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Author Topic: The Byzantine Thomism of Gennadios Scholarios  (Read 13590 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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 09:49:44 AM by Fripod » Logged

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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.
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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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ialmisry
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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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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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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)
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 04:01:36 AM by Fripod » Logged

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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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ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
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Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
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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
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 06:30:52 AM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
Hypatos
*****************
Online Online

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,859



« 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.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 06:45:08 AM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
Tags: Aquinas Thomas Aquinas scholasticism Gennadios Scholarios neo-platonism Plato Aristotle Mark of Ephesus 
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