Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pseudo Justin on the ascension

"Why did He rise in the flesh in which He suffered, unless to show the resurrection of the flesh? And wishing to confirm this, when His disciples did not know whether to believe He had truly risen in the body, and were looking upon Him and doubting, He said to them, 'Ye have not yet faith, see that it is I;' and He let them handle Him, and showed them the prints of the nails in His hands. And when they were by every kind of proof persuaded that it was Himself, and in the body, they asked Him to eat with them, that they might thus still more accurately ascertain that He had in verity risen bodily; and He did eat honey-comb and fish. And when He had thus shown them that there is truly a resurrection of the flesh, wishing to show them this also, that it is not impossible for flesh to ascend into heaven (as He had said that our dwelling-place is in heaven), 'He was taken up into heaven while they beheld,' as He was in the flesh."

De resurrectione 9.5-8 (, a fragmentary 4th or 5th century treatise attributed to Justin Martyr, but probably "the work of a single author of the Aristotelian school" (ODCC, rev. 3rd ed. (2005), s.v. "Justin Martyr, St.").  I was first put onto this by A. Chollet in the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, vol. 3 (1908), col. 1894 (s.v. "Corps glorieux").
According to Quasten, the fragments came down to us via the Hiera or "Sacra Parallela of St. John Damascene" (vol. 1, p. 205), "Now lost in its original form" (ODCC, rev. 3rd ed. (2005), s.v. "John of Damascus, St.").
Critical edition is Martin Heimgartner, Pseudojustin, Über die Auferstehung: Text und Studie, Patristische Texte und Studien 54 (New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter, 2001), pp. 124-126.
"some honeycomb" (καὶ ἀπὸ μελισσίου κηρίου/κηρίον, "and [something] from a honeycomb"/"and a honeycomb from a bee-hive") is there in the apparatus to the critical editions of Lk 24:42, and the 3rd ed. of the GNT (though not the 27th ed. of NA) cites--for the reading with κηρίου--Justin, among others. It is there in the Authorized and some other versions, too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Calling fathers "father"

"while Mary’s motherhood is assimilated to the motherhood of the Church to the point of coinciding with it, Joseph’s fatherhood is never confused with the fatherhood of God. It is entirely a mystery of effacement before that from which it 'is named,' whereas motherhood is not named from anything else, but incarnates the human vocation and anticipates its fulfillment: 'Perfect image of the Church to come, dawn of the Church triumphant, [Mary] guides and sustains the hope of your pilgrim people,' as we hear in the preface to the feast of the Assumption.
"In order to understand why Mary’s motherhood and Joseph’s fatherhood are treated so differently, it is enough to remember that in Jesus' double filial relation to Mary and Joseph, there is only one incarnate filial relation, his relation to his Mother. Joseph’s fatherhood is only representative: in other terms, it is priestly. Human fatherhood and motherhood are of course both images of the unique fatherhood of God, but they are such asymmetrically. If Mary is in her motherhood a figure of the Church, Joseph in his turn is a figure of the priest, who effaces himself before Him whom he represents (that is, both Christ the High Priest and the Father whom he makes present—'Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father') and who, in effacing himself, communicates him sacramentally to men. . . .
"The spiritual reference to begetting from above, of which the heavenly Father alone is capable, confirms the ministerial status of human fatherhood. Far from it that man is unworthy of the name of 'father'; rather, he will be declared worthy of it on the condition that he knows to cede his place to an Other who is Father in the strong sense, begetting to his own life those who were born 'of blood and the flesh' (Jn 1:13). So that this begetting from 'above' (Jn 3:3) might be accomplished, the child will be entrusted to the Church, who will confer on it baptism, and the human parents, through the Christian education they will give to their progeny, will make themselves servants of God, helping the new child of the Father to live according to its new condition. In this perspective, human fatherhood and motherhood appear not as ends in themselves, but as mysteries of effacement before the fatherhood of God and the motherhood of the Church.
"That which exists at the heart of the family finds itself in yet clearer form in the traditional titles of address for priests or monks. It is striking that such men are all the more readily called 'Father' when, in the natural sense, they have no children. Because their fatherhood is not particularized on any individual, it can be a pure sign of the universal fatherhood of God: it is sign only in the total non-possession of one who is called in a vocation to beget no one, accepting to be nothing to anyone in order to be a sign of God for everyone."

     Jean-Pierre Batut, "Calling fathers 'father': usurping the name of God?," trans. Michelle K. Borras, Communio: international Catholic review 36, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 303-304, 307.  Cf. this.

Batut on some implications of Nicaea

“that which comes from God in his fatherhood is the capacity to give origin: proper and specific to the fatherhood of God is not ‘agenesis’ (the absence of an origin), but the fact of being the Source giving rise to other sources. . . .
“Why is God the source of all fatherhood? Precisely because he is more fundamentally Father (Origin) than Unbegotten (without origin). This affirmation was in substance that of the Council of Nicaea, which was convened in 325 to respond to one of the most serious heresies in the history of the Church.
“At the beginning of the fourth century, the Alexandrian priest Arius . . . presented the fact of being without origin as the quasi-definition of God. Unfortunately, the Word could not enter into this definition, since Jesus, the incarnate Word, ceaselessly affirms that he is originated by the Father. . . .
“Consequently, the begetting of the Word had to have been the fruit of a decision the Father made ‘one day’: it is an act of the will and not of nature. There was seen to be, then, no essential difference between the act by which God begot the Word and the act by which he created all things. The primacy of the Word on this understanding is fundamentally instrumental: he was willed with a view to creation, as the ‘firstfruits of the works of God’ (Pr 8:22). Hand in hand with this went the notion that, if God begot ‘one day,’ God was God before being Father: fatherhood is not essential to him. It is conceived according to the model of human fatherhood, and comes as an accidental relation to an already constituted subject. The fact of being Unbegotten alone is divine in God.
“The Council of Nicaea responded in 325 to this radical calling into question of the Christian faith, with the affirmation that God is not first he who is without origin, but he who gives origin, in other words, the Father. . . .
“For Nicaea, fatherhood and sonship are constitutive of the Christian faith: there is in God He who is nothing but Fatherhood, and He who is nothing but Sonship. Unlike what happens with us, the Son will never become Father. Whereas, in our human experience, filiation and fatherhood are stages we pass through (for fatherhood itself is superceded when the child becomes father in turn), in God, they are persons, the Trinity’s subsistent modalities of being.
“In the light of this fatherhood and sonship, the finality of creation reveals itself to be entirely filial, in the face of a divine action that is paternal from the first instant. There is in God no change, no passage from less to more: with respect to us, he does not become father; it is we who become his children. This is why, when we say, ‘I believe in God the Father almighty, Creator . . .’, the distinction between ‘Father’ and ‘Creator’ is very largely conceptual. It means that he who is Father in himself manifests himself as Creator with regard to ourselves, in order to raise us up in the end, in his Son and by the gift of the Spirit, to the filial condition he willed for us from all eternity.”

Jean-Pierre Batut, "Calling fathers 'father': usurping the name of God?," trans. Michelle K. Borras, Communio: international Catholic review 36, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 299-301. This in response to Claude Bruaire, who claims that "it is by a clear theomorphism that every procreator usurps the divine Name" (La raison politique (Paris: Fayard, 1974), 261, as quoted on p. 298 (italics mine)).

Batut on the essence of paganism

"Paganism is characterized less by the plurality of gods than by the impossibility of conceiving an authentic relation of creation between God and the world, which alone would allow us to affirm both that creation bears the mark of God and that God nonetheless transcends all that exists."

Jean-Pierre Batut, "Calling fathers 'father': usurping the name of God?," trans. Michelle K. Borras, Communio: international Catholic review 36, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 295-296.