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Author Topic: Oriental and Latin Theology  (Read 9895 times) Average Rating: 0
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Athanasios
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« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2007, 01:06:27 PM »

Hello,

So how exactly does the Coptic Church view the Crucifixion? What was it purpose, what did it accomplish, etc.?
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« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2007, 02:36:48 PM »

As for development of doctrine, it is evident in every Church Council (for one area where it occurs). What is meant by Catholics with the development of doctrine is that which was implicit is made explicit. We see this in the Early Church with the increasing understanding of the Trinity, Christ's natures, Canon of Scripture, etc.

I think your definition of 'development' of doctrine in council is typical of the RC perspective, and atypical of the Orthodox.
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« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2007, 08:46:23 PM »

Greetings,

As an Oriental Christian from one of the most Latinized branches of Eastern Catholicism, I as a Maronite find the commonality of the Orientals much more fluid and obvious between them and the Eastern Orthodox than their mutual Latin brothers and sisters.

For example, many Roman Catholic apologists use Syriac (an Oriental tradition) Saints' words as argument for such things as similarities (and origins) of the Immaculate Conception and the office of the papacy. What these apologists lack is the theological context and cultural story behind these saints and the theological language they used to make their beliefs manifest. What many will call St. Ephrem's love for Mary a support of the Immaculate Conception, or even a support for the heresy of Co-Mediatrix, is actually a perfectly reasonable devotion in line with Tradition and the Church Fathers regarding the venerable Theotokos (Yoldath Aloho for us Syriacs).

On a personal note, my experience in living amongst Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox, most see themselves as one in the same, and in many cases where I come from, they intercommune. Can the same be said (or seen) for the Latins and Copts? I think not.

My advice is be very weary when statements of similarity are immediately concluded between the Orientals and Latins, each is existing in very different theological understandings, even if the Latin tradition took roots from the African traditions; development and Scholasticism changed those shared beginnings.

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« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2007, 08:51:32 PM »

Hello,

I have heard that Oriental and Latin theology are remarkably similar in outlook and expression. Is this true? Is there a good resource that compares/contrasts the two?

No, it is not.  Read Sebastian Brock's books, especially that on St. Ephrem.  The Oriental Orthodox might have changed their theology but they are not the only representatives of the Oriental theology.
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« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2007, 08:58:14 PM »

The Oriental Orthodox might have changed their theology but they are not the only representatives of the Oriental theology.

I don't undertand your post.  Can you clarify?

1.  How did we OO's change our theology, and when?

2.  What do you mean by "Oriental theology?"

3.  Who are the other representatives of this theology?
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« Reply #50 on: November 11, 2007, 09:09:17 PM »

I don't undertand your post.  Can you clarify?

1.  How did we OO's change our theology, and when?

2.  What do you mean by "Oriental theology?"

3.  Who are the other representatives of this theology?

I didn't say you changed your theology.  I simply claim to not know.  So I said they might have.

Oriental theology in my post is meant in the same way it is meant in yeshua's post.  Oriental theology is represented by those who follow the Syrian fathers which includes us Maronites, the Church of the East, the Chaldeans and as already mentioned the OO.
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« Reply #51 on: November 11, 2007, 09:10:51 PM »

Thanks for clarifying, it helps. 

In subsequent posts, you and Yeshua and others may want to be a little more explicit.  Usually "Oriental" on this forum isn't used that way.  Usually it is used with the word Orthodox to refer to the Oriental Orthodox ("OO.")  The other communions you mentioned are usually also referred to more explicitly by their names.  I'm not saying there is necessarily anything wrong with your particular use of the word Oriental.  It can just be confusing, especially since not all of these Churches are in communion with each other.
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« Reply #52 on: November 11, 2007, 09:37:05 PM »

Hello,

So how exactly does the Coptic Church view the Crucifixion? What was it purpose, what did it accomplish, etc.?

I will try and dig out further references and quotations after my exams. But for now I will mention two sources, an ancient and a contemporary one.

1) Ancient: St Shenoute the Archimandrite (+465):

In his work On Christian Behaviour he accounts for the following accomplishments of the Crucifixion:

1) It enabled us to "bear the death of Jesus in our body, that the life also of Jesus may be manifest in our flesh which dieth and perisheth."--an allusion to 2 Cor. 4:11
2) It "redeemed us from the devil."
3) "God hath taken away the sins of the world through his death and sufferings which he endured for us through his cross."
4) He has "reconciled us to his Father through his death."
5) He has "broken the bond which we owed"--a reference to Colossians 2:14.

2) Contemporary: Fr. T. Malaty, who is probably, at this time, the Coptic Church's most prominent (in terms of being well-known and well-recommended) theologian, discusses the Crucifixion in his work Man and Redemption. In fact, Fr. T. Malaty doesn't really discuss anything, he simply lists the main points as sub-headings, and follows with patristic quotations. I will list those main points of his and quote the specific patristic quotations that he used:

1) To abolish corruption and death:

St Clement of Alexandria: "[The Lord] has changed sunset into sunrise, and through the cross turned death into life; and having wrenched man from destruction, He has raised him to heaven, transplanting mortality into immortality and translating earth to heaven."

St Athanasius of Alexandria: "He accepted the Cross, and endured a death inflicted by others, and above all by His enemies...so that this...being destroyed, He Himself might be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be brought utterly to nought."

2) To renew our nature:

In Fr. Malaty's own words: "In the Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul clearly explains the difference between the
animal sacrifices and Christ's Sacrifice; the first one was repeated because of its weakness and failure to renew human nature, but the last One was offered once only for it still has the power to renew our interior man. Origen says that Jesus Christ as a Priest and Victim at the same time did not offer animals blood that consumes but His own Blood that gives life, resurrection and immortality."


3) To accomplish the divine sentence on our behalf:

St Athanasius of Alexandria: "He sends His own Son, and He becomes Son of Man, by taking created flesh, that, since all were under sentence of death, He being other than them all, might Himself for all offer to death His own body; and that henceforth, as if all had died through Him, the word of that sentence might be accomplished (for "all died" 2 Cor. 5: 14, in Christ), and all through Him might thereupon become free from sin and from the curse which came upon it and might truly abide for ever, risen from the dead and clothed in immortality and incorruption."

4) To conquer Satan:

St Athanasius of Alexandria: "For the Word being clothed in the flesh, as has many times been explained, every bite of the serpent began to be utterly staunched from it out, and whatever evil sprung from the motions of the flesh, to be cut away, and with this death also was abolished, the companion of sin, as the Lord Himself says: "The prince of this world comes, and finds nothing in Me". John 14: 30, and "For this end was He manifested", as John has written, "that He might destroy the works of the devil" 1 John 3: 1 22"

St Clement of Alexandria: "The Lord then wished to release him (man) from his bonds, and clothing Himself with flesh - O divine mystery. - vanquished the serpent, and enslaved the tyrant; and, most marvelous of all, man that had been deceived by pleasure, and bound fast to corruption, had his hands unloosed, and was set free..."
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« Reply #53 on: November 11, 2007, 09:44:16 PM »

Thanks for clarifying, it helps. 

In subsequent posts, you and Yeshua and others may want to be a little more explicit.  Usually "Oriental" on this forum isn't used that way.  Usually it is used with the word Orthodox to refer to the Oriental Orthodox ("OO.")  The other communions you mentioned are usually also referred to more explicitly by their names.  I'm not saying there is necessarily anything wrong with your particular use of the word Oriental.  It can just be confusing, especially since not all of these Churches are in communion with each other.

Yes, I really don't think it's helpful to start playing semantics with the term "Oriental." Here, within the context of this thread and this section of the forum, it clearly refers to the Non-Chalcedonian or Miaphysite Communion; it is not restricted to the Syrian tradition, nor does it encompass every claimant to the Syrian tradition.
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« Reply #54 on: November 11, 2007, 10:39:36 PM »

In subsequent posts, you and Yeshua and others may want to be a little more explicit.  Usually "Oriental" on this forum isn't used that way.  Usually it is used with the word Orthodox to refer to the Oriental Orthodox ("OO.")  The other communions you mentioned are usually also referred to more explicitly by their names.  I'm not saying there is necessarily anything wrong with your particular use of the word Oriental.  It can just be confusing, especially since not all of these Churches are in communion with each other.

Salpy,

I normally speak in terms of the Oriental tradition, and those things that deal with praxis and spiritually, rather than the theological debates that are common place in discussions over intercommunion (or a a lack there of). Bearing the specificity on this board in mind, I will adapt and play my part, thanks for the heads up! Smiley

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #55 on: November 11, 2007, 10:51:52 PM »

Yes, I really don't think it's helpful to start playing semantics with the term "Oriental." Here, within the context of this thread and this section of the forum, it clearly refers to the Non-Chalcedonian or Miaphysite Communion; it is not restricted to the Syrian tradition, nor does it encompass every claimant to the Syrian tradition.

EhkristosAnesti,

Oh, I don't play semantics with the term, pardon me if I insinuated so. Certainly "Oriental" doesn't refer to the Syriacs only, I used the Syriacs as an example with the Latin-Oriental commonality discussion (and stated so). However, I will be sure to be more specific in my use (very new to the forum, bear with me).  Smiley

Peace and God Bless.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2007, 11:01:09 PM »

EhkristosAnesti,

Oh, I don't play semantics with the term, pardon me if I insinuated so. Certainly "Oriental" doesn't refer to the Syriacs only, I used the Syriacs as an example with the Latin-Oriental commonality discussion (and stated so). However, I will be sure to be more specific in my use (very new to the forum, bear with me).  Smiley

Peace and God Bless.

No worries. Welcome to the forum by the way, and peace to you too.
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« Reply #57 on: November 11, 2007, 11:18:37 PM »

I think your definition of 'development' of doctrine in council is typical of the RC perspective, and atypical of the Orthodox.

Are you sure? It sounds almost word for word the way Archbishop Stylianos put it when I asked him almost the exact same question, the only difference being His Eminence did not regard the phrase "development of doctrine" to be a good or accurate expression of what happens. Indeed, if a doctrine is already implicit in the Apostolic tradition, then it, as doctrine, cannot be said to be "developing"; that which develops is the level of our understanding of it, and hence our expression and articulation of it.
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« Reply #58 on: November 11, 2007, 11:22:10 PM »

Hello,

I think your definition of 'development' of doctrine in council is typical of the RC perspective, and atypical of the Orthodox.
How so?
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« Reply #59 on: November 12, 2007, 02:44:05 PM »

Yes this is true.

One of the main things is that both Latins and Copts emphasize that the Lord Jesus had to make satisfaction/propitiation for sin by suffering our punishments. This is not just in theological theory but also in the practical piety of the people. For instance, while Byzantines largely have distaste for Mel Gibson's bloody movie "The Passion of Christ", the Copts warmly embraced it. Take a look at these videos to see what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzxtl-7s27A

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5372085186490704388

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5082340622560171168&q=coptic+retreat&total=15&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7802706736129788053

[In fact there are so many Coptic versions of "The Passion of Christ" on the net that its like a genre unto itself!]

There are many other ways they are similar too.



Though a lot of EO had distate for the Passion, many did not, and many warmly embraced it (including this EO).

As with any suffering Church, and the Coptic Church still is a Church of martyrs, there may be an emphasis on the passion for obvious reasons.  I have to say, however, that I never came across anything like the Latin piety on this matter among the Copts, whether in the US or Egypt.  E.g. I have never seen a Coptic icon of the Crucifixion with Blood, like those of the Latin religious art.  Btw, I have seen it in EO iconography, just not as graphic.

I am intrigued by this perceived similarity, because I never saw it among the Copts, who basically all did (and do) say they are the same as the Greeks, Serbs, etc.
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« Reply #60 on: November 12, 2007, 02:48:47 PM »

Sorry, but that seems like rather silly reasoning as far as i'm concerned upon which to base such a conclusion. That the movie is popular amongst Copts is explained by popular simple piety and devotion to anything Christ-related. You will see that many of these amateur internet clips utilise a wide range of western material--not just "The Passion." Most Copts I know are very simple-minded; they are not aware of differentiations between Western and Eastern, or the relevant theological peculiarities (and given the burden I have found theology to be, I envy them in that regard). To read some particular theological conviction/agenda into such clips presupposes an intentional and rather theologically incisive and aware outlook on behalf of the creator, when in all probability, the use of the Passion reflects the creator's belief that the movie is a "nice" and genuine portrayal of a crucial event in the Gospel narratives; nothing more and nothing less.

I will come back to this topic after my exams when I have time to look up more authoritative answers to the issues at hand.

Please do so, I take it from you handle that you are Copt, no?  Bi'Khristos af-dounf!

Yes, I admire the Copts for many things, but the Western wannabe art is not one of them.  I love how the revival has come to neo-Coptic Art and iconography.  Btw among the things admired: the simplicity of faith and devotion to anything Christ-related, as mentioned above.
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« Reply #61 on: November 12, 2007, 02:57:45 PM »

Ekhristos,

Your response to me is ridiculous. I never infered anything about Coptic theological theory by those videos. I posted those videos only to show the piety of the people. Anyways, in reference to the theological theory of propitiation/satisfaction, this has a deeply seated tradition going back to Athanasios of Alexandria. You should have known this before making your posts.

P.S. The Armenian church is an entirely different story from the Copts.

This is a problem I see with the OO, that they are somewhat isolated from each other.  That however is the effect of history, geography and language, and it is not absolute: the Armenians contributed greated to the Coptic homeland of Egypt. Even for the muslim: the first prime minister of Egypt was an Armenian.  The Copts I know are fully aware that the Armenians have the exact same Faith, although as a practical matter that has little application.

As for a Copt citing an Armenian cleric, that certainly has far, far more going for it than a Latin rite quoting an Eastern rite Father.
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« Reply #62 on: November 12, 2007, 03:01:24 PM »

ozgeorge, I'm getting quite tired of your constant attacks on my posts. Lets look closely at what I said.

The context of the videos is to show the practical piety of the people. Thats why I said "not just in theological theory..." This should be clear to you. I have noticed that you have a hard time understanding the meaning of a lot of what I say. Just out of curiosity, do you speak English as a second language? Please dont take that as a rhetorical question. I seriously wonder if this is what some of the problem is between me and you.

Of course he does.

He's Australian. Tongue

Ozgeorge raised the question, is this practical piety consonant with the theological theory of their Church, as you post raised, or is it an abuse from perhaps outside influences?
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« Reply #63 on: November 12, 2007, 03:10:05 PM »

 


Brother..was england ever in egypt in a military capacity  ...if it was they had their anglican clergy with them ...from what i read on the catholic answers forum the anglicans looked at the theology of the holy coptic orthodox church and found it very primitive defective so they decided to help the holy coptic othodox church by updateing there theology,,thats why their is similarities between you and the catholic church in atonement ...as a eastern orthodox christians i just want to under stand it,,,if its true or not..can you find out  and let me know ....brother stashko Huh

The situation occured as you described it.  However the Copts got there act together, imported a printing press (one of the first in Egypt) and got their act together in self education.  Not without battle scares though.

One influence brought on is that the Copts use Protestant Bibles (i.e. without the Deuterocanonicals, which are in the Coptic versions and in the services themselves).

Btw when the printing press arrived, the Pope ordered that the hymn "King of Peace" be sung. When people complained about the fuss, the Pope replied that he was unable to attend, but if he had, he would have danced before the press like David before the Ark.

The Coptic Church, under Popes Cyril and Shenoudah are finishing bringing the Coptic Church out of its Western Captivity.

Btw if the Latin theology was so in tune with the Coptic, why is it that the Coptic hierarcy under Rome wasn't organized with a selfsustaining church and primate until 1947?
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« Reply #64 on: November 12, 2007, 03:30:52 PM »

Hello,

Is it just me, or does the argument that the Anglicans changed and corrupted Coptic theology just seem like another conspiracy theory?

I guess I'll butt in here:

During the British occupation, they set up a number of schools with Anglican connections.  The American Presbyterians were also active in Egypt, as the rest of the Middle East.  They were among the best and most prestigious, so a lot of Copts sent their children there.  They also learned  the Protestant mindset there.  If you read the memoires of people from the time, that was their intention, to save the Orthodox from "Romish" superstition.

It wasn't a conspiracy per se: the Protestants just saw the Orthodox as unreformed and just needed education to reform.  I've been told by the only Armenian reformed I ever met, that the official policy of that denomination is that it is part of the Armenian Apostolic church, just reformed (three of them, however, are now Orthodox, 1 EO and two OO).
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« Reply #65 on: November 12, 2007, 03:33:16 PM »

Hah!  laugh  Protestants (from my experience) don't believe in any form of doctrinal development. They think that they hold the exact same belief as the Apostles on Pentecost. Everyone else has corrupted it and so God had to restart His Church with either the founder of their group or the individual themselves.


As for Rome, I wouldn't say that the Catholic Church views Orthodox theology as primitive. And the only things defective (though I don't think that is the right word, and I don't like using it here) would be in areas the diverge in substance (not expression) from Catholic teachings (i.e., Papacy).

As for development of doctrine, it is evident in every Church Council (for one area where it occurs). What is meant by Catholics with the development of doctrine is that which was implicit is made explicit. We see this in the Early Church with the increasing understanding of the Trinity, Christ's natures, Canon of Scripture, etc.

this is where we diverge from the Scholastic understanding: Councils reiterate what is already believed.  They do not make it up as they go along, nor further our knowledge.  They put the brakes on faulty understanding.
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« Reply #66 on: November 12, 2007, 03:40:07 PM »

Yes, I really don't think it's helpful to start playing semantics with the term "Oriental." Here, within the context of this thread and this section of the forum, it clearly refers to the Non-Chalcedonian or Miaphysite Communion; it is not restricted to the Syrian tradition, nor does it encompass every claimant to the Syrian tradition.

Even if it were restricted to the Syriac tradition, that wouldn't mean anything: the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Indian traditions have all drawn on the Syriac Fathers (as has the Greek, Arabic, Russian, etc.).  The issue here I think would be only the Maronites, as they are in the anomolous position that they have no corresponding Orthodox Church, heavily Latin yet obvious linked to the rest of us, EO and OO, by their roots.
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« Reply #67 on: November 12, 2007, 09:03:55 PM »

Quote
this is where we diverge from the Scholastic understanding: Councils reiterate what is already believed.  They do not make it up as they go along, nor further our knowledge.  They put the brakes on faulty understanding.

Yes. Although this opinion is not anymore popular nor favored,for it diminishes the pride of men in inventing new doctrines, it is nevertheless the Orthodox position. 
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« Reply #68 on: November 12, 2007, 09:41:00 PM »

Hello,

this is where we diverge from the Scholastic understanding: Councils reiterate what is already believed.  They do not make it up as they go along, nor further our knowledge.  They put the brakes on faulty understanding.
I agree that Councils do not make it up as they go along and reiterate what is already believed. But I disagree with the idea they our depth of knowledge isn't increased. If that is the case, why have Councils at all - aren't there other ways to dispose of erroneous teachings?
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« Reply #69 on: November 25, 2007, 01:14:56 AM »

Hello,
I agree that Councils do not make it up as they go along and reiterate what is already believed. But I disagree with the idea they our depth of knowledge isn't increased. If that is the case, why have Councils at all - aren't there other ways to dispose of erroneous teachings?

This might be related to your Hesychiasm question, which might take it out of this thread (though maybe not:I believe that Hesychiasm is one of those things we share with the Orientals, despite Chalcedon).  The Hesychist can see and know more with the philosophizing.  Which is why Hesychiasm and Scholasticism hit it head on (with the logical reprecusions for Orthodox and Rome relations).

We have Councils for baffoons like me, who have to think everything through, rather than believe like a child.
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« Reply #70 on: November 25, 2007, 11:17:00 AM »

Hello,

This might be related to your Hesychiasm question, which might take it out of this thread (though maybe not:I believe that Hesychiasm is one of those things we share with the Orientals, despite Chalcedon).  The Hesychist can see and know more with the philosophizing.  Which is why Hesychiasm and Scholasticism hit it head on (with the logical reprecusions for Orthodox and Rome relations).

We have Councils for baffoons like me, who have to think everything through, rather than believe like a child.
Well, this baffoon (me) isn't seeing exactly what you are trying to tell me (i.e., relation of Hesychiasm and Scholasticism). You can bring this up in the other thread, or leave it here if want.


P.S. - maybe we should hold a Council to discuss it.  Grin
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« Reply #71 on: November 25, 2007, 12:02:27 PM »

Hello,
Well, this baffoon (me) isn't seeing exactly what you are trying to tell me (i.e., relation of Hesychiasm and Scholasticism). You can bring this up in the other thread, or leave it here if want.


P.S. - maybe we should hold a Council to discuss it.  Grin

One of the Desert Fathers said "Seek God [the Hesychist way] and not where God lives [the Scholastic way]"

In other words "Know [cognire, connaitre, conocer, kennen] God, not know [scire, savoir, saber, wissen] Him (I don't know what, if any foreign languages you speak.  English doesn't make the distinction).

And that being said, I've been too busy discussing God, and am now late for worshipping and communing with Him. Another Hesychast/Scholastic distinction.
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« Reply #72 on: November 25, 2007, 08:53:36 PM »

Hello,

In other words "Know [cognire, connaitre, conocer, kennen] God, not know [scire, savoir, saber, wissen] Him (I don't know what, if any foreign languages you speak.  English doesn't make the distinction).

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11035.msg183989.html#msg183989
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« Reply #73 on: November 25, 2007, 09:00:11 PM »

Hello,

One of the Desert Fathers said "Seek God [the Hesychist way] and not where God lives [the Scholastic way]"

In other words "Know [cognire, connaitre, conocer, kennen] God, not know [scire, savoir, saber, wissen] Him (I don't know what, if any foreign languages you speak.  English doesn't make the distinction).

And that being said, I've been too busy discussing God, and am now late for worshipping and communing with Him. Another Hesychast/Scholastic distinction.

O.K., I think I understand what you are speaking of. Though I don't see how the intimate knowledge of God by union with Him is lacking in the Catholic Church. For instance, it is prolific in Carmelite Spirituality.

Here is a lenten reflection from Father Raniero Cantalamessa which indirectly talks about this subject (look at section 2). Note, this isn't a head on explanation of this, but I think it is pertinent. It explains, for one thing, that it isn't a matter of either/or - but of both/and.


P.S. - I hope you made it on time and had a blessed time at Liturgy today.
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« Reply #74 on: November 27, 2007, 08:17:49 AM »

Hello,

O.K., I think I understand what you are speaking of. Though I don't see how the intimate knowledge of God by union with Him is lacking in the Catholic Church. For instance, it is prolific in Carmelite Spirituality.

I wasn't implying (I hope) that either the concept (nor for that matter, the reality) was lacking among those under Rome.  Just the scholastics problem with the Hesychists.

Quote
Here is a lenten reflection from Father Raniero Cantalamessa which indirectly talks about this subject (look at section 2). Note, this isn't a head on explanation of this, but I think it is pertinent. It explains, for one thing, that it isn't a matter of either/or - but of both/and.

was there a link? It's not here.


I see Mardukm has returned to CAF and making up for lost time.  I think he was the one who brought up your original topic there.  I hope he'll come play with us here.
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« Reply #75 on: November 27, 2007, 09:18:11 AM »

Hello,

was there a link? It's not here.

Oops. I thought I included it. Here it is: http://www.zenit.org/article-19125?l=english


I see Mardukm has returned to CAF and making up for lost time.  I think he was the one who brought up your original topic there.  I hope he'll come play with us here.

I have invited him, and he says he has been away for a little while - he might pop in an say hello. Smiley
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