Thursday, July 20, 2017

"more directly and more intimately than . . . their bodies"

"By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God's decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises."

"Coniugio igitur animi iunguntur et coalescunt, hique prius et arctius quam corpora, nec fluxo sensuum vel animorum affectu, sed deliberato et firmo voluntatum decreto: et ex hac animorum coagmentatione, Deo sic statuente, sacrum et inviolabile vinculum exoritur."

     Pius XI, Casti connubii 7 (31 December 1930).  I was put onto this by Jean Laffitte, "Le papes et la famille:  de Casti Connubii à Familiaris Consortio," Revue internationale catholique Communio 40, no. 1 (janvier-février 2015):  17 (13-26), who calls this an "originality" of the encyclical.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A couple of the ground rules: Schubert on the medieval and early modern disputatio

Karl Friedrich Lessing (1867)
"before the beginning of the real disputation came rules for the Tragen, [rules] that were to guarantee the inviolability of Church teaching.  Only doctors appointed to a university who had acquired the [requisite] 'licentia disputandi' were permitted to dispute freely, i.e. on a self-chosen theme.  And even they could only choose [from among] themes 'salva fide catholica'.  More than that, the disputants had to guarantee under oath, in a 'protestatio' offered at the start, [that they [(man)] meant to have discussed only 'disputative' everything that might be said in the heat of the battle and [everything that] might militate against [(gegen . . . verstoßen werde)] the doctrine of the Church, but [to have] treated nothing 'assertive'.  The integrity of church doctrine was in this way already secured by the choice of disputants, the choice of themes, and the scientifico-theoretical definition of the status of [a given (des)] statement."

"Especially significant was the ban against calling the remark of an adversary heretical, a [charge] that [(was)] could have life-threatening consequences for the accused."

     Anselm Schubert, "Libertas disputandi:  Luther und die Leipziger Disputation als akademisches Streitgespräch," Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 105 (2008):  415-416 (411-442).

"took . . . and ate" redux

"The Eucharist is an act—better:  a decision.  [A] decision so irrevocable that, in it, Jesus can already communicate the fruits of the act itself before it has [actually] taken place:  it is thus that, on Holy Thursday, in anticipation of the sacrifice of the Cross, [and] even though his body has not yet been tortured and his blood had not yet been poured [out], Jesus can share with his disciples his Body given for us and his Blood poured [out] for us.  And this, by rendering them capable, by communion in this mystery, of not making of it a harpagmos, but of receiving it in the same spirit in which he is given to them [(il leur est donné)] in order that [they], in their turn might themselves be given [(se donner)].  [The verbs] ‘take’ and ‘eat’ have henceforth [been] transformed in sense:
In Genesis 3:6, these same verbs describe coveteousness in action:  in order to be as the god of the serpent and to master everything, the woman takes and eats.  It is these acts of taking and eating that Jesus invites his disciples to undertake [(poser)] when he shares the bread with them.  But the meaning of these two gestures is very different.  There they render concrete the totalizing envy that denies all alterity; here they are [a] reception of the other who manifests his desire to give himself [away].  In the case of the bread 'given in order that the world might have life' (Jn 6:51), to take and eat on the word of Jesus is the act par excellence of the acknowledgement of God who, in this Jesus, reveals that gives [us] all things (cf. Rom 8:32).
The fruit of the eucharistic attitude of Jesus (an action within the passion!) is to cause us to enter into the 'new and eternal' covenant with God.  It is not just, in fact, that the Eucharist gives us a share in this paradoxical act, but that, by actualizing the resurrection that is its end game [(aboutissement)], it gives us the capacity to respond to it and to deploy the fecundity of it in our lives by taking the same road.  Thus, the request for our daily bread is inscribed within the pascal act of him who 'suffered for [us] and left [us] the way to the end that [we might follow] in his steps' (1 Pet 2:21).  [The] request for [the] life which is death to self, it prepares us to live our own death as Christ experienced his:  in order that it might be given in communion with as [a] source of life."

     Jean-Pierre Batut, "Don du pain et combat de la persevérance," quoting André Wénin, Pas seulement de pain. . . .  Violence et alliance dans la Bible (Paris:  Cerf, 2002), 96-97, underscoring mine.  Revue internationale catholique Communio 42, no. 2 (mars-avril 2017):  72-73 (65-73).
  • Gen 3:6:  καὶ λαβοῦσα τοῦ καρποῦ αὐτοῦ ἔφαγεν· καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τῷ ἀνδρὶ αὐτῆς μετ᾽ αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔφαγον.
  • Mt 26:26:  λάβετε φάγετε.  The synoptics use the same verb for "gave" as well, Mk and Lk even the very same form (ἔδωκεν).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"It was only a matter of an inch; but an inch is everything when you are balancing."

"it is exactly this which explains what is so inexplicable to all the modern critics of the history of Christianity.  I mean the monstrous wars about small points of theology, the earthquakes of emotion about a gesture or a word.  It was only a matter of an inch; but an inch is everything when you are balancing."

     G. K. Chesterton, "The paradoxes of Christianity," Orthodoxy (London:  John Lane, 1909), 182.

Monday, July 17, 2017

You cannot serve [both] God and Hegel

"This [one] text alone should have checked the blind dash of all those who hurl themselves into pretending to be at once Christians and Hegelians."

"Ce seul texte aurait dû retenir l’élan aveugle de tous ceux qui se précipitèrent à se pretender àla fois chrétiens et hégéliens."

     Jean-Luc Marion, "À partir de la Trinité," Revue internationale catholique Communio 40, no. 6 (novembre-décembre 2015):  25n5 (23-37).  The passage in question is Phenomenology of spirit Preface.19, in one online translation (I have not checked any of this, least of all the German, against a critical edition),
The life of God and divine intelligence, then, can, if we like, be spoken of as love disporting with itself; but this idea falls into edification, and even sinks into insipidity, if it lacks the seriousness, the suffering, the patience, and the labour of the negative. 
Das Leben Gottes und das göttliche Erkennen mag also wohl als ein Spielen der Liebe mit sich selbst ausgesprochen werden; diese Idee sinkt zur Erbaulichkeit und selbst zur Fadheit herab, wenn der Ernst, der Schmerz, die Geduld und Arbeit des Negativen darin fehlt.
Marion's point is that Hegel
  • blasphemously "denies [Christ] before men" (Mt 10:33 and parallels) by subordinating the agape that is "the greatest" because it loves "to the end" (Jn 13:1) to these other virtues;
  • ignores the "theoretical (namely historical) consequences" of this thesis; and
  • remains oblivious of the fact that he had already been refuted in advance by St. Paul, "who defines agape by assigning to it precisely the four terms that Hegel will want to attribute to negation (au négatif).  For agape "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor 13:7).  I.e., St. Paul explores more than anyone else in the world and even beyond the world "the seriousness (pisteuein), the suffering (umpomenein), the travail (stegein), and the patience (elpein)" of agape.  "It is a question here of edification to be sure, but the 'edification of the [body of] Christ through himself [(par lui-même)] in agape' (Eph 4:16), without any danger of sinking into insipidity, because nothing endures as much as agape".  Hegel can't see what it is almost impossible for the philosopher to see qua philosopher (26).

"my temple and my tow'r"

Pride of man and earthly glory,
Sword and crown betray his trust:
What with care and toil he buildeth,
Tower and temple, fall to dust.
But God's power,
Hour by hour,
Is my temple and my tow'r.

     Robert Bridges, stanza two of "All my hope on God is founded" (Yattendon Hymnal (1898), no. 69), a very loose translation of "Meine Hoffnung stehet feste" (A und Ω. Joachimi Neandri Glaub- und Liebes-Übung (1680); 3rd printing, 1686, pp. 115 ff.), by Joachim Neander.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"let us never speak of 'divine kenosis' on the cross."

"Christ Jesus performs in his passion precisely the same performance of agapè as in the Trinity, because the Son that he is from all eternity never 'steps out' of/'leaves' [(«sort» de)] the Trinity, never alienates himself from or externalizes himself in relation to it, in accordance with the absurd (in order to go where?) and blasphemous (the Son, would he set aside [(se déferait-il de)] his [own] filiation?) doctrine of the philosophers.  The opposite is true:  Christ Jesus re-integrates the world—despite its finitude and sin—into the Trinitarian play [(jeu)]; he 'recapitulates all things' (Eph 1:10) in himself, 'to the end that God may be all in all' (1 Cor 15:28).  The Trinitarian paradox [that] the Son possesses nothing that he has not received and for this very [reason] is in principle absolutely—this [Trinitarian paradox] Christ Jesus articulates and accomplishes in the economy, from the depths of finitude and human [(notre)] sin. . . .  The 'kenosis' does not introduce the negation [(negatif)], the alienation, namely the 'death of God' into (or rather outside of) the Trinity; it renders manifest, to men trapped in the obscurity of sin and rotting in hatred of self and of all of all, the eternal play of the gift and of the abandonment in which the three [Persons] of the Trinity triumphantly rejoice [(triomphent et jubilant)].  The masterwork accomplished by Christ does not consist in the heroism of his virtues or the enormity of his suffering (for in itself neither the exemplarity of a model nor the pain of an expiation saves [(sauve qui que ce soit)]); it consists in this, that, like an inspired musician, he performs the melody and the orchestration to perfection [(la mélodie et l’orchestration les plus parfaits)] on an instrument that has now but a single remaining string (free choice), a single string rendered (by the perversity of evil) completely discordant.  With this instrument—our nature which plays always false—he plays perfectly true [(parfaitement juste)] in accordance with its true nature [(suivant sa propre nature)].  [On the] strength of this performance, he can promise us that we, too, we will come to play true (or almost), provided that we allow ourselves to be inspired by the same Spirit who unites him eternally with his Father."

     Jean-Luc Marion, "À partir de la Trinité," Revue internationale catholique Communio 40, no. 6 (novembre-décembre 2015):  33 (23-37).  And, on p. 36:
At the very least, let us never speak [(ne parlons jamais)] of 'divine kenosis' on the cross.  The Trinitarian glory is manifest in the kenosis, but the kenosis is not equivalent to it.  The kenosis must be contemplated from and in view of the Trinity.  The kenosis brings the Trinity to light [(expose)], but does not explicate [(explique)] it.  On the contrary, [the kenosis] is a question of a revelation, through the obscurity of sin, of the Trinitarian play—in which agapè goes beyond, in its gravity [(sérieux)], its travail, its patience, and its suffering, all that our poor understanding and profound resentment imagines to be the gravity of the concept.  There is infinitely more gravity in the Trinitarian joy than is found in the futility—grim to be sure, but finite—of our sin.  The Trinity is at work even in the kenosis, because the distance within [the Trinity] includes and surpasses even those [distances]—still finite—of evil, of sin, of death.  'Power (dunamis) is made perfect in weakness' (2 Cor 12:9) precisely because 'with God all things are possible (para tô theo panta dunata)' (Mk 10:27 & Lk 18:27).

Friday, July 14, 2017

"Christian, look hard at them . . . in silence, and then ask for the print of the nails."

     "'While Martin was praying in his cell, the evil spirit stood before him, environed in a glittering radiance, by such pretence more easily to deceive him, clad also in royal robes, crowned with a golden and jeweled diadem, with shoes covered with gold, with serene face, and bright looks, so as to seem nothing so little as what he was.  Martin at first was dazzled at the sight; and for a long while both parties kept silence.  At length the evil one began:—"Acknowledge," he says, "O Martin, whom thou seest.  I am Christ; I am now descending upon earth, and I wished first to manifest myself to thee."  Martin still kept silent, and returned no answer.  The devil ventured to repeat his bold pretence.  "Martin, why hesitate in believing, when thou seest I am Christ?"  Then he, understanding by revelation of the Spirit, that it was the evil one and not God, answered, "Jesus, the Lord, announced not that He should come in glittering clothing, and radiant with a diadem.  I will not believe that Christ is come, save in that state and form in which He suffered, save with the show of the wounds of the Cross [(nisi in eo habitu formaque, qua passus est, nisi crucis stigmata)]."  At these words, the other vanished forthwith as smoke, and filled the cell with so horrible an odour as to leave indubitable proofs who he was.  That this so took place, I know from the mouth of Martin himself, lest any one should think it fabulous.’ —[Sulpicius Severus, ]Vit. B. M. 2[4, CSEL 1, ed. Halm (1866), 134]
     "The application of this vision to Martin’s age, is obvious; I suppose it means in this day, that Christ comes not in pride of intellect, or reputation for ability.  These are the glittering robes in which Satan is now arraying.  Many spirits are abroad, more are issuing from the pit:  the credentials which they display, are the precious gifts of mind, beauty, richness, depth, originality.  Christian, look hard at them with Martin in silence, and then ask for the print of the nails."

     John Henry Newman, The Church of the Fathers, 2nd ed., (London:  J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1842), chap. 21, pp. 413-414.  On p. 206 of vol. 2 of the Historical sketches of 1876, that last paragraph was modified as follows:
     The application of this vision to Martin’s age, is obvious; I suppose it means in this day, that Christ comes not in pride of intellect, or reputation for philosophy.  These are the glittering robes in which Satan is now arraying.  Many spirits are abroad, more are issuing from the pit;  the credentials which they display are the precious gifts of mind, beauty, richness, depth, originality.  Christian, look hard at them with Martin in silence, and ask them for the print of the nails.
 I was put onto this by First things.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

"a sword will pierce through your own soul also"

"God wills that Mary be in time the Mother of his Son; [and] this on the condition that the extremely exalted bond of affinity by which Jesus belongs to her will be the foundation of a grace that will separate her from him all the more.  She will be his Mother not in order that she might revel ecstatically in the sweets of his presence while he is afflicted with exhaustion [(ennui)] and consumed by sorrows; it is rather in order that he might be in her womb a bouquet of extremely bitter myrrh, and that she might be for him, in the flesh that she supplies and the nourishment that she provides him with, a living source of displeasures [(dèplaisirs)]. . . . Her motherhood [(qualité de mère)] detaches her from her Son, and her extremely exalted affinity with the incarnate Word is a cross that crucifies [both] God and Mary."

     Louis Chardon, La croix de Jésus (Paris:  Cerf, 2004 [1647]) 1.28.369, as quoted by Aaron Riches, Ecco homo:  on the divine unity of Christ, Interventions (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2016), 242n28 (translation mine, though I see that a translation by Murphy & Thornton was published in 1957-1959).  Apparently Chardon goes on to sketch out the "pilgrimage of faith" by which Mary is led to embrace ever more concretely this ever more wrenching separation (242-246):
The whole 'weight' of Jesus' life leading to the Cross is the weight of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit who drove Jesus into the wilderness (cf. Mark 1:12) now drives him to the Cross where he offers himself without blemish 'through the Spirit' (cf. Heb 9:14).  The Spirit is the 'crucifier,' the unio that joins Son to Father in his being and in his abandonment.  The vinculum amoris pours forth in the moment of total sui exinanitio [(self-emptying)] in order to realize the living death and dying life that is the Christian vocation perfectly revealed and lived by Mary in the moment of the Sacrifice of Calvary [(245-246, underscoring mine)].

Small on the "fruits of modernity"

     "So yes, liberalism didn't happen, peace and prosperity didn't materialize.  But because Bellaigue's value system is backwards binary—modernity equals good, bad equals not modernity—he's ultimately unable to make coherent sense of the history he's telling.  Secret police, genocides, one-party states, revolutionary utopianism, consumerism, radical terrorism, rentier economies, huge sovereign debts:  all these dispiriting twentieth-century phenomena are fruits of modernity.  Indeed, they happened because of, not despite, the Enlightenment, reaching their modern forms, so repugnant to any truly enlightened sensibility, thanks not to religious 'bigots' and 'stick-in-the-muds', but to the modern cast of mind Bellaigue champions so uncritically:  literate and ideological, obsessed with science and technology, and fixated on the future, never on the past, on new and final solutions, never on traditional wisdom."

    Thomas Small, "Truly modern Muslims:  the thorny question of what it means to be Islamic," a review of, among others, Christopher de Bellaigue, The Islamic enlightenment:  the modern struggle between faith and reason:  1798 to modern times, Times literary supplement no. 5958 (June 9, 2017):  8-9 (7-9).  I have not read the book.
     Commenting on Tariq Ramadan's Islam:  the essentials, Small says
Ramadan does not ignore jihadbut I almost wish he had.  Again, it's all smoke and mirrors, beginning with his claim that it is only in an echo of 'the Christian crusades' that Westerners present jihad as 'holy war', which is getting it precisely backwards.  By the time of the Crusades, Christendom in both East and West had endured centuries of aggression at the hands of the Caliphate, and Christian knighthood took on a sacralized dimension only in emulation of the ghazis of Islam.
Etc.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Luther on the Divine office

"in the wake of the Leipzig Debate, Luther's attitude to his monastic vocation began to alter.  From his early years as a monk, he had been obliged to attend services and perform the 'hours,' the repetition of prayers that took such a prominent place in a monk's daily routine and consumed much of his time.  Even after the Augsburg discussions, when Staupitz had released Luther from his vows, he still found it hard to give up this duty, as if it were a burden he could not put down.  At some point in 1520, however, he stopped altogether.  He recalled in 1531, 'Our Lord God pulled me by force away from the canonical hours in 1520, when I was already writing a great deal, and I often saved up my hours for a whole week, and then on Saturday I would do them one after another so that I neither ate nor drank anything for the whole day, and I was so weakened that I couldn't sleep, so that I had to be given Dr. Esch's sleeping draught, the effects of which I still feel in my head.'  In the end, a 'whole quarter-year' of hours had mounted up:  'This was too much for me, and I dropped it altogether.'  The resulting liberation—and the amount of time it freed up—may have played a part in the burst of creativity he experienced in 1520:  Now he could devote himself to writing and thinking without interruption or guilt."

     Lyndal Roper, Martin Luther:  renegade and prophet (New York:  Random House, 2017), 134 and 446nn1-3, citing WA Tischreden 2, p. 11 (no. 1253), and 5, p. 137 (133 ff., no. 5428).  See also (says Roper) 3, no. 3651; 4, nos. 4082, 4919, and 5094; 5, no. 6077; and WA 17.1, 112ff. (a sermon of 1525).

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"as before death Christ's flesh was united personally and hypostatically with the Word of God, it remained so after His death, so that the hypostasis of the Word of God was not different from that of Christ's flesh after death".

"sicut ante mortem caro Christi unita fuit secundum personam et hypostasim verbo Dei, ita et remansit unita post mortem, ut scilicet non esset alia hypostasis verbi Dei et carnis Christi post mortem".

     St. Thomas Aquinas, ST III.50.2.Resp., trans. FEDP.  Latin from Corpus Thomisticum.  I was put on to this by Aaron Riches, Ecce homo:  on the divine unity of Christ, Interventions (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2016):  204-208 ("The body of Christ in the tomb"), a wonderful discussion:
"'what belongs to the body of Christ after death is predicated of the Son of God [(ST III.50.2.sed contra)].'  The entombed cadaver—maximally different from God's apatheia—is nevertheless predicable only by virtue of the hypostatic union" (205). 
"There is no autonomous particularity, no 'thingness' or 'thisness' that can be granted to any aspect of the incarnate Christ, not even to the corpse in the tomb, apart from the Son.  The whole incarnate reality of Christ exists and is real only insofar as it subsists in union with the divine hypostasis of the Son" (207) 
"'The divinity was so indissoluably united to the humanity of Christ that, although body and soul were separated from each other, nonetheless the very divinity was always perfectly present both to the soul and the body.  Therefore, the Son of God was both in the tomb with the body and descended into hell with the soul [(et ideo in sepulcro cum corpore fuit filius Dei, et ad Inferos cum anima descendit)]'" (207; St. Thomas Aquinas, Sermon conferences on the Apostles' Creed, trans. Ayo (Notre Dame, IN:  University of Notre Dame Press, 1998), 79 =Expositio in Symbolum Apostolorum 5).
And from the concluding paragraph of the book by Riches (249):
     The indissoluble union of the Incarnate Logos is 'stretched out' from the height of the Son's eternal being with the Father to the cold stone on which his cadaver is laid, from the human breast of the Mother to the region of hell in which the crucified soul of Jesus is abandoned.  This mystery at the core of all being is not a tidy fact about divinity or humanity; it is the scandal of the Incarnate Son of God.  And 'none of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory' (1 Cor 2:8). 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"a war fought without a good stock of money is only a wispy shadow of what a war should be."

     The fearsome monk, in chap. 46 of François Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, as trans. Burton Raffel.  The original French doesn't seem as interesting to me:
guerre faicte sans bonne provision d’argent, n’a q’un souspirail de vigueur.
souspirail = souffle (ed. Huchon & Moreau) or maybe soupirail (air-hole, vent, ventilator).  "a dissipation of vigor"?  "Trans." Urquhart & Motteaux:
war, begun without a good provision of money before-hand for going through with it, is but as a breathing of strength, and blasts that will quickly pass away.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"we have beheld his glory"

"Because the reality of the relation is only maintained on the created side, the Incarnation cannot be reduced to an episode in the longer (eternal) life of the Logos.  Rather, the episode of this life must express fully the whole immutable reality on which it depends:  the person of the eternal Son.  What the Logos thus receives ex Maria, he receives in a mode that, rather than changing him, recapitulates [(read as something like transfigures, divinizes)] the reality into which he is incarnated" (166), such that (to quote Gregory of Nyssa) "'the mortal [element] that came to be in the immortal became immortality, and the corruptible [was] likewise changed into incorruptibility, and all the other [properties] similarly were transformed into impassible and divine [properties]. . . .'"

     Aaron Riches on St. Thomas Aquinas on the Incarnation, quoting also Gregory of Nyssa, Ad Theophilum (GNO 3.1, pp. 124-125), as trans. Behr, in Ecce homo:  on the divine unity of Christ, Interventions (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2016), 166, 167, underscoring mine.  This in the context of Aquinas' famous insistence (a highly technical one) that God is not "really" related to the universe:
'the union of which we are speaking is not really in God, except only in our way of thinking; but in the human nature, which is a creature, it is really' [(165, quoting ST III.2.7)]. 
The relation between God and created being, the unity of this human nature with the Logos, allows God himself to be the foundation of reality on the creaturely side, while on the side of God—precisely because his is this foundation of reality—the relation cannot alter him in any way [(168)].


Monday, June 26, 2017

"Whenever the Church renounces . . . her native tongues"

"progressive Catholicism (a category that for [Del Noce] would include both the Catholic left and elements of the Catholic right) has aided and abetted the new totalitarianism and made its home comfortably within it. We see this whenever the Church renounces her own inherent 'Platonism' by speaking in the language of psychology, sociology, economics, and politics rather than in her native tongues of metaphysics and theology."

     Michael Hanby, "What Del Noce saw," First things no. 274 (June/July 2017):  51 (49-51).  The crisis we find ourselves in "will continue apace until we somehow rediscover an ethics distinct from politics, a truth distinct from function, an authority distinct from power."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dennis Duncan in a wonderful article on "the weaponized index"

William King, Times literary supplement
"The fashion for satirical indexes had begun in 1698, when the poet and lawyer William King contributed a four-page table to the second edition of Charles Boyle's attack on the King's Librarian, Richard Bentley.  King's index, inserted at the back of the book, was entitled 'A Short Account of Dr. Bentley by Way of Index', and sure enough, each of the headwords relates to some aspect of Bentley's low character:  his 'egregious dullness, p. 74, 106, 119, 135, 136, 137, 241', for example, his 'familiar acquaintance with Books that he never saw, p. 76, 98, 115, 232', or his 'Pedantry, from p. 93 to 99, 144, 216'.
     "King's index is a rather wonderful twofold attack on Bentley—as Isaac Disraeli once put it, it is 'at once a satirical character of the great critic, and what it professes to be'.  Thus, part of the fun is that those page references are real ones. . . .  At the same time, the 'Short Account' is also a covert attack on Bentley for being an 'index-scholar', a pedant whose scholarship is based on 'alphabetical learning'—looking things up in tables—rather than a real affinity with the works of the ancients."

     Dennis Duncan, "Hoggs that Sh—te Soap, p. 66," Times literary supplement no. (January 15, 2016):  14 (14-15).  Duncan goes on to talk about indexes prepared for the books of the targets themselves, "a new method for satirically attacking the publications of one's political enemies", as, for example, in the case of this index, directed against a work of the young Addison:
Uncultivated Plants rise naturally about Cassis (Where do they not?), p. 1 
The Author has not yet seen any Gardens in Italy worth taking notice of.  No matter, p. 59
And, in the Preface to its second edition,
[This Table] is not indeed of the same bulk with some Dutch Lexicons and Glossaries, but I do not however despair of its finding a place, (as it is an Index) in the most Letter'd, Renowned and Humane Dr. Bentley's Library.
     Now, see, here I, too, a "reference librarian" and therefore an eminent practitioner of the shady art and superficial collecting practices of Dr. Bentley, have turned yet again to "'Common-placing and Indexing'" (15), in this case of an article on "Common-placing and Indexing" as a satirical practice directed against commonplacers, indexers, and all those who rely unduly on works of reference as a way of pretending to more learning than they actually have.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"I have often been disgusted with myself when I came down from the pulpit."

"Ich habe mich offte selbst angespeiet, wan ich vom predigstuel komen bin."

I have often spit upon/despised myself when I have come from the pulpit:  Shame on you!  How did you preach?  You delivered that really well, stuck to no outline [(hast kein Concept gehalten; nullum servasti conceptum)] (as conceived of by you [(wie du es gefaßt hettest)])!  And [yet] the very same sermon have the people praised, [saying] that it has been a long time since I have delivered so fine [a] sermon.  When I have climbed down from the pulpit [(Wan ich hinunter vom predigstuel gestiegen bin)], then have I recalled and realized that I have preached nothing or very little of what, in my mind, I had intended to [(davon . . . das ich bey mir concipirt habe; cf. conceptum/Concept, above)].
In my case, too, it often happens that the delivery of [a] sermon of mine has filled me with shame [(me puduerit, PAi3S)] and perhaps [even] caused me to look upon myself [(putaverim me, PAS1S, I may have esteemed myself)] most coldly.  And [yet] afterwards, by contrast, I have heard the opinion of [my] auditors, who were commending it vehemently.
Thanks to my colleague Robert Smith for posing the question of authenticity and prompting this research.  Being no expert in early 16th-century German (or Latin, for that matter!), I would welcome any suggestions for improvement in these translations.

"Leading or following, the human being who loves" is participating in an archetypical Trinitarian Life

"The redemptive work of God in the world is the common fruit of the Father's power and the Son's pure gift of self ([the] impotence of the cross), while [(et)] the indissociable unity of the [opposing] characteristics [(traits)] of the two is secured [(posée)] here by the Holy Spirit.  An [(L')] effective unity becomes for this reason directly possible:  because the two participants (Father and Son, man and woman) act in love in the most polarized [(polaire)] fashion possible, not in the most assimilated [(semblable)].  It is in the polarity that the equivalence of love (in God an [(l') equivalence] of essence) is guaranteed."

     Adrienne von Speyer, Theologie der Geschlechter, NB 12 (Einsiedeln:  Johannes Verlag, 1969), 23, as quoted in French by Antoine Birot, "Le fondement christologique et de la différence sexuelle selon «Théologie des sexes» (NB XII) de Adrienne von Speyr," Revue catholique internationale Communio 31, nos. 5-6 (septembre décembre 2006):  128 (123-134).  The headine is from p. 36 (the last paragraph in the article).

Sensus plenior, sensus CONSTITUTIVUS

Wycliffe College
"Radner's burden is to show that, far from being a practice limited to the likes of Origen, Augustine, and Wycliffe, figural reading endured as an essential feature of Christian thought among early modern interpreters (Puritans) and flourishes in contemporary churches as well (Pentecostals).
     "One of Radner's central arguments, then, is that figural reading is very much a universal practice identifiable with the Christian Church whenever and wherever it has existed. . . . That figural reading has atrophied in the last two hundred years is not to be explained by its actual deficiencies but rather by Christians' failure to understand what figural reading truly involves."


     Michael C. Legaspi, "Figure it in," a review of Time and the word:  figural reading of the Christian scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016), by Ephraim Radner, First things no. 274 (June/July 2017):  55 (55-56).

The objectivity of the subjective

Wikimedia Commons
"the so-called subjective, or inner, view of things is no less objective than the objective or mechanical view of things.  When questions about the subjective are asked carefully, and in the right way, they are as reliable as the experiments of physics."

     Christopher Alexander, "Making the garden," First things no. 260 (February 2016):  27 (23-28).

"the courage to treat falsehoods with the contempt they deserve"

Wikimedia Commons
"idiots utter idiocies just as plum trees produce plums. . . . The problem is that some readers take them seriously."

     Simon Leys, of the Maoist Maria-Antonietta Macciocchi's On China, as quoted by Henri Astier, "In the age of sham and amnesia," Times literary supplement no. 5885 (January 15, 2016):  5 (5, 7).  The clause in the headline is Astier's.

Monday, June 19, 2017

"before the brightness of whose presence the angels veil their faces"

"Almighty God, most blessed and most holy, before the brightness of whose presence the angels veil their faces; with lowly reverence and adoring love we acknowledge Thine infinite glory, and worship Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternal Trinity. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto our God, for ever and ever.  Amen."

     Adoration, Second order, Morning Service, Book of common order of the Church of Scotland, by authority of the General Assembly, New impression with new lectionary (London:  Oxford University Press, 1962 [1940]), 18.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Because we can?

"The de-extinction of a Neanderthal looks to be, from a technical point of view, relatively easy compared with the de-extinction of the passenger pigeon.  Yet the very prospect of such an attempt brings into sharp focus all the moral, ethical, social, and environmental dilemmas inherent in the new technology—and indeed in de-extinction science itself."

     Tim Flannery, "Can we bring back the passenger pigeon?," The New York Review of books 64, no. 7 (April 20, 2017):  59 (58-59).

Cause us, we pray, O Lord, to be satisfied by that eternal enjoyment of your divinity prefigured by the temporal reception of your precious Body and Blood.

Wikimedia Commons
"Grant, O Lord, we pray, that we may delight for all eternity in that share in your divine life, which is foreshadowed in the present age by our reception of your precious Body and Blood."

"Fac nos, quaesumus, domine, divinitatis tuae sempiterna fruitione repleri, quam pretiosi corporis et sanguinis tui temporalis perceptio praefigurat.  Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saecularoum."

Cause us, we pray, O Lord, to be satiated by the eternal enjoyment of your divinity that the temporal reception of your precious Body and Blood prefigures.

     Post communion, Corpus Christi, Roman Missal.  Bruylants (no. 552) dates this to 1474, but Corpus orationum (no. 2597), to the 12th century.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Without separation, without division

"if God is pure spirit, it is not more like God to walk on water, have his face transfigured, or perform a miracle with the touch of his hand, than it is for him to be crucified.  All these acts (whatever the transcendent power they unleash, and certainly the Cross unleashes the greatest transcendent power in the form of salvation) are acts of a finite body performing in time and space."

     Aaron Riches, Ecco homo:  on the divine unity of Christ, Interventions (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2016), 82n89, on the "Nestorianism" of all insufficiently "Cyrillian" attempts to "parse what is proper to the Word from what is proper to the human nature" (81).  "To the Council Fathers, Cyril did not represent one Christological 'option,' much less a Christology bound to the style of a particular region [(the Christology of the so-called 'Alexandrian school')]; he was for them the representative of Catholic truth, of the Nicene orthodoxy defended by Athanasius, which they understood as the faith handed down from the apostles themselves.  The textual evidence of the Acta of Chalcedon is overwhelming:  the Council Fathers did not see themselves as 'Theodorian' in any way, [as balancing (or working out a compromise between) an Alexandrian and an Antiochian school,] but rather as confirming the doctrine held by 'blessed Cyril'" (78-79).

"'When this snow melts, there will be lots of mud.'"

     "In the fourth century, the bishop of Antioch, Leontius, is said to have 'stroked his white hairs and remarked, "When this snow melts, there will be lots of mud."'"

     Aaron Riches, Ecce homo:  on the divine unity of Christ, Interventions (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2016), 76, citing Andrew Louth, "Why did the Syrians reject the Council of Chalcedon?," in Chalcedon in context: church councils 400-700 (Liverpool:  Liverpool University Press, 2009), 109 (107-116).

"'and now never to be clean God again.'"

      Malle and Wat were burning garden rubbish; the heap was crackling merrily; below the busy flames were sliding their quick fingers about the dry wizened stalks, feeling along, licking up; above, smoke, reeking of rottenness, poured out, leaned sideways, swirled wide and swept over half the garden.  Malle and Wat, casting down fork and rake, fled out of it to the clear air to breathe, and leaned together upon the wall.
      ‘Wat,’ said Malle, ‘have you thought that He has stained Himself, soiled Himself, being not only with men, but Himself a man.  What’s that, to be man?  Look at me.  Look at you.’
      They looked at each other, and one saw a dusty wretched dumb lad, and the other saw a heavy slatternly woman.
      Malle said:  ‘It’s to be that which shoots down the birds out of the free air, and slaughters dumb beasts, and kills his own kind in wars.’
      She looked away up the Dale towards Calva, rust-red with dead bracken, smouldering under the cold sky.
      ‘And it wasn’t that He put on man like a jacket to take off at night, or to bathe or to play.  But man He was, as man is man, the maker made Himself the made; God was un-Godded by His own hand.’
      She put her hands to her face, and was silent, till Wat pulled them away.
      ‘He was God,’ she said, ‘from before the beginning, and now never to be clean God again.  Never again.  Alas!’ she said, and then, ‘Osanna!’


      Malle, the Serving Woman, in H. F. M. Prescott, The man on a donkey (New York:  Macmillan, 1961), 455-456 (26 October 1536), “by widespread assent one of the finest historical novels ever written” (Robert Irwin, "Poetry of history," Times literary supplement no. 5954 (May 12 2017):  10).
     But of course he did not un-God himself (extra Calvinisticum, extra Patristicum).  And "'clean God'"?  Would a "'clean God'" be the Triune God of Christian confession?
     Still, the moving imagined reflections of a sixteenth-century serving woman.

Did contemporary "American capitalism originat[e] in racial slavery"?

     "One of the really striking things about the school of slavery's capitalism is how little politics there is in its approach to political economy.  This is perhaps not surprising given the hopelessness so many felt in the post-2008 moment.  If capitalism is all powerful, then political resistance is meaningless.  But the American Civil War presents a sharp reminder of the unpredictability of history.  Contrary to Slavery's Capitalism, the critical issue in 1860 was not that Republicans saw slavery as a problem, but that slaveholding Southerners saw free labour and industrial capitalism as an existential threat.  The slaveholders had once called the shots in US politics.  But by 1860 the slave South was not the leading edge of anything except pro-slavery nationalism.  It seceded and provoked a civil war over the future of the nation and of slavery in it.  No one in 1860 could have imagined what was about to happen.  It was slaveholding Southerners' misguided bet that opened the possibility of a new chapter in American and African American history.
     "When the smoke had cleared slavery had been destroyed.  Enslaved African Americans had thought that outcome worth fighting and dying for.  They fought just as hard to define the terms of the post-war order, when slavery's capitalism was dead and gone.  The kind of unfettered corporate capitalism that came after the Civil War certainly merits the critical assessment of historians.  But the destruction of slavery was a crucial event in the history of American capitalism, one hardly underestimated by those who lived through it.  It was, at the very least, a moment of radical disjuncture between two systems of exploitation."

     Stephanie McCurry, "Plunder of black life:  the problem of connecting the history of slavery to the economics of the present," a review of Slavery's capitalism:  a new history of American economic development (Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), and, by implication, the entire "school of slavery's capitalism", Times literary supplement no. 5955 (May 19 2017):  26 (23-24, 26), italics mine.


Friday, June 9, 2017

They're necessary, so use words

The power of his words,
and the witness given to this by a physician

107Although the evangelist Francis
preached to the simple,
in simple, concrete terms,
since he knew that virtue
is more necessary than words,
still, when he was among spiritual people
with greater abilities
he gave birth to life-giving and profound words.
With very few words he would suggest
what was inexpressible,
and, weaving movement with fiery gestures,
he carried away all his hearers toward the things of heaven.
He did not use the keys of distinctions,
For he did not preach about things he had not himself discovered.
Christ, true Power and Wisdom [(1 Cor 2:1-2, 4-5)],
made his voice a voice of power [(Ps 68:34)].

     A physician, a learned and eloquent man, once said:  'I remember the sermons of other preachers word for word, only what the saint, Francis, says eludes me.  Even if I memorize some of his words, they don’t seem to me like those that originally poured from his lips [(Wis 4:11)].'

     Thomas of Celano, The remembrance of the desire of a soul (The second life of Saint Francis) (1247) I.73.  Francis of Assisi:  early documents, vol. 2, The founder, ed. Armstrong, Hellmann, & Short (New York:  New City Press, 2000), 318.



36Francis, Christ’s bravest soldier,
went around the cities and villages [(Mt 9:35)],
proclaiming the kingdom of God
and preaching peace [(Mt 9:35; Acts 10:36)]
and penance for the remission of sins [(Mk 1:4)],
not in the persuasive words of human wisdom
but in the learning and power of the Spirit [(1 Cor 2:4)].

     He acted confidently [(Acts 9:28)] in all matters because of the apostolic authority granted him.  He did not use fawning or seductive flattery.  He did not smooth over but cut out the faults of others.  He did not encourage but struck at the life of sin with a sharp blow, because he first convinced himself by action, and then convinced others by words.  Not fearing anyone’s rebuke, he spoke the truth boldly, so that even well-educated men, distinguished by fame and dignity, were amazed at his words and were shaken by a healthy fear in his presence.

     Thomas of Celano, Life of Saint Francis (1229) I.15.  Francis of Assisi:  early documents, vol. 1, The saint, ed. Armstrong, Hellmann, & Short (New York:  New City Press, 1999), 214-215.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Disobedience and the trombone

     "A child who obediently follows the father’s will, which is directly opposite to the child’s wish; yes, the child is far from doubting his father’s love, but there is not much trumpet blowing and ingratiation about how affectionate the father is.—And, on the other hand, the child who knows full well that in reality he is the one who gets his way and that the father’s will is not effected, yes, then there is trumpet blowing and trombones and shouting and ingratiating talk about how affectionate a father he has."
     "So, too, with us hum. beings in relation to God."

     Søren Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard's journals and notebooks 9 (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2017), 97 (96-97, 101).  "In his journals (1849), Kierkegaard is scathing about organ music in church accompanied by trombones (Basuner).  Here, he is clearly referring to negatively to the practice of having hymns at the major festivals accompanied by a trombone or trumpet in the gallery as well as by an organ" (Julia Watkin, Historical dictionary of Kierkegaard's philosophy, Historical dictionaries of religions, philosophies, and movements 33 (Lanham, MD:  Scarecrow, 2001), sv Art, p. 17).  Søren Kierkegaards Skrifter returns 60 hits on Basun*, so this would be far from the only passage of interest.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world"

"The older Karl Barth used to say that 'to clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world'."

     Jan Milič Lochman, "Towards an ecumenical account of hope," The ecumenical review 31, no. 1 (January 1979): 18 (13-30) = Mid-stream 18, no. 1 (January 1979): 30 (24-34).  Cf. Jan Milič Lochman, "The Lord's Prayer in our time: praying and drumming," The Princeton Seminary bulletin n.s. 13 (1992) Suppl.: 18-19 (5-19), and in The Lord's Prayer: perspectives for reclaiming Christian prayer, ed. Daniel L. Migliore (Eerdmans, 1993), 18-19 ():
"There is another saying of Karl Barth in my grateful memory.  In his later years we heard from him again and again:  'To fold one’s hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.'"
And then again in 2002, Jan Milič Lochman, "Theology and cultural contexts," in Theology between east and west:  a radical heritage:  essays in honor of Jan Milič Lochman (Eugene, OR:  Cascade Books, 2002), 15 (5-20):
"I often recall words I heard Karl Barth speak when I was his student:  'Hands folded in prayer are the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.''"
Lochman, who appears to be the primary source of this, began teaching in Basel the year Barth died, and undoubtedly knew and interacted with him before that, as the reference to his having been a student makes clear.  Still, I would feel better could this be found in Barth himself.  Ashley Cocksworth quotes this at the top of p. 114 of her book Karl Barth on prayer, T&T Clark studies in systematic theology 26 (Bloomsbury, 2015), but then says in footnote 144, "Regrettably, I have yet to find the source of this oft-cited remark."  To me it would be odd if Lochman and other students of Barth "heard [(did any other late students of Barth hear?) this] from him again and again", and yet it never made it into any of Barth's published work.  And so far I have searched the DKBL in vain, in both English and German.  German versions of this vary, by the way:

"Hände falten im Gebet ist der Anfang des Aufstandes gegen die Unordnung der Welt!"

"Barth erklärt dies so:  'Mit dem Falten unserer Hände zum Gebet beginnt unser Aufstand gegen das Unrecht in dieser Welt.'"

Etc.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

"he wears our nature, refashioning it to his own life."

"He bore our nature and thus fashioned it in conformity with his life."

πεφόρηκε δὲ τὴν ἡμετέραν φύσιν, πρὸς τὴν ἰδίαν αὐτὴν ἀναπλάττων ζωήν.

And he wears our nature [(having put it on)], remolding it to his own life.

     Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, bk. 10 at Jn 14:20, trans. Maxwell & Elowsky, ACT (Intervarsity Press, 2015), 188.  The translation in the header comes from Keating via Aaron Riches (Ecce homo:  on the divine unity of Christ (Eerdmans, 2016), 50).  Greek from the three-volume Pusey edition of 1872, p. 486.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"the deceitful dream of a golden age"

"Have we not already seen enough of the fallacy and extravagance of those idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exemption from the imperfections, weaknesses and evils incident to society in every shape? Is it not time to awake from the deceitful dream of a golden age, and to adopt as a practical maxim for the direction of our political conduct, that we, as well as the other inhabitants of the globe, are yet remote from the happy empire of perfect wisdom and perfect virtue?"

     Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist no. 6, The [New York] independent journal; or, the General advertiser, 14 November 1787.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"a Christology without a full Marian account fails to be incarnational in any meaningful way"

"the Jesus-Mary relation is so integral to the incarnational fact, and therefore to a coherent Christocentrism, that a Christology without a full Marian account fails to be incarnational in any meaningful way and is reduced to mere abstraction."

     Aaron Riches, Ecce homo:  on the divine unity of Christ (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2016), 17.  This "full Marian account" would have to begin with the claim that she is Theotokos and presumably extend (though I haven't yet got that far) to an orthodox form of the doctrine of "co-redemption" (the "Coda" on Chardon (17)).

The more of God, the more of me

"if Jesus is the true human, the irreducible difference of the human being in relation to God is perfected in direct (as opposed to inverse) relation to the perfection of the unio of his humanity with the divine Logos.  In Christ, the relation of divinity and humanity must be, in the first place, and basically, non-contrastive and non-competitive. . . .
". . . only the confession of the 'one Lord Jesus Christ' maximally preserves the integrity and difference of verus homo before verus Deus. . . . [B]eginning from an abstract idea of what his humanity might be apart from that unio, Christian theology fails before it even begins."

     Aaron Riches, Ecce homo:  on the divine unity of Christ (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2016), 7-8.  7n12:  "the deeper and more perfect the union, the more each is realized in its distinct integrity.  Union [with true God!] differentiates."

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"the body of him who is the heavenly bread, and the blood of him who is the sacred vine"

"What you receive is the body of him who is the heavenly bread, and the blood of him who is the sacred vine; for when he offered his disciples the consecrated bread and wine, he said: This is my body, this is my blood. We have put our trust in him. I urge you to have faith in him; truth can never deceive."

"quod accipis, corpus est illius panis coelestis, et sanguis est illius sacrae vitis.  Nam cum panem consecratum et vinum discipulis suis porrigeret, sic ait:  Hoc est corpus meum:  hic est sanguis meus.  Credamus, quaeso, cui credidimus.  Nescit mendacium veritas."

     St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Bresica, Sermo 2 De Exodi lectione secundus, as trans. in the Liturgy of the hours.  CSEL 60; PL 20, col. 859A.