Author Topic: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations  (Read 1178 times)

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Offline Fr. David

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Iconodule and Alveus Lacuna,

I'm currently in my second year at SVS and would like to ask some questions; if you're going to cast aspersions (HERE and HERE) on my current place of education, I think you should back them up with facts:

1) What is "the" patristic view on the atonement, anyway, according to you?

2) What specifically (cite works and page numbers, please) have you read in Florovsky, Schmemman and Meyendorff that contradicts "the fathers'" views on atonement that you claim to preserve? 

3) Specifically, regarding how a questioning of "the Western influences of scholasticism, pietism, and idealism on Russian theology...in the light of patristic writings" is some kind of a "re-imagining" of Orthodoxy (feel free to limit your response to the view(s) of atonement, for the sake of manageability w/in the context of a forum post):

3a) What is the former "purer" Orthodoxy that supposedly is being deformed by questioning scholasticism, et al via the Fathers' writings?

3b) Would not a preference for patristic writings over non-Orthodox sources, methods, and influences be fidelity to "the Fathers and our liturgical deposit"?
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Offline Rufus

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 04:40:07 PM »
LOL ;D

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010, 04:40:35 PM »
That sounds like a lot of work for an offhand comment made in sarcastic jest. I think I'll pass, but give your professor-priests my regards.

Offline Dart

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2010, 04:42:31 PM »
That sounds like a lot of work for an offhand comment made in sarcastic jest. I think I'll pass, but give your professor-priests my regards.

Sounds like an apology. Well done.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 04:43:07 PM by Dart »

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 04:57:16 PM »
That sounds like a lot of work for an offhand comment made in sarcastic jest. I think I'll pass, but give your professor-priests my regards.

Sounds like an apology. Well done.

Like a defense, or like I'm sorry for what I said?

Offline AMM

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2010, 04:59:38 PM »
What is "the" patristic view on the atonement, anyway

I'll offer my own unsolicited, un-needed and probably un wanted reply and say their probably is no consensus view.  The only dogmatic view is what's in the creed, so the rest is interpretation and opinion.  I've read a lot of the modern apologist opinions that create the antithesis hypothesis of the "Eastern" and "Western" views of the atonement, only to actually look at the historical texts themselves (patristic quotes and statements from catechetical works) and find them littered with views described by the hypothesis as "Western".

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2010, 06:22:00 PM »
That sounds like a lot of work for an offhand comment made in sarcastic jest. I think I'll pass, but give your professor-priests my regards.

Alveus--It took lots of guts to say this. Please accept my admiration. That said, I do think that you should give a try at some of DavidBryan's questions--not for our edification but because it will be good for you. How about question 3b?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 06:22:18 PM by Second Chance »

Offline Fr. David

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 10:52:37 AM »
That sounds like a lot of work for an offhand comment made in sarcastic jest. I think I'll pass, but give your professor-priests my regards.

Well, I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm disappointed.  I don't claim to have read everything or to be aware of every theological current out there, past or present.  If there really is something to your original comment (and I assume you made it with some alternative to some apparent SVS "standard" in mind), I'd be interested in hearing it.  To my knowledge, a sacrifice to the Father to appease His wrath or honor is wholly foreign to the Orthodox tradition.  To offer Him a worthy human life, yes.  To recapitulate humanity and present it perfect and new, sure.  But to give him a sufficient whipping boy, no.  And it seemed that that was what you were defending in the other thread with your boldfacing of the HTM text.

Ah, well.  Perhaps another time.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2010, 10:56:41 AM »
It wasn't my boldfacing. It was in the original post. I just popped in for a sassy one-liner, not to write a master's thesis in defense of my sass. If I ever got to St. Vlad's and get the urge, maybe I'll challenge the status quo and write a thesis proving that God in fact needed to punish His Son in order to feel better about Himself.

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2010, 11:07:45 AM »
Regarding "Christ being offered to the Father"... Isn't that theologically wrong? Christ was offered as a ransom, but not to the Father, nor to Satan, but to death itself. Isn't it a post-schism western teaching that he was offered to the Father?

I'd suggest listening to the current podcast series by Deacon Michael Hyatt called "On the Incarnation", which is a commentary on St. Athanasius' book. I cannot remember which lesson he talks about it in, but he does discuss how the Fathers say that Christ wasn't an offering to the Father (as many Roman Catholics & Protestants believe), but rather was an offering/ransom to death.

http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?7110-Orthodox-atonement

The Satisfaction Theory of Atonement comes from Anselm of Canterbury and Thomas Aquinas; with additions/contributions by John Calvin and others.

Of course, I'm not quite sure what the original conversation in the other thread(s) was about...
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 11:12:37 AM by 88Devin12 »

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2010, 11:16:17 AM »
(recycling a post of mine)

Can an Orthodox believe in a "Ransom Theory"?

The Ransom theory was common among the early Church Fathers but it was repudiated in no uncertain terms by Saint Gregory Nazianzen (4th century) who said:

"Was it paid to the evil one? Monstrous thought!
The devil receives a ransom not only from God but of God ..
To the Father? But we were not in bondage to him ...
And could the Father delight in the death of his Son?"

(Orationes, 45.22)

Of course salvation can be thought of as a ransom. Following the Church Fathers, the East teaches that Christ, on the Cross, gave "His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28), (Mark 10:45).

The "ransom" is paid to the grave. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Hosea (Hosea 13:14)

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death."

In a sense, He pays the ransom to the devil who is the keeper of the grave and holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14)

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity
so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that
is, the devil."


But despite Gregory's objections above the idea became popular. Saint Gregory protested that the question of "Who received the payment?" should not be pressed hard. No matter what debt the Devil was owed it could not possibly have included God himself. On the other hand, the Father could not have been the recipient of the ransom, since he was not the one holding us captive. And if the blood of Isaac had not pleased him, why would he desire the blood of his beloved son?

Saint Gregory sums up: "the Father accepts Christ's sacrifice without having demanded it; the Son offers it to honour him; and the result is the defeat of the Evil One. This is as much as we shall say of Christ; the greater portion shall be reverenced with silence."

The Roman Catholic Saint Anselm took aim at the exaggerated versions of the ransom theory, but didn't agree to leave the greater portion to silence. He theorised that the payment *was* made to God the Father. 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.)

Anselm continues:  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.

Offline Rufus

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Re: SVS "'New England' Professor/Priests" and Alveus'/Iconodule's Allegations
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2010, 11:18:25 AM »
It wasn't my boldfacing. It was in the original post. I just popped in for a sassy one-liner, not to write a master's thesis in defense of my sass. If I ever got to St. Vlad's and get the urge, maybe I'll challenge the status quo and write a thesis proving that God in fact needed to punish His Son in order to feel better about Himself.

Good thing the rest of us don't need to punish you in order to feel better about ourselves. We must be more forgiving than God ;) ;)