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Theoretical Philosophy » Book on Byzantine reception of Aquinas » 10/15/2018 6:01 am

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This collection of essays on the  Byzantine translations and reception of the work of Thomas Aquinas may be of interest to some here:

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2018/2018-10-26.html

From the review: "The chapters also contribute to the demolition of two ideas that have dominated discussion of Latins and Greeks for far too long. First, the authors demonstrate convincingly that there is no fundamental incompatibility between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic thought, in spite of common claims to the contrary that western, "Augustinian" theology cannot be reconciled with the thought of the Cappadocian Fathers and their successors in Byzantium. Second, the authors reveal a real dialogue between Greek and Latin theologians in the late Byzantine period that belies the widely assumed and often stated idea that some sort of methodological difference between Orthodox theology and Roman Catholic theology, especially after the development of Latin Scholasticism, rendered attempts at communication between the two sides an exercise in futility."

Religion » What About Catholicism? » 10/13/2018 7:34 pm

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IOW they are all of them human constructions. They are all just a book.

 

Religion » The Problem of the Trinity and Divine Simplicity » 9/28/2018 8:35 am

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John West wrote:

You see, I have no idea how to square this explanation with divine simplicity. 

Aquinas often says that God is "omnino simplex," "entirely simple." He seeks to square that doctrine with the doctrine of the Trinity by defining "simple" as "lacking parts," as not being composite. So within God Aquinas says that there are real distinctions, not mere distinctions in name or "de ratione." But distinctions are not parts. Lack of composition is not lack of distinction. So God is entirely simple because He consists of no parts, and is really Triune because He has three real distinctions, such that properties of one distinction or "person" are not predicated of the other two.

I think the question is, if some x has real internal distinctions, does it have parts? I suspect the answer will depend on how one defines terms, and that will depend on other commitments one has made.

Religion » Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism? » 9/03/2018 8:14 pm

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Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Judaism (by which I mean Orthodox Judaism - the only type I would consider) is somewhat less open to converts, and, for adult males, conversion is somewhat daunting.

Hello Jeremy, not being Jewish, I don't have skin in the game directly. But I'm wondering why you wouldn't consider, say, the Conservative Movement. They hold that the written Torah is divine, but that later rabbinical tradition of interpretation is historically conditioned, and therefore, can be changed by rabbis today. They do not find sufficient evidence for the thesis that the oral Torah invoked by the Orthodox does in fact have Mosaic authority.


 

Chit-Chat » Ontology Reading Group FAQ » 9/03/2018 8:22 am

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Just in case this newly announced volume may be of interest to anyone, I'm posting in the reference:

Chiaradonna, Riccardo, Filippo Forcignanò and Franco Trabattoni (ed.).Ancient ontologies: contemporary debates.Discipline filosofiche, XXVIII:I. Macerata: Quodlibet, 2018. 256 p. €20,00 (pb). ISBN 9788822902214.

Religion » Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence? » 8/20/2018 9:26 am

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Tristram Shandy is on my bucket list shelf, too. I was about to tackle it when I was working on authorial voice in fiction. But now on other stuff, and TS will have to wait.

Religion » Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence? » 8/19/2018 10:44 am

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119 wrote:

Dave, You could have cracked a good joke: “Hey 119, do you ever have any thoughts you don’t write? You’re like Laurence Sterne without all that ‘genius’ baggage.”  (I know. Pray for my wife.)

... snip...  I know that I shed more heat than light. To paraphrase Evelyn Waugh, being a Noahide is the only thing keeping me human.

I enjoy and learn from what you write. But to your last - negative. You are already human, Noahide or not! (yes, I know we're not using terms univocally here...)
 

Religion » Did Paul believe in a spiritual or physical resurrection? » 8/18/2018 10:00 am

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A thorough analysis of Paul's discussions of the resurrection body, esp. in I Cor 15, is made by E.P. Sanders, Paul: The Apostle’s Life, Letters and Thought (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publ. 2015). On Paul’s discussion of resurrection body, 375-401. Sanders makes a very strong case, with which I agree, that Paul presents the resurrected body both of Jesus, and of believers at the Parousia, as a NEW pneumatic body and NOT identical to the flesh and blood/bone body, the soul body. It is worth noting that Sanders like many assumes that Paul derives views about resurrection from his pharisaic background, but Sanders also emphasizes that Paul's experiences of whom he considered his risen Lord must also have strongly impacted his descriptions of the resurrected body.

In this Sanders is in line with Alan F. Segal, to whom I referred in Roman Joe's other thread.

Neither man gets into the question, did Paul believe Jesus' fleshy body was still in the grave at the times when the risen Jesus appeared to him and other disciples. I myself don't see that question touched on explicitly in Paul's letters. But to suppose that a corpse was in the grave while the resurrected pneumatic body was walking and appearing seems inconsitent with the meaning of ἐγείρω and with the imagery of "putting on" immorality.

Religion » Did Paul believe in a spiritual or physical resurrection? » 8/16/2018 7:40 pm

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One of the problems is, how do we know what the Pharisees believed before Paul, when the so-called genuine epistles of Paul are older than our other sources about the Pharisees? We can't tout court read purported descriptions of Pharisaical beliefs from the gospels or Acts back to a time before Paul. Josephus says in BG 2.163 (shorter in AJ 18.14) that the Pharisees held that every soul is immortal, but the soul of the good alone passes to another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment (tr. Thackeray). That doctrine is very different from resurrection of the flesh and blood body. Josephus only says of the Sadducees that they in turn deny that the soul persists after death. 2 Maccabees 7:9 says the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever, but this neither specifies the soul-body relation, nor does it mention pneuma, nor does it attach this belief to Pharisees. 7:23 seems consistent with the view that God will constitute a new body OR that God will do something to the dead body.  The best evidence for a belief in resurrection I have seen in 2 Macc 12:43-44, where Judas is said to expect the fallen soldiers to rise again (BTW this is a proof text for Purgatory, since it mentions prayer for the dead). But no detail is given about a one-body vs two-body conception. And again, it's another matter to connect 2 Macc with Pharisees.

And as I said, other premises have to be established as fairly secure before we can conclude securely that  if Pharisees held X, Paul held X. After all, as a heretic and/or schismatic from the POV of the Judaism in which he was trained, Paul did not agree with Pharisees on every point. So we need to have a basis for establishing points on which we think Paul did agree. An appeal to Acts is helpful but again runs into problems of chronology and other matters.

 

Religion » Did Paul believe in a spiritual or physical resurrection? » 8/16/2018 5:12 am

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I think from verses such as Johannes quoted, and others, it is clear that what happens in Jesus' resurrection will happen in the resurrection of those who believe in Jesus. 

I seem to see an assumption that Second Temple Judaism believed in resurrection of properties X, so therefore Paul believed in resurrection of properties X. That assumption itself rests on other assumptions further back, and I at least would like to hear more about the evidence for what those assumptions seem to be. Just off the top of my head:
1 that there was a uniform religious "ideology" that dominated all Judaism that accepted the legitimacy of the 2nd Temple, in the years maybe from the Maccabees to the Roman suppression of the revolt in 68-73/4;
2. that we know what its tenets were about resurrection;
3. that Paul subscribed to those tenets;
4. that our conclusions about 1-3 and perhaps other positions fix our interpretation of Paul's epistles

If my 1. is too broadly formulated, then I am left thinking that the construct, "Second Temple Judaism," is too broadly formulated.

ETA: I also think it's important to be precise about what we mean by "spiritual resurrection" in contrast to physical or bodily resurrection. As I understand it, a claim that Paul has a "two-body" conception of resurrection can be a claim that Paul:
A. thought Jesus' flesh body remained in the grave while Jesus' pneumatic body walked around, OR
B. thought the flesh body turned into a pneumatic body, leaving no remains in the grave, OR
C. thought the pneumatic body walked around but that Paul did not consider what remains may have remained in the grave.
 

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