Friday, November 24, 2006

Peter Simpson on the U.S. Constitution

video/lecture; ppt

Magna Moralia

Not Aristotle's, but St. Gregory the Great's commentary on the Book of Job... sigh. Will it ever be available in English translation online or in print? There's this, but as you can see, it is not complete. Someone should reprint the Patrologia with acid-free/library-suitable paper; I wonder how much that would cost... it's unlikely I would be able to get the complete set.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Documenti e studi

special topic: ethics
published by SISMEL


(also, RSPT website)

20% off new releases from CUA Press

For a limited time: refer to discount code PHB when placing your order.
CUA Press

The following titles are included in the sale:
The Soul of the Person, Adrian J. Reimers
The Person and the Polis, ed. Craig Steven Titus
Human Nature in its Wholeness, ed. Daniel Robinson, Gladys Sweeney, and Richard Gill, L.C.
The Early Heidegger and Medieval Philosophy, S.J. McGrath
The Religion of Reality, Didier Maleuvre
Praeambula Fidei, Ralph McInerny
God and Evolution, Jozef Zycinski
Christian Faith and Human Understanding, Robert Sokolowski
Resilience and the Virtue of Fortitude, Craig Steven Titus
The Augustinian Person, Peter Burnell
Cusanus, ed. Peter J. Casarella
In Search of Schopenhauer's Cat, Raymond B. Marcin
From the Nature of the Mind to Personal Dignity, Juan Franck
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Vol. 1 and 2, Jean-Pierre Torrell
A Short History of Thomism, Romanus Cessario
Ethica Thomistica, Ralph McInerny
St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition
Commentaries on Aristotle's On Sense and What is Sensed and On Memory and Recollection
Personalist Papers, John F. Crosby
The Philosophical Vision of John Duns Scotus, Mary Beth Ingham and Mechthild Dreyer
Truth Matters, ed. John Trapani, Jr.
Form and Being, Lawrence Dewan
The Texture of Being, Kenneth L. Schmitz
Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas II, John Wippel

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Theopoiesis vs. Theosis

Via Pontifications

Peter Leithart on Theopoiesis.

Carl Mosser of Eastern College gave a superb presentation on deification at the ETS meeting. A large part of the presentation was a study of terminology. He noted that the Greek work THEOS (often thought to be equivalent to "God") had a broader meaning, referring to powers that were immortal, incorruptible, and glorious - the very words that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 15 to describe the resurrected body. For the early fathers, this is what is meant by "deification," and they frequently link the doctrine to adoption via Psalm 82. Deification is not a capitulation to Hellenism (as Harnack argued) but grew out of biblical exegesis and the patristic understanding of salvation. (Interestingly, Mosser said that 2 Peter 1:4 plays little role in the earliest fathers.)

Gregory of Nazianzus was the first to use the word "theosis" to describe this, and he used it very infrequently. The doctrine and terminology of theosis kicks into gear with Pseudo-Dionysus, the hesychast controversy, Palamas and Maximus the confessor. It is thus linguistically anachronistic to claim that the early fathers have a doctrine of "theosis." With the hesychast controversy, not only the terminology but the doctrine changes. Instead of a strongly soteriological understanding of deification, theosis develops in a mystical context, and is worked out by Palamas and others through the distinction between the essence and energies of God, a distinction that has no place in the earliest doctrine of deification.

The confusion of theosis and the broader doctrine of deification creates significant ecumenical problems. Deification is an ecumenical doctrine, taught in some form by everyone from Irenaeus to Wesley and beyond, but theosis is a distinctly Orthodox development. When the two are confused, deification appears to be a distinctly Orthodox teaching as well. Treating the two as synonymous also leads ecumenically minded Western theologians to downplay the distinctiveness of mystical theosis; Eastern apologists, meanwhile, claim that a true doctrine of deification must take the uniquely Eastern form - complete with the essence/energies distinction - and when the West is found to lack such a teaching, Eastern apologists can claim that the West lacks a doctrine of deification as such.

Mosser ended with some consideration of the best way to describe the reality of deification. The term raises problems, since it implies that men become deities; divinization is hardly better. Mosser suggested that "theopoiesis" is the best way to describe the general, ecumenical view of the church, of which theosis is a uniquely Orthodox variation.

Discussion at Sacramentum Vitae.

Religious Liberty Has Public Dimension, Says Pope

Religious Liberty Has Public Dimension, Says Pope

During New Italian President's First Official Visit to Vatican

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 20, 2006 ( During Italian President Giorgio Napolitano's first official visit to the Vatican, Benedict XVI stressed that authentic religious freedom is not simply the absence of violence against believers.

The Pope explained to his guest, who arrived to the Vatican accompanied by his wife and a group of high-level governmental officials, that the religious dimension also has a public dimension which must be guaranteed.

"The Church and the state, though fully different, are both called, according to their respective missions and with their own ends and means, to serve man who is at once the end and participant of the salvific mission of the Church and citizen of the state, and they collaborate in promoting his integral good," the Holy Father said.

At the same time, "man appears before the state with his religious dimension, which consists before all else in those internal, voluntary and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly toward God," the Pontiff said, quoting from the Second Vatican Council declaration "Dignitatis Humanae," No. 3.

"No merely human power can either command or prohibit acts of this kind," Benedict XVI added.

The Pope said it is an error "to consider that the right to religious freedom is sufficiently guaranteed when personal convictions suffer no violence or interference, or when we limit ourselves to respecting the expression of faith within the confines of a place of worship."

Social nature

"It cannot, in fact, be forgotten that the social nature of man itself requires that he should give external expression to his internal acts of religion; that he should share with others in matters religious; that he should profess his religion in community," the Holy Father stated.

"Religious freedom is, then, not just of individuals, but also of families, of religious groups and of the Church herself," he indicated, in an address that was broadcast on public television channel RAI 1.

Benedict XVI continued: "An adequate respect of the right to religious freedom implies, then, the commitment of civil authorities in helping to create conditions favorable to the fostering of religious life, in order that the people may be truly enabled to exercise their religious rights and to fulfill their religious duties, and also in order that society itself may profit by the moral qualities of justice and peace which have their origin in men's faithfulness to God and to his holy will.

"The freedom that the Church and Christians claim does not prejudice the interests of the state or of other social groups, and does not seek an authoritative supremacy over them. Rather, it is a condition enabling the fulfillment of the vital service that the Church offers to Italy, and to all other countries in which she is present."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Professor Heck's most recent critique of the PGR

Richard G. Heck's webpage

his recent critique of the PGR (his original critique, written about 4 years ago)