Author Topic: I Like Scholasticism/Using Aristotelian Philosophy in Christianity  (Read 10963 times)

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Offline wainscottbl

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So there seems to be a lot of argument against Scholasticism. I have even seen it said in some Orthodox places that we should or cannot prove God in the existence that Aquinas does but I think we can and should. I do agree, as does Catholic thought, that reason can only prove the existence of an intelligent first mover called God but cannot prove, at least fully, the Trinity. Reason can prove or come to understand that God is one, omnipotent, eternal and so forth but it could not, from itself, come to see that God is one in essence but is three persons. Even the Eucharist can be shown as accident and substance to show by reason that just because there is bread before our eyes does not mean there is not flesh there in reality. That we would see all the molecules of a piece of bread if we put it under a microscope because those are all accidents. The molecules of the flesh cannot be seen through testing except when a miracle occurs. What I really mean is I like Aristotle and all the ancients and using them, within limited means, to assist our understanding of faith.

For example:

Quote
As the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 2), the end is twofold--the end "for which" and the end "by which"; viz. the thing itself in which is found the aspect of good, and the use or acquisition of that thing. Thus we say that the end of the movement of a weighty body is either a lower place as "thing," or to be in a lower place, as "use"; and the end of the miser is money as "thing," or possession of money as "use."

If, therefore, we speak of man's last end as of the thing which is the end, thus all other things concur in man's last end, since God is the last end of man and of all other things. If, however, we speak of man's last end, as of the acquisition of the end, then irrational creatures do not concur with man in this end. For man and other rational creatures attain to their last end by knowing and loving God: this is not possible to other creatures, which acquire their last end, in so far as they share in the Divine likeness, inasmuch as they are, or live, or even know.

Hence it is evident how the objections are solved: since happiness means the acquisition of the last end.
Summa Theologica, I.II.8
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
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Offline scamandrius

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So there seems to be a lot of argument against Scholasticism. I have even seen it said in some Orthodox places that we should or cannot prove God in the existence that Aquinas does but I think we can and should. I do agree, as does Catholic thought, that reason can only prove the existence of an intelligent first mover called God but cannot prove, at least fully, the Trinity. Reason can prove or come to understand that God is one, omnipotent, eternal and so forth but it could not, from itself, come to see that God is one in essence but is three persons. Even the Eucharist can be shown as accident and substance to show by reason that just because there is bread before our eyes does not mean there is not flesh there in reality. That we would see all the molecules of a piece of bread if we put it under a microscope because those are all accidents. The molecules of the flesh cannot be seen through testing except when a miracle occurs. What I really mean is I like Aristotle and all the ancients and using them, within limited means, to assist our understanding of faith.

For example:

Quote
As the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 2), the end is twofold--the end "for which" and the end "by which"; viz. the thing itself in which is found the aspect of good, and the use or acquisition of that thing. Thus we say that the end of the movement of a weighty body is either a lower place as "thing," or to be in a lower place, as "use"; and the end of the miser is money as "thing," or possession of money as "use."

If, therefore, we speak of man's last end as of the thing which is the end, thus all other things concur in man's last end, since God is the last end of man and of all other things. If, however, we speak of man's last end, as of the acquisition of the end, then irrational creatures do not concur with man in this end. For man and other rational creatures attain to their last end by knowing and loving God: this is not possible to other creatures, which acquire their last end, in so far as they share in the Divine likeness, inasmuch as they are, or live, or even know.

Hence it is evident how the objections are solved: since happiness means the acquisition of the last end.
Summa Theologica, I.II.8

So you like Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas?  Good for you.  But you're not going to get a lot of traction here or in many Orthodox circles by saying that the Orthodox should resort to categorizing neatly every element of the faith for the purpose of understanding that which cannot be understood by rational means.  A contained God is not God. 
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline Nephi

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I'm one of the Orthodox that like Scholasticism/philosophy/Aristotle/etc. in moderation. I love natural law for ethics/rights theory, your quote about human telos is nice, etc. I'm also fine with various philosophical arguments for the existence of God and what-not. But it must be tempered by the Liturgy, Scripture, Tradition, and the Fathers, unlike too much of the excesses of Scholasticism that seemed to lose sight of everything but Aristotle.

Others may certainly disagree.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 09:59:20 PM by Nephi »

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Oh you Greeks, you are all dumb!

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Scholasticism drove me to agnosticism, mysticism brought me back.
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Offline wainscottbl

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Yes, I am with Nephi, but I can understand the repulsion to Scholasticism and I do think that it can be argued it led to the Enlightenment and eventually in the Roman Church, Vatican II. But that's a simplistic statement. Others have made a deeper argument better than me. I'm somewhere in the middle I guess. Still looking into Orthodoxy anyway. I do like the mysticism by the way and how prayer is less intellectual. In Catholicism there seem so many different "right" ways to pray and become holy. In Orthodoxy it seems much simpler--the method, not the means. The means of getting holy is never simple! Rules and methods are easy to learn. The stuff of Scribe and Pharisees! The stuff of saints is the method. But in any case I have a soft spot for natural law, scholasticism, Aristotle and and all that junk.
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
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Offline Asteriktos

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Offline Papist

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I'm one of the Orthodox that like Scholasticism/philosophy/Aristotle/etc. in moderation. I love natural law for ethics/rights theory, your quote about human telos is nice, etc. I'm also fine with various philosophical arguments for the existence of God and what-not. But it must be tempered by the Liturgy, Scripture, Tradition, and the Fathers, unlike too much of the excesses of Scholasticism that seemed to lose sight of everything but Aristotle.

Others may certainly disagree.
I knew there was a reason I liked you.  ;D
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline scamandrius

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A contained God is not God. 



I meant in language and you bloody well know that!
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Oh you Greeks, you are all dumb!

An Athonite

Offline scamandrius

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A contained God is not God. 



I meant in language and you bloody well know that!

Chillax. 

Does anyone, besides you and my upper school students, use that ridiculous monstrosity of a hybrid word any-Mor (See what I did there)? :)
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline orthonorm

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A contained God is not God. 



I meant in language and you bloody well know that!

In virtue of what else is God known other than within language? If there is another manner of knowing God please use that manner in the future for your arguments for it.

Thanks.

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Chillax. 

Does anyone, besides you and my upper school students, use that ridiculous monstrosity of a hybrid word any-Mor (See what I did there)? :)

I'm sure there are a few mor of us (get it? ;))...
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Oh you Greeks, you are all dumb!

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Offline Nephi

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Well, as I said, I especially love natural law and its applications in ethics, rights theory and social/political philosophy. For me this includes Scholastics  like Aquinas, but also pre-Scholastics and even non-Christians (e.g. Cicero) I suppose.

Offline Nephi

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I'm one of the Orthodox that like Scholasticism/philosophy/Aristotle/etc. in moderation. I love natural law for ethics/rights theory, your quote about human telos is nice, etc. I'm also fine with various philosophical arguments for the existence of God and what-not. But it must be tempered by the Liturgy, Scripture, Tradition, and the Fathers, unlike too much of the excesses of Scholasticism that seemed to lose sight of everything but Aristotle.

Others may certainly disagree.
I knew there was a reason I liked you.  ;D

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Offline Asteriktos

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Well, as I said, I especially love natural law and its applications in ethics, rights theory and social/political philosophy. For me this includes Scholastics  like Aquinas, but also pre-Scholastics and even non-Christians (e.g. Cicero) I suppose.

Could you tell me more about this? I see Orthodox and Catholics speak of such things, but I am never sure if what I am reading is a position actually held and used, more theory, or just a strawman. What exactly is the part of it that so many Orthodox seem to disagree with, and how far can it be pushed in the service of Christianity? Perhaps a specific example would help, I'm not sure. After the 30th thread with ialmisry arguing with Catholics about such things I feel like I am all turned around  :D ;D

Offline Nephi

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Could you tell me more about this? I see Orthodox and Catholics speak of such things, but I am never sure if what I am reading is a position actually held and used, more theory, or just a strawman. What exactly is the part of it that so many Orthodox seem to disagree with, and how far can it be pushed in the service of Christianity? Perhaps a specific example would help, I'm not sure. After the 30th thread with ialmisry arguing with Catholics about such things I feel like I am all turned around  :D ;D

Haha, yeah, it seems to be a hot-button phrase around here... TBH, I'm not sure why so many Orthodox seem to hate natural law theories. I don't want to dismiss them all as just holding anti-Western tendencies, but it seems to factor in among some at least.

This seems like a nice introductory explanation of Aquinas' laws - it's unfortunately been too long since my philosophy courses. Anyway, I think the idea of the laws, especially natural law and its relation with human law, can be easily used in understanding morality, and its social/political application, in any Christian tradition.

Offline minasoliman

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Well, as I said, I especially love natural law and its applications in ethics, rights theory and social/political philosophy. For me this includes Scholastics  like Aquinas, but also pre-Scholastics and even non-Christians (e.g. Cicero) I suppose.
you're not alone. I think you'll like Marcus Plested
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline isaelie

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i dont think the thief on the cross had to care much about scholatiscm or whatever that is.

Offline Nephi

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Well, as I said, I especially love natural law and its applications in ethics, rights theory and social/political philosophy. For me this includes Scholastics  like Aquinas, but also pre-Scholastics and even non-Christians (e.g. Cicero) I suppose.
you're not alone. I think you'll like Marcus Plested

I take it you've read his Orthodox Readings of Aquinas, is it good? I think I've heard it mentioned before.

Offline LBK

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Well, as I said, I especially love natural law and its applications in ethics, rights theory and social/political philosophy. For me this includes Scholastics  like Aquinas, but also pre-Scholastics and even non-Christians (e.g. Cicero) I suppose.
you're not alone. I think you'll like Marcus Plested

I take it you've read his Orthodox Readings of Aquinas, is it good? I think I've heard it mentioned before.

I have it on good authority that Plested is trying to put square pegs in round holes.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline minasoliman

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Well, as I said, I especially love natural law and its applications in ethics, rights theory and social/political philosophy. For me this includes Scholastics  like Aquinas, but also pre-Scholastics and even non-Christians (e.g. Cicero) I suppose.
you're not alone. I think you'll like Marcus Plested

I take it you've read his Orthodox Readings of Aquinas, is it good? I think I've heard it mentioned before.
not yet, but I have listened to an online lecture of his, which seems to talk about major points in his book. And I think Metropolitan Kallistos was there.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Papist

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For those who benefit from it, can you explain the main things that you have in mind that are helpful? What type of scholasticism do you mean, or what in particular about a type (or all types) do you find beneficial?

Well, as I said, I especially love natural law and its applications in ethics, rights theory and social/political philosophy. For me this includes Scholastics  like Aquinas, but also pre-Scholastics and even non-Christians (e.g. Cicero) I suppose.
you're not alone. I think you'll like Marcus Plested

I take it you've read his Orthodox Readings of Aquinas, is it good? I think I've heard it mentioned before.
not yet, but I have listened to an online lecture of his, which seems to talk about major points in his book. And I think Metropolitan Kallistos was there.
Is the lecture still available online?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline CoptoGeek

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Is the lecture still available online?

I think this:

Dr. Marcus Plested: Aquinas, between East and West.
http://vimeo.com/61102430
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I'm not sure why so many Orthodox seem to hate natural law theories. I don't want to dismiss them all as just holding anti-Western tendencies, but it seems to factor in among some at least.
Why must such issues inevitably be about portrayed as involving "hate" or "antipathy to things Western"?

Can't a fellow reject something simply because he deems it dead?

"Foundationalism has been the reigning theory of theories in the West since the high Middle Ages. It can be traced back as far as Aristotle... Aquinas offers one classic version of foundationalism. There is, he said, a body of propositions which can become self-evident to us in our present earthly state. Properly conducted scientific inquiry consists in arriving at other propositions by way of reliable inference from these (demonstration). A few of these (for example, that God exists) can be inferred from propositions knowable to the natural light of reason ...within the community of those working in philosophy of knowledge and philosophy of science foundationalism has suffered a series of deadly blows in the last 25 years. To many of those acquainted with the history of this development it now looks all but dead. So it looks to me. Of course, it is always possible that by a feat of prodigious imagination foundationalism can be revitalized. I consider that highly improbable..." (Nicholas Wolterstorff, Reason Within the Bounds of Religion, pp. 26-27).

« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 12:49:01 PM by xariskai »

Offline minasoliman

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Is the lecture still available online?

I think this:

Dr. Marcus Plested: Aquinas, between East and West.
http://vimeo.com/61102430

yes!  that's it
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline wainscottbl

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It seems not all Orthodox object to natural law and I agree with Nephi that we can't pigeon hole those who have problems with Scholasticism as "anti-Western". I think natural law has a lot of aid in ethical thought, though it is natural and thus prone to err. That is why as Aquinas himself and all good Scholastics would say it must be aided by the light of divine revelation. Otherwise it becomes rationalism or Deism--like many of the Founders. Now my own Great Book studies in the Angelium Academy has an Orthodox gentleman as one of the founders and teachers in it. Now when he first got involved I think he was Protestant looking into Catholicism and finally settling into Orthodoxy. He still helps with the Angelicum Academy and I must share an interesting thing that happened in our of our classes. His name is Dr. James Taylor by the way. Here is an Orthodox homeschooling program he has started, based on the liberal arts. Here is his profile. He has been on Ancient Faith Radio:

http://www.raphaelschool.org/biography.html


In one of our classes on Aristotle's "Ethics" we had read where Aristotle discussed the nature of happiness and said that children cannot be happy because it requires the ability to reason and also virtue. Children cannot have virtue, even if they are of the rational age, the proposition of Aristotle seems to be because they do not know life. I may be misspeaking what the exact reason Aristotle gives. So one of our instructors, Mr. Bertucci, who is a bit Scholastic and natural law proponent says asks us if we think children can have happiness since happiness lies in virtue which is acquired over life. Children do not have much life so they are not happy. But the Great Books is not about "the right answer" or a "lecture". Mr. Berturcci asked what we students think.

He and most, including me, said children cannot be happy. I said that children can only have an image of happiness that is more akin to an emotion than something rational. Even if they are rational they are still very full of passion and therefore not truly happy, only emotionally satisfied you might say. They cannot be virtuous even because that is a habit and they have not lived long enough to form such a habit. Dr. Taylor, who I did not know was Orthodox, gave a tender answer that he thinks children can be happy because he said just look how carefree children are compared to us. To which Mr. Betrucci, in friendly Socratic manner asked, "Is that happiness though?" No one ever said the other one was wrong and a bad person for saying what they thought, but each party believed it had the truth on the matter. I now realize that Dr. Taylor being Orthodox may have been the reason he was not so quick to grant Aristotle's idea that children cannot be happy or virtuous.


But I invite you to take a look at Dr. Taylor's St. Raphael's School. I think he is Orthodox for a reason but I would say he believes in natural law and is a big fan of a liberal arts education based on natural law.



« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 02:42:58 PM by wainscottbl »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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I think it was not so much Aristotle as Aristotleanism that served as basis for the epidemic of psychic destructiveness we call the West. In fact, I think Aristotle would have made a pretty inoffensive Orthodox if he'd lived in a later era, as I also think many of the Fathers were not hampered in their faith by educations that included Plato and Aristotle (heck, even Macarius of Egypt, about as earthy a father as I can think of, seems to have been familiar with them and mentions them by name and not polemically either).

So the danger to Orthodoxy, in my opinion, of turning to Aristotleans for any foundation is mostly that in our day it would import a whole package of ideology into which almost all philosophers have been neatly folded -- an analytical, skeptical, schismatical package destructive of human soul and health. What Aristotle factually was, then, is (well, debatable and) not as important as what he represents as one of the arrogant icons of the West.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 07:09:13 PM by Porter ODoran »
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Offline truthseeker32

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I'm one of the Orthodox that like Scholasticism/philosophy/Aristotle/etc. in moderation. I love natural law for ethics/rights theory, your quote about human telos is nice, etc. I'm also fine with various philosophical arguments for the existence of God and what-not. But it must be tempered by the Liturgy, Scripture, Tradition, and the Fathers, unlike too much of the excesses of Scholasticism that seemed to lose sight of everything but Aristotle.

Others may certainly disagree.
Seconded. In my experience, most people who vehemently reject Scholasticism often don't understand it, or for some silly reason believe that one must either reject or accept every jot and tittle of Scholasticism. One shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Offline minasoliman

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I'm one of the Orthodox that like Scholasticism/philosophy/Aristotle/etc. in moderation. I love natural law for ethics/rights theory, your quote about human telos is nice, etc. I'm also fine with various philosophical arguments for the existence of God and what-not. But it must be tempered by the Liturgy, Scripture, Tradition, and the Fathers, unlike too much of the excesses of Scholasticism that seemed to lose sight of everything but Aristotle.

Others may certainly disagree.
Seconded. In my experience, most people who vehemently reject Scholasticism often don't understand it, or for some silly reason believe that one must either reject or accept every jot and tittle of Scholasticism. One shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Scholastic techniques were popular around Thomas Aquinas' time.  Copts used it and Byzantines used it.  The most comprehensive was Thomas Aquinas, which made him quite popular even for non-Catholics.  Some though did try to refute him, not for his sake per se, but as a way of trying to overturn Catholic infallible authority at the time over its head.  One believed if one can refute Aquinas, one can refute Catholicism.  At least that's the idea I'm getting in the middle ages surrounding Aquinas.

I am curious though, it became a later polemic, particularly Slavic, that scholastics were Barlaamites who rejected the doctrine of deification.  Where did this come from?  And did Barlaam actually reject deification?  (I know he rejected Palamism, but I wonder how he thought one would achieve theosis, if he even believed it)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 10:05:35 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Amatorus

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Scholasticism is what ultimately led to liberalism, atheism, and other movements of moral decay in the West.

I love science and inquiry, but scholasticism does it all wrong. Science should be used to help understand a broader view of the universe, to achieve theosis, etc.

Offline truthseeker32

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Scholasticism is what ultimately led to liberalism, atheism, and other movements of moral decay in the West.

I love science and inquiry, but scholasticism does it all wrong. Science should be used to help understand a broader view of the universe, to achieve theosis, etc.
You are entitled to such opinions, but you should explain the bases for them. If you read history what ultimately seems to have led to atheism and liberalism in the West is when the Reformation rejected Roman Catholic models and gave way to enlightenment materialism. It was figures like Martin Luther that began rejecting sacraments and myseries because he couldn't understand them in a modern framework. A good book on the matter is Brad Gregory's The Unintended Reformation.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unintended-Reformation-Revolution-Secularized/dp/0674045637

Offline Sam G

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Scholasticism is what ultimately led to liberalism, atheism, and other movements of moral decay in the West.

I love science and inquiry, but scholasticism does it all wrong. Science should be used to help understand a broader view of the universe, to achieve theosis, etc.
You are entitled to such opinions, but you should explain the bases for them. If you read history what ultimately seems to have led to atheism and liberalism in the West is when the Reformation rejected Roman Catholic models and gave way to enlightenment materialism. It was figures like Martin Luther that began rejecting sacraments and myseries because he couldn't understand them in a modern framework. A good book on the matter is Brad Gregory's The Unintended Reformation.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unintended-Reformation-Revolution-Secularized/dp/0674045637

Could it also be argued that Scholastic theology is what led to men like Luther and Calvin though?
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Could it also be argued that Scholastic theology is what led to men like Luther and Calvin though?

Oh absolutely it could. Analysis is a method of destruction; and the seed of our present societal schizophrenia was planted long before the Enlightenment, as soon as philosophers and then theologians began to venerate analysis for its use in destroying one another (and forbears) rather than to venerate Wisdom for the view it offers (it synthesizes) of God.

The energies of God are creative, and the visions he offers make whole. Somewhere too much of the West lost knowledge of this; this is what distinguishes the West from other cultures and from its own forbears.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 03:04:28 PM by Porter ODoran »
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Offline JamesR

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I have trouble with this whole "proving God" thing because I think that no matter how articulate the arguments may seem, they virtually ALL boil down to arguments from ignorance. "We don't know X, therefore God/X implies Y, therefore God." There isn't a single positive argument for God; it's always just to explain the absence of something else.

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I posted this before and it got some negative comments. Not that it matters. I'll post it again. Some may know Mr. Dyer's work and either enjoy it, hate it, or be indifferent about it. I enjoy it and even though I like Scholasticism I think he speaks well here:

This one I came upon in my search:

http://jaysanalysis.com/2010/04/07/root-problems-of-western-scholasticism/

But here is what I was referring to:

http://jaysanalysis.com/2013/08/22/from-thomism-to-enlightenment-deismatheism/
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Offline Papist

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I have trouble with this whole "proving God" thing because I think that no matter how articulate the arguments may seem, they virtually ALL boil down to arguments from ignorance. "We don't know X, therefore God/X implies Y, therefore God." There isn't a single positive argument for God; it's always just to explain the absence of something else.
I'm not going to debate Catholic vs. Orthodox positions on the matter because this is the convert issues thread. But I will say this just for informational purposes. The Thomistic arguments are not at all what you describe them to be above. They are positive arguments based on what Thomas believes to be metaphysical necessities.

Again, I will not debate the point, this being convert issues, but I'm just trying to provide some information.
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Offline truthseeker32

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Could it also be argued that Scholastic theology is what led to men like Luther and Calvin though?
Anyone can argue whatever they want, but it isn't a good argument unless it is backed up with sound claims. That is why it is important to have a proper understanding of scholasticism, which I believe this thread demonstrates many do not have. Scholasticism doesn't seek to prove everything about God and anyone who thinks it does hasn't read Aquinas. I highly encourage everyone to study Scholasticism from the Scholastics themselves before casting judgment.

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Could it also be argued that Scholastic theology is what led to men like Luther and Calvin though?
Anyone can argue whatever they want, but it isn't a good argument unless it is backed up with sound claims. That is why it is important to have a proper understanding of scholasticism, which I believe this thread demonstrates many do not have. Scholasticism doesn't seek to prove everything about God and anyone who thinks it does hasn't read Aquinas. I highly encourage everyone to study Scholasticism from the Scholastics themselves before casting judgment.

Agreed.  However, do you, as someone who has studied scholasticism, see this as even a remote possibility?
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Offline Sam G

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I posted this before and it got some negative comments. Not that it matters. I'll post it again. Some may know Mr. Dyer's work and either enjoy it, hate it, or be indifferent about it. I enjoy it and even though I like Scholasticism I think he speaks well here:

This one I came upon in my search:

http://jaysanalysis.com/2010/04/07/root-problems-of-western-scholasticism/

But here is what I was referring to:

http://jaysanalysis.com/2013/08/22/from-thomism-to-enlightenment-deismatheism/

I have run across and enjoyed Mr. Dyer's work before on Mystagogy, however, don't you find some of the other material posted on his own site a bit... out there?
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Offline minasoliman

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Scholasticism is what ultimately led to liberalism, atheism, and other movements of moral decay in the West.

I love science and inquiry, but scholasticism does it all wrong. Science should be used to help understand a broader view of the universe, to achieve theosis, etc.
You are entitled to such opinions, but you should explain the bases for them. If you read history what ultimately seems to have led to atheism and liberalism in the West is when the Reformation rejected Roman Catholic models and gave way to enlightenment materialism. It was figures like Martin Luther that began rejecting sacraments and myseries because he couldn't understand them in a modern framework. A good book on the matter is Brad Gregory's The Unintended Reformation.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unintended-Reformation-Revolution-Secularized/dp/0674045637

Could it also be argued that Scholastic theology is what led to men like Luther and Calvin though?

The same reason was given to criticize St. Augustine.  I find that completely unfair, and a cheap cop-out.

How does one know they didn't misuse scholasticism?  Heck, mysticism also has its weaknesses if not grounded in the correct faith.  If anyone also examines many Alexandrian writings, especially St. Cyril of Alexandria, you find an interesting method of teaching that was quite popular in their catechetical and theological schools, the question and answer dialogue format.  This can be considered a "pre-cursor" to scholastic method of teaching.  Scholasticism should not be what they believed, but how they taught the beliefs.  Again, Byzantines in fact did praise the method, and they do have one saint venerated who is called "the scholastic".

Granted, scholasticism is a tool to understand belief, but not a tool for spirituality and prayer.  And when people attend theological seminars or read the Church fathers among the Orthodox, they turn theology into an academic venture, and not a venture of spiritual understanding.  Many times, some Orthodox who criticize Scholasticism are in my opinion being hypocritical, because they simply take the Greek fathers and develop a Scholastic method of mysticism while having no practical private prayer life.  In other words, people continue to say things like "Scholastics praised philosophy more than revelation", but these are nothing but words, and they make great refuting cliches, but it's all talk and no real prayer.  To say prayer and to actually pray are two different things, and Christ has a few choice words for those people. (Lord have mercy on my soul)

Some Roman Catholics who became Orthodox recognize this, and they didn't become Orthodox because they rejected Aquinas or scholasticism, but they believed in the Orthodox faith.  I find that more commendable than the Romanides stereotype, and I think it's about time we should end this stereotype.  A good Orthodox evangelist would say, "to the scholastic, I became a scholastic, and to the simple-minded mystic, I became a simple-minded mystic".  I wouldn't criticize the Orthodox Church because the Russians decide to jump in a pond of ice cold water on Theophany, and see that as a source of great ignorance of spirituality.  Neither should I do the same to scholastics.  Both should be understood with open minds within the context of their times and cultures.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 06:46:02 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Sam G

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Scholasticism is what ultimately led to liberalism, atheism, and other movements of moral decay in the West.

I love science and inquiry, but scholasticism does it all wrong. Science should be used to help understand a broader view of the universe, to achieve theosis, etc.
You are entitled to such opinions, but you should explain the bases for them. If you read history what ultimately seems to have led to atheism and liberalism in the West is when the Reformation rejected Roman Catholic models and gave way to enlightenment materialism. It was figures like Martin Luther that began rejecting sacraments and myseries because he couldn't understand them in a modern framework. A good book on the matter is Brad Gregory's The Unintended Reformation.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unintended-Reformation-Revolution-Secularized/dp/0674045637

Could it also be argued that Scholastic theology is what led to men like Luther and Calvin though?

The same reason was given to criticize St. Augustine.  I find that completely unfair, and a cheap cop-out.

How does one know they didn't misuse scholasticism?  Heck, mysticism also has its weaknesses if not grounded in the correct faith.  If anyone also examines many Alexandrian writings, especially St. Cyril of Alexandria, you find an interesting method of teaching that was quite popular in their catechetical and theological schools, the question and answer dialogue format.  This can be considered a "pre-cursor" to scholastic method of teaching.  Scholasticism should not be what they believed, but how they taught the beliefs.  Again, Byzantines in fact did praise the method, and they do have one saint venerated who is called "the scholastic".

Granted, scholasticism is a tool to understand belief, but not a tool for spirituality and prayer.  And when people attend theological seminars or read the Church fathers among the Orthodox, they turn theology into an academic venture, and not a venture of spiritual understanding.  Many times, some Orthodox who criticize Scholasticism are in my opinion being hypocritical, because they simply take the Greek fathers and develop a Scholastic method of mysticism while having no practical private prayer life.  In other words, people continue to say things like "Scholastics praised philosophy more than revelation", but these are nothing but words, and they make great refuting cliches, but it's all talk and no real prayer.  To say prayer and to actually pray are two different things, and Christ has a few choice words for those people. (Lord have mercy on my soul)

Some Roman Catholics who became Orthodox recognize this, and they didn't become Orthodox because they rejected Aquinas or scholasticism, but they believed in the Orthodox faith.  I find that more commendable than the Romanides stereotype, and I think it's about time we should end this stereotype.  A good Orthodox evangelist would say, "to the scholastic, I became a scholastic, and to the simple-minded mystic, I became a simple-minded mystic".  I wouldn't criticize the Orthodox Church because the Russians decide to jump in a pond of ice cold water on Theophany, and see that as a source of great ignorance of spirituality.  Neither should I do the same to scholastics.  Both should be understood with open minds within the context of their times and cultures.

I want to make clear that this is not my own position, and I apologize for not stating that upfront.  You make some excellent points, the system itself cannot be viewed as entirely responsible for what has happened in the West, however, what would you say of the fruits of Scholasticism's conclusions?
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Offline Nephi

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The same reason was given to criticize St. Augustine.  I find that completely unfair, and a cheap cop-out.

A real shame at that with people retroactively denying his sanctity, because the West has cooties and he must have them too.

Offline minasoliman

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Scholasticism is what ultimately led to liberalism, atheism, and other movements of moral decay in the West.

I love science and inquiry, but scholasticism does it all wrong. Science should be used to help understand a broader view of the universe, to achieve theosis, etc.
You are entitled to such opinions, but you should explain the bases for them. If you read history what ultimately seems to have led to atheism and liberalism in the West is when the Reformation rejected Roman Catholic models and gave way to enlightenment materialism. It was figures like Martin Luther that began rejecting sacraments and myseries because he couldn't understand them in a modern framework. A good book on the matter is Brad Gregory's The Unintended Reformation.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unintended-Reformation-Revolution-Secularized/dp/0674045637

Could it also be argued that Scholastic theology is what led to men like Luther and Calvin though?

The same reason was given to criticize St. Augustine.  I find that completely unfair, and a cheap cop-out.

How does one know they didn't misuse scholasticism?  Heck, mysticism also has its weaknesses if not grounded in the correct faith.  If anyone also examines many Alexandrian writings, especially St. Cyril of Alexandria, you find an interesting method of teaching that was quite popular in their catechetical and theological schools, the question and answer dialogue format.  This can be considered a "pre-cursor" to scholastic method of teaching.  Scholasticism should not be what they believed, but how they taught the beliefs.  Again, Byzantines in fact did praise the method, and they do have one saint venerated who is called "the scholastic".

Granted, scholasticism is a tool to understand belief, but not a tool for spirituality and prayer.  And when people attend theological seminars or read the Church fathers among the Orthodox, they turn theology into an academic venture, and not a venture of spiritual understanding.  Many times, some Orthodox who criticize Scholasticism are in my opinion being hypocritical, because they simply take the Greek fathers and develop a Scholastic method of mysticism while having no practical private prayer life.  In other words, people continue to say things like "Scholastics praised philosophy more than revelation", but these are nothing but words, and they make great refuting cliches, but it's all talk and no real prayer.  To say prayer and to actually pray are two different things, and Christ has a few choice words for those people. (Lord have mercy on my soul)

Some Roman Catholics who became Orthodox recognize this, and they didn't become Orthodox because they rejected Aquinas or scholasticism, but they believed in the Orthodox faith.  I find that more commendable than the Romanides stereotype, and I think it's about time we should end this stereotype.  A good Orthodox evangelist would say, "to the scholastic, I became a scholastic, and to the simple-minded mystic, I became a simple-minded mystic".  I wouldn't criticize the Orthodox Church because the Russians decide to jump in a pond of ice cold water on Theophany, and see that as a source of great ignorance of spirituality.  Neither should I do the same to scholastics.  Both should be understood with open minds within the context of their times and cultures.

I want to make clear that this is not my own position, and I apologize for not stating that upfront.  You make some excellent points, the system itself cannot be viewed as entirely responsible for what has happened in the West, however, what would you say of the fruits of Scholasticism's conclusions?

Forgive me if it came out against you.  I was being critical in general, not to you personally.

What do you mean the fruits of their conclusions?  Are there things to disagree with in Aquinas for instance?  Ya, sure!  But even modern-day Roman Catholics don't agree with everything Aquinas wrote.  I think Aquinas did in fact influence to a certain extent the present-day academia setting of theological schools, and one can look at it as good or bad.  That's perhaps the clearest fruit I can tell.  But on the corruptions that happened in Europe, the Protestant Reformation, the secularism/atheism, it's not clear at all that this is a fruit of Scholasticism.  Perhaps, it's a virus infecting Scholasticism's intentions.
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Offline Nephi

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Forgive me if it came out against you.  I was being critical in general, not to you personally.

What do you mean the fruits of their conclusions?  Are there things to disagree with in Aquinas for instance?  Ya, sure!  But even modern-day Roman Catholics don't agree with everything Aquinas wrote.  I think Aquinas did in fact influence to a certain extent the present-day academia setting of theological schools, and one can look at it as good or bad.  That's perhaps the clearest fruit I can tell.  But on the corruptions that happened in Europe, the Protestant Reformation, the secularism/atheism, it's not clear at all that this is a fruit of Scholasticism.  Perhaps, it's a virus infecting Scholasticism's intentions.

And this whole blame-game gets silly really quick because some RC polemicists will blame atheism/secularism/liberalism/etc. all on Protestants. It becomes just a matter of piling the blame on someone/something we don't like anyway.