Thursday, December 24, 2009

Durand on Aquinas on the divine paternity as qualified by the divine innascibility (but not the reverse)

“For Thomas [(as distinguished from Richard of St. Victor, Bonaventure, etc.)], innascibility, being strictly negative, is a secondary property [(proprietas)]; it comes in solely to qualify the paternity of God[, which is primary]. Indeed, negation can express the dignitas characteristic of a property only in virtue of the affirmation on which it is founded. It is thus that innascibility presupposes paternity. To be sure, innascibility can seem more perfect than paternity, inasmuch as innascibility is utterly incommunicable, whereas paternity is in fact communicated to creatures. But if one attends to it, innascibility manifests in reality the incommunicable character of the divine paternity itself: the divine paternity is utterly unique and transcendent; only God the Father is therefore totally and uniquely Father, without having ever been [a] son--as Hilary, following Athanasius, had stressed so eloquently.  Innascibility expresses with great simplicity the incommunicability of the divine paternity.
“In its strictly negative sense, innascibility exercises, therefore, a corrective function with respect to all erroneous projection of human paternity onto God.”

     Fr. Emmanuel Durand, O.P., “Le Père en sa relation constitutive au Fils selon saint Thomas d’Aquin.” Revue thomiste 107, no. 1 (2007): 69 (47-72).  A difficult article, which I can't yet say I've mastered.  Cf.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grafton on the Liber locorum communium

"How better to put the case against the humanist practice of compiling commonplace books full of decontextualized quotations than to say that
like a good sausage machine, it rendered all texts, however dissimilar in origin or style, into a uniform body of spicy links that could add flavor to any meal--and whose origins did not always bear thinking about when one consumed them."
Keith Thomas, reviewing Anthony Grafton's What was history? The art of history in early modern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2007), in "Fighting over history," The New York review of books 56, no. 19 (December 3, 2009): 66.

Thomas on Grafton on the artes historicae

"then as now, it is doubtful whether the writers of historical theory influenced many of the leading historians of their own day.  The greatest histories written in the period, like Paolo Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent (1619) or Edward, Earl of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (1702-1704) owed nothing to the artes historicae.
"In the preface to his Histoire d'Angleterre (1724), the French Huguenot historian Paul de Rapin-Thoyras dismissed the prescriptions of the theorists as too vague and too contradictory to be of any practical use.  The only rules followed by the best historians were those of reason and common sense.  (In the same spirit Rapin's modern counterparts ignore the epistemological problems raised by such postmodernist writers as Jacques Derrida as irrelevant to the actual writing of history.)"

Keith Thomas, reviewing Anthony Grafton's What was history?  The art of history in early modern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2007), in "Fighting over history," New York review of books 56, no. 19 (December 3, 2009):  66.  "Grafton, however, maintains that the artes historicae deserve . . . 'another history,' one that places the emphasis on their connection with 'the practice of cutting-edge scholarship'", and stresses again "that the radical methodological innovations pioneered by Patrizi, Baudouin, Bodin, et al., 'intellectual earthquakes,' as he calls them, bore a close resemblance to the tenets of the new critical history propounded by Le Clerc and Perizonius at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and subsequently enshrined in the University of Göttingen's school of history, which, under the leadership of Johann Christian Gatterer, laid the foundations for the great nineteenth-century German tradition of disciplined historical research exemplified by giants like Leopold von Ranke and Theodor Mommsen.  'Bodin by himself,' Grafton claims, [following 'several of [his] predecessors',] 'adumbrated almost every element of Gatterer's new method'" (68).

A symbol of the unknown

"Take the Mass out of Christmas.  That will leave only a symbol of the unknown."

     Ralph McInerny, "Sealed with an X," The Catholic Thing, 17 November 2009.  (Those who rail against the use of Xmas forget what the X- (and the -mas) meant as early as 1551 in English.)