Sunday, May 7, 2023

Earth as invited to become man

"Thou speakest to the earth and callest it to human nature, and the earth heareth Thee and by this its hearing man is made."

"Loqueris terrae et vocas eam ad humanam naturam, et audit te terra et hoc audire eius est fieri hominem."

You speak to the earth and call it to human nature, and it hears you, the earth, and by this its hearing man is made.

     Nicholas of Cusa, De visione Dei 10, trans. Salter =40 ll. 16-17 on p. 37 of vol. 6 (2000) of the critical Heidelberg edition (Nicholai de Cusa Opera omnia).  Gen 3:19 Vulgate, italics mine:  "donec revertaris in terram de qua sumptus es: quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris."
     And then there follows this (italics mine):  "Thou speakest to that which is nothing as though it were something, and Thou callest nothing to be something, and that which is nothing heareth Thee [(et audit te nihil, and it hears you, [that which was] nothing)] because that which was nothing becometh something."

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The resurrection of the flesh, a real human body composed of blood-filled veins, sinews, bones, and so forth

"If our flesh [(caro)] is not saved, then the Lord has not redeemed us with his blood, the eucharistic chalice does not make us sharers in his blood, and the bread we break does not make us sharers in his body. There can be no blood without veins, flesh and the rest of the human substance, and this the Word of God actually became: it was with his own blood that he redeemed us [(Sanguis enim non est nisi a venis et carnibus et a reliqua quae est secundum hominem substantia, quae vere factum Verbum Dei sanguine suo redemit nos)]. . . .
"How . . .  can it be said that flesh belonging to the Lord’s own body and nourished by his body and blood is incapable of receiving [(
δεκτικὴν μὴ εἶναι | negant capacem esse)] God’s gift of eternal life? Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians that we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. He is not speaking of some spiritual and incorporeal kind of man, for spirits do not have flesh and bones. He is speaking of a real human body composed of flesh, sinews and bones [(ἀλλὰ περὶ τῆς κατὰ τὸν ἀληθινὸν ἄνθρωπον οἰκονομίας, τῆς ἐκ σαρκὸς καὶ νεύρων καὶ ὀστέων συνεστώσης | sed de ea dispositione, quae est secundum verum hominem, quae ex carnibus et nervis et ossibus consistit)], nourished by the chalice of Christ’s blood and receiving growth from the bread which is his body."

     St. Irenaeus, Against the heresies 5.2.2, as translated in the Office of readings for the Thursday of the Third Week of Easter, Liturgy of the hours (vol. 2, pp. 727-728).  Greek and Latin from the 1857 edition ed. Harvey, vol. 2, pp. 318-321, not yet SC 153, pp. 30-38.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Tack us on at the end of your triumphal processions

Jesus, be the Paschal joy that remains in our hearts throughout the year, and attach us, reborn by grace, to your triumphs.

Esto perenne mentibus
Paschale, Iesu, gaudium
et nos renatos gratiae
tuis triumphis aggrega.

     Stanza 6 of the pre-11th-century (?) Laetare, caelum, desuper, translation (with italics) mine.  I have not done any research into this one.  For "triumphs" read "triumphal processions."  But why that is plural I don't know, unless the triumphi in question are (and this would make a lot of sense) "perennially" liturgical in nature (as with, at Easter itself, the newly baptized in train).

"where contemporary exegesis fails to accord with Christian doctrine, it tends instead to accord with something else".

      Markus Bockmuehl, paraphrasing R. R. Reno, in his review of the latter's The end of interpretation:  reclaiming the priority of ecclesial exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2022), in First things no. 333 (May 2023):  56 (55-58).

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

"to have is with God to be, and to move is to stand, and to run is to rest".

"habere dei est esse eius et movere est stare et currere est quiescere et ita de reliquis attributis."

     Nicholas of Cusa, Visio Dei 3, trans. Salter.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

der Fluch ihrer Geschlechtlichkeit

"We never hear from the lips of Jesus a derogatory word concerning woman as such.  In holding out the prospect of sexless being like that of the angels in the consummated kingdom of God . . . , he indirectly lifts [also] from woman [above all] the curse of her sex[uality] and sets her at the side of man as equally a child of God."

     The Lutheran theologian Albrecht Oepke in 1933, as translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley on p. 785 of vol. 1 of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, under γυνή κτλ.  Bromiley does not reproduce the "vor allem auch" italicized by Ruth Heß ("so nimmt er damit indirekt vor allem auch der Frau") in n. 9 on p. 295 of her "»Es ist noch nicht erschienen, was wir sein werden.«  Biblisch-(de)konstruktivistische Anstöße zu einer entdualisierten Eschatologie der Geschlechterdifferenz," on pp. 291-323 of Alles in allem:  Eschatologische Anstöße:  J. Christine Janowski zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Ruth Heß and Martin Leiner (Neukirchen-Vluyn:  Neukirchener Verlag, 2005), so I've re-inserted that in the brackets here.

"From the first moment of their creation, man and woman are distinct, and will remain so for all eternity."

Servants of God Cyprian & Daphrose
Rugamba (m. 7 April 1994)
"Distinti fin dall'inizio della creazione e restando tali nel cuore stesso dell'eternità, . . ."

     Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Epistula de mutuis relationibus inter viros et mulieres:  Lettera ai vescovi della Chiesa Cattolica sulla collaborazione dell'uomo e della donna nella Chiesa et nel mondo (Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the collaboration of men and women in the Church and in the world), 31 May 2004, sec. 12.  Italian in AAS 96, no. 10 (2004 Oct 5):  671-687 from here.
     More statements along this (as opposed to any other) line:

Conferentia Episcopalis Scandiae, "Pastoral letter on human sexuality," Fifth Sunday of Lent (26 March) 2023:  "When we profess that God made us in his image, the image does not just refer to the soul.  It is mysteriously lodged in the body, too.  For us Christians the body is intrinsic to personhood.  We believe in the resurrection of the body.  Naturally, ‘we shall all be changed’.  What our bodies will be like in eternity we cannot yet imagine.  But we believe on biblical authority, grounded in tradition, that the unity of mind, soul, and body is made to last forever.  In eternity we shall be recognizable as who we are now, but the conflicts that still prevent the harmonious unfolding of our true self will have been resolved."

Janet Martin Soskice, "Imago Dei and sexual difference:  toward an eschatological anthropology" (orig. 2007), in Rethinking human nature:  a multidisciplinary approach, ed. Malcolm Jeeves (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2011), 302, 304-306 (295-306).

Karl Barth, CD III.2, -297- (§45.3) =KD III.2, -358- (§45.3), where there is a lot more in context:  "in this Synoptic passage Jesus certainly tells us that there will be no continuation of marriage but not that woman will not be woman in the resurrection. By His very negation He presupposes that men will still be men and women women. It cannot be otherwise. In the Syn. Theol. Leiden (1624, Disp. 51, 37) it is rightly observed that this is also demanded by the identity of the human subject in the two aeons. The determination as man or woman is not the least important of the conditiones individuantes of the human subject, so that if it were to lack in the resurrection the subject would no longer be this subject, and man would no longer be man. And in this case it would no longer be τὸ φθαρτὸν τοῦτο which in the resurrection puts on ἀφθαρσία, nor τὸ θνητὸν τοῦτο which puts on ἀθανασία (1 Cor. 15:53f.). Man would not be man if he were no longer male or female, if his humanity did not consist in this concrete fellow-humanity, in this distinction and connexion. He has lived in no other way in time, and he can live in no other way in eternity. This is something which he cannot lose. For by it there stands or falls his creatureliness. In relation to the goal of our existence in the future aeon we have thus no cause to doubt a statement which we formulated in relation to creation as its beginning. We have no cause not to see together the picture of Genesis 2 and that of the Song of Songs.
     "Why does it have to be as we have stated on the primary basis of these passages? Why do Genesis 2 and the Song of Songs give us this particular picture of man and his humanity? Our statement would seem at least to be rather fortuitous if we simply appealed to this Magna Carta in its twofold form, accepting the fact that this is what is actually written and not something else. Why do we read particularly that man is male or female, male and female? In fact, there is nothing fortuitous about it. It belongs to the very centre of Holy Scripture. It is necessarily grounded in the decisive content of the Word of God. We can thus see, and if we are to have a proper understanding we must see, that there can be no question of anything but what is actually there, and that we cannot possibly adopt any other view than that which we have actually adopted. We must now try to show why this is the case."

Johannes Polyander, Andreas Rivetus, Antonius Walaeus, and Anthonius Thysius, Synopsis purioris theologiae (1624) 51.37 (on p. 666 of the 1881 reprint ed. H. Bavinck) =Synopsis of a purer theology:  Latin text and English translation, vol. 3, Disputations 43-52, ed. & trans. Harm Goris, Riemer Faber, Andreas Beck, and William den Boer (Brill, 2020), pp. 556-559:  "And with the same Augustine we do not hesitate to assert that at the resurrection the difference between the sexes [(sexuum discrimen)] will remain.  This is rightly gathered from the fact that Christ, when he was asked whose wife she will be of the seven brothers who each had had her as spouse, did not state that there would be no women in the resurrection—which if that were true would have been a very short answer—but he stated only that there will be no marriages.  In fact, he even confirmed that the female sex [(sexum muliebrem)] will exist by saying 'they shall not be married,' which applies to women, and 'they shall not take as wives,' which applies to men.  Therefore, both those for whom it is customary here to be married, and those for whom it is customary here to take as their wives will exist, but they will not have marriages there (On the City of God, book 22, chapter 17).  And from this it follows that the same body in number must arise, as was demonstrated above, which would not be possible unless it had the same individual conditions, of which not the least is the determination of one's sex [(sexus determinatus)].  To this can be added the fact that at the resurrection the individual nature will not be done away with, nor the species in their perfection or wholeness, but only the defects of the nature, among which we should not put the difference between the sexes [(sexuum distinctio)]."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Suppl. III.81.3, trans. FEDP:  "I answer that, Just as considering the nature of the individual, a different quantity is due to different men, so also, considering the nature of the individual, a different sex is due to different men. Moreover, this same diversity is becoming to the perfection of the species, the different degrees whereof are filled by this very difference of sex and quantity. Wherefore just as men will rise again of various stature, so will they rise again of different sex. And though there be difference of sex, there will be no shame in seeing one another, since there will no lust to invite them to base deeds, which are the cause of shame."  And "Reply Obj. 3: Although the begetting of a woman is beside the intention of a particular nature, it is in the intention of universal nature, which requires both sexes for the perfection of the human species. Nor will any defect result from sex, as stated above (ad 2)."  Etc.

St. Augustine, City of God 22.17, trans. Dods:  "
From the words, 'Till we all come to a perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ,' and from the words, 'Conformed to the image of the Son of God,' some conclude that women shall not rise women, but that all shall be men, because God made man only of earth, and woman of the man.  For my part, they seem to be wiser who make no doubt that both sexes shall rise.  For there shall be no lust, which is now the cause of confusion.  For before they sinned, the man and the woman were naked, and were not ashamed.  From those bodies, then, vice shall be withdrawn, while nature shall be preserved.  And the sex of woman is not a vice, but nature.  It shall then indeed be superior to carnal intercourse and child-bearing; nevertheless the female members shall remain adapted not to the old uses, but to a new beauty, which, so far from provoking lust, now extinct, shall excite praise to the wisdom and clemency of God, who both made what was not and delivered from corruption what He made.  For at the beginning of the human race the woman was made of a rib taken from the side of the man while he slept; for it seemed fit that even then Christ and His Church should be foreshadowed in this event.  For that sleep of the man was the death of Christ, whose side, as He hung lifeless upon the cross, was pierced with a spear, and there flowed from it blood and water, and these we know to be the sacraments by which the Church is 'built up.'  For Scripture used this very word, not saying 'He formed' or 'framed,' but 'built her up into a woman;' whence also the apostle speaks of the edification of the body of Christ, which is the Church.  The woman, therefore, is a creature of God even as the man; but by her creation from man unity is commended; and the manner of her creation prefigured, as has been said, Christ and the Church.  He, then, who created both sexes will restore both.  Jesus Himself also, when asked by the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, which of the seven brothers should have to wife the woman whom all in succession had taken to raise up seed to their brother, as the law enjoined, says, 'Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.'  And though it was a fit opportunity for His saying, She about whom you make inquiries shall herself be a man, and not a woman, He said nothing of the kind; but 'In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.'  They shall be equal to the angels in immortality and happiness, not in flesh, nor in resurrection, which the angels did not need, because they could not die.  The Lord then denied that there would be in the resurrection, not women, but marriages; and He uttered this denial in circumstances in which the question mooted would have been more easily and speedily solved by denying that the female sex would exist, if this had in truth been foreknown by Him.  But, indeed, He even affirmed that the sex should exist by saying, 'They shall not be given in marriage,' which can only apply to females; 'Neither shall they marry,' which applies to males.  There shall therefore be those who are in this world accustomed to marry and be given in marriage, only they shall there make no such marriages."

Bibliography (Selected!), in progress (as read):

  • Heß, Ruth.  "»Es ist noch nicht erschienen, was wir sein werden.«  Biblisch-(de)konstruktivistische Anstöße zu einer entdualisierten Eschatologie der Geschlechterdifferenz."  In Alles in allem:  Eschatologische Anstöße:  J. Christine Janowski zum 60. Geburtstag, 291-323.  Neukirchen-Vluyn:  Neukirchener Verlag, 2005.