Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity

"As I look at the town now, dwindling without grace, I think how strange that lives were lost in its formation."

Judge Antone Bazil Coutts in Louise Erdrich's The plague of doves, as quoted by Claire Messud, "Blood relations," New York review of books 55, no. 12 (July 17, 2008): 38.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Speaking of fifth-rate minds like mine (and first-rate minds, too)

"If [the flight from understanding] never refuses to supply superficial minds with superficial positions, it is quite competent to work out a philosophy so acute and profound that the elect strive in vain and for centuries to lay bare its real inadequacies."

Bernard Lonergan, Insight: a study of human understanding (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1958 [1957]), xii.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Prometheus as type

You see me a wretched God in chains,
the enemy of Zeus, hated of all
the Gods that enter Zeus's palace hall,
because of my excessive love for Man.

Aeschylus, Prometheus bound, trans. David Grene, ll. 120-124. Cf. also ll. 11, 28-30, and elsewhere.

Ganoczy on fifth-rate amateurs such as myself

"In spite of the weakness of his argument, Calvin does not seem to have met anyone at Lausanne capable of contradicting him. . . . Neither in Lausanne nor in any other place later on did Calvin confront a truly worthy representative of traditional theology, or at least a theologian capable of resisting him and proving to him the solid foundation of the essential doctrines of the Catholic tradition. The absence of a worthy opponent who was at least equal if not superior to Calvin was to play an important role in the reformer's rapid and unhindered turn toward positions that were objectively heterodox."

Alexandre Ganoczy, The young Calvin, trans. David Foxgrover and Wade Provo (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1987 [1966]), 110.