Author Topic: How Western Scholastic Theology Crept Into The Coptic Orthodox Church- Help!  (Read 3786 times)

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Offline Severian

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http://www.zeitun-eg.org/Scholastic_Theology_Arabic.pdf

Could someone who is knowledgeable of MS Arabic summarize this article for me? I only know the Egyptian colloquial dialect.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 09:07:01 AM by Severian »
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Samn!

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To summarize the author's points:

1. The theology of the Fathers such as "Origen, St. Didymus, and St. Cyrill"... "did not at all depart from the Holy Scriptures... it was their chief and primary source."

2. The Patristic era ended after the 5th century, which was the golden age. After this, there was either political or theological decline for all Christians.

3. In the west, Scholasticism developed in cathedrals and monasteries due to the following factors:

      a) Use of Latin and lack of knowledge of Greek in the West.
      b) The Westerner's use of reason and logic in determining dogma.
      c) The impact of Arab-Muslim texts translated into Latin, such as Averroes and Avicenna.
     
4. Thus Scholasticism represents a departure from the biblically-centered Patristic theology.

5. A discussion of Anselm, Aquinas, and the Council of Trent.

6. So what does this have to do with Orthodox Copts? Ignorance about this history has led to the introduction of Scholastic ideas among Copts and among all the Orthodox-- thus we hear the teachings of Anselm, Aquinas, and the Council of Trent in modern Arabic books more than the teachings of Athanasius and Cyrill.

7. A discussion of major changes in Catholic theology, due to the re-discovery of Patristic writers in the 20th century, regarding the nature of the Church, the liturgy, the authority of the Pope, and the role of the laity, following Vatican II.

8.  Quotes Florovsky on the introduction of Scholastic thought into the Orthodox Church and the question of "Western Captivity."

9. After the Arabs invaded in the 7th century, Copts became estranged from the Greek language, which also created a "void" in Coptic theological knowledge during the Middle Ages.

10. In modern times, faced with Catholic and Protestant missionaries, Copts relied on theological works that were available in Arabic, all of which relied on Scholastic theology. (He then makes a list of modern Coptic books that fell under such influence.)

11. Those patristic translations into Arabic that were made during the beginning of the 20th century, did not receive a wide audience.

12. However, in the 2nd half of the 20th century, there was a call to return to patristic sources. This was reacted against by those who had become accustomed to Scholastic theology.

13. For the past 30 years there have been two schools of theology among the Copts, which instead of leading to productive dialogue has led to partisanship, infighting, and mutual accusations of heresy.

14. A call for more serious study into the authentic heritage of the Coptic Church.


Offline Samn!

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The author of that text seems to be ignorant of the Medieval Coptic tradition of rational theology, as represented by the Awlad al-Assal, especially al-Safi ibn al-Assal.

A good English case study in the mutual interaction and competition between Patristic, Medieval Copto-Arabic, and Western theological models in the Coptic Church can be found here: http://documents.irevues.inist.fr/bitstream/handle/2042/35201/po_1990_239.pdf?sequence=1

Offline Severian

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^Thank you very much. I do think the author has a point, however, that many Coptic Clergy and Priests have been influenced by a heterodox form of scholasticism and some (like Met. Bishoy, from what I have been told) even persecute those who encourage a return to sound Orthodox patristic teaching.

The stamp on the bottom indicates that this article was published in America. Which is a good sign indicating that many Copts, particularly in the US, recognize the problems within the Church and want to fix them.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 10:18:55 AM by Severian »
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Gorazd

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Whether there is Scholasticism influenced by Catholics or by Muslim falsafa (as it was in the cases Smai mentioned), it is inacceptable. Only patristic theology can be the common Orthodox ground of our unchanged faith and for bringing OO and EO back together.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 10:42:09 AM by Gorazd »

Offline Severian

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Whether there is Scholasticism influenced by Catholics or by Muslim falsafa (as it was in the cases Smai mentioned), it is inacceptable. Only patristic theology can be the common Orthodox ground of our unchanged faith and for bringing OO and EO back together.
Amen! Thankfully in the area where I live many Copts are turning back to Patristic theology. What about the Copts who live in Egypt, though?
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Gorazd

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What about the Copts who live in Egypt, though?
Most of them have no idea about theology at all, including the priests who usually have a degree in pharmacy rather than theology. But the students of Fr. Matta and the Patristic institute in Cairo are very active. And especially among those people really interested in doing theology, the patristic current seems quite strong.

Offline Severian

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What about the Copts who live in Egypt, though?
Most of them have no idea about theology at all, including the priests who usually have a degree in pharmacy rather than theology. But the students of Fr. Matta and the Patristic institute in Cairo are very active. And especially among those people really interested in doing theology, the patristic current seems quite strong.
Congrats on 1000 posts! :) Are students at the Patristic institute criticized by the Hierarchy in any way, as alluded to in the article?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 10:58:15 AM by Severian »
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Gorazd

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Congrats on 1000 posts! :)

Thanks a lot! Wow it's a great day today.
I am not sure about the details, since the Institute is in Cairo, but I was living in Alexandria.

Offline Alpo

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I only know the Egyptian colloquial dialect.

Be happy that you know at least some form of Arabic. Since you are a native speaker of both English and Arabic you're in a pretty priviledged position and able to communicate with most of the people of the World. Most of us has to learn both languages at school.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline Severian

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I only know the Egyptian colloquial dialect.

Be happy that you know at least some form of Arabic. Since you are a native speaker of both English and Arabic you're in a pretty priviledged position and able to communicate with most of the people of the World. Most of us has to learn both languages at school.
Thanks. And what is good is that many Arabic speakers from different countries also understand the Egyptian dialect because Egypt had the first movie industry within the region. So they learned the Egyptian dialect by watching the movies. I remember speaking to a Moroccan woman once and we were able to communicate with each other because she knew some Egyptian Arabic.
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Severian

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Roman Scholasticism also seems to have influenced some among the Syrian Church. Mar Ignatius, in one of his letters, for example, taught that we inherit Adam's guilt. How did this happen?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 04:42:09 AM by Severian »
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Severian

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What do my fellow Copts have to say on this matter?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 04:05:52 PM by Severian »
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline Severian

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What do my fellow Copts have to say on this matter?
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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Offline minasoliman

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I agree with Samn!  I think the author tends to overemphasize the first five centuries as the only good patristic era and we tend to think that later Coptic theologians lost this.  To a certain extent, they used scholastic language, but I find it encouraging that they did not fall prey into some of the grave errors you have like in HE Metropolitan Bishoy.

HH Pope Tawadros so far is playing the diplomat.  He has done things that show something promising, like ordain a pro-Matta bishop to be the abbot of Abu Maqar, and hire two key members of the Cairo Institute to be full time professors in the theological school in Cairo.  He has however also allowed Met. Bishoy to continue to represent the Coptic Church in theological discussions, and he allowed Bishop Ermia (a disciple of Met. Bishoy) to remove Abouna Matta's books from their bookstore bazaar they hold annually.

What I desire for the Church is to rediscover its patristic roots, but also not to easily look down upon the Middle Ages like some completely depraved period of Coptic theology and spirituality.  Yes, we had our weaknesses, but we also had some important fathers who continued to keep the divine light of the Holy Church shining to this day.

I also wrote a long post somewhere on the history of the theological ignorance we had and what we have done since then that puts forward a cautious optimism for the future of the Coptic Church.
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Offline Minnesotan

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I agree with Samn!  I think the author tends to overemphasize the first five centuries as the only good patristic era and we tend to think that later Coptic theologians lost this.  To a certain extent, they used scholastic language, but I find it encouraging that they did not fall prey into some of the grave errors you have like in HE Metropolitan Bishoy.

HH Pope Tawadros so far is playing the diplomat.  He has done things that show something promising, like ordain a pro-Matta bishop to be the abbot of Abu Maqar, and hire two key members of the Cairo Institute to be full time professors in the theological school in Cairo.  He has however also allowed Met. Bishoy to continue to represent the Coptic Church in theological discussions, and he allowed Bishop Ermia (a disciple of Met. Bishoy) to remove Abouna Matta's books from their bookstore bazaar they hold annually.

What I desire for the Church is to rediscover its patristic roots, but also not to easily look down upon the Middle Ages like some completely depraved period of Coptic theology and spirituality.  Yes, we had our weaknesses, but we also had some important fathers who continued to keep the divine light of the Holy Church shining to this day.

I also wrote a long post somewhere on the history of the theological ignorance we had and what we have done since then that puts forward a cautious optimism for the future of the Coptic Church.

I too think "Patristic-onlyism" isn't necessarily a good thing. It kind of reminds me of the "First Century-onlyism" espoused by some radical Protestants who claim that the only good time was when the Apostles were alive and the Bible was still being written, and everything went downhill as soon as Ignatius began using the word bishop. Even the Reformers themselves were apostates according to some of these people; they tend to think true Christianity was only rediscovered recently (sometimes even by themselves!)

It also tends to elevate "the Fathers" to the level of an infallible authority which isn't necessarily a good thing either; certainly many church fathers (Origen especially, as well as several others who were influenced by him) held many erroneous ideas that the Church has since, wisely, condemned.

Ironically it's a very foundationalist, Western way of thinking in and of itself (Roman Catholics tend to think of the patristic era as having a definite beginning and end date, followed by the Scholastic era, a sort of Platonic view in which there is a "Golden Age" and everything after that is progressively less important). Whereas I think it's best to take a more trans-temporal view of church history; there's no reason why there couldn't still be Church Fathers alive today, after all.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 01:10:39 AM by Minnesotan »
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Offline Minnesotan

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Roman Scholasticism also seems to have influenced some among the Syrian Church. Mar Ignatius, in one of his letters, for example, taught that we inherit Adam's guilt. How did this happen?

That's not necessarily reflective of Scholasticism per se. Anyone who has spent any degree of time around American evangelicals knows that is a cornerstone of their theology, even more so with the recent drift toward neo-Calvinism. Since evangelicals are by far the most outspoken and vocal group of Christians in the US, even Orthodox and Catholics end up parroting their theology after a while without realizing it. Foreign church leaders aren't necessarily immune to their influence either, since evangelicals are great at translating their writings (as well as the Bible itself, of course) into as many languages as possible.

Calvin of course was a scholastic in many ways (although he might not have thought of himself as one; he did after all view the medieval Catholic era as a dark age).
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 01:13:10 AM by Minnesotan »
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Offline minasoliman

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Quote
I also wrote a long post somewhere on the history of the theological ignorance we had and what we have done since then that puts forward a cautious optimism for the future of the Coptic Church.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,57650.msg1105305.html#msg1105305
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Offline Tonedawg

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I agree with Samn!  I think the author tends to overemphasize the first five centuries as the only good patristic era and we tend to think that later Coptic theologians lost this.  To a certain extent, they used scholastic language, but I find it encouraging that they did not fall prey into some of the grave errors you have like in HE Metropolitan Bishoy.

HH Pope Tawadros so far is playing the diplomat.  He has done things that show something promising, like ordain a pro-Matta bishop to be the abbot of Abu Maqar, and hire two key members of the Cairo Institute to be full time professors in the theological school in Cairo.  He has however also allowed Met. Bishoy to continue to represent the Coptic Church in theological discussions, and he allowed Bishop Ermia (a disciple of Met. Bishoy) to remove Abouna Matta's books from their bookstore bazaar they hold annually.

What I desire for the Church is to rediscover its patristic roots, but also not to easily look down upon the Middle Ages like some completely depraved period of Coptic theology and spirituality.  Yes, we had our weaknesses, but we also had some important fathers who continued to keep the divine light of the Holy Church shining to this day.

I also wrote a long post somewhere on the history of the theological ignorance we had and what we have done since then that puts forward a cautious optimism for the future of the Coptic Church.

I agree with everything you said Mina! Where can I find that post of yours, I would love to read it.
I would love for someone on this board to write a list of all of metropolitan bishoy's teachings and to refute them. I too don't understand why he is representing us in dialogue.
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Offline Tonedawg

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Lol never mind, thank you for sharing!
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 01:26:28 AM by Tonedawg »
“How needful the human being is of service of the spirit, in an age where materialism, atheism, apostasy and deviant intellectual trends prevail. How needful people are to see Christ in our lives and to smell His sweet fragrance in us." St. Kyrillos (Cyril) VI

Offline qawe

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Quote from: minasoliman
It should be important to note that Abouna Matta also was not free of Western influence either.  You might see traces of this in some of his writings as well.

Can you please elaborate, Mina?
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Out of curiosity why do Coptic priests tend to have a segree in pharmacy?  Do they tend to support themselves in the difficult conditions in Egypt this way?

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Out of curiosity why do Coptic priests tend to have a degree in pharmacy?

Because they are Copts.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 06:49:59 AM by Cyrillic »

Offline Severian

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Out of curiosity why do Coptic priests tend to have a segree in pharmacy?  Do they tend to support themselves in the difficult conditions in Egypt this way?
No. Coptic Priests cannot work secular jobs. But if you are Egyptian your parents only give you four career options: doctor, lawyer, pharmacist or engineer. ::)
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

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It is a pity there is not a non-secular way for some of the latent technical ability to be put to work, for example, engineering spectacular new churches or operating ecclesiastical medical services, or suing various heretics.   :P

Offline minasoliman

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Quote from: minasoliman
It should be important to note that Abouna Matta also was not free of Western influence either.  You might see traces of this in some of his writings as well.

Can you please elaborate, Mina?

These two articles seem to me to have a bit of the juridical vibe to them:

http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/crucifixion-of-jesus-matta-el-meskeen
http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/gethsemane-and-the-cross-matta-el-meskeen
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Offline Antonious Nikolas

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It's not a matter of glorifying a particular era, or denying that the Holy Spirit continues to work within the Church up until the present times.  It's also not a matter of denigrating our Church completely or denying that there were Fathers in our Church who preserved Orthodox teaching and practice even in the darkest of eras.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging - however - that when the Coptic Church was largely separated from the rest of the Orthodox world and - frankly - largely fell into ignorance, that some ideas contradictory to Orthodoxy were introduced by heterodox missionaries and swallowed whole.  It would be a mistake to pretend that the ideas which the rest of the Orthodox world rejects, but that have somehow found a home in the Coptic Church thanks to foreign missionaries, aren't heretical and don't need to be addressed and corrected, just like Protestant taraneem which everyone now thinks is Orthodox because we've been living with it for so long.  The Orthodox doctrine of theosis is shaky at best in the Coptic Church, many think of the Holy Mysteries as magical and not mystical, and people shouldn't be citing Spurgeon and Aquinas as if they're St. Athanasius and St. Basil.  There are modern and medieval Church Fathers.  They are not among them.  The Patristic Era does not stop at the end of the 6th century, but it doesn't embrace your (and that's a general "your") favorite heterodox preacher or scholar either, and any Copt who thinks it does is delusional.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 11:03:00 AM by Antonious Nikolas »
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

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Quote from: minasoliman
It should be important to note that Abouna Matta also was not free of Western influence either.  You might see traces of this in some of his writings as well.

Can you please elaborate, Mina?

These two articles seem to me to have a bit of the juridical vibe to them:

http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/crucifixion-of-jesus-matta-el-meskeen
http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/gethsemane-and-the-cross-matta-el-meskeen
I will look at them later today. But in general, I think it is imprtant to say that juridical language per se is by no means exclusively scholastic or "western." I think many forms of juridical language are legitimate expressions of the atonement. In fact, just this past Sunday the fraction we prayed during Liturgy explicitly states that Christ had to die to satisfy the divine justice. If the liturgical prayers say so, who are we to disagree? Even St. Athanasius talks about Christ having to satisfy the Father's "divine consistency."
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Offline Tonedawg

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Quote from: minasoliman
It should be important to note that Abouna Matta also was not free of Western influence either.  You might see traces of this in some of his writings as well.

Can you please elaborate, Mina?

These two articles seem to me to have a bit of the juridical vibe to them:

http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/crucifixion-of-jesus-matta-el-meskeen
http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/gethsemane-and-the-cross-matta-el-meskeen
I will look at them later today. But in general, I think it is imprtant to say that juridical language per se is by no means exclusively scholastic or "western." I think many forms of juridical language are legitimate expressions of the atonement. In fact, just this past Sunday the fraction we prayed during Liturgy explicitly states that Christ had to die to satisfy the divine justice. If the liturgical prayers say so, who are we to disagree? Even St. Athanasius talks about Christ having to satisfy the Father's "divine consistency."

If you are referring to the fraction of the son at any time, I have heard that it was not in the ancient coptic liturgies! I wonder if they were added later, and how much later, and from what influence.
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Quote from: minasoliman
It should be important to note that Abouna Matta also was not free of Western influence either.  You might see traces of this in some of his writings as well.

Can you please elaborate, Mina?

These two articles seem to me to have a bit of the juridical vibe to them:

http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/crucifixion-of-jesus-matta-el-meskeen
http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/gethsemane-and-the-cross-matta-el-meskeen
I will look at them later today. But in general, I think it is imprtant to say that juridical language per se is by no means exclusively scholastic or "western." I think many forms of juridical language are legitimate expressions of the atonement. In fact, just this past Sunday the fraction we prayed during Liturgy explicitly states that Christ had to die to satisfy the divine justice. If the liturgical prayers say so, who are we to disagree? Even St. Athanasius talks about Christ having to satisfy the Father's "divine consistency."

I'm not saying that juridical language is wrong or right.  But I do try to be as fair as possible that we do not pin down HH Pope Shenouda as SOLELY Anselmian in his theology (because he does have some good "Cassian" elements of his theology as well) as if Abouna Matta did not have SOME influence of the same.

Abouna Matta's articles I posted describe Christ as a lawyer in front of the Father taking man's sins upon Himself to save man.  Such language can be surprising to a lot of people who might have not thought Abouna Matta would resort to that type of language, even though he is strongly patristic and pro-theosis.  The first time I shared this article in a private group, someone got very defensive and postulated that this can't be by Abouna Matta. (and I would still prefer Abouna Matta over Pope Shenouda in theology, so this in no way makes me think any less of him either)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 03:47:52 PM by minasoliman »
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Quote from: minasoliman
It should be important to note that Abouna Matta also was not free of Western influence either.  You might see traces of this in some of his writings as well.

Can you please elaborate, Mina?

These two articles seem to me to have a bit of the juridical vibe to them:

http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/crucifixion-of-jesus-matta-el-meskeen
http://www.spiritualite-orthodoxe.net/vie-de-priere/index.php/matta-el-meskeen-orthodox-teachings/gethsemane-and-the-cross-matta-el-meskeen
I will look at them later today. But in general, I think it is imprtant to say that juridical language per se is by no means exclusively scholastic or "western." I think many forms of juridical language are legitimate expressions of the atonement. In fact, just this past Sunday the fraction we prayed during Liturgy explicitly states that Christ had to die to satisfy the divine justice. If the liturgical prayers say so, who are we to disagree? Even St. Athanasius talks about Christ having to satisfy the Father's "divine consistency."

I'm not saying that juridical language is wrong or right.
I know you weren't saying that. That's why I qualified my comment with "in general." ;)

Quote
But I do try to be as fair as possible that we do not pin down HH Pope Shenouda as SOLELY Anselmian in his theology (because he does have some good "Cassian" elements of his theology as well) as if Abouna Matta did not have SOME influence of the same.

Abouna Matta's articles I posted describe Christ as a lawyer in front of the Father taking man's sins upon Himself to save man.  Such language can be surprising to a lot of people who might have not thought Abouna Matta would resort to that type of language, even though he is strongly patristic and pro-theosis.  The first time I shared this article in a private group, someone postulated that this can't be by Abouna Matta. (and I would still prefer Abouna Matta over Pope Shenouda in theology, so this in no way makes me think any less of him either)
Understood.
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What exactly is wrong with the Scholasticism of Anselm, Aquinas, and the Council of Trent? The only arguments I've heard for it is that it is the finite human mind attempting to comprehend an infinite Creator, and that it indirectly led to the development of several modern political ideologies that go against the Church tradition.

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What exactly is wrong with the Scholasticism of Anselm, Aquinas, and the Council of Trent? The only arguments I've heard for it is that it is the finite human mind attempting to comprehend an infinite Creator, and that it indirectly led to the development of several modern political ideologies that go against the Church tradition.
Not sure. In any case, this thread's focus is not on the nature of scholasticism per se, but rather how it seeped into the Coptic Orthodox Church.
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Offline minasoliman

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What exactly is wrong with the Scholasticism of Anselm, Aquinas, and the Council of Trent? The only arguments I've heard for it is that it is the finite human mind attempting to comprehend an infinite Creator, and that it indirectly led to the development of several modern political ideologies that go against the Church tradition.

It could be taken in a wrong way.  That's perhaps the best argument on this issue.  But I sympathize in your concern.

Sometimes, if juridical arguments are furthered, we may lose sight of the patristic mystical heritage, as is the case in the Protestant world.
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Offline Antonious Nikolas

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What exactly is wrong with the Scholasticism of Anselm, Aquinas, and the Council of Trent? The only arguments I've heard for it is that it is the finite human mind attempting to comprehend an infinite Creator, and that it indirectly led to the development of several modern political ideologies that go against the Church tradition.

I think this answers your question nicely:

Quote
The problems are these:

1. That religious knowledge is divided into two categories - "natural" theology and revealed theology.

2. That God's essence bears a resemblance to creatures.

3. That we reason up from creatures via "analogia entis" to know something of God's essence.

4. God created things in the world after archetypes of things pre-existing in His essence.

5. That nature and Person are identical in God.

6. That essence and energy/action are the same in God, as well as all attributes being the same. This "god" is actus purus - pure act.

7. That the meaning if theosis or salvation is being raised to a higher level of created grace.

8. That the eschaton is an intellectual vision of the essence of God, as well as being a bizarre lake of lava where demons throw you in and out and evil and sin continue in eternal opposition to God (dualism).

These are the awful ideas of scholasticism. It's NOT bad because it uses philosophy and logic. If that were true, then Nyssa, Maximus, Basil, Theodore, Athanasius, the two Cyrils, John of Damascus, and all Eastern Fathers are all "scholastics." And I've read every one of them at length. They were classically educated. But that's not what the criticism is. That's what unknowing Orthodox think the criticism is

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Irenikon/conversations/topics/35062

I also like this explanation, which explains how the intellectualization of the faith in scholasticism and the emotionalism of less traditional Western sects are two sides of the same coin, and how both are antithetical to the Orthodox approach to God:

Quote
Western theology, however, has differentiated itself from Eastern Orthodox theology. Instead of being therapeutic, it is more intellectual and emotional in character. In the West [after the Carolingian "Renaissance"], scholastic theology evolved, which is antithetical to the Orthodox Tradition. Western theology is based on rational thought whereas Orthodoxy is hesychastic. Scholastic theology tried to understand logically the Revelation of God and conform to philosophical methodology. Characteristic of such an approach is the saying of Anselm [Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1109, one of the first after the Norman Conquest and destruction of the Old English Orthodox Church]: "I believe so as to understand." The Scholastics acknowledged God at the outset and then endeavoured to prove His existence by logical arguments and rational categories. In the Orthodox Church, as expressed by the Holy Fathers, faith is God revealing Himself to man. We accept faith by hearing it not so that we can understand it rationally, but so that we can cleanse our hearts, attain to faith by theoria* and experience the Revelation of God.

Scholastic theology reached its culminating point in the person of Thomas Aquinas, a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He claimed that Christian truths are divided into natural and supernatural. Natural truths can be proven philosophically, like the truth of the Existence of God. Supernatural truths - such as the Triune God, the incarnation of the Logos, the resurrection of the bodies - cannot be proven philosophically, yet they cannot be disproven. Scholasticism linked theology very closely with philosophy, even more so with metaphysics. As a result, faith was altered and scholastic theology itself fell into complete disrepute when the "idol" of the West - metaphysics - collapsed. Scholasticism is held accountable for much of the tragic situation created in the West with respect to faith and faith issues.

The Holy Fathers teach that natural and metaphysical categories do not exist but speak rather of the created and uncreated. Never did the Holy Fathers accept Aristotle's metaphysics. However, it is not my intent to expound further on this. Theologians of the West during the Middle Ages considered scholastic theology to be a further development of the teaching of the Holy Fathers, and from this point on, there begins the teaching of the Franks that scholastic theology is superior to that of the Holy Fathers. Consequently, Scholastics, who are occupied with reason, consider themselves superior to the Holy Fathers of the Church. They also believe that human knowledge, an offspring of reason, is loftier than Revelation and experience.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx

At any rate, I don't want to sidetrack the discussion too much by discussing the perceived merits of scholasticism and how they can be critiqued and/or proven dangerous by the Orthodox Christian, but I will say that I reject out of hand that the notion that the Coptic Church was somehow enriched by the intrusion of foreign missionaries who might've introduced this problematic theology.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 04:23:38 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

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Offline Antonious Nikolas

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http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx

Whenever an Oriental cites OrthodoxInfo.com, Pope Leo laughs in his reliquaries.

I know they have anti-"Monophysite" articles on there, but it's not like the site is monolithic or as if the content comes from a single contributor or even a single clique and can thus be dismissed out of hand.  I know you're (halfway?) kidding around, but I'm willing to defend my use of the article in question - and other content on the site - against anyone making the argument that "The owners of the site are anti-OO, so any material they post which is anti-Western should be taken with a grain of salt too".  Their stuff against Charismatism, for example, is spot on.  I think the stuff on scholasticism is too.
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

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http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx

Whenever an Oriental cites OrthodoxInfo.com, Pope Leo laughs in his reliquaries.

I know they have anti-"Monophysite" articles on there, but...

I know, I know, I was kidding.  :P

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http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx

Whenever an Oriental cites OrthodoxInfo.com, Pope Leo laughs in his reliquaries.

I know they have anti-"Monophysite" articles on there, but...

I know, I know, I was kidding.  :P

I know.   :)

I just needed to make the point in case any proponents of the attitude towards Western influence in the Coptic Church referenced above were reading.  The present situation in our Church tends to make the folks who are actually Orthodox veer towards hyper-vigilance.  Ask qawe.  ;D
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 05:52:10 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

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Quote
7. That the meaning if theosis or salvation is being raised to a higher level of created grace.

How is that not the goal of theosis or salvation?

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Quote
7. That the meaning if theosis or salvation is being raised to a higher level of created grace.

How is that not the goal of theosis or salvation?

Grace is uncreated.
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7. That the meaning if theosis or salvation is being raised to a higher level of created grace.

How is that not the goal of theosis or salvation?

Grace is uncreated.

How can grace be uncreated if God is the Creator of everything?

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Quote
7. That the meaning if theosis or salvation is being raised to a higher level of created grace.

How is that not the goal of theosis or salvation?

Grace is uncreated.

How can grace be uncreated if God is the Creator of everything?
Grace is God.
You sound like a professional who knows what he's talking about.  That's because you are.

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Offline minasoliman

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Amatorus, you're EO right?  It's an EO teaching that grace is uncreated according to Palamas.  In Alexandrian teaching, grace is the self-giving of God and the presence of God working in a person.  Therefore grace is uncreated.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 09:51:02 PM by minasoliman »
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Quote
7. That the meaning if theosis or salvation is being raised to a higher level of created grace.

How is that not the goal of theosis or salvation?

Grace is uncreated.

Yes. The goal of theosis or salvation is to achieve true human personhood and union with God.  To be what we were created to be in the first place.
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/