Author Topic: How Western Scholastic Theology Crept Into The Coptic Orthodox Church- Help!  (Read 2025 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Severian

  • Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and help my unbelief!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,640
  • The Patriarch Saint Severus of Antioch
    • St. Jacob Baradeus' Orthodox Christian Fellowship
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
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 »
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

The Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another yet He is not two Persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination. -St. Gregory Nazianzen

Offline Samn!

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 337
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!

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 337
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

  • Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and help my unbelief!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,640
  • The Patriarch Saint Severus of Antioch
    • St. Jacob Baradeus' Orthodox Christian Fellowship
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
^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 »
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

The Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another yet He is not two Persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination. -St. Gregory Nazianzen

Offline Gorazd

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,961
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

  • Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and help my unbelief!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,640
  • The Patriarch Saint Severus of Antioch
    • St. Jacob Baradeus' Orthodox Christian Fellowship
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
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?
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

The Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another yet He is not two Persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination. -St. Gregory Nazianzen

Offline Gorazd

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,961
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

  • Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and help my unbelief!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,640
  • The Patriarch Saint Severus of Antioch
    • St. Jacob Baradeus' Orthodox Christian Fellowship
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
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 »
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

The Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another yet He is not two Persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination. -St. Gregory Nazianzen

Offline Gorazd

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,961
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

  • Lying Chalcedonian Liar
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,822
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.
Quote from: Severian
the people on this forum have to stop taking themselves so seriously. None of us are some modern-day Athanasius, we all just have nothing better to do.

Offline Severian

  • Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and help my unbelief!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,640
  • The Patriarch Saint Severus of Antioch
    • St. Jacob Baradeus' Orthodox Christian Fellowship
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
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.
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

The Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another yet He is not two Persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination. -St. Gregory Nazianzen

Offline Severian

  • Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and help my unbelief!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,640
  • The Patriarch Saint Severus of Antioch
    • St. Jacob Baradeus' Orthodox Christian Fellowship
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
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 »
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

The Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another yet He is not two Persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination. -St. Gregory Nazianzen

Offline Severian

  • Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and help my unbelief!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,640
  • The Patriarch Saint Severus of Antioch
    • St. Jacob Baradeus' Orthodox Christian Fellowship
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
What do my fellow Copts have to say on this matter?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 04:05:52 PM by Severian »
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

The Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another yet He is not two Persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination. -St. Gregory Nazianzen