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Question: What are the Eastern Orthodox Churches views on the of the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas?
Don't like his work - 8 (30.8%)
Don't like his work - 18 (69.2%)
Total Voters: 26

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The Wolf
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« on: April 07, 2006, 09:55:45 AM »

What are the Eastern Orthodox Churches and members views on the of the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas?
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2006, 10:07:52 AM »

I think the question is misleading.  Some of us "like" his work in that it was a fascinating synthesis, remarkable scholarship for the time, etc.  But do we think all of it is Orthodox? No.  Which raises a further question: what is "it"?  Maybe some of his teachings are compatible with Orthodoxy and some aren't.

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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2006, 10:15:45 AM »

Ok Big question then.
What are some of the things he gets right?
And what are some of the things he gets wrong?

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2006, 11:15:34 AM »

I've never read an entire book by him, so all I know is bits and pieces. I appreciate his Catena Aurea: A Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected Out of the Works of the Fathers. I attended a lecture by Peter Kreeft a couple years ago in which he mentioned things like apophaticism in Aquinas, which was something I had never heard before, since most Orthodox see him as a rationalist. Other than that, I never really searched any further into his thought, 1) since I hadn't become Catholic, and 2) to be frank, Augustinian theology never much appealed to me.
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2006, 11:29:30 AM »

I used to be quite the Aquinas buff and was an avid student of the Latin language.

Having said that, I haven't read Aquinas in a really long time but I always enjoy it when I do especially when reading the Summa in its original language.  I appreciate the time, history, and intrigue involved during that period in history and think Aquinas and his works are valuable from a historical and even comparative theological perspective.  I don't think the Orthodox have an official perspective on Aquinas and his works per se; however, you have to realize that scholastic theology is directly in conflict with the tenants of hesychism and apophatic theology.

I won't go into the details as they are numerous, but any cursory glance at St. Gregory Palamas and Aquinas will reveal what may be the same and what is most definitely different.
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2006, 12:16:43 PM »

Praise be to Jesus Christ!

Though St Thomas was an Augustinian (like all latin theologians were at the time) he made significant departures from the Augustinian tradition. He was a freethinker of the highest rank: apart from using Aristotle, he also used the Greek Fathers to a good extent, quoting them like no other theologian was in the habit of doing. The biggest merit of St Thomas was his use (shall I say dependence?) on Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite. This of course is the most significant (influencial) mystical theologian for the undivided Church (though most of all for the Greeks). St Thomas quoted the Areopagite almost as much as Augustine and Aristotle (not sure about the actual stats, but thats what it seemed to me, though Aristotle of course ranks the highest); and the over all plan of the Summa Theologica is based on the Areopagite: the cosmic One, departure from the One, and return to the One.

St Thomas has startling insight into human nature, psychological principles, and nature in general. This is what made him such a popular theologian for the western church; for according to the latins, theology is the application of natural understanding to revelation, and thus its character is to expound the deposit of faith with reason. Though St Thomas used reason to a high degree (and was too quick to make fine distinctions in my opinion) he was no rationalist. He was a philosophical theologian; but he was also a mystic. The supernatural intuition that comes from infused wisdom guided his reason. This is lacking in the other scholastic theologians.

When St Thomas was almost about to finish his Summa he had a vision before the crucifix and Our Lord spoke to him: "You have spoken well of me." Several accounts say that he levitated above the ground when this happened. After this event, a companion asked him if he was going to finish the Summa, but he responded: "It is all straw." He could no longer express in words what he had been raised to the heights of divine contemplation to see. A few months later he died. The best work that demonstrates St Thomas as a mystical theologian is "Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint John of the Cross" by Fr Garrigou-Lagrange. John of the Cross based his mysticism on the foundation of Thomism.

My favorite aspect of St Thomas was his APOPHATICISM. Over and over again he wrote that God is unknowable. Though of course he also believed, as a philosophical theologian, that we can know a lot about God through the senses, the chief of which is the intellect. The reason that we do not here much about his apophaticism is that the method of his theological investigation was cataphatic. Though apophaticism did not function much in his method, he talked about it a lot, and asserted that contemplation in divine darkness is superior to cataphaticism. His maxim was: "The greatest knowledge of God is to know that he exceeds our knowledge." Nevertheless we should use our reason as far as possible.

This is the balance of St Thomas. Some people just look at his excessive Aristotelian technicalities and write him off as a rationalist. This however is a great injustice. Under the robes of that scholastic master was a mystic and a man of astounding spiritual depth. An excellent little treatment of St Thomas is in "Mysticism and Prophecy: The Dominican Tradition." It discusses his apophaticism at length and gets to the essence (underneath the aristotelianism) of the guiding principles in his theological work.

The BEST book EVER is "The Ground of Union : Deification in Aquinas and Palamas." This is a scholarly work of the highest order. I could not read it all because it was just too long. St Thomas wrote a lot about deification, even at the expense of being ridiculed; though he often described it as participation in the being of God through love. St Palamas on the other hand was able to be more explicit through making the essence-energies distinction. But the author comes to the conclusion that the difference between Palamas and Aquinas has been exaggerated on this point; and that there is an essential union between them despite different terminological-methodological paradigms.  

St Thomas did jump start (though it was present before him) the scholastic revolution in the western church. The blame should however be put on the later scholastics who misused his Aristotelianism to undermine the Patristic (both Augustinian and Greek) heritage; as I have showed above, St Thomas did not mean to do this, he just tried to expound it with human reason. If the Orthodox want to complain that he took reason too far (something that I believe to an extent) then the Orthodox would have to discredit the scholasticism that almost dominated their own church for several centuries; but of course, with the revivial of Palamism as of late, Orthodox theologians have done this.

Now all this being said, to the discredit of St Thomas, he was against anti-Latin Greeks, and wrote a book or two against them. He affirmed the filioque and papal absolutism. A man of his own era I guess; but a profound one at that.

Grace and Peace,

Paul
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2006, 01:17:14 PM »

Thanks for that reply romuald  Kiss
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2006, 07:25:57 PM »

Scholasticism is not the way of Orthodoxy
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2006, 01:00:56 AM »

romuald
that was a most excellent reply and a model for posting here at OC.net
thank you!

Would that the "straw" at the end of my life amount to half as much as St. TA

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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2006, 01:41:23 AM »

Is this a matter of a Catholic asking a question. Another answering, and then being thanked by the first Catholic? I didn't think that this was a Catholic apologetics web-site.
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2006, 02:10:05 AM »

St Thomas and St Bonaventure are the only two scholastic theologians that I have read that have been beneficial to me. What attracts me to them is their intuitive depth. Their intellect did not function apart from their heart. I find this lacking in Anselm, Scotus et al. Now there is a lot in the Latin tradition -- be it Augustinianism or Thomism or whatever -- that I cannot accept. I tried to go back to the Latin tradition after a spiritual crisis. But it did not work and I ended up burned. Like I could not grapple with how Neo-scholastic theologians proved moral laws from nature. But some aspects in St Thomas have been beneficial in this regard: such as his notion that natural law is bound up with eternal law, and apart from the eternal law, it does not exist. I have also been liberated from the roman conception of exterior sin. St Thomas emphasized that sin is in the will alone. But I think he was rather inconsistent at points in the application of his principles. I can see where certain elements, if taken in too literal a manner, can lead straight into the high romanism of later Thomists, who ignored his use of Scripture and the Fathers, but exalted his use of reason to the extreme. It is good to be liberated from static (scholastic) conception of things into a relational (biblical-patristic) one. This solves so much. Praise be to Jesus Christ!

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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2006, 02:39:48 AM »

St Thomas and St Bonaventure are the only two scholastic theologians that I have read that have been beneficial to me. What attracts me to them is their intuitive depth. Their intellect did not function apart from their heart. I find this lacking in Anselm, Scotus et al. Now there is a lot in the Latin tradition -- be it Augustinianism or Thomism or whatever -- that I cannot accept. I tried to go back to the Latin tradition after a spiritual crisis. But it did not work and I ended up burned. Like I could not grapple with how Neo-scholastic theologians proved moral laws from nature. But some aspects in St Thomas have been beneficial in this regard: such as his notion that natural law is bound up with eternal law, and apart from the eternal law, it does not exist. I have also been liberated from the roman conception of exterior sin. St Thomas emphasized that sin is in the will alone. But I think he was rather inconsistent at points in the application of his principles. I can see where certain elements, if taken in too literal a manner, can lead straight into the high romanism of later Thomists, who ignored his use of Scripture and the Fathers, but exalted his use of reason to the extreme. It is good to be liberated from static conception of man into a relational one. Praise be to Jesus Christ!

PaulRomuald
Scholasticism is not the way of Orthodoxy

" Scholasticism is held accountable for much of the tragic situation created in the West with respect to faith and faith issues."
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2006, 03:14:49 AM »

Scholasticism is not the way of Orthodoxy

Would you like to expaned on that as at present it doesn't mean much to me.
Thanks
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2006, 03:15:40 AM »

Is this a matter of a Catholic asking a question. Another answering, and then being thanked by the first Catholic? I didn't think that this was a Catholic apologetics web-site.

Do you have an answer yourself then?
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2006, 03:17:42 AM »

Scholasticism is not the way of Orthodoxy

" Scholasticism is held accountable for much of the tragic situation created in the West with respect to faith and faith issues."
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx

In what way?
What tragic issues?
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2006, 03:22:30 AM »

Do you have an answer yourself then?
I do, but it seems I shouldn't post an answer as I'm not Catholic  Undecided
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2006, 03:24:22 AM »

In what way?
What tragic issues?
You're more than welcome to read the article I linked. Which says
"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."
(Ibid.)

Speculation by Catholics has lead to a number of erros such as the Infalibility of the Pope.
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2006, 03:28:34 AM »

I do, but it seems I shouldn't post an answer as I'm not Catholic  Undecided

Well done then. Why don't you have a go.
Either you have something to say or you don't!
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2006, 03:38:05 AM »

Quote
You're more than welcome to read the article I linked. Which says
"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.

I did look at the article and didn’t see much value in it.
Metaphysics never collapsed industrial societies just ignore it as inconvenient.
Again, what tragic faith issue effect the west that doesn’t effect the east?
Are you saying Eastern Europe is in good shape?
Is the situation in Eastern Europe thanks to the orthodox churches?


Quote
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."
(Ibid.)

I don’t see much reason to accept that assessment. Do you have evidence to support such claims?

Quote
Speculation by Catholics has lead to a number of erros such as the Infalibility of the Pope.

So that’s it then the Pope’s infallibility is the some of the “errors” cause by scholasticism?
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2006, 04:14:31 AM »

Well done then. Why don't you have a do.
Either you have something to say or you don't!
I already have. This is an Orthodox forum where someone's come here to advertise Catholic approaches to understanding God.
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2006, 04:16:57 AM »

I did look at the article and didn’t see much value in it.
Metaphysics never collapsed industrial societies just ignore it as inconvenient.
Again, what tragic faith issue effect the west that doesn’t effect the east?
Are you saying Eastern Europe is in good shape?
Is the situation in Eastern Europe thanks to the orthodox churches?
You seem to think that the approach the Church has taken has an affect on Eastern European standing.
I don’t see much reason to accept that assessment. Do you have evidence to support such claims?

So that’s it then the Pope’s infallibility is the some of the “errors” cause by scholasticism?
You didn't ask for 'all'. You asked that I state an example, and I have. But then you don't see 'much value'.

It doesn't matter anyway. That's besides the point. This isn't about 'comparing the values of the different approaches' but that the Orthodox approach is different.

you want to continue with your attempt to make this a Catholic apologist's thread.
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2006, 06:45:47 AM »

Is this not a discussion forum? Huh

Alternatively, is it for one question and a few dogmatically answers? Lips Sealed

Your sources suggest that the Orthodox churches don't like using reason and intellect and that is what is wrong with the Catholic Church.
However, it seems to me that, in the first millennium the Orthodox Churches did have a rational developmental approach to doctrine. It had to, as it was doctrine was not all there at the start.
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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2006, 07:22:11 AM »

The only reasons that I am a Christian, from being a radical atheist, are the scholastic theological philosophers such as Saint Thomas Aquinas.
If there were no reason to Christianity, I would have no more reason to believe it that to believe in Father Christmas or fairies etc.
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« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2006, 08:23:31 AM »

Is this not a discussion forum? Huh
Cute. It's not a Catholic Apologetics forum. And I've answered your questions anyway... see above re: faulty Catholic thinking brought on by Scholasticism. But you didn't like the answer, you didn't address it, but tried to change the terms from "Name something that Catholics do that's faulty (as caused by scholasticism)" to "Name them all"
You've still not addressed that point.
Your sources suggest that the Orthodox churches don't like using reason and intellect and that is what is wrong with the Catholic Church.
As Spock is said to have quipped - Logic dictates that logic has no place here. Smiley

One can reason that God is beyond reason therefore the limits of reason in understanding God are limited.

Likewise, I don't have to understand how God 'spoke' (in Genesis 1), but know that He did. I don't have to understand about how He created, to know that He did. You're free to speculate all you want.

Further to that, Catholicism is about rationalising further and further away from the original teachings of Christianity.
You start by changing what it means to be saved to one that's legalistic (God needs to be 'satisfied') to, well if God needs to be satisfied, he must have had some special gift in advance of salvation given to Mary (Immaculate Conception).

However, it seems to me that, in the first millennium the Orthodox Churches did have a rational developmental approach to doctrine.
Do you have any sources?
It had to, as it was doctrine was not all there at the start.
All the fullness of Christ's teachings were given at Pentecost
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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2006, 08:26:36 AM »

The only reasons that I am a Christian, from being a radical atheist, are the scholastic theological philosophers such as Saint Thomas Aquinas.
If there were no reason to Christianity, I would have no more reason to believe it that to believe in Father Christmas or fairies etc.

Oh yea of little faith

Matthew 18:3
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2006, 10:10:58 AM »

All the fullness of Christ's teachings were given at Pentecost


Why then was there a need for Church councils, and works of Church fathers hundreds of years after that then?
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2006, 10:13:20 AM »

Oh yea of little faith

Matthew 18:3
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Muslims, Hindu, sikhs, Pagans, New Agers etc all have plenty of Faith. But how are we to choose what we have faith in?
The use of reason would seem to be usful here or do you disagree?
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« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2006, 10:17:24 AM »

The only reasons that I am a Christian, from being a radical atheist, are the scholastic theological philosophers such as Saint Thomas Aquinas.
If there were no reason to Christianity, I would have no more reason to believe it that to believe in Father Christmas or fairies etc.


Wow, is that the only reason?! You didn't have anyone around you who set a Christian example? Someone you had interesting debates with when you were an atheist? You wouldn't say anything like that at all?
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2006, 10:27:35 AM »

Wow, is that the only reason?! You didn't have anyone around you who set a Christian example? Someone you had interesting debates with when you were an atheist? You wouldn't say anything like that at all?

NO!
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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2006, 11:20:07 AM »

Quote
Do you have any sources?

I'm sure there were many times that Orthodoxy got too heady for it's own good (when judged by it's own standards), but if you want a specific instance, any good book that details the events leading up to the Hesychastic controversy of the 15th century should be interesting reading; scholasticism was quite popular among the intelligensia of Constantinople at the time.


EDIT -- fixed a typo, said Heschastic rather than Hesychastic.
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2006, 12:33:00 PM »

Lets calm down fellows. Here are some observations.

Quote
"Scholastic theology reached its culminating point in the person of Thomas Aquinas."

This is too ignorant to merit attention. Scholastic theology/philosophy reached its culminating point in the nominalists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Take William of Ockham for instance. St Thomas has been elevated by the Romans because of his balance.

Quote
"He claimed that Christian truths are divided into natural and supernatural. ... The Holy Fathers teach that natural and metaphysical categories do not exist but speak rather of the created and uncreated."

What is the difference between natural-supernatural and created-uncreated? Granted there is no such thing as pure nature like later theologians would believe; and granted "supernatural" is a new term with the scholastics. But in the beginning it had about the same meaning. Latin scholastic theologians had to invent a lot of new terms since, before them, the Latins were not as sophisticated as the Greeks who, with their advanced metaphysical speculations, borrowed from neo-Platonic philosophers.

Quote
"Never did the Holy Fathers accept Aristotle's metaphysics."

Though some accepted Plotinus' to a great degree. Besides, St Thomas did not accept Aristotle full scale, but disagreed with him on a lot of things, while making full use of his categories and laws of causation. BTW: St Maximus used Aristotle much in the same manner as St Thomas did.

Quote
"Scholasticism is held accountable for much of the tragic situation created in the West with respect to faith and faith issues."

St Thomas began the Aristotelian revolution in the western church. But he is not responsible for its breakdown several centuries later. What Thomas tried to do was demonstrate that reason does not contradict faith. Some at that time believed that it did. So St Thomas sought to reconcile the two. This must be considered.

Quote
"They also believe that human knowledge, an offspring of reason, is loftier than Revelation and experience."

A few philosophers of the middle ages believed this in practice. But not so with the scholastic theologians who the Roman church recognizes as guides. In fact that above sentence contradicts St Thomas to the tee. Read the first post I wrote.

Lol, all this being said, I find most of the scholastics to be more of an impediment to faith than an aid. Things got so involved in minute disputes. Most of which were impossible to prove through reason. Indeed scholasticism is the cause for the fall of the Roman church, and perhaps the western world in general. But do not impute this to the one man St Thomas. At least Orthodox propagandists have gotten smart enough to shift the "problem man" from Augustine to someone at a much later time who embodies more of the Roman sentiment. It is time, however, to be more sophisticated, to use more discretion in our scholarship.

Grace and Peace,

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« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2006, 12:40:50 PM »

romuald Thanks once again.
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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2006, 03:39:29 PM »

I do not know much about St. Thomas Aquinas but I do know that the Orthodox Theologians used reason only as a linguistic tool to express what they ineffably experienced through divine revelation.

Quote from Elder Paisios:

Theology is the word of God, which is apprehended by pure, humble and spiritually regenerated souls, and not the beautiful words of the mind, which are crafted with literary art and expressed by the legal or worldly spirit. . . .

Theology that is taught like a science usually examines things historically and, consequently, things are understood externally. Since patristic ascesis and inner experience are absent, this kind of theology is full of uncertainty and questions. For with the mind one cannot grasp the Divine Energies if he does not first practice ascesis and live the Divine Energies, that the Grace of God might be energized within him.

Whoever thinks that he can come to know the mysteries of God through external scientific theory, resembles the fool who wants to see Paradise through a telescope.

Those who struggle patristically become empirical theologians through the visitation of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. All those who have an external education, in addition to the internal enlightenment of the soul, may describe the divine mysteries and interpret them correctly, as did many Holy Fathers.

If, however, one does not become spiritually related to the Holy Fathers and wants to take up translating or writing, he will wrong both the Holy Fathers and himself, as well as the people, with his spiritual cloudiness.

Neither is it right for someone to theologize using someone else's theology, because he will resemble an impotent man who adopts others' children, presents them as his own and pretends to be the father of a large family. The Holy Fathers took the divine word or personal experiences from their hearts: the result of spiritual battles against evil and the fire of temptations, which they confessed humbly, or, out of love, wrote down in order to help us. . . .

Those who are grateful towards God for everything and constantly attend to themselves humbly and look after God's creatures and creation with kindness, theologize and thus become the most faithful theologians, even if illiterate. They are like the illiterate shepherds who observe the weather in the countryside, day and night, and become good meteorologists.
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« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2006, 05:24:22 PM »

I like the quote. Some people are like those "illiterate shepherds" who "predict the whether on their own." St Thomas defines this as the gift of infused knowledge and wisdom. The Seven Gifts of the Spirit indwell the souls of all the just. As such, book learning is not needed. However, we are not angels, and so we need to feed our sensible intellect with knowledge. This is for two reasons. For one, some people are endowed with a good deal of reason, and if he does not cultivate knowledge of truth, his reason is bound to be a stumbling block, for it will demand answers of him when false doctrine comes around; while less active minds would not be as persuaded with error. Second, learning is a virtue in itself: Just like we learn a lot about natural subjects, how much more should we learn about God, who is our last end. Take St Maximos, St John of Damascus, etc who aquired this virtue. The Gifts of the Spirit complement the Aquired Virtues; and are not meant to replace them. We come to knowledge of God through creation as St Paul tells us; then we are born aloft in contemplation through the Spirit. Both are real knowledge of God. But the latter is superior to the former in an infinite degree since it is the communication of God himself. Though contemplation makes use of our natural faculties, I do agree that these faculties will become more and more simplified, and hence more and more surpassed, as the soul grows in grace, that is, in the infusion of the Spirit, including the Gifts of knowledge and wisdom. Praise be to Jesus Christ!

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« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2006, 05:57:15 PM »

I perceive, romuald, that you really know your stuff.
Once again many thanks.
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« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2006, 06:07:52 PM »

Why then was there a need for Church councils, and works of Church fathers hundreds of years after that then?
For defining what is already known. Which Church Council do you believe added to doctrine?

I'm half-way through "St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy : Its History, Theology, and Texts" by John Anthony McGuckin. The author notes that when Cyril argues for truth against the Nestorians he looks back on what has always been taught.
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« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2006, 06:10:15 PM »

Muslims, Hindu, sikhs, Pagans, New Agers etc all have plenty of Faith. But how are we to choose what we have faith in?
I would never have expected you not to have realised that we're talking within the framework of Christianity; or else I'd simply have retorted in like fashion re: the fact that Moslems, etc all speculate too.
The use of reason would seem to be usful here or do you disagree?
As pointed out, reason has its limits. And I know from debate that when you start at point "X" you may end up reasoning your way to point "Y" which may otherwise be unreasonable.
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« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2006, 06:11:05 PM »

The only reasons that I am a Christian, from being a radical atheist, are the scholastic theological philosophers such as Saint Thomas Aquinas.
If there were no reason to Christianity, I would have no more reason to believe it that to believe in Father Christmas or fairies etc.


Must man understand everything? must man attempt to answer every quesiton in existance? for every quesiton answered, 3 more new questions will appear. If there is a God, you need not understand things from a scientific point. Mixing God and Science is very dangerous, the peices either fit together PERFECTLY or they do not fit at all. Science cannot explain everything, although it wishes to explain.
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« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2006, 06:11:40 PM »

For defining what is already know?
So not know explicitly then.
Therefore developed.
Just like the Catholic church.  Wink
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« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2006, 06:14:10 PM »

Must man understand everything? must man attempt to answer every quesiton in existance? for every quesiton answered, 3 more new questions will appear. If there is a God, you need not understand things from a scientific point. Mixing God and Science is very dangerous, the peices either fit together PERFECTLY or they do not fit at all. Science cannot explain everything, although it wishes to explain.

Who said anything about science?
I don't need to know everything, but I do need to know some things, for these I need to use reason.
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« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2006, 06:16:33 PM »

I would never have expected you not to have realised that we're talking within the framework of Christianity; or else I'd simply have retorted in like fashion re: the fact that Moslems, etc all speculate too.As pointed out, reason has its limits. And I know from debate that when you start at point "X" you may end up reasoning your way to point "Y" which may otherwise be unreasonable.

You still need reason to see truth from error, to be able to understand various positions and make a determination between them.
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« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2006, 06:52:41 PM »

You still need reason to see truth from error, to be able to understand various positions and make a determination between them.
This is where we disagree. How we come to the knowledge of truth:

Quote:

In addition to everything that has been said, let me also say that you must guard your mind, that is, the activity of the mind, and your heart. You know that every essential activity has a natural relation with the essence and power that activates it. Naturally, it returns to it, is united to it, and finds rest in it. For this reason, you too, must do this because you have liberated the activity of your mind and all of the external things of the world by guarding your senses and your imagination, as we have already noted. Now it is necessary to return this activity to your own essence and power, that is, to return your mind to your heart, which is the organ (and the center) of the essence and power of the mind, and thus to review spiritually the whole of the inner man. This return of the mind in the beginner is usually done, as the holy Fathers teach, with the bending of the head so that the chin is touching the chest. This spiritual meditation is referred to by St. Dionysios Areopagites, who mentions three forms: the direct, the spiral, and finally the circular, which alone is certain and without deception. It is referred to as the circular meditation because as the periphery of the circle returns to itself and is united, so also in this circular movement the mind returns to itself and becomes one. St. Dionysios noted: "The movement of the soul is circular; leaving the externals, it enters into itself and unites its spiritual powers in a circular movement that provides a gift of truth." St. Basil also noted: "A mind that is not distracted towards the externals, nor is scattered by the senses to the world, returns to itself and through itself rises to the understanding of God." St. Gregory Palamas has noted that it is possible for deception to enter direct and spiral meditations, but not into the circular meditation. Direct meditation is the activity of the mind based on external perceptions that raise the mind to a simple intellectual activity. Spiral meditation occurs when the mind is illumined by divine knowledge, not entirely spiritually and apophatically, but rather intellectually and cataphatically, combining direct and some circular meditation. Therefore, those who love to meditate without deception must occupy themselves more with the circular meditation of the mind, which is accomplished by the return of the mind to the heart and the spiritual prayer of the heart. The more this prayer is difficult and painful the more fruitful it becomes because it is free of deception. This is the most important, the most sublime activity of the mind. This sublime meditation, this prayer of the heart, unites the mind with God; it purifies, illumines, and perfects the mind much more than all the algebra, all the physical and metaphysical and all the other sciences of secular philosophy. This prayer of the heart makes man spiritual and a seer of God, but those other intellectual disciplines make him only a natural man. "The unspiritual (natural) man does not receive gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him" (1 Cor 2:14).

And,

The mind was thus created pure and simple without predetermined shapes so that its image may have similitude to its Creator Who is invisible. 'So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him" (Gen. 1:27). This way the mind can be united with the divine Archetype. Thus the whole struggle of secular and worldly philosophers is to fashion their minds with different ideas and imaginary knowledge of natural and human things. This is after all the whole power of secular philosophy. On the contrary, the whole struggle and effort and goal of virtuous and spiritual persons is how to erase from their minds every shape and image and thought that has been impressed upon it and to make it (again) simple and pure and unimpressed by anything external, so that through such simplicity it may be united with God and restored to its original condition.

(Quoted from: St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, Handbook of Spiritual Counsel)
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« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2006, 07:26:55 PM »

Quote
"Must man understand everything? must man attempt to answer every quesiton in existance? for every quesiton answered, 3 more new questions will appear."

Out of love St Thomas did not mention the names of his theological opponents. But in fact one of the main reasons for his work was to correct erring theologians. In his time people were using the dialectic method that Anselm used. Some of these grammarians made fine distinctions which were beginning to cause obstacles to faith. The task of St Thomas was to effect a purification of their difficulties through Aristotelianism. It does not do much good to tell someone: "Just shut up and believe." The influx of learning made intellectuals see things through different lenses than before. In short, the questions were posed before St Thomas stepped foot on the seen; and he attempted to answer them through the best means of his times, which in the realm of human knowledge (which is what theology is: human knowledge about God; unless you claim to be God) was Aristotle. Today this would be the equivalent of, say, existentialism, which numerous Orthodox theologians have used to speak to modern man, to expound revelation on his own terms. Likewise Thomas met the dialectitions at their own game. He did not ask questions just for the sake of it; but to guard the truth agaisnt those who do not use reason according to faith. Now later on scholasticism did become a muddle of useless questionings. But this is not St Thomas.

Quote
"Mixing God and Science is very dangerous, the peices either fit together PERFECTLY or they do not fit at all. Science cannot explain everything, although it wishes to explain."

St Thomas would say no, it is not dangerous, because God speaks to us in creation (which includes our intellect, ie use of reason) and in apostolic tradition; since God cannot contradict himself, both fit together in perfection. For St Thomas faith comes first. It is based on apostolic tradition. Upon this tradition faith seeks understanding. This is exposition. Thus it is not science in the strict sense because it is based on revealed text (scripture and fathers) and the guidance of the church. This is the Roman teaching. It is science in a mere sense that biblical or canonical exegesis is a science. There is no danger in this. When St Thomas was confronted with two opposing truths, he tried to investigate how both could be brought together, but oftentimes he confessed that he could not, and left it at that. Reason was subordinated to faith.

PaulRomuald
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« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2006, 08:27:32 PM »

For defining what is already know?
So not know explicitly then.
Therefore developed.
Just like the Catholic church.
That's not true. To re-express what is always known is not to develop doctrine like in Catholicism... where for instance Papal Infalibility was never taught as dogma until defined as dogma at Vatican I

Whereas the debate over Nestorianism, one simply had never expressed all the teachings in 'dogmatic form', but had always taught them. That is a different matter.

If a group always believe that killing is wrong and they teach this from generation to generation, but then finally some one person decides that they want to argue against it, that group may express in a 'dogmatic statement' "Killing is wrong, it always has been". That is not to 'develop dogma' in the cute way you are suggesting it.

You've not answered my question either, regarding councils (see above). Honest dialogue consists of answering other peoples questions, even if it's to say "I don't know"
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« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2006, 08:32:27 PM »

You still need reason to see truth from error, to be able to understand various positions and make a determination between them.
You're turning this into a 'reason' -v- 'faith' dichotomy. I have continually expressed that one can reason the limits of reason... and then go by faith. That is, I've not 'discarded' reason, but I accept it's limitations. For scholasticism, there is no such limitations, and that leads you into error. And further, Christ taught His Apostles what was true. He didn't also posit the works of Satan so that they might sort out for themselves which was true and which was false.

The Apostles didn't try to look at the various alternative positions at all. And, as I've also noted, that's not what happened in the debate with Nestor. Cyril didn't need to look at Nestor's point of view to determine some truth mid-way. Cyril taught the truth, as it had always been taught. His expressions of that truth were new, but what he taught had always been taught - you ignoring me saying that (as I've mentioned it before) doesn't help.
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« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2006, 08:35:23 PM »

Who said anything about science?
I don't need to know everything, but I do need to know some things, for these I need to use reason.
When you adopt an Orthodox mind-set you don't throw reason out the door. But you don't believe that a man can reason his way to knowledge of the Divine (and only by scholastic speculation).

This is what's lead to the break-up of Western Christianity. From the point that one man believed he could 'reason' for himself (Martin Luther) apart from the teachings of the Catholic Church. All men are gifted by reason. Humanism emerged.
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« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2006, 11:03:22 PM »

What is wrong with Catholics posting on the Orthodox-Catholic discussion board?
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« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2006, 11:07:31 PM »

What is wrong with Catholics posting on the Orthodox-Catholic discussion board?
Nothing. What's wrong is a Catholic starting up a post about "Tell us how wonderful this Catholic thinker is" and then other Catholics entering to talk about all the great things he's done.

But still, you've not noticed that I've continued dialogue?
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« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2006, 01:03:06 AM »

I don't see anything wrong with this thread. It sounded like a genuine attempt at civil discussion on a topic that hasn't been discussed on this message board. I enjoy this site, which is why I'm still here after 3 or 4 years, but it's nice to have some new topics to discuss every once in a while.
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« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2006, 01:26:21 AM »

I don't see anything wrong with this thread. It sounded like a genuine attempt at civil discussion on a topic that hasn't been discussed on this message board. I enjoy this site, which is why I'm still here after 3 or 4 years, but it's nice to have some new topics to discuss every once in a while.
I'm still discussing with the Catholics here. Orthodox aren't that willing to enter this thread to discuss the problems with scholasticism, though there are a few
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« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2006, 09:15:59 AM »

As an ex-Protestant inquirer into Orthodoxy, I've never been able to see what all the fuss is about with Aquinas.  Did he get some things wrong? Sure--but so did just about every individual father in the East.  I still see much useful in Aquinas particularly in apologetics, and I appreciate Romuald's balanced thoughts on the matter.  IMO, I think there is room in a truly Catholic Orthodoxy for Aquinas and Palamas.  (But I'm not yet Orthodox, so what do I know...)
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« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2006, 09:21:24 AM »

As an ex-Protestant inquirer into Orthodoxy, I've never been able to see what all the fuss is about with Aquinas.  Did he get some things wrong? Sure--but so did just about every individual father in the East.  I still see much useful in Aquinas particularly in apologetics, and I appreciate Romuald's balanced thoughts on the matter.  IMO, I think there is room in a truly Catholic Orthodoxy for Aquinas and Palamas.  (But I'm not yet Orthodox, so what do I know...)
It's not just that he got things wrong, his approach was wrong; scholasticism.
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« Reply #52 on: April 10, 2006, 11:52:53 AM »

Quote
his approach was wrong; scholasticism

Could you be more specific? What element is just plain wrong? Is it the question-answer format? Penetrating reason? Theological synthesis into a textbook? Subtle distinctions? Use of a pagan philosopher? Or is Aristotle wrong? Please mention which one. If it is none of these in particular but the combined weight, then St Thomas' approach is not "wrong" per se, because no element constitutes a wrong approach. Though I would agree that the combined weight of these elements creates a tedious academic textbook, rather than a catechesis into the sacred mysteries, and as such, it is irrelevant to those who are not "of the schools" (scholastics). We must keep his purpose in mind. Those questions that we see in the Summa are what students would ask him; then Thomas would respond with an "On the contrary" and "I answer that" and "Replies to objections." We must keep his work in the context of the medieval university, where all these questions have been posed, and St Thomas is attempting to offer the right answers. This was not some independent project; if it is viewed as such then it will seem offbeat.

Let us recall the scholasticism that dominated the Russian church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lol, some of those Russian theologians went further than St Thomas and, with the help of elaborate philosophical exercises, developed an enormous tradition of their own. One thing I recall off hand is that some of them, with the ideas of "form" and "matter" etc of a sacrament, said that in the sacrament of marriage, the priest dispenses grace to the two people, and thus the priest himself ratifies the marriage. This is HIGH sacramentalism. In the Roman scholastic tradition, the "sacrament" of marriage takes place between the two people, the priest is a mere witness to it, and he is not needed for the marriage to be valid. This is just an example. Of course the Russians have repented of their scholasticism of late. But it was almost as powerful in the Orthodox church as it was in the Catholic.

Most of our theologians might merit to be thrown out the window. But St Paul tells us to "hold on to the good." St Thomas was one person who stood out above the rest. So we keep him as a witness to our tradition, the expression of which varies from age to age, from place to place, whether among peasants who are satisfied with the Jesus Prayer, or among great intellectuals of the schools who want to grapple with Aristotle.

Grace and Peace,

PaulRomuald



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« Reply #53 on: April 10, 2006, 03:45:02 PM »

This is an interesting thread.

I was wondering if maybe some people can share quotes from both St. Thomas and St. Gregory on harmonizing both Thomism and Palamism.

God bless.

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« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2006, 10:14:52 PM »

Could you be more specific? What element is just plain wrong?
Not that I've mentioned this already.

For anyone ELSE who's interested there's a cool link at
The Difference Between Orthodox Spirituality and Other Traditions
by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx
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« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2006, 10:16:00 PM »

Let us recall the scholasticism that dominated the Russian church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lol, some of those Russian theologians went further than St Thomas and, with the help of elaborate philosophical exercises, developed an enormous tradition of their own. One thing I recall off hand is that some of them, with the ideas of "form" and "matter" etc of a sacrament, said that in the sacrament of marriage, the priest dispenses grace to the two people, and thus the priest himself ratifies the marriage. This is HIGH sacramentalism. In the Roman scholastic tradition, the "sacrament" of marriage takes place between the two people, the priest is a mere witness to it, and he is not needed for the marriage to be valid. This is just an example. Of course the Russians have repented of their scholasticism of late. But it was almost as powerful in the Orthodox church as it was in the Catholic.
So you're arguing Russians used the same method and also ended up mistaken?  Huh
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« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2006, 10:26:54 PM »

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So you're arguing Russians used the same method and also ended up mistaken?


Yes. The Russians were scholastics like the Romans. Both ended up in error. St Thomas was the more levelheaded. He was a man of astounding spiritual intuition, theological depth, and philosophical insight, and so he is praised for being a guide in the chaos of the schools. Again I say chaos.

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« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2006, 11:10:55 PM »



Yes. The Russians were scholastics like the Romans. Both ended up in error. St Thomas was the more levelheaded. He was a man of astounding spiritual intuition, theological depth, and philosophical insight, and so he is praised for being a guide in the chaos of the schools. Again I say chaos.

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Cool. Shows the problems one can have with scholasticism. One can start at any point and reason one's way away from the traditions of the Church.
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« Reply #58 on: April 11, 2006, 12:20:50 AM »

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This is what's lead to the break-up of Western Christianity. From the point that one man believed he could 'reason' for himself (Martin Luther) apart from the teachings of the Catholic Church. All men are gifted by reason. Humanism emerged.

I'm afraid that this is purely anachronistic bunk. Ever read Against All Heresies by St. Ireneaus? How about a report on what documents were found near Nag Hammadi? Christianity was just as factured in the 2nd century Near East as it was in the 17th century Europe, if not more so. Even in the New Testament period it is clear that there are lots of splinter groups and factions.
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« Reply #59 on: April 11, 2006, 01:24:06 AM »

I'm afraid that this is purely anachronistic bunk. Ever read Against All Heresies by St. Ireneaus? How about a report on what documents were found near Nag Hammadi? Christianity was just as factured in the 2nd century Near East as it was in the 17th century Europe, if not more so. Even in the New Testament period it is clear that there are lots of splinter groups and factions.
Christianity has indeed always had heresies. However it was only when they're put on a stable intellectual basis that they've flourished. Thus although many people protested against Catholic abuses prior to Luther it was only when Luther invented a whole new path to salvation that Protestantism took off. Thus although it preceeded him, it was only Luther's approach that gave it impetus.

Likewise scholasticism lead people into a framework of thinking that could also be sustatined.

Consult "Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion" by Frank Schaeffer
which deals with this 'development' from an Orthodox perspective, or "Christianity on Trial: Arguements against Anti-Religious Bigotry" by Carroll, V & Shiflett D where-in the authors actually support proudly the 'development' of the modern world by progressive Christian thinkers.
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« Reply #60 on: April 11, 2006, 01:29:02 AM »

I should add that I am not trying to lay ALL the blame for this on scholasticism, or Thomas Aquinas; the move away from the Orthodox approach goes back further to Augustine, and has had many other champions.
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« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2006, 07:46:57 AM »

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However it was only when they're put on a stable intellectual basis that they've flourished.

And you think that scholasticism provided a stable intellectual basis while early Christianity did not? Please, please, do not cut your other leg out from under yourself, there is no need to be so hasty! Smiley
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« Reply #62 on: April 11, 2006, 07:57:37 AM »

And you think that scholasticism provided a stable intellectual basis while early Christianity did not? Please, please, do not cut your other leg out from under yourself, there is no need to be so hasty!
That's not what I said at all. I said that there were many errors prior to scholasticism - as did you, many heresies. I said that scholasticism put this on an acceptable intellectual basis, even using Luther as a parallel, where-by he put another heresey on an acceptable intellectual basis - for the idea of salvation.

And so you don't get confused when I say 'acceptable' that does not mean that I think that it is 'acceptable', but I recognise that others do, hence it thrived.

But thanks for the attempt at straw-man.
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« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2006, 08:33:53 AM »

I'm afraid that this is purely anachronistic bunk. Ever read Against All Heresies by St. Ireneaus? How about a report on what documents were found near Nag Hammadi? Christianity was just as factured in the 2nd century Near East as it was in the 17th century Europe, if not more so. Even in the New Testament period it is clear that there are lots of splinter groups and factions.

Oh, and this ties in nicely with our discussions about evolution...
Thomas Aquinas himself does not teach, but other Medieval scholastics (William of Auxerre, Alexander of Hales, Bonaventure) did teach, the very foundation of present-day "Christian evolutionary" views of man's creation:

Man was not created in grace, but grace was bestowed on him subsequently, before sin. (See Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 95 1)
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

Before you cry you've found a Church Father who champions evolution please note that I don't consider Aquina a "Church Father" as he's not Orthodox
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« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2006, 09:17:51 AM »

I've never quite understood the Eastern animus against Thomism. Whenever it comes down to particulars, I see Orthodox arguing for Thomistic conclusions.
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« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2006, 11:04:47 AM »

I don't think it has anything to do with evolution.  The West was actually very much against evolution, much more than we in the East were acquainted with.

In addition, that quote by St. Thomas seems to have a similar ring to the language of St. Athanasius.

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« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2006, 09:28:48 PM »

I've never quite understood the Eastern animus against Thomism.
Probably because he uses scholasticism
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« Reply #67 on: April 12, 2006, 06:44:13 AM »

Probably because he uses scholasticism

And so do they, apparently. They are just more informal about it. Take the various trans-/cons- discussions we've had here over the years. Inevitably whoever argues for the "Orthodox" side ends up recapitulating Thomist transsubstantiation.
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« Reply #68 on: April 12, 2006, 06:51:32 AM »

And so do they, apparently. They are just more informal about it. Take the various trans-/cons- discussions we've had here over the years. Inevitably whoever argues for the "Orthodox" side ends up recapitulating Thomist transsubstantiation.

Thomist transsubstantiation? What's this mean to you?
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« Reply #69 on: April 12, 2006, 05:38:44 PM »

You will find some of the Eastern thought in the West and some of the Western thought in the East...don't get too analytical...

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« Reply #70 on: April 12, 2006, 10:00:54 PM »

In nomine Ieus I offer all you Peace,

Although I am not particularly deeply learned of St. Aquinas, I have heard that he quotes many Church Fathers who were also mystics in his works. Does anyone also believe that we tend to characterize St. Aquinas a bit more narrowly than perhaps you truly merited?

Just curious.
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« Reply #71 on: April 12, 2006, 10:43:04 PM »

Personally, I must say that romuald's posts have been some of the most refreshing and informative I have read on these boards in a long time.

He is forthright, succinct, non-defensive, polite and knowledgeable.

IMHO OC.net has been becoming too shrill of late.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Personally, I con't care, romuald, if you are RC or Protestant, OC.net readers and posters can benefit from more posters of your ilk.

thanks again!
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« Reply #72 on: April 12, 2006, 11:00:21 PM »

Whoa!

romuald, everything I said above still stands regarding this thread, but you lost me a little bit on the Assisi thread you started.

That sounds like something from "Sword of the Lord" ( a fundamentalist publication which would view the pope, any pope, past current or future as the antichrist)
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« Reply #73 on: April 12, 2006, 11:04:46 PM »

Although I am not particularly deeply learned of St. Aquinas, I have heard that he quotes many Church Fathers who were also mystics in his works. Does anyone also believe that we tend to characterize St. Aquinas a bit more narrowly than perhaps you truly merited?
It's enough for me to know that his methods were outside the norm for the Church that Jesus established.
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« Reply #74 on: April 13, 2006, 12:10:15 AM »

 
It's enough for me to know that his methods were outside the norm for the Church that Jesus established.

In nomine Ieus I offer you continued Peace,

Truly you are a person of very narrowly defined convictions, almost ‘white-knuckled’ in your lack of distinction and self identity. Truly either you are an orthodox saint or you are billboard advertising the newest thing which has been pasted onto your empty canvas. I pray that you are the former and that you pray for each of us who lack the smooth finish of such a complete conversion into the doctrines of Christ's Church.


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« Reply #75 on: April 13, 2006, 12:18:36 AM »


Truly you are a person of very narrowly defined convictions, almost ‘white-knuckled’ in your lack of distinction and self identity. Truly either you are an orthodox saint or you are billboard advertising the newest thing which has been pasted onto your empty canvas. I pray that you are the former and that you pray for each of us who lack the smooth finish of such a complete conversion into the doctrines of Christ's Church.

You mean that I accept the Church Jesus established and reject the teachings of heterodox churches, then I am guilty of that. All forms of spirtuality outside His church are suspect.
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« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2006, 02:13:02 AM »

I like a lot his "Adoro te devote, latens Deitas", which is even sung sometimes in my home parish curch, as a Communion hymn.
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« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2006, 01:55:07 PM »

Some people like to fit/confine thoughts of others inside their "box"... there clear differences between the East and the West... I try my best not to do this when reading/studying writings etc that originate from the East.

I do not want to modify their perspective...

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« Reply #78 on: May 10, 2006, 05:01:03 AM »

The Holy Fathers teach that natural and metaphysical categories do not exist but speak rather of the created and uncreated.

Can you please help me to understand the difference betwee natural and created...metaphysical and uncreated?
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« Reply #79 on: May 10, 2006, 10:27:31 AM »

You mean that I accept the Church Jesus established and reject the teachings of heterodox churches, then I am guilty of that. All forms of spirtuality outside His church are suspect.

From my beginning reading of The Path To Salvation by St. Theophan the Recluse I get the impression that 'all' paths are suspect even walking the Path of Orthodoxy.

"Whoever enters on the true path of pleasing God, or who begins with the aid of grace to strive toward God on the path of Christ's Law, will inevitably be threatened by the danger of losing his way at the crossroads, of going astray and perishing, imagining himself saved. These crossroads are unavoidable because of the sinful inclinations and disorder of one's faculties which are capable of persenting things in a false light - to deceive the destroy a man. To this is joined the flattery of satan, who is reluctant to be separated from his victims and, when someone from his domain goes to the light of Christ, pursues him and sets every manner of net in order to catch him again - and quite often he indeed catches him." - pg. 22 The Path To Salvation

Salve!
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« Reply #80 on: May 10, 2006, 12:08:48 PM »

Can you please help me to understand the difference betwee natural and created...metaphysical and uncreated?

How about if I rephrase what he said (I hope I'm not saying misinterpreting anyone):  "The Holy Fathers talk about the created and the uncreated.  They do NOT talk about the natural and metaphysical."  The point is probably that talking about natural and metaphysical introduces terminology that is either overly logical and potentially flat out wrong or even heretical (unnessarily or even dangerously speculative).  This is I think the same argument many Church Fathers have with St. Augustine's view on Orginial Sin - it is overly logical and leads to dangerous conclusions - ones that have in fact been carried into false conclusions by others later on even if unintended by Augustine.  It involves trying to take the "mystery" out of the Myteries (Sacraments)/Theology/God - something that is incomprehensible to our mortal minds and distracts us from the goal of theosis.
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« Reply #81 on: May 10, 2006, 03:10:25 PM »

How about if I rephrase what he said (I hope I'm not saying misinterpreting anyone):  "The Holy Fathers talk about the created and the uncreated.  They do NOT talk about the natural and metaphysical."  The point is probably that talking about natural and metaphysical introduces terminology that is either overly logical and potentially flat out wrong ...

Personally I very much like created and uncreated,  it seems more definitive and eleminates some terms
that sound worldly and New Age.   But for the sake of communication and understanding one another in Christ,  I would try to clarify that we might be discussing the very same dynamics, with perhaps a very slight difference so that we could proceed on common ground.

Created and uncreated is very beautiful, I think this beauty will speak to the heart of any soul who is looking for truth, and being drawn to Orthodoxy,  where accusing them of being heretics would push them away. 

I always experience God's movement in my heart through His Love.

This I recognize as the Voice of the Shepherd.
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« Reply #82 on: May 23, 2006, 01:42:11 PM »

I am not responding to much in here (I'm lazy this early in the day... Wink).

However, I find this an appropriate place to make my first post.  Smiley

I'm a Latin and a Thomist by philosophy.  Even so, I don't hold to all he teaches myself...I think he got some wrong.

Perhaps in a couple days I will be able to answer the part about metaphysical and physical, as that is something I enjoy studying.
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« Reply #83 on: May 24, 2006, 04:04:00 PM »

I am not responding to much in here (I'm lazy this early in the day... Wink).

However, I find this an appropriate place to make my first post.  Smiley

I'm a Latin and a Thomist by philosophy.  Even so, I don't hold to all he teaches myself...I think he got some wrong.

Perhaps in a couple days I will be able to answer the part about metaphysical and physical, as that is something I enjoy studying.

In nomine Iesu I offer you peace my Latin Brother qfnol31,

Although I am too much of a critic of Western Rationalism I can appreciate St. Thomas Aquinas' attempt at a summa for the Latin Church. Have you read any of St. John Damascene's works in the Orthodox Church?

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« Reply #84 on: May 28, 2006, 08:24:07 PM »

I am not responding to much in here (I'm lazy this early in the day... Wink).

However, I find this an appropriate place to make my first post.ÂÂ  Smiley

I'm a Latin and a Thomist by philosophy.ÂÂ  Even so, I don't hold to all he teaches myself...I think he got some wrong.

Perhaps in a couple days I will be able to answer the part about metaphysical and physical, as that is something I enjoy studying.
Zachary,

I was surprised to see you here.  I read this forum on a regular basis, but I did not know that you even knew it existed.  God bless.
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« Reply #85 on: May 28, 2006, 10:48:20 PM »

Aquinas is more of a misguided Aristotlean philosopher rather than a Christian one. Case in point, he uses twisted logic to say that Christians should worship (not venerate, but adore as we would God) the Cross. My biggest criticism would be that he quotes Aristotle as if he were a Saint and more infallible than the Pope, although this is typical of scholasticism.[/rant]
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« Reply #86 on: May 30, 2006, 12:59:46 AM »

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Zachary,

I was surprised to see you here.  I read this forum on a regular basis, but I did not know that you even knew it existed.  God bless.

Actually, my best friend introduced me to it.  Smiley
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« Reply #87 on: May 30, 2006, 12:34:42 PM »

I'm more of a St. John of the Cross person...there are many perspectives to explore...some are attractive and catch the eye of the soul and mind...and some do not.

Hopefully one is led by the Holy Spirit to what is needed...

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