Author Topic: Dogma (to bripat22) / doctrine (Jonathan)  (Read 1299 times)

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Offline afanasiy

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Dogma (to bripat22) / doctrine (Jonathan)
« on: June 19, 2003, 02:44:53 AM »
    The comments about dogma and doctinre on the thread about Bp. Kallistos probably deserve comment.  A new thread is desirable, as this has nothing to do with the issue of women priests discussed there.

    To get a handle on the matter, let me quote one of the foregoing:

If the EO were to start ordaining women (which I'm sure will never happen), that would pretty much complete the argument that EO's have doctrinal development just like Catholics...

This makes no sense to me; the Latins have had dogma development, which the Orthodox have not had; the Orthodox have had doctrine development (at each of the Nine Orthodox Ecumenical SYnods).  What do my foregoing words mean?

A dogma is a changeless belief (even a topic of discussion) whose meaning depends on the doctrines that interpret it.  It would be a denial of the truth to say that these have NOT developed over the centuries--at each Ecumenical Synod.  So long as each doctrine or teaching is consistent with what has gone before and builds on it, it gives added form or content (depending on your point of view--we can discuss that) that would otherwise be self-evidently lacking.

I'm not sayin' that we have to speak in technical language all of the time; I think that when we use a technical term (and "development" is almost one), we should use it technically . . . otherwise confusion ensues.  (Think of the chaotic confusions of ceremony with rite in English.)

I admit that ancient Greek does not distinguish dogma and its various other words for teachings as clearly as good English does.  There is room for discussion on that.  But Greek always posed a relationship between dynamis (capacity) and energization (what makes it actual and functional).  If dogma and doctrine are fitted into that scheme or worldview, then a dogma is a capacity or potential and a doctrine is what energizes its meaning.

Afanasiy Bailey


Think of the confusion in many languages between mystical (mysterious, vague, whatever you wish) and mysteric (an incarnational or sacramental marriage of uncreated Grace/Energies and a material vehicle/vessel).  The English title of Lossky's book containing "mystical" belies its contents--which may well have been as bad in the French original, though in other writings, he does make the correct linguistic distinction.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2003, 03:07:17 AM by afanasiy »