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Author Topic: How Orthodox is the Summa Theologica?  (Read 1156 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 03, 2012, 01:57:40 AM »

Things that it is not Orthodox (heh heh apophatic...):

- Beatific Vision
- Just War
- Natural Law?
- Monks and Bishops are in a state of perfection and being a monk is better than being married or a priest
- The material world being destroyed at the Last Judgment
- Martyrs and Virgins receiving special crowns in heaven?
- Just Price?

Not sure what else. Isn't it ironic that Aquinas believed that theology transcends human reason yet uses human reason to such an extent to argue his theology?
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2012, 04:38:15 AM »

Things that it is not Orthodox (heh heh apophatic...):

- Beatific Vision
- Just War
- Natural Law?
- Monks and Bishops are in a state of perfection and being a monk is better than being married or a priest
- The material world being destroyed at the Last Judgment
- Martyrs and Virgins receiving special crowns in heaven?
- Just Price?

Not sure what else. Isn't it ironic that Aquinas believed that theology transcends human reason yet uses human reason to such an extent to argue his theology?

Filioque? http://newadvent.org/summa/1036.htm#article2
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 09:13:42 AM »

Things that it is not Orthodox (heh heh apophatic...):

- Beatific Vision
- Just War
- Natural Law?
- Monks and Bishops are in a state of perfection and being a monk is better than being married or a priest
- The material world being destroyed at the Last Judgment
- Martyrs and Virgins receiving special crowns in heaven?
- Just Price?

Not sure what else. Isn't it ironic that Aquinas believed that theology transcends human reason yet uses human reason to such an extent to argue his theology?

So, are you *asking* whether or not it is "Orthodox" and if so how much (as in the title of the thread), or are you just telling us that it isn't and you know that to be so?  Wink
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 09:14:27 AM by J Michael » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 09:17:14 AM »

- The material world being destroyed at the Last Judgment

A pretty common teaching in the Fathers (and found in the scriptures)- only they add that there will be a new material world afterword. Unless Aquinas denies this last part, there is nothing wrong here.
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 10:44:45 AM »

- Martyrs and Virgins receiving special crowns in heaven?

Huh! Huh
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2012, 02:02:14 PM »

- Martyrs and Virgins receiving special crowns in heaven?

Huh! Huh
I would not take this literally. But, even in the Orthodox teaching,  wouldn't martyrs for the faith receive some special recognition in heaven?
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2012, 07:16:26 PM »

- Martyrs and Virgins receiving special crowns in heaven?

Huh! Huh
I would not take this literally. But, even in the Orthodox teaching,  wouldn't martyrs for the faith receive some special recognition in heaven?

Yes. Our hagiographies are replete with martyrs receiving "crowns". It looks like some folks are going out of their way to find disagreements.
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2012, 07:25:34 PM »

- Just Price?

What's that?
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2012, 09:32:49 PM »

I know that Thomas' Just War theory is almost verbatim St. Augustine.  Augustine is considered a Church Father by (most) Orthodox, so to the extent that Thomas agrees with Augustine on when it is right, or just, to wage war, that may be sound teaching. Of course, Augustine may not be right on just war, but it is a good question when, if ever, an Orthodox Christian may engage in violence and remain Orthodox in that action.  Ex: a Serb village of men, women and children risks immanent destruction with no hope of escape- what is the responsibility of those Orthodox in charge?  Protect the innocent?
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2012, 09:34:05 PM »

"Just Price" explains why Usury is wrong.
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2012, 09:45:41 PM »

"Just Price" explains why Usury is wrong.

Ahh, thank you Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2012, 10:52:59 PM »

- Beatific Vision

I read a book by an Orthodox nun that had an entire chapter discussing how how part of theosis included the bettering of spiritual perception through the cleansing of the nous. She makes reference to a number of fathers including a quote from St Irenaeus.

St Irenaeus
For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 11:12:44 PM »


This is a strange one. While he defends using the phrase "from the Father and the Son" to describe procession, his defense of "from the Father through the Son" is interesting. We also have to keep in mind the word "proceed" doesn't mean the same thing in latin that it does in greek, so while the filioque most definitely does not belong in the creed, there is a little more freedom for its use in latin theological writing.

In every action two things are to be considered, the "suppositum" acting, and the power whereby it acts; as, for instance, fire heats through heat. So if we consider in the Father and the Son the power whereby they spirate the Holy Ghost, there is no mean, for this is one and the same power. But if we consider the persons themselves spirating, then, as the Holy Ghost proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father immediately, as from Him, and mediately, as from the Son; and thus He is said to proceed from the Father through the Son. So also did Abel proceed immediately from Adam, inasmuch as Adam was his father; and mediately, as Eve was his mother, who proceeded from Adam; although, indeed, this example of a material procession is inept to signify the immaterial procession of the divine persons.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2012, 09:55:54 PM »

It looks like some folks are going out of their way to find disagreements.
What?? Surely not. That NEVER happens here.
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2012, 10:27:57 PM »

There are, of course, two answers to the question of how Orthodox is some non-Orthodox theological work or whatever, one of which is most annoyingly phrased as a question, so that's what I'll do here:

How drinkable is poisoned water? (This is one answer. Why seek the living among the dead?)

However, in other respects, there may be good mixed with the bad, and it may be possible to sort it out.

But, when you're asking about a specific work like the Summa, you're dealing with a work composed in a context different, if not sometime antithetical to, the Orthodox mindset which existed in the West prior to the schism, and also in the East at the time Aquinas wrote. So, you will not just find teachings out of step, but constructs and understandings. Not only are the answers wrong, but also the questions. Now, I'm not trying to rip on non-Orthodox works, or scholasticism in particular. But this is just what we're dealing with in the West in general from 1100 on--thesis, antithesis, back and forth and getting nowhere, creating problems intentionally, and then solving them by creating new problems. It's nuts. It represents humanism--at first with Aquinas it is human reason to understand and expound upon Divine revelation, and then it is human reason glorified to be on par with divine revelation, until eventually it becomes human reason surpassing divine revelation. While you won't find an ecumenical council dogmatizing on this, the aspect and understanding of divine revelation over and confounding human reasoning is key in Orthodoxy. So, the value of works like the summa becomes quite peripheral.
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2012, 09:40:27 AM »

There are, of course, two answers to the question of how Orthodox is some non-Orthodox theological work or whatever, one of which is most annoyingly phrased as a question, so that's what I'll do here:

How drinkable is poisoned water? (This is one answer. Why seek the living among the dead?)

There is, actually, another way to put that--how drinkable is water from a different well, fed by the same Source?


But, when you're asking about a specific work like the Summa, you're dealing with a work composed in a context different, if not sometime antithetical to, the Orthodox mindset which existed in the West prior to the schism, and also in the East at the time Aquinas wrote. So, you will not just find teachings out of step, but constructs and understandings. Not only are the answers wrong, but also the questions. Now, I'm not trying to rip on non-Orthodox works, or scholasticism in particular. But this is just what we're dealing with in the West in general from 1100 on--thesis, antithesis, back and forth and getting nowhere, creating problems intentionally, and then solving them by creating new problems. It's nuts. It represents humanism--at first with Aquinas it is human reason to understand and expound upon Divine revelation, and then it is human reason glorified to be on par with divine revelation, until eventually it becomes human reason surpassing divine revelation. While you won't find an ecumenical council dogmatizing on this, the aspect and understanding of divine revelation over and confounding human reasoning is key in Orthodoxy. So, the value of works like the summa becomes quite peripheral.

I find it interesting in that almost any discussion amongst Orthodox about St. Thomas Aquinas and his Summa Theologica, the merits and demerits of which are all arguable, that rarely is it noted that after some experience in December of 1273 he ceased writing altogether and when asked why, he responded, "I cannot, for all that I have written seems like straw to me."  http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1608
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2012, 11:09:02 AM »

Things that it is not Orthodox (heh heh apophatic...):

- Beatific Vision
- Just War
- Natural Law?
- Monks and Bishops are in a state of perfection and being a monk is better than being married or a priest
- The material world being destroyed at the Last Judgment
- Martyrs and Virgins receiving special crowns in heaven?
- Just Price?

Not sure what else. Isn't it ironic that Aquinas believed that theology transcends human reason yet uses human reason to such an extent to argue his theology?
Of the above, I think that only Natural Law, Just War, and Just Price are viewed by Thomas as matters of human reason.
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