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Author Topic: The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios  (Read 13573 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fripod
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« on: July 17, 2011, 09:36:28 AM »

I notice that this has not been discussed at all on this forum so far, so I thought I would "put it out there" so to speak.

I recently came across this older article from the Eirenikon blog on the relationship between scholasticism and Orthodoxy, written by a Roman Catholic Norbertine Monk who wrote his doctoral dissertation on "The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios." (copy available here: http://www.mediafire.com/?5x5dwl22vzf (scroll down))

Given the anti-Scholastic and anti-Aristotelian animus one often sees in modern Eastern Orthodox, it may surprise some to learn that this was not always the case (indeed, far from it -- some of the most revered Orthodox saints, including Patriarch Photios, Mark of Ephesus, Gennadios Scholarios, and even Gregory Palamas himself were all committed Aristotelians, and all were more or less hostile to any Platonizing influence, contra the commonly accepted view propagated by Orthodox writers as diverse as Meyendorff and Cavarnos (see work cited for details)).

Anyways, here is what the author, Hugh Barbour, writes in his article, concerning the compatibility of Orthodoxy with "Scholasticism" (http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/):

Quote
Surely Gennadios professed an Orthodoxy of the utmost purity, and possessed an anti-Latin animus firm enough to make him doctrinally acceptable to the saintly arch-zealot Mark of Ephesus and politically acceptible to the wily Sultan. One would expect his writings to reflect this. On examining them, then, one can only be struck with amazement to see that he is an enthusiastic follower and translator of St. Thomas Aquinas. Western Scholasticism is supposed to be the bane of both the ecumenically-minded and traditionalist Orthodox today, one of the only points they share in common. There is barely a point of heterodox Latin theology or liturgy which the zealots do not either trace to it or determine as its cause. There is barely an aspect of traditional Orthodox practice that the modernists want to change in favor of restoring and updating, in which they do not see some Latinizing scholastic or even – perish the thought – Augustinian influence. Both lament the influence of Latin scholasticism on some of the standard Orthodox theological manuals and catechisms in use until recently in Greece and in Slavic countries. Scholasticism, synonymous it would seem with rationalism, and the cause of secularism, is pernicious and fundamentally unorthodox, a foreign influence, an aberration. But let us hear what Gennadios, the patriarch, patriot, and anti-Latin zealot has to say in the preface to his summaries- of all things-the two Summae of St. Thomas Aquinas:

The author of these books is a Latin by birth and so he adheres to the dogma of that church as an inheritance; this is only human. But he is a wise man, and is inferior to none of those who are perfect in wisdom among men. He wrote most especially as a commentator of Aristotelian philosophy, and of the Old and New Testaments. Most of the principal conclusions of both Sacred Theology and philosophy are seen in his books, almost all of which we have studied, both the few which were translated by others into the Greek language, and their Latin originals, some of which we ourselves have translated into our own tongue.... In all the aforesaid areas this wise man is most excellent, as the best interpreter and synthesizer in those matters in which his church agrees with ours. In those things wherein that church and he differ from us-they are few in number-namely on the procession of the Holy Spirit and the divine essence and energies....

I would encourage you all to read the complete article at Eirenikon before posting (and if you have time to spare, his dissertation as well) -- Personally, I agree with Barbour that Scholastic and Aristotelian thought are not at all inimical to Orthodox piety and tradition, and if Barbour's scholarship is sound, so do some of the most influential Byzantine Orthodox saints from at least the 9th century onwards. Going by what I have read on this forum and elsewhere, however, I know that I am in the minority among Orthodox.

Discuss.
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2011, 10:41:27 AM »

I notice that this has not been discussed at all on this forum so far,
Actually, it has.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12642.msg173807.html#msg173807
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21719.msg342971.html#msg342971
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,23379.msg430592.html#msg430592

Somewhere there is a thread (I think Irish Hermit posted it) on EP Gennadios' treatise on Aquinas or some such thing.
so I thought I would "put it out there" so to speak.

I recently came across this older article from the Eirenikon blog on the relationship between scholasticism and Orthodoxy, written by a Roman Catholic Norbertine Monk who wrote his doctoral dissertation on "The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios." (copy available here: http://www.mediafire.com/?5x5dwl22vzf (scroll down))

Given the anti-Scholastic and anti-Aristotelian animus one often sees in modern Eastern Orthodox, it may surprise some to learn that this was not always the case (indeed, far from it -- some of the most revered Orthodox saints, including Patriarch Photios, Mark of Ephesus, Gennadios Scholarios, and even Gregory Palamas himself were all committed Aristotelians, and all were more or less hostile to any Platonizing influence, contra the commonly accepted view propagated by Orthodox writers as diverse as Meyendorff and Cavarnos (see work cited for details)).

Anyways, here is what the author, Hugh Barbour, writes in his article, concerning the compatibility of Orthodoxy with "Scholasticism" (http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/):

Quote
Surely Gennadios professed an Orthodoxy of the utmost purity, and possessed an anti-Latin animus firm enough to make him doctrinally acceptable to the saintly arch-zealot Mark of Ephesus and politically acceptible to the wily Sultan. One would expect his writings to reflect this. On examining them, then, one can only be struck with amazement to see that he is an enthusiastic follower and translator of St. Thomas Aquinas. Western Scholasticism is supposed to be the bane of both the ecumenically-minded and traditionalist Orthodox today, one of the only points they share in common. There is barely a point of heterodox Latin theology or liturgy which the zealots do not either trace to it or determine as its cause. There is barely an aspect of traditional Orthodox practice that the modernists want to change in favor of restoring and updating, in which they do not see some Latinizing scholastic or even – perish the thought – Augustinian influence. Both lament the influence of Latin scholasticism on some of the standard Orthodox theological manuals and catechisms in use until recently in Greece and in Slavic countries. Scholasticism, synonymous it would seem with rationalism, and the cause of secularism, is pernicious and fundamentally unorthodox, a foreign influence, an aberration. But let us hear what Gennadios, the patriarch, patriot, and anti-Latin zealot has to say in the preface to his summaries- of all things-the two Summae of St. Thomas Aquinas:

The author of these books is a Latin by birth and so he adheres to the dogma of that church as an inheritance; this is only human. But he is a wise man, and is inferior to none of those who are perfect in wisdom among men. He wrote most especially as a commentator of Aristotelian philosophy, and of the Old and New Testaments. Most of the principal conclusions of both Sacred Theology and philosophy are seen in his books, almost all of which we have studied, both the few which were translated by others into the Greek language, and their Latin originals, some of which we ourselves have translated into our own tongue.... In all the aforesaid areas this wise man is most excellent, as the best interpreter and synthesizer in those matters in which his church agrees with ours. In those things wherein that church and he differ from us-they are few in number-namely on the procession of the Holy Spirit and the divine essence and energies....

I would encourage you all to read the complete article at Eirenikon before posting (and if you have time to spare, his dissertation as well) -- Personally, I agree with Barbour that Scholastic and Aristotelian thought are not at all inimical to Orthodox piety and tradition, and if Barbour's scholarship is sound, so do some of the most influential Byzantine Orthodox saints from at least the 9th century onwards. Going by what I have read on this forum and elsewhere, however, I know that I am in the minority among Orthodox.

Discuss.
Scholasticism, putting philosophy on par with revelation, is totally inimical to Orthodox Christianity.  The havock it has wrought in the West demonstrates that.
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2011, 11:47:47 AM »

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/metallinos_faith_and_science.htm

Faith and Science in Orthodox Gnosiology and Methodology
by V. Rev. Prof. Dr. George Metallinos
Professor, School of Theology of the Unviersity of Athens

 
A. Problem or pseudo-problem?

The antithesis and consequent collision between faith and science is a problem for western (Franco-Latin) thought and is a pseudo-problem for the Orthodox patristic tradition. This is based upon the historical data of these two regions.

The (supposed) dilemma of faith versus science appears in Western Europe in the 17th century with the simultaneous development of the positive sciences. About this same time we have the appearance of the first Orthodox positions on this issue. It is an important fact that these developments in the West are happening without the presence of Orthodoxy. In these recent centuries there has been a spiritual estrangement and differentiation between the [rational] West and the Orthodox East. This fact is outlined by the de-orthodoxiation and de-ecclesiastication of the western European world and the philosophication and legalization of faith and its eventual forming as a religion in the same area. Thus religion is the refutation of Orthodoxy and, according to Fr. John Romanides, the sickess of the human being. Therefore, Orthodoxy remained historically as a non-participant in the making of the present western European civilization, which is also a different size than the civilization of the Orthodox East.

The turning points in western Europeans course of alteration include: scholasticism (13th century), nominalism (14th century), humanism/renaissance (15th century), Reformation (16th century) and the Enlightenment (17th century). It is a series of revolutions and, at that same time, breaches in the structure of western European civilization, that was created by the dialectic of these two movements.

Scholasticism is supported on the adoption of the Platonic realia. Our world is conceived of as an image of the transcendent universalia (realism, archetype). The instrument of knowledge is the mind-intellect. Knowledge (including knowing God) is accomplished through the penetration of logic in the essence of beings. It is the foundation of metaphysic theology, which presupposes the Analogia Entis, the consequitive ontological relation between God and the world, the analogy between the created and uncreated. Nominalism accepts that the universalia are simple names and not beings as in realism. It is a struggle between Platonism and Aristotelian thought in European thought. However, nominalism turned out to be the DNA, in a way, of European civilization, whose essential elements are dualism philosophically and individualism (eudomenism) socially. Prosperity will become the basic quest of the western man, theologically based on the scholastic theology of the middle ages. Nominalism (that is dualism) is the foundation of scientific development of the western world, that is the development of the positive sciences.

The Orthodox East had had another spiritual evolution, under the guidance of its spiritual leaders the saints – and of those who followed them, the true believers--who remained loyal to the prophetic-apostolic-patristic tradition; this tradition stands at the opposite end of scholasticism and all the historic spiritual developments in the European word. In the East, hesychasm or prayer of the heart is dominant (and is the backbone of patristic tradition) it is expressed with the ascetically experienced participation in the Truth as communion with the Uncreated. The faith in the possibility of the joining of God and the world (the Uncreated and the created) within history is preserved in the Orthodox East. This, however, means the rejection of every form of dualism. Science, to the degree it developed in Byzantium/Romania, developed within this framework.

The scientific revolution in Western Europe of the 17th Century, contributed to the separation of the fields of faith and knowledge. It resulted in the following axiomatic principle: New (positive) philosophy only accepts truths which are verified through rational thought. It is the absolute authority of Western thinking. The truths of this new philosophy are the existence of God, soul, virtue, immortality, and judgment. Their acceptance, of course, can only take place in a theistic enlightenment, since we also find atheism as a structural element of modern thought. The ecclesiastical doctrines that are rejected by rationality are the Triune nature of God, the Incarnation, glorification, salvation, etc. This natural and logical religion, from the Orthodox viewpoint, not only differs from atheism but is much worse. Atheism is less dangerous than its distortion!
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 11:53:24 AM »


http://orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/florov_palamas.aspx

The Meaning of the "Age" of the Fathers

Now, we have reached the crucial point. The name of "Church Fathers" is usually restricted to the teachers of the Ancient Church. And it is currently assumed that their authority depends upon their "antiquity," upon their comparative nearness to the "Primitive Church," to the initial "Age" of the Church. Already St. Jerome had to contest this idea. Indeed, there was no decrease of "authority," and no decrease in the immediacy of spiritual competence and knowledge, in the course of Christian history. In fact, however, this idea of "decrease" has strongly affected our modern theological thinking. In fact, it is too often assumed, consciously or unconsciously, that the Early Church was, as it were, closer to the spring of truth. As an admission of our own failure and inadequacy, as an act of humble self-criticism, such an assumption is sound and helpful. But it is dangerous to make of it the starting point or basis of our "theology of Church history," or even of our theology of the Church. Indeed, the Age of the Apostles should retain its unique position. Yet, it was just a beginning. It is widely assumed that the "Age of the Fathers" has also ended, and accordingly it is regarded just as an ancient formation, "antiquated" in a sense and "archaic." The limit of the "Patristic Age" is variously defined. It is usual to regard St. John of Damascus as the "last Father" in the East, and St. Gregory the Dialogos or Isidore of Seville as "the last" in the West. This periodization has been justly contested in recent times. Should not, for instance, St. Theodore of Studium, at least, be included among "the Fathers"? Mabillon has suggested that Bernard of Clairvaux, the Doctor mellifluous, was "the last of the Fathers, and surely not unequal to the earlier ones." [4] Actually, it is more than a question of periodization. From the Western point of view "the Age of the Fathers" has been succeeded, and indeed superseded, by "the Age of the Schoolmen," which was an essential step forward. Since the rise of Scholasticism "Patristic theology" has been antiquated, has become actually a "past age," a kind of archaic prelude. This point of view, legitimate for the West, has been, most unfortunately, accepted also by many in the East, blindly and uncritically. Accordingly, one has to face the alternative. Either one has to regret the "backwardness" of the East which never developed any "Scholasticism" of its own. Or one should retire into the "Ancient Age," in a more or less archeological manner, and practice what has been wittily described recently as a "theology of repetition." The latter, in fact, is just a peculiar form of imitative "scholasticism."
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2011, 11:59:28 AM »

http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system. The greatest of the Scholastics in the thirteenth century, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, solved the problem for all time, so far as Christian speculation is concerned, by showing that the two are distinct sciences, and yet that they agree. They are distinct, he teaches, because, while philosophy relies on reason alone, theology uses the truths derived from revelation, and also because there are some truths, the mysteries of Faith, which lie completely outside the domain of philosophy and belong to theology. They agree, and must agree, because God is the author of all truth, and it is impossible to think that He would teach in the natural order anything that contradicts what He teaches in the supernatural order. The recognition of these principles is one of the crowning achievements of Scholasticism. It is one of the characteristics that mark it off from the Patristic era, in which the same principles were, so to speak, in solution, and not crystallized in definite expression. lt is the trait which differentiates Scholasticism from Averroism. It is the inspiration of all Scholastic effort. As long as it lasted Scholasticism lasted, and as soon as the opposite conviction became established, the conviction, namely, that what is true in theology may be false in philosophy, Scholasticism ceased to exist. It is, therefore, a matter of constant surprise to those who know Scholasticism to find it misrepresented on this vital point.
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2011, 02:30:15 PM »

http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system. The greatest of the Scholastics in the thirteenth century, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, solved the problem for all time, so far as Christian speculation is concerned, by showing that the two are distinct sciences, and yet that they agree. They are distinct, he teaches, because, while philosophy relies on reason alone, theology uses the truths derived from revelation, and also because there are some truths, the mysteries of Faith, which lie completely outside the domain of philosophy and belong to theology. They agree, and must agree, because God is the author of all truth, and it is impossible to think that He would teach in the natural order anything that contradicts what He teaches in the supernatural order. The recognition of these principles is one of the crowning achievements of Scholasticism. It is one of the characteristics that mark it off from the Patristic era, in which the same principles were, so to speak, in solution, and not crystallized in definite expression. lt is the trait which differentiates Scholasticism from Averroism. It is the inspiration of all Scholastic effort. As long as it lasted Scholasticism lasted, and as soon as the opposite conviction became established, the conviction, namely, that what is true in theology may be false in philosophy, Scholasticism ceased to exist. It is, therefore, a matter of constant surprise to those who know Scholasticism to find it misrepresented on this vital point.
The problem is that much that is true in theology is beyond philosophical proof, and philosophical proof does not provide theological truth.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 02:34:59 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2011, 08:19:55 PM »

I notice that this has not been discussed at all on this forum so far,
Actually, it has.

One isolated post in a single thread is hardly constitutes a discussion -- my point still stands that "The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios has not been discussed (at least in any substantial way).

Quote
Scholasticism, putting philosophy on par with revelation

I have never heard this definition of scholasticism before -- sounds like a straw man to me.

Quote
is totally inimical to Orthodox Christianity.

Then how to explain Gregory Palamas' role in the early stages of the Hesychast controversy?

Are you aware that in his anti-Latin treatises, Barlaam of Calabria was particularly concerned to attack the Thomistic use of logical demonstration? In particular, he proposed that:

the Latins give up their claim to demonstrate theologically with the logic of Aristotle the nature of the Holy Spirit’s procession within the Blessed Trinity, since God is intrinsically unknowable [my emphasis] according to the teaching of Dionysios the Areopagite. Thus only arguments from the authority of the God-Bearing Fathers should be adopted, and issues which cannot be so resolved should be left to the realm of opinion. (see page 28 of "The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios")

It was precisely these Nominalist inclinations that so alarmed Gregory Palamas, who in fact “initiate[d] the controversy with what amounts, materially at least, to a defence of Thomism.”  If you would care to open up Barbour's dissertation to pages 29-31, he proves, with evidence, that:

Gregory Palamas responded in the first place to this theological pessimism of Barlaam … he asserted the possibility of real demonstrative reasoning in theology, given that the unknowable God had revealed certain things about himself. Such truths had to be expounded, explained, and defended in a way which was certain. The Fathers themselves reasoned in this way, and so if an argument from the authority of the Fathers is needed, it will be precisely that demonstrative reasoning can be used in theology.
   In the person of Palamas the Byantine Christian philosophical tradition reacts to the rationalism of Barlaam, a rationalism which can only lead to fideism or voluntarist authoritarianism in theology. Palamas defends the positive content of theological discourse, which cannot be reduced to a mere dialectic…
   Palamas’ attitude toward philosophy was the traditional Byzantine one already described: an absolute rejection of Platonism as such and a qualified acceptance of Aristotelianism as long as it was at the service of Christian Orthodoxy.
   In spite of the fact that he never had a purely philosophical intention in his writing, it cannot be said that Gregory Palamas had no systematic, philosophical view of the universe and of God, its first cause. In his 150 Chapters Palamas presents an ordered conception of reality which gives evidence of serious philosophical reflection, even if it is entirely at the service of his theological concerns. In cosmology he asserts the unmediated creation of the world in time ex nihilo, and refutes at the length the doctrine of the animate nature of the heavenly bodies, asserting that they move of their own weight. His psychology is solidly Aristotelian, from the definition of the soul, its direct creation, and its substantial union with the body, to the generation of intellectual knowledge from sense perception. He teaches the superiority of the intellect of the other faculties of man, and indeed over all created things, and clearly denies any world of ideas other than the intellects of Man, angels, and of God. On the weight of his doctrine of Man especially, not to mention his logical formation, one must conclude that Palamas’ philosophical orientation is toward a Christian Aristotelianism. One even notes in him the serene acceptance of moderate Aristotelian doctrines which at his time were being hotly disputed in the West. Numerous citations could be advance to illustrate the conventional, scholastic, and Aristotelian approach of Palamas. There is absolutely nothing innovative about his use of philosophy, or his view of the relation of philosophy to theology, or his preference for Aristotle over Plato. The Palamite controversy began precisely as a defence of a philosophical patrimony at the service of divine revelation…
   Yet Palamism as it is more generally understood, that is Palamas’ defence of the doctrine and practices of the hesychasts, has so drawn attention away from the original point at issue that Palamas’ view of what can with good reason be called scholasticism, or the use of Aristotelian logic in theology, has been obscured or misrepresented, or even put forward as exactly the opposite of what it was
.

Barbour provides one such example in his footnotes -- that of C. Tsirpanlis who, in his work "Mark Eugenicus and the Council of Florence", asserts that there was a “conflict between the Palamite theology and Aristotelian philosophy or ‘Byzantine scholasticism’ animated by Thomist theology.” As we can see from above, this is precisely the opposite of what really happened—in reality it was ‘Byzantine scholaticism’ that leapt to the defence of the hesychasts, while the anti-Aristotelian elements were the ones in conflict with Palamite theology!

Both Thomism and Palamism were equally opposed to the rationalist tendencies of Averroism and Nominalism, and were, in a sense, natural allies in upholding Christian orthodoxy (not the mortal foes modern neo-Palamites would have us believe).

Read the dissertation, people!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 08:21:58 PM by Fripod » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2011, 08:37:16 PM »

I notice that this has not been discussed at all on this forum so far,
Actually, it has.

One isolated post in a single thread is hardly constitutes a discussion -- my point still stands that "The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios has not been discussed (at least in any substantial way).
There were three linked threads, and as I said, there is one here when this work was brought. I don't have the time to mess with the search engine right now.

Scholasticism, putting philosophy on par with revelation

I have never heard this definition of scholasticism before -- sounds like a straw man to me.
http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system

The rest I'm afraid will have to wait until later this week, unless I come across a large enough span of free time to deal with them.
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2011, 09:21:37 PM »

Ialmisry, you quoted:

http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system

I am quite sure that both Eriugena and Abelard were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, or at least a great number of propositions from their works were condemned at local councils in the West. I also hear that the Roman Church condemned Abelard to burn his book on the Trinity -- hardly a indication of (latin) orthodoxy.

See below for details:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05519a.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01036b.htm

Besides, neither Eriugena nor Abelard have very much (if any) relevance to the Byzantine THOMISM of Gennadios Scholarios.
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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2011, 09:30:58 PM »

http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system

I am quite sure that both Eriugena and Abelard were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, or at least a great number of propositions from their works were condemned at local councils in the West. I also hear that the Roman Church condemned Abelard to burn his book on the Trinity -- hardly a indication of (latin) orthodoxy.


Where did I suggest that they were?
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2011, 09:50:38 PM »

http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system

I am quite sure that both Eriugena and Abelard were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, or at least a great number of propositions from their works were condemned at local councils in the West. I also hear that the Roman Church condemned Abelard to burn his book on the Trinity -- hardly a indication of (latin) orthodoxy.

Where did I suggest that they were?

My apologies, this was actually directed at Ialmisry (I have made the correction to the original post).
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2011, 12:37:53 AM »

Perhaps I can provoke some more responses with the following excerpt from Barbour's article (http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/):

Gennadios’ Thomism is not a sort of hapax in Orthodox thought, We are not dealing here with the idiosyncrasy of one thinker. He represents an already longstanding late Byzantine tradition of admiration and judicious use of Aquinas’ works by theologians and apostles of the first rank....
The Christian use of Aristotle, the use of demonstrative argumentation in theology was practically identical with Orthodox Byzantine theology, even, or rather especially, as practiced by the mystics. When St. Mark of Ephesus reminisces in his deathbed speech to Gennadios, the very one in which he confers on him the onus of leading the fight against the union of Florence, and nostalgically reminds him of the days when he taught him about the different uses of modal propositions in argumentation, he is fully in the line of St. Maximos Confessor and St. Gregory Palamas, with the Kabasilas brothers, with the Patriarch Photios, St. John Damascene and the whole of Orthodox tradition. [6] Aquinas was recognized as eminently compatible with this tradition, its use of authority and logical discourse, and so there was every reason for even those most jealous of doctrinal purity to make use of him.


The footnote refers back to the dissertation, where his claims are substantiated with evidence from primary sources (http://www.mediafire.com/?5x5dwl22vzf).
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2011, 12:47:57 AM »

http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system

I am quite sure that both Eriugena and Abelard were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, or at least a great number of propositions from their works were condemned at local councils in the West. I also hear that the Roman Church condemned Abelard to burn his book on the Trinity -- hardly a indication of (latin) orthodoxy.

Where did I suggest that they were?

My apologies, this was actually directed at Ialmisry (I have made the correction to the original post).
What correction?  She quoted the "Catholic Encyclopedia" without comment. I cited her without comment.
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 12:57:58 AM »

http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/s/scholasticism.html

John Scotus Eriugena, in the ninth century, by his doctrine that all truth is a theophany, or showing forth of God, tried to elevate philosophy to the rank of theology, and identify the two in a species of theosophy. Abelard, in the twelfth century, tried to bring theology down to the level of philosophy, and identify both in a Rationalistic system

I am quite sure that both Eriugena and Abelard were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, or at least a great number of propositions from their works were condemned at local councils in the West. I also hear that the Roman Church condemned Abelard to burn his book on the Trinity -- hardly a indication of (latin) orthodoxy.

Where did I suggest that they were?

My apologies, this was actually directed at Ialmisry (I have made the correction to the original post).
What correction?  She quoted the "Catholic Encyclopedia" without comment. I cited her without comment.

Rather, I corrected my own previous post (#8) to clear up any confusion.
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2011, 01:00:14 AM »

Where do we go from here then? If one accepts what you're saying?
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2011, 01:05:04 AM »

Where do we go from here then? If one accepts what you're saying?

Well, Barbour has some suggestions regarding just this in his article:

The thought of St. Thomas is a rich and fruitful source of theological wisdom which I invite the Orthodox to study as belonging to them as surely as it belonged to Gennadios Scholarios, Joseph Bryennios, and Makarios Makres. They will thus give evidence that they understand that our differences are truly dogmatic and divine in origin and not ideological or ethnic, and they will provide themselves with a sure bulwark against the theological modernism which has already devastated the Latin church and has made great inroads in their own.

So basically, we could at least:

a) recover our own philosophical patrimony as an integral, but neglected, part of Orthodox tradition.

b) put an end to the senseless and unhistorical ideological polemics of internet neo-Palamism vs. armchair neo-Thomism.

c) gain a better and more accurate perspective on ecclesiastical history.
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2011, 01:12:53 AM »

My brain isn't working, what does it mean "our differences are truly dogmatic and divine". This doesn't sound positive, yet the sentence seems to indicate this.
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2011, 01:25:10 AM »

My brain isn't working, what does it mean "our differences are truly dogmatic and divine". This doesn't sound positive, yet the sentence seems to indicate this.

In other words, Barbour hopes a recovery of Aristotelian philosophy within Orthodoxy will slice through the cultural and ideological polemics in order to help clear up where the real dividing issues lie (i.e. in dogmatics, and not in history or philosophy or anywhere else -- especially not in that oh-so-nebulous term, favoured of Orthodox polemicists, "phronema," which is incessantly invoked to explain just about everything), which can then be honestly discussed without irrelevant polemics getting in the way. Hear how Barbour explains just how this aspect of Orthodox tradition came to be neglected:

So why is it that the difference between the Latin scholastic tradition and the Eastern Orthodox tradition are seen today to be so irreducible, and precisely on account of their Latin-ness or Eastern-ness? Why is it that contemporary Orthodox thinkers as diverse as Meyendorff and Cavarnos insist that the best of Orthodox tradition is inherently unscholastic and Platonic? I will offer only one of the several possible reasons, but the one which is the most dangerous to the faith and practice of Catholics and Orthodox alike, and it is nothing less than the adoption of an anti-scholasticism inspired not by Platonism, but by modern ideologies, which imprison the faith in their categories.

So he also believes that such a recovery of the philosophical tradition represented by Gennadios Scholarios etc. is necessary for the Orthodox to overcome the harmful Nationalism and Phyletism that plagues this communion today, so as to avoid going the same way as the Gallican French (whose Nationalism eventually discarded faith once it was perceived to have fulfilled its purpose).

Please read the complete article "A Latin's Lament over Gennadios Scholarios" (http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/) -- Barbour explains what he means.
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2011, 07:49:32 AM »

Where do we go from here then? If one accepts what you're saying?

Well, Barbour has some suggestions regarding just this in his article:

The thought of St. Thomas is a rich and fruitful source of theological wisdom which I invite the Orthodox to study as belonging to them as surely as it belonged to Gennadios Scholarios, Joseph Bryennios, and Makarios Makres. They will thus give evidence that they understand that our differences are truly dogmatic and divine in origin and not ideological or ethnic, and they will provide themselves with a sure bulwark against the theological modernism which has already devastated the Latin church and has made great inroads in their own.

So basically, we could at least:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/33041.htm
a) recover our own philosophical patrimony as an integral, but neglected, part of Orthodox tradition.

b) put an end to the senseless and unhistorical ideological polemics of internet neo-Palamism vs. armchair neo-Thomism.

c) gain a better and more accurate perspective on ecclesiastical history.
this
Quote
No one has seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. The Deity, therefore, is ineffable and incomprehensible. For no one knows the Father, save the Son, nor the Son, save the Father. Matthew 11:27 And the Holy Spirit, too, so knows the things of God as the spirit of the man knows the things that are in him. 1 Corinthians 2:11 Moreover, after the first and blessed nature no one, not of men only, but even of supramundane powers, and the Cherubim, I say, and Seraphim themselves, has ever known God, save he to whom He revealed Himself.

God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance. For the knowledge of God's existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature. This creation, too, and its maintenance, and its government, proclaim the majesty of the Divine nature. Wisdom 13:5 Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets in former times and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us. All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour , seeking for nothing beyond these. For God, being good, is the cause of all good, subject neither to envy nor to any passion. For envy is far removed from the Divine nature, which is both passionless and only good. As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable to bear He kept secret. With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition Proverbs 22:28 .
contrasts with this
Quote
Article 1. Whether, besides philosophy, any further doctrine is required?
Objection 1. It seems that, besides philosophical science, we have no need of any further knowledge. For man should not seek to know what is above reason: "Seek not the things that are too high for thee" (Sirach 3:22). But whatever is not above reason is fully treated of in philosophical science. Therefore any other knowledge besides philosophical science is superfluous.

Objection 2. Further, knowledge can be concerned only with being, for nothing can be known, save what is true; and all that is, is true. But everything that is, is treated of in philosophical science--even God Himself; so that there is a part of philosophy called theology, or the divine science, as Aristotle has proved (Metaph. vi). Therefore, besides philosophical science, there is no need of any further knowledge.

On the contrary, It is written (2 Timothy 3:16): "All Scripture, inspired of God is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice." Now Scripture, inspired of God, is no part of philosophical science, which has been built up by human reason. Therefore it is useful that besides philosophical science, there should be other knowledge, i.e. inspired of God.

I answer that, It was necessary for man's salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason. Firstly, indeed, because man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason: "The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee" (Isaiah 64:4). But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation. Even as regards those truths about God which human reason could have discovered, it was necessary that man should be taught by a divine revelation; because the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors. Whereas man's whole salvation, which is in God, depends upon the knowledge of this truth. Therefore, in order that the salvation of men might be brought about more fitly and more surely, it was necessary that they should be taught divine truths by divine revelation. It was therefore necessary that besides philosophical science built up by reason, there should be a sacred science learned through revelation.

Reply to Objection 1. Although those things which are beyond man's knowledge may not be sought for by man through his reason, nevertheless, once they are revealed by God, they must be accepted by faith. Hence the sacred text continues, "For many things are shown to thee above the understanding of man" (Sirach 3:25). And in this, the sacred science consists.

Reply to Objection 2. Sciences are differentiated according to the various means through which knowledge is obtained. For the astronomer and the physicist both may prove the same conclusion: that the earth, for instance, is round: the astronomer by means of mathematics (i.e. abstracting from matter), but the physicist by means of matter itself. Hence there is no reason why those things which may be learned from philosophical science, so far as they can be known by natural reason, may not also be taught us by another science so far as they fall within revelation. Hence theology included in sacred doctrine differs in kind from that theology which is part of philosophy.
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm#article1
In the one philosophy is to explain and defend theology when needed, not to "build it up."
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2011, 08:19:03 AM »

Ialmisry, if you are trying to suggest a radical disjuncture between and "Eastern" and "Latin" "phronema" in theological method and outlook, I think you might find that the Byzantines themselves would disagree with you.

All page numbers are from The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios:

"[The Byzantine Palamites] found nothing in St. Thomas’ approach which contradicted the traditional Byzantine view of reason and its relationship to revealed truth, in particular the use of Aristotle’s logic combined with recourse to arguments from authority. True, they might reject St. Thomas teaching on some point or other as incompatible with Orthodoxy but Thomism as a system in no way struck them as inimical to their Byzantine outlookThe enthusiastic use of Thomas [in defence of Palamism] is not just a rhetorical instrument, it is a witness to the Orthodox tradition… represented by John Damascene, Photios, Xiphilinos, Palamas, and finally Gennadios Scholarios with his teachers, students, and friends." (pp. 33-4, 37)

"For Gennadios, whatever Palamism is, it is not to be contrasted, but rather defended by Thomism. Too often Catholic and Orthodox authors have not seen the point of Gennadios’ adherence to Thomism. It is found right here in his defense of Palamism with the very weapons of the logic of the Thomistic school. His Thomism in no way leads him to an embarrassed or half-hearted adherence to Palamism, quite the contrary. To be sure, Gennadios is aware that the Palamite doctrine can, on the face of it, only with difficulty be reconciled with Thomism, but this is for him a problem of greater logical precision, not of a fundamental difference in outlook." (p. 94)
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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2011, 08:51:23 AM »

Ialmisry, if you are trying to suggest a radical disjuncture between and "Eastern" and "Latin" "phronema" in theological method and outlook, I think you might find that the Byzantines themselves would disagree with you.
LOL. I'll agree with that, if you can find me a "Byzantine" who identified himself as a "Byzantine."

As for the Romans who met the Latins at Florence, less than two centuries after the apperance of the Summa, just over a century after its translation into Greek, and just under a century after St. Gregory's repose:
I note that in the last reference (Humani generis) Pope Pius XII of Rome took a swipe at us existentialists.
Yup. Existentialists don't believe in the Incarantion, so they are not looked on highly by real Christian theologians.
says the man whose theologians cites the Stoic pagan Cicero (a point I'll return to) as an authority for its theology.  Old habits die hard it seems:
Quote
Palamas and his hesychast followers firmly opposed (what they took to be) the legalistic and rationalistic outlook of the West. An eastern representative at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39) concisely expressed the views of the Palamite party when, in response to the Latins’ tendency to quote Aristotle as an authority, he exclaimed, “What about Aristotle, Aristotle? A fig for your fine Aristotle.” When asked whose authority he accepted, he replied, “St Peter, St Paul, St Basil, Gregory the Theologian; a fig for your Aristotle, Aristotle.”
http://www.theandros.com/palamas.html
In contrast to Aristotle and Cicero, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky and myself believe in the Incarnation.

Wrong again, papist.

Arguing with Mardukm (who of course is claiming the Copts believe the same as the Latins, although he doesn't substantiate the assertion and despite the evidence to the contrary), I've been thinking about the materialism of the Stoics, who identify nature with a pantheistic god in their creation of Natural Law.  It is interesting how the Incarnation does not make Christianity pantheistic.
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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2011, 09:03:14 AM »


As for the Romans who met the Latins at Florence, less than two centuries after the apperance of the Summa, just over a century after its translation into Greek, and just under a century after St. Gregory's repose:
Quote
Palamas and his hesychast followers firmly opposed (what they took to be) the legalistic and rationalistic outlook of the West. An eastern representative at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39) concisely expressed the views of the Palamite party when, in response to the Latins’ tendency to quote Aristotle as an authority, he exclaimed, “What about Aristotle, Aristotle? A fig for your fine Aristotle.” When asked whose authority he accepted, he replied, “St Peter, St Paul, St Basil, Gregory the Theologian; a fig for your Aristotle, Aristotle.”
http://www.theandros.com/palamas.html

"An" Eastern representative? Might I enquire as to who this might be?

Apart from the very strong possibility that this story is either apocryphal, or attributed after the fact, I don't think you have provided any reason to doubt the easily ascertainable and undeniable historical fact that Aristotelianism was the preferred philosophy for the Byzantines (see footnote p. 102).

Am I to trust the second/third/fourthhand testimony of "an" Eastern representative, or do I rather trust the primary sources themselves, backed up by the authority of the litany of Orthodox Saints who were defenders of Aristotelianism?
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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2011, 09:15:35 AM »

The primary sources being the Amphilocion of Patriarch Photios (p. 21), in which he declares Aristotle to be the "holy progenitor" of all who philosophize, the 150 Chapters of Gregory Palamas (p. 29-31), and so on...

From Barbour:

We find that Patriarch Photios “perceives Aristotelian logic as an aid to orthodox piety, [while] Platonism is its exact contrary,” and even lambastes Plato's writings as "heathen incantations," all the while explicitly declaring his preference for the “more divine” philosophy of Aristotle! (p. 21-2)

"There existed a consistent Byzantine view that linked Aristotelianism and Orthodoxy in such a way that they were regarded as the very indispensable foundation and defense of Christian civilization as a whole. " (p. 107)

"Gennadios dedicates his defence of Aristotelianism against the paganizing Platonism of Plethon to Eugenikos. Were Mark not a convinced Aristotelian such actions would be hard to explain. Gennadios would certainly not have made his dedication were it not compatible with the rigorous integralism of Eugenikos Yes it is true that he was not interested in philosophy for its own sake, but only as a defence of the Orthodoxy he so ardently defended his life long. Still, in his life’s last appeal he does not hesitate to refer to Aristotelian argumentation. One must conclude that, whatever importance he gave philosophical reasoning, in the mind of Eugenikos Aristotelian philosophy was the only one suitable for a Byzantine Christian." (p. 42)
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2011, 09:18:10 AM »


As for the Romans who met the Latins at Florence, less than two centuries after the apperance of the Summa, just over a century after its translation into Greek, and just under a century after St. Gregory's repose:
Quote
Palamas and his hesychast followers firmly opposed (what they took to be) the legalistic and rationalistic outlook of the West. An eastern representative at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39) concisely expressed the views of the Palamite party when, in response to the Latins’ tendency to quote Aristotle as an authority, he exclaimed, “What about Aristotle, Aristotle? A fig for your fine Aristotle.” When asked whose authority he accepted, he replied, “St Peter, St Paul, St Basil, Gregory the Theologian; a fig for your Aristotle, Aristotle.”
http://www.theandros.com/palamas.html

"An" Eastern representative? Might I enquire as to who this might be?

That story comes from Syropoulos, who says it was a representative from Georgia.

You are right that Aristotle was very important to educated Byzantines (who also loved Aquinas, btw). But most Byzantines in the 15th century were quite uneducated, including the vast majority of the bishops at Ferrara-Florence. Gennadios was called Scholarios for a reason: He had book learning, unlike his rustic brothers. This is probably one of the major difference between bishops in the 13th through 18th century and their predecessors, especially those before the 7th century.

By the way, Marcus Plested of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge has just completed a book on the reception of Aquinas in the Orthodox tradition, which goes all the way up to the present day. So, once that is published, there will be much more available in English on this topic.
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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2011, 09:27:04 AM »

You are right that Aristotle was very important to educated Byzantines (who also loved Aquinas, btw). But most Byzantines in the 15th century were quite uneducated, including the vast majority of the bishops at Ferrara-Florence. Gennadios was called Scholarios for a reason: He had book learning, unlike his rustic brothers. This is probably one of the major difference between bishops in the 13th through 18th century and their predecessors, especially those before the 7th century.

Okay, so why is it almost the exact opposite with Orthodox writers and scholars today, who almost universally reject Aristotle and Aquinas? How is it that Barbour can ask:

"So why is it that the differences between the Latin scholastic tradition and the Eastern Orthodox tradition are seen today to be so irreducible, and precisely on account of their Latin-ness or Eastern-ness? Why is it that contemporary Orthodox thinkers as diverse as Meyendorff and Cavarnos insist that the best of Orthodox tradition is inherently unscholastic and Platonic?"

http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/
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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2011, 09:49:20 AM »


As for the Romans who met the Latins at Florence, less than two centuries after the apperance of the Summa, just over a century after its translation into Greek, and just under a century after St. Gregory's repose:
Quote
Palamas and his hesychast followers firmly opposed (what they took to be) the legalistic and rationalistic outlook of the West. An eastern representative at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39) concisely expressed the views of the Palamite party when, in response to the Latins’ tendency to quote Aristotle as an authority, he exclaimed, “What about Aristotle, Aristotle? A fig for your fine Aristotle.” When asked whose authority he accepted, he replied, “St Peter, St Paul, St Basil, Gregory the Theologian; a fig for your Aristotle, Aristotle.”
http://www.theandros.com/palamas.html
"An" Eastern representative? Might I enquire as to who this might be?
One of them from Georgia.
The Council of Florence
http://books.google.com/books?id=8RE9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA227&dq=%22the+bare+words+of+the+Fathers%22&hl=en&ei=MTMkTqLeGubmsQK1pLSxAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22the%20bare%20words%20of%20the%20Fathers%22&f=false

Apart from the very strong possibility that this story is either apocryphal, or attributed after the fact,
Silvester Syropoulus, the deacon and official of the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, and a member of EP Joseph II's entourage, records it.  As for after the fact, he doesn't write it until after 1444, but he was an eyewitness and active participant: he was the one who asked the Georgian who was acceptable as an authority.
http://books.google.com/books?id=T6fKc6EcRt4C&pg=PR11&dq=Silvester+Syropoulus+eyewitness+participant&hl=en&ei=5jgkTtOqH6WLsgLhgqybAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false


I don't think you have provided any reason to doubt the easily ascertainable and undeniable historical fact that Aristotelianism was the preferred philosophy for the Byzantines (see footnote p. 102).
And as choice among ancient philosophies, it's my preference too.  Go figure.

Am I to trust the second/third/fourthhand testimony of "an" Eastern representative,

You mean an eyewitness and active participant in the council.
or do I rather trust the primary sources themselves, backed up by the authority of the litany of Orthodox Saints who were defenders of Aristotelianism?
I don't know, as I haven't seen you cite any primary sources, like this from Bessarion:
Quote
The words of the Fathers by themselves alone are enough to solve every doubt and to persuade every soul.  It was not syllogisms or probilities or arguments that convinced me, but the bare words of the Fathers.

A History of Christian Doctrine By Hubert Cunliffe-Jones
http://books.google.com/books?id=hbqG3XZrpEkC&pg=PA214&dq=%22the+bare+words+of+the+Fathers%22&hl=en&ei=9jIkTtbUHsHjsQL2kom1Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22the%20bare%20words%20of%20the%20Fathers%22&f=false
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« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2011, 09:58:36 AM »

The primary sources being the Amphilocion of Patriarch Photios (p. 21), in which he declares Aristotle to be the "holy progenitor" of all who philosophize, the 150 Chapters of Gregory Palamas (p. 29-31), and so on...

From Barbour:

We find that Patriarch Photios “perceives Aristotelian logic as an aid to orthodox piety, [while] Platonism is its exact contrary,” and even lambastes Plato's writings as "heathen incantations," all the while explicitly declaring his preference for the “more divine” philosophy of Aristotle! (p. 21-2)

"There existed a consistent Byzantine view that linked Aristotelianism and Orthodoxy in such a way that they were regarded as the very indispensable foundation and defense of Christian civilization as a whole. " (p. 107)

"Gennadios dedicates his defence of Aristotelianism against the paganizing Platonism of Plethon to Eugenikos. Were Mark not a convinced Aristotelian such actions would be hard to explain. Gennadios would certainly not have made his dedication were it not compatible with the rigorous integralism of Eugenikos Yes it is true that he was not interested in philosophy for its own sake, but only as a defence of the Orthodoxy he so ardently defended his life long. Still, in his life’s last appeal he does not hesitate to refer to Aristotelian argumentation. One must conclude that, whatever importance he gave philosophical reasoning, in the mind of Eugenikos Aristotelian philosophy was the only one suitable for a Byzantine Christian." (p. 42)
This is exactly the problem: making a philosphy dogma, rather than a tool.
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« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2011, 10:17:44 AM »


As for the Romans who met the Latins at Florence, less than two centuries after the apperance of the Summa, just over a century after its translation into Greek, and just under a century after St. Gregory's repose:
Quote
Palamas and his hesychast followers firmly opposed (what they took to be) the legalistic and rationalistic outlook of the West. An eastern representative at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-39) concisely expressed the views of the Palamite party when, in response to the Latins’ tendency to quote Aristotle as an authority, he exclaimed, “What about Aristotle, Aristotle? A fig for your fine Aristotle.” When asked whose authority he accepted, he replied, “St Peter, St Paul, St Basil, Gregory the Theologian; a fig for your Aristotle, Aristotle.”
http://www.theandros.com/palamas.html


"An" Eastern representative? Might I enquire as to who this might be?
One of them from Georgia.
The Council of Florence
http://books.google.com/books?id=8RE9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA227&dq=%22the+bare+words+of+the+Fathers%22&hl=en&ei=MTMkTqLeGubmsQK1pLSxAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22the%20bare%20words%20of%20the%20Fathers%22&f=false

Apart from the very strong possibility that this story is either apocryphal, or attributed after the fact,
Silvester Syropoulus, the deacon and official of the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, and a member of EP Joseph II's entourage, records it.  As for after the fact, he doesn't write it until after 1444, but he was an eyewitness and active participant: he was the one who asked the Georgian who was acceptable as an authority.
http://books.google.com/books?id=T6fKc6EcRt4C&pg=PR11&dq=Silvester+Syropoulus+eyewitness+participant&hl=en&ei=5jgkTtOqH6WLsgLhgqybAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Thank you, I have now been enlightened.

Quote
I don't think you have provided any reason to doubt the easily ascertainable and undeniable historical fact that Aristotelianism was the preferred philosophy for the Byzantines (see footnote p. 102).
And as choice among ancient philosophies, it's my preference too.  Go figure.

Am I to trust the second/third/fourthhand testimony of "an" Eastern representative,

You mean an eyewitness and active participant in the council.
or do I rather trust the primary sources themselves, backed up by the authority of the litany of Orthodox Saints who were defenders of Aristotelianism?
I don't know, as I haven't seen you cite any primary sources, like this from Bessarion:

No, but I did direct you to where the appropriate citations are to be found in the secondary text.

Quote
Quote
The words of the Fathers by themselves alone are enough to solve every doubt and to persuade every soul.  It was not syllogisms or probilities or arguments that convinced me, but the bare words of the Fathers.

A History of Christian Doctrine By Hubert Cunliffe-Jones
http://books.google.com/books?id=hbqG3XZrpEkC&pg=PA214&dq=%22the+bare+words+of+the+Fathers%22&hl=en&ei=9jIkTtbUHsHjsQL2kom1Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22the%20bare%20words%20of%20the%20Fathers%22&f=false

By the way, are you aware that Bessarion, as a Platonizing Humanist, was more inclined towards the Nominalism of Barlaam than the theological "Realism" of a Palamas or an Aquinas, and so it is only natural that he should believe that. After all, Barlaam thought that:

"ONLY arguments from the authority of the God-Bearing Fathers should be adopted, and issues which cannot be so resolved should be left to the realm of opinion."

Gregory Palamas, on the other hand:

"asserted the possibility of real demonstrative reasoning in theology, given that the unknowable God had revealed certain things about himself. Such truths had to be expounded, explained, and defended in a way which was certain. The Fathers themselves reasoned in this way, and so if an argument from the authority of the Fathers is needed, it will be precisely that demonstrative reasoning can be used in theology"

See post #6 above for references.
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« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2011, 10:49:23 AM »

Thank you, I have now been enlightened.
No problem.
Quote
I don't think you have provided any reason to doubt the easily ascertainable and undeniable historical fact that Aristotelianism was the preferred philosophy for the Byzantines (see footnote p. 102).
And as choice among ancient philosophies, it's my preference too.  Go figure.

Am I to trust the second/third/fourthhand testimony of "an" Eastern representative,

You mean an eyewitness and active participant in the council.
or do I rather trust the primary sources themselves, backed up by the authority of the litany of Orthodox Saints who were defenders of Aristotelianism?
I don't know, as I haven't seen you cite any primary sources, like this from Bessarion:

No, but I did direct you to where the appropriate citations are to be found in the secondary text.

Quote
Quote
The words of the Fathers by themselves alone are enough to solve every doubt and to persuade every soul.  It was not syllogisms or probilities or arguments that convinced me, but the bare words of the Fathers.

A History of Christian Doctrine By Hubert Cunliffe-Jones
http://books.google.com/books?id=hbqG3XZrpEkC&pg=PA214&dq=%22the+bare+words+of+the+Fathers%22&hl=en&ei=9jIkTtbUHsHjsQL2kom1Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22the%20bare%20words%20of%20the%20Fathers%22&f=false

By the way, are you aware that Bessarion, as a Platonizing Humanist, was more inclined towards the Nominalism of Barlaam than the theological "Realism" of a Palamas or an Aquinas, and so it is only natural that he should believe that. After all, Barlaam thought that:

"only arguments from the authority of the God-Bearing Fathers should be adopted, and issues which cannot be so resolved should be left to the realm of opinion."

Gregory Palamas, on the other hand:

"asserted the possibility of real demonstrative reasoning in theology, given that the unknowable God had revealed certain things about himself. Such truths had to be expounded, explained, and defended in a way which was certain. The Fathers themselves reasoned in this way, and so if an argument from the authority of the Fathers is needed, it will be precisely that demonstrative reasoning can be used in theology"

See post #6 above for references.
Yes, I'm also aware Bessarion ended up with a Latin cardinal's hat, in which capacity he attended Florence, and after its failure he succeeded Isodore of Kiev to the Latins' claim on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which had fallen to the Turk.  IIRC, Migne has him as the last Greek father.

Btw, St. Gregory's "argument that demonstrative reasoning can be used in theology" can be demonstrated in his odd ideas about the "immaculate genealogy," not only immaculate conception, of the Theotokos.  Philosophy deforms theology once again.
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« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2011, 11:04:00 AM »

Yes, I'm also aware Bessarion ended up with a Latin cardinal's hat, in which capacity he attended Florence, and after its failure he succeeded Isodore of Kiev to the Latins' claim on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which had fallen to the Turk.  IIRC, Migne has him as the last Greek father.

Okay, but I fail to see how this relates to the topic at hand.

Quote
Btw, St. Gregory's "argument that demonstrative reasoning can be used in theology" can be demonstrated in his odd ideas about the "immaculate genealogy," not only immaculate conception, of the Theotokos.  Philosophy deforms theology once again.

Please, let's not abstract from a particular to a universal.

Though certain instances of misapplied use of demonstrative reasoning have historically led to a deformation in theology, it by no means follows that use of demonstrative reasoning in theology need always do so -- far from it.

I think you'll also find that it was the strong speculative bent and "autonomous" use of reason derived from Neoplatonism that spawned the most grievous doctrinal errors, and not the purely formal logic and inductive method of Aristotelianism, which latter is exactly what St Gregory was defending.
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« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2011, 11:11:43 AM »

Wow, a conversation about philosophy -- and even Thomism -- that doesn't involve Papist.
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« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2011, 11:14:02 AM »

Wow, a conversation about philosophy -- and even Thomism -- that doesn't involve Papist.

Speaking of which, where is Papist?

I am still waiting for him to show up. I'd like to hear what he has to say.
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« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2011, 12:02:53 PM »

You are right that Aristotle was very important to educated Byzantines (who also loved Aquinas, btw). But most Byzantines in the 15th century were quite uneducated, including the vast majority of the bishops at Ferrara-Florence. Gennadios was called Scholarios for a reason: He had book learning, unlike his rustic brothers. This is probably one of the major difference between bishops in the 13th through 18th century and their predecessors, especially those before the 7th century.

Okay, so why is it almost the exact opposite with Orthodox writers and scholars today, who almost universally reject Aristotle and Aquinas? How is it that Barbour can ask:

"So why is it that the differences between the Latin scholastic tradition and the Eastern Orthodox tradition are seen today to be so irreducible, and precisely on account of their Latin-ness or Eastern-ness? Why is it that contemporary Orthodox thinkers as diverse as Meyendorff and Cavarnos insist that the best of Orthodox tradition is inherently unscholastic and Platonic?"

http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/

First, based on this quote alone, I would say Barbour greatly misreads Aquinas if he thinks Aquinas is somehow purely Aristotelian. Aquinas' Aristotle was a highly Platonized figure, forged in the mold of Plotinus and Proclus, and retold by the Arab Peripatetic tradition. Some have even called Aquinas a Neo-Platonist with an Aristotelian veneer.

Second, Barbour is apparently not very familiar with the actual breadth of Orthodox thought. Meyendorff to Cavarnos is not a very diverse sampling. If that is one's idea of the Orthodox theological world, then it's probably restricted to the English language. Hardly representative.
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« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2011, 06:26:57 PM »

You are right that Aristotle was very important to educated Byzantines (who also loved Aquinas, btw). But most Byzantines in the 15th century were quite uneducated, including the vast majority of the bishops at Ferrara-Florence. Gennadios was called Scholarios for a reason: He had book learning, unlike his rustic brothers. This is probably one of the major difference between bishops in the 13th through 18th century and their predecessors, especially those before the 7th century.

Okay, so why is it almost the exact opposite with Orthodox writers and scholars today, who almost universally reject Aristotle and Aquinas? How is it that Barbour can ask:

"So why is it that the differences between the Latin scholastic tradition and the Eastern Orthodox tradition are seen today to be so irreducible, and precisely on account of their Latin-ness or Eastern-ness? Why is it that contemporary Orthodox thinkers as diverse as Meyendorff and Cavarnos insist that the best of Orthodox tradition is inherently unscholastic and Platonic?"

http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/

First, based on this quote alone, I would say Barbour greatly misreads Aquinas if he thinks Aquinas is somehow purely Aristotelian. Aquinas' Aristotle was a highly Platonized figure, forged in the mold of Plotinus and Proclus, and retold by the Arab Peripatetic tradition. Some have even called Aquinas a Neo-Platonist with an Aristotelian veneer.

Well, there is no need to go on "just" this quote alone, I did link to an article written by him previously, and in the original post to his doctoral thesis on this subject, you are more than welcome to examine his views for yourself. There is no need to take my word for it. As for Aquinas being a Neoplatonist, we know that in Orthodox Byzantium:

"Plato and Platonism as such were always viewed with deep suspicion ... Platonism itself as well as the pursuit of philosophical speculation for its own sake was forever identified with the paganism of the Hellenes, not with the Orthodox Christianity of the Romans ... whenever ... a preference for Plato over Aristotle was explicitly expressed, a great alarm was raised by Orthodox authority, and the Christianity of such philosophers was straightaway under suspicion
." (pp. 14-16)

-- if Aquinas was acceptable to the Byzantines, evidently he can't have been all that Platonic.

Quote
Second, Barbour is apparently not very familiar with the actual breadth of Orthodox thought. Meyendorff to Cavarnos is not a very diverse sampling. If that is one's idea of the Orthodox theological world, then it's probably restricted to the English language. Hardly representative.

Well, the particular quote you are referring to is just a "sound bite," really, intended to convey the sense that both "liberal" and "traditionalist" Orthodox writers tend to agree on this point (i.e. that Orthodoxy is inherently unscholastic), which is, as Barbour notes, about the only thing they do agree on. In his dissertation, he draws on a wide variety of Orthodox sources (including many in the Greek language, not just English) that do represent the "actual" breadth of Orthodox thought, including but not limited to:

Constantine Cavarnos, John Meyendorff, Vladimir Lossky, Stylianos Papadopoulos, Jaroslav Pelikan, Gerhard Podskalsky, Philip Sherrard, Basile Tatakis, Nikolaos Tomadakis, Constantine Tsirpanlis, Theodore Zeses and so on, and so on... (not that half these names really mean anything to me -- sorry, my erudition isn't that broad)

Again, don't take my word for it, go check his references for yourself.

http://www.mediafire.com/?5x5dwl22vzf
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« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2011, 12:06:52 AM »

Yes, I'm also aware Bessarion ended up with a Latin cardinal's hat, in which capacity he attended Florence, and after its failure he succeeded Isodore of Kiev to the Latins' claim on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which had fallen to the Turk.  IIRC, Migne has him as the last Greek father.

Okay, but I fail to see how this relates to the topic at hand.
He was not only a Roman, but one of the most educated in his day. He knew Aristotle, having translated the philosopher for his new masters, although he was a Platonist. He had every reason to fill his head with scholastic ideas when he donned the Latin cardinal's hat.  And yet he didn't.  The quote I gave breathes the spirit of the Orthodox Empire of the Romans.

Btw, St. Gregory's "argument that demonstrative reasoning can be used in theology" can be demonstrated in his odd ideas about the "immaculate genealogy," not only immaculate conception, of the Theotokos.  Philosophy deforms theology once again.

Please, let's not abstract from a particular to a universal.
I'm an existentialist.  I only deal in particulars.

Though certain instances of misapplied use of demonstrative reasoning have historically led to a deformation in theology, it by no means follows that use of demonstrative reasoning in theology need always do so -- far from it.

I think you'll also find that it was the strong speculative bent and "autonomous" use of reason derived from Neoplatonism that spawned the most grievous doctrinal errors, and not the purely formal logic and inductive method of Aristotelianism, which latter is exactly what St Gregory was defending.
It seems the Vatican has racked up quite a few, not to mention the Protestants, both Scholastic spawn.
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« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2011, 12:30:51 AM »

I don't see how the remarks of a non-Saint (who signed at the Robber Council of Florence) who also displayed heretical/heterodox views are relevant at all to Orthodoxy...
Same as Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of Calvinism, is simply irrelevant, a heterodox who should never have been a patriarch.

I'm sorry, but I just don't see how this is relevant at all. He's not a Saint (but rather quite heterodox), and so his theological opinions are just irrelevant.

(Also note that I'm not saying every non-Saint's opinions are irrelevant, but this man is clearly heterodox, even though he later reversed course somewhat)
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« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2011, 01:00:43 AM »

He was not only a Roman, but one of the most educated in his day. He knew Aristotle, having translated the philosopher for his new masters, although he was a Platonist. He had every reason to fill his head with scholastic ideas when he donned the Latin cardinal's hat.  And yet he didn't.  The quote I gave breathes the spirit of the Orthodox Empire of the Romans.

No, he didn't.

You may not be aware of it, but Scholasticism was looked upon with utter contempt by the Platonic revival in Renaissance Italy:

"The Latin Church had in her bosom also many Platonizing humanists whose disdain for classical scholasticism was a matter of party doctrine. Converts like Bessarion and Isidore of Kiev were known to be sympathetic with the revival of Platonism. Before them, Barlaam had converted while retaining his nominalist scepticism about theological science." (p. 102-3)

In other words, If even Barlaam was encouraged to retain his anti-Thomist views, then Bessarion certainly had no reason at all to "fill his head" with scholasticism, which was practically anathema to the Platonizing Humanists in the Roman Curia. It was rather the Latins who wished to be filled with his ideas.

In fact, the Italian Renaissance was in large part a product of late-Medieval Byzantine decadence, through which the Platonizing Byzantines, spurned by their “Scholastic” Orthodox brethren in the East (including Gennadios Scholarios), found refuge in secular circles within the Florentine nobility! Let us hear what Barbour says, regarding the reception of Byzantine translations of Scholastic texts, though not recognized as such, in Renaissance Italy:

"Here are humanists so convinced of the superiority of anything Greek that they have neglected to study easily available Latin commentaries, and in consequence cannot recognize a translation of them. Gennadios was sure that the Latin logical works of the fourteenth century excelled anything that Byzantium had produced; he asserts this repeatedly. The Italian humanists were obviously not disposed to believe him. As Pinborg has pointed out, this shows “how the humanists’ neglect of scholasticism could result in their spending energy on producing books of deplorable quality when much superior ones existed.”  (p. 110)

Do these sound like the sort of people who would be pressuring an actual Greek such as Bessarion to embrace classical scholasticism, which they at any rate loathed?

Quote
I'm an existentialist.  I only deal in particulars.

I see you've thrown your lot in with Barlaam and the Ockhamite Nominalists -- good luck with that.

Quote
It seems the Vatican has racked up quite a few, not to mention the Protestants, both Scholastic spawn.

Yes, but spawn of the "Scholasticism" of Willaim of Ockham, who was a Nominalist. I challenge you to find me even one Protestant Reformer who was a Thomist, or even a Realist about universals -- I think you will find that they were to a man Nominalists.

In fact, even in the last days of Byzantium, months before its final conquest by the Ottomans, Gennadios Scholarios was consistently defending Aquinas against any charge of Barlaamism, though, as Barbour notes, for Gennadios this had nothing to do with defending Thomas in himself—admirable as he was—but rather with defending the doctrine of the Orthodox Church!  Contrary to popular opinion, Palamism and Thomism actually come down on the same side in the defense of natural theology against the other philosophical schools of the time (i.e. Scotism, Nominalism etc.):

"Scotism… weakens the scope of natural theology considerably, and Nominalism does so even more. There are very few attributes of God which are susceptible of rational demonstration for a Scotist, and even fewer for a Nominalist. For the Thomist and the Palamite, however, there is no perfection in creation, or attribute found in Holy Writ which cannot be the foundation for really demonstrative statements about God as he truly is." (pp. 92-3)

In other words, their doctrinal errors of Protestantism resulted from not from Scholasticism itself, and certainly not from Thomism, but rather from a late-medieval "Scholastic" decadence that rejected the common philosophical heritage of both East and West.
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« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2011, 01:50:17 AM »

Scholasticism IS bad when put before proper theology and mystery/mysticism.

Thomas Aquinas is not Orthodox and was quite heterodox, possibly even quite heretical. He teachings aren't to be accepted by any Orthodox.

Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.
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« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2011, 02:47:35 AM »

Scholasticism IS bad when put before proper theology and mystery/mysticism.

"The Christian use of Aristotle, the use of demonstrative argumentation in theology was practically identical with Orthodox Byzantine theology, even, or rather especially, as practiced by the mystics."

See post #11

Quote
Thomas Aquinas is not Orthodox and was quite heterodox, possibly even quite heretical. He teachings aren't to be accepted by any Orthodox.

"[The Byzantine Palamites] found nothing in St. Thomas’ approach which contradicted the traditional Byzantine view of reason and its relationship to revealed truth... Thomism as a system in no way struck them as inimical to their Byzantine outlook."

Again, see posts #11 and 19

Quote
Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

"Gennadios’ Thomism is not a sort of hapax in Orthodox thought, We are not dealing here with the idiosyncrasy of one thinker. He represents an already longstanding late Byzantine tradition of admiration and judicious use of Aquinas’ works by theologians and apostles of the first rank...."

See post #11

Quote
Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Barbour has demonstrated with overwhelming evidence that Gennadios Scholarios' adoption of Thomism was fully in the tradition of the three “pillars of Orthodoxy”—Patriarch Photios (pp. 19-23), Gregory Palamas (pp. 26-32), and Mark of Ephesus (pp. 42-3)—all of whom were anti-Platonists, Aristotelians, and even, one might say—gasp!—“Scholastics”!

Do these great saints also show us examples of "what not to believe?"

If you can find the time to read The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios (link below), I'm sure you will find that most of your concerns have already been answered at length.

http://www.mediafire.com/?5x5dwl22vzf
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« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2011, 02:59:34 AM »

I don't consider writings by western scholars to be absolutely authoritative. Unless you can show me orthodox sources, mainly from saints, that prove your points then I'll consider it. But I don't give a flip what a non-orthodox scholar/historian has to say...

Again, he isn't a Saint, and he betrayed Orthodoxy at the robber council. I'll take what St Mark and St Gregory say, but I could care less what this man had to say. And I could care less what western scholars say about him...
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« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2011, 03:03:12 AM »

He was not only a Roman, but one of the most educated in his day. He knew Aristotle, having translated the philosopher for his new masters, although he was a Platonist. He had every reason to fill his head with scholastic ideas when he donned the Latin cardinal's hat.  And yet he didn't.  The quote I gave breathes the spirit of the Orthodox Empire of the Romans.

No, he didn't.

You may not be aware of it, but Scholasticism was looked upon with utter contempt by the Platonic revival in Renaissance Italy:

"The Latin Church had in her bosom also many Platonizing humanists whose disdain for classical scholasticism was a matter of party doctrine. Converts like Bessarion and Isidore of Kiev were known to be sympathetic with the revival of Platonism. Before them, Barlaam had converted while retaining his nominalist scepticism about theological science." (p. 102-3)

In other words, If even Barlaam was encouraged to retain his anti-Thomist views, then Bessarion certainly had no reason at all to "fill his head" with scholasticism, which was practically anathema to the Platonizing Humanists in the Roman Curia. It was rather the Latins who wished to be filled with his ideas.

In fact, the Italian Renaissance was in large part a product of late-Medieval Byzantine decadence, through which the Platonizing Byzantines, spurned by their “Scholastic” Orthodox brethren in the East (including Gennadios Scholarios), found refuge in secular circles within the Florentine nobility!
Aquinas was already canonized a century before any of them were born, and even before that Tolomeo of Lucca writes in Historia Ecclesiastica xxiii, c. 9.
(1317): “This man is supreme among modern teachers of philosophy and theology, and indeed in every subject. And such is the common view and opinion, so that nowadays in the University of Paris they call him the Doctor Communis because of the outstanding clarity of his teaching," and they were already calling him "the Angelic Doctor" and other such nonsense.

Natural theology, whether Platonic or Aristotelian, does not make Christian theology, nor build it up.

"late-Medieval Byzantine decadence." LOL. You're talking about the Borgia popes of Rome.

Btw, Aquinas' end is interesting:
Quote
On 6 December, 1273, he laid aside his pen and would write no more. That day he experienced an unusually long ecstasy during Mass; what was revealed to him we can only surmise from his reply to Father Reginald, who urged him to continue his writings: "I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that all I have written now appears to be of little value" (modica, Prümmer, op. cit., p. 43). The "Summa theologica" had been completed only as far as the ninetieth question of the third part (De partibus poenitentiae).

Thomas began his immediate preparation for death.
Alas!  If only he had.
Quote
Gregory X, having convoked a general council, to open at Lyons on 1 May, 1274, invited St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure to take part in the deliberations, commanding the former to bring to the council his treatise "Contra errores Graecorum" (Against the Errors of the Greeks [sic]). He tried to obey, setting out on foot in January, 1274, but strength failed him; he fell to the ground near Terracina
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14663b.htm
Let us hear what Barbour says,
no, let's not.  So much spin can get you dizzy.
regarding the reception of Byzantine translations of Scholastic texts, though not recognized as such, in Renaissance Italy:

"Here are humanists so convinced of the superiority of anything Greek that they have neglected to study easily available Latin commentaries, and in consequence cannot recognize a translation of them. Gennadios was sure that the Latin logical works of the fourteenth century excelled anything that Byzantium had produced; he asserts this repeatedly. The Italian humanists were obviously not disposed to believe him. As Pinborg has pointed out, this shows “how the humanists’ neglect of scholasticism could result in their spending energy on producing books of deplorable quality when much superior ones existed.”  (p. 110)

Do these sound like the sort of people who would be pressuring an actual Greek such as Bessarion to embrace classical scholasticism, which they at any rate loathed?
Barbour didn't hear them speak on the matter.

I'm an existentialist.  I only deal in particulars.

I see you've thrown your lot in with Barlaam and the Ockhamite Nominalists -- good luck with that.
LOL. Sorry, no.  I don't fit in your boxes.  Bessarion, Barlaam, Ockham, Scotus, Aquinas.  All the same to me.  Not being a scholastic, I don't take philosophical precepts as dogma.

It seems the Vatican has racked up quite a few, not to mention the Protestants, both Scholastic spawn.
Yes, but spawn of the "Scholasticism" of Willaim of Ockham, who was a Nominalist. I challenge you to find me even one Protestant Reformer who was a Thomist, or even a Realist about universals -- I think you will find that they were to a man Nominalists.
Rotten fruit by any other name stinks just as much.
In fact, even in the last days of Byzantium, months before its final conquest by the Ottomans, Gennadios Scholarios was consistently defending Aquinas against any charge of Barlaamism, though, as Barbour notes, for Gennadios this had nothing to do with defending Thomas in himself—admirable as he was—but rather with defending the doctrine of the Orthodox Church!

and so began the Western captivity of the Church.
Contrary to popular opinion, Palamism and Thomism actually come down on the same side in the defense of natural theology against the other philosophical schools of the time (i.e. Scotism, Nominalism etc.):

"Scotism… weakens the scope of natural theology considerably, and Nominalism does so even more. There are very few attributes of God which are susceptible of rational demonstration for a Scotist, and even fewer for a Nominalist. For the Thomist and the Palamite, however, there is no perfection in creation, or attribute found in Holy Writ which cannot be the foundation for really demonstrative statements about God as he truly is." (pp. 92-3)

In other words, their doctrinal errors of Protestantism resulted from not from Scholasticism itself, and certainly not from Thomism, but rather from a late-medieval "Scholastic" decadence that rejected the common philosophical heritage of both East and West.
Orthodoxy rejects all their "natural theology."  Why trade the certitude of revelation for the speculation of philosophy?
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« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2011, 03:30:46 AM »

I don't consider writings by western scholars to be absolutely authoritative. Unless you can show me orthodox sources, mainly from saints, that prove your points then I'll consider it. But I don't give a flip what a non-orthodox scholar/historian has to say...

I believe that you may find the primary sources fully and comprehensively referenced in the secondary text, at the places indicated.

Quote
Again, he isn't a Saint, and he betrayed Orthodoxy at the robber council. I'll take what St Mark and St Gregory say, but I could care less what this man had to say. And I could care less what western scholars say about him...

It seems that the Greek Old Calendarists would disagree with you:

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:vPvT8XxSxBkJ:www.synodinresistance.org/Annals_en/E2a1079KyrOrth06-keimena.pdf+%22st+gennadios+scholarios%22&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShL34YSpRcxIxlPccxS_Guw4lvW_0MxOS7d6AAxEDkOnVFqhUqmCwb3HPcPNZG9mKN-qVE9ftAja8s66Sjku3UzwhFG1IcjQzD9nmIXPyAw1RA3FrMO3d_4tGx4NcVn64buFTa9&sig=AHIEtbT3O65xJK61ylfTDOqjIS7DSO0eiA&pli=1

(See Page 62, Note 53)
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« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2011, 03:57:08 AM »

Aquinas was already canonized a century before any of them were born, and even before that Tolomeo of Lucca writes in Historia Ecclesiastica xxiii, c. 9.
(1317): “This man is supreme among modern teachers of philosophy and theology, and indeed in every subject. And such is the common view and opinion, so that nowadays in the University of Paris they call him the Doctor Communis because of the outstanding clarity of his teaching," and they were already calling him "the Angelic Doctor" and other such nonsense.

Natural theology, whether Platonic or Aristotelian, does not make Christian theology, nor build it up.

Exactly, that is why we also have revealed theology  Smiley

Quote
"late-Medieval Byzantine decadence." LOL. You're talking about the Borgia popes of Rome.

Yes, I am, since they had no small role in sponsoring said Platonic revival.


Quote
Let us hear what Barbour says,
no, let's not.  So much spin can get you dizzy.

Is there an argument hidden somewhere beneath the rhetoric?

Quote
LOL. Sorry, no.  I don't fit in your boxes.  Bessarion, Barlaam, Ockham, Scotus, Aquinas.  All the same to me.  Not being a scholastic, I don't take philosophical precepts as dogma.

Sounds eerily similar to....

"since God is intrinsically unknowable ... only arguments from the authority of the God-Bearing Fathers should be adopted, and issues which cannot be so resolved should be left to the realm of opinion."

Behold, Barlaam is in excellent company.

Quote
Orthodoxy rejects all their "natural theology."

Thanks for the heads up, I'll be sure to tell St Gregory Palamas.

Quote
Why trade the certitude of revelation for the speculation of philosophy?

See post #6
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« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2011, 06:28:55 AM »

Aquinas was already canonized a century before any of them were born, and even before that Tolomeo of Lucca writes in Historia Ecclesiastica xxiii, c. 9.
(1317): “This man is supreme among modern teachers of philosophy and theology, and indeed in every subject. And such is the common view and opinion, so that nowadays in the University of Paris they call him the Doctor Communis because of the outstanding clarity of his teaching," and they were already calling him "the Angelic Doctor" and other such nonsense.

Natural theology, whether Platonic or Aristotelian, does not make Christian theology, nor build it up.

Exactly, that is why we also have revealed theology  Smiley
We have revealed theology.  What you all want to claim you have is your business.

"late-Medieval Byzantine decadence." LOL. You're talking about the Borgia popes of Rome.

Yes, I am, since they had no small role in sponsoring said Platonic revival.
I'll leave you to your coreligionists' interdenominational squabbles.

Let us hear what Barbour says,
no, let's not.  So much spin can get you dizzy.
Is there an argument hidden somewhere beneath the rhetoric?
A fig for your Barbour.

LOL. Sorry, no.  I don't fit in your boxes.  Bessarion, Barlaam, Ockham, Scotus, Aquinas.  All the same to me.  Not being a scholastic, I don't take philosophical precepts as dogma.

Sounds

only to tin ears.
eerily similar to....

"since God is intrinsically unknowable ... only arguments from the authority of the God-Bearing Fathers should be adopted, and issues which cannot be so resolved should be left to the realm of opinion."

Behold, Barlaam is in excellent company.
not exactly:
Quote
No one has seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. The Deity, therefore, is ineffable and incomprehensible. For no one knows the Father, save the Son, nor the Son, save the Father. Matthew 11:27 And the Holy Spirit, too, so knows the things of God as the spirit of the man knows the things that are in him. 1 Corinthians 2:11 Moreover, after the first and blessed nature no one, not of men only, but even of supramundane powers, and the Cherubim, I say, and Seraphim themselves, has ever known God, save he to whom He revealed Himself.

God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance. For the knowledge of God's existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature. This creation, too, and its maintenance, and its government, proclaim the majesty of the Divine nature. Wisdom 13:5 Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets in former times and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us. All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour , seeking for nothing beyond these. For God, being good, is the cause of all good, subject neither to envy nor to any passion. For envy is far removed from the Divine nature, which is both passionless and only good. As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable to bear He kept secret. With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition Proverbs 22:28 .
St. John of Damascus-the Font of Knowledge, the Orthodox Faith.

Scholastics are as much driven by dissatisfaction as Barlaam indicates the need for "opinion."


Orthodoxy rejects all their "natural theology."

Thanks for the heads up, I'll be sure to tell St Gregory Palamas.
Don't think you will be able:"between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'" Going over to the other side with Aquinas, you can't bring that chasm to St. Gregory.

'
Why trade the certitude of revelation for the speculation of philosophy?

See post #6
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« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2011, 06:34:25 AM »

I don't consider writings by western scholars to be absolutely authoritative. Unless you can show me orthodox sources, mainly from saints, that prove your points then I'll consider it. But I don't give a flip what a non-orthodox scholar/historian has to say...

I believe that you may find the primary sources fully and comprehensively referenced in the secondary text, at the places indicated.
You seem rather intent that we read them through that filter and put Barbour googles on.


Again, he isn't a Saint, and he betrayed Orthodoxy at the robber council. I'll take what St Mark and St Gregory say, but I could care less what this man had to say. And I could care less what western scholars say about him...

It seems that the Greek Old Calendarists would disagree with you:

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:vPvT8XxSxBkJ:www.synodinresistance.org/Annals_en/E2a1079KyrOrth06-keimena.pdf+%22st+gennadios+scholarios%22&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShL34YSpRcxIxlPccxS_Guw4lvW_0MxOS7d6AAxEDkOnVFqhUqmCwb3HPcPNZG9mKN-qVE9ftAja8s66Sjku3UzwhFG1IcjQzD9nmIXPyAw1RA3FrMO3d_4tGx4NcVn64buFTa9&sig=AHIEtbT3O65xJK61ylfTDOqjIS7DSO0eiA&pli=1

(See Page 62, Note 53)
a fig for your Old Calendarist. And your Ottoman.
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« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2011, 07:34:30 AM »

You seem rather intent that we read them through that filter and put Barbour googles on.

Please let me know once you yourself have conducted a comprehensive review of all extant literature on the topic at hand, in the original languages, and consulted all the relevant secondary texts from both Orthodox theologians and secular historians, that I might defer to your superior erudition in disputing the facts of history.

As for the rest, well... the floor remains open to those wishing to make sensible and thoughtful contributions to the discussion, though somehow I doubt they will get much of a chance...
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« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2011, 09:12:09 AM »

You are doing some pretty indicative work in this thread, Isa.  Too bad its not a treatise on agriculture.   Smiley

M.



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« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2011, 09:45:33 AM »

You seem rather intent that we read them through that filter and put Barbour googles on.

Please let me know once you yourself have conducted a comprehensive review of all extant literature on the topic at hand, in the original languages, and consulted all the relevant secondary texts from both Orthodox theologians and secular historians, that I might defer to your superior erudition in disputing the facts of history.
LOL. Don't hold your breath.

I don't need to conduct my own experiments, nor read and study all the studies, to find out snorting crack cocaine is bad for me.  You
I notice that this has not been discussed at all on this forum so far, so I thought I would "put it out there" so to speak....-- Personally, I agree with Barbour that Scholastic and Aristotelian thought are not at all inimical to Orthodox piety and tradition....Going by what I have read on this forum and elsewhere, however, I know that I am in the minority among Orthodox.

Discuss.
Be careful what you ask for.  You might get it.

So you are aware of "the anti-Scholastic and anti-Aristotelian animus one often sees in modern Eastern Orthodox," and conclude it is only among "modern" Orthodox.  Say for sake of argument that your master Barbour is correct "this was not always the case," and "some of the most influential Byzantine Orthodox saints from at least the 9th century onwards" agree with you.  Well, we are not in the 9th century, nor the centuries "onwards" to the fifteenth.  What happened to create the anti-scholatic and anti-Aristolian animus among "modern" Eastern Orthodox?  Can't be any lack of Aristotle or Scholastics: if it were, why the "lament [of] the influence of Latin scholasticism on some of the standard Orthodox theological manuals and catechisms in use until recently in Greece and in Slavic countries"?  And its not Plato, which it seems you want as a boodgeyman to scare us into the arms of Aristotle.

The Georgian who wouldn't give more than a fig for Aristotle didn't say he would accept Plato.  He replied:"St Peter, St Paul, St Basil, St. Gregory the Theologian."

Despite what is being portrayed, the waning centuries of Rome were not its height in theology. Why try to squeeze the two millenia of the Church into those few centuries, particularly the 15th?  Except that that was the height of the school which has deformed the Vatican's theology, and which it has embraced more firmly now than it did even in the 15th century?

The Western Captivity of the Church has ended.  We're not being lured back into the cage.

As for the rest, well... the floor remains open to those wishing to make sensible and thoughtful contributions to the discussion,
somebody else under Barbour's spell?
though somehow I doubt they will get much of a chance...
Sometimes silence says all that needs to be said.  But no one is being prevented from posting anything they like.

btw, here's the thread on this topic that I was thinking of:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19708.msg303852.html#msg303852
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« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2011, 09:53:53 AM »

You are doing some pretty indicative work in this thread, Isa.  Too bad its not a treatise on agriculture.   Smiley

M.



a fig for your Old Calendarist. And your Ottoman.

Is of sorts.
Scholasticism, putting philosophy on par with revelation, is totally inimical to Orthodox Christianity.  The havock it has wrought in the West demonstrates that.

Yup.  And the last thing we want to do with you, Isa, is rake havock!!

M.

As you can see Mr. Fripod...
if he can see

a spade, yes.
Just weeding the tares that don't belong.  The weeds of Scholasticism overran the Lord's vineyard, and we just got rid of that Kudzu. We need to burn it, not store it in the barns of the Catholic Church.
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« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2011, 10:45:14 AM »

I don't need to conduct my own experiments, nor read and study all the studies, to find out snorting crack cocaine is bad for me.  You


Surely you know that that line of reasoning is simply fallacious. There is simply no way you cannot know that.

After all, it is no good comparing the use of demonstrative reasoning in theology to cocaine use, when whether or not the two are any sense even remotely comparable is precisely what is at issue. I have argued they are not. You have yet to provide a coherent response.

Quote
What happened to create the anti-scholatic and anti-Aristolian animus among "modern" Eastern Orthodox?  Can't be any lack of Aristotle or Scholastics: if it were, why the "lament [of] the influence of Latin scholasticism on some of the standard Orthodox theological manuals and catechisms in use until recently in Greece and in Slavic countries"?  And its not Plato, which it seems you want as a boodgeyman to scare us into the arms of Aristotle.

You are right, it isn't Plato. But my friend, if you would care to actually read the material I have supplied, I think you will find that it is a little thing called Romantic Nationalism.

"It hardly needs mentioning how far these Greeks [i.e. the Byzantine Aristotelians] in reality were from their present day image. Authors like Meyendorff and Tsirpanlis, for example, seem to be unaware of these easily ascertainable facts of history. Yet this phenomenon among modern Orthodox writers is so general as to be a rule. A prime example of the use of the anti-scholastic assumptions is found in C. Cavarnos, “Aristotle’s Legacy in the Hellenic East,”… where the author insists on the pre-eminence of Platonism in the Orthodox tradition precisely because of the Palamite and anti-Western strains in it; this would have come as quite a surprise to Palamas, Mark of Ephesus, or Gennadios who also would not have appreciated the strange, for a true Byzantine at least, expression “Hellenistic Christian.” It seems at times that much of the scholarship of Greeks today is based more on a Romantic ideal of a Greek nation than the more universal, not to say Catholic, ideal of a Christian oikumene." (p. 102n)

"why is it that the difference between the Latin scholastic tradition and the Eastern Orthodox tradition are seen today to be so irreducible, and precisely on account of their Latin-ness or Eastern-ness? Why is it that contemporary Orthodox thinkers as diverse as Meyendorff and Cavarnos insist that the best of Orthodox tradition is inherently unscholastic and Platonic? I will offer only one of the several possible reasons, but the one which is the most dangerous to the faith and practice of Catholics and Orthodox alike, and it is nothing less than the adoption of an anti-scholasticism inspired not by Platonism, but by modern ideologies, which imprison the faith in their categories."

http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/a-latins-lamentation-over-gennadios-scholarios/


Quote
Despite what is being portrayed, the waning centuries of Rome were not its height in theology.  Why try to squeeze the two millenia of the Church into those few centuries, particularly the 15th?  Except that that was the height of the school which has deformed the Vatican's theology, and which it has embraced more firmly now than it did even in the 15th century?

I have never suggested otherwise, in fact, my argument was precisely that this period constituted as catastrophic fall away from the classical scholasticism shared by both East and West.

Quote
The Western Captivity of the Church has ended.  We're not being lured back into the cage.

In all honesty, I can't see that there ever was a "Western Captivity." The history just doesn't show it - not by a long shot. If anything, the "emergence" of the Orthodox Church from "Western Captivity" in the late 18th Century more likely constituted its enslavement to a "Romantic Statist Captivity."
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« Reply #50 on: July 19, 2011, 10:51:03 AM »

Well, there is no need to go on "just" this quote alone, I did link to an article written by him previously, and in the original post to his doctoral thesis on this subject, you are more than welcome to examine his views for yourself. There is no need to take my word for it. As for Aquinas being a Neoplatonist, we know that in Orthodox Byzantium:

"Plato and Platonism as such were always viewed with deep suspicion ... Platonism itself as well as the pursuit of philosophical speculation for its own sake was forever identified with the paganism of the Hellenes, not with the Orthodox Christianity of the Romans ... whenever ... a preference for Plato over Aristotle was explicitly expressed, a great alarm was raised by Orthodox authority, and the Christianity of such philosophers was straightaway under suspicion
." (pp. 14-16)

-- if Aquinas was acceptable to the Byzantines, evidently he can't have been all that Platonic.

This is strange reasoning indeed. First, you are confusing Platonism and Neo-Platonism. Please re-read the entirety of Barbour's explanation on pp 14-16, which draws a distinction between the two. Second, I must ask: Are you familiar with the history of late antique and medieval philosophy in general? Please read some surveys, e.g. The Oxford Handbook to Aquinas, to familiarize yourself with the sort of "Aristotle" the Schoolmen in general, and Aquinas in particular, had access to. Both wittingly and unwittingly, Aquinas represents the Neo-Platonic tradition on many important points, especially in his fights against various interlocutors at the University of Paris. This is nothing unique to Aquinas, by the way. It is simply the reality of philosophy at the time, especially Christian philosophy, influenced as it was in Aquinas' thought by Augustine, Boethius, Simplicius, et al.

Well, the particular quote you are referring to is just a "sound bite," really, intended to convey the sense that both "liberal" and "traditionalist" Orthodox writers tend to agree on this point (i.e. that Orthodoxy is inherently unscholastic), which is, as Barbour notes, about the only thing they do agree on. In his dissertation, he draws on a wide variety of Orthodox sources (including many in the Greek language, not just English) that do represent the "actual" breadth of Orthodox thought, including but not limited to:

Constantine Cavarnos, John Meyendorff, Vladimir Lossky, Stylianos Papadopoulos, Jaroslav Pelikan, Gerhard Podskalsky, Philip Sherrard, Basile Tatakis, Nikolaos Tomadakis, Constantine Tsirpanlis, Theodore Zeses and so on, and so on... (not that half these names really mean anything to me -- sorry, my erudition isn't that broad)

Again, don't take my word for it, go check his references for yourself.

http://www.mediafire.com/?5x5dwl22vzf

Yes, Barbour has a lot of sources in his bibliography, but that doesn't really mean anything. Zeses? Come on. Gerhard Podskalsky is a Jesuit, not an Orthodox. Pelikan simply argued for the influence of Augustine on Aquinas, not Aquinas' irrelevancy. I could go on.

As Barbour himself notes on p 17, the Byzantine debate over Plato vs Aristotle "concerned not so much philosophical points in themselves, but the authors and texts to be studied, their usefulness and safety in instruction." This is a very true statement -- and it strikes at the heart of Orthodox hermeneutics and our "theology of history", as Florovsky called it -- but, if one realizes this, then the entire dialectic of opposition between "Platonism" and "Aristotelianism" collapses even in theory (not to mention historical reality!). By the way, if you want to read a modern Orthodox engagement with philosophy, see Florovsky's early essays.
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« Reply #51 on: July 19, 2011, 10:55:26 AM »

I don't see how the remarks of a non-Saint (who signed at the Robber Council of Florence) who also displayed heretical/heterodox views are relevant at all to Orthodoxy...
Same as Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of Calvinism, is simply irrelevant, a heterodox who should never have been a patriarch.

Ahem. Read the Greek sources, which are far more complete--which possess his own words and teachings and the testimonies of those who actually knew him, and learn that Patriarch Cyril Lukaris is NOT guilty of Calvinism, but that Calvinists are guilty of writing a false confession that is ascribed to him, but which he himself denounced, anathematizing it, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics all. For his zeal for Orthodoxy, he was killed by papal agents.
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« Reply #52 on: July 19, 2011, 11:14:12 AM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius has not been so far proved to be a signatory of Florence, and he certainly did not support the false union after his return to Constantinople. He was a disciple of St. Mark of Ephesus and not a commemorator of the pope of Rome. Unless the calendar http://www.pomog.org/index.html?http://www.pomog.org/saintlist.shtml is mistaken, his feast as a saint in our Church is Aug. 31. As for Patriarch Cyril Lukaris, I have dealt with that calumny above, and it has been addressed in other threads on this forum.
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« Reply #53 on: July 19, 2011, 11:15:10 AM »

I don't see how the remarks of a non-Saint (who signed at the Robber Council of Florence) who also displayed heretical/heterodox views are relevant at all to Orthodoxy...
Same as Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of Calvinism, is simply irrelevant, a heterodox who should never have been a patriarch.

Ahem. Read the Greek sources, which are far more complete--which possess his own words and teachings and the testimonies of those who actually knew him, and learn that Patriarch Cyril Lukaris is NOT guilty of Calvinism, but that Calvinists are guilty of writing a false confession that is ascribed to him, but which he himself denounced, anathematizing it, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics all. For his zeal for Orthodoxy, he was killed by papal agents.

I see that you missed the part where I said IF...
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« Reply #54 on: July 19, 2011, 11:18:34 AM »

This is strange reasoning indeed. First, you are confusing Platonism and Neo-Platonism. Please re-read the entirety of Barbour's explanation on pp 14-16, which draws a distinction between the two.

Yes, I did, perhaps, forget to include in my response that:

"the less self-consciously Platonic, Christian Neo-Platonism of the Fathers was acceptable" (p. 15)

Quote
Second, I must ask: Are you familiar with the history of late antique and medieval philosophy in general? Please read some surveys, e.g. The Oxford Handbook to Aquinas, to familiarize yourself with the sort of "Aristotle" the Schoolmen in general, and Aquinas in particular, had access to. Both wittingly and unwittingly, Aquinas represents the Neo-Platonic tradition on many important points, especially in his fights against various interlocutors at the University of Paris. This is nothing unique to Aquinas, by the way. It is simply the reality of philosophy at the time, especially Christian philosophy, influenced as it was in Aquinas' thought by Augustine, Boethius, Simplicius, et al.

Not as familiar as I would like to be, I am afraid, though I hear that Aquinas' particular brand of Aristotelianism, however much influenced by Neo-Platonism it was, was still quite controversial in its day, and was opposed by some of the more conservative theologians in the West, particularly those influenced by Augustine. Therefore, it is clear that Thomism can by no means be identified with Christian Neo-Platonism, as if they were simply the same thing. They were clearly very different.

Quote
Yes, Barbour has a lot of sources in his bibliography, but that doesn't really mean anything. Zeses? Come on. Gerhard Podskalsky is a Jesuit, not an Orthodox. Pelikan simply argued for the influence of Augustine and Aquinas, not Aquinas' irrelevancy. I could go on.

Forgive me, it was a mistake on my part, given that the quotation was not actually from his dissertation anyway, but from the article previously linked.

Quote
As Barbour himself notes on p 17, the Byzantine debate over Plato vs Aristotle "concerned not so much philosophical points in the themselves, but the authors and texts to be studied, their usefulness and safety in instruction." This is a very true statement -- and it strikes at the heart of Orthodox hermeneutics and our "theology of history", as Florovsky called it -- but, if one realizes this, then the entire dialectic of opposition between "Platonism" and "Aristotelianism" collapses even in theory (not to mention historical reality!). By the way, if you want to read a modern Orthodox engagement with philosophy, see Florovsky's early essays.

I understand what you are saying, but I don't quite buy it. Surely you also saw the footnote on page 17:

"Lemerle warns against an oversimplification of the controversy over Plato and Aristotle, pointing out that it was more a question of a struggle between Christian Philosophy and secular Hellenism"

This was your point exactly. On the other hand:

"This is surely true, but it remains true nonetheless that Plato was always viewed as the enemy of Orthodoxy"

A significant qualification. And as I remarked earlier, even the more moderate Neoplatonism of the Fathers still possessed a strong speculative bent, absent in Aristotle, that sometimes (in extreme cases such as that of Origen) did in fact lead to heresy.
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« Reply #55 on: July 19, 2011, 11:18:39 AM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius has not been so far proved to be a signatory of Florence, and he certainly did not support the false union after his return to Constantinople. He was a disciple of St. Mark of Ephesus and not a commemorator of the pope of Rome. Unless the calendar http://www.pomog.org/index.html?http://www.pomog.org/saintlist.shtml is mistaken, his feast as a saint in our Church is Aug. 31. As for Patriarch Cyril Lukaris, I have dealt with that calumny above, and it has been addressed in other threads on this forum.

Being a disciple of Saint doesn't put one up as a Saint. Hasn't it been proven that he supported union? And I do believe that our church says that out of all who were there, St. Mark was the only one to not sign...

And yes, I'm aware that later he opposed union, but he still signed and still supported it initially. His ideas are still VERY western and that should be enough to be cautious.
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« Reply #56 on: July 19, 2011, 11:20:47 AM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius has not been so far proved to be a signatory of Florence, and he certainly did not support the false union after his return to Constantinople. He was a disciple of St. Mark of Ephesus and not a commemorator of the pope of Rome. Unless the calendar http://www.pomog.org/index.html?http://www.pomog.org/saintlist.shtml is mistaken, his feast as a saint in our Church is Aug. 31. As for Patriarch Cyril Lukaris, I have dealt with that calumny above, and it has been addressed in other threads on this forum.

Being a disciple of Saint doesn't put one up as a Saint. Hasn't it been proven that he supported union? And I do believe that our church says that out of all who were there, St. Mark was the only one to not sign...

And yes, I'm aware that later he opposed union, but he still signed and still supported it initially. His ideas are still VERY western and that should be enough to be cautious.

See the thread on the Council of Florence and the actual first-hand accounts.
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« Reply #57 on: July 19, 2011, 11:21:36 AM »

I don't see how the remarks of a non-Saint (who signed at the Robber Council of Florence) who also displayed heretical/heterodox views are relevant at all to Orthodoxy...
Same as Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of Calvinism, is simply irrelevant, a heterodox who should never have been a patriarch.

Ahem. Read the Greek sources, which are far more complete--which possess his own words and teachings and the testimonies of those who actually knew him, and learn that Patriarch Cyril Lukaris is NOT guilty of Calvinism, but that Calvinists are guilty of writing a false confession that is ascribed to him, but which he himself denounced, anathematizing it, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics all. For his zeal for Orthodoxy, he was killed by papal agents.

I see that you missed the part where I said IF...

But he is not, so why cast aspersions?
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« Reply #58 on: July 19, 2011, 11:23:22 AM »

It seems that the Greek Old Calendarists would disagree with you:

again, why should I care? They aren't Orthodox...

As I told you, I don't care what western scholars and non-Orthodox have to say about this (or any other) subject. They are not Orthodox, therefore, their opinions and perspectives are going to be skewed and twisted. I don't care how many "credentials" a scholar has, if they aren't Orthodox, then I don't care what they have to say.

You recognize yourself that you are in the minority of Orthodox Christians, shouldn't that be a red flag to you? Or are you saying that the Church has been wrong this whole time?
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« Reply #59 on: July 19, 2011, 11:24:28 AM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius has not been so far proved to be a signatory of Florence, and he certainly did not support the false union after his return to Constantinople. He was a disciple of St. Mark of Ephesus and not a commemorator of the pope of Rome. Unless the calendar http://www.pomog.org/index.html?http://www.pomog.org/saintlist.shtml is mistaken, his feast as a saint in our Church is Aug. 31. As for Patriarch Cyril Lukaris, I have dealt with that calumny above, and it has been addressed in other threads on this forum.

Being a disciple of Saint doesn't put one up as a Saint. Hasn't it been proven that he supported union? And I do believe that our church says that out of all who were there, St. Mark was the only one to not sign...

And yes, I'm aware that later he opposed union, but he still signed and still supported it initially. His ideas are still VERY western and that should be enough to be cautious.

See the thread on the Council of Florence and the actual first-hand accounts.

Are the first hand accounts from Orthodox sources? See above... If they aren't, then I don't care what they have to say...
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« Reply #60 on: July 19, 2011, 11:36:47 AM »

As I told you, I don't care what western scholars and non-Orthodox have to say about this (or any other) subject. They are not Orthodox, therefore, their opinions and perspectives are going to be skewed and twisted. I don't care how many "credentials" a scholar has, if they aren't Orthodox, then I don't care what they have to say.

Then it seems that Fr John Romanides has done well his work of closing the minds of Orthodox Christians to any voice of dissent from the dreaded "other."

You know... I've heard that Mormons are also strongly discouraged from consulting any non-Mormon sources, lest they be - (gasp) - challenged in their unhistorical beliefs... (please note I am NOT saying that Orthodoxy is unhistorical, only certain historical "orthodoxies" that have popular currency within the Church).

Quote
You recognize yourself that you are in the minority of Orthodox Christians, shouldn't that be a red flag to you? Or are you saying that the Church has been wrong this whole time?

Athanasius Contra Mundum. Truth is not determined by a majority vote.

I may not personally be correct, but we must in principle believe that the possibility exists that, regarding this or that historically contingent fact, at least in areas that do not touch on doctrine, the majority of Orthodox Christians in any one period of history may be mistaken.
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« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2011, 11:41:09 AM »

Hmmm... This thread may have gone slightly off topic...
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« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2011, 11:55:12 AM »

"This is surely true, but it remains true nonetheless that Plato was always viewed as the enemy of Orthodoxy"

Plato, not neo-Platonism. And even that "Plato" is much more like the "Augustine" who haunts the dreams of Romanides.

I haven't read all of Barbour -- and I'm beginning to think he's much more nuanced than you made him seem in your initial quotes -- but, as Florovsky said of Fedotov's magnum opus, it is quite natural and easy for a historian to force his "hypotheses" upon the facts, particularly when trying to use history as a bludgeon against modern-day theological opponents. In other words, there's a lot of good here, but it's misleading to read the hyperbole of argument as fact.

Barbour's title, for example, is a hyperbolic statement of a truism. As he says, on p 39, "the element that unites Thomism and Byzantium is not dogma, but philosophy, a philosophy which is guided and suited to defend Christian faith." In other words, Byzantine theologians were "Thomists" because they read, enjoyed, and employed philosophical works on logic and reason. Well, of course they did -- and they did so well before Aquinas -- but that hardly makes them "Thomists" in any sense.

I do agree, though, that some modern Orthodox writers have created a false dichotomy between faith and reason, theology and philosophy.

Regarding Gennadios' view of Aquinas, this quote is quite instructive:

Quote
The author of these books is a Latin by birth and so he adheres to the dogma of that church as an inheritance; this is only human. But he is a wise man, and is inferior to none of those who are perfect in wisdom among men. He wrote most especially as a commentator of Aristotelian philosophy, and of the Old and New Testaments. Most of the principal conclusions of both Sacred Theology and philosophy are seen in his books, almost all of which we have studied, both the few which were translated by others into the Greek language, and their Latin originals, some of which we ourselves have translated into our own tongue....In all the aforesaid areas this wise man is most excellent, as the best interpreter and synthesizer in those matters in which his church agrees with ours.

That's not being a "Thomist". That's showing an appreciation for what Aquinas got right. Not unlike how a lot of modern-day Orthodox in the West like C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton.
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« Reply #63 on: July 19, 2011, 12:14:09 PM »

"This is surely true, but it remains true nonetheless that Plato was always viewed as the enemy of Orthodoxy"

Plato, not neo-Platonism. And even that "Plato" is much more like the "Augustine" who haunts the dreams of Romanides.

I haven't read all of Barbour -- and I'm beginning to think he's much more nuanced than you made him seem in your initial quotes -- but, as Florovsky said of Fedotov's magnum opus, it is quite natural and easy for a historian to force his "hypotheses" upon the facts, particularly when trying to use history as a bludgeon against modern-day theological opponents. In other words, there's a lot of good here, but it's misleading to read the hyperbole of argument as fact.

Barbour's title, for example, is a hyperbolic statement of a truism. As he says, on p 39, "the element that unites Thomism and Byzantium is not dogma, but philosophy, a philosophy which is guided and suited to defend Christian faith." In other words, Byzantine theologians were "Thomists" because they read, enjoyed, and employed philosophical works on logic and reason. Well, of course they did -- and they did so well before Aquinas -- but that hardly makes them "Thomists" in any sense.

I do agree, though, that some modern Orthodox writers have created a false dichotomy between faith and reason, theology and philosophy.

Regarding Gennadios' view of Aquinas, this quote is quite instructive:

Quote
The author of these books is a Latin by birth and so he adheres to the dogma of that church as an inheritance; this is only human. But he is a wise man, and is inferior to none of those who are perfect in wisdom among men. He wrote most especially as a commentator of Aristotelian philosophy, and of the Old and New Testaments. Most of the principal conclusions of both Sacred Theology and philosophy are seen in his books, almost all of which we have studied, both the few which were translated by others into the Greek language, and their Latin originals, some of which we ourselves have translated into our own tongue....In all the aforesaid areas this wise man is most excellent, as the best interpreter and synthesizer in those matters in which his church agrees with ours.

That's not being a "Thomist". That's showing an appreciation for what Aquinas got right. Not unlike how a lot of modern-day Orthodox in the West like C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton.

Okay, but I don't think an unqualified acceptance of literally everything a particular philosopher wrote is the only thing that qualifies one  to be identified as a member of that particular school.

Surely all "Neoplatonists," "Aristotelians," "Thomists," "Scotists," "Cartesians," "Kantians" etc. only ever draw on and appreciate what their founders got right? How could they do otherwise? They certainly aren't going to appreciate what their founders got wrong. But this surely cannot disqualify them from being called Neoplatonists etc.

If it is true that Gennadios et al. "might reject St. Thomas teaching on some point or other as incompatible with Orthodoxy but Thomism as a system in no way struck them as inimical" (p. 34), then I just don't see why we couldn't call them "Thomists" in the relevant sense  viz.-- adopting his philosophy as a system, without necessarily adopting all his conclusions.

And I am delighted to see that you treat Barbour in much the same way as regards history, i.e. not dismissing his findings simply because he is not an Orthodox Christian. This seems to me to be an eminently sensible approach, and I don't see why I cannot also adopt it without Barbour somehow being construed as my "Master," to whom I must either be in complete slavish obedience, or else disdain entirely.
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« Reply #64 on: July 19, 2011, 12:25:04 PM »

The question is if they adopted his system or if the points of agreement in methodology and content actually predated their encounter with Aquinas. The argument and evidence seem to be pushing for the latter, despite the rhetoric.

EDIT: Further questions involve the complexity of Gennadios' life and thought. Gennadios read and approved of Aquinas but also sided with Aquinas' arch-rivals on significant matters. He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also a famously strident anti-Westerner. He served under a Muslim sultan but wrote the most significant theological criticism of Islam ever produced. Other examples abound.
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« Reply #65 on: July 19, 2011, 12:37:12 PM »

The question is if they adopted his system or if the points of agreement in methodology and content actually predated their encounter with Aquinas. The argument and evidence seem to be pushing for the latter, despite the rhetoric.

It does look as though Gennadios Scholarios also adopted Aquinas famous distinction between Essence and Existence (and even used it to defend the Palamite distinction!), a point which could not have predated Aquinas, given that (as far as I know) he was the originator of that doctrine. At the very least it could not be found in Aristotle. (see p. 55ff. "The Palamite Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios")

This shouldn't be surprising, since Gennadios accepted Aquinas general metaphysics as set forth in the De Ente et Essentia almost without comment.
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« Reply #66 on: July 19, 2011, 01:00:53 PM »

The question is if they adopted his system or if the points of agreement in methodology and content actually predated their encounter with Aquinas. The argument and evidence seem to be pushing for the latter, despite the rhetoric.

It does look as though Gennadios Scholarios also adopted Aquinas famous distinction between Essence and Existence (and even used it to defend the Palamite distinction!), a point which could not have predated Aquinas, given that (as far as I know) he was the originator of that doctrine. At the very least it could not be found in Aristotle. (see p. 55ff. "The Palamite Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios")
Wonder what Papist has to say about "Aquinas['] famous distinction between Essence and Existence."

In any case, that it cannot be found in Aristotle is irrelevant, as St. Gregory Palamas got it, despite what the Scholastics say, from the Fathers (Cappadocians, Alexandrian, (Pseudo-)Dionysius, etc.).
This shouldn't be surprising, since Gennadios accepted Aquinas general metaphysics as set forth in the De Ente et Essentia almost without comment.
Metaphysics, whether Aristotle's, Plato's, Aquinas', whoever, is not the basis of Orthodox dogma.
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« Reply #67 on: July 19, 2011, 01:16:00 PM »

Being a disciple of Saint doesn't put one up as a Saint. Hasn't it been proven that he supported union? And I do believe that our church says that out of all who were there, St. Mark was the only one to not sign...

And yes, I'm aware that later he opposed union, but he still signed and still supported it initially. His ideas are still VERY western and that should be enough to be cautious.

While "being a disciple of Saint doesn't put one up as a Saint" is generally true, there are exceptions.

Getting past that point, you do understand that (St. - this is in dispute, IIRC) Gennadios II was the most fervent opponent of union with Rome from around the time of St. Mark's death until his own passing, right?  You do know that his fervent anti-union position was one of the major reasons for his selection as Patriarch of Constantinople, right?  In fact, St. Mark himself praised him for his steadfastness to Orthodoxy and tradition.  (St.) Gennadios was a defender of hesychasm, shepherd of the flock of Constantinople, and a prolific (and polemical) writer to boot.  He had extensive knowledge of Orthodoxy, western-Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam from his scholarly pursuits, and he wrote extensive refutations of Islam and western-Catholicism, especially after the death of St. Mark.

Yes, he seemingly was pro-union at Florence; but shortly after his return to Constantinople, St. Mark had convinced him to change his position - a change that was never to be undone in his lifetime.  When union was proclaimed in Agia Sophia, he famously posted a note on his door asking why the faithful had put their trust in the "Latins" instead of God.

My point?  Be careful with your brush-strokes.
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« Reply #68 on: July 19, 2011, 01:16:35 PM »

As I told you, I don't care what western scholars and non-Orthodox have to say about this (or any other) subject. They are not Orthodox, therefore, their opinions and perspectives are going to be skewed and twisted. I don't care how many "credentials" a scholar has, if they aren't Orthodox, then I don't care what they have to say.

Then it seems that Fr John Romanides has done well his work of closing the minds of Orthodox Christians to any voice of dissent from the dreaded "other."
Well indeed.  He has also done well in opening the minds of the Orthodox Christians, EO and OO, to not view each other as the "dreaded 'other.'"
You know... I've heard that Mormons are also strongly discouraged from consulting any non-Mormon sources, lest they be - (gasp) - challenged in their unhistorical beliefs... (please note I am NOT saying that Orthodoxy is unhistorical, only certain historical "orthodoxies" that have popular currency within the Church).
Devin didn't say anything about not consulting your master Barbour, just that he has no authority, which you appeal to.

You recognize yourself that you are in the minority of Orthodox Christians, shouldn't that be a red flag to you? Or are you saying that the Church has been wrong this whole time?
Athanasius Contra Mundum. Truth is not determined by a majority vote.
Athanasius Cum Patribus. Persecusion complexes are often cultivated by minorities, but they do not Truth make.
I may not personally be correct, but we must in principle believe that the possibility exists that, regarding this or that historically contingent fact, at least in areas that do not touch on doctrine, the majority of Orthodox Christians in any one period of history may be mistaken.
Like the 15th century.
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« Reply #69 on: July 19, 2011, 01:17:19 PM »

Further questions involve the complexity of Gennadios' life and thought. Gennadios read and approved of Aquinas but also sided with Aquinas' arch-rivals on significant matters. He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also a famously strident anti-Westerner. He served under a Muslim sultan but wrote the most significant theological criticism of Islam ever produced. Other examples abound.

Amen.  This is a must-read for anyone who wishes to comment further in this thread.
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« Reply #70 on: July 19, 2011, 01:27:21 PM »

Further questions involve the complexity of Gennadios' life and thought. Gennadios read and approved of Aquinas but also sided with Aquinas' arch-rivals on significant matters. He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also a famously strident anti-Westerner. He served under a Muslim sultan but wrote the most significant theological criticism of Islam ever produced. Other examples abound.

Amen.  This is a must-read for anyone who wishes to comment further in this thread.

I should qualify my second statement: He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also famously strident in his opposition to Rome and certain Roman doctrines.

In a lot of ways, he reminds me of St. Nikodemos the Athonite. Both Gennadios and Nikodemos took famous Roman Catholic writings and produced significantly edited translations of those writings for Greek Orthodox audiences.

Yes, it is significant that they use those writings as a starting point. Just as it is significant that they edit them.
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« Reply #71 on: July 19, 2011, 01:28:23 PM »

Being a disciple of Saint doesn't put one up as a Saint. Hasn't it been proven that he supported union? And I do believe that our church says that out of all who were there, St. Mark was the only one to not sign...

And yes, I'm aware that later he opposed union, but he still signed and still supported it initially. His ideas are still VERY western and that should be enough to be cautious.

While "being a disciple of Saint doesn't put one up as a Saint" is generally true, there are exceptions.

Getting past that point, you do understand that (St. - this is in dispute, IIRC) Gennadios II was the most fervent opponent of union with Rome from around the time of St. Mark's death until his own passing, right?  You do know that his fervent anti-union position was one of the major reasons for his selection as Patriarch of Constantinople, right?  In fact, St. Mark himself praised him for his steadfastness to Orthodoxy and tradition.  (St.) Gennadios was a defender of hesychasm, shepherd of the flock of Constantinople, and a prolific (and polemical) writer to boot.  He had extensive knowledge of Orthodoxy, western-Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam from his scholarly pursuits, and he wrote extensive refutations of Islam and western-Catholicism, especially after the death of St. Mark.

Yes, he seemingly was pro-union at Florence; but shortly after his return to Constantinople, St. Mark had convinced him to change his position - a change that was never to be undone in his lifetime.  When union was proclaimed in Agia Sophia, he famously posted a note on his door asking why the faithful had put their trust in the "Latins" instead of God.

My point?  Be careful with your brush-strokes.

My point wasn't necessarily anti-Gennadios after he began to oppose union. My point is that we should reject his writings around the time of his pro-union stage.

Example, look at Origen. We don't reject everything of his, but we do reject his heretical/heterodox writings and teachings.

My point for Gennadios, is that you can't just quote him and call it good, you have to be discerning as to when he wrote it (whatever was quoted) and whether or not its orthodox.
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« Reply #72 on: July 19, 2011, 01:31:49 PM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Is it really slandering when what they have written is heterodox? How about Nestorius? Would it have been wrong to call him a heretic prior to his official excommunication?

Just because one is a hierarch doesn't mean one is immune to heresy and heterodoxy. Certainly we shouldn't disrespect them. But calling them out on their heterodoxy is not slander, nor is it disrespect...
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« Reply #73 on: July 19, 2011, 01:45:12 PM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Is it really slandering when what they have written is heterodox? How about Nestorius? Would it have been wrong to call him a heretic prior to his official excommunication?

Your comparison to Nestorius shows you don't know the facts of the case: (a) Gennadios was a layman at Ferrara-Florence, so he had no vote and therefore did not sign the union, (b) once he come around to Mark of Ephesus' point of view on the way back to Constantinople, he was the most articulate and widely respected voice AGAINST the union, (c) he became a well respected Orthodox Patriarch and monk, and (d) he is a Saint of the Church, listed in the Synaxarion.
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« Reply #74 on: July 19, 2011, 01:46:30 PM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Is it really slandering when what they have written is heterodox? How about Nestorius? Would it have been wrong to call him a heretic prior to his official excommunication?

Just because one is a hierarch doesn't mean one is immune to heresy and heterodoxy. Certainly we shouldn't disrespect them. But calling them out on their heterodoxy is not slander, nor is it disrespect...

As I said above, according to the original, Greek sources, St. Cyril Lukaris denied writing the confession ascribed to him, The Greek version of the confession is written in bad Greek, whereas St. Cyril's other works are in beautiful, well-educated Greek. For this and other reasons such as St. Cyril's steadfastness for the Orthodox faith, the fathers at the Jerusalem Council under Patriarch Dositheus doubted the confession was written by St. Cyril. You assume the calumnies against St. Cyril are true, but I tell you you need to look deeper. The Internet is not the sum total of all knowledge, nor is what is available in English about a Greek hierarch accurate or complete.
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« Reply #75 on: July 19, 2011, 02:05:21 PM »

I am now going to bow out of this discussion for a time in order to collect my thoughts.

I remain firmly convinced that my original thesis has, in fact, been maintained (or at least shown to be eminently defensible), despite the at times angry rejection thereof -- the thesis, namely, that 1) the sweeping repudiation of Aristotelianism and classical Scholasticism (as found most excellently in Thomism) found in many Orthodox writers since the 19th century is not universal to the history of Orthodox thought, and actually constitutes something of an innovation in philosophical outlook, and that 2) Scholastic and Aristotelian thought are not in and of themselves inimical to Orthodox piety and tradition (as borne out by the history we have been discussing).

Thank you all for commenting, even the less conciliatory among you. I appreciate it.

In closing I would invite you all once again to carefully study the article and dissertation to which I linked in the original post. I believe that they will furnish ample opportunity for further (and hopefully fruitful) reflection and discussion.
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« Reply #76 on: July 19, 2011, 02:55:22 PM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Is it really slandering when what they have written is heterodox? How about Nestorius? Would it have been wrong to call him a heretic prior to his official excommunication?

Your comparison to Nestorius shows you don't know the facts of the case: (a) Gennadios was a layman at Ferrara-Florence, so he had no vote and therefore did not sign the union, (b) once he come around to Mark of Ephesus' point of view on the way back to Constantinople, he was the most articulate and widely respected voice AGAINST the union, (c) he became a well respected Orthodox Patriarch and monk, and (d) he is a Saint of the Church, listed in the Synaxarion.

My point still remains... We don't accept anything he wrote while pro-union... As I said (and I think you ignored it), we can accept what he said when anti-union.

Also, can you give me proof of him being in the Synaxarion? I can only find two St. Gennadius, one from the 5th Century, and the other is from the 16th Century in Russia...
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« Reply #77 on: July 19, 2011, 03:07:42 PM »


Gennadios Scholarius was a traitor who signed at the Robber Council of Florence. While he did turn against union later, it seems he certainly didn't shed his western influenced theology. He is not considered to be a Saint in our Church and so I don't see why anything he said should be considered important.

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Please, get your facts straight before slandering historical hierarchs.

Is it really slandering when what they have written is heterodox? How about Nestorius? Would it have been wrong to call him a heretic prior to his official excommunication?

Your comparison to Nestorius shows you don't know the facts of the case: (a) Gennadios was a layman at Ferrara-Florence, so he had no vote and therefore did not sign the union, (b) once he come around to Mark of Ephesus' point of view on the way back to Constantinople, he was the most articulate and widely respected voice AGAINST the union, (c) he became a well respected Orthodox Patriarch and monk, and (d) he is a Saint of the Church, listed in the Synaxarion.

My point still remains... We don't accept anything he wrote while pro-union... As I said (and I think you ignored it), we can accept what he said when anti-union.

Also, can you give me proof of him being in the Synaxarion? I can only find two St. Gennadius, one from the 5th Century, and the other is from the 16th Century in Russia...

Aug. 31 is the date, however there is some confusion. First of all, not all Synaxaria are complete. Second, online at least, and in the book, IIRC, "All Ye Saints, Pray to God for Us!" there is listed St. Gennadius I (+471) and St. Gennadius II Scholasticus (+1372). I don't know where these people got 1372 from, however.
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« Reply #78 on: July 19, 2011, 03:32:06 PM »

I remain firmly convinced that my original thesis has, in fact, been maintained (or at least shown to be eminently defensible), despite the at times angry rejection thereof -- the thesis, namely, that 1) the sweeping repudiation of Aristotelianism and classical Scholasticism (as found most excellently in Thomism) found in many Orthodox writers since the 19th century is not universal to the history of Orthodox thought, and actually constitutes something of an innovation in philosophical outlook, and that 2) Scholastic and Aristotelian thought are not in and of themselves inimical to Orthodox piety and tradition (as borne out by the history we have been discussing).

There are a lot of problems with your first contention. Since this is obviously a topic of interest for you, check out David Bradshaw's Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) and then see what you think. NB: Bradshaw paints with far too broad a brush on several matters, but, once you read him, at least you'll have a better sense of the Late Antique synthesis and the role of Neo-Platonic philosophy (including the only Aristotle around: a highly Neo-Platonized one) in the most important Eastern and Western Fathers who deal with metaphysics.

With that in mind -- and that should address a HUGE lacuna in your statement -- you have to read up on Gennadios's life. He was not a churchman or theologian until late in life. He was a philosophy professor. So, the first 40 or 50 years of his interest in Aquinas had nothing at all to do with Orthodox theology. Gennadios was simply translating Aquinas' commentaries on Aristotle, which themselves are exercises in philosophy, not theology. Later on, Gennadios translated sections of Aquinas' theological manuals into Greek, but did so with the heavy hand of an editor, removing everything he deemed unOrthodox. In other words, you really need to make a strong and proper distinction between Gennadios's relationship to (a) Aquinas as a philosopher and (b) Aquinas as a theologian. This undercuts a lot of the hay Barbour (and you) seem to be making.
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« Reply #79 on: July 19, 2011, 03:39:41 PM »

Further questions involve the complexity of Gennadios' life and thought. Gennadios read and approved of Aquinas but also sided with Aquinas' arch-rivals on significant matters. He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also a famously strident anti-Westerner. He served under a Muslim sultan but wrote the most significant theological criticism of Islam ever produced. Other examples abound.

Amen.  This is a must-read for anyone who wishes to comment further in this thread.

I should qualify my second statement: He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also famously strident in his opposition to Rome and certain Roman doctrines.

In a lot of ways, he reminds me of St. Nikodemos the Athonite. Both Gennadios and Nikodemos took famous Roman Catholic writings and produced significantly edited translations of those writings for Greek Orthodox audiences.

Yes, it is significant that they use those writings as a starting point. Just as it is significant that they edit them.
Amen!
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« Reply #80 on: July 19, 2011, 03:58:46 PM »

My point still remains... We don't accept anything he wrote while pro-union... As I said (and I think you ignored it), we can accept what he said when anti-union.

My point remains: Your posts show no knowledge of his life or writings, and yet you won't back down from your initial calumnies. Go back and read your first post. You claimed (a) he's "quite heterodox" and, then, (b) "this man is clearly heterodox, even though he later reversed course somewhat."

These statements are false -- ridiculously so. Remember: You did not claim his early writings were wrong, but that "this man is clearly heterodox."

Also, can you give me proof of him being in the Synaxarion? I can only find two St. Gennadius, one from the 5th Century, and the other is from the 16th Century in Russia...

Look it up in the Hemerologion of the Great Church, or even Zeses' biography.
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« Reply #81 on: July 19, 2011, 04:03:38 PM »

I remain firmly convinced that my original thesis has, in fact, been maintained (or at least shown to be eminently defensible), despite the at times angry rejection thereof -- the thesis, namely, that 1) the sweeping repudiation of Aristotelianism and classical Scholasticism (as found most excellently in Thomism) found in many Orthodox writers since the 19th century is not universal to the history of Orthodox thought, and actually constitutes something of an innovation in philosophical outlook, and that 2) Scholastic and Aristotelian thought are not in and of themselves inimical to Orthodox piety and tradition (as borne out by the history we have been discussing).

There are a lot of problems with your first contention. Since this is obviously a topic of interest for you, check out David Bradshaw's Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) and then see what you think. NB: Bradshaw paints with far too broad a brush on several matters, but, once you'll read him, at least you'll have a better sense of the Late Antique synthesis and the role of Neo-Platonic philosophy (including the only Aristotle around: a highly Neo-Platonized one) in the most important Eastern and Western Fathers who deal with metaphysics.

With that in mind -- and that should address a HUGE lacuna in your statement -- you have to read up on Gennadios's life. He was not a churchman or theologian until late in life. He was a philosophy professor. So, the first 40 or 50 years of his interest in Aquinas had nothing to at all to do with Orthodox theology. Gennadios was simply translating Aquinas' commentaries on Aristotle, which themselves are exercises in philosophy, not theology. Later on, Gennadios translated sections of Aquinas' theological manuals into Greek, but did so with the heavy hand of an editor, removing everything he deemed unOrthodox. In other words, you really need to make a strong and proper distinction between Gennadios's relationship to (a) Aquinas as a philosopher and (b) Aquinas as a theologian.
The problem is not so much the lacuna, though that is a problem, but the importance that is being put on put on the alleged.  Even if the rejection of Aristotle and Scholasticism is not universal among the Orthodox (and some, like myself accept Aristotle and reject Scholasticism), that doesn't make their acceptance universal.
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« Reply #82 on: July 19, 2011, 07:37:50 PM »

I don't need to conduct my own experiments, nor read and study all the studies, to find out snorting crack cocaine is bad for me.

You might be an expert in many things but obviously controlled substances and how to properly use them ain't one.

Snorting crack would do little to or for you.

It pretty much has to be smoked, just like smoking "powder" cocaine does little for you.

"Baking" crack is a less dangerous, cheaper, and easier way of making cocaine HCL (powder) into a base form (the formerly expensive "free base").

Cocaine HCL doesn't vaporize well (technically you don't "smoke" crack, you inhale the vapor) and cocaine reduced to its basic form isn't very water soluble, hence it not being able to be absorbed into the mucous membranes when you snort it. Although, it will act as a mild anesthetic in your mouth, but a very inefficient one.

FWIW.





 
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« Reply #83 on: July 19, 2011, 07:40:33 PM »

lacuna

One of my favorite words.
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« Reply #84 on: July 19, 2011, 08:15:02 PM »

My point still remains... We don't accept anything he wrote while pro-union... As I said (and I think you ignored it), we can accept what he said when anti-union.

My point remains: Your posts show no knowledge of his life or writings, and yet you won't back down from your initial calumnies. Go back and read your first post. You claimed (a) he's "quite heterodox" and, then, (b) "this man is clearly heterodox, even though he later reversed course somewhat."

These statements are false -- ridiculously so. Remember: You did not claim his early writings were wrong, but that "this man is clearly heterodox."

Also, can you give me proof of him being in the Synaxarion? I can only find two St. Gennadius, one from the 5th Century, and the other is from the 16th Century in Russia...

Look it up in the Hemerologion of the Great Church, or even Zeses' biography.

Do you expect some kind of public repentance from me for calling a man heterodox who is an obsure Saint, whom is not listed anywhere but a few synaxarions as a Saint?
(not saying he isn't a Saint, I'm saying most people don't know he is, and I had no clue he was, and the only references to him as one seem to be from a couple copies of the synaxarion)

I'm sorry, but I see no reason to apologize when I had no clue he was a saint, especially when you search for him, there is never any mention of him being a saint, or even being canonized as one...

Nevertheless, Thomistic theology, and Calvinist theology are clearly heterodox and are clearly heresies. Anyone who espouses them is likewise heterodox.

Did Ss. Gennadius and Cyril espouse them? Maybe, but I guess the church says no. But regardless, as to the OP, we must keep in mind that Thomistic theology is heterodox and Thomas Aquinas is not an Orthodox Saint, and he never will be.

Take this as an example...

The Russian Church took the Book of Common Prayer from the Anglican Church, looked it over, and made various changes, and made it acceptable to use for an Orthodox Christian.
Now, does this mean that the Book of Common Prayer is ok for an Orthodox Christian to use, or that it is completely Orthodox? No, certainly not!
It means that the version put out by the Russian Church is Orthodox, not the original.

Same here, if a Saint talked about the good things in Aquinas' theology, and pointed out the traces of orthodoxy in there, that doesn't mean Aquinas' theology was Orthodox. It simply means that he had traces of the truth within there.
Just because the early fathers used elements of Platonism in their theology doesn't mean that we should automatically think of Plato's writings as being Orthodox and acceptable...
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« Reply #85 on: July 19, 2011, 09:41:21 PM »

Like I posted above, he is like Cyril Lucaris, who, if actually guilty of his Calvinism, is heterodox and dare I say heretical. His writings serve to show us what not to believe.

Devin, St. Cyril Lukar (glorified by the synod of Alexandria) was aquitted by the famous 17th century Synod of Jerusalem of these charges.  The majority of the council was dedicated to:
1.  Prove that St. Cyril did not write the infamous confession that bore his name, but rather a protestant pseudo-Cyril.
2.  To amend and publish the Orthodox Confession originally written by Patriarch Dositheus. 
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« Reply #86 on: July 19, 2011, 11:00:05 PM »

I remain firmly convinced that my original thesis has, in fact, been maintained (or at least shown to be eminently defensible), despite the at times angry rejection thereof -- the thesis, namely, that 1) the sweeping repudiation of Aristotelianism and classical Scholasticism (as found most excellently in Thomism) found in many Orthodox writers since the 19th century is not universal to the history of Orthodox thought, and actually constitutes something of an innovation in philosophical outlook, and that 2) Scholastic and Aristotelian thought are not in and of themselves inimical to Orthodox piety and tradition (as borne out by the history we have been discussing).

There are a lot of problems with your first contention. Since this is obviously a topic of interest for you, check out David Bradshaw's Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) and then see what you think. NB: Bradshaw paints with far too broad a brush on several matters, but, once you read him, at least you'll have a better sense of the Late Antique synthesis and the role of Neo-Platonic philosophy (including the only Aristotle around: a highly Neo-Platonized one) in the most important Eastern and Western Fathers who deal with metaphysics.

Yes, I am aware of Bradshaw's work. You are obviously more knowledgeable in this matter than I am so I am sure that you would have seen the colloquium held at the IOCS on Aristotle: East and West (http://distancelearning.iocs.cam.ac.uk/videos/index.php?page=videos&groupid=1&videoid=1). In all honesty, much as I admire him, I don't think Dr Bradshaw was able adequately to respond to the objections of his interlocutor, Prof. John Milbank. One commentator on their discussion has written the following -- I find myself mostly in agreement with him:

Quote
"If you don't have time to watch the film, consider the following: The title of his book is theologically oriented. After Dr. Bradshaw was "hammered" in the discussion, his reply to several objections was a.) professing that he's not a theologian and so was ignorant of several important controversies and figures with regard to the very topics he was attempting to influence b.) He openly admitted that he had probably some major holes in not reading all pertinent authors c.) amazingly, he pronounced his ignorance about Duns Scotus. If you know this controversy well...this is inexcusable! The outstanding philosopher-theologian Gennadius Scholarios (Patriarch of Const. and appointed Successor of Mark Eugenicus/Ephesus) professed to have reconciled Palamas with Scotistic theology (brilliantly!). John Romanides ripped (see his website) poor Meyendorff for not understanding Scotus (among other Latins), not unlike Bradshaw. I was horrified that the good Doctor was "shocked" to see that there were parallels in Scotus' metaphysics and Gregory's. It was a bloodbath. To select but one more point, our Good Doctor suggested a form of divine-human relation which explicitly meant that God should be determined in his actions by contingent human beings in relation to him. His opponent then reduced him to a pile of ash (for that and his errors on Aquinas)."

Quote
With that in mind -- and that should address a HUGE lacuna in your statement -- you have to read up on Gennadios's life. He was not a churchman or theologian until late in life. He was a philosophy professor. So, the first 40 or 50 years of his interest in Aquinas had nothing at all to do with Orthodox theology. Gennadios was simply translating Aquinas' commentaries on Aristotle, which themselves are exercises in philosophy, not theology. Later on, Gennadios translated sections of Aquinas' theological manuals into Greek, but did so with the heavy hand of an editor, removing everything he deemed unOrthodox. In other words, you really need to make a strong and proper distinction between Gennadios's relationship to (a) Aquinas as a philosopher and (b) Aquinas as a theologian. This undercuts a lot of the hay Barbour (and you) seem to be making.

I hear you, but surely it can't all be as simple as saying "come back in 4 years with a degree in church history and historical theology and then we'll talk."

Yes, I freely admit there are many things I don't know -- even important things. I may be young, and not as widely read as some, but I know injustice when I see it, and believe me, the way most Orthodox treat Aquinas and his philosophy is a prime example. In the face of such outrageous calumnies I am not simply going to roll over and accept whatever aspersions the "catholic consciousness" (read: popular opinion) of the Church feels like throwing his way, depending on how chauvinistic they feel on any given day. I strongly believe that Aquinas deserves a fair hearing, not merely off-hand dismissal.

As Fr Seraphim Rose once wrote, someone who believes in something so passionately that he will "cut your head off," so to speak, actually reveals his weakness -- he needs to convince you his of opinion in order to prove to himself that he really believes in it.

Such unthinking triumphalism just makes me angry. As I said before, I know injustice when I see it -- and I will not stand for it.
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« Reply #87 on: July 20, 2011, 06:14:36 AM »

Undoubtedly I have just opened myself up to a whole raft of criticism with that last comment.

Frankly, I welcome it.

It may even help reveal the sometimes vicious and, frankly, irrational hostility towards Aquinas against which I have been protesting. No Christian should possess that degree of hatred -- and indeed, we do not see such ferocious condemnation of other non-Orthodox thinkers, even those regarded as heretics, such as Arius, Nestorius, and Origen. When did you last hear <insert suitably insulting epithet here> directed at, for example, Origen, or Duns Scotus, or even Barlaam? It just doesn't happen.

Why should Aquinas draw such ire from us, when they do not? Even Augustine, the favourite whipping boy of so many Orthodox writers, doesn't draw the sort of universal vilification that Aquinas does. I can understand principled disagreement with certain points of his dogmatic theology, naturally enough, since he was not an Orthodox Christian. But, come on, if even Papist recognises that Orthodox today possess far more "anti-Scholastic" animus than they ever did historically, and that it has nothing to do with a "Latin captivity," why should we refuse to consider even the possibility that legitimate, if selective, use of Thomist philosophy - even in expounding and defending Orthodox dogma, as did the Palamites and anti-unionists of 14th and 15th century Byzantium - could in principle be a fruitful and expedient project?

Maybe it just takes an "outsider"...


They are identical to the Orthodox Church, and the only difference is that they are in communion with the Pope,

The dogmatic traditions are totally different.
To some degree. I actually think that the EC Churches have a great deal in common with the EO Church of centuries past. However, I think that they have become more and more different as time goes on. From my perspective its the EO Church that has changed as it has adopted a more and more anti-latin/anti-western attitude.
Could that be because the West has changed more and more?
I don't think so. There used to be EO theologians who had great respect for Thomas Aquinas and even considered him a darn good theologian, with the exception of the Filioque of course. Now, if you listen to modern EOs you would think Thomas Aquinas ate babies for breakfast and gave candy to small children just so that he could take it away from them.

Then again, maybe it really can all be put down to modern ideologies of Nationalist or Statist Romanticisms that imprison faith in their categories, and have nothing at all to do with the authentically catholic Orthodoxy which will not reject any truth simply on account of its origin, but breathe the poisonous spirit of this world.

"If ye were of the world, then the world would love his own..."
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« Reply #88 on: July 20, 2011, 07:13:14 AM »


It may even help reveal the sometimes vicious and, frankly, irrational hostility towards Aquinas against which I have been protesting.

Why should Aquinas draw such ire from us, when they do not?

Aquinas was possessed of that cold and vicious fanaticism which enabled him to provide theological justification for murdering members of the human race.  SMT SS Q[11] A[3] Body Para. 1/2 and Para 2/2.

One may point all one wants to the conditions of his day and age and say he was excused because he was a victim of his culture and times but that is unacceptable.  He had before him in the Gospels which he read at Mass every day the unchanging teachings of the God-Man Jesus Christ which utterly condemn what Aquinas approved.  He laid the theological basis for the justification of the torture and murder of thousands of people.  The various Inquisitions, Spanish, Portuguese, Roman, operated in accord with Aquinas' theology. To see him as an enlightened thinker is as absurd as seeing the Nazi formulators of Aryanism as enlightened thinkers or to excuse them by their environment and indoctrination.  They were Nazi eugenicists.  Aquinas was a despicable example of a Christian eugenicist.  If we have any charity in our hearts let us pray for his salvation from hell.
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« Reply #89 on: July 20, 2011, 08:35:40 AM »

Undoubtedly I have just opened myself up to a whole raft of criticism with that last comment.

Frankly, I welcome it.

It may even help reveal the sometimes vicious and, frankly, irrational hostility towards Aquinas against which I have been protesting. No Christian should possess that degree of hatred -- and indeed, we do not see such ferocious condemnation of other non-Orthodox thinkers, even those regarded as heretics, such as Arius, Nestorius, and Origen. When did you last hear <insert suitably insulting epithet here> directed at, for example, Origen, or Duns Scotus, or even Barlaam? It just doesn't happen.


I admit my lack of knowledge in post-1054 Roman Catholic theology.  Isa explained that Universities in Paris adopted Duns Scotus' beliefs, sometimes under duress, and those beliefs became the Immaculate Conception.  If Duns Scotus didn't exist, where else would the IC come from?


The Divine Liturgy
Any Divine Liturgy which taught the IC would be only "so called."
The Divine Litrugy of St. John Crysostom
Is there some Latinized or Novus Ordo service which claims that name that teaches the IC?  It's not in the Orthodox original.
Nope
Right, it's not in the Orthodox original.

I think both sides are talking about two different things completely (wounded nature is not the same as "sinful nature" as the Catholics believe, i.e. it's not a matter of "nature" but a matter of "grace" that lies in the difference of doctrines).

I think the question is quite succinctly, is it necessary that the Theotokos has to be conceived in a similar way we are baptized into the Church?  This is what Catholics believe, and this is what Orthodox reject.
You would be much closer to the Catholic point of view if you say that the Catholic asks if it is good, if it is possible, if it fits better with Tradition to indicate that the person of the Theotokos never was separated from the saving grace of the Divine Trinity.  To us the answer is that it is possible, and that it is good, and that it fits well with Tradition to say that the Theotokos was never separated from the saving grace of God.
II Cor. 5:21 Rom. 3:23.

Read the Doctor's prescription:
Quote
All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour , seeking for nothing beyond these.  As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable to bear He kept secret. With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/33041.htm

Quote
That would be some better rather than always going back to the trough of necessity, because that is something added on by outsiders.... Smiley
Duns Scotus should have thought about that before he rationalized the IC into acceptance by your ecclesiastical community.
Don't need <epithets>.  Have the teachings of Duns Scotus, Barlaam, etc. tried to attach themselves to the Church like a barnacle, to spread like a cancer?

Scholastism had already knocked down the everlasting boundaries the Fathers had set up by the 15th century. Florence only made that plain and clear, e.g. the Scholastic invention of Purgatory being swallowed as dogma.  Btw, as for your assertion, take a look at some of the EO criticism of OO condemned as non-Orthodox thinkers. And we are in far, far more agreement with them than with Aquinas' followers.
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« Reply #90 on: July 20, 2011, 08:59:21 AM »


It may even help reveal the sometimes vicious and, frankly, irrational hostility towards Aquinas against which I have been protesting.

Why should Aquinas draw such ire from us, when they do not?

Aquinas was possessed of that cold and vicious fanaticism which enabled him to provide theological justification for murdering members of the human race.  SMT SS Q[11] A[3] Body Para. 1/2 and Para 2/2.

One may point all one wants to the conditions of his day and age and say he was excused because he was a victim of his culture and times but that is unacceptable.  He had before him in the Gospels which he read at Mass every day the unchanging teachings of the God-Man Jesus Christ which utterly condemn what Aquinas approved.  He laid the theological basis for the justification of the torture and murder of thousands of people.  The various Inquisitions, Spanish, Portuguese, Roman, operated in accord with Aquinas' theology. To see him as an enlightened thinker is as absurd as seeing the Nazi formulators of Aryanism as enlightened thinkers or to excuse them by their environment and indoctrination.  They were Nazi eugenicists.  Aquinas was a despicable example of a Christian eugenicist.  If we have any charity in our hearts let us pray for his salvation from hell.

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Aquinas is a Nazi...

yea...and you know what is said about the Irish...


 angel angel angel angel
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« Reply #91 on: July 20, 2011, 09:06:28 AM »


It may even help reveal the sometimes vicious and, frankly, irrational hostility towards Aquinas against which I have been protesting.

Why should Aquinas draw such ire from us, when they do not?

Aquinas was possessed of that cold and vicious fanaticism which enabled him to provide theological justification for murdering members of the human race.  SMT SS Q[11] A[3] Body Para. 1/2 and Para 2/2.

One may point all one wants to the conditions of his day and age and say he was excused because he was a victim of his culture and times but that is unacceptable.  He had before him in the Gospels which he read at Mass every day the unchanging teachings of the God-Man Jesus Christ which utterly condemn what Aquinas approved.  He laid the theological basis for the justification of the torture and murder of thousands of people.  The various Inquisitions, Spanish, Portuguese, Roman, operated in accord with Aquinas' theology. To see him as an enlightened thinker is as absurd as seeing the Nazi formulators of Aryanism as enlightened thinkers or to excuse them by their environment and indoctrination.  They were Nazi eugenicists.  Aquinas was a despicable example of a Christian eugenicist.  If we have any charity in our hearts let us pray for his salvation from hell.

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Aquinas is a Nazi...

yea...and you know what is said about the Irish...


 angel angel angel angel

I've not studied the events in detail, but it is my understanding that the inquisitions, for example the Spanish Inquisitions, are completely twisted with lies and half truths in popular history.

Perhaps this could be defended by someone who has more concrete knowledge.
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« Reply #92 on: July 20, 2011, 09:08:50 AM »

Have the teachings of Duns Scotus, Barlaam, etc. tried to attach themselves to the Church like a barnacle, to spread like a cancer?

An interesting question. I do think a case could be made that Nominalism did spread like a cancer throughout the Church, both in the West and in the East, in the wake of the Italian Renaissance.

Quote
Scholastism had already knocked down the everlasting boundaries the Fathers had set up by the 15th century. Florence only made that plain and clear, e.g. the Scholastic invention of Purgatory being swallowed as dogma.  Btw, as for your assertion, take a look at some of the EO criticism of OO condemned as non-Orthodox thinkers. And we are in far, far more agreement with them than with Aquinas' followers.

Last I checked, Oriental Orthodoxy was an ecclesial body in schism with the Eastern Orthodox communion on the grounds of disagreements over matters of sacred dogma.

Philosophical Thomism, on the other hand, is not a church, and does not at all presuppose theological conclusions inimical to Orthodoxy, and has been taught and propagated by staunchly Orthodox Byzantine theologians and apostles of the first rank and shown to be perfectly compatible with an approach to philosophy that was already characteristically Byzantine.

To be Oriental Orthodox, one must believe what they believe. To accept Thomism as a system, on the other hand, one need not sacrifice nor change any article of belief whatsoever -- certainly Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al. felt no need to do so.
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« Reply #93 on: July 20, 2011, 09:13:51 AM »


It may even help reveal the sometimes vicious and, frankly, irrational hostility towards Aquinas against which I have been protesting.

Why should Aquinas draw such ire from us, when they do not?

Aquinas was possessed of that cold and vicious fanaticism which enabled him to provide theological justification for murdering members of the human race.  SMT SS Q[11] A[3] Body Para. 1/2 and Para 2/2.

One may point all one wants to the conditions of his day and age and say he was excused because he was a victim of his culture and times but that is unacceptable.  He had before him in the Gospels which he read at Mass every day the unchanging teachings of the God-Man Jesus Christ which utterly condemn what Aquinas approved.  He laid the theological basis for the justification of the torture and murder of thousands of people.  The various Inquisitions, Spanish, Portuguese, Roman, operated in accord with Aquinas' theology. To see him as an enlightened thinker is as absurd as seeing the Nazi formulators of Aryanism as enlightened thinkers or to excuse them by their environment and indoctrination.  They were Nazi eugenicists.  Aquinas was a despicable example of a Christian eugenicist.  If we have any charity in our hearts let us pray for his salvation from hell.

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Aquinas is a Nazi...

yea...and you know what is said about the Irish...


 angel angel angel angel

I've not studied the events in detail, but it is my understanding that the inquisitions, for example the Spanish Inquisitions, are completely twisted with lies and half truths in popular history.

Perhaps this could be defended by someone who has more concrete knowledge.

There are several good histories that have gone a long way toward exposing the distortions. 

Most people for example see the Cathari as poor innocent victims of the insane Catholic Church and nothing could be further from the truth.  More good histories of that period are coming out all the time and undoing the popular myths concerning this heresy imported, again, from the east to the west.

When I have time I may start a thread just to make a few recommendations.

In the meantime I feel safe to say that Orthodox history would have read very differently had they not exported their heretics to the west.

M.
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« Reply #94 on: July 20, 2011, 09:24:06 AM »

I've not studied the events in detail, but it is my understanding that the inquisitions, for example the Spanish Inquisitions, are completely twisted with lies and half truths in popular history.

Perhaps this could be defended by someone who has more concrete knowledge.

Perhaps it would be useful, if in pursuit of more concrete knowledge, to examine the sections of the Summa which I referenced a couple of messages back.  The theological justification for the murder of humans is laid out by Aquinas the spiritual eugenicist quite cogently and explicitly. 

Without elaborating too much, this provides an example of the grievous error of Aquinas' approach to theology and why scholasticism is unworkable in a Christian context.   Applying his logic he is able to arrive at a position which is quite opposed to the Gospel and posits a great evil as a benefit to Christ and society.  If the thomistic thought process leads to such flagrant error, imagine how much more it must lead to less detectable theological error.
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« Reply #95 on: July 20, 2011, 09:26:51 AM »

Yes, I am aware of Bradshaw's work. You are obviously more knowledgeable in this matter than I am so I am sure that you would have seen the colloquium held at the IOCS on Aristotle: East and West (http://distancelearning.iocs.cam.ac.uk/videos/index.php?page=videos&groupid=1&videoid=1). In all honesty, much as I admire him, I don't think Dr Bradshaw was able adequately to respond to the objections of his interlocutor, Prof. John Milbank. One commentator on their discussion has written the following -- I find myself mostly in agreement with him:

Quote
"If you don't have time to watch the film, consider the following: The title of his book is theologically oriented. After Dr. Bradshaw was "hammered" in the discussion, his reply to several objections was a.) professing that he's not a theologian and so was ignorant of several important controversies and figures with regard to the very topics he was attempting to influence b.) He openly admitted that he had probably some major holes in not reading all pertinent authors c.) amazingly, he pronounced his ignorance about Duns Scotus. If you know this controversy well...this is inexcusable! The outstanding philosopher-theologian Gennadius Scholarios (Patriarch of Const. and appointed Successor of Mark Eugenicus/Ephesus) professed to have reconciled Palamas with Scotistic theology (brilliantly!). John Romanides ripped (see his website) poor Meyendorff for not understanding Scotus (among other Latins), not unlike Bradshaw. I was horrified that the good Doctor was "shocked" to see that there were parallels in Scotus' metaphysics and Gregory's. It was a bloodbath. To select but one more point, our Good Doctor suggested a form of divine-human relation which explicitly meant that God should be determined in his actions by contingent human beings in relation to him. His opponent then reduced him to a pile of ash (for that and his errors on Aquinas)."

Quote
With that in mind -- and that should address a HUGE lacuna in your statement -- you have to read up on Gennadios's life. He was not a churchman or theologian until late in life. He was a philosophy professor. So, the first 40 or 50 years of his interest in Aquinas had nothing at all to do with Orthodox theology. Gennadios was simply translating Aquinas' commentaries on Aristotle, which themselves are exercises in philosophy, not theology. Later on, Gennadios translated sections of Aquinas' theological manuals into Greek, but did so with the heavy hand of an editor, removing everything he deemed unOrthodox. In other words, you really need to make a strong and proper distinction between Gennadios's relationship to (a) Aquinas as a philosopher and (b) Aquinas as a theologian. This undercuts a lot of the hay Barbour (and you) seem to be making.

I hear you, but surely it can't all be as simple as saying "come back in 4 years with a degree in church history and historical theology and then we'll talk."

Yes, I freely admit there are many things I don't know -- even important things. I may be young, and not as widely read as some, but I know injustice when I see it, and believe me, the way most Orthodox treat Aquinas and his philosophy is a prime example. In the face of such outrageous calumnies I am not simply going to roll over and accept whatever aspersions the "catholic consciousness" (read: popular opinion) of the Church feels like throwing his way, depending on how chauvinistic they feel on any given day. I strongly believe that Aquinas deserves a fair hearing, not merely off-hand dismissal.

As Fr Seraphim Rose once wrote, someone who believes in something so passionately that he will "cut your head off," so to speak, actually reveals his weakness -- he needs to convince you his of opinion in order to prove to himself that he really believes in it.

Such unthinking triumphalism just makes me angry. As I said before, I know injustice when I see it -- and I will not stand for it.

I do not believe that Dr. Bradshaw has simply dismissed Aquinas.  In fact, contrary to what Dr. Milbank says in his talk, I think that Dr. Bradshaw treated Aquinas quite fairly in his book, and that he proved his point that Aquinas is more an Aristotelian philosopher than a Christian theologian.  Now I watched the video at the link you provided, a video I had actually seen some time ago (bad audio and all), and I remain unconvinced by Dr. Milbank's criticisms of Dr. Bradshaw's position, because he seems to dismiss the essence / energy distinction even though it is clearly present in the Cappadocians (and even in Clement of Alexandria nearly two centuries before them as an essence / dynamis distinction - see "Clement of Alexandria and the Beginnings of Christian Apophaticism").  It is pretty evident from his lecture that Dr. Milbank mistakes a real distinction for a real division in God, which is not what the Eastern Fathers (including Palamas) ever asserted.  The real distinction, without a separation, in God between essence and energy is what makes theosis real, rather than being simply volitional as in Scholastic philosophy.

Now to address a couple of Dr. Milbank's criticisms, I found it odd that very early in his talk he attacked (for lack of a better word) Dr. Bradshaw for not writing a book that covers every possible theologian in the West, when the book itself was clearly set out as a study of the concept of energy beginning with certain Christian and pagan authors from the middle of the first millennium leading into the thought of Aquinas and Palamas.  Does Dr. Bradshaw talk about Scotus in his book?  No, because Scotus' philosophical theology was not a part of his study.  Now, anyone who thinks that leaving out a certain person or group of persons from a study means that they can dismiss the findings of the study in question is - frankly - a fool.  After all, no study written can be exhaustive, i.e., no book can cover every possible person and every possible theory that has arisen in history.  An author has to set a limit, and that is what Dr. Bradshaw did.  That said, perhaps Dr. Milbank should re-read the opening of Dr. Bradshaw's book in order clarify the actual focus of the study. 

Two other points in regard to Dr. Milbank's criticisms: at one point he criticizes Dr. Bradshaw for not focusing upon what we do not know about possible connections between the East and the West in the first millennium on issues related to divine simplicity, divine operations, etc., which seems like a very odd criticism indeed; and then Dr. Milbank makes a rather bold claim that Palamas' distinction between essence and energy makes the Trinity unnecessary, which reveals to me quite clearly that he has not grasped what St. Gregory means by the essence / energy distinction.  Now, as far as the first point is concerned, a book about what we do not know historically speaking is impossible to write, besides once you have written such a book you would have to know what we supposedly do not know about the hidden connections between the Eastern and Western Fathers.  And as far as the second point is concerned, the energies are the personal activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and so I do not see how anyone can call them "impersonal" or "abstract."  I would recommend, that is, if you want to have a better understanding of the so-called Palamite distinction, getting a copy of Fr. M. Edmund Hussey’s doctoral dissertation entitled "The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Theology of Gregory Palamas," because it covers the information that is woefully lacking in Dr. Milbank's own talk.  Whether intentional or not Dr. Milbank has sadly misrepresented the Palamite distinction, and that is something that I find despicable, but also a rather common Western chauvinistic approach, and one could even call it a type of off-hand dismissal of the Eastern theological tradition, and of course that kind of triumphalism makes me angry.  I am sure you can understand that feeling.  Cheesy

One final point, if you want to read a couple of excellent essays that deal with the Scholastic misreading of Pseudo-Dionysios I would recommend getting a hold of Dr. John D. Jones' treatises entitled, "Manifesting Beyond-being Being (hyperousios ousia): The Divine Essence-Energies Distinction for Pseudo-Dionysios the Areopagite," and "Misreading the Divine Names as a Science: A Scholastic Framework for Reading the Divine Names of Pseudo-Dionysios," because both of these essays detail the problems with the Latin reading of Pseudo-Dionysios and its failure to really grasp the apophatic nature of his theology.
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« Reply #96 on: July 20, 2011, 09:36:55 AM »

As far as Gennadios Scholarios is concerned, I do not have a problem with the idea that he agreed with St. Thomas on philosophical questions, after all Scholarios was an Aristotelian philosopher in his own right.  But when it came to theology, Scholarios was Orthodox, and rejected much of what St. Thomas taught in connection with the Trinity (e.g., the filioque) and other mysteries of the faith.
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« Reply #97 on: July 20, 2011, 09:42:53 AM »

Here is a link to my brief review - as inadequate as it is - of Fr. Hussey's dissertation:

BOOK REVIEW: The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Theology of Gregory Palamas

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« Reply #98 on: July 20, 2011, 09:45:26 AM »

As far as Gennadios Scholarios is concerned, I do not have a problem with the idea that he agreed with St. Thomas on philosophical questions, after all Scholarios was an Aristotelian philosopher in his own right.  But when it came to theology, Scholarios was Orthodox, and rejected much of what St. Thomas taught in connection with the Trinity (e.g., the filioque) and other mysteries of the faith.

It is interesting, though, that Scholarios did actually understand the Palamite distinction in terms of Aquinas' general metaphysics, as rooted in the relationship between essence and existence. (see pp. 85ff. of The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios for details).
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« Reply #99 on: July 20, 2011, 09:45:47 AM »

Most people for example see the Cathari as poor innocent victims of the insane Catholic Church and nothing could be further from the truth.  

There is no doubt that some Catholic commentators see the Cathari as very wicked wicked people and fully deserving of the tortures which Catholics inflicted upon them.  I seem to recall one incident when they gouged out the eyes of hundreds of them.  

And we have the testimony of William of Puylaurens:   "Arnaud [a holy Cistercian abbot who was the commander of the Catholic troops]  wrote to Pope Innocent III, "Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex."  A sad boast to hear from a monk!  Thank you, Aquinas, for making it possible for a monk to espouse such a position without any disturbance to his conscience, the outworking of Aquinas' teaching in the Summa!    

"The Chronicle of William of Puylaurens: The Albigensian Crusade and Its Aftermath", p128, William, M. D. Sibly, Boydell Press, 2003, ISBN 0851159257

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharism#Massacre
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« Reply #100 on: July 20, 2011, 09:49:49 AM »

As far as Gennadios Scholarios is concerned, I do not have a problem with the idea that he agreed with St. Thomas on philosophical questions, after all Scholarios was an Aristotelian philosopher in his own right.  But when it came to theology, Scholarios was Orthodox, and rejected much of what St. Thomas taught in connection with the Trinity (e.g., the filioque) and other mysteries of the faith.

It is interesting, though, that Scholarios did actually understand the Palamite distinction in terms of Aquinas' general metaphysics, as rooted in the relationship between essence and existence. (see pp. 85ff. of The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios for details).
Interesting to an academic perhaps, but not to the faithful.  And by the way, I do not buy into Fr. Barbour's take on Scholarios.  In fact, if you read the text on the procession of the Spirit that Scholarios drafted at the Council of Florence, which was sadly rejected by the Latins who wanted the total capitulation of the East to their Scholastic position on the Trinity, you will see that he is far from a Thomist, while being a close follower of Gregory of Cyprus.
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« Reply #101 on: July 20, 2011, 10:23:23 AM »

As far as Gennadios Scholarios is concerned, I do not have a problem with the idea that he agreed with St. Thomas on philosophical questions, after all Scholarios was an Aristotelian philosopher in his own right.  But when it came to theology, Scholarios was Orthodox, and rejected much of what St. Thomas taught in connection with the Trinity (e.g., the filioque) and other mysteries of the faith.

It is interesting, though, that Scholarios did actually understand the Palamite distinction in terms of Aquinas' general metaphysics, as rooted in the relationship between essence and existence. (see pp. 85ff. of The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios for details).
Interesting to an academic perhaps, but not to the faithful.  And by the way, I do not buy into Fr. Barbour's take on Scholarios.  In fact, if you read the text on the procession of the Spirit that Scholarios drafted at the Council of Florence, which was sadly rejected by the Latins who wanted the total capitulation of the East to their Scholastic position on the Trinity, you will see that he is far from a Thomist, while being a close follower of Gregory of Cyprus.

If by that you mean Scholarios rejected Aquinas' filioquism, then yes, he was not a Thomist in the sense that he did not accept all of Aquinas' theological conclusions. Barbour writes as much: "True, they might reject St. Thomas teaching on some point or other as incompatible with Orthodoxy but Thomism as a system in no way struck them as inimical to their Byzantine outlook" (p. 34)

I think it would be quite difficult to maintain, though, that Gennadios was "not a Thomist," given the praise he lavishes upon Aquinas in his summaries of Aquinas' theological works, and the fact that he translated and set forth as his own teaching Armandus de Bellovisu's commentary on the De Ente et Essentia almost without comment.

Scholarios was far more faithful to the fundamental tenets of Aquinas' thought than even the Dominicans of the time (!), who had started to doubt the value of their own tradition in the face of the revival of Greek Patristic studies in the West (p. 103n). If Gennadios was more of a "Thomist" than the Thomists themselves, and yet is not to be identified as such, then I don't see how anyone could be classified as a Thomist other than Aquinas himself. But this is clearly ridiculous.
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« Reply #102 on: July 20, 2011, 10:31:17 AM »

Have the teachings of Duns Scotus, Barlaam, etc. tried to attach themselves to the Church like a barnacle, to spread like a cancer?

An interesting question. I do think a case could be made that Nominalism did spread like a cancer throughout the Church, both in the West and in the East, in the wake of the Italian Renaissance.
with all the hissing at Nominalism, you sure all this "righteous indignation" at the Orthodox rejection of Thomism isn't projection?
Quote
Scholastism had already knocked down the everlasting boundaries the Fathers had set up by the 15th century. Florence only made that plain and clear, e.g. the Scholastic invention of Purgatory being swallowed as dogma.  Btw, as for your assertion, take a look at some of the EO criticism of OO condemned as non-Orthodox thinkers. And we are in far, far more agreement with them than with Aquinas' followers.
Last I checked, Oriental Orthodoxy was an ecclesial body in schism with the Eastern Orthodox communion on the grounds of disagreements over matters of sacred dogma.
Check again. Oriental Orthodoxy is Churches seperated from Eastern Orthodox Churches because of historical differences.  EO Churches and OO Churches have recognized each other's Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Eucharist and Marriage, something not true between the Eastern Orthodox and any other "ecclesial bodies."

Last I checked, and checked again, the Vatican in the 15th century was an ecclesial body not only in schism but out of communion with the Orthodox Communion of the Catholic Church because of heresies denounced by EP Gennadius Scholarios, amongst others, over matters of sacred dogma.

Philosophical Thomism, on the other hand, is not a church,
no, but it is an ecclesiastical community, i.e. the Vatican.

and does not at all presuppose theological conclusions inimical to Orthodoxy,

As proclaimed by Aquinas himself, or the Vatican?
http://vaxxine.com/hyoomik/aquinas/theses.eht

Much of the Latinizations required by the fine print of the union "agreements" come from Aquinas, the IC being a singular exception.

and has been taught and propagated by staunchly Orthodox Byzantine theologians and apostles of the first rank and shown to be perfectly compatible with an approach to philosophy that was already characteristically Byzantine.
"Byzantine" is something that exists only in the Latin Vatican.

Pefectably compatible once adapted and corrected.  btw, your master begs the question on a lot of his assertions being passed off as conclusions about the Romaic theologians adapting it.

"Apostles of the first rank" who would that be?

To be Oriental Orthodox, one must believe what they believe.
yes, Orthodoxy.

To accept Thomism as a system, on the other hand, one need not sacrifice nor change any article of belief whatsoever
the history of the "eastern churches in union with" the Vatican shows otherwise.


 -- certainly Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al. felt no need to do so.
instead they changed Thomism to conform with Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #103 on: July 20, 2011, 11:18:56 AM »

and does not at all presuppose theological conclusions inimical to Orthodoxy,

As proclaimed by Aquinas himself, or the Vatican?
http://vaxxine.com/hyoomik/aquinas/theses.eht

Much of the Latinizations required by the fine print of the union "agreements" come from Aquinas, the IC being a singular exception.

Thomistic metaphysics is not dogma - it is not an article of revealed theology. It is a philosophical framework within which to expound and defend the Christian faith. There are other frameworks. Philosophical Thomism is simply the most complete and defensible among them. Therefore, one can adopt said metaphysics without changing any article of dogma.

How can you not understand this?

Quote
To accept Thomism as a system, on the other hand, one need not sacrifice nor change any article of belief whatsoever
the history of the "eastern churches in union with" the Vatican shows otherwise.

You have yet to show that this statement is in principle mistaken. Pointing to accidental circumstances of history is simply not good enough.

Quote
Pefectably compatible once adapted and corrected.

 -- certainly Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al. felt no need to do so.
instead they changed Thomism to conform with Orthodoxy.

But this is exactly my point! They did not accept all of Aquinas' theological conclusions, but they did adopt his general metaphysics.

Again, where exactly is the problem here?
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« Reply #104 on: July 20, 2011, 11:28:00 AM »

Most people for example see the Cathari as poor innocent victims of the insane Catholic Church and nothing could be further from the truth.  

There is no doubt that some Catholic commentators see the Cathari as very wicked wicked people and fully deserving of the tortures which Catholics inflicted upon them.  I seem to recall one incident when they gouged out the eyes of hundreds of them.  

And we have the testimony of William of Puylaurens:   "Arnaud [a holy Cistercian abbot who was the commander of the Catholic troops]  wrote to Pope Innocent III, "Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex."  A sad boast to hear from a monk!  Thank you, Aquinas, for making it possible for a monk to espouse such a position without any disturbance to his conscience, the outworking of Aquinas' teaching in the Summa!    

"The Chronicle of William of Puylaurens: The Albigensian Crusade and Its Aftermath", p128, William, M. D. Sibly, Boydell Press, 2003, ISBN 0851159257

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharism#Massacre

I think, perhaps, Aquinas was just working with what was already in the nascent Roman Catholic Church from its beginnings in the Gregorian Reformation. Consider that the First and subsequent Crusades were war billed as the equivalent of prayer and penance, something altogether unprecedented.
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« Reply #105 on: July 20, 2011, 11:46:48 AM »

and does not at all presuppose theological conclusions inimical to Orthodoxy,

As proclaimed by Aquinas himself, or the Vatican?
http://vaxxine.com/hyoomik/aquinas/theses.eht

Much of the Latinizations required by the fine print of the union "agreements" come from Aquinas, the IC being a singular exception.

Thomistic metaphysics is not dogma - it is not an article of revealed theology. It is a philosophical framework within which to expound and defend the Christian faith. There are other frameworks. Philosophical Thomism is simply the most complete and defensible among them. Therefore, one can adopt said metaphysics without changing any article of dogma.

How can you not understand this?
I understand quite fine:your Thomist philosophical framework is a theoretical construct rarified from its actual practice, where the distinction between revealed theology and the "angelic doctor" is blurrred, if it exists at all.  Hence your dogmatic statement "Philosophical Thomism is simply the most complete and defensible among them."
To accept Thomism as a system, on the other hand, one need not sacrifice nor change any article of belief whatsoever
the history of the "eastern churches in union with" the Vatican shows otherwise.

You have yet to show that this statement is in principle mistaken. Pointing to accidental circumstances of history is simply not good enough.
I have no interest in counting angels on pinheads, something scholastic pinheads do not tire of.

"by their fruit shall ye know them." Principles in the abstract do not trump reality in the world.  That Aquinas created his system to prop up the errors of the Vatican-and I seem to recall Aquinas rather obsessed with the idea of the end for which something exists-questions the prime motivation-mover, if you please-moving Thomism, and to which end.

Pefectably compatible once adapted and corrected.

 -- certainly Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al. felt no need to do so.
instead they changed Thomism to conform with Orthodoxy.

But this is exactly my point! They did not accept all of Aquinas' theological conclusions, but they did adopt his general metaphysics.[/quote]
Aristotle was the source of those general metaphysics, that Aquinas targeted to the Vatican's end.  It ended badly.

Again, where exactly is the problem here?
Introducing a Occidental uniatism.  We've already eaten the fruit of that poison tree.
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« Reply #106 on: July 20, 2011, 12:42:51 PM »

You have yet to show that this statement is in principle mistaken. Pointing to accidental circumstances of history is simply not good enough.
I have no interest in counting angels on pinheads, something scholastic pinheads do not tire of.

If by "counting angels on pinheads" you mean "engaging in rational discourse with a view to discovering the truth of the matter in question, where said truth is intrinsically knowable through such means," and if in glibly dismissing the former you reject the substance and value of the latter, then I am afraid our conversation is at an end, for you have ruled out the very precondition and hence possibility of further discussion -- yes, even "in principle."

And I am so glad that you have chosen to end our brief acquaintance with that delightful ad hominem.

I wish you all the best. God Bless.
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« Reply #107 on: July 20, 2011, 01:09:30 PM »

I suppose this is all a good example of what theological idiots we have all become (as a priest put it to me), barking like mad dogs over this-ism and neo-that, while forgetting the fundamental truths of our faith, which don't rely on human philosophy. Instead of relying on modern academic theologians, who prize originality above truth, we should rely on theological works from a time when absolute dogmatic fidelity was considered the benchmark for good theological writing, not novelty or conformity to the latest academic fad. "Orthodox Dogmatic Theology" by Fr Michael Pomazansky is a good place to start for beginners.
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« Reply #108 on: July 20, 2011, 01:30:17 PM »

And I am so glad that you have chosen to end our brief acquaintance with that delightful ad hominem.

I get tired of people using italics for "fancy" loan words which have become part and parcel of the English language.

Do you go to eat at a restaurant?

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« Reply #109 on: July 20, 2011, 01:36:31 PM »

And I am so glad that you have chosen to end our brief acquaintance with that delightful ad hominem.

I get tired of people using italics for "fancy" loan words which have become part and parcel of the English language.

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I prefer cafés and bistros.
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« Reply #110 on: July 20, 2011, 02:05:30 PM »

You have yet to show that this statement is in principle mistaken. Pointing to accidental circumstances of history is simply not good enough.
I have no interest in counting angels on pinheads, something scholastic pinheads do not tire of.

If by "counting angels on pinheads" you mean "engaging in rational discourse with a view to discovering the truth of the matter in question, where said truth is intrinsically knowable through such means,"
no, I mean "engaging in syllogisms to fill in an alleged lacuna in questions, the truth of which, does not matter, where said "truths" are intrinsically connected with speculation beyond the means and Truth God and the Fathers have given us."

and if in glibly dismissing the former you reject the substance and value of the latter,
yes, I reject the substance of engaging in needless speculation in irrelevant questions.  B.S. sessions (which have no place in the "guard[ing] what has been entrusted to [us]. I Timothy 6 ), of course being excepted.

20 Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 for by professing it some have missed the mark [i.e. sinned] as regards the Faith.  I Tim. 6.  14 guard the Truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  II Tim. 1.

then I am afraid our conversation is at an end, for you have ruled out the very precondition and hence possibility of further discussion -- yes, even "in principle."
Then in principle it never began, because in principle I stand with Fr. Romanides with rejecting handmaiden philosophy displacing her mistress relevation in the affections of the Orthodox Faithful.
And I am so glad that you have chosen to end our brief acquaintance with that delightful ad hominem.
I haven't ended anything, not having soiled my sandals with the dust of scholasticism to shake it off.
I wish you all the best. God Bless.
God guide you.
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« Reply #111 on: July 20, 2011, 04:33:45 PM »

You have yet to show that this statement is in principle mistaken. Pointing to accidental circumstances of history is simply not good enough.
I have no interest in counting angels on pinheads, something scholastic pinheads do not tire of.

If by "counting angels on pinheads" you mean "engaging in rational discourse with a view to discovering the truth of the matter in question, where said truth is intrinsically knowable through such means," and if in glibly dismissing the former you reject the substance and value of the latter, then I am afraid our conversation is at an end, for you have ruled out the very precondition and hence possibility of further discussion -- yes, even "in principle."

And I am so glad that you have chosen to end our brief acquaintance with that delightful ad hominem.

I wish you all the best. God Bless.

I'll sum this up.


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« Reply #112 on: July 20, 2011, 05:33:15 PM »

You have yet to show that this statement is in principle mistaken. Pointing to accidental circumstances of history is simply not good enough.
I have no interest in counting angels on pinheads, something scholastic pinheads do not tire of.

If by "counting angels on pinheads" you mean "engaging in rational discourse with a view to discovering the truth of the matter in question, where said truth is intrinsically knowable through such means," and if in glibly dismissing the former you reject the substance and value of the latter, then I am afraid our conversation is at an end, for you have ruled out the very precondition and hence possibility of further discussion -- yes, even "in principle."

And I am so glad that you have chosen to end our brief acquaintance with that delightful ad hominem.

I wish you all the best. God Bless.

I'll sum this up.




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« Reply #113 on: July 20, 2011, 06:21:14 PM »

There's wheat and chaff in virtually every theological treatise, school of thought, popular opinion, etc. etc. etc., no matter East or West, saint or not.

Methinks there was a certain wisdom to the Desert Fathers' propensity to distribute things "Anonymously" so that everything could be judged on its own individual merits, without being viewed through prisms, prejudices, etc.

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« Reply #114 on: July 21, 2011, 12:39:06 AM »

That St. Gregory of Thessalonica, Pat. Gennadios, etc. were theological and philosophical empiricists is undeniable.   That they stood against Platonizing heresies of the Church is undeniable.   And certainly the platonic sophistries that have crept their way back into the Church are lamentable, and moreover, tragic.  That the above mentioned would philosophically stand with Aristotle rather than with Plato on numerous philosophical issues is undeniable.  However, all that being said, I am not sure what the point of this thread is.   That Aquinas was philosophically Aristotelian does not mean that he was theologically sound.  Many atheists are (neo) Aristotelian empiricists and are not theologically sound.   No one denies that reason has its place.  However, revelation has primacy and it is this, the revelation of the Spirit who leads the Church into all truth, that is the primary driver of the Church and its Holy Faith.  This Faith is not an Aristotelian faith, but rather a Spirit-revealed Apostolic Faith delivered once for all and handed down in the sacred paradosis in the Church by the same Spirit.   That Scholarios would agree with Aquinas on more things than they would disagree about is not a surprise.   But when the things disagreed about are matters, not of philosophy, but of paradosis, these things are no small matter.   Also, Orthodox writers, when speaking about the mind of the Church, are not dismissing anything.  The truth is that "We have the mind of Christ."   It is the mind of Christ that the Church has, not the mind of Aristotle, not the mind of Aquinas, and not the mind of any patriarch.  It is the mind of Christ, which is affirmed and perpetually reinforced in the rule of prayer of God's Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church.   
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« Reply #115 on: July 21, 2011, 12:49:58 AM »

 And certainly the platonic sophistries that have crept their way back into the Church are lamentable, and moreover, tragic. 

Examples?
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« Reply #116 on: July 21, 2011, 02:53:45 AM »

I am not sure what the point of this thread is.   That Aquinas was philosophically Aristotelian does not mean that he was theologically sound.

The point of the thread is -- or at least, was supposed to be -- to discuss the possibility of today utilising the framework of Aquinas' general metaphysics to expound, explain, and defend the Orthodox Christian faith in the tradition of Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al. None of these thinkers accepted all of Aquinas' theological conclusions, in fact, they used his thought precisely to defend Orthodox doctrine against the unionists, muslims, and humanists. Their acceptance of Thomism as a system is not evidence of Latin influence, but is rather testimony to the broad continuity of Aquinas' thought with an approach to philosophy and theology that was already characteristically Byzantine, and that had been practiced since at least the 9th century.

Quote
Also, Orthodox writers, when speaking about the mind of the Church, are not dismissing anything.  The truth is that "We have the mind of Christ."   It is the mind of Christ that the Church has, not the mind of Aristotle, not the mind of Aquinas, and not the mind of any patriarch.  It is the mind of Christ, which is affirmed and perpetually reinforced in the rule of prayer of God's Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The mind of Christ cannot be invoked to justify human ideological prejudices. Philosophical Thomism deserves a fair hearing, and is worthy of serious consideration, even if it is ultimately to be rejected on some points -- ever since the backlash against Aristotelianism in general that occurred in the 19th century Slavophile and Hellenic Nationalist movements it has been repeatedly shouted down without any serious philosophical argumentation whatsoever. In other words, because Thomism is of "Latin" origin, it has simply been assumed to be totally irreconcilable with Orthodox dogma -- guilt by association.

Surely philosophical Thomism remains eminently defensible as a live option for Orthodox thinkers today, as it was in Gennadios Scholarios' time.
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« Reply #117 on: July 21, 2011, 05:32:29 AM »

The point of the thread is -- or at least, was supposed to be -- to discuss the possibility of today utilising the framework of Aquinas' general metaphysics to expound, explain, and defend the Orthodox Christian faith in the tradition of Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al.

 

I realise that none of you are taking me seriously when I speak of the thomistic method as leading to such atrocities as theological justification for the murder of other people -justification for an horrific programme of applied spiritual eugenics, the extermination of those determined by Aquinas to be unfit to live.

Thomism can lead, step by logical step, to the incorporation of perverse principles in the very heart of Christianity.

By contrast, the application of the principles of the Christian Gospel can never lead to such perversions and certainly never to their "canonisation"  as a legitimate part of the Christian kerygma.

So there is a sharp dichotomy between philosophical Thomism and Christian revelation and the former ought to be roundly rejected as a means of interpretation of the latter.
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« Reply #118 on: July 21, 2011, 06:31:15 AM »

The point of the thread is -- or at least, was supposed to be -- to discuss the possibility of today utilising the framework of Aquinas' general metaphysics to expound, explain, and defend the Orthodox Christian faith in the tradition of Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al.

 

I realise that none of you are taking me seriously when I speak of the thomistic method as leading to such atrocities as theological justification for the murder of other people -justification for an horrific programme of applied spiritual eugenics, the extermination of those determined by Aquinas to be unfit to live.

Thomism can lead, step by logical step, to the incorporation of perverse principles in the very heart of Christianity.

By contrast, the application of the principles of the Christian Gospel can never lead to such perversions and certainly never to their "canonisation"  as a legitimate part of the Christian kerygma.

So there is a sharp dichotomy between philosophical Thomism and Christian revelation and the former ought to be roundly rejected as a means of interpretation of the latter.

Again, I hear you, but I don't think it is as bad as all that.

After all, saying that heretics "deserve to die," is not at all the same as saying "you may murder them at will."

Evidently Gennadios Scholarios himself, given that he wrote in his summary of the Prima secundae of the Summa Theologiae: “Would O excellent Thomas that you had not been born in the West. Then you would not have needed to defend the deviations of the church there…you would have been as perfect in theology as you are in ethics,” if indeed he shared your concerns, saw the problem as something accidental rather than substantial to Aquinas' thought.

Scholarios clearly esteemed Aquinas' ethics very highly indeed, which should at least give us pause for thought.
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« Reply #119 on: July 21, 2011, 07:28:20 AM »

The point of the thread is -- or at least, was supposed to be -- to discuss the possibility of today utilising the framework of Aquinas' general metaphysics to expound, explain, and defend the Orthodox Christian faith in the tradition of Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al.

 

I realise that none of you are taking me seriously when I speak of the thomistic method as leading to such atrocities as theological justification for the murder of other people -justification for an horrific programme of applied spiritual eugenics, the extermination of those determined by Aquinas to be unfit to live.

Thomism can lead, step by logical step, to the incorporation of perverse principles in the very heart of Christianity.


This is nothing but scare mongering and for someone who hates the scare-mongering of purgation and hell as much as you do, yes...I find your raving to be absolutely silly.

Offer the logic if you are so absolutely certain of your position.
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« Reply #120 on: July 21, 2011, 07:55:46 AM »

The point of the thread is -- or at least, was supposed to be -- to discuss the possibility of today utilising the framework of Aquinas' general metaphysics to expound, explain, and defend the Orthodox Christian faith in the tradition of Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al.

 

I realise that none of you are taking me seriously when I speak of the thomistic method as leading to such atrocities as theological justification for the murder of other people -justification for an horrific programme of applied spiritual eugenics, the extermination of those determined by Aquinas to be unfit to live.

Thomism can lead, step by logical step, to the incorporation of perverse principles in the very heart of Christianity.


This is nothing but scare mongering and for someone who hates the scare-mongering of purgation and hell as much as you do, yes...I find your raving to be absolutely silly.

Offer the logic if you are so absolutely certain of your position.


The logic is quite transparent..... Thomas did not find it said in the New Testament by either Christ or Saint Paul: " Thou shalt not suffer a heretic to live but thou shalt deliver him to death in the fires.  Take care though that you torture him soundly beforehand so that perchance he may repent and be saved.  But even if he repent thou must still give him to the fire."   How many know that Aquinas ordered that even repentant heretics must be killed!  Don't believe me?  Read the Summa.

None of this perversion of what Christ taught can be derived from the teachings of Christ or the Apostles or the Fathers.  It is part of the madness resulting from adopting thomistic thinking and its inexorable logic.  

In the centuries that followed the Dominicans were able to torture and kill, or have killed, thousands of people.  They could do this with a clear conscience because the "Angelic" Doctor had already provided them with a theological basis for it.  Spiritual eugenics, the elimination of religious dissidents, had been established in Roman Catholic theology.  Has this teaching in the Summa been repudiated or is it in abeyance and simply awaiting new political circumstances?
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« Reply #121 on: July 21, 2011, 08:03:38 AM »

The point of the thread is -- or at least, was supposed to be -- to discuss the possibility of today utilising the framework of Aquinas' general metaphysics to expound, explain, and defend the Orthodox Christian faith in the tradition of Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al.

 

I realise that none of you are taking me seriously when I speak of the thomistic method as leading to such atrocities as theological justification for the murder of other people -justification for an horrific programme of applied spiritual eugenics, the extermination of those determined by Aquinas to be unfit to live.

Thomism can lead, step by logical step, to the incorporation of perverse principles in the very heart of Christianity.


This is nothing but scare mongering and for someone who hates the scare-mongering of purgation and hell as much as you do, yes...I find your raving to be absolutely silly.

Offer the logic if you are so absolutely certain of your position.


The logic is quite transparent..... Thomas did not find it said in the New Testament by either Christ or Saint Paul: " Thou shalt not suffer a heretic to live but thou shalt deliver him to death in the fires.  Take care though that you torture him soundly beforehand so that perchance he may repent and be saved.  But even if he repent thou must still give him to the fire."   How many know that Aquinas ordered that even repentant heretics must be killed!  Don't believe me?  Read the Summa.

None of this perversion of what Christ taught can be derived from the teachings of Christ or the Apostles or the Fathers.  It is part of the madness resulting from adopting thomistic thinking and its inexorable logic.  

In the centuries that followed the Dominicans were able to torture and kill, or have killed, thousands of people.  They could do this with a clear conscience because the "Angelic" Doctor had already provided them with a theological basis for it.  Spiritual eugenics, the elimination of religious dissidents, had been established in Roman Catholic theology.  Has this teaching in the Summa been repudiated or is it in abeyance and simply awaiting new political circumstances?

No Father.  We don't need one more assertion of your hyperbole.  I want the logic that follows through to the necessary result of murder!!....

You are not only lost in terms of systematics but you are historically lost.  Heretics in those days did not simply or merely speak heresy but they murdered in their own right and tried to destroy Catholics and the Catholic Church.

What you are doing here with your Ambrose Horror Picture Show is like judging any bloody period in history against the parlor games of the Victorians.  C'mon man...you cannot possibly be that ORANGE...can you?
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« Reply #122 on: July 21, 2011, 08:22:55 AM »

[
You are not only lost in terms of systematics but you are historically lost.  Heretics in those days did not simply or merely speak heresy but they murdered in their own right and tried to destroy Catholics and the Catholic Church.

So it will be easy for you to provide references to the historical actions of the religious dissidents (in Spain and Italy, in Portugal and Portuguese India) and their organised persecution of Roman Catholics?
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« Reply #123 on: July 21, 2011, 08:31:11 AM »


No Father.  We don't need one more assertion of your hyperbole.


Hyperbole?   We have the Cistercian abbot Arnaud boasting to Pope Innocent III has his troops had killed 20,000 Cathars, men, women and children, in a single day.  See message 99.

The boast that hundreds of Cathars had been blinded by having their eyes gouged out.

The boast that 7,000 of them had been killed outside their church.

If only this were hyperbole! 

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« Reply #124 on: July 21, 2011, 08:34:43 AM »

And this is all because of scholasticism? Hmm that's a stretch.
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« Reply #125 on: July 21, 2011, 08:37:49 AM »

[
You are not only lost in terms of systematics but you are historically lost.  Heretics in those days did not simply or merely speak heresy but they murdered in their own right and tried to destroy Catholics and the Catholic Church.

So it will be easy for you to provide references to the historical actions of the religious dissidents (in Spain and Italy, in Portugal and Portuguese India) and their organised persecution of Roman Catholics?

 laugh laugh laugh

I might be able to document the "disorganized" destabilization and destruction of life and property on the part of some...however there's a great deal on the Cathari and they were indeed organized.

It is ironic, Father, that you would defend the Cathari.  As I said before...I think you've been hiding your Orange among the Green!!
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« Reply #126 on: July 21, 2011, 08:38:50 AM »

Please, Fr Ambrose and Mary, take it elsewhere, you have already played this game many times -- there is no need for another action replay in this thread.

How many know that Aquinas ordered that even repentant heretics must be killed!  Don't believe me?  Read the Summa.

I believe you, but please, let's not interpret Aquinas' statement in such a crude sense.

If you read what he actually writes, it is as follows:

"For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace. But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death."

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3011.htm#article4

Notice that Aquinas writes that they "are not delivered from the pain of death" precisely because they "prove [themselves] to be inconstant in faith." It may help to make a comparison here. Why did God impose the sentence of death on Adam after his transgression? Is it not so that evil might not be immortal? Is it not so that Adam might repent of his sin, and thereby rightly dispose himself to accept the gift of salvation offered by our Lord Jesus Christ?

Now, if a man dies truly repentant, our Lord has promised to grant him eternal life. Therefore, the difference for Aquinas is between granting the penitent heretic, who has proved himself likely to fall away from faith again, the opportunity to die in the grace of God and in the peace of the Church, and thereby to attain to the assurance of his salvation, or, by allowing him to fall back into heresy, to possibly let him give himself over to everlasting destruction. Tell me, which of these two would you rather be -- the man who loses his life in this world, but gains it superabundantly in Heaven? Or the one who lives out his days upon the earth, but after his death will perish in unquenchable fire? I think we all know the answer to this question.

In other words, it is analogous to the difference between Adam and Lucifer. Both were sentenced to death as a result of their sin, but the difference is that while Lucifer cannot be restored because for him repentance is no longer possible, Adam on the other hand, though he did not escape the sentence himself, nevertheless saved his soul through turning to God in penitence.

Now, I am not an apologist for murder -- I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.
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« Reply #127 on: July 21, 2011, 08:44:29 AM »

Please, Fr Ambrose and Mary, take it elsewhere, you have already played this game many times -- there is no need for another action replay in this thread.


Sorry.  I lost sight of the fact that this was your original thread here.  So I will leave you to reason with the always reasonable monk Ambrose.

M.
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« Reply #128 on: July 21, 2011, 08:47:38 AM »

The point of the thread is -- or at least, was supposed to be -- to discuss the possibility of today utilising the framework of Aquinas' general metaphysics to expound, explain, and defend the Orthodox Christian faith in the tradition of Gennadios, Bryennios, Kabasilas et al.

 

I realise that none of you are taking me seriously when I speak of the thomistic method as leading to such atrocities as theological justification for the murder of other people -justification for an horrific programme of applied spiritual eugenics, the extermination of those determined by Aquinas to be unfit to live.

Thomism can lead, step by logical step, to the incorporation of perverse principles in the very heart of Christianity.

By contrast, the application of the principles of the Christian Gospel can never lead to such perversions and certainly never to their "canonisation"  as a legitimate part of the Christian kerygma.

So there is a sharp dichotomy between philosophical Thomism and Christian revelation and the former ought to be roundly rejected as a means of interpretation of the latter.

Again, I hear you, but I don't think it is as bad as all that.

After all, saying that heretics "deserve to die," is not at all the same as saying "you may murder them at will."

Evidently Gennadios Scholarios himself, given that he wrote in his summary of the Prima secundae of the Summa Theologiae: “Would O excellent Thomas that you had not been born in the West. Then you would not have needed to defend the deviations of the church there…you would have been as perfect in theology as you are in ethics,” if indeed he shared your concerns, saw the problem as something accidental rather than substantial to Aquinas' thought.

Scholarios clearly esteemed Aquinas' ethics very highly indeed, which should at least give us pause for thought.
Sholarios is not a pillar of Orthodoxy, not a Saint Photios, not a Saint John of Damascus, not a Pope St. Cyril, not a Pope St. Athanasius.  Not even a St. Mark of Ephesus nor a St. Gregory Palamas, whom you also claim for Thomism.  Therefore you citing him as an authority is all out of proportion, in order to resuscitate the last gasps of the Scholatic spirit in Orthodoxy-to what end, to reduce the Catholic Church to a mere "eastern lung"?

You constantly down play that whatever the Orthodox got from the Scholastics had to be revised: at the Synod of Iasi, Jassy, for instance, St. Peter Movila's "Orthodox Confession" was not accepted in its Latin (literally) original, but in the Greek revision.

You give no reason why an "Orthodox Thomism" should be revived, rather than letting it breath its last.
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« Reply #129 on: July 21, 2011, 08:49:29 AM »

I don't know much about Thomism but I like to hear something new and Fripod is certainly the least shrill person on this topic.
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« Reply #130 on: July 21, 2011, 08:50:26 AM »

I don't know much about Thomism but I like to hear something new and Fripod is certainly the least shrill person on this topic.

The most sensible thing I've heard all day...
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« Reply #131 on: July 21, 2011, 08:51:17 AM »


It is ironic, Father, that you would defend the Cathari.  As I said before...I think you've been hiding your Orange among the Green!!

Well, it was you who introduced the Cathari into this thread and I wrote something about them for your sake.   If you like we could talk about the horrendous acts of the Jesuit Inquisition in Kerala and  Goa.  Then you can accuse me of hiding my Hindu sympathies and Oriental Orthodox sympathies. laugh
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« Reply #132 on: July 21, 2011, 08:53:31 AM »

You give no reason why an "Orthodox Thomism" should be revived, rather than letting it breath its last.

All in good time, my friend. Believe me, there is reason plenty enough, for those who have ears to hear.
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« Reply #133 on: July 21, 2011, 08:55:25 AM »

Please, Fr Ambrose and Mary, take it elsewhere, you have already played this game many times -- there is no need for another action replay in this thread.

How many know that Aquinas ordered that even repentant heretics must be killed!  Don't believe me?  Read the Summa.

I believe you, but please, let's not interpret Aquinas' statement in such a crude sense.

If you read what he actually writes, it is as follows:

"For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace. But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death."

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3011.htm#article4

Notice that Aquinas writes that they "are not delivered from the pain of death" precisely because they "prove [themselves] to be inconstant in faith." It may help to make a comparison here. Why did God impose the sentence of death on Adam after his transgression? Is it not so that evil might not be immortal? Is it not so that Adam might repent of his sin, and thereby rightly dispose himself to accept the gift of salvation offered by our Lord Jesus Christ?

Now, if a man dies truly repentant, our Lord has promised to grant him eternal life. Therefore, the difference for Aquinas is between granting the penitent heretic, who has proved himself likely to fall away from faith again, the opportunity to die in the grace of God and in the peace of the Church, and thereby to attain to the assurance of his salvation, or, by allowing him to fall back into heresy, to possibly let him give himself over to everlasting destruction. Tell me, which of these two would you rather be -- the man who loses his life in this world, but gains it superabundantly in Heaven? Or the one who lives out his days upon the earth, but after his death will perish in unquenchable fire? I think we all know the answer to this question.

In other words, it is analogous to the difference between Adam and Lucifer. Both were sentenced to death as a result of their sin, but the difference is that while Lucifer cannot be restored because for him repentance is no longer possible, Adam on the other hand, though he did not escape the sentence himself, nevertheless saved his soul through turning to God in penitence.

Now, I am not an apologist for murder -- I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.
Another demonstration of the poison fruit of the Scholastic methods.

Such methods twist the Fall into a juridical syllogism. But the Bible doesn't tell us that God said "eat the fruit and I will execute you." He says "eat the fruit and you will die."

It seems, just from your excerpt, that Aquinas does assUme that a forced confession is unto salvation.  The Gospel teaches otherwise: He does not command the Apostles to confess His divinty, He asks "Who do you say I am?"
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« Reply #134 on: July 21, 2011, 08:56:12 AM »

You give no reason why an "Orthodox Thomism" should be revived, rather than letting it breath its last.

All in good time, my friend. Believe me, there is reason plenty enough, for those who have ears to hear.
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« Reply #135 on: July 21, 2011, 08:58:07 AM »

I don't know much about Thomism but I like to hear something new and Fripod is certainly the least shrill person on this topic.

The most sensible thing I've heard all day...
Of course. Acts 17:21.
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« Reply #136 on: July 21, 2011, 08:59:04 AM »


It is ironic, Father, that you would defend the Cathari.  As I said before...I think you've been hiding your Orange among the Green!!

Well, it was you who introduced the Cathari into this thread and I wrote something about them for your sake.   If you like we could talk about the horrendous acts of the Jesuit Inquisition in Kerala and  Goa.  Then you can accuse me of hiding my Hindu sympathies and Oriental Orthodox sympathies. laugh

You do manage to make the exception into the rule and you have still not offered any of the logic of Aquinas that would necessarily result in such travesty of the justice of both man and God:

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

The Goa Inquisition was the office of the Inquisition acting in the Indian state of Goa and the rest of the Portuguese empire in Asia. It was established in 1560, briefly suppressed from 1774–1778, and finally abolished in 1812.[1] The Goan Inquisition is considered a blot on the history of Roman Catholic Christianity in India both by Christians and non-Christians alike. Based on the records that survive, H. P. Salomon and I. S. D. Sassoon state that between the Inquisition's beginning in 1561 and its temporary abolition in 1774, some 16,202 persons were brought to trial by the Inquisition. Of this number, it is known that 57 were sentenced to death and executed in person; another 64 were burned in effigy. Others were subjected to lesser punishments or penanced, but the fate of many of the Inquisition's victims is unknown.[2]

The Inquisition was established to punish relapsed New Christians – Jews and Muslims who converted to Catholicism, as well as their descendants – who were now suspected of practicing their ancestral religion in secret.[2]

In Goa, the Inquisition also turned its attention to Indian converts from Hinduism or Islam who were thought to have returned to their original ways. In addition, the Inquisition prosecuted non-converts who broke prohibitions against the observance of Hindu or Muslim rites or interfered with Portuguese attempts to convert non-Christians to Catholicism.[2]

While its ostensible aim was to preserve the Catholic faith, the Inquisition was used against Indian Catholics and Hindus as an instrument of social control, as well as a method of confiscating victims' property and enriching the Inquisitors.[3]

Most of the Goa Inquisition's records were destroyed after its abolition in 1812, and it is thus impossible to know the exact number of the Inquisition's victims.[2]
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« Reply #137 on: July 21, 2011, 08:59:23 AM »

Please, Fr Ambrose and Mary, take it elsewhere, you have already played this game many times -- there is no need for another action replay in this thread.


I wish to remain on topic, speaking of the pernicious impact of the thomistic method on the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church as regards the treatment of religious dissidents.  Also pointing out that this quite egregious example indicates how Christian doctrine may be warped in more subtle and less obvious ways by the use of thomistic methodology.   This renders it unfit as a tool for the interpretation of Christian revelation.

Unfortunately where I go Mary is sure to follow and she has brought in other elements quite disconnected from any concerns about Thomism.  
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« Reply #138 on: July 21, 2011, 09:03:41 AM »

It seems, just from your excerpt, that Aquinas does assUme that a forced confession is unto salvation.

Sigh... Let me repeat myself once again...

...please, let's not interpret Aquinas' statement in such a crude sense.

I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.

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« Reply #139 on: July 21, 2011, 09:08:49 AM »

It seems, just from your excerpt, that Aquinas does assUme that a forced confession is unto salvation.

Sigh... Let me repeat myself once again...

...please, let's not interpret Aquinas' statement in such a crude sense.

I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.


Strawmen and red herrings are unfortunately standard fare here. I think you've made your points as well as you could.
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« Reply #140 on: July 21, 2011, 09:28:51 AM »


Now, I am not an apologist for murder -- I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.


I would be interested in your views as to

1. How I have caricatured Aquinas' teaching on the treatment of religious dissidents

2.  In what ways I have failed to understand exactly what he writes

3.  What motives I am wrongly attributing to him.

Thank you for your attention and response.
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« Reply #141 on: July 21, 2011, 09:42:34 AM »


Now, I am not an apologist for murder -- I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.


I would be interested in your views as to

1. How I have caricatured Aquinas' teaching on the treatment of religious dissidents

2.  In what ways I have failed to understand exactly what he writes

3.  What motives I am wrongly attributing to him.

Thank you for your attention and response.

As I understand it, you said

How many know that Aquinas ordered that even repentant heretics must be killed!  Don't believe me?  Read the Summa.

but Aquinas said this, not about repentant heretics in general, but only about heretics who went through the process a second time, as it were, i.e. fell again and then repented again:

Quote
For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace. But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death."
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« Reply #142 on: July 21, 2011, 09:43:29 AM »

Please, Fr Ambrose and Mary, take it elsewhere, you have already played this game many times -- there is no need for another action replay in this thread.


I wish to remain on topic, speaking of the pernicious impact of the thomistic method on the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church as regards the treatment of religious dissidents.  Also pointing out that this quite egregious example indicates how Christian doctrine may be warped in more subtle and less obvious ways by the use of thomistic methodology.   This renders it unfit as a tool for the interpretation of Christian revelation.

Unfortunately where I go Mary is sure to follow and she has brought in other elements quite disconnected from any concerns about Thomism.  

And vice versa, it seems to me.
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« Reply #143 on: July 21, 2011, 09:58:12 AM »


Now, I am not an apologist for murder -- I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.


I would be interested in your views as to

1. How I have caricatured Aquinas' teaching on the treatment of religious dissidents

2.  In what ways I have failed to understand exactly what he writes

3.  What motives I am wrongly attributing to him.

Thank you for your attention and response.

As I understand it, you said

How many know that Aquinas ordered that even repentant heretics must be killed!  Don't believe me?  Read the Summa.

but Aquinas said this, not about repentant heretics in general, but only about heretics who went through the process a second time, as it were, i.e. fell again and then repented again:

Quote
For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace. But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death."

I don't find this distinction between first offenders and second offenders worthy of much note.  Two strikes and you burn!  Is this concession to repentant first offenders found in the teachings of Christ?   You really think it is in order to kill a man who falls into the same sin twice?  Or only Thomists believe that?

Wonder if we should put to death those who commit adultery more than once.  Their impact on the moral level of society is atrocious and all those good wives whom they ruin and drag into their mortal sin!   Ditto I suppose for those engaging in the moral depravity of homosexuality and abortion.  Both are major assualts on society and religion.
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« Reply #144 on: July 21, 2011, 09:59:36 AM »

Please, Fr Ambrose and Mary, take it elsewhere, you have already played this game many times -- there is no need for another action replay in this thread.


I wish to remain on topic, speaking of the pernicious impact of the thomistic method on the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church as regards the treatment of religious dissidents.  Also pointing out that this quite egregious example indicates how Christian doctrine may be warped in more subtle and less obvious ways by the use of thomistic methodology.   This renders it unfit as a tool for the interpretation of Christian revelation.

Unfortunately where I go Mary is sure to follow and she has brought in other elements quite disconnected from any concerns about Thomism.  

And vice versa, it seems to me.

I have not noticed that.  Unless I am already involved in a discussion I tend to steer clear.
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« Reply #145 on: July 21, 2011, 10:07:20 AM »


Now, I am not an apologist for murder -- I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.


I would be interested in your views as to

1. How I have caricatured Aquinas' teaching on the treatment of religious dissidents

2.  In what ways I have failed to understand exactly what he writes

3.  What motives I am wrongly attributing to him.

Thank you for your attention and response.

As I understand it, you said

How many know that Aquinas ordered that even repentant heretics must be killed!  Don't believe me?  Read the Summa.

but Aquinas said this, not about repentant heretics in general, but only about heretics who went through the process a second time, as it were, i.e. fell again and then repented again:

Quote
For this reason the Church not only admits to Penance those who return from heresy for the first time, but also safeguards their lives, and sometimes by dispensation, restores them to the ecclesiastical dignities which they may have had before, should their conversion appear to be sincere: we read of this as having frequently been done for the good of peace. But when they fall again, after having been received, this seems to prove them to be inconstant in faith, wherefore when they return again, they are admitted to Penance, but are not delivered from the pain of death."

I don't find this distinction between first offenders and second offenders worthy of much note.  Two strikes and you burn!  Is this concession to repentant first offenders found in the teachings of Christ?   You really think it is in order to kill a man who falls into the same sin twice?  Or only Thomists believe that?

Wonder if we should put to death those who commit adultery more than once.  Their impact on the moral level of society is atrocious and all those good wives whom they ruin and drag into their mortal sin!   Ditto I suppose for those engaging in the moral depravity of homosexuality and abortion.  Both are major assualts on society and religion.

You might remember that in the days of the Angelic Doctor, heretics were violent people who not only sinned but also organized violent actions against Catholics and the Catholic Church.  The name "heretic" was not given lightly...at least not in the systematic and precise way that St. Thomas used it...and a "heretic" so called was not a benign soul.

That is not to say that there were not excesses:  But the number of people executed by the Catholic Inquisition pales when placed against secular executions which were far more complex and common.

And you were to get us an outline of the Thomistic logic that necessitates murder...weren't you going to back up that bald assertion that the logic of Aquinas necessarily leads to murder... with fact?
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« Reply #146 on: July 21, 2011, 10:17:09 AM »


You might remember that in the days of the Angelic Doctor, heretics were violent people who not only sinned but also organized violent actions against Catholics and the Catholic Church. 


I'm sure some of us would appreciate historical evidence of the violence of religious dissidents in Italy, Spain and Portugal.   Reports of their violent campaigns against Catholic clergy and Catholic churches?
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« Reply #147 on: July 21, 2011, 10:20:24 AM »

It seems, just from your excerpt, that Aquinas does assUme that a forced confession is unto salvation.

Sigh... Let me repeat myself once again...

...please, let's not interpret Aquinas' statement in such a crude sense.

I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.

You can repeat yourself (as you have, as you admit) all you like.  It is not going to change things.

All this hairsplitting on material versus formal heretic and other such nonsense is the only context in which, as your excerpt from Aquinas shows, it is assUmed that a formal, forced confession need only to appear sincere.  Why else would it count over a heretic (and that, according to Aquinas, includes us Orthodox) who had the integrity to reveal his true beliefs again, and what end does killing him do, cutting off the means of repentence?

So many in the twilight of the Empire fell under the spell of an ascendent West: Scholasticism provided the context of all that was rejected at Lyons, Florence, Jerusalem, Iasi/Jassy, etc.  

So, who continued Scholarios' "Thomism"?  Where did the school go in Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #148 on: July 21, 2011, 10:27:21 AM »

I don't know much about Thomism but I like to hear something new and Fripod is certainly the least shrill person on this topic.

The most sensible thing I've heard all day...
Of course. Acts 17:21.

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« Reply #149 on: July 21, 2011, 10:27:39 AM »


And you were to get us an outline of the Thomistic logic that necessitates murder...weren't you going to back up that bald assertion that the logic of Aquinas necessarily leads to murder... with fact?

I gave the Summa references in an earlier message.  Did you not look them up?

With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.


On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. For Jerome commenting on Galatians 5:9, "A little leaven," says: "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame."
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« Reply #150 on: July 21, 2011, 10:28:27 AM »

This thread is really becoming a quote mine.
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« Reply #151 on: July 21, 2011, 10:29:31 AM »

This thread is really becoming a quote mine.
The type that blow up?
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« Reply #152 on: July 21, 2011, 10:33:59 AM »

Now, I am not an apologist for murder --

Nothing but good can only follow an intro like that. This thread has really upped the quality of rhetoric around here within threads which are going to go nowhere. Fripod, thanks for giving Isa an entertaining foil. 
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« Reply #153 on: July 21, 2011, 10:36:47 AM »


You might remember that in the days of the Angelic Doctor, heretics were violent people who not only sinned but also organized violent actions against Catholics and the Catholic Church. 


I'm sure some of us would appreciate historical evidence of the violence of religious dissidents in Italy, Spain and Portugal.   Reports of their violent campaigns against Catholic clergy and Catholic churches?


There's some good new Scholarship on the Bogomils in Italy...south and north if I remember correctly.  Don't have the book at hand.  Spain is an even more interesting story that never ended till the 20th century.
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« Reply #154 on: July 21, 2011, 10:40:00 AM »

1. How I have caricatured Aquinas' teaching on the treatment of religious dissidents

First of all, there is Peter J's excellent point: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37982.msg604874.html#msg604874

You ascribe to Aquinas an unacceptable degree of malice, and an almost diabolical fanaticism, but it is clear that there is much more going on here than first meets the eye. I think you have simply given a rather superficial reading of Aquinas' views, and consequently you have misrepresented him, when you ought to consider the matter from his perspective first. It is easy to misunderstand where he is coming from when you treat him as if he shared the same basic assumptions as you do -- again, he does not, and you must take this into account before pronouncing judgment, lest you condemn a straw man.

2.  In what ways I have failed to understand exactly what he writes

I think you fail to understand the nature of Aquinas' methodology -- in other words, you view everything he writes through tinted spectacles, and so you do not see clearly where exactly Aquinas has, on our view, gone wrong. You wrote:

I speak of the thomistic method as leading to such atrocities as theological justification for the murder of other people

in addition to:

I wish to remain on topic, speaking of the pernicious impact of the thomistic method on the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church as regards the treatment of religious dissidents.  Also pointing out that this quite egregious example indicates how Christian doctrine may be warped in more subtle and less obvious ways by the use of thomistic methodology.   This renders it unfit as a tool for the interpretation of Christian revelation.

As I said before, you needn't accept all of Aquinas' conclusions in order to adopt philosophical Thomism as a system. There are two ways in which one may reject his conclusions in this case. One can show either a) that one of the premises is false, or b) that the conclusion doesn't follow upon his premises.

Since you yourself have mentioned somewhere the "inexorable" nature of Aquinas' logic, you will probably have difficulty trying to accomplish b). But logic proceeds according to a certain method, beginning with a set of premises, and moving through an ordered progression of steps toward the conclusion. Now, it should be obvious that if you do not share Aquinas' theological premises concerning the nature of sin, justice, repentance etc. -- and as an Orthodox Christian it is clear that you do not -- then you need not accept his conclusion. Therefore it by no means follows that his method is somehow inherently dangerous, or leads to atrocities. The method by itself is just a logical framework and doesn't lead anywhere -- again, we must not be confused on this point.

For example, in this case, you yourself have arrived at a certain conclusion, namely, that philosophical Thomism is unfit for use in interpreting Christian revelation, but your premise, that Thomism as a system has unacceptable implications, was in error. Therefore your conclusion is mistaken, and one need not accept it.

3.  What motives I am wrongly attributing to him.

an horrific programme of applied spiritual eugenics, the extermination of those determined by Aquinas to be unfit to live.

I think you attribute to Aquinas a kind of Nazi eugenicist ideology, which it should be abundantly clear that he did not in fact have. Moreover, the other Nazi connotations are simply not objective. It is surely a gross distortion to say that Aquinas thinks of heretics -- and remember I am speaking of only those who have shown that they are likely to fall away again, and thereby lose their immortal souls -- as being "life unworthy of life" (as if they were nothing more than worthless insects). If you will care to reread my more nuanced exposition of the passage in question, you will see that Aquinas clearly means well -- he has the salvation of their souls in mind. You may think that he is awfully, tragically mistaken in his conclusions regarding just how to go about achieving this, but his intention is not to be faulted in this case.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37982.msg604841.html#msg604841

Quote
Thank you for your attention and response.

I thank you also for being so civil, and taking the time to listen. You are one of the precious few who will.
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« Reply #155 on: July 21, 2011, 10:43:19 AM »


That is not to say that there were not excesses:  But the number of people executed by the Catholic Inquisition pales when placed against secular executions which were far more complex and common.


Death tolls are given by historians such as Will Durant, who, in The Reformation (1957), cites Juan Antonio Llorente, General Secretary of the Inquisition from 1789 to 1801, as estimating that 31,912 people were executed from 1480-1808.

He also cites Hernando de Pulgar, a secretary to Queen Isabella, as estimating 2,000 people were burned before 1490.

Philip Schaff in his History of the Christian Church gave a number of 8,800 people burned in the 18 years of Torquemada.

Matthew White, in reviewing these and other figures, gives a median number of deaths at 32,000, with around 9,000 under Torquemada [1].

R. J. Rummel describes similar figures as realistic, though he cites some historians who give figures of up to 135,000 people killed under Torquemada. This number includes 125,000 asserted to have died in prison due to poor conditions, leaving 10,000 sentenced to death. (Death rates in medieval and early modern prisons were generally very high, thanks in part to inadequate sanitary conditions and a poor diet.)

There are no death toll figures available for the massacres of 1391, 1468 or 1473. These numbers will likely never be known.


http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060903192705AAZ0Dnd

and see

http://www.answers.com/topic/spanish-inquisition#Death_tolls
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« Reply #156 on: July 21, 2011, 10:45:13 AM »


And you were to get us an outline of the Thomistic logic that necessitates murder...weren't you going to back up that bald assertion that the logic of Aquinas necessarily leads to murder... with fact?

I gave the Summa references in an earlier message.  Did you not look them up?

With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.


On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. For Jerome commenting on Galatians 5:9, "A little leaven," says: "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame."


Fr Ambrose,

I am sorry, but Mary has asked you to explain in principle how Thomistic logic necessarily leads to murder. Just presenting excerpts does not constitute a reasoned demonstration.
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« Reply #157 on: July 21, 2011, 10:51:42 AM »


And you were to get us an outline of the Thomistic logic that necessitates murder...weren't you going to back up that bald assertion that the logic of Aquinas necessarily leads to murder... with fact?

I gave the Summa references in an earlier message.  Did you not look them up?

With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.


On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. For Jerome commenting on Galatians 5:9, "A little leaven," says: "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame."


Fr Ambrose,

I am sorry, but Mary has asked you to explain in principle how Thomistic logic necessarily leads to murder. Just presenting excerpts does not constitute a reasoned demonstration.

He doesn't really pay attention to the substance of some of his more lurid accusations.  Shock value is intended to carry the day.

I think you've done a nice job with your part of this thread.  I don't think it is dead ended at all.

Is is possible to start a new thread on some particular aspect or teaching?  and follow that through for a while?

You do a great deal of good here.  I suspect your private mail bears that out.

Mary
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« Reply #158 on: July 21, 2011, 10:59:03 AM »


And you were to get us an outline of the Thomistic logic that necessitates murder...weren't you going to back up that bald assertion that the logic of Aquinas necessarily leads to murder... with fact?

I gave the Summa references in an earlier message.  Did you not look them up?

With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.


On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. For Jerome commenting on Galatians 5:9, "A little leaven," says: "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame."


Fr Ambrose,

I am sorry, but Mary has asked you to explain in principle how Thomistic logic necessarily leads to murder. Just presenting excerpts does not constitute a reasoned demonstration.

I am unaware of any other theologian who provided a theological justification for the torture and murder of religious dissidents, conducted almost exclusively by the members of his own Order.

I refuse to believe that the holy Dominicans who conducted the trials, organised the torture and later organised the burnings would have engaged in these vile acts unless they were quite persuaded that these acts were in fact holy acts sanctioned by God.   I do not know if anybody here is aware of any person other than Aquinas who would have satisfied the consciences of the Dominicans in this matter?
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« Reply #159 on: July 21, 2011, 10:59:26 AM »

With respect to the accuracy of accounts of trials and death tolls there has been a great lot of historical debunking accumulating...the following being only one example:

http://draeconin.com/database/witchhunt.htm

400 In One Day: An Influential Forgery

Another, smaller breakthrough also profoundly altered our view of the early history of the Great Hunt. In 1972, two scholars independently discovered that a famous series of medieval witch trials never happened.

The forgery was Etienne Leon de Lamothe-Langon's Histoire de l'Inquisition en France, written in 1829. Lamothe-Langon described enormous witch trials which supposedly took place in southern France in the early 14th century. Run by the Inquisition of Toulouse and Carcasonne, these trials killed hundreds upon hundreds of people. The most famous was a craze where 400 women died in one day. No other French historian had noticed these trials.

In the early 20th century, the prominent historian Jacob Hansen included large sections of Lamothe-Langon's work in his compendium on medieval witchcraft. Later historians cited Hansen's cites, apparently without closely examining Lamothe-Langon's credentials. Non-academic writers cited the writers who cited Hansen, and thus Lamothe-Langon's dramatic French trials became a standard part of the popular view of the Great Hunt.

However, as more research was done, Lamothe-Langon's trials began to look odd to historians. No sources mentioned them, and they were completely different from all other 14th century trials. There were no other mass trials of this nature until 1428, no panics like this until the 16th century. Furthermore, the demonology in the trials was quite elaborate, with sabbats and pacts and enormous black masses. It was far more complex than the demonology of the Malleus Maleficarum (1486). Why would the Inquisition think up this elaborate demonology, and then apparently forget it for two hundred years?

Questions like these led Norman Cohn (Europe's Inner Demons and "Three Forgeries: Myths and Hoaxes of European Demonology II" in Encounter 44 (1975)) and Richard Kieckhefer (European Witch Trials) to investigate Lamothe-Langon's background. What they found was reasonably conclusive evidence that the great trials of the Histoire had never occurred.

First, Lamothe-Langon was a hack writer and known forger, not a historian. Early in his career he specialized in historical fiction, but he soon turned to more profitable horror novels, like The Head of Death, The Monastery of the Black Friars, and The Vampire (or, The Virgin of Hungary). Then, in 1829, he published the Histoire, supposedly a work of non-fiction. After its success Lamothe-Langon went on to write a series of "autobiographies" of various French notables, such as Cardinal Richeleau, Louis XVIII, and the Comtesse du Barry.

Second, none of Lamothe-Langon's sources could be found, and there was strong reason to suspect they never existed. Lamothe-Langon claimed he was using unpublished Inquisitorial records given to him by Bishop Hyacinthe Sermet -- Cohn found a letter from Sermet stating that there were no unpublished records. Lamothe-Langon had no training in paleography, the skill needed to translate the script and copious abbreviations used in medieval documents, and he was not posted in Toulouse long enough to do any serious research in its archives.

Third, under close examination a number of flaws appeared in his stories. He cited records written by seneschal Pierre de Voisins in 1275, but Voisins ceased being seneschal in 1254 and died not long after. The inquisitor who ran many of these trials was Pierre Guidonis (nephew of Bernard Gui from The Name of the Rose). But Guidonis wasn't an inquisitor at the time when the trials were held. Cohn and Kieckhefer published their findings in 1972. Since, then academics have avoided this forged material. Unfortunately by this point, Lamothe-Langon's lurid trials had entered into the mythology of witchcraft. While nobody cites Lamothe-Langon directly anymore, his fictions show up everywhere, including both Z Budapest's The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries and Raven Grimassi's The Wiccan Mysteries.

There's no simple way to weed out all of Lamothe-Langon's disinformation, but a few guidelines will help:
a) Use scholarly texts written after 1975. b) Beware of any trial set in Toulouse or Carcasonne. While these cities did have real cases, only the forged ones get cited regularly. c) Ignore any trial involving Anne-Marie de Georgel or Catherine Delort; they're forgeries. d) Ignore any trial that killed "400 women in one day". This never happened. e) Avoid Jules Michelet's Satanism and Witchcraft. Although he wrote a poetic and dramatic book, Michelet never found much historical evidence to support his theory that witchcraft was an anti-Catholic protest religion. What little bit there was came from the Lamothe-Langon forgeries. So when they were debunked, the last props for his book collapsed. f) The appendix of Richard Kieckhefer's European Witch Trials contains a list of all known trials that occurred between 1300 and 1500.
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« Reply #160 on: July 21, 2011, 11:00:51 AM »

It seems, just from your excerpt, that Aquinas does assUme that a forced confession is unto salvation.

Sigh... Let me repeat myself once again...

...please, let's not interpret Aquinas' statement in such a crude sense.

I am not saying that I personally agree with Aquinas, but I am at least willing to consider his point of view without caricaturing it, even if only for the sake of argument -- and no, you needn't agree with him on this point, either, but please, take the time to try and understand exactly why he writes what he does, and don't attribute to him motives that he does not in fact have.

You can repeat yourself (as you have, as you admit) all you like.  It is not going to change things.

All this hairsplitting on material versus formal heretic and other such nonsense is the only context in which, as your excerpt from Aquinas shows, it is assUmed that a formal, forced confession need only to appear sincere.
 

That is your assumption. It is not one Aquinas shares. You do not understand his doctrine of faith -- confession requires the cooperation of the human will with the Grace of God.

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Why else would it count over a heretic (and that, according to Aquinas, includes us Orthodox) who had the integrity to reveal his true beliefs again

Aquinas does not number the Orthodox among those who have fallen away from the Roman Catholic faith, then returned, then fallen away again, and then returned once more.

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and what end does killing him do, cutting off the means of repentence?

Read the passage again -- it makes it impossible for the 2nd time repentant heretic to fall away once more, and thus into damnation.

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So many in the twilight of the Empire fell under the spell of an ascendent West: Scholasticism provided the context of all that was rejected at Lyons, Florence, Jerusalem, Iasi/Jassy, etc.  

One must distinguish between form and content.

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So, who continued Scholarios' "Thomism"?  Where did the school go in Orthodoxy?

If you would care to open up The Byzantine Thomism of Genndios Scholarios, you may read a brief history of Scholarios' post mortem influence.
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« Reply #161 on: July 21, 2011, 11:03:29 AM »


He doesn't really pay attention to the substance of some of his more lurid accusations.  Shock value is intended to carry the day.


I don't create the luridness - it is already there, contained in the vile acts of your Church and the history of the Dominican Order.

Shock value?  Agian, I do not create any shock value.   The historical record is quite shocking enough.  Nobody needs to add to it.
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