Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roeber on Barnes' "devastating critique" of the Neo-Palamites

"Ironically, . . . the characterizations and misrepresentations of Augustine that have been inherited by some of the most influential Orthodox writers in the English language of the past century were, from the outset, dependent upon Roman Catholic theologians."

A. G. Roeber, "Western, Eastern, or global orthodoxy?  Some reflections on St. Augustine of Hippo in recent literature," Pro ecclesia 17, no. 2 (Spring 2008):  222-223 (210-223).  Cf. pp. 217-219, and especially this, on the Jesuit de Regnon, who, according to Michel Barnes, was in any case hugely misleading:  "in the French original of Lossky's work,"
out of the 43 footnotes in [chapter 3], 12 refer to de Regnon. Yet in the 1957 English translation of the original French work, all the citations to de Regnon are missing. . . . [W]hat, in the original, were Lossky's footnote references to passages in de Regnon's Études, become, in the English translation, footnote references to the Cappadocian texts originally discussed by de Regnon. There is more at work here than a slip of the translator's pen: there is in fact the appropriation of de Regnon's paradigm by modern Neo-Palamite theology, coupled with a hesitation, if not embarrassment, at acknowledging its Roman Catholic (indeed, Jesuit) origins.
That from Barnes' "devastating" "De Regnon reconsidered," Augustinian studies 25 (1995):  54 (51-79).  Cf., according to Roeber, Barnes' The power of God: Dunamis in Gregory of Nyssa's trinitarian theology (Washington, DC:  Catholic University of America Press, 2001), 220-222, 303-307.

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