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Author Topic: Is Hesychasm a Post-Schism Greek 'Innovation'?  (Read 5971 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: May 19, 2009, 10:05:58 AM »

Origin:  Indulgences, Temporal Punishment, Purgatory, etc

-- Nebelpfade


And herein lies the problem. The Latin Church has chained their faithful to many post schism doctrinal innovations that were not taught by the holy fathers.

Is hesychasm a post-schism Greek innovation?
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 11:09:14 AM »

Is hesychasm a post-schism Greek innovation?

Of course not.

But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.
(Matt 6:6)
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 02:43:53 PM »

Of course not.

But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.(Matt 6:6)

I'm pretty sure there that hesychasm is not summarized in that verse.  Where is the use of stillness/quiet/silence/hesychia?

Even if it was there, that is not a proof text that qualifies all of the meditation techniques involved as being distinctly apostolic in origin.  Do the Orientals practice hesychasm?  Nope.  Do the Latins?  Nope.  Do the Nestorians?  Nope.  Any Protestants?  Nope.  Well, it looks like it's just the Byzantines on this one, kids.  If the practice had existed since early apostolic times, then it would be in more than one geographically isolated communion.  Hell, do the Arab Orthodox in the Greek tradition practice it?  I don't even think I've come across anything showing that they do.  Maybe they do, but that wouldn't change anything.

You are getting so huffy and snarly about "post-schism innovations", and it's a real bore.  Hesychasm as the specific discipline that currently exists developed in the East after the schism.  Sure, there are plenty of precursors to it in Eastern patristics leading up to the schism, but there was no uniform practice that was Catholic in nature.  The Latins had their own Western Fathers who's ideas gradually developed into purgatory, the natural extrapolation of their isolated trajectory.  I consider hesychasm to be the Eastern equivalent to doctrinal developments like purgatory, the immaculate conception and Papal infallibility.  

The term 'innovations' takes on an accusatory tone.  "Oh, those Catholics, changing the faith with their innovations.  Well, not us!  We haven't had any theological developments since the schism!  There's nothing innovative about hesychasm!  True-Church-Bot; ascend!"

Perhaps a fair distinction to make is that hesychasm is not dogmatic as far as I know.  The energies/essence distinction is, but as far as the whole 'hesychast way', I don't think anyone is actually dogmatically required to pray in that way.  Some of the developments in the West are theological in nature, and dogmatic to boot.

But it seems like on both sides both parties are making the same case: That the belief that was clarified post-schism had always existed pre-schism; purgatory or hesychasm.  And in a way, both are right in their respective theological spheres.  Prototypical thoughts seemed to have been floating around, the ideas were just later synthesized and codified.  They had always been to some degree a part of the faith, they were just never sufficiently outlined in cooperation before the split.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 02:45:38 PM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 02:47:05 PM »

I'm pretty sure there that hesychasm is not summarized in that verse.  Where is the use of stillness/quiet/silence/hesychia?

Oh are you now?

If you would like to start a thread on hesychasm in an attempt to show that it is an Orthodox innovation--go for it. I will provide numerous quotes from Church Fathers as it ties into Sacred Scripture that shows it is an ancient Tradition.

I will be looking for your new thread.
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 02:49:06 PM »

You are getting so huffy and snarly about "post-schism innovations", and it's a real bore.

I am not getting huffy and snarly--that is your attribution to me. I am sorry that you are bored. You are welcome to ignore my posts. 



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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 02:59:32 PM »

Hesychasm as the specific discipline that currently exists developed in the East after the schism.

I disagree. 


I consider hesychasm to be the Eastern equivalent to doctrinal developments like purgatory, the immaculate conception and Papal infallibility.

I believe that would be a minority opinion.


The term 'innovations' takes on an accusatory tone.

I am sorry that you are offended.  It is my belief that the Latin Church invented many unfortunate post schism beliefs.

There's nothing innovative about hesychasm!

Correct.

Some of the developments in the West are theological in nature, and dogmatic to boot.

Yes. And quite innovative.

But it seems like on both sides both parties are making the same case: That the belief that was clarified post-schism had always existed pre-schism; purgatory or hesychasm

You are entitled to your opinion. But there is no need to be so angry.
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 03:12:36 PM »

I'm pretty sure there that hesychasm is not summarized in that verse.  Where is the use of stillness/quiet/silence/hesychia?

Even if it was there, that is not a proof text that qualifies all of the meditation techniques involved as being distinctly apostolic in origin.  Do the Orientals practice hesychasm?  Nope.  Do the Latins?  Nope.  Do the Nestorians?  Nope.  Any Protestants?  Nope.  Well, it looks like it's just the Byzantines on this one, kids.  If the practice had existed since early apostolic times, then it would be in more than one geographically isolated communion.  Hell, do the Arab Orthodox in the Greek tradition practice it?  I don't even think I've come across anything showing that they do.  Maybe they do, but that wouldn't change anything.

I think you're clearly wrong, but in order for any answer to either your initial question or to these follow-ups to be useful, could you please clarify what you mean by 'hesychasm'?
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 03:19:35 PM »

I'm pretty sure there that hesychasm is not summarized in that verse.  Where is the use of stillness/quiet/silence/hesychia?

I'm just going to consider the above verse an accurate summary of your basic premise: that hesychasm doesn't exist outside of the EO communion, and thus is demonstrably a post-schism innovation.

Besides beginning with my usual response to a seemingly ignorant quip like that ("prove it"), I'm going to ask you: Do you really think that the OO and RC don't have large numbers of monks who for centuries have practiced some sort of quiet prayer of the heart?  Are you asserting that neither group has holy men and women who separate themselves from the world and practice in this intense, quiet meditative prayer in order to purge themselves of sin and allow them to step closer in communion with the Living God?  Are you postulating that at least the OO's don't have hermits who practice hesychia in order to attain theosis in this life?
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 03:23:14 PM »

I will be looking for your new thread.

What a huge waste of time that would be.  I already conceded that there was a precedent for it prior to the schism, just as their was a precedent for many of the developments in the West in their own fathers.  Both had precursors or prototypes in their respective traditions, so of course you can back the practice up with a flood of patristic references.  I never said that you couldn't.  I was using the term innovative to show how you were using it in an accusatory manner.  Development is much less accusatory.  Or did you not get upset when I accused the Orthodox of the 'innovation' of hesychasm?  If I had said developed, their wouldn't have been an issue.

The proponents of Papal primacy and infallibility have the same precedents in their own historical, theological, and patristic repertoire that justify or at least clearly outline the development over time.  But you like to slap on the word innovation to provoke Papist, and I thought that the conversation was becoming too cumbersome to bear on the sidelines.  He didn't deserve any more lashings from you, because you're being inconsistent and ignore points that people bring up.  I just didn't want him to think that everyone around here is insane.

Yes, I know about retreating for prayer in the Holy Scriptures.  Yes, I know about the endless patristic references to contemplative prayer.  I know about the monastic movement of the forth century, especially the holy hermits of God.  What I am talking about is the final product; the codified discipline of hesychasm.  The mantra of the Jesus-prayer, promoting certain body postures and breathing techniques, and the energies/essence distinction.  I'm talking about the whole big steamy Greek plate of modern hesychasm.  It's a gradual development; it didn't fall out of the sky packaged and ready to go.  And the package wasn't boxed and wrapped until after the schism, hence a post-schism "innovation" in its complete form.  The same applies to Western developments, like purgatory.  It also gradually culminated.  The peak of the thought just hit after the split.

The "broken record" accusation is spot on.
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 04:08:35 PM »

What a huge waste of time that would be. 

Evidently.

I already conceded that there was a precedent for it prior to the schism

We agree on something!  Hoorah!


I was using the term innovative to show how you were using it in an accusatory manner. 


Not accusatory my friend. I believe that certain post schism Latin doctrines (including purgatory) are innovative.  Some are more inventive than others.

Or did you not get upset when I accused the Orthodox of the 'innovation' of hesychasm? 

No. Did you think that I did. I do not know you. I do not agree with you on many issues. You are an anonymous internet entity. I do not get upset by such things.

If I had said developed, their wouldn't have been an issue.

Development of doctrine is a Roman Catholic theology. Are you sure you are not RC?

But you like to slap on the word innovation to provoke Papist

I am not trying to provoke.  It is what I believe.  Yet you continue to attribute some kind of internet provocation conspiracy to me. Sheesh!

He didn't deserve any more lashings from you

LOL!  Papist dishes out his fair share of lashings.  He and I go waaaay back. He can take care of himself.  He does not need you to protect him. ROTFL!!!


because you're being inconsistent and ignore points that people bring up. 

I believe it is YOU who are ignoring most of the material here. 

I just didn't want him to think that everyone around here is insane.

LOL! Papist already knows that I am insane!

Yes, I know about retreating for prayer in the Holy Scriptures.  Yes, I know about the endless patristic references to contemplative prayer.  I know about the monastic movement of the forth century, especially the holy hermits of God. 

Excellent!

What I am talking about is the final product;

I am convinced that you are not quite sure what you are talking about.

The "broken record" accusation is spot on. 

There is no need to be so angry.
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 04:46:37 PM »

What I am talking about is the final product; the codified discipline of hesychasm.  The mantra of the Jesus-prayer, promoting certain body postures and breathing techniques, and the energies/essence distinction.  I'm talking about the whole big steamy Greek plate of modern hesychasm.  It's a gradual development; it didn't fall out of the sky packaged and ready to go.  And the package wasn't boxed and wrapped until after the schism, hence a post-schism "innovation" in its complete form.  The same applies to Western developments, like purgatory.  It also gradually culminated.  The peak of the thought just hit after the split.

Again, what are you defining as the *codified* discipline of hesychasm? And how does it differ from the pre-schism practices found in the Philokalia, the Ladder, and numerous other places?

You do realize that St. Gregory Palamas took the energy/essence terminology directly from St. Basil? And used it to show how the opponents of hesychasm were doing so based on an *un-Patristic* understanding of Grace, prayer, and theosis? Arguing that the energy/essence distinction is Palamite is like arguing that the Incarnation is Athanasian or Cyrilian and icons are Damascene--each saint is remembered for having done the clearest job expounding the teaching, but they are also remembered (and validated by Councils) because what they were expounding was the original teaching in the face of innovating opponents.
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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2009, 09:33:31 PM »


Yes, I know about retreating for prayer in the Holy Scriptures.  Yes, I know about the endless patristic references to contemplative prayer.  I know about the monastic movement of the forth century, especially the holy hermits of God.  What I am talking about is the final product; the codified discipline of hesychasm.  The mantra of the Jesus-prayer, promoting certain body postures and breathing techniques, and the energies/essence distinction.  I'm talking about the whole big steamy Greek plate of modern hesychasm.  It's a gradual development; it didn't fall out of the sky packaged and ready to go.  And the package wasn't boxed and wrapped until after the schism, hence a post-schism "innovation" in its complete form.  The same applies to Western developments, like purgatory.  It also gradually culminated.  The peak of the thought just hit after the split.


I don't think this is an appropriate way to talk about a doctrine of the Church for starters. Holy doctrine is life with God, entrance in to paradise. To call it a steamy plate is too flip.

I furthermore am concerned that you are about to fall in to relativism.  Yes, practices develop; that is pretty clear. But doctrine does not develop in Orthodoxy the way it is imagined to do in Roman Catholicism.  Step back a second and just take it all in. Orthodoxy in 2009 is a lot closer even in its praxis (which everyone admits changes and develops over time) to the mythical pre-1054 time of unity. 

Doctrinally, though, it is equivalent.  Roman Catholicism is not. You cannot find a seed for papal infallibility in the pre-1054 Fathers, although you can see the antecedents of their heresy of the filioque developing, and papal universal jurisdiction, which then of course over time developed in to pope over council, and then finally infallibility.  You can't see the same kind of thing in Orthodoxy though; if you try to equate the growth of filioque or papal infallibility or purgatory with a development of essence/energies, you are basically suggesting that given another few hundred years, Orthodox doctrine could morph in to something different than it currently has. But it hasn't. If Orthodox doctrine "developed" the same way Roman Catholics posit their own doctrine does, why hasn't it been developing since St. Gregory Palamas?  Did it just stop one day?  No, you can find an antecedent of the heresies of the West, but they can keep on being traced as they take root, spread, morph, and continue on their merry way.  With Orthodoxy, you have the "antecedent" of hesychasm of course before 1054, since it is a divinely revealed dogma, but amazingly it looks almost totally like what it looked like in the 1400s and today--it hasn't been developing along into even more refined and new things. The standard book of most Orthodox monasteries that is read every Lent is not the Triads or even volume 4 of the Philokalia, but the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Let's not compare apples (refining of praxis with experience) and oranges (the papal development of doctrine theory) here.
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2009, 10:40:19 PM »

I think also we should keep in mind that St. Gregory Palamas, while being a post-schism saint, heavily draws conclusions to pre-schism concepts, persons, theology, etc. and he is the "greatest" hesychastic expounder if the church, but definitely not the only one.  Eh...just something to keep in mind
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2009, 08:21:26 AM »

You do realize that St. Gregory Palamas took the energy/essence terminology directly from St. Basil? And used it to show how the opponents of hesychasm were doing so based on an *un-Patristic* understanding of Grace, prayer, and theosis? Arguing that the energy/essence distinction is Palamite is like arguing that the Incarnation is Athanasian or Cyrilian and icons are Damascene

Quite right!  An early witness to this teaching about the distinction between the Divine Essence and Energies is indeed provided by St. Basil the Great, one of the Cappadocian Fathers of the fourth century.

In Letter 234, he writes:

"We know our God from His Energies, but we do not claim that we can
draw near to His Essence. For His Energies come down to us,
but His Essence remains unapproachable."


This teaching was later developed by one of the greatest theologians of the Orthodox Church, St. Gregory Palamas. The union between God and man is a true union, in which man retains his full personal integrity and personal characteristics without ceasing to be human.

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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2009, 01:04:08 PM »

I don't think this is an appropriate way to talk about a doctrine of the Church for starters. Holy doctrine is life with God, entrance in to paradise. To call it a steamy plate is too flip.

I was using an analogy.  I meant to show that I meant the final product; the way the dish is presently served to religious customers looking to become Orthodox and order some hesychastic prayer off the menu.  Such a person will be taught certain techniques, certain things to say (Lord Jesus Christ...), certain ways to breathe, and certain ways to position oneself.  It does seem like all of this package was in place prior to the schism and Catholic in its nature (the completed form I am talking about).  There's nothing wrong with it, but it is a developed practice.

You know what, in my own mind, I just drew the difference between East and West on this, so I'm going to agree and bow out; stop arguing my position.  This is a difference in praxis.  Just like the sign of the cross is made differently, I assume that these prayer techniques utilized in Hesycastic practices are not dogmatic, like breathing and posture.  I'm sure there's no written rule that one must pray in such a way, as to where in the West the developments are things that one must believe.  I don't know though.  As I haven't read any of these councils myself and am basing everything on second hand information, it seems fruitless for me to keep arguing in the abstract. 

Thanks for all of the responses; it seems like good meat to chew on.

Except for Mickey's responses.
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2009, 01:42:48 PM »

Except for Mickey's responses.

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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2009, 04:34:03 PM »

You do realize that St. Gregory Palamas took the energy/essence terminology directly from St. Basil? And used it to show how the opponents of hesychasm were doing so based on an *un-Patristic* understanding of Grace, prayer, and theosis? Arguing that the energy/essence distinction is Palamite is like arguing that the Incarnation is Athanasian or Cyrilian and icons are Damascene

Quite right!  An early witness to this teaching about the distinction between the Divine Essence and Energies is indeed provided by St. Basil the Great, one of the Cappadocian Fathers of the fourth century.

In Letter 234, he writes:

"We know our God from His Energies, but we do not claim that we can
draw near to His Essence. For His Energies come down to us,
but His Essence remains unapproachable."


This teaching was later developed by one of the greatest theologians of the Orthodox Church, St. Gregory Palamas. The union between God and man is a true union, in which man retains his full personal integrity and personal characteristics without ceasing to be human.


But does Basil take it all the way to the place that Palamas does? It seems that his teaching goes far beyond that fo St. Basil.
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2009, 05:01:23 PM »

But does Basil take it all the way to the place that Palamas does? It seems that his teaching goes far beyond that fo St. Basil.

As with Alveus original references to a 'codified' hesychastic practice, I'd have to ask what in St. Gregory's teaching you are referring to before being able to effectively respond.

Did St. Gregory explore the implications of the distinction in much greater depth than St. Basil? Yes. Did he show its explicit connection to the Uncreated Light of hesychasm in a way that St. Basil didn't get into? Yes. The circumstances in St Gregory's day and the nature of the attacks on the Apostolic Tradition were such that more explication was necessary to refute the errors and defend the truth than they were in St. Basil's day when other issues (the divinity of the Holy Spirit, residual Arianism) were the pressing priority. Just as St. Cyril went far more in-depth on the relationship of the 2 Natures of Christ than did St. Paul.

But did he say anything that wasn't already implicit in St. Basil (and other Fathers). I don't believe so--although I certainly haven't read everything he wrote.
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2009, 10:26:28 AM »

But does Basil take it all the way to the place that Palamas does? It seems that his teaching goes far beyond that fo St. Basil.

As with Alveus original references to a 'codified' hesychastic practice, I'd have to ask what in St. Gregory's teaching you are referring to before being able to effectively respond.

Did St. Gregory explore the implications of the distinction in much greater depth than St. Basil? Yes. Did he show its explicit connection to the Uncreated Light of hesychasm in a way that St. Basil didn't get into? Yes. The circumstances in St Gregory's day and the nature of the attacks on the Apostolic Tradition were such that more explication was necessary to refute the errors and defend the truth than they were in St. Basil's day when other issues (the divinity of the Holy Spirit, residual Arianism) were the pressing priority. Just as St. Cyril went far more in-depth on the relationship of the 2 Natures of Christ than did St. Paul.

But did he say anything that wasn't already implicit in St. Basil (and other Fathers). I don't believe so--although I certainly haven't read everything he wrote.
Its seems that the connection to the "Uncreated Light" is a brand new teaching.
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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2009, 10:32:31 AM »

Its seems that the connection to the "Uncreated Light" is a brand new teaching.
See reply #17...
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2009, 12:18:59 AM »

Its seems that the connection to the "Uncreated Light" is a brand new teaching.

Only if you think the title "Theotokos" was an innovation. In that case you had a long-standing practice, a heretic (Nestorius) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith, and champions of Orthodoxy like St. Cyril who came forward to defend the practice by demonstrating how it was directly connected to the Apostolic teaching on Incarnation--and in the process explicating the nature of that Incarnation, of Christ's Natures and Personhood with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.

In the same way the experience of the Uncreated Light is attested in the experience of Orthodox saints going all the way back to the Transfiguration. There was a heretic (Barlam) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith. And there was a champion of Orthodoxy in St. Gregory who demonstrated how the experience was directly tied to the Apostolic understanding of God as both unknowable and yet knowable--and in the process explicating the nature of the distinction with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2009, 12:45:04 PM »

Its seems that the connection to the "Uncreated Light" is a brand new teaching.

Only if you think the title "Theotokos" was an innovation. In that case you had a long-standing practice, a heretic (Nestorius) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith, and champions of Orthodoxy like St. Cyril who came forward to defend the practice by demonstrating how it was directly connected to the Apostolic teaching on Incarnation--and in the process explicating the nature of that Incarnation, of Christ's Natures and Personhood with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.

In the same way the experience of the Uncreated Light is attested in the experience of Orthodox saints going all the way back to the Transfiguration. There was a heretic (Barlam) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith. And there was a champion of Orthodoxy in St. Gregory who demonstrated how the experience was directly tied to the Apostolic understanding of God as both unknowable and yet knowable--and in the process explicating the nature of the distinction with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.
I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2009, 12:46:58 PM »

I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?
See reply #17...
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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2009, 12:48:21 PM »

^ So the Fathers didn't get into that and St. Gregory came up with the innovation?
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« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2009, 12:58:17 PM »

^ So the Fathers didn't get into that and St. Gregory came up with the innovation?
I won't take your bait this time Papist. Nice try.
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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2009, 01:47:01 PM »

Is this not the same argument we went through a few months ago after which Papist posted a profound apology to us?
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« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2009, 03:26:17 PM »

Is this not the same argument we went through a few months ago after which Papist posted a profound apology to us?
Yes. I accept your apology Papist. Kiss
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« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2009, 05:10:42 PM »

Its seems that the connection to the "Uncreated Light" is a brand new teaching.

Only if you think the title "Theotokos" was an innovation. In that case you had a long-standing practice, a heretic (Nestorius) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith, and champions of Orthodoxy like St. Cyril who came forward to defend the practice by demonstrating how it was directly connected to the Apostolic teaching on Incarnation--and in the process explicating the nature of that Incarnation, of Christ's Natures and Personhood with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.

In the same way the experience of the Uncreated Light is attested in the experience of Orthodox saints going all the way back to the Transfiguration. There was a heretic (Barlam) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith. And there was a champion of Orthodoxy in St. Gregory who demonstrated how the experience was directly tied to the Apostolic understanding of God as both unknowable and yet knowable--and in the process explicating the nature of the distinction with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.
I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?

where does scripture say "immaculate conception" or "filioque" or "indulgances" or etc. etc. etc.  Do you have an actual argument against the case which witega presented or is this gona be it...
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2009, 01:56:57 AM »

I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?

Are you seriously questioning the continuous presence of visions of Divine light in the tradition of the Church?

Or is your objection to the fact that we often use 'Uncreated Light' these days instead of the older 'Light' or 'Divine Light'? In the same way the post-Nicene fathers used the more precise homoousious instead of simply saying 'the Son and the Father are One' because it had been found that a more precise terminology was necessary to defend against heretical innovations which attempted to twist the received Faith?
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2009, 10:52:23 AM »

I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?

Are you seriously questioning the continuous presence of visions of Divine light in the tradition of the Church?

Or is your objection to the fact that we often use 'Uncreated Light' these days instead of the older 'Light' or 'Divine Light'? In the same way the post-Nicene fathers used the more precise homoousious instead of simply saying 'the Son and the Father are One' because it had been found that a more precise terminology was necessary to defend against heretical innovations which attempted to twist the received Faith?
What I am denying is that the essence/energies distinction goes back to the Apostles. The Capedocians may have toyed with a seminal idea like the essence energies distinction but I see no evidence that it finds its roots in Apostolic tradition. It sounds more like an idea that some theologians adopted from Neoplatonism.
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« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2009, 11:15:56 AM »

I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?

Are you seriously questioning the continuous presence of visions of Divine light in the tradition of the Church?

Or is your objection to the fact that we often use 'Uncreated Light' these days instead of the older 'Light' or 'Divine Light'? In the same way the post-Nicene fathers used the more precise homoousious instead of simply saying 'the Son and the Father are One' because it had been found that a more precise terminology was necessary to defend against heretical innovations which attempted to twist the received Faith?
What I am denying is that the essence/energies distinction goes back to the Apostles. The Capedocians may have toyed with a seminal idea like the essence energies distinction but I see no evidence that it finds its roots in Apostolic tradition. It sounds more like an idea that some theologians adopted from Neoplatonism.

Firstly, there were PLENTY of ideas that the fathers took from platonism, neoplatonism, aristotaleanism, etc. but they were CHRISTIANIZED, just like jewish practices were christianized, or serbian practices, or greek practices (hey wern't they philsophers?  but became the first church...or something like that... Wink ).  So just because it was adopted doesn't meant it wasn't christianized.  Now if you would like to argue that it is the EXACT same idea, and was never changed by any of the fathers to reflect biblical principles (which it was and they did), then please feel free to go ahead. 

Secondly, you just admitted that the Cappadocians "may" have toyed with a seminal idea...but it has to go back enough to the Apostles for you?  I thought that the original post asked for anything pre-schism.  So which one is it? 

Also, as has been pointed out, what about the biblical notion of transfiguration? 

I also wonder if Origen said anything about it...hm..
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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2009, 02:11:25 PM »

Look at it a different way....

How is Heschyasm different than the silence Christ gave Pilate?

Why do we need to beat the dead horse of ancient Greek Philosophies?

Moses stood silent as the children of Israel worshipped the Golden Calf.
Elijah stood silent as the Priests of Baal frenzied themselves into a stupor.
The Apostles were silenced at the Transfiguration.
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« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2009, 09:34:56 PM »

Look at it a different way....

How is Heschyasm different than the silence Christ gave Pilate?

Why do we need to beat the dead horse of ancient Greek Philosophies?

Moses stood silent as the children of Israel worshipped the Golden Calf.
Elijah stood silent as the Priests of Baal frenzied themselves into a stupor.
The Apostles were silenced at the Transfiguration.

yah and at the last one they experienced the divine light.  I think this is the crux of the problem for Papist (correct me if i'm wrong).  The essence-energies distinction and the term "divine light" or "uncreated light" etc. are his arguments, not the "hesychastic" part (or silence part). 
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« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2009, 09:44:08 PM »

yah and at the last one they experienced the divine light.  I think this is the crux of the problem for Papist (correct me if i'm wrong).  The essence-energies distinction and the term "divine light" or "uncreated light" etc. are his arguments, not the "hesychastic" part (or silence part). 

There was uncreated light at the Resurrection which dazed the soldiers guarding the tomb.

Essence-Energies, to me, are unnecessarily complicated topics subject to confusion.

If Adam & Eve had ignored Satan, they would be exposed to the Divine Light of God's Presence.
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« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2009, 09:51:17 PM »

yah and at the last one they experienced the divine light.  I think this is the crux of the problem for Papist (correct me if i'm wrong).  The essence-energies distinction and the term "divine light" or "uncreated light" etc. are his arguments, not the "hesychastic" part (or silence part). 

There was uncreated light at the Resurrection which dazed the soldiers guarding the tomb.

How do you know it was uncreated?  Maybe it was created...there is no clear indication...as far as my memory serves me...

Quote
Essence-Energies, to me, are unnecessarily complicated topics subject to confusion.


Well then so should apophatic and cataphatic types of theology (or explanations of God).  The reality is that all of these terms are to explain the completely transcendental and the completely immanent nature of God.  I can't remember who said it, but one of the fathers said that God's essence is the sun and his energies are the rays...this is just another way to explain the same thing as "we know God is this, but we he is also unknowable, etc."  these distinctions/definitions are good and healthy and are not that overly complicated...I would think...

Quote
If Adam & Eve had ignored Satan, they would be exposed to the Divine Light of God's Presence.

Who is to say that Adam never was, before Eve?  Who is to say they were not before the fall?  is there any indication?  I don't think there is an indication EITHER WAY , so we just have to be very careful with stuff like this...

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« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2009, 11:01:04 PM »

There was uncreated light at the Resurrection which dazed the soldiers guarding the tomb.

How do you know it was uncreated?  Maybe it was created...there is no clear indication...as far as my memory serves me...

Same applies for the Transfiguration?   Huh

Quote
Essence-Energies, to me, are unnecessarily complicated topics subject to confusion.

Well then so should apophatic and cataphatic types of theology (or explanations of God).  The reality is that all of these terms are to explain the completely transcendental and the completely immanent nature of God.  I can't remember who said it, but one of the fathers said that God's essence is the sun and his energies are the rays...this is just another way to explain the same thing as "we know God is this, but we he is also unknowable, etc."  these distinctions/definitions are good and healthy and are not that overly complicated...I would think...

God is transcendal and immanent - without requiring a doctoral dissertation....

Quote
If Adam & Eve had ignored Satan, they would be exposed to the Divine Light of God's Presence.

Who is to say that Adam never was, before Eve?  Who is to say they were not before the fall?  is there any indication?  I don't think there is an indication EITHER WAY , so we just have to be very careful with stuff like this...

I don't get what you're saying.   Huh  Why are we reinventing the wheel?   Huh
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« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2009, 12:31:38 PM »

There was uncreated light at the Resurrection which dazed the soldiers guarding the tomb.

How do you know it was uncreated?  Maybe it was created...there is no clear indication...as far as my memory serves me...

Same applies for the Transfiguration?   Huh

I think for the transfiguration it was more clear...I thought that it indicated what kind of light it was...but I would have to look that up...

Quote
Quote
Essence-Energies, to me, are unnecessarily complicated topics subject to confusion.

Well then so should apophatic and cataphatic types of theology (or explanations of God).  The reality is that all of these terms are to explain the completely transcendental and the completely immanent nature of God.  I can't remember who said it, but one of the fathers said that God's essence is the sun and his energies are the rays...this is just another way to explain the same thing as "we know God is this, but we he is also unknowable, etc."  these distinctions/definitions are good and healthy and are not that overly complicated...I would think...

God is transcendal and immanent - without requiring a doctoral dissertation....

LOL then why did the fathers have to argue it back and forth?  Because for some people (namely heretics and etc.) that's just not enough.  The reality is that a further explanation was needed.  there's nothing wrong with saying what you said, and there's nothing wrong with what Palamas said.  One is just a better explanation than the other... Wink Grin

Quote
Quote
If Adam & Eve had ignored Satan, they would be exposed to the Divine Light of God's Presence.

Who is to say that Adam never was, before Eve?  Who is to say they were not before the fall?  is there any indication?  I don't think there is an indication EITHER WAY , so we just have to be very careful with stuff like this...

I don't get what you're saying.   Huh  Why are we reinventing the wheel?   Huh

What I was trying to say is that we don't know for sure either way whether or not adam and eve were ever exposed to the divine light, so we can't say "if they had ignored satan" because I would be willing to say that they already saw the divine light, before Satan.  There's more of a chance for that happening than "what if's" ...does that make more sense?
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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2009, 03:28:24 PM »

Its seems that the connection to the "Uncreated Light" is a brand new teaching.

Only if you think the title "Theotokos" was an innovation. In that case you had a long-standing practice, a heretic (Nestorius) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith, and champions of Orthodoxy like St. Cyril who came forward to defend the practice by demonstrating how it was directly connected to the Apostolic teaching on Incarnation--and in the process explicating the nature of that Incarnation, of Christ's Natures and Personhood with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.

In the same way the experience of the Uncreated Light is attested in the experience of Orthodox saints going all the way back to the Transfiguration. There was a heretic (Barlam) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith. And there was a champion of Orthodoxy in St. Gregory who demonstrated how the experience was directly tied to the Apostolic understanding of God as both unknowable and yet knowable--and in the process explicating the nature of the distinction with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.
I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made-the Fathers of Nicea I.
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« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2009, 08:12:08 PM »

I think for the transfiguration it was more clear...I thought that it indicated what kind of light it was...but I would have to look that up...

I bet that the uncreated light was used.   Smiley

LOL then why did the fathers have to argue it back and forth?  Because for some people (namely heretics and etc.) that's just not enough.  The reality is that a further explanation was needed.  there's nothing wrong with saying what you said, and there's nothing wrong with what Palamas said.  One is just a better explanation than the other... Wink Grin

I do not admit to being a theologian and I do prefer the simple explanations.  By complicating the explanation, the chances for obfuscation increase.  Via obfuscation, Satan comes in and distorts the picture....

What I was trying to say is that we don't know for sure either way whether or not adam and eve were ever exposed to the divine light, so we can't say "if they had ignored satan" because I would be willing to say that they already saw the divine light, before Satan.  There's more of a chance for that happening than "what if's" ...does that make more sense?

The explanation makes sense although if Adam & Eve were in God's constant presence in Paradise, they would be exposed to the Eternal Light - the same Eternal Light Satan took advantage of.   Huh
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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2009, 12:28:52 PM »

I just found an article articulating how the divine energies are in the New Testament. Let me know if interested. 

p.s.  I always forget how copyright works for stuff like this so that's why i'm asking for PM's on this...anyone have a clarification on this?
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« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2009, 11:35:59 PM »

I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?

Are you seriously questioning the continuous presence of visions of Divine light in the tradition of the Church?

Or is your objection to the fact that we often use 'Uncreated Light' these days instead of the older 'Light' or 'Divine Light'? In the same way the post-Nicene fathers used the more precise homoousious instead of simply saying 'the Son and the Father are One' because it had been found that a more precise terminology was necessary to defend against heretical innovations which attempted to twist the received Faith?
What I am denying is that the essence/energies distinction goes back to the Apostles. The Capedocians may have toyed with a seminal idea like the essence energies distinction but I see no evidence that it finds its roots in Apostolic tradition. It sounds more like an idea that some theologians adopted from Neoplatonism.

Firstly, there were PLENTY of ideas that the fathers took from platonism, neoplatonism, aristotaleanism, etc. but they were CHRISTIANIZED, just like jewish practices were christianized, or serbian practices, or greek practices (hey wern't they philsophers?  but became the first church...or something like that... Wink ).  So just because it was adopted doesn't meant it wasn't christianized.  Now if you would like to argue that it is the EXACT same idea, and was never changed by any of the fathers to reflect biblical principles (which it was and they did), then please feel free to go ahead. 

Secondly, you just admitted that the Cappadocians "may" have toyed with a seminal idea...but it has to go back enough to the Apostles for you?  I thought that the original post asked for anything pre-schism.  So which one is it? 

Also, as has been pointed out, what about the biblical notion of transfiguration? 

I also wonder if Origen said anything about it...hm..
I am not the original poster. Its not just a matter of it being a post schism innovation for me but a pretty advanced development from what was actually Aposotolic.
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« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2009, 11:37:23 PM »

Look at it a different way....

How is Heschyasm different than the silence Christ gave Pilate?

Why do we need to beat the dead horse of ancient Greek Philosophies?

Moses stood silent as the children of Israel worshipped the Golden Calf.
Elijah stood silent as the Priests of Baal frenzied themselves into a stupor.
The Apostles were silenced at the Transfiguration.

yah and at the last one they experienced the divine light.  I think this is the crux of the problem for Papist (correct me if i'm wrong).  The essence-energies distinction and the term "divine light" or "uncreated light" etc. are his arguments, not the "hesychastic" part (or silence part). 
Exactly.
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« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2009, 11:38:42 PM »

Its seems that the connection to the "Uncreated Light" is a brand new teaching.

Only if you think the title "Theotokos" was an innovation. In that case you had a long-standing practice, a heretic (Nestorius) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith, and champions of Orthodoxy like St. Cyril who came forward to defend the practice by demonstrating how it was directly connected to the Apostolic teaching on Incarnation--and in the process explicating the nature of that Incarnation, of Christ's Natures and Personhood with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.

In the same way the experience of the Uncreated Light is attested in the experience of Orthodox saints going all the way back to the Transfiguration. There was a heretic (Barlam) who attacked it on the basis of his own misunderstanding of the Faith. And there was a champion of Orthodoxy in St. Gregory who demonstrated how the experience was directly tied to the Apostolic understanding of God as both unknowable and yet knowable--and in the process explicating the nature of the distinction with a depth and clarity not done (or needed) before.
I have heard all of this before. Now where do the Fathers refer to an "Uncreated Light"?
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made-the Fathers of Nicea I.
They are clearlly talking about the manner in which the Son is begotten of the Father. This has nothing to do with an essence/energies distinction.
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« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2010, 04:32:11 PM »

I would like to discuss this topic in light of this article:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07301a.htm

For starters, let's address this comment:

<regarding Hesychasm> "The likeness of this process of auto-suggestion to that of fakirs, Sunnyasis, and such people all over the East is obvious."
 
Would any Orthodox care to rebut this point?


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« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2010, 06:00:03 PM »

For starters, anything Fortescue writes has a VEERRRRY long plank sticking out of its socket.

Quote
There was a very faint echo of Hesychasm in the West. Latin theology on the whole was too deeply impregnated with the Aristotelean Scholastic system to tolerate a theory that opposed its very foundation. That all created beings are composed of actus and potentia, that God alone is actus purus, simple as He is infinite — this is the root of all Scholastic natural theology. Nevertheless one or two Latins seem to have had ideas similar to Hesychasm. Gilbertus Porretanus (de la Porrée, d. 1154) is quoted as having said that the Divine essence is not God — implying some kind of real distinction; John of Varennes, a hermit in the Diocese of Reims (c. 1396), said that the Apostles at the Transfiguration had seen the Divine essence as clearly as it is seen in heaven. About the same time John of Brescain made a proposition: Creatam lucem infinitam et immensam esse. But these isolated opinions formed no school. We know of them chiefly through the indignant condemnations they at once provoked. St. Bernard wrote to refute Gilbert de la Porrée; the University of Paris and the legate Odo condemned John of Brescain's proposition. Hesychasm has never had a party among Catholics. In the Orthodox Church the controversy, waged furiously just at the time when the enemies of the empire were finally overturning it and unity among its last defenders was the most crying need, is a significant witness of the decay of a lost cause.

So it seems the Orthodox (who, Fortescue never ceases to claim, placed state over Church) should have forgotten Him who said "My Kingdom is not of this world," and made followship with Belial to save the Empire.

With all the bizarre forms of mysticism that arose in Fortescue's west from the Flagellanti to the children's Crusdae to Christian Kabbalah, etc. etc. etc. I'll take his comment, " It is the only great mystic movement in the Orthodox Church," as a compliment.  Actually, the fact that he would limit mysticism in Orthodoxy to the Hesychasts shows how narrow his view of Orthodoxy was.

The real question is how does he seperate the sannyasa, fakirs et alia from the Trappists, Mendicants and the rest in the West.

As to any similarity between the Hesychasts and the fakirs, etc. it is like the resemblance of any form of prayer to Christian prayer: similarities exist because of the human condition, but no one goes to the Father but through Christ.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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