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21
Religious Topics / Re: Coffee with (Removed - Ancient Faith Radio)
« Last post by Volnutt on Today at 02:48:15 AM »
You were sold a historical revision.

Let's answer this in a "rational" way...
1) I got the quote for free from Orthodoxwiki, so I didn't buy anything.
2) It's a rather old quote from one of the autors of the Philokalia, so long before the debates of the 20th century.

And I still believe that Holy Orthodoxy is about theosis. I accept the writing of St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Maximos the Confessor, but I am deeply sceptical about attempts to interpret them in a Thomist or Calvinist way.

You're the one who brought up Calvin and Aquinas. What makes you think these arguments have anything to do with either? Just because DBH likes some things about Aquinas? That's a pretty weak connection (also doesn't touch Iconodule's use of St. Maximus).

All you've done is throw out some crude LFW* and asserted that it's more Orthodox just because a theologian is one who prays. Never mind the fact that that maxim has never stopped Eastern Fathers from spilling just as much ink on complex topics as their Western counterparts.

Instead, as an introduction to their thought, I would recommend "Deification in Christ" by Panayiotis Nellas, English Translation published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

And what do Nellas's points have to say about the question at hand? It's kind of cheap to just say "read this entire book to see how I win the argument."




*Libertarian Free Will, as differentiated from Compatibilistic Free Will (CFW)
22
Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by Volnutt on Today at 02:26:05 AM »
I know this view has no currency here and I dismissed it myself in ages past, but I think it's a fiction to think there was some original orthodoxy from which the apocryphal gospels departed. Now, looking at their diversity it's more rwsonable to assume that Christianity contained from its beginnings all sorts of tendencies  .  It's just that the Catholic party emerged victorious by the end of the second century.

There is a long list of problems with that view however:

<snip></snip>



I'm not sure how any of your reasons really address his point. He's not denying that Orthodoxy is ancient or that it coalesced into a canon early. He's just saying it wasn't the only game in town. And of course Gnosticisms and Orthodoxies are going to have features in common over time and are going to condemn one another, factions form all the time in everything. Augustin is just claiming that neither of the two+ was as objective as it pretended.

It's an argument that I'm far from sympathetic to, but I'm not at all sure how to go about disproving it. Perhaps, as Agabus says, it's purely a matter of one's faith *shrug*


Thus, the argument you refer to can be comprehensively and systematically refuted on six points, which are redundant, even one of them being enough, in my opinion, to overturn the claims of Ehrman, Karen King, Elaine Pagels, et al, whose revisionist attempt to "retire" the "concept of Gnosticism" in favor of a concept of competing "Jesus movements" of equal antiquity is not supported by the textual or archaeological or sociological evidence, and seems driven more by wishful thinking and philosophical preferences.  It is not scientific; these people do not deserve a degree or a chair in the case of Karen King of a theological faculty, as theology is held to be a science, but rather should be philosophers in the humanities department, where they can advocate any interpretation they want without evidence-based peer review, which is, btw, completely lackingnin their articles and papers supporting their religious interpretations.

In the secular academy, theology is almost always lumped in with philosophy of religion. Though, I'm pretty sure philosophy journals do have peer review.
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Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by Alpha60 on Today at 02:13:11 AM »
Is Pope Gelasius commemorated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church? Because I recall LBK slamming Rakovsky and me for questioning the King Abgar stuff.

IDK, but our saints are not held to be infallible.  Most have made at least some errors or expressed views the church later rejected in their writings, even expert luminaires such as St. John of Damascus regarding the Oriental Orthodox Christology and the history of our communion, or St. Athanasius the Apostolic, the Pillar of Orthodoxy, who did not consider the Book of Esther worthy of inclusion in our Old Testament canon.

I know. But if a Saint can get away with questioning (let along anathematizing!) something like that, I feel like us lowly fools should be able to as well without being talked down to for faithlessness by the tradition police.

Well, I agree.  I myself back in the day was patronized quite a bit by a member (not LBK) who has been perma-banned.  Also, different members have different interpretations on doctrine, so what one member insists is Holy Tradition another might reject outright.  For example, the EO-OO divide. 

Orthodoxy lacks an infallible magisterium, and is more of a sea of opinions contained within loose boundaries set by the creeds and certain councils and Fathers, and dependent very heavily on the individual priests, bishops, patriarchs and Holy Synods for specific interpretation and acceptance or rejection.

Liturgical conformity in worship (the "Doxy") part, correct worship, which consists of many different things, as we have multiple liturgied and multiple liturgical traditions, even in the Greek Church in ancient times with the separate monastic and cathedral typikons, which can take many different forms while still being correct.  It is not monodoxy, but orthodogma, or orthokerygma, but Holy Orthodoxy, with the essence of correct wordhip being the Church as a Eucharistic Community sharing in the divine liturgy presided over by the Bishop in persone Christi, and the priests, his vicarious representatived, and the deacons who assist him, together with the faithful, a bishop in communion with all other Orthodox bishops with apostolic succession derived both from maintaining these traditions and  teachings, a correct interpretation of the Gospel, and and by being ordained a bishop by at least three other bishops who themselves meet the same criteria.  And of course the Nicene Creed and the hymn Ho Monoges, and the use of icons, three standard liturgical practices that exclude all ancient heresies or modern regurgitations of them.
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Religious Topics / Re: Coffee with (Removed - Ancient Faith Radio)
« Last post by NicholasMyra on Today at 02:08:27 AM »
Let's answer this in a "rational" way...
1) I got the quote for free from Orthodoxwiki, so I didn't buy anything.
I never said anything about the provenance of your quote.


I accept the writing of St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Maximos the Confessor, but I am deeply sceptical about attempts to interpret them in a Thomist or Calvinist way.
Unless you have an account against an interpretation (whatever it is) who cares what you're skeptical of? I mean I'm skeptical of a lot of stuff.


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Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by Volnutt on Today at 01:55:43 AM »
Is Pope Gelasius commemorated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church? Because I recall LBK slamming Rakovsky and me for questioning the King Abgar stuff.

IDK, but our saints are not held to be infallible.  Most have made at least some errors or expressed views the church later rejected in their writings, even expert luminaires such as St. John of Damascus regarding the Oriental Orthodox Christology and the history of our communion, or St. Athanasius the Apostolic, the Pillar of Orthodoxy, who did not consider the Book of Esther worthy of inclusion in our Old Testament canon.

I know. But if a Saint can get away with questioning (let along anathematizing!) something like that, I feel like us lowly fools should be able to as well without being talked down to for faithlessness by the tradition police.
26
Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by rakovsky on Today at 01:52:42 AM »
I used to have a thick volume of Proto-Gospels, Acts of the Etc., and Apocalypses; I loaned it to someone and lost it (reader, here is wisdom). These aren't read in Churches, and only a few are referred to in the Fathers. And at the time I read them, I thought most seemed too imaginative and triumphalist to be anything but pious fabrications. I have to reconsider -- perhaps they are texts of substance I overlooked ...

Debate!
The canonical gospels mention that there are sayings or deeds of Jesus that weren't included in the canonical gospels. And there are repeated sayings of Jesus that show up in both the early church fathers and the noncanonical writings. There is a whole category of sayings, "The Agrapha", that are known in scholarly circles. So based on probability, it's likely that at least some sayings or deeds of Jesus recorded in apocryphal early writings were factually true and genuine.
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Religious Topics / Re: Coffee with (Removed - Ancient Faith Radio)
« Last post by Gorazd on Today at 01:52:20 AM »
You were sold a historical revision.

Let's answer this in a "rational" way...
1) I got the quote for free from Orthodoxwiki, so I didn't buy anything.
2) It's a rather old quote from one of the autors of the Philokalia, so long before the debates of the 20th century.

And I still believe that Holy Orthodoxy is about theosis. I accept the writing of St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Maximos the Confessor, but I am deeply sceptical about attempts to interpret them in a Thomist or Calvinist way. Instead, as an introduction to their thought, I would recommend "Deification in Christ" by Panayiotis Nellas, English Translation published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.



There is a difference between rationality and rationalism.

The Metropolitan of Nafpaktos does not reject reason. He rejects reason being valued above revelation. This is Orthodox teaching, confirmed synodally in the condemnation of Barlaam.
Thank you. I completely agree.
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Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by Alpha60 on Today at 01:49:02 AM »
Is Pope Gelasius commemorated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church? Because I recall LBK slamming Rakovsky and me for questioning the King Abgar stuff.

IDK, but our saints are not held to be infallible.  Most have made at least some errors or expressed views the church later rejected in their writings, even expert luminaires such as St. John of Damascus regarding the Oriental Orthodox Christology and the history of our communion, or St. Athanasius the Apostolic, the Pillar of Orthodoxy, who did not consider the Book of Esther worthy of inclusion in our Old Testament canon.
29
Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by Alpha60 on Today at 01:45:45 AM »
I know this view has no currency here and I dismissed it myself in ages past, but I think it's a fiction to think there was some original orthodoxy from which the apocryphal gospels departed. Now, looking at their diversity it's more rwsonable to assume that Christianity contained from its beginnings all sorts of tendencies  .  It's just that the Catholic party emerged victorious by the end of the second century.

There is a long list of problems with that view however:

1.'the four gospels were already being written about at the beginning of the second century
2. Tatian, in the mid second century, composed the Syriac Gospel Harmony, used as the Gospel Book in the Syriac speaking churches of Sts. Thomas, Addai and Mari, from all four canonical Gospels, excluding all heretical Gnostic gospels, despite later founding a Gnostic sect and being a possible author of some of the apocrypha, like the Acts of Thomas (which features a liturgy which looks a lot like the early Orthodox liturgies, such as Hippolytus, Serapion and the Apostolic Constitutions, if memory serves).
3. All of the Gnostic Gospels share common themes which are entirely absent from the canonical Gospels: secret transmission of knowledge and Docetism, and all, except for the fragmented Gospel of Peter, also contain our Lord teaching Gnostic Dualism, mocking the disciples except for his chosen recipient of the secret gnosis, which varied from text to text, as being stupid fools, and a similiar set of blasphemies.  Marcion's recension of Luke and the Pauline epistles added nothing new, but deleted everything contradictory to Gnostic dualism.

4. The earliest references to the Gnostic works come from the writings of Orthodox-Catholic Christians, who express a familiarity with the works, for example, St. Epiphanius identified the Gospel of Truth, in the fourth century, as authored by Valentinus and containing his doctrine, and the recovered gospel indeed agrees with everything we know about Valentinus, from diverse sources.

5.  The Gnostics practiced syncretism and dissimulation; Gnostic sects as a rule did not value martyrdom except in exceptional cases, mainly when it happened to their founder (see Manichaenism, which was already set up by Mani as a dissimulated religion, with him sending three probably psuedonymous disciples, one, who took the name Thomas, to preach to the Syriac speaking Christians in Persia, Mesopotamia and Syria, where Mani dared not go as the Sassanian king was hunting for him, blaming him for the death of his son, one, named Hermes, to Egypt, to preach to Pagans, Caanite Gnostics and Gnostic followers of Hermed Trimestigus, and one named Buddha, to India, where Buddhism was still a major religion (scarecely known in the West).  Gnostic sects would seek to merge with other Gnostic sects or disguise themselves as other religions similiar to Gnosticism, thus, the only surviving Manichaean building is at first glance a Buddhist temple, and the Druze, Alevi/Alawi and Bektasi religions are ostensibly forms of Shia Islam, but embrace a range of Gnostic doctrine.

6.  The Church lacked the power to do anything about Gnostics until really the reign of Theodosius and the end of the Edict of Toleration.  Manichaenism was technically illegal in Hippo, but St. Augustine was born into it and wrote several polemics against it after his baptism.  Other Gnostic sects also continued to survive; the Panarion of St. Epiphanius makes it clear when the saintly author, based on the information available to him, was unsure of a particular sect's continued existence, or cases where one sect, such as the Severians, was succeeded by another sharing the same values, in the case of the Severians, the Tatianists. 

We can assume at a minimum three major forms of Christian Gnosticism remained in existence in the Fourth Century: a Syrian Gnosticism consisting of a few different sects including the horrific Borborites, who emerged in the third century in all probability, as St. Irenaeus does not mention them, most of whom followed the Ophite doctrine, worshipping the Serpent and/or Lucifer as being Christ and as the bringer of secret salvific knowledge, and thus venerating Eve or Cain; the Manichaen religion in its crypto-Christian form, which added to the standard five book canon additional works by Thomas the Manichee, such as the aforementioned "Gospel" which was either the sayings docment found at Nag Hammadi, or the horrifying Protoevangelion of Thomas, and finally a highly emanationist, Pythagorean-influenced form of Christianity very similiar to Neoplatonism or the Jewish Kabbalah, derived from Valentinism, Carpocratianism, and related Western and Egpytian schools.

Of the first form, the Yazidi and Yarsani religions partially preserve this; Melek Taus in the Yazidi faith appears to be a disguised Christ, as Yazidis practice Baptism and a vestigial Eucharist where a member of their priestly class holds up a piece of bread and asks "What is this?"   and the congregation answers "It is the bread of Isa" (Jesus); this bread is then consumed.  Yazidis getting married also stop at all Christian churches on the wedding route to ask the priest for a blessing, as they live in the Nineveh Plains with the Assyrians, Syriac Orthodox, Chaldeans and the other Kurdish people, and the Turkmen of Sinjar (who like the Yazidis of that city, have probabaly been killed or enslaved by ISIS).

Of the second form, it did become extinct after the 12th century, although Manichaean astrology and related concepts appear to have been imported into the Mandean religion of the Euphrates Delta area, the swamps where the Tigris and Euphrates drain into the Persian Gulf.  Mandean literally translates as Gnostic, and they venerate John the Baptist (Yahya) as their illuminator, and appear to regard Jesus as a false messiah, although recently Mandaeans have claimed his name means "book Messiah", whatever that is, and the Mandaean John Book curiously manages to make Jesus look good from a Christian perspective, and John the Baptist look worldly and carnal-minded.  Mandaeans also have popped up in Eastern churches from time to time; when the Assyrian priest Fr. Ephrem, who wrote the blog East Meets East, was working for the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Canada, a Mandaean girl showed up in the congregation; he was able to converse with her only because of his knowledge of classical Syriac Aramaic, which is closer to contrmporary Mandaic Aramaic vernacular speech than other contemporary Aramaic dialects, such as Assyrian.  Her presence was because she felt safe with Christians and desired some connection with her home country while she waited to meet with her family.  This suggests less hostility towards us than their religion implies, although given Gnostic dissimulation, syncretism and their capacity for incorporating new beliefs into their religion under pressure, either scenario is quite possible.

Of the third form, it is extinct in its Christian forms, apparently, the last sect of that school, the Paulicians of Armenia, converting to Orthodoxy in the 19th century, 1700 years after you said we killed them off.  We have most of their Key of Truth, a book of doctrine and anti-Orthodox polemics.  What is more, they were not killed off; most emigrated to Romania where they remain a distinct ethnic group.  I believe it is highly possible that Paulicianism survived at least until the Romanian Securitate as a secret religion practiced in private households; it might still survive, particularly if the Securitate did not deem it a threat.  You might know more than I; I would love to see relevant Securitate archives on the numbers of devout religious adherents of each sect being monitored, and a list of religions known to exist in Romania, as opposed to those officially admitted and tolerated by the Communist regime, if such records were preserved and made open to the public (as was the case in the former DDR); on this point you might know more than I do, and as a Romanian, you might have the opportunity to meet Paulicians and attempt to probe their beliefs and their Orthodoxy in comparison to the Key of Truth, which exists in English translation, to see if crypto-Gnostic traces remain.

If you are an ethnic Paulician by the way, and can definitely rule out such crypto-practices among your people, that would be a bummer, but useful information to avoid wasting time on an unprofitable expedition.

However, even if the Paulicians converted entirely to Holy Orthodoxy, which would not actually be a Bad Thing at all, we also have the Druze, whose cosmology is of the same structure, and which is known to have Neo-Platonic and Pythagorean influences, such as an aversion to beans.  The Druze are divided into two castes, of which only the priestly caste, the Gnostics, are fully initiated into the religion, and its secret doctrines, but we have a leaked Druze catechism and other information, including some from former Druze converts who managed to avoid honor killing, which allows us to see, if through a mirror darkly, a religion with clear traces of Pythagorean, Neo-Platonic and Valentinian influence, such as the belief that Allah is the Monad, without attributes, reincarnation, and an implied emanationism in the form of the mad anti-Christian Shia Caliph Al-Hakim of the Fatimids, who conducted several atrocities before being assasinated, and is regarded by the Druze to be God, despite their name meaning "Unitarians", and their denial that Allah has any attributes, when, logically, Al-Hakim had many attributes.  Hence, emanationism is implied, and this is the ground where the secret doctrines of the Druze faith that remain most closely guarded likely cover, that is, the specific nature of the relationship between Ali Hakim, who has attributes, and Allah, who is a Monad like Bythus in Valentinism, devoid of attributes.  My money is on this being a relationship structured around nested emanations, like Valentinism, Pythagoreanism, Neo-Platonism, Carpocratianism, Zoroastrianism, et cetera.

Thus, the argument you refer to can be comprehensively and systematically refuted on six points, which are redundant, even one of them being enough, in my opinion, to overturn the claims of Ehrman, Karen King, Elaine Pagels, et al, whose revisionist attempt to "retire" the "concept of Gnosticism" in favor of a concept of competing "Jesus movements" of equal antiquity is not supported by the textual or archaeological or sociological evidence, and seems driven more by wishful thinking and philosophical preferences.  It is not scientific; these people do not deserve a degree or a chair in the case of Karen King of a theological faculty, as theology is held to be a science, but rather should be philosophers in the humanities department, where they can advocate any interpretation they want without evidence-based peer review, which is, btw, completely lackingnin their articles and papers supporting their religious interpretations.
30
Other Topics / I had gastric bypass surgery
« Last post by Volnutt on Today at 01:37:54 AM »
Specifically the Roux-en-Y kind.

It's been a week since the surgery and my functional stomach is the size of an egg. I'm still on pureed food and will be for the next five weeks. I've lost fifteen pounds (down to 428) and am projected to lose as much as 100 in the next three months. 70% of body weight over a few years is the average for this procedure, I think, though obviously I don't want to lose quite that much, I'd be underweight. 195 or so is my goal.

A little bit of pain and nausea, though mostly around the stitches when I bend or twist (I'm not allowed to lift over 10 lbs for the next five weeks). Had a hard first couple of days, but now for the most part I feel great. Obviously it will be a certain adjustment in terms of my favorite foods, but not much I can do about that lol.

Anybody else around here been through similar?
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