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serb1389
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« on: June 09, 2012, 12:07:48 PM »

PS: I have downloaded the document you provided and will read it this afternoon.

I think i'd like to do this one step at a time.  So let's take a look at the first paragraph: 

Quote
Dogmas become authoritative decrees.  Connected with presence of HS.  They communicate the experience and understanding of the church, of who is God.  They are grounded in God’s revelation as we find it in the Scriptures and as it was lived by the church, especially in its liturgical assembly.

Any opposition to this? 

Fr. Aidan? 

Father, do you think it might be helpful to start a new thread, perhaps under a title like "What is dogma?" 

PS: I have downloaded the document you provided and will read it this afternoon.

I think i'd like to do this one step at a time.  So let's take a look at the first paragraph: 

Quote
Dogmas become authoritative decrees.  Connected with presence of HS.  They communicate the experience and understanding of the church, of who is God.  They are grounded in God’s revelation as we find it in the Scriptures and as it was lived by the church, especially in its liturgical assembly.

Any opposition to this? 

Fr. Aidan? 

Father, do you think it might be helpful to start a new thread, perhaps under a title like "What is dogma?" 

I second this suggestion.

M.

So here we are!  Hopefully we will get to a better understanding
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2012, 01:04:01 PM »

Quote
Dogmas become authoritative decrees.  Connected with presence of HS.  They communicate the experience and understanding of the church, of who is God.  They are grounded in God’s revelation as we find it in the Scriptures and as it was lived by the church, especially in its liturgical assembly.

I think we need to address what "authoritative decrees" means.  Also "connected...[to what?] [with, in, by] the presence [power] of the Holy Spirit"...and also which of the powers of the Holy Spirit is/are in exercise in the development of dogmatic statements?

Need to answer the question:  Do dogma do more than communicate experience and understanding?  Do they communicate all at once all that can be known?  Do they communicate once and for all, for all times the best and most exhaustively possible articulation of a truth?

There are more questions on the final ecclesiastical question above which begins "They are grounded in God's revelation..." for that is essentially a question of ecclesiology...I think.

M.
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2012, 01:57:38 PM »

Fr Nebojsa, I have just read quickly through your notes on dogma (I presume that your instructor was Fr Emmanuel Clapsis).  I find myself in strong agreement with most of what you have written.  Of course, I have not received formal Orthodox theological training, so my agreement plus $2.25 will get you a coffee at Starbucks.  Smiley

I suspect that most Catholic theologians today would also agree with your notes.  Of course, they would not want to restrict the dogmas of the Church to the first seven ecumenical councils, and they would want to distinguish various levels of authoritative doctrine, and they would want assert the authority of the Bishop of Rome to authoritatively speak in the name of the Church, and they would want to nuance the question of ecclesial reception, etc., etc.  But on the whole I don't think there would be serious dispute with your substantive presentation.  For example, take a look at Cardinal Dulles's essay "Dogma as an Ecumenical Problem."
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 02:53:04 PM »

Fr Nebojsa, I have just read quickly through your notes on dogma (I presume that your instructor was Fr Emmanuel Clapsis).  I find myself in strong agreement with most of what you have written.  Of course, I have not received formal Orthodox theological training, so my agreement plus $2.25 will get you a coffee at Starbucks.  Smiley

I suspect that most Catholic theologians today would also agree with your notes.  Of course, they would not want to restrict the dogmas of the Church to the first seven ecumenical councils, and they would want to distinguish various levels of authoritative doctrine, and they would want assert the authority of the Bishop of Rome to authoritatively speak in the name of the Church, and they would want to nuance the question of ecclesial reception, etc., etc.  But on the whole I don't think there would be serious dispute with your substantive presentation.  For example, take a look at Cardinal Dulles's essay "Dogma as an Ecumenical Problem."

Why have you been holding back Padre!!  This is EXACTLY the question I myself have been asking (that you provided a great article to!).  p.s.  Yes I had Fr. Clapsis, didn't realize Starbucks brought down their prices  Wink

A few points from the article you linked to above: 

Quote
The Church has solemnly proclaimed all these doctrines to be of faith, that is to say, truths revealed by God himself and necessary for salvation.

This is why I believe your statement here is problematic: 
Quote
Of course, they would not want to restrict the dogmas of the Church to the first seven ecumenical councils

I also think that Isa may be on to something when he says that the IC for example is not revealed in the NT, nor is Purgatory, etc. 

Quote
and they would want to distinguish various levels of authoritative doctrine

That's just a no-brainer to me:  No.  I would never want to have to explain that in the way that I have read it based on the articles you linked to in the other thread.  It's not only complicated, it seems (and IMO) and is fabricated. 

Quote
and they would want assert the authority of the Bishop of Rome to authoritatively speak in the name of the Church

i'd prefer to cover this one last. 

Quote
and they would want to nuance the question of ecclesial reception

I don't even know what that is. 

Time to get back to that article you so timely found.   Wink Grin angel
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 03:03:24 PM »

I also wanted to point this out from the same article, page 402 (pg 6 in the pdf)

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Because revelation is eschatological, dogma always points to a future disclosure beyond all history

If dogma is always eschatalogical then there's always going to be a way to be able to find middle ground.  IMO
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2012, 07:01:26 PM »

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known" (1 Cor 13:12).
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2012, 10:59:32 PM »

A couple texts to ponder:

Revelation, Philosophy and Theology - by Fr. Florovsky

A Talk given at the University of North Carolina - by Fr. John Behr
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2012, 12:07:26 AM »

I'm not a sola scriptura-ist, so I don't necessarily think something has to be spelled out in so many words in the Bible for it to be valid. There are such things as implications and logical extrapolations.
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2012, 12:14:13 AM »

Dogma is what is covered here:
Quote
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
if it doesn't pass this litmus test, it's not dogma.  Nor will it ever be.
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2012, 04:47:31 AM »

In Orthodox Christianity, dogma are articles of faith that must be believed in order to attain salvation.  These articles of faith are founded in scripture and are propounded by Ecumenical Synods (Councils), accepted by the greater church, both clergy and laity, and confirmed by a subsequent Ecumenical Synod or an assembly of hierarchial representatives (such as patriarchs or other primates, first hierarchs, heads) of the Holy Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2012, 12:11:26 PM »

I also wanted to point this out from the same article, page 402 (pg 6 in the pdf)

Quote
Because revelation is eschatological, dogma always points to a future disclosure beyond all history

If dogma is always eschatalogical then there's always going to be a way to be able to find middle ground.  IMO

Haven't been able to spend much time on the forum the last couple of days, but I wanted to follow up on this. While I believe I understand Fr. akimel's reference to 1 Cor. 13, could one of you explicate what you think the actual *practical* consequences of the assertion that 'dogma is always eschatological' is?

Take for example, the basic dogma: "I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."
In what way is this dogma 'eschatological'. In what way would understanding it as 'eschatalogical' lead to any different understanding than if eschatology was not even brought into the picture?

It has always been my understanding, contra Fr. serb1389's statement above, that dogmas, from an Orthodox perspective, are exactly those things about which compromise is *not* possible. Thus St. Cyril could 'compromise' with John of Antioch on the terminology by which the Divine and Human in the Incarnation is described, but could not compromise or find a middle ground with Nestorius because as far as the dogma of the Incarnation, Nestorius was simply wrong.
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012, 12:13:54 PM »

I'm not a sola scriptura-ist, so I don't necessarily think something has to be spelled out in so many words in the Bible for it to be valid. There are such things as implications and logical extrapolations.

I'm not a sola scriptura-ist either, but I was raised by them and they would have no particular problem with your statement. 'Sola scriptura-ists' recognize implied meaning and necessary inference as valid parts of their hermeneutic (indeed, most of the divisions between conservative Protestant sects is specifically over what is actually a necessery inference or valid logical extrapolation and what is not).
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 02:01:43 PM »

Haven't been able to spend much time on the forum the last couple of days, but I wanted to follow up on this. While I believe I understand Fr. akimel's reference to 1 Cor. 13, could one of you explicate what you think the actual *practical* consequences of the assertion that 'dogma is always eschatological' is?

Orthodox theology, I think, has a deep understanding of what Paul Evdokimov refers to as the apophatic dimension of doctrine:

Quote
In affirming a doctrine, we must always have in view the principle of apophatic theology.  Every human affirmation is a negation of itself, because it never reaches the ultimate depth, never achieves fullness, and it is this basic insufficiency which denies it.  For St Gregory of Nyssa the words, "no one shall see me and live" (Exod. 33.20), signify the mortal danger of limiting God by human definitions. ... Thus human thoughts are inadequate, for all human utterance is contradictory in continually purporting to say more than it actually contains; every thought once put into words, fixed and given objectivity, becomes a lie because of the poverty of its expression. (Orthodoxy, pp. 180-181)

Or in the words of St Hilary of Poitiers:

Quote
But the errors of heretics and blasphemers force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith ought in silence to fulfil the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart.

What this means practically can only be assessed on a case by case basis.  This doesn't mean that the central tenets of the faith are optional--their binding truth has been long confirmed in the life and experience of the Church--but it does mean that we need to be aware of the limitations, inadequacies, and even dangers of dogmatic definition. 

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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2012, 02:32:28 PM »

Haven't been able to spend much time on the forum the last couple of days, but I wanted to follow up on this. While I believe I understand Fr. akimel's reference to 1 Cor. 13, could one of you explicate what you think the actual *practical* consequences of the assertion that 'dogma is always eschatological' is?

Orthodox theology, I think, has a deep understanding of what Paul Evdokimov refers to as the apophatic dimension of doctrine:

Quote
In affirming a doctrine, we must always have in view the principle of apophatic theology.  Every human affirmation is a negation of itself, because it never reaches the ultimate depth, never achieves fullness, and it is this basic insufficiency which denies it.  For St Gregory of Nyssa the words, "no one shall see me and live" (Exod. 33.20), signify the mortal danger of limiting God by human definitions. ... Thus human thoughts are inadequate, for all human utterance is contradictory in continually purporting to say more than it actually contains; every thought once put into words, fixed and given objectivity, becomes a lie because of the poverty of its expression. (Orthodoxy, pp. 180-181)

Or in the words of St Hilary of Poitiers:

Quote
But the errors of heretics and blasphemers force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith ought in silence to fulfil the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart.

What this means practically can only be assessed on a case by case basis.  This doesn't mean that the central tenets of the faith are optional--their binding truth has been long confirmed in the life and experience of the Church--but it does mean that we need to be aware of the limitations, inadequacies, and even dangers of dogmatic definition. 



Hey Father, i'm gonna put my "moderator" hat on here & let you know that when you quote from somewhere you have to cite your sources.  You can do that either my just providing the link to where you found the quote, or citing it from the book you read, like in the quote box above this last one. 
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2012, 02:34:10 PM »

Haven't been able to spend much time on the forum the last couple of days, but I wanted to follow up on this. While I believe I understand Fr. akimel's reference to 1 Cor. 13, could one of you explicate what you think the actual *practical* consequences of the assertion that 'dogma is always eschatological' is?

Orthodox theology, I think, has a deep understanding of what Paul Evdokimov refers to as the apophatic dimension of doctrine:

Quote
In affirming a doctrine, we must always have in view the principle of apophatic theology.  Every human affirmation is a negation of itself, because it never reaches the ultimate depth, never achieves fullness, and it is this basic insufficiency which denies it.  For St Gregory of Nyssa the words, "no one shall see me and live" (Exod. 33.20), signify the mortal danger of limiting God by human definitions. ... Thus human thoughts are inadequate, for all human utterance is contradictory in continually purporting to say more than it actually contains; every thought once put into words, fixed and given objectivity, becomes a lie because of the poverty of its expression. (Orthodoxy, pp. 180-181)

Or in the words of St Hilary of Poitiers:

Quote
But the errors of heretics and blasphemers force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith ought in silence to fulfil the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart.

What this means practically can only be assessed on a case by case basis.  This doesn't mean that the central tenets of the faith are optional--their binding truth has been long confirmed in the life and experience of the Church--but it does mean that we need to be aware of the limitations, inadequacies, and even dangers of dogmatic definition. 



Fr., would you be able to provide examples of said dangers, limitations, etc. as they apply to *Orthodox* dogmatic definition?
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2012, 02:40:41 PM »


Or in the words of St Hilary of Poitiers:

Quote
But the errors of heretics and blasphemers force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith ought in silence to fulfil the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart.

Hey Father, i'm gonna put my "moderator" hat on here & let you know that when you quote from somewhere you have to cite your sources.  You can do that either my just providing the link to where you found the quote, or citing it from the book you read, like in the quote box above this last one. 

Happy to oblige.  The Hilary quote is from On the Trinity 2.2.
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2012, 03:06:56 PM »

Fr., would you be able to provide examples of said dangers, limitations, etc. as they apply to *Orthodox* dogmatic definition?

The Chalcedonian definition is a prime example.  Because of differences in conceptuality and linguistic conceptual expression, the definition generated a major schism in the Church.  Was the schism grounded in substantive disagreement on the person of Christ?  Many scholars and bishops now think that mutual misunderstanding played a large part in the division.  But how do the Churches now reconcile, with Chalcedon standing between them?  Met Hilarion discusses this question in his essay "The Reception of the Ecumenical Councils."
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2012, 03:20:00 PM »

Fr., would you be able to provide examples of said dangers, limitations, etc. as they apply to *Orthodox* dogmatic definition?

The Chalcedonian definition is a prime example.  Because of differences in conceptuality and linguistic conceptual expression, the definition generated a major schism in the Church.  Was the schism grounded in substantive disagreement on the person of Christ?  Many scholars and bishops now think that mutual misunderstanding played a large part in the division.  But how do the Churches now reconcile, with Chalcedon standing between them?  Met Hilarion discusses this question in his essay "The Reception of the Ecumenical Councils."

Uh.....o.k.  More than that I can't respond unless and until I read, understand, and digest that rather long essay. 

*Without* having read it, I can only pipe in that given what I understand of the current relationship between the EO and OO, and in spite of Met. Hilarion's essay, those two Churches have still not reconciled.
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2012, 09:26:45 AM »

Dogma is what is covered here:
Quote
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
if it doesn't pass this litmus test, it's not dogma.  Nor will it ever be.

Hmmm ... so your litmus test for dogma is whether it's among the things written in John's Gospel?
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2012, 09:38:29 AM »

Dogma is what is covered here:
Quote
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
if it doesn't pass this litmus test, it's not dogma.  Nor will it ever be.

Hmmm ... so your litmus test for dogma is whether it's among the things written in John's Gospel?

Oh boy.....

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