Saturday, November 8, 2014

Radner on Reilly

     "Reilly’s story, then, is inadequate.  As such, it undermines the credibility of many of his judgments.  Would that it didn’t!  Despite contextual missteps, Reilly rightly hammers home the deep logical and ethical pathology of the new moral consensus.  The fear of imposing any moral limits has led to the dismembering of human community and individual dignity.  This ought to be of profound concern to everyone.  It remains incomprehensible that advocates of sexual liberation within our churches have simply failed to take this seriously and oppose it openly and vigorously—so craven have they become to the advancement of their own personal interests.
     "In the end, Reilly’s abbreviated framework is inadequate because original sin has been airbrushed out.  It is in facing the realities of embedded disorders, pathologies, deformities, and evil that the [Aristotelian] ‘natural’ can best be understood.  The movements Reilly criticizes are marked by a failure to confront embedded sin honestly and self-critically.  That he deliberately avoids dealing with sin is unfortunate.  Ultimately, it is not nature with which we have to deal, but the God of nature—indeed, not only ultimately but immediately.  We must not suppose that, because Christian arguments have no purchase on cultural decision-making, we should mute their most explicitly Christian elements."

     Ephraim Radner, "Sin's nature," First things no. 247 (November 2014):  66 (65-66).

Psalm 46 in Luther ("A mighty fortress is our God") and Calvin

Ein feste burg ist unser Gott,
Ein gute wehr und waffen. 
Er hilfft unns frey aus aller not,  
die uns ytzt hat betroffen. 
   Der altböse feind,  
   mit ernst ers ytzt meint, 
   gros macht und viel list  
   sein grausam rüstung ist; 
   auf erd ist nicht seins gleichen. 

Mit unser macht ist nichts gethan, 
wir sind gar bald verloren. 
Es streit fur uns der rechte man, 
den Gott hat selbs erkoren. 
   Fragstu wer das ist? 
   Er heist Jhesu Christ, 
   der Herr Zebaoth, 
   Und ist kein ander Gott; 
   das felt mus er behalten. 

Und wenn die welt vol Teuffel wehr 
unnd wolt uns gar verschlingen, 
So fürchten wir uns nicht zu sehr. 
Es sol uns doch gelingen. 
   Der Fürst dieser welt, 
   wie saur er sich stellt, 
   thut er unns doch nicht, 
   das macht: er ist gericht. 
   Ein wörtlin kann yhn fellen. 

Das wort sie sollen lassen stahn 
unnd kein danck dazu haben. 
Er ist bey unns wol auff dem plan 
mit seinem geist und gaben. 
   Nemen sie den leib, 
   gut, ehre, kindt unnd weib, 
   las fahren dahin; 
   sie habens kein gewin; 
   das reich mus uns doch bleiben.

     Martin Luther, "Deus noster refugium et virtus" ("Ein feste burg ist unser God"), as reproduced out of Luthers geistliche Lieder und Kirchengesänge: Vollständige Neuedition in Ergänzung zu Band 35 der Weimarer AusgabeArchiv zur Weimarer Ausgabe der Werke Martin Luthers, Texte und Untersuchungen 4, bearbeitet von Markus Jenny (Köln:  Böhlau Verlag, 1985), pp. 247-249 and 100-101.  For the text of this hymn as reproduced in WA 35, see pp. 455 ff.

     It doesn't appear to me that Calvin's own 46th Psalm (CO 6 =CR34, cols. 211-212) was a translation of the above.  So from this alone (for I have done no real research) it's not clear to me that Calvin "invariably sang and cherished it".  Cf. here and here ("Nôtre dieu nous et un bon fort" (1722), and "C’est un rampart que notre Dieu" (1861)).  The following was "Copié sur le texte de 1542, qui est reproduit sans variantes dans l’édition de 1545, mais avec une orthographe différente. Il est remplacé dans l'édition de  1547 et toutes les suivantes par le Psaume de Cl. Marot:  Dez qu'adversité nous offense":

   Nostre Dieu nous est ferme appuy, 
Vertu, fortresse et seur confort; 
Auquel aurons en nostre ennuy 
Present refuge et tresbon port. 
Dont certaine asseurance aurons, 
Mesmes quand la terre verrons 
Par tremblement se desrocher, 
Et mons en la mer se cacher. 

   Quand la mer bruyant et tonnant, 
Comme par courroux s'enflera, 
Et les grandz rochers estonnant 
De vagues les esbranlera. 
Car la Cité qu'a Dieu esleu, 
Qui pour sa maison luy a pleu, 
Son ruisseau doulx et clair aura, 
Qui tousiours la resiouira. 

   Le Seignour y est au milieu, 
Pourtant ferme elle se tiendra: 
Pour l'aider en temps et en lieu 
De grand matin il veillera. 
Les peuples se sont tempestez, 
Royaulmes en trouble ont estez: 
Mais Dieu les tensant de sa voix 
Les rend en un moment tous coix. 

   Dieu des armées conducteur, 
Le Dieu de Iacob est pour nous: 
Pourtant nous sera protecteur 
Contre noz adversaires tous: 
Pourtant venez apercevoir, 
Chascun de vous s'applique à veoir 
Les merveilles que Dieu a faict, 
Quand ses ennemis a desfaict.

   C'est luy qui par son seul edict 
Peult toute la terre appaiser, 
Et au monde, sans contredict, 
Toute bataille faict cesser. 
C'est luy qui peult les arez briser, 
Lances en pieces menuiser. 
De sa flambe va consummant 
Les chariotz, les abysmant. 

   Pourtant, faict à tous à sçavoir 
Qu'il est celuy qui redoubté 
Doit estre pour son grand pouvoir, 
Et en tout le monde exalté. 
Dieu, des armées le Recteur, 
Nous sera tousiours pour tuteur. 
Le Dieu de Iacob nous sera
Pour refuge et nous gardera.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"quaerentes inter nos apud praesentem veritatem"

"We were asking one another in the presence of the Truth"

     Augustine, Confessions IX.x.23, as translated in the Office of Readings, Liturgy of the hours.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chesterton on (among other things) the philosophy of marriage (what marriage is)

     "Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down.  A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, 'Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light.  If Light be in itself good -----'  At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediæval practicality.  But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post; some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes.  So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, tomorrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark."

     G. K. Chesterton, "Introductory remarks," Heretics (London & New York:  John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1905), 23-24.
     (Of course, it was precisely on marriage that Diogenes Allen used to say that he wouldn't trust Chesterton.)

"In a Christian perspective, in fact, there is no God in Process Theology."

"Dans une perspective chrétienne, en fait, il n'y a pas de Dieu dans la Process Theology."

     Denis Hurtubise, "La process theology et le Dieu des chrétiens," Science et esprit 52, no. 3 (2000):  350 (341-351).

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Blessed is He who shone forth from her!"

Come, let us wonder at the virgin most pure,
wondrous in herself,
unique in creation, she gave birth, yet knew no man;
her pure soul with wonder was filled,
daily her mind gave praise
in joy at the twofold wonder:
her virginity preserved, her child most dear.
Blessed is He who shone forth from her!

     Hymns on Mary no. 7, stanza 2, as translated by Sebastian Brock.  Harp of the Spirit: eighteen poems of Saint Ephrem, edited and translated by Sebastian Brock, Studies supplementary to Sobornost 4, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Fellowship of St Alban & St Sergius, 1983), 59.  According to Dr. Brock, it is not clear that St. Ephrem is in fact the author.

"Process theism substitutes for the true immanence of God an immanentism that cannot safeguard the essential otherness of God, but also does not even ground his inmost nearness to creatures and [certainly] does not attain to the Augustinian 'deus interior intimo meo'."

"Der Prozeßtheism setzt an Stelle der wahren Immanenz Gottes einen Immanentismus, der die wesentliche Andersheit Gottes nicht wahrt, so aber auch seine innerste Nähe in den Geschöpfen nicht begründen kann und nicht zum Augustinischen »deus interior intimo meo« gelangt."

     Leo Scheffczyk, "Prozeßtheismus und christlicher Gottesglaube,"Münchener theologische Zeitschrift 35, no. 2 (1984):  103 (81-104).