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Author Topic: Nicholas Cabasilas and the Latin West  (Read 6294 times) Average Rating: 0
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elijahmaria
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« on: May 05, 2010, 01:37:54 PM »

Some Orthodox communities I know use Nicholas Cabasilas's The Life in Christ as the primary catechetical text for their catechumenate. 

On the other hand I have heard it said that Nicholas Cabasilas was a Latinizer in 14th century Byzantium.

Can anyone enlighten me on which is the dominant position in Orthodoxy concerning Nicholas Cabasilas?

M.
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2010, 01:57:30 PM »

On the other hand I have heard it said that Nicholas Cabasilas was a Latinizer in 14th century Byzantium.

Where did you hear this?
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2010, 02:01:30 PM »

On the other hand I have heard it said that Nicholas Cabasilas was a Latinizer in 14th century Byzantium.

Is there anyone in the whole Orthodox Church who has NOT been accused of being too Latin-minded?
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2010, 02:03:27 PM »

On the other hand I have heard it said that Nicholas Cabasilas was a Latinizer in 14th century Byzantium.

Where did you hear this?

Somewhere in my travels over time...more than once if I remember correctly.  What reminded me is that there's a comment about it in the Translator's Foreward in my copy of the book.  So I thought I'd ask.

Also there's much in his sacramental theology that is very compatible with Catholic sacramental theology, in particular his understanding of and teaching concerning Baptism.  So I connected that with the recent discussion of the Immaculate Conception and the grace that illuminates the intellect and strengthens the will.  Cabasilius's section on Baptism is congruent with those Catholic understandings, so I ask if he is seen as a thoroughly Orthodox teacher or if he is seen as being tainted by western contacts.

M.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2010, 02:04:03 PM »

On the other hand I have heard it said that Nicholas Cabasilas was a Latinizer in 14th century Byzantium.

Is there anyone in the whole Orthodox Church who has NOT been accused of being too Latin-minded?

 Tongue

Well there is that!!....
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2010, 02:17:45 PM »

St. Nicholas Cabasilas never struck me as being particularly latinized. In his Commentary on the Divine Liturgy I remember him discussing differences between east and west at one point, though I don't recall him being overly polemical. I found his theology in The Life in Christ, including his ideas on free-will, the sacraments, etc. to be orthodox.
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2010, 02:20:49 PM »

Also there's much in his sacramental theology that is very compatible with Catholic sacramental theology, in particular his understanding of and teaching concerning Baptism.  So I connected that with the recent discussion of the Immaculate Conception and the grace that illuminates the intellect and strengthens the will.  Cabasilius's section on Baptism is congruent with those Catholic understandings, so I ask if he is seen as a thoroughly Orthodox teacher or if he is seen as being tainted by western contacts.

I'm really not qualified to comment because I have never read any of his full works.  I have read many selected quotes from him that I enjoy thoroughly.  Was he not a disciple of sorts of St Gregory Palamas?
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2010, 02:46:25 PM »

Also there's much in his sacramental theology that is very compatible with Catholic sacramental theology, in particular his understanding of and teaching concerning Baptism.  So I connected that with the recent discussion of the Immaculate Conception and the grace that illuminates the intellect and strengthens the will.  Cabasilius's section on Baptism is congruent with those Catholic understandings, so I ask if he is seen as a thoroughly Orthodox teacher or if he is seen as being tainted by western contacts.

I'm really not qualified to comment because I have never read any of his full works.  I have read many selected quotes from him that I enjoy thoroughly.  Was he not a disciple of sorts of St Gregory Palamas?


There's no evidence that he was a disciple of St. Gregory and some have commented on the fact that Cabasilas does not explicitly use the essence/energies distinction, but I don't see where any of his theological or doctrinal discussion is antithetical to the hesychast experience at all.
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2010, 02:48:01 PM »

St. Nicholas Cabasilas never struck me as being particularly latinized. In his Commentary on the Divine Liturgy I remember him discussing differences between east and west at one point, though I don't recall him being overly polemical. I found his theology in The Life in Christ, including his ideas on free-will, the sacraments, etc. to be orthodox.

Ah  That is the other thing I was going to ask.  Has he been recognized as a saint in Orthodoxy.  I don't know why I don't know that but I don't.

I enjoy his work very much and refer to it often.

M.
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2010, 02:53:49 PM »

Ah  That is the other thing I was going to ask.  Has he been recognized as a saint in Orthodoxy.  I don't know why I don't know that but I don't.

I enjoy his work very much and refer to it often.

I don't know if all the local Churches recognize his being a saint, but at least some do. Orthodoxwiki and Wikipedia both say that his feast day is June 20.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2010, 02:55:15 PM »

A member of oc.net, AMM I think, used St. Nicholas (and St. Gregory Palamas) as a supporter of a "juridical" view of salvation.  Perhaps, when reading his quotes on those, some Orthodox might have accused him of being a "Latinizer."
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 02:58:08 PM »

Ah  That is the other thing I was going to ask.  Has he been recognized as a saint in Orthodoxy.  I don't know why I don't know that but I don't.

I enjoy his work very much and refer to it often.

I don't know if all the local Churches recognize his being a saint, but at least some do. Orthodoxwiki and Wikipedia both say that his feast day is June 20.

 Cool oh...I guess I never "wikkied" him!!  Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2010, 03:03:51 PM »

Found what I was talking about:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11389.msg154537.html#msg154537
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11389.msg154654.html#msg154654
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2010, 03:13:45 PM »


Thanks for digging those up. I checked my copy of The Life in Christ and it does indeed say what he quoted it as saying. Interesting.
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2010, 03:16:16 PM »


Oh my...well I didn't read the threads all the way through.  I can only comment that the Catholic Church rejects "substiutionary" atonement.  That is a reformed idea but it is always laid at the doorstep of the Catholic Church.

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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2010, 03:18:11 PM »


Oh my...well I didn't read the threads all the way through.  I can only comment that the Catholic Church rejects "substiutionary" atonement.  That is a reformed idea but it is always laid at the doorstep of the Catholic Church.


Agreed. I wonder why so many think we profess this Protestant dogma.
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2010, 03:30:26 PM »


Oh my...well I didn't read the threads all the way through.  I can only comment that the Catholic Church rejects "substiutionary" atonement.  That is a reformed idea but it is always laid at the doorstep of the Catholic Church.



One could argue that's because it was unknown in the East and developed in the West.  The Reformers did not just come up with things out of the blue.  Granted, they misunderstood things to the point where they threw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak, but the foundation for their own particular heresies can be found in Western Christianity.
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2010, 04:46:00 PM »


Oh my...well I didn't read the threads all the way through.  I can only comment that the Catholic Church rejects "substiutionary" atonement.  That is a reformed idea but it is always laid at the doorstep of the Catholic Church.



One could argue that's because it was unknown in the East and developed in the West.  The Reformers did not just come up with things out of the blue.  Granted, they misunderstood things to the point where they threw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak, but the foundation for their own particular heresies can be found in Western Christianity.

Absolutely!!!  In fact most of the eastern heretics migrated west and were driven west so there's no doubt that most of the major heresies in the west came directly from the east and that is also why so many protestants prefer to migrate back to Orthodoxy...oh....wait... Smiley

In any event Nicholas Cabasilas had a firm grasp on the Byzantine Christian understanding of divine justice.

M.

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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2010, 05:19:40 PM »

I personally thought Anselm was a major player in spreading the idea of substitutionary atonement.  And many Orthodox Churches also put the blame on Aquinas.

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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2010, 05:23:09 PM »

I personally thought Anselm was a major player in spreading the idea of substitutionary atonement.  And many Orthodox Churches also put the blame on Aquinas.

Neither one...

M.
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2010, 05:24:48 PM »

Okay, then there's something I'm not getting.

Anselm said that man by sinning robbed God's honor, thus angering Him.  In order to save man, Christ had to appease this wrath by taking this wrath upon Himself as man.

Am I misunderstanding anything from Anselm?  Maybe that's not what he said?
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« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2010, 06:10:22 PM »

Okay, then there's something I'm not getting.

Anselm said that man by sinning robbed God's honor, thus angering Him.  In order to save man, Christ had to appease this wrath by taking this wrath upon Himself as man.

Am I misunderstanding anything from Anselm?  Maybe that's not what he said?

You are not alone.  

One of the things that Anselm says is that we can NOT add anything to God or take anything from Him.  He's very careful to say that in fact.

He says that when we do God's will we "honor" him as a child "honors" his or her parent by being respectful and obedient, but that adds to US not to Him!!  When we are not obedient or respectful the dishonor belongs to us, and if our parents are good parents they are angry with us not because we inconvenienced them but because by being disrespectful or disobedient we make ourselves the lesser.  We remove ourselves from the right order of being...and that being is the "good" of Genesis.

When I was a child learning about confession, I was told that one of the elements of making amends for my sins was that I must do whatever is necessary to restore who or whatever was touched by my sin back to its original state before I sinned.  

The easiest one was stealing.  If I stole then I must make restitution of some kind...either by giving what I stole back or working to replace it in kind if not directly.

If I swore at my mother then I was required to never again to anything to make her remember that moment so that she could forget and have her mind free again from that moment and its memory, but you can see that is not likely to happen given our habits as human beings.  So some sins are very very difficult to satisfy or restore.

Some sins are impossible to restore in our limited capacity and because there are always unintended consequences that we often know nothing about but they are there and we are responsible.  It is out of a responsibility to restore that comes the doctrine of purgation in fact.  We carry the weight of the responsibility for all of the consequences of our sins.  That does not go away with forgiveness of sin.  The consequences remain.

At any rate Jesus came to make satisfaction and restore the ancestral sin, which is a sin from which mankind cannot be restored to their former state of grace without the Son of God.

Catholic atonement is an atonement of satisfaction and restoration and this is how Anselm presents it.

It is more often than not, not the way that Anslem is presented.  I don't know why.

M.



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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2010, 08:23:39 AM »

many protestants prefer to migrate back to Orthodoxy...oh....wait... Smiley

It is always refreshing to see your wayward children (the protestants) coming home to the fullness of truth in the Holy Orthodox Church.  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2010, 08:26:32 AM »

many protestants prefer to migrate back to Orthodoxy...oh....wait... Smiley

It is always refreshing to see your wayward children (the protestants) coming home to the fullness of truth in the Holy Orthodox Church.  Grin

 Shocked...but then again, some think that it's better y'all have to deal with their baggage!!  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2010, 10:42:05 AM »

Some Orthodox communities I know use Nicholas Cabasilas's The Life in Christ as the primary catechetical text for their catechumenate. 

<snip>


Dear Mary,

I've never heard of anyone using it.  Where is this 'community' you are speaking of?  Are you talking about a parish, diocese, etc.?
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« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2010, 10:50:13 AM »

Shocked...but then again, some think that it's better y'all have to deal with their baggage!!  Grin

It is a great place for them to heal.  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2010, 10:54:43 AM »

Some Orthodox communities I know use Nicholas Cabasilas's The Life in Christ as the primary catechetical text for their catechumenate. 

<snip>


Dear Mary,

I've never heard of anyone using it.  Where is this 'community' you are speaking of?  Are you talking about a parish, diocese, etc.?


Parishes, Father.  I don't know how many or who all any more.  I've been at this "dialogue" business for nearly 15 years so I store some things in a generic pile simply to save space in my head  Smiley.  And there was nothing too remarkable about the fact when I first encountered him.  I got his books and read them and liked them very much and used them to catechize when I've been asked to do that on occasion.

I've known of parishes in the OCA who use him, ACROD, ROCOR....and the Antiochians too, if I remember correctly...I don't remember any Greeks using him that I know of and I thought that was strange, but he's certainly not unheard of and he's on the shelves of loads of small Orthodox parish bookstores.  And I've heard priests recommend him as often as I've heard them recommend St. Theophan the Recluse.

M.
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« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2010, 10:55:28 AM »

Shocked...but then again, some think that it's better y'all have to deal with their baggage!!  Grin

It is a great place for them to heal.  Smiley

I think you are right about that...all joking aside!!

M.
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« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2010, 10:56:20 AM »

I've asked this question many times before, but I haven't received an answer, let alone a satisfactory one.  Wasn't Anselm the one who started the idea of an "infinite sin?"  What's an "infinite sin?"  Why call it "infinite?"
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« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2010, 11:07:00 AM »

Okay, I think I see I'm understanding the differences.  Wiki seems to put the slight differences out, which seems to be what you are saying:

Quote
Anselm speaks of human sin as defrauding God of the honour he is due. Christ's death, the ultimate act of obedience, brings God great honour. As it was beyond the call of duty for Christ, it is more honour than he was obliged to give. Christ's surplus can therefore repay our deficit. Hence Christ's death is substitutionary; he pays the honour instead  of us. Penal substitution differs in that it sees Christ's death not as repaying God for lost honour but rather paying the penalty  of death that had always been the moral consequence for sin (e.g., Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23). The key difference here is that for Anselm, satisfaction is an alternative  to punishment, "The honor taken away must be repaid, or punishment must follow."  By Christ satisfying our debt of honor to God, we avoid punishment. In Calvinist Penal Substitution, it is the punishment which satisfies the demands of justice.

So Anselm says we owe God honor (even though He doesn't need it), which Christ paid, and Calvin is the one who introduced the idea that we owe punishment, which Christ took upon Himself. 

What's interesting though is that according to wiki, if "satisfaction" of the debt of honor due to God isn't paid, then punishment is due.  Is that true?
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

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« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2010, 11:15:47 AM »

Okay, I think I see I'm understanding the differences.  Wiki seems to put the slight differences out, which seems to be what you are saying:

Quote
Anselm speaks of human sin as defrauding God of the honour he is due. Christ's death, the ultimate act of obedience, brings God great honour. As it was beyond the call of duty for Christ, it is more honour than he was obliged to give. Christ's surplus can therefore repay our deficit. Hence Christ's death is substitutionary; he pays the honour instead  of us. Penal substitution differs in that it sees Christ's death not as repaying God for lost honour but rather paying the penalty  of death that had always been the moral consequence for sin (e.g., Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23). The key difference here is that for Anselm, satisfaction is an alternative  to punishment, "The honor taken away must be repaid, or punishment must follow."  By Christ satisfying our debt of honor to God, we avoid punishment. In Calvinist Penal Substitution, it is the punishment which satisfies the demands of justice.

So Anselm says we owe God honor (even though He doesn't need it), which Christ paid, and Calvin is the one who introduced the idea that we owe punishment, which Christ took upon Himself. 

What's interesting though is that according to wiki, if "satisfaction" of the debt of honor due to God isn't paid, then punishment is due.  Is that true?

Remembering always here that the Trinity is One, Father, Son and Holy Spirit...in the context of honor due and honor paid.

Do you remember hearing the quote from St. Irenaeus that paraphrases very much like this: 

The glory of God is man fully alive!! 

That is how we need to understand Anselm's talk of honor due and honor paid.  What undergirds it all is God's boundless love for his stiff necked children.  Without that baseline, Anselm's analogy falls apart before it get's going.  That and the fact that nothing can be added and nothing can be removed from the divine Trinity.

So yes...bearing that in mind...you are on the right path.

And then in this light only can one understand punishment.

Why did a loving God put Adam and Eve out of the Garden, and then KEEP every generation thereafter out until after our earthly death...Why would a loving God make us to suffer that loss?

As you think of these things then understand that poena in Latin means "loss"...and the most basic and theological meaning of punishment in the Latin Church is "loss"....

Get back to me if there's more...

M.

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« Reply #31 on: May 06, 2010, 11:23:21 AM »

Parishes, Father.  I don't know how many or who all any more.  I've been at this "dialogue" business for nearly 15 years so I store some things in a generic pile simply to save space in my head  Smiley.  And there was nothing too remarkable about the fact when I first encountered him.  I got his books and read them and liked them very much and used them to catechize when I've been asked to do that on occasion.

I've known of parishes in the OCA who use him, ACROD, ROCOR....and the Antiochians too, if I remember correctly...I don't remember any Greeks using him that I know of and I thought that was strange, but he's certainly not unheard of and he's on the shelves of loads of small Orthodox parish bookstores.  And I've heard priests recommend him as often as I've heard them recommend St. Theophan the Recluse.

M.

Well, you must float in a very different circle than me!  Wink

Seriously, I've never heard the name come up outside seminary.

Most catechism debates I've been in seem to boil down to the 'Rainbow Series' versus the 'Carlton Series' versus the 'Ware Series' (I use the latter two).

Frankly, I don't find most catechumens willing or able to deal with translated materials.  The problem stems from the fact that most translations retain their original rhetorical styles which are foreign to modern Americans.  Plus, they don't get to the heart of the matters that concern modern converts and cause them the most hesitancy.

The other problem of interpretation with these works is that they can, because of the complexity of the argument in question, etc., be very easily misconstrued, either by original design or the lack of skill in the original translator.  I guess I'm saying that they are much more work than they are worth.  While these ancient books may be historical and commendable, they might also be a bit too complex for catechism.

I suppose then what I am saying is that if I ran across a priest who was using Cabasilas, I would probably grill him rather intensely to find out why.
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« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2010, 11:41:23 AM »

Parishes, Father.  I don't know how many or who all any more.  I've been at this "dialogue" business for nearly 15 years so I store some things in a generic pile simply to save space in my head  Smiley.  And there was nothing too remarkable about the fact when I first encountered him.  I got his books and read them and liked them very much and used them to catechize when I've been asked to do that on occasion.

I've known of parishes in the OCA who use him, ACROD, ROCOR....and the Antiochians too, if I remember correctly...I don't remember any Greeks using him that I know of and I thought that was strange, but he's certainly not unheard of and he's on the shelves of loads of small Orthodox parish bookstores.  And I've heard priests recommend him as often as I've heard them recommend St. Theophan the Recluse.

M.

Well, you must float in a very different circle than me!  Wink

Seriously, I've never heard the name come up outside seminary.

Most catechism debates I've been in seem to boil down to the 'Rainbow Series' versus the 'Carlton Series' versus the 'Ware Series' (I use the latter two).

Frankly, I don't find most catechumens willing or able to deal with translated materials.  The problem stems from the fact that most translations retain their original rhetorical styles which are foreign to modern Americans.  Plus, they don't get to the heart of the matters that concern modern converts and cause them the most hesitancy.

The other problem of interpretation with these works is that they can, because of the complexity of the argument in question, etc., be very easily misconstrued, either by original design or the lack of skill in the original translator.  I guess I'm saying that they are much more work than they are worth.  While these ancient books may be historical and commendable, they might also be a bit too complex for catechism.

I suppose then what I am saying is that if I ran across a priest who was using Cabasilas, I would probably grill him rather intensely to find out why.

 laugh  Yea...I figured that from your question which is why I ain't namin' names!!... angel

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« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2010, 11:49:27 AM »

laugh  Yea...I figured that from your question which is why I ain't namin' names!!... angel

Well, then, I think we have the answer to your question: the dominent interpretation amongst the Orthodox in the English-speaking world is that Cabasilas is relatively obscure and thus, no matter how you want to define him, it really doesn't matter to much.

Latinizer or not, he has very little effect on the overall theological teaching in the modern Church (English speaking compartment, the only one I am fit to comment on).

I imagine the same is true for the RCC and Anselm of Canterbury (subject on the other thread).
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« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2010, 11:56:17 AM »

Does anybody still recommend Fr Lev Gillet's "Orthodox Spirituality: An Outline of the Orthodox Ascetical and Mystical Tradition"?  He used to write while alive under the pseudonym of "A Monk of the Eastern Church." 

Back in the day it was a very common book to recommend to catechumens.  Mind you, that is so far 'back in the day' that we did not even refer to them as 'catechumens.'  We simply spoke of people"wanting to become Orthodox" and people "learning about Orthodoxy."
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« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2010, 12:06:26 PM »

laugh  Yea...I figured that from your question which is why I ain't namin' names!!... angel

Well, then, I think we have the answer to your question: the dominent interpretation amongst the Orthodox in the English-speaking world is that Cabasilas is relatively obscure and thus, no matter how you want to define him, it really doesn't matter to much.

Latinizer or not, he has very little effect on the overall theological teaching in the modern Church (English speaking compartment, the only one I am fit to comment on).

I imagine the same is true for the RCC and Anselm of Canterbury (subject on the other thread).

Well I spent my life in a Catholic school so I suppose we read a lot of books that other people never even heard of till later, if at all.

Mary
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« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2010, 02:43:04 PM »

Dear Mary,

I was also wondering if you can also help me out with the issue of "infinite sin."
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« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2010, 02:56:07 PM »

Dear Mary,

I was also wondering if you can also help me out with the issue of "infinite sin."

I've been looking around to see if I could find anything to help me get started with that but I have no idea what it is and I haven't a clue what it might mean.

So I am stuck on this one.

M.
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« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2010, 02:57:50 PM »

Dear Mary,

I was also wondering if you can also help me out with the issue of "infinite sin."
Aquinas argues that sin is not infinite in its essence, but that the person offended, namely God, is infinite.
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« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2010, 03:03:13 PM »

Dear Mary,

I was also wondering if you can also help me out with the issue of "infinite sin."
Aquinas argues that sin is not infinite in its essence, but that the person offended, namely God, is infinite.

Oh...thank you.  That connection just never occurred to me!!  I was still thinking of Anselm and taking the phrase as it was given literally.  Thanks!

M.
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« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2010, 03:05:17 PM »

Dear Mary,

I was also wondering if you can also help me out with the issue of "infinite sin."
Aquinas argues that sin is not infinite in its essence, but that the person offended, namely God, is infinite.

Oh...thank you.  That connection just never occurred to me!!  I was still thinking of Anselm and taking the phrase as it was given literally.  Thanks!

M.

PS:  I cannot say whether or not that phrase appears in Anselm anywhere.  I know I do not recognize it.  Just as a tie-up for that loose end.
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« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2010, 03:19:48 PM »

HERE!!  I found something indeed!  Look at the bolded text.  Remember this is about Anselm and not Anselm's own writings,  and so imputes the substitutionary element in as well.  I have all of Anselm in translation so I'll look for the sections referenced here....M

ANSELM'S PHILOSOPHY.

AFTER WEBER.

    Weber's History of Philosophy. Trans. by F. Thilly. New York Scribner's. Price, $2 50

"The first really speculative thinker after Scotus is St. Anselm, the disciple of Lanfranc. He was born at Aosta (1033), entered the monastery of Bec in Normandy (1060), succeeded Lanfranc as Abbot (1078), and as Archbishop of Canterbury (1093). He died in 1109. He left a great number of writings, the most important of which are: the Dialogus de grammatico, the Monologium de divinitatis essentia sive Exemplum de ratione fidei, the Proslogium sive Fides quoerens intellectum, the De veritate, the De fide trinitatis, and the Cur Deus Homo?

"The second Augustine, as St. Anselm had been called, starts out from the same principle as the first; he holds that faith precedes all reflection and all discussion concerning religious things. The unbelievers, he says, strive to understand because they do not believe; we, on the contrary, strive to understand because we believe. They and we have the same object in view; but inasmuch as they do not believe, they cannot arrive at their goal, which is to understand the dogma. The unbeliever will never understand. In religion faith plays the part played by experience in the understanding of the things of this world. The blind man cannot see the light, and therefore does not understand it; the deaf-mute, who has never perceived sound, cannot have a clear idea of sound. Similarly, not to believe means not to perceive, and not to perceive means not to understand. Hence, we do not reflect in order that we may believe; on the contrary, we believe in order that we may arrive at knowledge. A Christian ought never to doubt the beliefs and teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. All he can do is to strive, as humbly as possible, to understand her teachings by believing them, to love them, and resolutely to observe them in his daily life. Should he succeed in understanding the Christian doctrine, let him render thanks to God, the source of all intelligence! In case he fails, that is no reason why he should obstinately attack the dogma, but a reason why he should bow his head in worship. Faith ought not merely to be the starting-point, --the Christian's aim is not to depart from faith but to remain in it, --but also the fixed rule and goal of thought, the beginning, the middle, and the end of all philosophy.

"The above almost literal quotations might give one the impression that St. Anselm belongs exclusively to the history of theology. Such is not the case, however. This fervent Catholic is more independent, more of an investigator and philosopher than be himself imagines. He is a typical scholastic doctor and a fine exponent of the alliance between reason and faith which forms the characteristic trait of mediaeval philosophy. He assumes, a priori, that revelation and reason are in perfect accord. These two manifestations of one and the same Supreme Intelligence cannot possibly contradict each other. Hence, his point of view is diametrically opposed to the credo quia absurdum. Moreover, he too had been besieged by doubt. Indeed, the extreme ardor which impels him to search everywhere for arguments favorable to the dogma, is a confession on his part that the dogma needs support, that it is debatable, that it lacks self-evidence, the criterion of truth. Even as a monk, it was his chief concern to find a simple and conclusive argument in support of the existence of God and of all the doctrines of the Church concerning the Supreme Being. Mere affirmation did not satisfy him; he demanded proofs. This thought was continually before his mind; it caused him to forget his meals, and pursued him even during the solemn moments of worship. He comes to the conclusion that it is a temptation of Satan, and seeks deliverance from it. But in vain. After a night spent in meditation, he at last discovers what be has been seeking for years: the incontrovertible argument in favor of the Christian dogma, and he regards himself as fortunate in having found, not only the proof of the existence of God, but his peace of soul. His demonstrations are like the premises of modern rationalism.

"Everything that exists, he says, has its cause, and this cause may be one or many. If it is one, then we have what we are looking for: God, the unitary being to whom all other beings owe their origin. If it is manifold, there are three possibilities: (1) The manifold may depend on unity as its cause; or (2) Each thing composing the manifold may be self-caused; or (3) Each thing may owe its existence to all the other things. The first case is identical with the hypothesis that everything proceeds from a single cause; for to depend on several causes, all of which depend on a single cause, means to depend on this single cause. In the second case, we must assume that there is a power, force, or faculty of self-existence common to all the particular causes assumed by the hypothesis; a power in which all participate and are comprised. But that would give us what we had in the first case, an absolute unitary cause. The third supposition, which makes each of the 'first causes' depend on all the rest, is absurd; for we cannot hold that a thing has for its cause and condition of existence a thing of which it is itself the cause and condition. Hence we are compelled to believe in a being which is the cause of every existing thing, without being caused by anything itself, and which for that very reason is infinitely more perfect than anything else: it is the most real (ens realissimum), most powerful, and best being. Since it does not depend on any being or on any condition of existence other than itself it is a se and per se; it exists, not because something else exists, but it exists because it exists; that is, it exists necessarily, it is necessary being.

"It would be an easy matter to deduce pantheism from the arguments of the Monologium. Anselm, it is true, protests against such an interpretation of his theology. With St. Augustine he assumes that the world is created ex nihilo. But though accepting this teaching, he modifies it. Before the creation, he says, things did not exist by themselves, independently of God; hence we say they were derived from non-being. But they existed eternally for God and in God, as ideas; they existed before their creation in the sense that the Creator foresaw them and predestined them for existence.

"The existence of God, the unitary and absolute cause of the world, being proved, the question is to determine his nature and attributes. God's perfections are like human perfections; with this difference, however, that they are essential to him, which is not the case with us. Man has received a share of certain perfections, but there is no necessary correlation between him and these perfections; it would have been possible for him not to receive them; he could have existed without them. God, on the contrary, does not get his perfections from without: he has not received them, and we cannot say that he has them; he is and must be everything that these perfections imply; his attributes are identical with his essence. Justice, an attribute of God, and God are not two separate things. We cannot say of God that be has justice or goodness; we cannot even say that be is just; for to be just is to participate in justice after the manner of creatures. God is justice as such, goodness as such, wisdom as such, happiness as such, truth as such, being as such. Moreover, all of God's attributes constitute but a single attribute, by virtue of the unity of his essence (unum est quidquid essentialiter de summa substantia dicitur).

"All this is pure Platonism. But, not content with spiritualising theism, Anselm really discredits it when, like a new Carneades, he enumerates the difficulties which he finds in the conception. God is a simple being and at the same time eternal, that is, diffused over infinite points of time; he is omnipresent, that is, distributed over all points of space. Shall we say that God is omnipresent and eternal? This proposition contradicts the notion of the simplicity of the divine essence. Shall we say that he is nowhere in space and nowhere in time? But that would be equivalent to denying his existence. Let us therefore reconcile these two extremes and say that God is omnipresent and eternal, without being limited by space or time. The following is an equally serious difficulty: In God there is no change and consequently nothing accidental. Now, there is no substance without accidents. Hence God is not a substance; he transcends all substance. Anselm is alarmed at these dangerous consequences of his logic, and he therefore prudently adds that, though the term 'substance' may be incorrect, it is, nevertheless, the best we can apply to God --si quid digne dici potest --and that to avoid or condemn it might perhaps jeopardise our faith in the reality of the Divine Being.

"The most formidable theological antinomy is the doctrine of the trinity of persons in the unity of the divine essence. The Word is the object of eternal thought; it is God in so far as he is thought, conceived, or comprehended by himself. The Holy Spirit is the love of God for the Word, and of the Word for God, the love which God bears himself. But is this explanation satisfactory? And does it not sacrifice the dogma which it professes to explain to the conception of unity? St. Anselm sees in the Trinity and the notion of God insurmountable difficulties and contradictions, which the human mind cannot reconcile. In his discouragement be is obliged to confess, with Scotus Erigena, St. Augustine, and the Neo-Platonists, that no human word can adequately express the essence of the All-High. Even the words 'wisdom' (sapientia) and 'being' (essentia) are but imperfect expressions of what he imagines to be the essence of God. All theological phrases are analogies, figures of speech, and mere approximations.

"The Proslogium sive Fides quoerens intellectum has the same aim as the Monologium: to prove the existence of God. Our author draws the elements of his argument from St. Augustine and Platonism. He sets out from the idea of a perfect being, from which he infers the existence of such a being. We have in ourselves, he says, the idea of an absolutely perfect being. Now, perfection implies existence. Hence God exists. This argument, which has been termed the ontological argument, found an opponent worthy of Anselm in Gaunilo, a monk of Marmoutiers in Touraine. Gaunilo emphasises the difference between thought and being, and points out the fact that we may conceive and imagine a being, and yet that being may not exist. We have as much right to conclude from our idea of an enchanted island in the middle of the ocean that such an island actually exists. The criticism is just. Indeed, the ontological argument would be conclusive, only in case the idea of God and the existence of God in the human mind were identical. If our idea of God is God himself, it is evident that this idea is the immediate and incontrovertible proof of the existence of God. But what the theologian aims to prove is not the existence of the God-Idea of Plato and Hegel, but the existence of the personal God. However that may be, we hardly know what to admire most, --St. Anselm's broad and profound conception, or the sagacity of his opponent who, in the seclusion of his cell, anticipates the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant.

"The rationalistic tendency which we have just noticed in the Monologium and the Proslogium meets us again in the Cur Deus Homo? Why did God become man? The first word of the title sufficiently indicates the philosophical trend of the treatise. The object is to search for the causes of the incarnation. The incarnation, according to St. Anselm, necessarily foIlows from the necessity of redemption. Sin is an offence against the majesty of God. In spite of his goodness, God cannot pardon sin without compounding with honor and justice. On the other hand, he cannot revenge himself on man for his offended honor; for sin is an offence of infinite degree and therefore demands infinite satisfaction; which means that he must either destroy humanity or inflict upon it the eternal punishments of hell. Now, in either case, the goal of creation, the happiness of his creatures, would be missed and the honor of the Creator compromised. There is but one way for God to escape this dilemma without affecting his honor, and that is to arrange for some kind of satisfaction. He must have infinite satisfaction, because the offence is immeasurable. Now, in so far as man is a finite being and incapable of satisfying divine justice in an infinite measure, the infinite being himself must take the matter in charge; he must have recourse to substitution. Hence, the necessity of the incarnation. God becomes man in Christ; Christ suffers and dies in our stead; thus he acquires an infinite merit and the right to an equivalent recompense. But since the world belongs to the Creator, and nothing can be added to its treasures, the recompense which by right belongs to Christ falls to the lot of the human race in which he is incorporated: humanity is pardoned, forgiven, and saved.

"Theological criticism has repudiated Anselm's theory, which bears the stamp of the spirit of chivalry and of feudal customs. But, notwithstanding the attacks of a superficial rationalism, there is an abiding element of truth in it: over and above each personal and variable will there is an absolute, immutable, and incorruptible will, called justice, honor, and duty, in conformity with the customs of the times."

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[Note: As of 1902 - Do not rely on this!]

Patrologioe Cursus Completus. Series Secunda. Tomi CLVIIICLIX. S. Anselm. [Ed. ABBE MIGNE]. Paris, 1853.

CHURCH. A. W. St. Anselm. [Third Edition]. London, 1873

FRANCK, G F. Anselm von Canterbury. Tubingen, 1842.

HASSE, F. R. Anselm von Canterbury. Leipzig, 1843. 2 volumes.

-The same. Translated and abridged by W. Turner. London, 1850.

REMUSAT, CHARLES DE. Anselme de Canterbury. Paris, 1854; 2nd ed., 1868.

RIGG, J. M. St. Anselm of Canterbury. London, 1896.

RULE M. The Ltfe and Times of St. Anselm. London, 1883. 2 volumes.

DE VOSGES, LE COMTE DOMET. Saint Anselme, in the series Les Grands Philosophes. Paris, 1901.

WELCH, A. C. Anselm and His Work. Edinburgh, 1901.

BAUR, F. C. Vorlesungen uber die christliche Dogmengeschichte. Leipzig, 1866. Zweiter Band, 249-251, 298 ff.

ERDMANN, J. E. A History of Philosophy. English Translation [Ed. W. S. HOUGH]. London, 1891. Vol I., 303-314.

HEGEL, G. W. F. Lectures on the History of Philosophy. Translated from the German by E. S. Haldane and F. H. Simson. London, 1896. Vol. III., 61-67.

HOOK, W. T. Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury. London, 1862. Vol. VIII., 169-276.

MAURICE, F.D. Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy. London, 1882. Vol. I., 507-533.

PFLEIDERER, 0. The Philosophy of Religion. Translated by A. Menzies. London, 1888. Vol. III., 27I-276.

UEBERWEG, F.1 History of Philosophy. Translated by G. S. Morris. New York, 1892. Vol. I., 377-386.
Ueberweg gives the titles of German and Latin dissertations on Anselm not included in this list.

 
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« Reply #42 on: May 06, 2010, 04:28:52 PM »

HERE!!  I found something indeed!  Look at the bolded text.  Remember this is about Anselm and not Anselm's own writings,  and so imputes the substitutionary element in as well.  I have all of Anselm in translation so I'll look for the sections referenced here....M

ANSELM'S PHILOSOPHY.

AFTER WEBER.

    Weber's History of Philosophy. Trans. by F. Thilly. New York Scribner's. Price, $2 50

"The first really speculative thinker after Scotus is St. Anselm, the disciple of Lanfranc. He was born at Aosta (1033), entered the monastery of Bec in Normandy (1060), succeeded Lanfranc as Abbot (1078), and as Archbishop of Canterbury (1093). He died in 1109. He left a great number of writings, the most important of which are: the Dialogus de grammatico, the Monologium de divinitatis essentia sive Exemplum de ratione fidei, the Proslogium sive Fides quoerens intellectum, the De veritate, the De fide trinitatis, and the Cur Deus Homo?

"The second Augustine, as St. Anselm had been called, starts out from the same principle as the first; he holds that faith precedes all reflection and all discussion concerning religious things. The unbelievers, he says, strive to understand because they do not believe; we, on the contrary, strive to understand because we believe. They and we have the same object in view; but inasmuch as they do not believe, they cannot arrive at their goal, which is to understand the dogma. The unbeliever will never understand. In religion faith plays the part played by experience in the understanding of the things of this world. The blind man cannot see the light, and therefore does not understand it; the deaf-mute, who has never perceived sound, cannot have a clear idea of sound. Similarly, not to believe means not to perceive, and not to perceive means not to understand. Hence, we do not reflect in order that we may believe; on the contrary, we believe in order that we may arrive at knowledge. A Christian ought never to doubt the beliefs and teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. All he can do is to strive, as humbly as possible, to understand her teachings by believing them, to love them, and resolutely to observe them in his daily life. Should he succeed in understanding the Christian doctrine, let him render thanks to God, the source of all intelligence! In case he fails, that is no reason why he should obstinately attack the dogma, but a reason why he should bow his head in worship. Faith ought not merely to be the starting-point, --the Christian's aim is not to depart from faith but to remain in it, --but also the fixed rule and goal of thought, the beginning, the middle, and the end of all philosophy.

"The above almost literal quotations might give one the impression that St. Anselm belongs exclusively to the history of theology. Such is not the case, however. This fervent Catholic is more independent, more of an investigator and philosopher than be himself imagines. He is a typical scholastic doctor and a fine exponent of the alliance between reason and faith which forms the characteristic trait of mediaeval philosophy. He assumes, a priori, that revelation and reason are in perfect accord. These two manifestations of one and the same Supreme Intelligence cannot possibly contradict each other. Hence, his point of view is diametrically opposed to the credo quia absurdum. Moreover, he too had been besieged by doubt. Indeed, the extreme ardor which impels him to search everywhere for arguments favorable to the dogma, is a confession on his part that the dogma needs support, that it is debatable, that it lacks self-evidence, the criterion of truth. Even as a monk, it was his chief concern to find a simple and conclusive argument in support of the existence of God and of all the doctrines of the Church concerning the Supreme Being. Mere affirmation did not satisfy him; he demanded proofs. This thought was continually before his mind; it caused him to forget his meals, and pursued him even during the solemn moments of worship. He comes to the conclusion that it is a temptation of Satan, and seeks deliverance from it. But in vain. After a night spent in meditation, he at last discovers what be has been seeking for years: the incontrovertible argument in favor of the Christian dogma, and he regards himself as fortunate in having found, not only the proof of the existence of God, but his peace of soul. His demonstrations are like the premises of modern rationalism.

"Everything that exists, he says, has its cause, and this cause may be one or many. If it is one, then we have what we are looking for: God, the unitary being to whom all other beings owe their origin. If it is manifold, there are three possibilities: (1) The manifold may depend on unity as its cause; or (2) Each thing composing the manifold may be self-caused; or (3) Each thing may owe its existence to all the other things. The first case is identical with the hypothesis that everything proceeds from a single cause; for to depend on several causes, all of which depend on a single cause, means to depend on this single cause. In the second case, we must assume that there is a power, force, or faculty of self-existence common to all the particular causes assumed by the hypothesis; a power in which all participate and are comprised. But that would give us what we had in the first case, an absolute unitary cause. The third supposition, which makes each of the 'first causes' depend on all the rest, is absurd; for we cannot hold that a thing has for its cause and condition of existence a thing of which it is itself the cause and condition. Hence we are compelled to believe in a being which is the cause of every existing thing, without being caused by anything itself, and which for that very reason is infinitely more perfect than anything else: it is the most real (ens realissimum), most powerful, and best being. Since it does not depend on any being or on any condition of existence other than itself it is a se and per se; it exists, not because something else exists, but it exists because it exists; that is, it exists necessarily, it is necessary being.

"It would be an easy matter to deduce pantheism from the arguments of the Monologium. Anselm, it is true, protests against such an interpretation of his theology. With St. Augustine he assumes that the world is created ex nihilo. But though accepting this teaching, he modifies it. Before the creation, he says, things did not exist by themselves, independently of God; hence we say they were derived from non-being. But they existed eternally for God and in God, as ideas; they existed before their creation in the sense that the Creator foresaw them and predestined them for existence.

"The existence of God, the unitary and absolute cause of the world, being proved, the question is to determine his nature and attributes. God's perfections are like human perfections; with this difference, however, that they are essential to him, which is not the case with us. Man has received a share of certain perfections, but there is no necessary correlation between him and these perfections; it would have been possible for him not to receive them; he could have existed without them. God, on the contrary, does not get his perfections from without: he has not received them, and we cannot say that he has them; he is and must be everything that these perfections imply; his attributes are identical with his essence. Justice, an attribute of God, and God are not two separate things. We cannot say of God that be has justice or goodness; we cannot even say that be is just; for to be just is to participate in justice after the manner of creatures. God is justice as such, goodness as such, wisdom as such, happiness as such, truth as such, being as such. Moreover, all of God's attributes constitute but a single attribute, by virtue of the unity of his essence (unum est quidquid essentialiter de summa substantia dicitur).

"All this is pure Platonism. But, not content with spiritualising theism, Anselm really discredits it when, like a new Carneades, he enumerates the difficulties which he finds in the conception. God is a simple being and at the same time eternal, that is, diffused over infinite points of time; he is omnipresent, that is, distributed over all points of space. Shall we say that God is omnipresent and eternal? This proposition contradicts the notion of the simplicity of the divine essence. Shall we say that he is nowhere in space and nowhere in time? But that would be equivalent to denying his existence. Let us therefore reconcile these two extremes and say that God is omnipresent and eternal, without being limited by space or time. The following is an equally serious difficulty: In God there is no change and consequently nothing accidental. Now, there is no substance without accidents. Hence God is not a substance; he transcends all substance. Anselm is alarmed at these dangerous consequences of his logic, and he therefore prudently adds that, though the term 'substance' may be incorrect, it is, nevertheless, the best we can apply to God --si quid digne dici potest --and that to avoid or condemn it might perhaps jeopardise our faith in the reality of the Divine Being.

"The most formidable theological antinomy is the doctrine of the trinity of persons in the unity of the divine essence. The Word is the object of eternal thought; it is God in so far as he is thought, conceived, or comprehended by himself. The Holy Spirit is the love of God for the Word, and of the Word for God, the love which God bears himself. But is this explanation satisfactory? And does it not sacrifice the dogma which it professes to explain to the conception of unity? St. Anselm sees in the Trinity and the notion of God insurmountable difficulties and contradictions, which the human mind cannot reconcile. In his discouragement be is obliged to confess, with Scotus Erigena, St. Augustine, and the Neo-Platonists, that no human word can adequately express the essence of the All-High. Even the words 'wisdom' (sapientia) and 'being' (essentia) are but imperfect expressions of what he imagines to be the essence of God. All theological phrases are analogies, figures of speech, and mere approximations.

"The Proslogium sive Fides quoerens intellectum has the same aim as the Monologium: to prove the existence of God. Our author draws the elements of his argument from St. Augustine and Platonism. He sets out from the idea of a perfect being, from which he infers the existence of such a being. We have in ourselves, he says, the idea of an absolutely perfect being. Now, perfection implies existence. Hence God exists. This argument, which has been termed the ontological argument, found an opponent worthy of Anselm in Gaunilo, a monk of Marmoutiers in Touraine. Gaunilo emphasises the difference between thought and being, and points out the fact that we may conceive and imagine a being, and yet that being may not exist. We have as much right to conclude from our idea of an enchanted island in the middle of the ocean that such an island actually exists. The criticism is just. Indeed, the ontological argument would be conclusive, only in case the idea of God and the existence of God in the human mind were identical. If our idea of God is God himself, it is evident that this idea is the immediate and incontrovertible proof of the existence of God. But what the theologian aims to prove is not the existence of the God-Idea of Plato and Hegel, but the existence of the personal God. However that may be, we hardly know what to admire most, --St. Anselm's broad and profound conception, or the sagacity of his opponent who, in the seclusion of his cell, anticipates the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant.

"The rationalistic tendency which we have just noticed in the Monologium and the Proslogium meets us again in the Cur Deus Homo? Why did God become man? The first word of the title sufficiently indicates the philosophical trend of the treatise. The object is to search for the causes of the incarnation. The incarnation, according to St. Anselm, necessarily foIlows from the necessity of redemption. Sin is an offence against the majesty of God. In spite of his goodness, God cannot pardon sin without compounding with honor and justice. On the other hand, he cannot revenge himself on man for his offended honor; for sin is an offence of infinite degree and therefore demands infinite satisfaction; which means that he must either destroy humanity or inflict upon it the eternal punishments of hell. Now, in either case, the goal of creation, the happiness of his creatures, would be missed and the honor of the Creator compromised. There is but one way for God to escape this dilemma without affecting his honor, and that is to arrange for some kind of satisfaction. He must have infinite satisfaction, because the offence is immeasurable. Now, in so far as man is a finite being and incapable of satisfying divine justice in an infinite measure, the infinite being himself must take the matter in charge; he must have recourse to substitution. Hence, the necessity of the incarnation. God becomes man in Christ; Christ suffers and dies in our stead; thus he acquires an infinite merit and the right to an equivalent recompense. But since the world belongs to the Creator, and nothing can be added to its treasures, the recompense which by right belongs to Christ falls to the lot of the human race in which he is incorporated: humanity is pardoned, forgiven, and saved.

"Theological criticism has repudiated Anselm's theory, which bears the stamp of the spirit of chivalry and of feudal customs. But, notwithstanding the attacks of a superficial rationalism, there is an abiding element of truth in it: over and above each personal and variable will there is an absolute, immutable, and incorruptible will, called justice, honor, and duty, in conformity with the customs of the times."

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[Note: As of 1902 - Do not rely on this!]

Patrologioe Cursus Completus. Series Secunda. Tomi CLVIIICLIX. S. Anselm. [Ed. ABBE MIGNE]. Paris, 1853.

CHURCH. A. W. St. Anselm. [Third Edition]. London, 1873

FRANCK, G F. Anselm von Canterbury. Tubingen, 1842.

HASSE, F. R. Anselm von Canterbury. Leipzig, 1843. 2 volumes.

-The same. Translated and abridged by W. Turner. London, 1850.

REMUSAT, CHARLES DE. Anselme de Canterbury. Paris, 1854; 2nd ed., 1868.

RIGG, J. M. St. Anselm of Canterbury. London, 1896.

RULE M. The Ltfe and Times of St. Anselm. London, 1883. 2 volumes.

DE VOSGES, LE COMTE DOMET. Saint Anselme, in the series Les Grands Philosophes. Paris, 1901.

WELCH, A. C. Anselm and His Work. Edinburgh, 1901.

BAUR, F. C. Vorlesungen uber die christliche Dogmengeschichte. Leipzig, 1866. Zweiter Band, 249-251, 298 ff.

ERDMANN, J. E. A History of Philosophy. English Translation [Ed. W. S. HOUGH]. London, 1891. Vol I., 303-314.

HEGEL, G. W. F. Lectures on the History of Philosophy. Translated from the German by E. S. Haldane and F. H. Simson. London, 1896. Vol. III., 61-67.

HOOK, W. T. Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury. London, 1862. Vol. VIII., 169-276.

MAURICE, F.D. Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy. London, 1882. Vol. I., 507-533.

PFLEIDERER, 0. The Philosophy of Religion. Translated by A. Menzies. London, 1888. Vol. III., 27I-276.

UEBERWEG, F.1 History of Philosophy. Translated by G. S. Morris. New York, 1892. Vol. I., 377-386.
Ueberweg gives the titles of German and Latin dissertations on Anselm not included in this list.

 
Good article. I do enjoy some of Anslem's work but I fear that he tends too far in the direction of rationalism. Further, I agree with the critque of his theory of atonement. Aquinas, I believe, holds a better view: God could have redeemed us in another way, but he chose the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ because it was the supreme way to do so.
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« Reply #43 on: May 06, 2010, 04:30:10 PM »

I personally thought Anselm was a major player in spreading the idea of substitutionary atonement.  And many Orthodox Churches also put the blame on Aquinas.


I am not certain why the blame St. Thomas Aquinas. His view is dissonant with the theory of substitutionary atonement.
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« Reply #44 on: May 06, 2010, 05:08:50 PM »

I personally thought Anselm was a major player in spreading the idea of substitutionary atonement.  And many Orthodox Churches also put the blame on Aquinas.


I am not certain why the blame St. Thomas Aquinas. His view is dissonant with the theory of substitutionary atonement.

So is Anselm's actually. One has to put penal substitution into Anselm...It is not there naturally.

M.
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« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2010, 05:12:12 PM »

I personally thought Anselm was a major player in spreading the idea of substitutionary atonement.  And many Orthodox Churches also put the blame on Aquinas.


I am not certain why the blame St. Thomas Aquinas. His view is dissonant with the theory of substitutionary atonement.

So is Anselm's actually. One has to put penal substitution into Anselm...It is not there naturally.

M.

Among the things underlying Anselm is the question of why a truly loving God ejected Adam and Eve and all the ensuing generations out of paradise...and why is there such a state or place as hell?

How can a genuinely loving God do these things.

The answer demands a rational examination of Scripture and the life of Christ and tradition in order to satisfy...That is important to some people. 
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« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2010, 05:28:05 PM »

I personally thought Anselm was a major player in spreading the idea of substitutionary atonement.  And many Orthodox Churches also put the blame on Aquinas.


I am not certain why the blame St. Thomas Aquinas. His view is dissonant with the theory of substitutionary atonement.

So is Anselm's actually. One has to put penal substitution into Anselm...It is not there naturally.

M.
Good to know... I have not studied St. Anselm nearly as much as I have studied St. Thomas Aquinas. I will have to read more on Anselm and his view.
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« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2010, 06:58:55 PM »

I personally thought Anselm was a major player in spreading the idea of substitutionary atonement.  And many Orthodox Churches also put the blame on Aquinas.


I am not certain why the blame St. Thomas Aquinas. His view is dissonant with the theory of substitutionary atonement.

Well, St. Thomas Aquinas is Catholic, so by virtue, that just makes him disagreeable... Tongue

Or for other cases, I tend to feel it's the Orthodox Christian way of being disagreeable  Wink
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« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2010, 07:09:18 PM »

Thank you Mary and Papist...

To be quite honest, I wonder how they came up with the idea of an offense of an infinite degree that requires infinite punishment or someone of infinite merit.  It just becomes overly legalistic.  It really doesn't seem much different than penal substitution.  But as you said, this is from the article, not directly from his writings, so I'm looking forward to see what you have next on Anselm.

I was wondering.  Does Aquinas say the same thing as the article implies.  Since the offense is infinite, therefore, should there be a repayment of that infinite offense in some sort of way?

Plus, I usually tend to think that the power of the offense is measured by the one who offends, not necessarily by who is offended.
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« Reply #49 on: May 07, 2010, 01:31:04 AM »

Dear Mary,

I was also wondering if you can also help me out with the issue of "infinite sin."
Aquinas argues that sin is not infinite in its essence, but that the person offended, namely God, is infinite.

Something just occurred in what you say here.  Would Aquinas still use the phrase "infinite sin" even though it's not an accurate phrase, and would he say that this is not an accurate phrase, that really the "infinite" describes God, not sin itself?
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« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2010, 02:07:13 AM »

Thank you Mary and Papist...

To be quite honest, I wonder how they came up with the idea of an offense of an infinite degree that requires infinite punishment or someone of infinite merit.  It just becomes overly legalistic.  It really doesn't seem much different than penal substitution.  But as you said, this is from the article, not directly from his writings, so I'm looking forward to see what you have next on Anselm.

I was wondering.  Does Aquinas say the same thing as the article implies.  Since the offense is infinite, therefore, should there be a repayment of that infinite offense in some sort of way?

Plus, I usually tend to think that the power of the offense is measured by the one who offends, not necessarily by who is offended.

The idea that reparation could be achieved only by a person of equal standing
was firmly embedded in the society of Anselm's time.
In Anselm's formulation, our sins were like an
offence against the honour of a mighty ruler. The ruler is not free to simply
forgive the transgression; restitution must be made. (This is a crucial new
element in the story; earlier Christians believed that God the Father did, in
fact, freely forgive us, like the father of the Prodigal Son - that parable
deserves serious thought in connection with this discussion.) No human would be
adequate to pay this debt, so God the Son volunteers to do so. "If the Son chose
to make over the claim He had on God to man, could the Father justly forbid Him
doing so, or refuse to man what the Son willed to give him?" Christ satisfies
our debt in this, the "Satisfaction Theory." Western Christian theology marched
on from that point, encountering controversies and developments and revisions,
but locked on the idea that Christ's death was directed toward the Father. When
Western theologians look back at the centuries before Anselm they can't find his
theory anywhere (well, there are some premonitions in Tertullian and Cyprian,
but it wasn't the mainstream.) And Anselm's ideas which developed when
Christendom had been rent in two remain, still, essentially unknown to the
ancient Churches of the East.
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« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2010, 06:35:11 AM »

Thank you Mary and Papist...

To be quite honest, I wonder how they came up with the idea of an offense of an infinite degree that requires infinite punishment or someone of infinite merit.  It just becomes overly legalistic.  It really doesn't seem much different than penal substitution.  But as you said, this is from the article, not directly from his writings, so I'm looking forward to see what you have next on Anselm.

I was wondering.  Does Aquinas say the same thing as the article implies.  Since the offense is infinite, therefore, should there be a repayment of that infinite offense in some sort of way?

Plus, I usually tend to think that the power of the offense is measured by the one who offends, not necessarily by who is offended.

When God Created everything out of nothing, it was created in right order because there is nothing but Good that comes from God.

Once sin comes into Creation, all of Creation then shows forth the results of that release of evil.

Adam's was the ancestral sin.  His was not the first sin.

So it is not a matter of the power of the offense.  It is a matter of how one sets aright the results of evil entering creation. 

Once Satan fell from grace, evil was is and ever shall be loose in the world.  And the only way to contain evil is to establish a form of containment that will be everlasting.

The honor that is given to God by man, east and west, north and south, at its core, is whatever we do to seek God's will which is the original right order of creation.

Willing something means nothing until we act.  You and I can sit on our duffs for an age "willing" to get up but until one of us DOES it, the willing is meaningless.

So we cannot fix creation but we can be and be in it, in such a way that we orient our doing and being in accordance with the original good order of creation.  And THAT is the honor we can give to God and THAT is our participation in the salvific action of Christ.

Satisfaction is nothing more that the restoration of right order into creation.

You can't do that.  I can't do that.  Only GOD can do that.  And the Son of God did that.

At some level it is very simple minded.

M.
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« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2010, 01:29:25 PM »

So if bringing back the right order of creation is the key point here, then there seems to be no room for an idea of "infinite offense" in your description, as such would go against what you wrote quite beautifully.

So what is the point of Anselm and/or Aquinas (if Anselm doesn't say this) concerning "infinite offense" if God is not offended, but rather we offend ourselves, and that God can only fix what we did to ourselves?
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« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2010, 01:31:38 PM »

So if bringing back the right order of creation is the key point here, then there seems to be no room for an idea of "infinite offense" in your description, as such would go against what you wrote quite beautifully.

So what is the point of Anselm and/or Aquinas (if Anselm doesn't say this) concerning "infinite offense" if God is not offended, but rather we offend ourselves, and that God can only fix what we did to ourselves?
I think we walk into a dangerous and unscriptural place is we say that God is not offended by our sins. I am not saying that God is changeable or "hurt" by our sin, but the scriptures seem to indicate that in some way God is offended by our sin. In fact, the scriptures demonstrates that he "hates" our sins.
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« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2010, 01:35:27 PM »

So if bringing back the right order of creation is the key point here, then there seems to be no room for an idea of "infinite offense" in your description, as such would go against what you wrote quite beautifully.

So what is the point of Anselm and/or Aquinas (if Anselm doesn't say this) concerning "infinite offense" if God is not offended, but rather we offend ourselves, and that God can only fix what we did to ourselves?

Presuming that not all will or do repent....of course.  Has Satan repented and is he now in heaven?  That would be wonderful news because then we could all be free from any concerns of the demonic.

M.
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« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2010, 01:40:07 PM »

So if bringing back the right order of creation is the key point here, then there seems to be no room for an idea of "infinite offense" in your description, as such would go against what you wrote quite beautifully.

So what is the point of Anselm and/or Aquinas (if Anselm doesn't say this) concerning "infinite offense" if God is not offended, but rather we offend ourselves, and that God can only fix what we did to ourselves?
I think we walk into a dangerous and unscriptural place is we say that God is not offended by our sins. I am not saying that God is changeable or "hurt" by our sin, but the scriptures seem to indicate that in some way God is offended by our sin. In fact, the scriptures demonstrates that he "hates" our sins.

You're right.  He's wrathful against sin.  I don't mean to cheapen the seriousness of sin.  But at the same time, I tend to see God's wrath as a form of chastisement not mere punishment.  Therefore, to directly "offend" God because of sin is not necessarily make God form a knee-jerk reaction of anger, but God is disappointed and loving enough that He chastises us.  In other words, God centers His purpose around us, not around Himself.  Otherwise, we go to the other extreme, that rather than fixing humanity's ailments, He's only appeasing Himself, His own anger, sort of like a boxing max rather than a physician healing a patient.

When I think of "infinite offense," I think that my fist was big and powerful enough to cause a dent in God.  Really, this is why I cringe at the term.  In other words, offense and sin are infinite, not God.  So why continue using the term if they're not really infinite?
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« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2010, 01:45:44 PM »

So if bringing back the right order of creation is the key point here, then there seems to be no room for an idea of "infinite offense" in your description, as such would go against what you wrote quite beautifully.

So what is the point of Anselm and/or Aquinas (if Anselm doesn't say this) concerning "infinite offense" if God is not offended, but rather we offend ourselves, and that God can only fix what we did to ourselves?
I think we walk into a dangerous and unscriptural place is we say that God is not offended by our sins. I am not saying that God is changeable or "hurt" by our sin, but the scriptures seem to indicate that in some way God is offended by our sin. In fact, the scriptures demonstrates that he "hates" our sins.

You're right.  He's wrathful against sin.  I don't mean to cheapen the seriousness of sin.  But at the same time, I tend to see God's wrath as a form of chastisement not mere punishment.  Therefore, to directly "offend" God because of sin is not necessarily make God form a knee-jerk reaction of anger, but God is disappointed and loving enough that He chastises us.  In other words, God centers His purpose around us, not around Himself.  Otherwise, we go to the other extreme, that rather than fixing humanity's ailments, He's only appeasing Himself, His own anger.

When I think of "infinite offense," I think that my fist was big and powerful enough to cause a dent in God.  Really, this is why I cringe at the term.  In other words, offense and sin are infinite, not God.  So why continue using the term if they're not really infinite?
I agree with pretty much most of what you are saying. I am going to do some more research on this "infinite offense" term this weekend, because you are right. We can't put a dent in God.
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« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2010, 10:58:53 PM »

So if bringing back the right order of creation is the key point here, then there seems to be no room for an idea of "infinite offense" in your description, as such would go against what you wrote quite beautifully.

So what is the point of Anselm and/or Aquinas (if Anselm doesn't say this) concerning "infinite offense" if God is not offended, but rather we offend ourselves, and that God can only fix what we did to ourselves?

Presuming that not all will or do repent....of course.  Has Satan repented and is he now in heaven?  That would be wonderful news because then we could all be free from any concerns of the demonic.

Saint Martin of Tours tells us that Satan in capable of repentance and a return to heaven.

To read what Saint Martin says go to messages 1623

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg428893.html#msg428893
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« Reply #58 on: May 08, 2010, 02:33:24 AM »

So if bringing back the right order of creation is the key point here, then there seems to be no room for an idea of "infinite offense" in your description, as such would go against what you wrote quite beautifully.

So what is the point of Anselm and/or Aquinas (if Anselm doesn't say this) concerning "infinite offense" if God is not offended, but rather we offend ourselves, and that God can only fix what we did to ourselves?
I think we walk into a dangerous and unscriptural place is we say that God is not offended by our sins. I am not saying that God is changeable or "hurt" by our sin, but the scriptures seem to indicate that in some way God is offended by our sin. In fact, the scriptures demonstrates that he "hates" our sins.

You're right.  He's wrathful against sin.  I don't mean to cheapen the seriousness of sin.  But at the same time, I tend to see God's wrath as a form of chastisement not mere punishment.  Therefore, to directly "offend" God because of sin is not necessarily make God form a knee-jerk reaction of anger, but God is disappointed and loving enough that He chastises us.  In other words, God centers His purpose around us, not around Himself.  Otherwise, we go to the other extreme, that rather than fixing humanity's ailments, He's only appeasing Himself, His own anger.

When I think of "infinite offense," I think that my fist was big and powerful enough to cause a dent in God.  Really, this is why I cringe at the term.  In other words, offense and sin are infinite, not God.  So why continue using the term if they're not really infinite?
I agree with pretty much most of what you are saying. I am going to do some more research on this "infinite offense" term this weekend, because you are right. We can't put a dent in God.

Looking forward to the results of your research  Smiley
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« Reply #59 on: May 08, 2010, 02:47:10 AM »


I agree with pretty much most of what you are saying. I am going to do some more research on this "infinite offense" term this weekend, because you are right. We can't put a dent in God.
Christ is Risen!

I say, believe, declare and proclaim that, in my limited understanding of Roman theology, the sins which you, personally, are committing today are an infinite offence against the infinite holiness of God.  It is only thanks to the redemption wrought by Christ on the Cross that God is willing to forgive you your infinite offences against Him.
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« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2010, 08:38:47 AM »


I agree with pretty much most of what you are saying. I am going to do some more research on this "infinite offense" term this weekend, because you are right. We can't put a dent in God.
Christ is Risen!

I say, believe, declare and proclaim that, in my limited understanding of Roman theology, the sins which you, personally, are committing today are an infinite offence against the infinite holiness of God.  It is only thanks to the redemption wrought by Christ on the Cross that God is willing to forgive you your infinite offences against Him.

If and only if you repent those sins which were committed in knowledge and with full consent of the will.  Part of Christ's saving act is to give us the Gospels and the mystery of Baptism so that we may know our sins and repent.  The tears of the penitent are a laver of regeneration just as the waters of Baptism, but without them the heart is a heart of stone and will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but be condemned by its own will to the fires of eternity.

M.
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« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2010, 11:59:04 AM »

A number of years ago the Orthodox theologian David B. Hart published an essay on Anselm in the ecumenical journal Pro Ecclesia.  Unfortunately, I cannot find my copy of the article.  He also discusses Anselm in his now famous book The Beauty of the Infinite.  Hart believes that Anselm has been much misunderstood, both in the West and East.  Here is a passage from the book that I found on the internet:

Quote
.. the notion that Christ's death constitutes an appeasement of divine wrath against sin figures more than marginally in the history of Christain reflection upon salvation, especially in the West. Is it not the case, one might at least ask, that the theology of atonement has usually involved some sense that the death of Christ is required by the Father as a transaction that accomplishes reconciliation, and has therefore made God complicit in the violence of sacrifice? The locus classicus of the "substitution theory" of atonement is, of course, the Cur Deus Homo of Anselm .... If one is to reconsider the presence of violence in Christian sacrificial themes, and not do so with quite the peremptory disregard for tradition that Girard evinces, it would be disingenuous (to say the least) to ignore not only Anselm's influence but the claims his theology makes upon Christian thought ...

The argument of Cur Deus Homo ... Every rational creature is created to partake of beatitude in God, Anselm asserts, in return for which the creature owes God perfect obedience, by withholding which humanity offends infinitely against the divine honor and merits death .... the God-man must come, in order to make satisfaction on humanity's defense ....

But Anselm's argument, thus denuded of every nuance and ambiguity that enriches the text from which it is drawn, is susceptible of every causal misconstrual the theological mind can devise .....

... the closer the attention one pays Anselm's argument, the harder it becomes to locate the exact point at which he supposedly breaks from patristic orthodoxy. The divine action follows the same course as in the "classic" model: human sin having disrupted the order of God's good creation, and humanity having been handed over to death and the devil's rule, God enters into a condition of estrangement and slavery to set humanity free .... Anselm's is not a new narrative of salvation. In truth, this facile distinction between a patristic soteriology concerned exclusively with the rescue of humanity from death and a theory of atonement concerned exclusively with remission from guilt - the distinction, that is, between "Physical" and "moral" theories - is supportable, if at all, only in terms of emphasis and imagery; Athanasius, Gregory of nysea, and John of Damascus (to name a few) were no less conscious than Anselm of the guilt overcome by Christ on the cross, nor he any less concerned than they with the Son's campaign against death's dominion .... And it is explicitly not a story about a sustitutionary sacrifice offered as a simple restitution for human guilt, but concerns, rather, the triumph over death, the devil, and sin accomplished in Christ's voluntary self-donation to the Father, which the Father receives (as Gregory the Theologian would say) "by economy", so that its benefits might rebound to those with whom Christ has assumed solidarity ....

Even here, then, in the text that most notoriously expounds the sacrificial logic of atonement, the idea of sacrifice is subverted from within: as the story of Christ's sacrifice belongs not to an ecomony of credit and exchange but to the trinitarian motion of love, it is given entirely as gift - a gift given when it should not have needed to be given again, by God, at a price that we imposed upon him .... the primordiality of the gift is the truth of Christ's paschal donation: the gift God gives in creation continues to be given again, ever more fully, in defiance of all rejection, economy, violence, and indifference; there is no division between justice and mercy in God, on Anselm's account, because both belong already to the giving of the gift - which precedes, exceeds, and annuls all debt.

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« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2010, 01:09:48 PM »

In the same vein as Father Al's immediately preceding post:

The Truth of the Resurrection | Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger | From Introduction to Christianity

http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2007/ratzinger_resurrectionitc_mar07.asp

To the Christian, faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an expression of certainty that the saying that seems to be only a beautiful dream is in fact true: "Love is strong as death" (Song 8:6). In the Old Testament this sentence comes in the middle of praises of the power of eros. But this by no means signifies that we can simply push it aside as a lyrical exaggeration. The boundless demands of eros", its apparent exaggerations and extravagance, do in reality give expression to a basic problem, indeed the" basic problem of human existence, insofar as they reflect the nature and intrinsic paradox of love: love demands infinity, indestructibility; indeed, it is, so to speak, a call for infinity. But it is also a fact that this cry of love's cannot be satisfied, that it demands infinity but cannot grant it; that it claims eternity but in fact is included in the world of death, in its loneliness and its power of destruction. Only from this angle can one understand what "resurrection" means. It is" the greater strength of love in face of death.

At the same time it is proof of what only immortality can create: being in the other who still stands when I have fallen apart. Man is a being who himself does not live forever but is necessarily delivered up to death. For him, since he has no continuance in himself, survival, from a purely human point of view, can only become possible through his continuing to exist in another. The statements of Scripture about the connection between sin and death are to he understood from this angle. For it now becomes clear that man's attempt "to be like God", his striving for autonomy, through which he wishes to stand on his own feet alone, means his death, for he just cannot stand on his own. If man--and this is the real nature of sin--nevertheless refuses to recognize his own limits and tries to be completely self-sufficient, then precisely by adopting this attitude he delivers himself up to death.

Of course man does understand that his life alone does not endure and that he must therefore strive to exist in others, so as to remain through them and in them in the land of the living. Two ways in particular have been tried. First, living on in one's own children: that is why in primitive peoples failure to marry and childlessness are regarded as the most terrible curse; they mean hopeless destruction, final death. Conversely, the largest possible number of children offers at the same time the greatest possible chance of survival, hope of immortality, and thus the most genuine blessing that man can expect. Another way discloses itself when man discovers that in his children he only continues to exist in a very unreal way; he wants more of himself to remain. So he takes refuge in the idea of fame, which should make him really immortal if be lives on through all ages in the memory of others. But this second attempt of man's to obtain immortality for himself by existing in others fails just as badly as the first: what remains is not the self but only its echo, a mere shadow. So self-made immortality is really only a Hades, a sheol": more nonbeing than being. The inadequacy of both ways lies partly in the fact that the other person who holds my being after my death cannot carry this being itself but only its echo; and even more in the fact that even time other person to whom I have, so to speak, entrusted my continuance will not last--he, too, will perish.

This leads us to the next step. We have seen so far that man has no permanence in himself. And consequently can only continue to exist in another but that his existence in another is only shadowy and once again not final, because this other must perish, too. If this is so, then only one could truly give lasting stability: he who is, who does not come into existence and pass away again but abides in the midst of transience: the God of the living, who does not hold just the shadow and echo of my being, whose ideas are not just copies of reality. I myself am his thought, which establishes me more securely, so to speak, than I am in myself; his thought is not the posthumous shadow but the original source and strength of my being. In him I can stand as more than a shadow; in him I am truly closer to myself than I should be if I just tried to stay by myself.

Before we return from here to the Resurrection, let us try to see the same thing once again from a somewhat different side. We can start again from the dictum about love and death and say: Only where someone values love more highly than life, that is, only where someone is ready to put life second to love, for the sake of love, can love be stronger and more than death. If it is to be more than death, it must first be more than mere life. But if it could be this, not just in intention but in reality, then that would mean at the same time that the power of love had risen superior to the power of the merely biological and taken it into its service. To use Teilhard de Chardin's terminology; where that took place, the decisive complexity or "complexification" would have occurred; bios, too, would be encompassed by and incorporated in the power of love. It would cross the boundary--death--and create unity where death divides. If the power of love for another were so strong somewhere that it could keep alive not just his memory, the shadow of his "I", but that person himself, then a new stage in life would have been reached. This would mean that the realm of biological evolutions and mutations had been left behind and the leap made to a quite different plane, on which love was no longer subject to bios but made use of it. Such a final stage of "mutation" and "evolution" would itself no longer be a biological stage; it would signify the end of the sovereignty of bios, which is at the same time the sovereignty of death; it would open up the realm that the Greek Bible calls zoe, that is, definitive life, which has left behind the rule of death. The last stage of evolution needed by the world to reach its goal would then no longer be achieved within the realm of biology but by the spirit, by freedom, by love. It would no longer be evolution but decision and gift in one.

But what has all this to do, it may be asked, with faith in the Resurrection of Jesus? Well, we previously considered the question of the possible immortality of man from two sides, which now turn out to be aspects of one and. the same state of affairs. We said that, as man has no permanence in himself, his survival could. only be brought about by his living on in another. And we said, from the point of view of this "other", that only the love that takes up the beloved in itself, into its own being, could make possible this existence in the other. These two complementary aspects are mirrored again, so it seems to me, in the two New Testament ways of describing the Resurrection of the Lord: "Jesus has risen" and "God (the Father) has awakened Jesus." The two formulas meet in the fact that Jesus' total love for men, which leads him to the Cross, is perfected in totally passing beyond to the Father and therein becomes stronger than death, because in this it is at the same time total "being held" by him.

From this a further step results. We can now say that love always establishes some kind of immortality; even in its prehuman stage, it points, in the form of preservation of the species, in this direction. Indeed, this founding of immortality is not something incidental to love, not one thing that it does among others, but what really gives it its specific character. This principle can be reversed; it then signifies that immortality always" proceeds from love, never out of the autarchy of that which is sufficient to itself. We may even be bold enough to assert that this principle, properly understood, also applies even to God as he is seen by the Christian faith. God, too, is absolute permanence, as opposed to everything transitory, for the reason that he is the relation of three Persons to one another, their incorporation in the "for one another" of love, act-substance of the love that is absolute and therefore completely "relative", living only "in relation to". As we said earlier, it is not autarchy, which knows no one but itself, that is divine; what is revolutionary about the Christian view of the world and of God, we found, as opposed to those of antiquity, is that it learns to understand the "absolute" as absolute "relatedness", as relatio subsistens.

To return to our argument, love is the foundation of immortality, and immortality proceeds from love alone. This statement to which we have now worked our way also means that he who has love for all has established immortality for all. That is precisely the meaning of the biblical statement that his Resurrection is our life. The--to us--curious reasoning of St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians now becomes comprehensible: if he has risen, then we have, too, for then love is stronger than death; if he has not risen, then we have not either, for then the situation is still that death has the last word, nothing else (cf. I Cor 15:16f.). Since this is a statement of central importance, let us spell it out once again in a different way: Either love is stronger than death, or it is not. If it has become so in him, then it became so precisely as love for others. This also means, it is true, that our own love, left to itself, is not sufficient to overcome death; taken in itself it would have to remain an unanswered cry. It means that only his love, coinciding with God's own power of life and love, can be the foundation of our immortality. Nevertheless, it still remains true that the mode of our immortality will depend on our mode of loving. We shall have to return to this in the section on the Last Judgment.

A further point emerges from this discussion. Given the foregoing considerations, it goes without saying that the life of him who has risen from the dead is not once again bios, the biological form of our mortal life within history; it is zoe, new, different, definitive life; life that has stepped beyond the mortal realm of bios and history, a realm that has here been surpassed by a greater power. And in fact the Resurrection narratives of the New Testament allow us to see clearly that the life of the Risen One lies, not within the historical bios, but beyond and above it. It is also true, of course, that this new life begot itself in history and had to do so, because after all it is there for history, and the Christian message is basically nothing else than the transmission of the testimony that love has managed to break through death here and thus has transformed fundamentally the situation of all of us. Once we have realized this, it is no longer difficult to find the right kind of hermeneutics for the difficult business of expounding the biblical Resurrection narratives, that is, to acquire a clear understanding of the sense in which they must properly be understood. Obviously we cannot attempt here a detailed discussion of the questions involved, which today present themselves in a more difficult form than ever before; especially as historical and--for the most part inadequately pondered--philosophical statements are becoming more and more inextricably intertwined, and exegesis itself quite often produces its own philosophy, which is intended to appear to the layman as a supremely refined distillation of the biblical evidence. Many points of detail will here always remain open to discussion, but it is possible to recognize a fundamental dividing line between explanation that remains explanation and arbitrary adaptations [to contemporary ways of thinking].

First of all, it is quite clear that after his Resurrection Christ did not go back to his previous earthly life, as we are told the young man of Nain and Lazarus did. He rose again to definitive life, which is no longer governed by chemical and biological laws and therefore stands outside the possibility of death, in the eternity conferred by love. That is why the encounters with him are "appearances"; that is why he with whom people had sat at table two days earlier is not recognized by his best friends and, even when recognized, remains foreign: only where he grants vision is he seen; only when he opens men's eyes and makes their hearts open up can the countenance of the eternal love that conquers death become recognizable in our mortal world, and, in that love, the new, different world, the world of him who is to come. That is also why it is so difficult, indeed absolutely impossible, for the Gospels to describe the encounter with the risen Christ; that is why they can only stammer when they speak of these meetings and seem to provide contradictory descriptions of them. In reality they are surprisingly unanimous in the dialectic of their statements, in the simultaneity of touching and not touching, or recognizing and not recognizing, of complete identity between the crucified and the risen Christ and complete transformation. People recognize the Lord and yet do not recognize him again; people touch him, and yet he is untouchable; he is the same and yet quite different. As we have said, the dialectic is always the same; it is only the stylistic means by which it is expressed that changes.

For example, let us examine a little more closely from this point of view the Emmaus story, which we have already touched upon briefly. At first sight it looks as if we are confronted here with a completely earthly and material notion of resurrection; as if nothing remains of the mysterious and indescribable elements to be found in the Pauline accounts. It looks as if the tendency to detailed depiction, to the concreteness of legend, supported by the apologist's desire for something tangible, had completely won the upper hand and fetched the risen Lord right back into earthly history. But this impression is soon contradicted by his mysterious appearance and his no less mysterious disappearance. The notion is contradicted even more by the fact that here, too, he remains unrecognizable to the accustomed eye. He cannot be firmly grasped as he could be in the time of his earthly life; he is discovered only in the realm of faith; he sets the hearts of the two travelers aflame by his interpretation of the Scriptures and by breaking bread he opens their eyes. This is a reference to the two basic elements in early Christian worship, which consisted of the liturgy of the word (the reading and expounding of Scripture) and the eucharistic breaking of bread. In this way the evangelist makes it clear that the encounter with the risen Christ lies on a quite new plane; he tries to describe the indescribable in terms of the liturgical facts. He thereby provides both a theology of the Resurrection and a theology of the liturgy: one encounters the risen Christ in the word and in the sacrament; worship is the way in which he becomes touchable to us and, recognizable as the living Christ. And conversely, the liturgy is based on the mystery of Easter; it is to he understood as the Lords approach to us. In it he becomes our traveling companion, sets our dull hearts aflame, and opens our sealed eyes. He still walks with us, still finds us worried and downhearted, and still has the power to make us see.

Of course, all this is only half the story; to stop at this alone would mean falsifying the evidence of the New Testament. Experience of the risen Christ is something other than a meeting with a man from within our history, and it must certainly not be traced back to conversations at table and recollections that would have finally crystallized in the idea that he still lived and went about his business. Such an interpretation reduces what happened to the purely human level and robs it of its specific quality. The Resurrection narratives are something other and more than disguised liturgical scenes: they make visible the founding event on which all Christian liturgy rests. They testify to an approach that did not rise from the hearts of the disciples but came to them from outside, convinced them despite their doubts and made them certain that the Lord had truly risen. He who lay in the grave is no longer there; he--really he himself--lives. He who had been transposed into the other world of God showed himself powerful enough to make it palpably clear that he himself stood in their presence again, that in him the power of love had really proved itself stronger than the power of death.

Only by taking this just as seriously as what we said first does one remain faithful to the witness borne by the New Testament; only thus, too, is its seriousness in world history preserved. The comfortable attempt to spare oneself the belief in the mystery of God's mighty actions in this world and yet at the same time to have the satisfaction of remaining on the foundation of the biblical message leads nowhere; it measures up neither to the honesty of reason nor to the claims of faith. One cannot have both the Christian faith and "religion within the bounds of pure reason"; a choice is unavoidable. He who believes will see more and more clearly, it is true, how rational it is to have faith in the love that has conquered death.
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« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2010, 05:21:58 PM »

A number of years ago the Orthodox theologian David B. Hart published an essay on Anselm in the ecumenical journal Pro Ecclesia. 

Christ is Risen!

I confess that I do not know of David Hart.  But then of course that is understandable since I live in a distant corner of the world.    Are there any Orthodox here who know of him and can tell us how he is viewed by the Church, Orthodox theologians?
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« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2010, 05:56:09 PM »

Perhaps also of interest:

Nicholas Cohen, Feudal Imagery or Christian Tradition?
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« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2010, 06:07:36 PM »

David Hart from Beauty of the Infinite:

+++++++++++++++++++++

.. the notion that Christ's death constitutes an appeasement of divine wrath against sin figures more than marginally in the history of Christain reflection upon salvation, especially in the West. Is it not the case, one might at least ask, that the theology of atonement has usually involved some sense that the death of Christ is required by the Father as a transaction that accomplishes reconciliation, and has therefore made God complicit in the violence of sacrifice? The locus classicus of the "substitution theory" of atonement is, of course, the Cur Deus Homo of Anselm .... If one is to reconsider the presence of violence in Christian sacrificial themes, and not do so with quite the peremptory disregard for tradition that Girard evinces, it would be disingenuous (to say the least) to ignore not only Anselm's influence but the claims his theology makes upon Christian thought ...

The argument of Cur Deus Homo ... Every rational creature is created to partake of beatitude in God, Anselm asserts, in return for which the creature owes God perfect obedience, by withholding which humanity offends infinitely against the divine honor and merits death .... the God-man must come, in order to make satisfaction on humanity's defense ....

But Anselm's argument, thus denuded of every nuance and ambiguity that enrivhes the text from which it is drawn, is susceptible of every causal misconstrual the theological mind can devise .....

... the closer the attention one pays Anselm's argument, the harder it becomes to locate the exact point at which he supposedly breaks from patristic orthodoxy. The divine action follows the same course as in the "classic" model: human sin having disrupted the order of God's good creation, and humanity having been handed over to death and the devil's rule, God enters into a condition of estrangement and slavery to set humanity free .... Anselm's is not a new narrative of salvation. In truth, this facile distinction between a patristic soteriology concerned exclusively with the rescue of humanity from death and a theory of atonement concerned exclusively with remission from guilt - the distinction, that is, between "Physical" and "moral" theories - is supportable, if at all, only in terms of emphasis and imagery; Athanasius, Gregory of nysea, and John of Damascus (to name a few) were no less conscious than Anselm of the guilt overcome by Christ on the cross, nor he any less concerned than they with the Son's campaign against death's dominion .... And it is explicitly not a story about a sustitutionary sacrifice offered as a simple restitution for human guilt, but concerns, rather, the triumph over death, the devil, and sin accomplished in Christ's voluntary self-donation to the Father, which the Father receives (as Gregory the Theologian would say) "by economy", so that its benefits might rebound to those with whom Christ has assumed solidarity ....

Even here, then, in the text that most notoriously expounds the sacrificial logic of atonement, the idea of sacrifice is subverted from within: as the story of Christ's sacrifice belongs not to an ecomony of credit and exchange but to the trinitarian motion of love, it is given entirely as gift - a gift given when it should not have needed to be given again, by God, at a price that we imposed upon him .... the primordiality of the gift is the truth of Christ's paschal donation: the gift God gives in creation continues to be given again, ever more fully, in defiance of all rejection, economy, violence, and indifference; there is no division between justice and mercy in God, on Anselm's account, because both belong already to the giving of the gift - which precedes, exceeds, and annuls all debt.
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« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2010, 06:56:48 PM »

David Hart from Beauty of the Infinite:


Not knowing who David Hart is nor how he is assessed by the Orthodox, I looked him up on Wiki.  He seems to be known among Protestants and Anglicans but not to the Orthodox.   Are there Orthodox on the Forum who can say something about how he is seen in America?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bentley_Hart
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« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2010, 07:21:07 PM »

David Hart from Beauty of the Infinite:


Not knowing who David Hart is nor how he is assessed by the Orthodox, I looked him up on Wiki.  He seems to be known among Protestants and Anglicans but not to the Orthodox.   Are there Orthodox on the Forum who can say something about how he is seen in America?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bentley_Hart

For my part, I'm afraid I don't know much. I have seen a couple people recommend his book Atheist Delusions, but apart from that I am unfamiliar with him.
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« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2010, 10:35:53 PM »

David Bentley Hart
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« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2010, 01:29:27 AM »

Father,

I have already referenced that Wiki article and pointed out that he seems to be known in some Protestant and Anglican circles.   It is his street cred among the Orthodox which interests me.
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« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2010, 07:53:42 PM »

Father,

I have already referenced that Wiki article and pointed out that he seems to be known in some Protestant and Anglican circles.   It is his street cred among the Orthodox which interests me.


He has been panned rather severely on the Ochlophobist blog, as well as this one rather significant faux pas: http://pactum-serva.blogspot.com/2009/12/reason-36-why-eastern-orthodox.html

He has taken some heat on the 'net for editing his own Wikipedia page, though I would not know how to verify that.

His detractors have taken to calling him 'DBH.'
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« Reply #71 on: May 10, 2010, 11:19:51 AM »

Father,

I have already referenced that Wiki article and pointed out that he seems to be known in some Protestant and Anglican circles.   It is his street cred among the Orthodox which interests me.


He has been panned rather severely on the Ochlophobist blog, as well as this one rather significant faux pas: http://pactum-serva.blogspot.com/2009/12/reason-36-why-eastern-orthodox.html

He has taken some heat on the 'net for editing his own Wikipedia page, though I would not know how to verify that.

His detractors have taken to calling him 'DBH.'


Missing a plane is a faux pas that indicates that you are not a true Orthodox thinker?  Cheesy  Jest kidden'!!

I wonder how he would respond to the assertion that David Hart is the 21st Century's American answer to Father Lev Gillet?
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« Reply #72 on: May 10, 2010, 01:17:45 PM »

Quote
Most catechism debates I've been in seem to boil down to the 'Rainbow Series' versus the 'Carlton Series' versus the 'Ware Series' (I use the latter two).

I was catechised using Fr Michael Pomanzansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology over a period of six months. I also met individually with Father as well. My parish still does the same. Of course, the already Orthodox are welcome and encouraged to attend as well... makes a great refresher course!
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