Friday, November 10, 2017

Abramowski on a potential pre-Augustinian source for the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the bond of love betwen the Father and the Son

"an already pre-Augustinian origin for the interpretation of the inner-Trinitarian function of the Spirit as bond of Father and Son":
1. When Athanasius says that “the Spirit does not bind (or unite) the Logos with the Father, but rather the Spirit receives [the Father] via the Logos” (contra Arianos 3.24), he is attacking Eusebian positions on the Holy Spirit, not Arian ones, and Augustine, too, as it were, in advance (468-469).  
2. When Augustine says that “in the Holy Spirit an agreement [(concordia)] of unity and equality.  And these three are all one on account of the Father, all equal on account of the Son, all connected [(connexa)] on account of the Holy Spirit” (De doctrina Christiana 15.5), he is correcting, in his native Latin, the Eusebian Greek.  The question is whether this neo-Nicene correction of Eusebian disunity and subordination is original to Augustine or was taken over by him from someone else, possibly Ambrose (469).
3. When Augustine says that “the Holy Spirit is an ineffable communion [(communio)] of Father and Son” (De Trinitate V.11-12), he is rendering into Latin the Greek term κοινωνία, which belongs in the ideosphere of the [Eusebian?] terms συνάφεια and ἀσύγχυτος ἕνωσις (469).
4. Augustine was familiar with the late-second-century Neoplatonic Oracula chaldaica, and quotes it twice in De civitate Dei.  The Oracula chaldaica says in its first part that “Out of them both [(namely, the Monad and the Dyad)] flows the bond [(δέμα)] of the first Triad” (Frag. 31, available to us today thanks to the Neoplatonist Damascius, c. 458-post 533), and "This looks like the origin of both [1] the concept of the Holy Spirit as bond of the Trinity and [2] the controversial conception of the procession of the Holy Spirit ex patre filioque."  Porphyry would have been Augustine’s (and before him Eusebius') source for this, the former via Latin translations of the De philosophica ex oracuhs haurienda and the De regress animae.  But as tempting as it would be to assume that Augustine created his Trinitarian principle, so decisive for the Western doctrine of the Trinity, out of a Latin version of Porphyry directly, we must keep in mind what has just been said on the subject of the Eusebian universe of discourse, the Eusebian conceptuality, and its echo in Augustine.  And indeed, Eusebius himself remains our principle source for the 'oracular philosophy' of Porphyry (470-471).
So until we know better for sure, it would be best to continue to think of Augustine’s description of the bond of unity as love as his own contribution.

     Luis Abramowski, “Zur Trinitätslehre des Thomas von Aquin” (16 February 1995), Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 92, no. 4 (1995): 468-471 (466-480).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

"Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises"

Wouter Engler,
Ethiopiër Assefa Bentayehu,
Marathon Rotterdam 2013.
"Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised.  Through."

"Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cuius munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et laudabiliter serviatur, tribue, quaesumus, nobis, ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus.  Per."

Mohlberg:  "Omnipotens et misericors deus, de cuius munere uenit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis dignae et laudabiliter seruiatur:  tribue, quaesumus, nobis, ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus.  Per."

Almighty and compassionate God, by reason of whose gift it happens that to you by your faithful [people] service is worthily and laudably offered, grant to us, we pray, that we to(wards) your promises may run without stumbling.  Through.

     Collect for the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman missal.  =Corpus orationum no. 3739 (vol. 6, pp. 18-19), Bruylants no. 742 (vol. 2, pp. 209-210), and no. 574 in the 1956 Mohlberg edition of the Leonine/Veronese, which considers it a mid-5th-century collect of anti-Semipelagian composition (Datierungversuch no. 28, on p. LXXIV).

1549 BCP (Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity):
"Almyghtie and mercyfull God, of whose onely gift it cometh that thy faythfull people doe unto thee true and laudable seruice; graunte we beseche thee, that we may so runne to thy heauenly promises, that we faile not finally to attayne the same; through Jesus Christe our Lorde."

1662 BCP:
"Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh, that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

1928 BCP:

"Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

1976 BCP (Proper 26, The Sunday closest to November 2), Traditional:
"Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service:  Grant, we beseech thee, that we may run without stumbling to obtain thy heavenly promises; through [. . .] Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen."

1976 BCP:
"Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service:  Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen."

Cf. this one.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Impurity of heart

"when our hearts are corrupt we are hardly in any condition to contemplate Order in ourselves.  We only take pleasure in considering the imaginary relations things have to us, and we scorn the real relations they have between themselves.  Thus we may love Mathematics, but only because we are honored by doing so, or draw profit from it."

"lorsque le cœur est corrompu, on n’est guère en état de contempler l’ordre en lui-même:  on ne considère avec plaisir que les rapports imaginaires que les choses ont avec soi, et on méprise les rapports reels qu’elles ont entre elles.  On peut alors aimer les mathématiques; mais c’est qu’on s’en fait honneur ou qu’on en tire de profit."

     Nicholas Malebranche, Treatise on ethics (1684) V.xxii, trans. Craig Walton, Archives internationales d'histoire des idées 133 (Dordrecht:  Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993), 81;  French from here for now.

A world gone mad

"nothing is more equivocal and more confusing than the actions of men, and often nothing is more false than what passes for certain with an entire culture."

"il n’y a rien de plus équivoque et de plus confus que les actions des hommes, et souvent rien de plus faux que ce qui passe pour certain chez peoples entiers."

     Nicholas Malebranche, Treatise on ethics (1684) V.xvi, trans. Craig Walton, Archives internationales d'histoire des idées 133 (Dordrecht:  Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993), 80;  French from here for now.

"the classical metaphysics [practiced by Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas] need not blush at its fecund alliance with technology"

Source
     "Despite the rejoinders that it is possible to formulate in face of the accusation that metaphysics has bonds with artifaction [(la technique, technics, technology)], it therefore appears clearly that these bonds, if in fact real, can be understood much more positively than is suggested by the philosophy of Meßkirch [(i.e. Heidegger)].  Its critique here is finally fecund in this [respect], that it obliges one to bring to light the characteristics by which a classical metaphysics precisely escapes it.  It in fact obliges one to recognize the analogy of the causes and their non-reduction to the formal cause.  It forces a revalorization of the causes material, efficient, and final.  But more profoundly still, it obliges one to look more closely into [(à s’interroger sur)] the first efficient cause’s mode of action.  It underscores its bond with the wisdom that can also extend ultimately beyond all preoccupation with artifaction [(toute preoccupation technique)], because in the first cause resides an understanding [(connaissance)] of the causes, and because the [human] search for the causes [of a phenomenon] results in a partial accession to that ultimate understanding.  At the same time it puts a finger on the effect of this cause, namely the existence [(l’être, i.e. esse)] of the entity[, not to mention the very existence and operation of the causes].  [And] finally, it accomplishes in its own way the [very] program to which Heidegger at times (for example in the lecture 'Contribution to the question of Being') attaches himself, namely, a revivification or appropriation of metaphysics by the question of Being, because it [(the question of Being)] has been lost from view, and concerning which [program of revivification] one might ask oneself why Heidegger himself did not carry it through to success.
     . . . As distinguished from the transcendental metaphysics that developed out of the work of Scotus, "the classical metaphysics [practiced by Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas] need not blush at its fecund alliance with artifaction [(la technique)].  It rediscovers, inasmuch as [it] is a form of wisdom [(selon ce qu’est la sagesse)], the reception of being through the causes, and [it] renews [its friendship] with the question of Being that lies at its root [(origine)], without having to pass first through negativity and anguish, but rather through astonishment and admiration."

     Michel Bastit, “Sagesse et technique,” Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 105, no. 3 (Jul-Sep 2004):  233-234 (217-234), italics mine.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"We ought to be as deeply pessimistic as is compatible with a belief in Divine Providence."

"As to whether we can even contrive a reopening of genuine public debate about rival conceptions of the good in contemporary America, let alone bring such a debate to an effective conclusion, the evidence, as I understand it, suggests that we ought to be as deeply pessimistic as is compatible with a belief in Divine Providence.  But as to the remaking of ourselves and our own local practices and institutions through a better understanding of what it is that, in an Aristotelian and Thomistic perspective, the unity of moral theory and practice now require of us, we have as much to hope for as we have to do, and not least within the community of this university."

     Alasdair MacIntyre, "The privatization of good," The review of politics 52, no. 3 (Summer 1990):  360-361 (344-361).

"When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it may be, is rendered dim and doubtful, by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated."

     [James Madison], The Federalist no. 37 (the Daily advertiser (New York), 11 January 1788, on "An abstract view of the subject").