous and total program of assault on each of these.  For both the Gnostic and the Orthodox, to imperial any of these elements was to imperial them all.  Again, the implications for the modern situation are dire, for faced as we are with Churches and hierarchies that all too quickly are abandoning versions of Scripture based upon some form of the Majority Text—the received ecclesiastical text underlying most versions of Scripture, in favor of versions based on critical constructions of what scholars think the early text to have been, constructions themselves based upon manuscripts in many cases of known Gnostic or heretic pedigree, the implication for apostolic succession is enormous.”

“[W]hen St. Irenaeus emphasizes the recapitulation of all things in Christ, including all stages of human nature, he is stating more than just Christological doctrine.  The unity of the Godhead and the inclusion of all of humanity in the effects of the Incarnation are double blows against the Gnostic proliferation of deities and authorities; his understanding of recapitulation is also a statement of ecclesiastical polity.  There are, indeed, he acknowledges, two traditions, but only one derives from the Apostles; the other derives from Simon Magus and ultimately from Satan. The importance of this will be lost unless restated in modern higher critical terms: the distinction of two kinds of tradition as regards doctrine, polity, and canonical Scripture means that any attempt to deal with early manuscripts of Scripture as an indistinct mass, without regarde to doctrinal content, is, from the orthodox Christian perspective, impossible, since it does not account for the historical fact of the existence of different kinds of tradition from the beginning.”

God, History, and Dialectic: The Theological Foundations of the Two Europes and Their Cultural Consequences, +Photius Farrell

Aborting Jesus

April 27, 2009

abortion_icon3“As with St. Ireneaus, there is an ecclesiological and sacramental dimension to the doctrine of Recapitulation. Baptism is an essential component of the mystery and for the spiritual life, since the believer must recapitulate that which Christ Himself fulfilled and repeated in His own Recapitulation. As was the case with Sts. Ireneaus and Athanasius, one cannot separate the divine and invisible nature and therefore one cannot separate water and the Spirit into two separate baptisms or events, as this would be a kind of sacramental Nestorianism.

Ftnt. 37 This point cannot be lingered over too long, since many Evangelical Christians make just such a separation. For the Fathers, such a separation always indicates a distorted and incorrect understanding of the Incarnation. It is on the christological basis of recapitulation that infants are baptized, since not to baptize them until they reach the ‘age of reason’ or ‘accountability’ implies that communion between God and man is impossible at this stage of life.  If this principle were pressed into the Incarnatin itself, it would mean that Christ only became God subsequently to His conception. Likewise, the Church’s condemnation of abortion is rooted in the recapitulational principle, since this stage of human life was united indivisibly and unconfusedly with God the Word.  It is therefore contradictory to maintain at one and the same time that infants cannot be baptized, and yet to argue against abortion on the basis of an abstract principle of the ‘sanctity of life’ divorced from its Christological basis.

Joseph P. Farrell, Introduction, The Disputation with Pyrrus of our Father among the Saints Maximus the Confessor, p. xvi.

Interview with Dr. Farrell on GHD

March 5, 2008

Interview w. Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Concerning his 4-Volume

God, History, & Dialectic: The Theological Foundations of the Two Europes and Their Cultural Consequences”

Conducted by Asher Black, March 4, 2008

How long did it take you to research and write this book. Can you elaborate on the kinds of research you did, and where, when, etc.?

The book was written in about 2 weeks, due to the time constraints I was under trying to satisfy my students in the course of the same name that I taught. As for researching it, it is the fruit of many years of patristic study. It would be difficult for me to say, since I started reading the fathers way back in college. So I suppose it represents about 20 years of research and thought. Read the rest of this entry »

God, History and Dialectic

February 28, 2008

An electronic version of Joseph Farrell’s extended work, God, History, and Dialectic is now available here for purchase. I’d recommend getting it while you are able.

Huge News!

January 7, 2008

As many of you know, I’ve been a friend of Dr. Joseph P. Farrell (+Photios) for some years now. Perry and I are one of the few few people that have (autographed) copies in book form of his most prolific work, God History and Dialectic: The Theological Foundations of the Two Europes and Their Cultural Consequences. He has written to inform me that he will be publishing on CD-Rom a copy of God, History, and Dialectic along with other works such as Free Choice in Saint Maximus the Confessor, a revised translation to the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, and a translation of Saint Maximus’s Opsucula Theologica et Polemica (never before been translated in english). I do not have all the details yet, and I do not know if all these works will be included on only one CD-Rom or simultaenously, but +Photios indicated it would be sometime late this year.

 I will keep you informed of any news that I hear.

The 9th Century Crisis: Political, Theological, Social, and Prophetic

December 11, 2007

Farrell, Most Rev. Bishop Photios, S.S.B. God, History, and Dialectic: The Theological Foundations of the Two Europes and Their Cultural Consequences.  Excerpt from Volume II:

The Inception of the Two Europes

The Ninth Century Crisis and the Emergence of the Two Europes: The First Phase and its Central Ikon


The mediaevalist Norman Cantor made the following suggestive observation in a book on mediaeval historiography that is replete with intriguing implications:

We have not dealt with the making of the other Middle Ages — primarily Arab, Byzantine, and Jewish.  That is the subject of another inquiry.  It is my personal prejudice that while these other mediaeval civilizations are of enormous importance not only intrinsically but in respect to their impact on the West, for a variety of reasons, including sheer chance, the magisterial intellectua; structures that were created to priviliedge of the European Middle Ages in the twnetieth century were largely lacking with respect to the conceptualization of these other mediaeval socieities.[i]

The remarks are intriguing because they allude to the elevation of the historiographical tradition of Western Europe to “canonical status”, yet hint that something is amiss that cannot be explained solely by reference to the West.  Paradoxically, it is the Jewish and Islamic aspects of “the other Middle Ages” that are the most understood by the West, and the other Christian Middle Ages, that of the splendid edifice of the Byzantine Roman Empire and Church, that are so obscure.  And yet, it is the Byzantine Empire and Church which hold the key to the decryption of the central moment in the emergence of the two Europes, that moment in the ninth century when Augustinism becomes the broad theological culture of the Frankish empire, and has begun both to be driven by, and to drive, the political and cultural outlook of the West, and come into conflict with the First Europe’s representative in the West: the papacy.  Without that perspective, all remains obscure at best or unintelligible at worst. Read the rest of this entry »

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