Saturday, August 30, 2014

Divine revelation doesn't diminish us; it blows the lid off of every anthropology we have ever arrived at, or been capable of "living up to," on our own

"we don't know what we are."  But "God knows us in ways we cannot know ourselves, and ... values us in ways we cannot value ourselves or one another...."

     Marilynne Robinson, "The human spirit and the good society," in When I was a child I read books (New York:  Picador; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), 162-163.

     "What would a secular paraphrase of this [(the opening)] sentence [(of the Declaration of Independence)] look like?  In what non-religious terms is human equality self-evident? . . . What would be the nonreligious equivalent for the assertion that individual rights are sacrosanct in every case?  Every civilization, including this one, has always been able to reason its way to ignoring or denying the most minimal claims to justice in any form that deserves the name.  The temptation is always present and powerful because the rationalizations are always ready to hand."
     Robinson makes the point that Jefferson appeals to "self-eviden[ce]" while slipping "the language and assumptions" of Judeo-Christian revelation in by the back door, and that "if he could have articulated the idea as or more effectively in other terms, he would have done it" (162).
     "gratia non tollit naturam, sed perficit" (Thomas Aquinas, Super Sent., lib. 2 d. 9 q. 1 a. 8 arg. 3).  (For what very little it is worth, I haven't yet been able to turn up a single occurrence of the exact phrase "gratia non tollit" in the Calvini Opera Database.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Prenter in 1958

     "The moment liturgy is no longer the corporal form of dogma it has lost its proper significance and objectivity.  The sole criterion to which it remains accountable is the subjective one, the arbitrariness of the individual.  The religious service is elaborated according to the principle, 'This suits me the best!' ('me' being the pastor), or 'This is the kind [of worship] the people love best these days.'"

Because I've translated this fairly loosely, I give the French:

     "Quand la liturgie n'est plus la forme corporelle du dogme, elle a perdu à la fois son sens propre et son caractère d'objectivité.  Le seul critère auquel elle demeure soumise est le critère subjectif, l'arbitraire individuel.  Le service religieux s'élabore d'après le principe: «C'est ainsi que cela me convient le mieux!» (moi, c'est-à-dire le pasteur), ou:  «C'est la forme que les gens aiment le mieux de nos jours.»"

     Regin Prenter, "Liturgie et dogme," Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuses 38, no. 2 (1958):  125 (115-128).
     In the paragraphs that follow, Prenter is especially concerned with 3) aesthetic dilettantism, 4) the archaeological folly, and 5) historical exactitude at any price, in addition to the 1) subjectivism (or arbitrariness) and 2) sentimentality of preference, whether individualistic or fully corporate (for nos. 3-5 are but specific forms of nos. 1-2).
     So, annoyed by (say) the Danish obsession with "«lithurgie»" ("with [a] 'th'"), he wasn't really addressing even the 60s yet, except in principle, that of the inseparability of liturgy from dogma and dogma from liturgy, according to which nos. 3-5 are no less subjective and arbitrary than the most inane forms of worship-band music in the present.
     And then, beyond that point, it gets even more involved, such that one gets almost an entire "dogmatics in outline".

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Fathers of the English Dominican Province . . .

. . .  were really only Laurence Shapcote, 1864-1947 (Thomistica, citing Fergus Kerr, "Comment:  The Shapcote translation," New Blackfriars 92, no. 1041 (September 2011):  519-520:  "it was done by Laurence Shapcote alone, in very austere conditions, on the Rand and in Natal, doggedly translating his way through the major works of St Thomas").  But this is pretty common knowledge (easily discoverable via Google Books, for example).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"We do not believe in dogma, but in the living God. More precisely, . . . we believe from within dogma or through/by means of dogma."

"Nous ne croyons pas au dogme, mais au Dieu vivant.  Plus exactement, . . . nous croyons dans le dogme ou par le dogme."

     Regin Prenter, "Liturgie et dogme," Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuses 38, no. 2 (1958):  125 (115-128).

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace."

"Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."
  • Heb 12:1-2, RSV:  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."  Note that this follows immediately upon chap. 11, that great list of those who, for "things not seen" but "hoped for" (because set before them), endured very much.  For the connection between the cross and glory, see, besides the Gospel of John 17:1-5, 24 and passim, Lk 24:26; Rom 5:1-5; 8:18; 1 Pet 1:11, 21; 4:13-14; 5:1; and Rev 5:12.  That between the cross (or death) and life is of course pervasive.  The combination "life and peace" occurs in Rom 8:6.
  • 1549:  "exhort[ation]" to "the sicke person", "order for the visitacion of the sicke", Booke of the common prayer:  "For he himselfe wente not up to ioy, but firste he suffered payne:  he entred not into his glory, before he was crucified.  So truely our waye to eternall ioy is to suffre here with Christe, and our doore to entre into eternal life:  is gladly to dye with Christe, that we may ryse againe from death, and dwell with him in euerlasting life" (The first and second prayer books of Edward VI, Everyman's Library 448 (London:  J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd; New York:  E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1910), 261; The book of common prayer:  the texts  of 1549, 1559, and 1662, ed. Brian Cummings (Oxford:  Oxford University press, 2011), 75, where "joy" rather than "ioy" is given).
  • 1882:  "For the Monday before Easter" ("Compiled from the Visitation Office"), Rev. Dr. William Reed Huntington (27 July), Materia ritualis:  an appendix to a paper on "The revision of the common prayer" in the American church review for April 1881 (Worcester [NY]: Press of Charles Hamilton, 1882).
  • 1885:  "For Patience under Suffering," "Prayers . . . upon Several Occasions," The Book [of common prayer] annexed to the report of the Joint Committee on the Book of common prayer as modified by the action of the General Convention of MDCCCLXXXIII (General Convention, 1885), 49.
  • 1886:  William Reed Huntington, The book annexed:  its critics and its prospects.  Three papers (New York, 1886), 67.
  • 1892:  rejection of occasional prayer under "For Patience under Suffering" under 1885, above?
  • 1905 April 11:  "It delights me to have you refer in such terms to the Collect which ought to have got into the Prayer Book at the Revision, but failed to do so.  I was told, at the time, that the failure was due to a criticism of some of your erudite brethren of the House of Bishops, to the effect that the prayer savored of the Kenotic theory.  This was too much for me.  Shall I shock you if I say that the criticism suggested, to my mind the Kenotic condition of the critics’ heads?" (the Rev. Dr. William Reed Huntington to Bishop Hall in a letter reproduced on p. 432 of  John Wallace Suter, Life and letters of William Reed Huntington:  a champion of unity (New York:  Century, 1925)).  I have not yet mined the other references to this prayer that occur in (e.g.) The Hathi Trust.
  • 1928:  collect for the Monday before Easter, American Book of common prayer.
  • 1979:  collect for the Monday before Easter; station collect, Palm Sunday; collect for Fridays, Morning prayer, American Book of common prayer.
  • 1992:  collect for the Tuesday of Holy Week, The United Methodist book of worship, where it reads as follows:  "Holy and compassionate God, your dear Son went not up to joy before he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified.  Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it the way of life and peace; through" (346).
Bibliography:  Shepherd (1950), 138; & Hatchett (1980), 125; Prayer book parallels, vol. 1, p. 20.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"the loss of Moses was the defeat of Jesus, insofar as it was the hope of Jesus to bless and relieve the poor."

     Marilynne Robinson, "The fate of ideas:  Moses," in When I was a child I read books (New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), 109 (95-124).