Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gregory on the failure to fish

"One might decide to suspend judgment about a given intellectual issue in disputeand indeed prudence often dictated the advisability of such a coursefor the sake of preserving concord in accordance with Christian caritas, for example, so that all that needed weighing could be weighed.  But neither prudence nor the suspension of judgment nor the yearning for civility could get round the principle of noncontradiction:  although two contrary claims might both be false, even the everlasting suspension of judgment could not make them both true."

     Brad S. Gregory, The unintended Reformation:  how a religious revolution secularized society (Cambridge and London:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012), 326.
     The principle of noncontradiction figures largely in this book.
     Yet (since Gregory makes this appeal to the principle of noncontradiction in the context of a discussion of the (far from necessarily contradictory) tension between the humanist and the scholastic approaches to learning) surely the humanists were not better at a determination of the precise sense in which one was or was not faced with contradiction than scholastics like Aquinas!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ben Jonson on abortion

Oh, you live at court,
And there's both loss of time and loss of sport
In a great belly.  Write then on thy womb
'Of the not born yet buried, here's the tomb.'

     Ben Jonson, "To Fine Lady Would-Be", "the court lady who's taken an abortion pill", as quoted by Brian Vickers in "At feud with sin," a review of the apparently magnificent Cambridge edition of the Works of Ben Jonson, ed. David Bevington, Martin Butler, & Ian Donaldson, 7 vols. (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2012), in the Times literary supplement, January 24, 2014, p. 5 (pp. 3-5).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Since friends have one mind and one heart, it does not seem that what one friend reveals to another is placed outside of his own heart".

     "Now he sets down the true sign of friendship on his own part, which is that all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.   For the true sign of friendship is that a friend reveals the secrets of his heart to his friend.  Since friends have one mind and one heart, it does not seem that what one friend reveals to another is placed outside of his own heart [(non videtur amicus extra cor suum ponere quod amico revelat)]:  'Argue your case with your neighbor [and do not reveal a secret to a stranger (causam tuam tracta cum amico tuo et secretum extraneo non reveles)]' (Pr 25:9).  Now God reveals his secrets to us by letting us share in his wisdom:  'In every generation she [Wisdom] passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God and prophets' (Wis 7:27)."

     St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John 15:15 =no. 2016 =cap. 15 lectio 3 (trans. Fabian Larcher, O.P., and James A Weisheipl, O.P., with introduction and notes by Daniel Keating & Matthew Levering (Washington, DC:  The Catholic University of America Press, 2010), vol. 3 (Chapters 13-21), p. 111, interpolations and underscoring mine).
     I was put onto this by Serge-Thomas Bonino, "Le rôle des apôtres dans la communication de la révélation, selon la Lectura super Ioannem de saint Thomas d'Aquin," Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 103, no. 4 (octobre-décembre 2002):  327-328 (317-350).