Saturday, August 16, 2008

Boersma on Radical Orthodoxy's rejection of boundaries

“this opposition to divinely ordained determinacy with regard to bodily gender can only proceed by disregarding divine prohibitions. Veritatis Splendor repeatedly insists that ‘the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the ‘creativity’ of any contrary determination whatsoever.’”

Hans Boersma, “On the rejection of boundaries: Radical Orthodoxy’s appropriation of St. Augustine,” Pro ecclesia 15, no. 4 (Fall 2006): 444. This entire article is just fabulous.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Faur on the Judeo-Christian distinction

"Only a mythological deity leaves traces of its presence. The God of Israel, even when performing the most astounding miracles, leaves no evidence of His presence. . . . In this fashion God, author of the universe, simultaneously bestows existence to the universe and covers His traces 'out of existence'."

     Jose Faur, as quoted by David Burell, CSC, "Maimonides, Aquinas and Ghazali: distinguishing God from the world," Scottish journal of theology 61, no. 3 (2008): 271. Some qualifications are in order here, but there is an orthodox sense in which this is quite true. (Faur isn't denying the reality of divine action.)

Maimonides on the order of creation

"Let no one think that in the days of the Messiah any of the laws of nature will be set aside, nor any innovation be introduced into creation."

Maimonides, Mishneh Torah 1.12.1 (A Maimonides reader, ed. Isadore Twersky (New York: Berhman House, 1972), 224), as quoted by David Burrell, CSC, "Maimonides, Aquinas and Ghazali: distinguishing God from the world," Scottish journal of theology 61, no. 3 (2008): 278. Burrell cites also Guide 2.29.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Berger on the point of Peter's uncomprehending outburst

"There is a tendency in German homiletic literature, and in the commonly accepted approach to this text, to see the desire to build three huts as an expression of Peter's sense of well-being; and this in sharp contrast to the Passion that is now beginning. But this cannot be the case: the voice from heaven must be understood rather as a sharp correction of precisely this statement from Peter. The point of Peter's 'uncomprehending' answer is revealed clearly in the complete equality with which he treats Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. If each one of them receives a dwelling, then these three authorities will live and speak, teach and die, next door to one another in three similar houses of instruction. For the 'tent' or 'hut' or 'house' or 'dwelling' is not intended for their private lives, but rather as the place for receiving revelation and for an enduring and repeated encounter with God, as was the tent of Moses during the Exodus from Egypt. It is only from this perspective that the statements make sense.
"The meaning of the heavenly voice's correction, then, is this: only the Son, only Jesus Christ is appointed mediator between God and man. Only he speaks legitimately about God. And when the voice from heaven says, 'listen to him,' then this also means that Jesus is the one who legitimately interprets the entire revelation of Scripture, of the Old Testament", Law (Moses) and Prophets (Elijah) alike.

Klaus Berger, "The Transfiguration of Jesus," trans. Nicholas J. Healy III, Communio: international Catholic review 35, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 76-77, emphasis mine. The reference is to Mk 9:5-8 and parallels. Interesting, then, that in Luke Peter says this "as [Moses and Elijah] were parting from [Jesus]", almost as if to keep them there! (The Synoptics, by contrast, are careful to stress that the disciples are left with "Jesus only" (Mk 9:8, Mt 17:8; Lk 9:36).)