Saturday, February 17, 2018

The power of living within the truth "does not rely on soldiers of its own, but on the soldiers of the enemy as it were—that is to say on everyone who is living within the lie and who may be struck at any moment (in theory, at least) by the force of truth. . . ."

Václav Havel Library
     Václav Havel, "The power of the powerless" (October 1978) VIII, trans. P. Wilson, in Living in truth:  twenty-two essays published on the occasion of the award of the Erasmus Prize to Václav Havel, ed. Jan Vladislav (London:  Faber and Faber, 1987), 58 (36-122).

"every Scripture, because it is theopneustic, is profitable."

πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος οὖσα ὠφέλιμός ἐστι.
every scripture, being theopneustic, is profitable.
"every scripture, because it is theopneustic, is profitable" [(Warfield)].

. . . πιστεύομεν, ὅτι πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος οὖσα ὠφέλιμός ἐστι.  Τὸ γὰρ ἓν τῶν δύο δεῖ σε παραδέξασθαι ἐπὶ τούτων τῶν γραφῶν, ἢ ὅτι οὔκ ἑισι θεόπνευστοι, ἑπεὶ οὔκ εἰσιν ὠφέλιμοι, ὡς ὑπολαμβάνοι ἂν ὁ ἄπιστος·  ἢ, ὡς πιστός, παραδέξασθαι, ὅτι, ἐπεί εἰσιν θεόπνευστοι, ὠφέλιμοί εἰσιν [(Origen, Homily 20.2 on Joshua; Philocalia of Origen xii.2, ed. Robinson (1893), p. 63, ll. 23 ff.)].

. . . we believe that all Scripture being [(οὖσα] inspired by God is profitable.  For as regards these Scriptures, you must admit one of two things:  either that they are not inspired because [(ἑπεὶ] they are not profitable, as an unbeliever might suppose; or, as a believer, you must allow that because [(ἐπεί)] they are inspired they are profitable [(Origen, Homily 20.2 on Joshua; Philocalia of Origen xii.2, trans. Lewis (1911), p. 56)].

. . . 'omnis scriptura divinitus inspirata utilis est'.  Si ergo 'divinitus inspirata' est, et 'utilis' est; etiamsi non sentiamus utilitatem, credere tamen debemus quia 'utilis est' [(Origen, Homily 20.2 on Joshua, Origenes Werke 7, ed. Baehrens (1921), p. 419, ll. 9 ff. (Latin) and 22 ff. (Greek))].

. . . 'all Scripture inspired by divine influence is useful.'  Thus if it is 'inspired by divine influence and is useful,' we ought to believe that it is useful even if we do not observe the usefulness [(Origen, Homily 20.2 on Joshua, trans. Bruce, FC 105 (2002), 177)].

     I was put onto this by Dr. Laura Holmes.

Monday, February 12, 2018

"A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church."

     "Here lies the boundary of a Christian church that knows itself to be bound by the authority of Scripture.  Those who urge the church to change the norm of its teaching on this matter must know that they are promoting schism.  If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture.  A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church."

     Wolfhart Pannenberg, "Revelation and homosexual experience:  What Wolfhart Pannenberg says about this debate in the church," trans. Markus Bockmuehl, Christianity today 40, no. 13 (November 11, 1996):  35, 37.  ="Amor vincit omniaor does it?  Outlook:  Homosexuality and scripture," trans. Markus Bockmuehl, Church times (June 21, 1996).  ="Maßstäbe zur kirchlichen Urteilsbildung über Homosexualität," in Beiträge zur Ethik (Göttingen:  Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004), 99-102.  ="'Einem männlichen Wesen darfst du nicht beiwohnen': Maßstäbe zur kirchlichen Urteilsbildung über Homosexualität," Zeitwende 65, no. 1 (1994): 1-4.  From the latter (the original), in which this does not begin a new paragraph, and which appeals to Luther rather than the four marks:

An dieser Stelle liegt die Grenze für eine christliche Kirche, die sich an die Autorität der Schrift gebunden weiß.  Wer die Kirche dazu drängt, die Norm ihrer Lehre in dieser Frage zu ändern, muß wissen, daß er die Spaltung der Kirche betreibt.  Denn eine Kirche, die sich dazu drängen ließe, homosexuelle Betätigung nicht mehr als Abweichung von der biblischen Norm zu behandeln und homosexuelle Lebensgemeinschaften als eine Form persönlicher Liebesgemeinschaft neben der Ehe anzuerkennen, eine solche Kirche stünde nicht mehr auf dem Boden der Schrift, sondern im Gegensatz zu deren einmütigem Zeugnis.  Eine Kirche, die einen solchen Schritt tut, hätte darum aufgehört, evangelische Kirche in der Nachfolge der lutherischen Reformation zu sein.
. . . A church that takes such a step would have ceased to be [an] evangelical/Protestant church in the succession of the Lutheran Reformation.
 There is also at least one version of this up in German here.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

"she could do more [than her brother], she who loved more."

". . . illa plus potuit, quae amplius amavit."
". . . πλεῖον ἠδυνήθη ἐκείνη, ἥτις πλεῖον ἠγάπασεν."

     Gregory the Great on St. Scholastica, the sister of St.Benedict, Dialogues 2.3.  =PL 66, cols. 196A and 195A respectively.  Cf. SC 260.  Offhand, I'm not sure whether the Latin or the Greek should take priority.
'Lo, I asked you[, Benedict,] and you would not listen; so I asked my Lord and he did listen.' 
'Ecce te rogavi, et audiri me noluisti; rogavi Dominum meum, et audivit me.' 
Ἰδοὺ παρεκάλεσά σε, καὶ ὑπακοῦσαί μου οὐκ ἠθέλησας.  Παρεκάλεσα τὸν κύριόν μου, καὶ εἰσήκουσέ μου·
For the context, go here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Descartes on the stupefied admiration

"But more often we wonder too much rather than too little, as when we are astonished in looking at things which merit little or no consideration.  This may entirely prevent or pervert the use of reason.  Therefore, although it is good to be born with some inclination to wonder, since it makes us disposed to acquire scientific knowledge, yet after acquiring such knowledge we must attempt to free ourselves from this inclination as much as possible.  For we may easily make good its absence through that special state of reflection and attention which our will can always impose upon our understanding when we judge the matter before us to be worth serious consideration.  But there is no remedy for excessive wonder [(d’admirer avec exces)] except to acquire the knowledge of many things and to practice examining all those which may seem most unusual and strange."

     Descartes, The passions of the soul 76, trans. Robert Stoothoff (The philosophical writings of Descartes 1 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1985), 355) =the standard Œuvres de Descartes ed. Adam & Tannery, vol. 11, p. 385.  I have not read The passions, but was put onto this by Thibault Barrier, "La capture de l'esprit:  attention et admiration chez Descartes et Spinoza," L’attention au XVIIe siècle:  conceptions et usages =Les études philosophiques 2017, no. 1 (2017):  48-49 (43-58):  "voluntary attention is not opposed to simple impassibility, but to an admiration become hebetude" (49), i.e. stupor.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Aquinas on the unicity of truth

"there are indeed different and distinct domains of enquiry, each with its own standards for distinguishing the true from the false.  Mathematics is one such domain, physics another, history a third, theology a fourth.  But these domains are not self-enclosed, so that the truths in any one domain have no implications for what is true or false in any of the others.  Some truths in physics exclude certain historical possibilities.  Some truths in mathematics exclude certain physical possibilities.  Some truths in theology exclude certain physical and certain philosophical possibilities."

     Alisdair MacIntyre, channeling Aquinas contra the 13th-century Averroists on the doctrine of the two truths, in God, philosophy, universities:  a selective history of the Catholic philosophical tradition (Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., A Sheed & Ward Book, 2009), 68.