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Plato or Aristotle?

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Poll Question: Would you describe yourself as more of a Platonist or an Aristotelian?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
9 [45.00%]
9 [45.00%]
2 [10.00%]
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    Posted: 06 Jun 2010 at 06:46

I hope that you will forgive me for raising one of the oldest--and most hackneyed--questions in the field of philosophy, and that you will excuse me on the grounds that I am attempting to use this revoltingly oversimplistic question to highlight a discussion that is worth having. For you see, I would actually like to see you explain your vote, rather than just register it. What do the terms "Platonist" and "Aristotelian" mean to you? How do you understand your own relationship to them? And why do you feel a connection to one rather than the other? If you are unable to make the distinction, please research the two centerpieces of Raphael's masterpiece. And please do not simply pick "Other" to be clever or different. Try to fit yourself into one of the first two categories, and only choose "Other"--which I expect you to explain--if and after that fails.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing some erudite discussion on this one. Smile
 
-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 06 Jun 2010 at 06:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2010 at 11:34
Off the cuff:
 
Plato's central doctrine, that of the Ideal, and that all phenomena are merely weak approximations to deals, manifests itself in politic and history in the belief that all human institutions are constantly in a state of decaying, and that it is necessary to prevent further change and indeed to return as close as possible to his ideal state.
 
This is one in which everyone knows the place he was born to, and sticks to it, and everyone's first duty is to the State. Essentially Plato's Republic is a blue print for every totalitarian state that has emerged since.
 
Aristotle on the other hand studies at length the history of the political institutions of his day seeking lessons as to which form of government is best for the citizens. The Politics is not a dogmatic document that says 'this is the only true way to organise society' but a collection of instances for empirical study.
 
As a foundation for liberal social engineering this was a good start.
 
In areas outside politics Plato's ideas of the Ideal and the Real are in my view rubbish, whereas Aristotle, though frequently mistaken, at least tries to build his arguments on the basis of his empirical perceptions.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 12:57
What gcle2003 said.
 
I enjoy reading Plato a lot more, since he is so outlandish, while Aristotle though boring at least makes sense.
 
I remember we had some good laughs reading Plato back in Uni. A friend of mine parodied Plato's way of reasoning in 'Menon' by extrapolating from his shoe laces that humans have an immortal soul.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 13:23
Other, since they are both monists. I'll take Leucippus.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ziegenbartami Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 17:35
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Plato's central doctrine, that of the Ideal, and that all phenomena are merely weak approximations to deals, manifests itself in politic and history in the belief that all human institutions are constantly in a state of decaying, and that it is necessary to prevent further change and indeed to return as close as possible to his ideal state.
 
This is one in which everyone knows the place he was born to, and sticks to it, and everyone's first duty is to the State. Essentially Plato's Republic is a blue print for every totalitarian state that has emerged since.
 
Aristotle on the other hand studies at length the history of the political institutions of his day seeking lessons as to which form of government is best for the citizens. The Politics is not a dogmatic document that says 'this is the only true way to organise society' but a collection of instances for empirical study.

The Republic and Politics being the only works from either philosopher I've read, I agree with this statement, and therefore voted Aristotle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2010 at 19:43
Aristotle here
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2010 at 00:50
Well, I suppose in accordance with the guidelines I set out I should defend my choice: Plato.

Well, there are several reasons I would consider myself a Platonist, although I vacillate between various forms of Platonism. It might help if I took the reasons for my allegiance one by one.

First, I am a Christian, and so influenced by a tradition of Logos dating back to Heraclitus which, I believe, finds its most comprehensive pre-Incarnational expression in the philosophy of Plato. In this, of course, I am following Saint Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, the Cappadocians (particularly Gregory of Nyssa), and Augustine. There is, however a distinction that needs to be drawn between the neo-Platonism of, say, an Augustine, and the more classical--if less complete--expression that is found in a Justin Martyr. Still, I believe that the mystical inclinations of Platonic philosophy--including the distinction between perceptibles and intelligibles, the idea of communing with and participating in the Forms, and the superiority of Platonic dialectic to empyrical analysis--more fully account for the theological world than the more mundane perspective of Aristotle, whether in his classical form or through the Scholastic redux.

Second, I think that the balance between completeness and accuracy in Plato is more valid. Put another way I feel that Platonic thought, in most all of it's incarnations--excepting, perhaps, the skepticism of part of the Middle Academy--is a better tool for analyzing the human experience than Aristotle's more comprehensive system. As has been noted already, when Plato is wrong, he is obviously--often ridiculously--wrong, and the mistake may usually be rooted out be a further advancement in dialectic. When Aristotle is wrong, however, his mistake is part of a much broader system, and rooting it out can be not only difficult but detrimental to the system as a whole. Part of this, I feel, is a result of a humility that I find in Plato and feel is absent from Aristotle: when Plato feels something is a mystery, he will come out and state precisely that.

Third, while I do feel that Aristotle gives a more comprehensive explanation of the human person, I feel that Plato touches more on the issues of the different forces that are active in each human in terms of the passions, and thus is more useful from a practical perspective. I also confess that Plato's society, while profoundly anti-egalitarian, outlines the question of what sort of society would allow a good man to most fully become a good man, whereas Aristotle, I feel, is unjustifiably optimistic on this score.

Finally, while I respect Aristotle's approach to ontology through causation, I think that Platonic, and specifically neo-Platonic, ontology is a better description--albeit a mystical one which requires a good deal of abstraction--of the world as we find it. Minus the doctrine of emanation that we find in Plotinus, I do find myself enamoured of the hierarchy of Being. In addition, I feel that the Divided Line is, as both an epistemological and an ontological system, the best way of working out the different facets of our experience and knowledge of being.

All that said, a combination of both systems--and their expressions throughout the course of intellectual history--is required for the most full and accurate exercise of reason in a productive fashion. With regard to Aristotle, I think Thomas Aquinas did the best job of fleshing out the ultimate and inevitable conclusions of his extremely systematic mind, and in the process fixed a number of errors. I'm not surprised that in an increasingly empirical world the majority of people prefer the Philosopher to the King of Philosophers; I am a bit surprised by the form that preference has taken in some cases. I think it would be a bit reckless to hold the foundation of modern western thought, personified in Plato, in parody and contempt.

-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 09 Jun 2010 at 00:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2010 at 01:50
I made the decision, initially, not to post a comment in this thread. I figured it was much too deep and, well, anything I could possibly say about it would be over-simplified. And by the rules of the discussion, I felt that having to choose between either Plato or Aristotle made it a discussion not worth having.
 
However, it occurs to me now that the initial reason I chose not to participate is the exact reason that convinced to comment: It's a hard question; for even those members who either chose Plato or Aristotle, I can confidently believe that they agree with at least some, if not a great deal, of the other.
 
With that, I chose Plato. Again, risking a severe degree of over-simplification, I think the Platonic view of the world lines up with the Christian one rather well. Of course, this is no coincidence; as Ako has rightly pointed out, one can find the influential Neoplatonism in a number of eastern and western fathers alike (Tertullian rolls in his grave!Wink). One good passage of scripture I think serves here: "For now we see through a glass, darkly..." (1 Corinthians 13:12)
This view of St. Paul's, and that of Plato's, are very similiar. Drawing from the Allegory of the Cave in The Republic, one finds that there are certain degrees that can be perceived and understood by humans.
Porphyry (a philosopher who wrote erudite treatises against the Christians) tells us that Plotinus, his Master, has experienced direct union with God four times in the six years he was his disciple. This sort of thing was seen as a direct experience with reality. Christians view things in a very similiar way. However holy and in communion with God we may be here on Earth, it's just not the same as experiencing ultimate reality. Of course, Aristotle thought of things in a different way, and Christians don't believe in any sort of concrete Platonic Forms, but one can see that the Christian worldview has more in common with the Platonic way of thinking about these things.
 
Now, on to why this was such a hard question. I think Aristotle's explanation for a thing in regards to it's causation was brilliant. The way he laid these things out really made it easier (if that can be said) to start breaking these things down. His classifications lead the way, one could argue, to later developments that stressed classification. And while Hume tried to attack the ideas of cause and effect (and in many ways he was successful), we today still use the Aristotelian Causes to identify things, even if we don't really notice it.   
 
I chose Plato, and I'm comfortable with that, but it's fortunate for us as a people that we don't need to choose between the two; for if we did, the world as we know it would be a much less-enlightened and more dull place.
 
-arch.buff


Edited by arch.buff - 10 Jun 2010 at 01:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2010 at 12:31
It seems reasonable to suggest that Christianity is what resuts if you cross Plato with Judaism.
 
I'm tempted to explore the possibility that Islam is what results if you cross Aristotle with Judaism. Ermm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2010 at 20:42
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

It seems reasonable to suggest that Christianity is what resuts if you cross Plato with Judaism.
 
I'm tempted to explore the possibility that Islam is what results if you cross Aristotle with Judaism. Ermm
 
Now, now graham. As we all know, Plato stole the majority of his more salient doctrines from the Old Testament. Tongue
 
-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 10 Jun 2010 at 20:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2010 at 09:18
That would make my point, wouldn't it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2010 at 22:27
Depends which of the fathers you ask. Wink

As for the rest of it, I do understand your objections to what has been identified as a profoundly aristocratic, elitist bias that runs through Plato. That said, how would you compare the functionality of the social and political systems of the two, both from an ancient and from a modern perspective? And also, could it not be that Plato's anti-democratic bias is a result of the Greek tendency to look at the question of the "good man" in terms of what society would help him to realize the fullest measure of his goodness?

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2010 at 22:30
arch.buff,

Have you read Bradshaw's book re. the way Aristotle was read in the East and West? And if so, could you recommend it?

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2010 at 10:30
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Depends which of the fathers you ask. Wink

As for the rest of it, I do understand your objections to what has been identified as a profoundly aristocratic, elitist bias that runs through Plato. That said, how would you compare the functionality of the social and political systems of the two, both from an ancient and from a modern perspective?
Plato believed he knew the answers, Aristotle didn't. For Plato the State is pre-eminent over the individual, whereas Aristotle kicks off his whole study with
Quote
Every state is a community of some kind, and every community is established with a view to some good; for mankind always acts in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all communities aim at some good, the state or political community, which is the highest of all, and which embraces all the rest, aims at good in a greater degree than any other, and at the highest good.
There is a significant difference between aiming at the highest good, and being the highest good.
 
But my views on much of Aristotle are at: http://www.cleverley.org/areopagus/docs/aristotle/arimain.html
Quote
And also, could it not be that Plato's anti-democratic bias is a result of the Greek tendency to look at the question of the "good man" in terms of what society would help him to realize the fullest measure of his goodness?
I think that tendency is present in Aristotle, but it was the other was around for Plato, who believed the highest role for an individual was to serve the State, by preventing its decay and possibly returning it closer to what he saw as the ideal (and Ideal).  



Edited by gcle2003 - 12 Jun 2010 at 10:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kruska Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2010 at 11:09
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

......... And also, could it not be that Plato's anti-democratic bias is a result of the Greek tendency to look at the question of the "good man" in terms of what society would help him to realize the fullest measure of his goodness?

-Akolouthos
Hello Akolouthos,
 
I would say that you have answerd the question with your above questioning Big smile
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2010 at 16:57
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

arch.buff,

Have you read Bradshaw's book re. the way Aristotle was read in the East and West? And if so, could you recommend it?

-Akolouthos
 
Ako,
 
Sorry in taking so long in responding. Doesn't a camping trip seem all the less worthwhile when you don't catch any fish?
 
Anyhow, as it turns out, I actually already kind of recommended Bradshaw's work (Aristotle East and West) some time ago in the "God and Harvard" thread. That recommendation, however, didn't come out of any sort of overall agreement with Bradshaw's main point -- that East and West think of God in fundamentally different ways -- but, rather, came from the assurance that you would, after reading his work, become familiar with some of the Orthodox viewpoints regarding Catholic and Orthodox doctrinal differences. Personally, I think you should read his work with the realization that B. doesn't always seem objective in dealing with the issues; generally speaking, he deals with eastern sources with much more care than he does with western ones.
 
One thing I will say is that B. really does a good job of showing Aristotle's influence on Byzantine thought. That sort of concept has been lost on many scholars, to the point where it seems a bias has formed for Western scholastics being much more superior to Byzantine thinkers. This just isn't the case, and B. shows that. However, through B.'s attempt to make his point, he treats sources such as St. Thomas with sometimes careless abandon (something that I think we can all agree one cannot do, especially a thinker such as Aquinas).
 
Here's a couple of good book reviews that may give you a sense of what to expect.
 
 
 
-arch.buff


Edited by arch.buff - 14 Jun 2010 at 16:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2010 at 17:12
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Have you read Bradshaw's book re. the way Aristotle was read in the East and West? And if so, could you recommend it?
 
It is a very good book and highly recommended! Wink
 
As a matter of fact, Prof. Bradshaw gave a lecture once in our historiography seminar at school.  He is a very nice person in addition to knowing his stuff. 
 
Since he is Eastern Orthodox, his sympathies are in that general direction, although he gives Augustine and Aquinas a fair shake.  One of the main focuses of the book is the essence/energy conflict within Eastern and Western theology.
 
I voted for Plato because I like his explanation of the Forms.  I very well could have voted Other since I also like Plotinus.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2010 at 18:30
Ako,
 
I just read through this discussion again, and I came across some of your words that I must have skipped over the first time around. Your quote gets to the heart of your request of recommendation for Bradshaw. As you know, part of Bradshaw's title to his book is Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom. His view is the view shared by his fellow "Traditionalists" (as they refer to themselves) and their contention is that the doctrine of emanation that you (and me) do not agree with, is the foundational notion of belief in the West -- and thus, the Catholic Church -- after St. Augustine.  
 
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Minus the doctrine of emanation that we find in Plotinus, I do find myself enamoured of the hierarchy of Being.
 
A strong view of Divine Simplicity, for them, basically means that the world and creation are not contingent, and that all of the great theologians and saints throughout the history of the west are all guilty of this emanationist theology, whether they like it or not; no matter that these same theologians and saints specifically speak to the contrary. Bradshaw tries to make his subtle case, and I should add that he certainly has the chops to do it; but no matter how smart or brilliant one is, if the evidence isn't really there, then the case is hopeless. Of course, his case isn't hopeless, precisely because one is able to interpret the evidence in whichever way one likes.
 
-arch.buff
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2010 at 23:05
Originally posted by arch.buff arch.buff wrote:

Ako,
 
I just read through this discussion again, and I came across some of your words that I must have skipped over the first time around. Your quote gets to the heart of your request of recommendation for Bradshaw. As you know, part of Bradshaw's title to his book is Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom. His view is the view shared by his fellow "Traditionalists" (as they refer to themselves) and their contention is that the doctrine of emanation that you (and me) do not agree with, is the foundational notion of belief in the West -- and thus, the Catholic Church -- after St. Augustine. 


As I recall, though Augustine embraced the notion of emanation of being, the hierarchy, etc -- especially in his treatment of the problem of evil -- he specifically rejected the idea of emanation as a bridge between the uncreated and the created. That said, a number of philosophers in the West bought into it, though not as many theologians. I do think we see echoes of the thing -- though not the thing itself -- in medieval Western Trinitarian theology. I'm thinking, as you have probably guessed, of the filioque, as it was understood by Lateran IV and Lyons II -- the former of which involved a double procession rendered, as I recall, under the form "as by one spiration," or something of the sort. There was a certainly a general tendency to depersonalize the aetiology of the second two persons of the Godhead.

Quote
A strong view of Divine Simplicity, for them, basically means that the world and creation are not contingent, and that all of the great theologians and saints throughout the history of the west are all guilty of this emanationist theology, whether they like it or not; no matter that these same theologians and saints specifically speak to the contrary. Bradshaw tries to make his subtle case, and I should add that he certainly has the chops to do it; but no matter how smart or brilliant one is, if the evidence isn't really there, then the case is hopeless. Of course, his case isn't hopeless, precisely because one is able to interpret the evidence in whichever way one likes.
 
-arch.buff


I don't know; I'll have to read it for myself. One more book to stick in the queue. Wink Out of curiosity, in what sense does Bradshaw hold that the world is not contingent?

-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 23 Jun 2010 at 23:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2010 at 03:21
Let me first say that I disagree with you about the sort of "depersonaliz[ation] [of] the aetiology of the second two persons of the Godhead." As I understood you last, because of the possible mud slinging, you didn't want to get into the details of the Filioque. I can appreciate that; so I won't get into why I think reading other theological traditions in the least sympathetic light is nothing short of tragic (mind you, I'm not specifically accusing you of that). But I don't think that's the way St. Athanasius did things with St. Basil; I don't think it's the way St. Maximus dealt with things when he sent his letters eastward from the west. I don't mean to sound so stern when speaking about these things, but it is a situation that is deeply depressing. And lest I be accused of Orthodox-bashing on this subject, I fully realize me and my fellow coreligionsts have just as much responsibility to bear.
 
As far as the notion of absolute divine simplicity -- that God's being and his will are one and the same -- having the responsibility to bear for the world not being contingent, I would refer you to a blog post that I may have posted some time before. I apologize for that, but it does really got at the heart of the matter of this supposed necessitarian, emanationist consequence of divine simplicity.
 
Other than reading the translation from Bessarion, the comments will also prove very helpful. One of the posters ("Photios Jones") obviousy thinks that Aquinas is constrained by this emanationist necessity that -- because God's will and being are one and the same -- makes the world (a creation of God's will) as necessary as God's being (something God wills necessarily). In other words, just because the fathers held to a strong view of divine simplicity, then that must obviousy mean that they are held to the same sort of beliefs and consequences that are found in Plotinus' system. Now, of course, nothing of the sort must follow, and when pushed to ask the pointed question as to why Christians must be held to these Plotinian consequences, Mr. "Photius Jones" is left with nothing else to say other than, "it logically follows." Perhaps I have not entirely understood Bradshaw when having read him, but his arguments seem to amount to much the same. There were things that the fathers agreed with the philosophers on, and there were things that they disagreed with the philosophers on. Why Bradshaw and others believe that Western saints and theologians didn't believe in a personal God, but rather confess to some sort of impersonal, philosophical deity, I will never fully understand. Perhaps it's because the Christian West never did, but I guess I'm a little bias in that regard.
 
-arch.buff
 
EDIT: One thing you may want to look for in Bradshaw is his assertion that there is indeed unrealized potential in God. That's a view I haven't seen posited in "the West," and an assertion I've seen quite a few Eastern Orthodox strongly disagree with. But it all ties in nicely with his Palamite theological viewpoints, if I'm not mistaken. However, from what I remember reading of him somewhere, St. Maximus actually says the complete opposite.    


Edited by arch.buff - 24 Jun 2010 at 03:32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2010 at 04:02
Originally posted by arch.buff arch.buff wrote:

Let me first say that I disagree with you about the sort of "depersonaliz[ation] [of] the aetiology of the second two persons of the Godhead." As I understood you last, because of the possible mud slinging, you didn't want to get into the details of the Filioque. I can appreciate that; so I won't get into why I think reading other theological traditions in the least sympathetic light is nothing short of tragic (mind you, I'm not specifically accusing you of that). But I don't think that's the way St. Athanasius did things with St. Basil; I don't think it's the way St. Maximus dealt with things when he sent his letters eastward from the west. I don't mean to sound so stern when speaking about these things, but it is a situation that is deeply depressing. And lest I be accused of Orthodox-bashing on this subject, I fully realize me and my fellow coreligionsts have just as much responsibility to bear.


I'm sure you do disagree, nor am I all that concerned. It is a sensitive issue, and where there is no common ground we would do best not to repeat ourselves. We've hashed this through a bit before, and I doubt anything will come of discussing it further. If you have anything new, I'd love to hear it. That said, I mentioned it simply to reiterate some of the scholarly consensus -- or, more specifically, my interpretation of it -- because it was relevant to this thread. And I will assure you that, while I don't agree with a few of the particulars, I have the greatest sympathy for the course Western theology has taken. The problem is that this tiny bit of nuance was one of the greatest factors contributing to the Schism.

Quote
As far as the notion of absolute divine simplicity -- that God's being and his will are one and the same -- having the responsibility to bear for the world not being contingent, I would refer you to a blog post that I may have posted some time before. I apologize for that, but it does really got at the heart of the matter of this supposed necessitarian, emanationist consequence of divine simplicity.
http://bekkos.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/the-debate-on-bekkoss-epigraphs/#comments

Other than reading the translation from Bessarion, the comments will also prove very helpful. One of the posters ("Photios Jones") obviousy thinks that Aquinas is constrained by this emanationist necessity that -- because God's will and being are one and the same -- makes the world (a creation of God's will) as necessary as God's being (something God wills necessarily). In other words, just because the fathers held to a strong view of divine simplicity, then that must obviousy mean that they are held to the same sort of beliefs and consequences that are found in Plotinus' system. Now, of course, nothing of the sort must follow, and when pushed to ask the pointed question as to why Christians must be held to these Plotinian consequences, Mr. "Photius Jones" is left with nothing else to say other than, "it logically follows." Perhaps I have not entirely understood Bradshaw when having read him, but his arguments seem to amount to much the same. There were things that the fathers agreed with the philosophers on, and there were things that they disagreed with the philosophers on. Why Bradshaw and others believe that Western saints and theologians didn't believe in a personal God, but rather confess to some sort of impersonal, philosophical deity, I will never fully understand. Perhaps it's because the Christian West never did, but I guess I'm a little bias in that regard.
 
-arch.buff


So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that Bradshaw was accusing Western theology of treating Creation as if it were not contingent? If so, I'd be interested to hear your personal read on it. If you want me to read the link, you'll have to wait a while. Wink

As for the impersonality of Western theology, while it has been exaggerated, it would be difficult at best to say that there is no issue there at all. I fail to see how you can fail to see a distinction between the East and the West on this issue. I will agree with you that Augustine explicitly denied certain heretical tenets of Plotinus' system -- as I stated earlier; that does not mean that they weren't incorporated, in a mitigated fashion, into Western Trinitarian theology. I don't think I could -- or need to -- clarify my last post. I do understand your frustration with certain Orthodox polemicists who spend a great deal of time and effort trying to cast the filioque as the qualitative equivalent of the denial of the divinity of Christ. That said, if you honestly believe that the Latin medieval interpretation and explanation of the filioque is devoid of any cause for concern, within the context of the consensus patrum, there is very little I or any other historian could say to convince you. Finally, Pascal might take issue with a certain part of your last sentence, which you may take as a challenge or a compliment as your inclination dictates. Wink

Quote EDIT: One thing you may want to look for in Bradshaw is his assertion that there is indeed unrealized potential in God. That's a view I haven't seen posited in "the West," and an assertion I've seen quite a few Eastern Orthodox strongly disagree with. But it all ties in nicely with his Palamite theological viewpoints, if I'm not mistaken. However, from what I remember reading of him somewhere, St. Maximus actually says the complete opposite.   


I'll have to read Bradshaw for myself, first. Right now I'm involved with analyzing patristic exegesis and early dogmatic theology. If I ever find my way out of that endless tunnel, I assure you that Bradshaw will be first on the list. Wink

-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 24 Jun 2010 at 04:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2010 at 19:30
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


I'm sure you do disagree, nor am I all that concerned. It is a sensitive issue, and where there is no common ground we would do best not to repeat ourselves. We've hashed this through a bit before, and I doubt anything will come of discussing it further. If you have anything new, I'd love to hear it. That said, I mentioned it simply to reiterate some of the scholarly consensus -- or, more specifically, my interpretation of it -- because it was relevant to this thread. And I will assure you that, while I don't agree with a few of the particulars, I have the greatest sympathy for the course Western theology has taken. The problem is that this tiny bit of nuance was one of the greatest factors contributing to the Schism.
 
I think that's good advice. These things are sensitive issues indeed, and when common ground cannot be met -- especially if we are unwilling to step outside our respected traditions -- then silence is surely the order of the day. As to your last sentence, I don't think there's any question as to the contribution; the real question, however, is should it have been. One concession I will have to admit is that I don't think the addition to the creed was a pastorally prudent endeavor. I have quite often vocalized that opinion, and, I must admit, many of my fellow Catholics don't like to hear it. 

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


I'd be interested to hear your personal read on it. If you want me to read the link, you'll have to wait a while. Wink
 
Perhaps I have been a little disrespectful in posting links for you to read without giving a little more of what it entails. I'm going to paste a little bit of what the link says. The reason for this poor, copy-and-paste action is not borne out of sloth -- although I surely carry that quality in abundance -- but rather comes from the reality that first, the writer is much more intelligent than me on the matter; and second, I really couldn't have said it better myself. Like they teach you in 101, when there is absolutely no way to say it any better, put it in quotes.Wink
 
 "God necessarily wills his own goodness; moreover, God wills things other than himself (i.e., creatures) insofar as they are ordered to his goodness as an end. But God does not will things other than himself with the same necessity with which he wills his own goodness, since his own goodness does not depend upon the existence of other things; unlike the begetting of the Son and the proceeding of the Holy Spirit, which are willed necessarily, the production of the world, and of the things in it, is contingent; God is free to will these things or not to will them (although, once he decides to will them, he does not change his mind). The whole issue of the necessity or contingency of God's willing depends upon the necessity or non-necessity of what is willed to the end of God's goodness..." (Peter Gilbert, http://bekkos.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/the-debate-on-bekkoss-epigraphs/#comments)
 
 
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


As for the impersonality of Western theology, while it has been exaggerated, it would be difficult at best to say that there is no issue there at all. I fail to see how you can fail to see a distinction between the East and the West on this issue. I will agree with you that Augustine explicitly denied certain heretical tenets of Plotinus' system -- as I stated earlier; that does not mean that they weren't incorporated, in a mitigated fashion, into Western Trinitarian theology. I don't think I could -- or need to -- clarify my last post. I do understand your frustration with certain Orthodox polemicists who spend a great deal of time and effort trying to cast the filioque as the qualitative equivalent of the denial of the divinity of Christ. That said, if you honestly believe that the Latin medieval interpretation and explanation of the filioque is devoid of any cause for concern, within the context of the consensus patrum, there is very little I or any other historian could say to convince you. Finally, Pascal might take issue with a certain part of your last sentence, which you may take as a challenge or a compliment as your inclination dictates. Wink
 
If you have understood me to imply that there is no difference, no "distinction," between East and West in terms of theology, then surely I have deceived you. While I strongly disagree with certain Easterns (such as Zizioulas) that the West has accorded priority to the divine unity, while the East has, and always, proceeded from Person to nature; I do completely concede and enthusiastically agree that East is not West, and West is not East. East is East; and West is West. When one takes the time (and patience) to study the formation of early dogmatic theology, one finds all kinds of tendencies: Rome and Alexandria seem to be in agreement, both in tendency and in substance, on many issues. But, even in trying to argue this point, I would open up myself to severe criticism. It would be, all things considered, a generalization. If we really wish to be in union once again, we must at least try and read our brethren with not our own theological lenses, but with our fellow brethrens'.
 
"It would be humbling indeed to discover that many of our most finely wrought systems of though possess many accidental elements, peculiar to our particular cultural sensibilities or native tongues, or that perhaps our ways of depicting the truth to ourselves might be only partial and corrigible approximations to a truth that others, under extremely different forms, have approached with equal or better success. More terrible yet is the possibility that many of our differences will prove to be only differences of sensibility and language, and not of substance at all, thus reducing our systems to relative expressions of the truth, rather than the pristine vehicles of truth we wish them to be." (David B Hart, "The Hidden and the Manifest: Metaphysics after Nicaea" in Orthodox Readings of Augustine (New York, 2008) p. 193 -- emphasis in original)    
I think that sums up quite nicely my position on many matters. And lest I be accused of throwing out the consensus patrum, I'm sure St. Athanasius was well aware of how charitable one could be when not only discussing theology, but forming it itself. Allow me to quote a poem from that of St. Gregory the Theologian:
 
"Others, mutually divided, drive East and West
into confusion, and God has abandoned them to their flesh,
for which they make war, giving their name and their allegiance to others:
my god's Paul, yours is Peter, his is Apollos.
But Christ is pierced with nails to no purpose.
For it's not from Christ that we're called, but from men,
we who possess his honor by hands and by blood.
So much have our eyes been clouded over by a love
of vain glory, or gain, or by bitter envy,
pining away, rejoicing in evil: these have a well-earned misery.
And the pretext is the Trinity, but the reality is faithless hate.
Each is two-faced, a wolf concealed against the sheep,
and a brass pot hiding a nasty food for the children." (tr. Peter Gilbert, http://bekkos.wordpress.com/2008/01/25/st-gregory-on-schism/)
 
 
When St. Gregory says "And the pretext is the Trinity," he is referring to the Meletians and Paulinians he has just left at the Council of Constantinople, and clearly, he is disgusted. But he is referring to a real theological disagreement that was had between the Meletians (most of the East) and the Paulinians (The West and Egypt). The Meletians, like most in the East, referred to theological terminology as three hypostases, and one ousia; whereas the Paulinians spoke of God as one hypostasis or ousia, and three prosopa. You can see how this terminology would indeed seem heretical to the other, but St. Gregory is here saying that this disagreement on how to speak of the Trinity is indeed a "pretext" to schism, and it is clear that he thinks that this is disgusting. I would agree with the Theologian. It's not that he is (nor was St Athansius) compromising on important theological issues; rather, it is that St Gregory has taken the time to find out what it means -- for them -- when they use terminology that is foreign to his theological language. I think, in his Letter to Marinus, that St Maximus is doing the very same thing. 
 
And, to your last sentence, I suppose I'll take as humor. Now, now, Ako, I'm sure you're not trying to make the case that only orthodox Trinitarian thought has been applied in the East. Although we here in the West have our Hegelian-dialetical, and social Trinitarians, in regards to heretical nuanced systems, one would find it a hard task indeed to argue with a post-modern Eunomius.Wink
 
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


I'll have to read Bradshaw for myself, first. Right now I'm involved with analyzing patristic exegesis and early dogmatic theology. If I ever find my way out of that endless tunnel, I assure you that Bradshaw will be first on the list. Wink

-Akolouthos
 
Then Bradshaw you shall never read.Wink I don't know a single soul who has tried to navigate the tunnel of patristic exegesis -- let alone the history and subtleness of the formation of early dogmatic theology -- and lived to tell about it. I do hear stories of some very old and worn lads who, now deaf and dumb, reside in some very high and foggy mountain tops somewhere. Perhaps they have seen there way out.LOL
 
-arch.buff 


Edited by arch.buff - 24 Jun 2010 at 19:41
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Originally posted by arch.buff arch.buff wrote:

Perhaps I have been a little disrespectful in posting links for you to read without giving a little more of what it entails. I'm going to paste a little bit of what the link says. The reason for this poor, copy-and-paste action is not borne out of sloth -- although I surely carry that quality in abundance -- but rather comes from the reality that first, the writer is much more intelligent than me on the matter; and second, I really couldn't have said it better myself. Like they teach you in 101, when there is absolutely no way to say it any better, put it in quotes.Wink
 
 "God necessarily wills his own goodness; moreover, God wills things other than himself (i.e., creatures) insofar as they are ordered to his goodness as an end. But God does not will things other than himself with the same necessity with which he wills his own goodness, since his own goodness does not depend upon the existence of other things; unlike the begetting of the Son and the proceeding of the Holy Spirit, which are willed necessarily, the production of the world, and of the things in it, is contingent; God is free to will these things or not to will them (although, once he decides to will them, he does not change his mind). The whole issue of the necessity or contingency of God's willing depends upon the necessity or non-necessity of what is willed to the end of God's goodness..." (Peter Gilbert, http://bekkos.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/the-debate-on-bekkoss-epigraphs/#comments)


I didn't take any offense. It isn't your fault that I'm busy/lazy. LOL Thank you for posting it. I just have an easier time checking one site, what with my technophobia and all. It would appear that the gentleman thinks that creation is contingent though, correct? I might have misread or misinterpreted you earlier.

Quote If you have understood me to imply that there is no difference, no "distinction," between East and West in terms of theology, then surely I have deceived you. While I strongly disagree with certain Easterns (such as Zizioulas) that the West has accorded priority to the divine unity, while the East has, and always, proceeded from Person to nature; I do completely concede and enthusiastically agree that East is not West, and West is not East. East is East; and West is West. When one takes the time (and patience) to study the formation of early dogmatic theology, one finds all kinds of tendencies: Rome and Alexandria seem to be in agreement, both in tendency and in substance, on many issues. But, even in trying to argue this point, I would open up myself to severe criticism. It would be, all things considered, a generalization. If we really wish to be in union once again, we must at least try and read our brethren with not our own theological lenses, but with our fellow brethrens'.


Actually, I think we have to view them through both our own and their lenses -- the one out of necessity, the other out of charity (though aspects of charity and necessity are connected with both). The problem with the past is that all the best intellects refused to pay attention to the opinions of others; the problem with the present ecumenical movement is that it appears to focus on little else. I do agree that we need to try to understand ecclesiology from the outset of the journey. The problem is, there are forks in the road (i.e. whether or not we can accept unilateral pronouncements, the shuffles in the episcopal hierarchy, the role of Scripture, the canon of Scripture, etc.). If you know a way to productively bridge these issues and work beyond them, I'd be interested to hear it. The modern ecumenical movement has -- rather disastrously -- tried to bridge them by ignoring them. I think it is difficult at best to work inter-denominationally until there is at least some sort of solution. Otherwise we are not just speaking different opinions, but even speaking them from different foundations.

Quote
"It would be humbling indeed to discover that many of our most finely wrought systems of though possess many accidental elements, peculiar to our particular cultural sensibilities or native tongues, or that perhaps our ways of depicting the truth to ourselves might be only partial and corrigible approximations to a truth that others, under extremely different forms, have approached with equal or better success. More terrible yet is the possibility that many of our differences will prove to be only differences of sensibility and language, and not of substance at all, thus reducing our systems to relative expressions of the truth, rather than the pristine vehicles of truth we wish them to be." (David B Hart, "The Hidden and the Manifest: Metaphysics after Nicaea" in Orthodox Readings of Augustine (New York, 2008) p. 193 -- emphasis in original)    
I think that sums up quite nicely my position on many matters. And lest I be accused of throwing out the consensus patrum, I'm sure St. Athanasius was well aware of how charitable one could be when not only discussing theology, but forming it itself.


I actually think the modern world has nearly gotten this one right. Reading some of the dialogue between the Monophysites, Nestorians, and Orthodox, I am encouraged to believe that we have finally gotten to a point where we can accept that different words can express essentially the same meaning. The only problem left is the issue of creeds, which must of necessity use only one set of them. Wink

Quote When St. Gregory says "And the pretext is the Trinity," he is referring to the Meletians and Paulinians he has just left at the Council of Constantinople, and clearly, he is disgusted. But he is referring to a real theological disagreement that was had between the Meletians (most of the East) and the Paulinians (The West and Egypt). The Meletians, like most in the East, referred to theological terminology as three hypostases, and one ousia; whereas the Paulinians spoke of God as one hypostasis or ousia, and three prosopa. You can see how this terminology would indeed seem heretical to the other, but St. Gregory is here saying that this disagreement on how to speak of the Trinity is indeed a "pretext" to schism, and it is clear that he thinks that this is disgusting. I would agree with the Theologian. It's not that he is (nor was St Athansius) compromising on important theological issues; rather, it is that St Gregory has taken the time to find out what it means -- for them -- when they use terminology that is foreign to his theological language. I think, in his Letter to Marinus, that St Maximus is doing the very same thing.


Bingo. St. Gregory would also have been aware, in a way that we are not, of the evolution of the terms "ousia" and "hypostasis" in the course of the Trinitarian controversy. Paul of Samosata, for instance, would have been likely to consider the assertion of one ousia in three hypostases as a sort of weak contradiction in terms. I think you and I -- and I would hope every fair minded individual -- agree on this. The problem is that sometimes people do not realize the implications of what they are saying. In other words, there are certain linguistic disagreements that arise when one group deliberately misinterprets another, and there are others that arise when one group notices something in another group's language that had not been considered during the process of formulation.

Quote And, to your last sentence, I suppose I'll take as humor. Now, now, Ako, I'm sure you're not trying to make the case that only orthodox Trinitarian thought has been applied in the East. Although we here in the West have our Hegelian-dialetical, and social Trinitarians, in regards to heretical nuanced systems, one would find it a hard task indeed to argue with a post-modern Eunomius.Wink


Having read everything extant that Eunomius ever wrote, I am convinced that he was a postmodernist. LOL I do sympathize with him, in a way that one could never sympathize with his intellectual sire. That said, I don't see his vision of the Godhead as an even halfway credible alternative to the Nicene system.

Quote
Then Bradshaw you shall never read.Wink I don't know a single soul who has tried to navigate the tunnel of patristic exegesis -- let alone the history and subtleness of the formation of early dogmatic theology -- and lived to tell about it. I do hear stories of some very old and worn lads who, now deaf and dumb, reside in some very high and foggy mountain tops somewhere. Perhaps they have seen there way out.LOL
 
-arch.buff


Well, I obviously don't plan to read all of it. LOL That said, Bradshaw has been under consideration for several years, and I've not yet gotten around to it.

-Akolouthos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010 at 02:53
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


I didn't take any offense. It isn't your fault that I'm busy/lazy. LOL Thank you for posting it. I just have an easier time checking one site, what with my technophobia and all. It would appear that the gentleman thinks that creation is contingent though, correct? I might have misread or misinterpreted you earlier.
 
Correct.
 
I'll paste a simple syllogism from the aforementioned site that is at the heart of the accusation as to why absolute divine simplicity results in creation no being contingent. 
 

"(1) The modality of the will is identical to the divine essence.

(2) The divine essence is not contigent.

Ergo, (3) The divine will to create is not contigent."

 
 
Of course, St. Thomas doesn't see things this way; it just depends on how motivated one is to swin in the often weather-heavy waters that is the Sea of Aquinas. Most don't take the time, so we see silly syllogisms like the above. But Aquinas is difficult reading sometimes, and I often find that it is easier for me to read saints like Maximus (although he can be very difficult and complex too) than the Angelic Doctor. What's cool about these saints -- St Maximus & St Thomas -- is they both wrote a lot on Pseudo-Dionysius. It's nice to read both of them and see how they may differ a bit on some things, and sound almost indentical on others. But make no mistake, in Bradshaw you will find only his interpretation of what those differences are. If you want to get a feel of how Aquinas feels about God's will, and the contingency of things, see: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1019.htm#article3
 
I don't know if you've heard of The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy, but it looks like a very interesting read. The author is Eastern Orthodox, that may ease your tensions.Wink 
I hear he makes St. Maximus a key point of his book, which strikes my fancy even more. Sounds like a good book; shame I won't be able to get to it for some time.
 
-arch.buff
 
 


Edited by arch.buff - 25 Jun 2010 at 02:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010 at 03:24
Originally posted by arch.buff arch.buff wrote:

Correct.
 
I'll paste a simple syllogism from the aforementioned site that is at the heart of the accusation as to why absolute divine simplicity results in creation no being contingent. 
 

"(1) The modality of the will is identical to the divine essence.

(2) The divine essence is not contigent.

Ergo, (3) The divine will to create is not contigent."

 
 
Of course, St. Thomas doesn't see things this way; it just depends on how motivated one is to swin in the often weather-heavy waters that is the Sea of Aquinas. Most don't take the time, so we see silly syllogisms like the above. But Aquinas is difficult reading sometimes, and I often find that it is easier for me to read saints like Maximus (although he can be very difficult and complex too) than the Angelic Doctor. What's cool about these saints -- St Maximus & St Thomas -- is they both wrote a lot on Pseudo-Dionysius. It's nice to read both of them and see how they may differ a bit on some things, and sound almost indentical on others. But make no mistake, in Bradshaw you will find only his interpretation of what those differences are. If you want to get a feel of how Aquinas feels about God's will, and the contingency of things, see: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1019.htm#article3


So, if I read you correctly, you are saying that certain Eastern Orthodox apologists attribute -- incorrectly -- the first premise to Western theologians, and draw a false conclusion from that? It could be so, though I might not be as well versed as I should. I think part of the problem is that the primary focus of my academic endeavours has always been directed toward what I view to be productive theology -- that is to say toward exegesis, theology, ecclesiology within what I view to be the proper context. I do know a fair bit about the initial schism, and I don't consider a comparison of Roman Catholic/Protestant with Orthodox theology a fruitless mission; still, with the limited time I have on this earth, I would like to focus on the proclamation of the Gospel message, with all of its sociological and practical implications, within what I have judged to be the proper context.

Quote
I don't know if you've heard of The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy, but it looks like a very interesting read. The author is Eastern Orthodox, that may ease your tensions.Wink 
I hear he makes St. Maximus a key point of his book, which strikes my fancy even more. Sounds like a good book; shame I won't be able to get to it for some time.
 
-arch.buff


It'll have to be place after Bradshaw in the priority list. Wink Bradshaw's book comes highly recommended from several secular philosophers I know as well as from Orthodox theologians.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arch.buff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2010 at 03:56
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:


So, if I read you correctly, you are saying that certain Eastern Orthodox apologists attribute -- incorrectly -- the first premise to Western theologians, and draw a false conclusion from that? It could be so, though I might not be as well versed as I should. I think part of the problem is that the primary focus of my academic endeavours has always been directed toward what I view to be productive theology -- that is to say toward exegesis, theology, ecclesiology within what I view to be the proper context. I do know a fair bit about the initial schism, and I don't consider a comparison of Roman Catholic/Protestant with Orthodox theology a fruitless mission; still, with the limited time I have on this earth, I would like to focus on the proclamation of the Gospel message, with all of its sociological and practical implications, within what I have judged to be the proper context.
 
No. The first and second premises can be said to be correct; it is the third, the inference, that is incorrect. Some Eastern Orthodox theologians seem to think that the inference is necessary to conclude. That's basically the Plotinian consequence that they think must be consequential. What I've tried to explain is that that supposed necessity is not true; Western theologians -- Eastern ones as well -- don't see things this way. Aquinas, for example, distinguishes God's willing in the manner that the above pasted quote explains.
 
These are pretty technical issues, and after reading Bradshaw's book you may even find that I am confused on certain things: that's definitely a possibility.LOL
But, as I have understood most Eastern Orthodox theologians who espouse this view, it all really comes down to the West not positing a real distinction in God between his essence and his energies.
 
Anyhow, you've got a nice little plan going there on approaching these texts. It's a lot better than my "read whatever interests me most at the time" plan, of that I'm sure. First I'm interested in St Gregory of Nyssa's view on slavery, which then leads me into his views on the Trinity and its relation to us, which then leads me to the same topic in regards to St. Augustine...and so on...and so on...
I suppose it never ends. But I wish I was a bit more organized on the matter.
-arch.buff
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2010 at 09:20
Comeon, gents. This is one of the oldest arguments in the history of thought. And while I am certainly happy to see Plato in his proper place, there should be a bit more interest in this. Don't let the theological turn things took discourage you. This is about the original philosophers as well as their intellectual progeny. Smile
 
-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 19 Aug 2010 at 09:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2011 at 03:45
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Comeon, gents. This is one of the oldest arguments in the history of thought. And while I am certainly happy to see Plato in his proper place, there should be a bit more interest in this. Don't let the theological turn things took discourage you. This is about the original philosophers as well as their intellectual progeny.
 
I really wanted to join in on this when it started but could not because of school.  Now that I have the time, I really do not know where to begin since so much has been discussed so far!  Suggest where you want me to pick it up and I will.  Either that or you and I can start a new thread. Smile
 
In Christ, loyal emperor and autocrat of the Romans.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2011 at 15:05
I preffer Aristotle by far. He was a scientist, no matter his science today is obsolete. He founded fields such as Mathematical logic, biology, zoology and physics, and his insights helped to develop science.
Plato was simply a social scientist, political theorist and myth maker.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2011 at 18:34
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

Comeon, gents. This is one of the oldest arguments in the history of thought. And while I am certainly happy to see Plato in his proper place, there should be a bit more interest in this. Don't let the theological turn things took discourage you. This is about the original philosophers as well as their intellectual progeny. Smile
 
-Akolouthos
The thread does seem to have simply developed into a discussion of what to me are minor details of Christian thought that don't much interest me. I have no objection to that development in itself: it's just that it moved outside anything I feel like contributing to (or indeed usefully could.)
 
My interest in Plato - that is my repulsion at Plato - is based purely on politics and ethics; with Aristotle it is the same extended by interest in his approach to empiricism, and t some extent is the possible application of teleological approaches to unerstanding evonomic institutions.
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Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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