Monday, December 10, 2018

Saying goodbye

"He had assembled, with a long patience and real ability, an impressively complete library on the New Testament.  These books, they had been his entire life.  Yet the moment came when[, unable to hold a pen or even, later, read,] he had to part with them.  While they were being removed, he, already paralyzed and immobile in his wheelchair, put up a brave front.  But when [his] whole world had gone and the door had been shut [behind it], the tears came unbidden."

"Il s’était compose avec une longue patience et une réelle habileté une bibliothèque très complete sur le Nouveau Testament.  Ces livres, c’était sa vie tout entière.  Le moment vint cependant où il fallut s’en séparer.  Tandis qu’on les enlevait, lui, déjà perclus et immobile dans son fauteuil, faisait bonne contenance.  Mais quand tout le monde fut parti et la porte fermée, malgré lui les larmes vinrent."

     Emmanuel Podechard on the New Testament scholar Eugène-Jacques Jacquier (15 April 1847-7 February 1932), Bulletin des facultés catholiques de Lyon 54, [no. 2] (mars-juillet 1932):  19 (14-19).

Sunday, December 9, 2018

"when love comes forth in judgment"

     Stanza 4 of some paraphrases of the fourth stanza of the anonymous 5th-century (?) Advent hymn "Vox clara ecce intonat" (Analecta hymnica medii aevi 2 (1888), no. 20 on p. 35; Analecta hymnica medii aevi 51 (1908), no. 49 on p. 48-49Walpole, Early Latin hymns (1922), no. 86 on p. 304; Millful, Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon church (2006), pp. 186-187), rendered by Edward Caswall as "Hark! An awful voice is sounding," but by others as "Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding," "Hark! A herald voice is calling," etc. (it has undergone many modifications in English since Lyra Catholica (1849)).  According to the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, the Caswall translation was made from the modified Breviary text of 1632.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"there is no 'nature' in things that are not manufactured and artificial."


"If one were to compare the thought of Sartre and St. Thomas and reduce both to syllogistic form, one would realize that both start with the same 'major premise,' namely from this principle:  things have an essential nature only in so far as they are fashioned by thought.  Since man exists and has a constructive intellect, which can invent and has in fact invented, for instance, a letter opener, therefore, and for no other reason, we can speak of the 'nature' of a letter opener.  Then, Sartre continues, because there exists no creative intelligence which could have designed man and all natural things—and could have put an inner significance into them—therefore there is no 'nature' in things that are not manufactured and artificial. . . . St. Thomas, on the contrary, declares:  Because and in so far as God has creatively thought things, just so and to that extent have they a nature."

     Josef Pieper, Silence of St. Thomas, 53-53, as quoted by Michele M. Schumacher, “Gender ideology and the ‘artistic’ fabrication of human sex:  nature as norm or the remaking of the human?,” The Thomist:  a speculative quarterly review 80, no. 3 (July 2016):  403-404 (363-423), underscoring mine.

Friday, November 30, 2018

"a one-horse town on the way to Birmingham"

Former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan "came up with the following nugget during his speech at a college feast:  'We in Balliol should never take a narrow and provincial view of the universe.  We should imitate the genial tolerance of the sun which rises over Wadham and sets over Worcester'.  Ironic words, certainly.  But were they either spoken or heard ironically enough?  Kenny may be as surprised as Macmillan would have been to learn that for every person who imagines Oxford to be the centre of the world there are others who see it as a one-horse town on the way to Birmingham."

     Rupert Shortt, reviewing Anthony Kenny's Brief encounters:  notes from a philosopher's diary, in "Matter matters:  a prominent thinker recalls the great and the good," The times literary supplement no. 6031 (2 November 2018):  14 (14-15).

Yeah yeah yeah!

"The mid-century Oxford philosopher J. L. Austin was sometimes considered too arch for his own good.  My favourite anecdote about him comes from a lecture he once gave in New York.  'There are many languages in which a double negative can be used to mean a positive,' the visitor told his audience, 'but none in which a double positive can produce a negative.'  A well-timed heckle is usually attributed to Sidney Morgenbesser.  'Yeah, yeah.'"

     Rupert Shortt reviewing Anthony Kenny's Brief encounters:  notes from a philosopher's diary in "Matter matters:  a prominent thinker recalls the great and the good," The times literary supplement no. 6031 (2 November 2018):  14 (14-15).
     This is one of my favorite stories, too.  But of course the success of the heckle depends almost entirely upon tone.  Cf., for example, our modern (and very rapidly pronounced) "Yeah yeah yeah!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Salvation from pusillanimity of spirit

"I waited for him that hath saved me from pusillanimity of spirit" (Douay-Rheims).
"expectabam eum, qui salvum me fecit a pusillanimitate spiritus" (Vulgata iuxta LXX).
"προσεδεχόμην τὸν σῴζοντά με ἀπὸ ὀλιγοψυχίας" (LXX).

     Ps 54:9.  The Hebrew (and Vulgata iuxta Hebraicum) is quite different.

"Each Christological or Trinitarian heresy contains the seeds of a Church-State relationship inimical to Christian thought and practice"

"Solovyov perceived an inner link between dogma and models of political and social order. For him, it was no surprise that the rash of Byzantine emperors who championed in turn Arian, Nestorian, Monophysite, Monothelite, and Iconoclast heresies, also raised themselves to quasi-divine status and considered the Church and matters of theology to be under their political jurisdiction. Each Christological or Trinitarian heresy contains the seeds of a Church-State relationship inimical to Christian thought and practice:
Heresy attacked the perfect unity of the divine and the human in Jesus Christ precisely in order to undermine the living bond between Church and State, and to confer upon the latter an absolute independence. Hence it is clear why the emperors of the Second Rome, intent on maintaining within Christendom the absolutism of the pagan Sate, were so partial to all the heresies, which were but manifold variations on a single theme."
     Andrew Kuiper, "Solovyov's Russia and the Catholic Church," Church life journal, 26 November 2018.  The quotation is said to come from p. 14 of Solovyov's Russia and the universal church.