Ok, obviously the Christological analogy doesn't work as well for some as it did for me when I was being catechised. And perhaps my priest was mistaken -- I'm certainly going to ask for another opinion on the matter. I guess the danger in arguing from analogy is that the analogy may not be a correct one.
The whole "Thomistic/Aristotelian" complaint is just a smokescreen to mask the fear of sounding like Roman Catholics or of giving them credit for getting something right.
It was not intended to be a "smokescreen" -- I never did complete my Masters in the history of philosophy (I converted to Orthodoxy instead), but my mentor was a Thomist scholar who assured me that the technical philosophical meaning of transubstantiation as articulated by Thomas Aquinas was precisely an adoption of Aristotelian categories. In footnote 5 on page 280 of his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology
, Fr. Michael Pomazansky wrote:
The term "transubstantiation" comes from medieval Latin scholasticism: following the Aristotelian philosophical categories, "transubstantiation" is a change of the "substance" or underlying reality of the Holy Gifts without changing the "accidents" or appearance of bread and wine. Orthodox theology, however, does not try to "define" this Mystery in terms of philosophical categories, and thus prefers the simple word "change."
Although I tried to make it clear that I was speaking of the term "transubstantiation" in this precise technical meaning, it seems that I didn't succeed. I'm sorry for the confusion this has caused. Your quote from Khomiakov is one with which I heartily agree. Note, however, the section which I've put in bold.
"She [the Church] does not reject the word 'Transubstantiation'; but she does not assign to it that material meaning which is assigned to it by the teachers of the Churches which have fallen away. The change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is accomplished in the Church and for the Church. If a man receive the consecrated Gifts, or worship them, or think on them with faith, he verily receives, adores, and thinks on the Body and Blood of Christ"
It seems likely that Khomiakov was addressing the RC understanding of transubstantiation in this passage. Why else would he declare that we do not reject the word, but only the meaning "assigned to it by the teachers of the Churches which have fallen away"? Unfortunately, I don't have access to his book right now, so I can't check the context to see whether I've misunderstood him.
While the patristic quotes Linus has provided us with do not contradict the doctrine of trans-substantiation when it is understood in the sense of a simple change, they also do not eliminate the possibility of consubstantiation. (When I use the Latin term "consubstantiation" I understand it to mean that the elements of bread and wine offered on the altar truly become the Body and Blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine.)
"Therefore with fullest assurance let us partake of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mightest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him." St. Cyril of Alexandria, "On the Eucharistic Food" chapter 3, Lectures on the Christian Sacraments
page 68 (SVS Press, 1995).
A few paragraphs later in the same lecture, St. Cyril urges us not to contemplate the Bread and Wine as "bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for though sense suggests this to thee, let faith stablish thee. Judge not the matter from taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving that thou hast been vouchsafed the Body and Blood of Christ" (page 69).
I do not consider them to be bare
elements but transfigured ones, changed by the grace of God -- much the same way that our humanity is not destroyed through communion with Christ, but rather that we are made of the same body and the same blood with Him by partaking of His Body and Blood.
In spite of Linus' fierce denunciation of the heresy of the Lutherans, I believe that the distinction he argues for is a false dichotomy.
Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) or is it the Body and Blood of Christ + something less (consubstantiation)?
Again, I acknowledge that theological analogies are inadequate and somewhat suspect. However, if we rephrase Linus' question, I believe it illustrates my point quite well.Is Jesus Christ fully God, or fully God + something less?
Put that way, it just seems silly, doesn't it?
It may very well be that my understanding is inadequate. I am going to consult an Orthodox professor of theology and get his opinion. If I am in fact wrong, I will certainly accept the correction. God willing, I will post his reply before the Thanksgiving break.
- a phool