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1. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Bruce V. Foltz The Resurrection of Nature: Environmental Metaphysics in Sergei Bulgakov’s Philosophy of Economy
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Although equal in power to other facets of the rich cultural ferment of modern Russia that have profoundly influenced Western civilization—such as painting, literature, drama, and politics—the authentic legacy of twentieth-century Russian philosophy has until recently been eclipsed by Soviet ideological dominance. Of the important philosophers drawing upon the characteristically Russian synthesis of Ancient Neoplatonism, German Idealism, and Byzantine spirituality, Sergei Bulgakov is outstanding, and his work has important implications for our contemporary thinking about the relationship between humanity and nature in an age of environmental crisis. Overcoming the objectivist stance toward nature consolidated by Descartes and ensconced by Kant, Bulgakov anticipates not only many existential and phenomenological thinkers in the West—especially Heidegger—but also current ecological sensibilities, by showing the ontological status of humanity and nature as profoundly interconnected, especially through his understanding of nature as “household.” Beyond this, he elucidates a normative, “thoesophianic” character of nature corresponding to Plato’s “world soul,” the Renaissance natura naturans, and Heidegger’s “divinely beautiful nature” which is best revealed not by science and technology, but by the aesthetic and contemplative energies of a humanity whose essential interconnection with nature is shown most profoundly by means of this mode of revealing itself.
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2. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Norman Russell Modern Greek Theologians and the Greek Fathers
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For several centuries after the fall of Constantinople, Greek theological writing was dominated by an arid scholasticism. This paper seeks to show how since the Second World War modern Greek theologians, with the help of a number of diaspora theologians and Western patristic scholars, have re-engaged with the Greek Fathers. Four theologians are discussed in some detail: Gontikakis, Nellas, Yannaras and Zizioulas. Each emphasizes a different strand of patristic tradition, but all four share a sense of the Fathers as living witnesses to divine-human communion. Yannaras and Zizioulas have also brought to their interpretation of the Fathers some of the insights of modern existentialist philosophy. Although criticized by some, this approach has led to some important thinking on the nature of person and relation.
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3. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Nonna Verna Harrison Gregory Nazianzen’s Festal Spirituality: Anamnesis and Mimesis
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This paper analyzes the feast days of the Orthodox Church from the point of view of St. Gregory of Nazianzus. Liturgical scholars raise questions about the relationships between past and future, anamnesis and mimesis, the sanctification of time and longing for the eschaton. Investigation of Gregory’s liturgical theology, which has had unparalleled influence in the Byzantine rite churches, shows that all of these are false dichotomies. Gregory’s two homilies onPascha and his homilies on Christmas, Theophany, and Pentecost were preached throughout his public life. They show, in the feast days, anamnesis, in which the sacred events in Christ’s life are made present, and mimesis, the repetition of past events so as to arrive at the same future in God’s eternal kingdom. Patristics and liturgical scholars, however, have understood “mimesis” in different ways.
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4. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
John D. Jones Confronting Poverty and Stigmatization: An Eastern Orthodox Perspective
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The paper develops a preliminary framework for confronting poverty within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. In the first section, I draw on St. Gregory of Nazianzus’s Oration 14 to discuss what is called the stigma of poverty. Although stigmatization is not essentially linked to everyday economic poverty, poor people as such are often subjected to stigmatization. For example, disaffiliation grounded in social rejection was often a distinguishing mark between pôtchos and penês. Moreover, stigmatization in itself constitutes its own form of poverty since those who are stigmatized are imputed to be fundamentally impoverished or defective as person. In the second section, I focus on the writings of St. John Chrysostom and argue that the central problem for Chrysostom is not poverty but wealth, or more properly the ways in which we acquire and use wealth and the ends to which it is put. Put simply, for Chrysostom, a critical, engaged and spiritual response to poverty presupposes a critical and spiritual response to wealth.
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5. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Bogdan G. Bucur “The Feet that Eve Heard in Paradise and Was Afraid”: Observations on the Christology of Byzantine Hymns
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The paper discusses the Christological bearing of certain Byzantine festal hymns, whose roots stretch back to the early Christian tradition, but which are still used in the services of the Orthodox Church. These hymns avoid the vocabulary of their contemporary dogmatic debates, and offer an alternative poetic theology deeplyrooted in Biblical imagery, yet surprisingly precise and effective in conveying the very same message about Christ. This finding opens up the discussion of theological method, namely the question of how these hymns could be taken into account as direct sources for theology, on a par with the data provided by the ecumenical councils, and the subsequent patristic and medieval theology.
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6. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
David Bradshaw The Concept of the Divine Energies
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The distinction between the divine essence and energies has long been recognized as a characteristic feature of Eastern Orthodox theology, one sharply at odds with traditional Western understandings of divine simplicity. Yet attempts by Orthodox theologians to explain the distinction have sometimes exaggerated its distinctively Orthodox character by a failure to attend to its historical sources. This paper argues that the distinction was a natural and reasonable consequence of the synthesis between Greek philosophy and Biblical thought executed by the Church Fathers, particularly the Cappadocians of the fourth century.
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7. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Eric D. Perl “Every Life Is a Thought”: The Analogy of Personhood in Neoplatonism
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The distinction between persons and things reflects the opposition between reason and nature that is characteristic of modern thought: persons are constituted by rationality, self-consciousness, free will, and moral agency; things are taken to be merely natural or material beings, devoid of reason and the products of entirely mechanistic forces. Persons, as ends in themselves, alone deserve moral consideration; things (including all plants and animals) deserve no moral consideration. Accordingly in much modern thought, nature, including the human body, becomes a mere object to be manipulated for human use. This paper challenges this narrowly anthropocentric idea by outlining a view, grounded in classical philosophical and Christian thought, called the “analogy of personhood.” This view offers a hierarchical but non-dichotomous approach to reality that rejects any radical opposition between reason and nature. The philosophical basis of this approach is developed as found in Aristotle, Plotinus, Proclus, and finally, the Christian Neoplatonist Pseudo-Dionysius.
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8. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
John D. Jones Guest Editor’s Page
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9. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. Critical Reflections on Theology’s Handmaid: Why the Role of Philosophy in Orthodox Christianity Is so Different
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Orthodox Christian theology gives philosophy the same role it played in the Church of the first half-millennium. This article distinguishes among nine senses of philosophy and four senses of theology in order to highlight the characteristic features of Orthodox Christian theology’s use of philosophy and philosophical reasoning. It shows why, given the metaphysics and epistemology of Orthodox Christian theology (e.g., God is recognized as fully transcendent, such thatthere is no analogia entis between created and Uncreated Being, with the result that the experience of the encounter with God can only be recounted apophatically) and its sociology of knowledge (e.g., theology in the strict sense occurs primarily in monasteries, not in the academy), philosophy is regarded as not able to contribute to the development of old doctrines or the fashioning of new doctrines, but only to the clarification of doctrinal statements. As a consequence, Orthodox Christian theology has been committed to severely confining philosophy’s role in theology.
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10. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Rami Raveh, Giora Hon Can Error Imply Existence?: St. Augustine, the Skeptics, and Descartes
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Descartes’s Cogito, “I am thinking, therefore I exist,” is perhaps the most famous assertion in the history of philosophy. Thirteen hundred years earlier, St. Augustine formulated a similar claim, arguing “if I am mistaken, I am.” Did St. Augustine anticipate Descartes? We show that Descartes’s dictum is a novel insight and less vulnerable to criticism than the claim of St. Augustine. Whereas Descartes searched for one true proposition on which he could base scientificknowledge, St. Augustine sought to refute the skeptics who had denied the possibility of knowledge. By a twist of irony, the skeptics and St. Augustine reached contradictory (ethical) conclusions based, however, on similar reasoning.
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11. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Joshua Parens Leaving the Garden: Maimonides and Spinoza on the Imagination and Practical Intellect Revisited
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A whirl surrounds Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed 1.2. He seems to argue, there, that good and evil are merely concerns of the imagination. In the prophetology, Guide 2.32–48, Maimonides never refers to practical intellect or prudence. Recent interpreters have inferred that the imagination takes the place of practical intellect in Maimonides’ practical teaching. This paper seeks to show that, in keeping with earlier works such as Eight Chapters, Maimonides continues to rely on practical intellect throughout the Guide as an integral part of his teaching on true prophecy and the best regime ruled by divine law.
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12. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Karl Rahner Faith: The Highest Achievement of Human Reason
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The text is a translation of a radio address given by Karl Rahner, S.J., in 1981. In the talk Rahner claims that critical reasoning will, on its own principles, lead the mind to an encounter with Absolute Mystery. Faith is that which allows the mind to accept this mystery in love. The original German text is from the Karl Rahner Archives, which gave permission for this translation and publication.
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13. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Ann Riggs Editor’s Page
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14. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Balázs M. Mezei Divine Revelation and Human Person
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Divine revelation as a subject matter cannot be properly considered in the framework of theology, as theology already presupposes revelation. In order to conceive revelation in a non-theological way, we need a philosophical approach. Thus we can recognize the need for a renewed understanding of revelation as God’s self-revelation. In this paper I argue for the understanding of God’s self-revelation as radical revelation, which is opposed to partial understandings ofrevelation, such as the propositional one. A given notion of divine revelation goes together with a given notion of human persons; and as soon as it becomes clear that divine revelation is properly understood as radical revelation, the need of a radical understanding of human persons can be recognized too. Human persons can be determined in terms of their ad se or ad aliud dimensions, but it is the former that leads to a proper understanding of human persons as being basically related to the radically self-revealing God.
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15. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Vance G. Morgan Mathematics and Supernatural Friendship
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Simone Weil wrote in her notebooks that “Friendship, like beauty, is a miracle.” This paper investigates her discussions of friendship in the larger context of her understanding of the mediation of opposites, modeled on the Pythagorean and Platonic models of mathematics. For Weil, friendship was not only miraculous, butalso a key to understanding the relationship of the divine to the human. Convinced that friendship and love create equality between parties where none exists naturally, Weil concluded that friendship “is full of marvelous meanings with regard to God, with regard to the communion of God and man, and with regard to men.”
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16. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Eric Roark Aquinas’s Unsuccessful Theodicy
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In this paper I examine Thomas Aquinas’s attempt at theodicy (the reconciliation of evil in the world with the existence of an all-powerful, -knowing, and -loving God). Aquinas’s theodicy, utilizing the book of Job, maintains that God uses suffering and fear as a method to encourage us to form a loving relationship with Him. I argue that Aquinas’s theodicy fails because an all-loving God would not utilize suffering and fear as a method by which to encourage us to form a loving relationship with Him. As I argue through example, loving relationships between persons are not underwritten on the foundations of suffering and fear, and as such we have no good reason to think that God would use such methods to form His loving relationships.
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17. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Peter C. Phan Cosmology, Ecology, Pneumatology: A Reading of Denis Edwards’s Interpretation of Karl Rahner’s Eschatology
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This article is a commentary on Denis Edwards’s “Resurrection of the Body and Transformation of the Universe in the Theology of Karl Rahner” and was presented with the original at the 2005 meeting of the Karl Rahner Society.
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18. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
S. J. McGrath Boehme, Hegel, Schelling, and the Hermetic Theology of Evil
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Building on recent research exposing Hegel’s debt to esoteric Christianity (both Gnostic and Hermetic traditions), the aim of this paper is to show how Hegel and Schelling resolve an ambiguity in Boehme’s theology of evil in opposing ways. Jacob Boehme’s notion of the individuation of God through the overcoming ofopposition is the central paradigm for both Hegel’s and Schelling’s understanding of the role of evil in the life of God. Boehme remains ambiguous on the question of the modality of evil: Is it necessary to God’s self-unfolding, or is it rather an anarchic act that God permits in the interest of preserving the autonomy of finite freedom? If the former, Boehme becomes much more closely aligned to Gnosticism by identifying finitude with evil. This identification is shown to be exactly Hegel’s solution to the ambiguity, one Hegel opts for in the interest of maintaining the absolute rationality of the system. Hermeticism opposes Gnosticism on this point: for the Hermeticist, finitude / material being / nature is not evil but ‘of God,’ the means of his individuation. This conflict in interpretations of Boehmeilluminates an often overlooked but essential difference between Gnosticism and Hermeticism. Schelling remains faithful to the Hermetic tradition by sacrificing system for the sake of preserving the contingency of evil, and disidentifying finitude and evil.
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19. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
James B. South Orcid-ID Editor’s Page
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20. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Manuel Mejido C. Ignacio Ellacuría’s Philosophy of Historical Reality: Beyond the Hegelian-Marxian Dialectic and the Zubirian Radicalization of Scholastic Realism
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The fundamental task of Filosofía de la realidad histórica (Philosophy of Historical Reality) is to put forth historical reality as the ultimate manifestation of reality, as the proper object of philosophy. Ellacuría develops the concept of historical reality as the synthesis of the Hegelian-Marxian dialectic and Xavier Zubiri’s radicalization of Scholastic realism. Historical reality is physical, not conceptual; material, not ideal; concrete, not abstract. Historical reality encompassesthe material, biological, individual, and social moments of reality. And when it is considered in its totality, as a dynamic and differentiated structure of its moments, functions, and relations, historical reality forms a transcendental system—intramundane metaphysics.
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