The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for January, 2008

Tagged for a meme

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 31, 2008

David from Cosmos~Liturgy~Sex has tagged me for a Literary Meme. I’m not fond of doing memes, but because I like to read, I decided to go along. Here are the rules:

  1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences.
  5. Tag five people.

A problem I’m having is that I have two books equal distance from me, so I’ll do both:

1) “What passes for truth, in the final analysis, is not the reality that confronts man as given, but rather, whatever he himself has made and whatever, in the future, he may be yet able to make (marxism).

“An important proponent of this constructivism in modern times is certainly Immanuel Kant, for whom the thing in itself is regarded as unknowable. The human mind casts a spider web of thought, made up of its own ideas, over the chaotic data of the senses; that is, it imposes reality.” -Woman in the Priesthood, a Systematic Analysis in Light of the Order of Creation and Redemption, by Manfred Hauke.

2) “The coming of this Winnower somehow establishes wheat forever as wheat, and chaff as chaff. The chaffis paradoxically not destroyed by the fire that consumes it. It goes on burning forever, for it is essential, unchangeable chaff-the weightlessness and hollowness of man’s unregenerate spirit and heart, which are eternal in spite of themselves.” -Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, Meditations on the Gospel According to Matthew, by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis.

I tag Argent by the Tiber; Rob from Catholic Scripture Study; Will Cubbedge of Fish in a Barrel; Bear and Puff from The Spirit’s Sword

Update: Mister Cubbedge was already picked for the meme. So I pick Taylor at Canterbury Tales.

In case anyone is interested, I’m currently reading History and Spirit: The Understanding of Scripture According to Origen, by Henri Cardinal De Lubac.  Also volume 1 of  The Origin of Ideas, by Blessed Antonio Rosmini Serbati.  This book is available for reading online

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Notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 31, 2008

As mentioned in the introductory post 1:1-2:16 has the following concentric structure:

A1) Salutation and thanksgiving for the Thessalonians reception of the word (1:1-10)

B) How the Missionaries acted among them (2:1-12)

A2) Another thanksgiving for the Thessalonians reception of the word (2:13-16)

It is often argued in relation to 1:1-2:16 in general, and 2:1-12 in particular, that Paul’s primary concern is defending himself against false accusations that his teaching is motivated by deceit, misconduct, and self-seeking. While not rejecting this, I think the primary reason is that Paul is seeking to encourage his readers who are themselves being calumniated. He is not so much defending himself as he is setting himself up as an example to be imitated. Imitated, not only as someone who has stood and held his ground in the face of persecution; but also as one who knows how to live and treat others in accordance with the will of God:

1:5-6, “And that our Good News came to you not only in word, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake. You became imitators of us…”

Also, compare 1:3, “remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope…” with 2:9, “For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail; for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you…” Here we see St Paul opening his letter with a reference to work and labor, associated with faith and love (1:3), then describing his own work and labor under the image of love (note the images of Father and nurses with children in the broader context, e.g., 1:7; 1:9). All of this prepares for the final section of the letter, 4:1-5-28. There St Paul exhorts the readers “as you learned from us how you ought to live and please God…you do so more and more…Concerning love of the brothers you have no need of anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another…we exhort you to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly…and to work with your own hands…’ (see 4:1-12). And again: “Respect those who labor among you…esteem them very highly because of their work…” (see 5:1213).

2:1 For you yourselves know, brothers, our visit to you wasn’t in vain, cb(2,2);2:2 but having suffered before and been shamefully treated, as you know, at Philippi, we grew bold in our God to tell you the Good News of God in much conflict. cb(2,3);2:3 For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in deception. (WEB Bible)

Concerning the circumstances leading up to the evangelization of the city you may wish to re-read my introductory post, specifically what is found under the heading “Background.”

2:1 For you yourselves know, brothers, our visit to you wasn’t in vain… The conjunctive “for” links this passage up with the previous one (1:1-10), especially 1:9-10 where St Paul explicitly mentions the welcome he received from the Thessalonians. That their visit wasn’t in vain has already been clearly seen in the fact that the Thessalonians were chosen (1:4); became imitators of the evangelists, and received the word in affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1:6). They themselves became examples to be imitated by others (1:7-8). The result of St Paul’s visit can, however, be summed up as turning to God from idols, sto serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come (1:9-10).

2:2 But having suffered before and been shamefully treated…we grew bold in our God to tell you the Good News of God in much conflict… An amazing statement! “We grew bold in the face of suffering.” In Philippi, St Paul had healed a slave/servant girl of a demonic spirit which was the source of her ability to make oracular pronouncements. The demonic inspired ability had been a source of revenue to her master who, as a result, started a persecution of Paul and his companions. They were dragged by a mob to the civil authorities, were stripped and beaten with rods by those lawful authorities, then chained and imprisoned (see Acts 16:16-40). Paul was victimized by the paganism but in spite of this opposition he freed the Thessalonians from it. Such is the power of the grace of God.

2:3 For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor deception. “Error” and “uncleanness” are preceded in the Greek text with the preposition ek, while “deception” is preceded by the preposition en; thus meaning: Our exhortation does not have its source in error, nor does it have its source in uncleanness so as to deceive you.”

2:4 But even as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who tests our hearts. The Greek translated as “But even as” forms a contrast with the previous verse. The evangelists speak, not on the basis of error or uncleanness, nor to deceive, but because God has approved them and entrusted them with the gospel. The passive Greek verb dokimazo (approved) is, in Greek writing, a standard contrast to the verbal infinitive pisteuo. They were entrusted with the Good News, not because of anything in themselves, of themselves, but because God has approved them. Their ministry is the result of God’s grace.

tests our hearts. The word test is dokimazo, the same word used for approved earlier in the verse. “Search” or “examine” would be a better translation. In this latter instance, dokimazo is a present participle. God not only approves of them, but continues to keep his eye on them, search and examine their hearts to see if they are remaining faithful to their mission.
2:5-6 For neither were we at any time found using words of flattery, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness (God is witness), cb(2,6nor seeking glory from men (neither from you nor from others), when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ. cb(2,7); In the previous verse (4) St Paul insisted that they were not seeking to please men. Here he build upon that denial. The fact that he or his companions had not sought to flatter the Thessalonians is proof of this. Paul condemns flattery of others as cheap self-seeking in Gal 4:17. A true preacher of the Gospel tells men what they need to hear (see 2 Tim 4:1-2), not what they want to hear (See 2 Tim 4:3). Likewise, he was not seeking riches (covetousness). In the ancient world flattery was often employed by preachers, gurus, and prophets of falsehood for their own financial gain. Paul condemns covetousness in Romans 1:29; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5.

God is witness… Paul has repeatedly appealed to the Thessalonians knowledge of his conduct, now he appeals to God as witness, reminding us of what was said in verse 4.

when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ Further proof that St Paul and his companions were not covetous. As ministers of the Gospel they had a right to live by the Gospel but didn’t do so (see 1 Cor 9:8-14).
2:7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children. A contrast with the preceding verses is introduced with the word but. Mothers don’t demand payment from the children they nurse

2:8 Even so, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not the Good News of God only, but also our own souls, because you had become very dear to us. The preaching of the Gospel isn’t just a job, it’s an act of love; a family affair, a giving of ones self completely, like a nursing mother. Thus:

2:9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail; for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached to you the Good News of God. Concerning work and labor see the introductory comments inset above. Labor and travail are maternal images continuing the theme of 2:7. Also continued here is the theme of 2:6-7. With rare exception (Phil 4:15-16), St Paul never accepted financial help for his ministry; rather, he supported himself as a tent maker (see acts 18:1-3 and 20:33-34).

2:10 You are witnesses with God, how holy, righteously, and blamelessly we behaved ourselves toward you who believe. Again St Paul calls on the two-fold witness of God and the Thessalonians.

2:11-12 As you know, we exhorted, comforted, and implored every one of you, as a father does his own children, cb(to the end that you should walk worthily of God, who calls you into his own Kingdom and glory. The opening as you know builds upon the previous verse. To the end shows what it is that motivates Paul’s emphasis on his conduct. As mentioned earlier, St Paul’s primary concern is not defending his actions against false accusations; rather, he wants his converts to imitate him, that they should walk worthily of God, who call them into his own Kingdom and glory. The call of the Thessalonians took place through the preaching of the Gospel, and its mention here reminds us of St Paul’s reference to how they were chosen in 1:4, when the Gospel came to them. The father/children image is an obvious compliment to the nursing mother/Paul in labor and travail theme in verse 7 and 9.

cb(2,11);

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Background and Outline to First Thessalonians

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2008

Note: This and the next two posts on First Thessalonians were published 6 months ago.  I republish them here because I intend to begin posting further notes on that letter.
Authorship:

Virtually all scholars agree that this letter was written by Paul. In fact, the authorship was never seriously questioned except by F.C. Baur, who’s thesis was quickly rejected. There is some question as to how much input Paul’s companions had in the composition. The opening address clearly identifies Silvanus and Timothy, who had helped evangelize the city (2:1-16), as co-senders of the letter, other passages, however, clearly refer to Paul alone (5:25, 27). This has led some scholars to the conclusion that the opening address and the “we” sections of the letter are the result of a literary nicety on the part of Paul to include his co-workers as co-senders of the work. Most scholars rightly (in my opinion, for what it’s worth) reject this and think T and S had an active hand in determining the content of the letter.

Background:

After Attending the Council of Jerusalem and fulfilling the task assigned to them, Paul and Barnabas decided to make a tour of the churches they had founded to see how they were doing. Barnabas wanted to take along his cousin, John Mark, who had deserted them during what is commonly called Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13:13); but to this Paul objected, not wanting a repeat performance of that event. As a result of this, Paul and Barnabas had a sharp disagreement and parted company, with Barnabas taking Mark and going to Cyprus, while Paul chose Silas (aka Silvanus) to accompany him through Syria and Cilicia to “strengthen the churches” (see Acts 15). They came to the region of Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium, and there met Timothy, a young convert of Jewish and Greek ancestry. He was highly spoken of by the Christians who knew him and he must have impressed Paul, for the apostle asked him to accompany them on their missionary endeavor (Acts 16:1-5). They made their way through Asia Minor and came to Troas, where Paul had a vision that he should evangelize Macedonia, thus began the evangelization of Europe (Acts 16:6-15).

They made their way into Philippi, “a leading city in the district of Macedonia and a Roman Colony.” While there, Paul healed a slave-girl of what Luke terms a “Python spirit,” meaning a demon that gave the girl oracular statements. The girl’s ability had been used by her owners to make money, and the fact that Paul had cured her did not sit well with them, as a result, something nearly like a riot started which resulted in Paul and his companions being beaten with rods and imprisoned. Paul, because he was a Roman citizen, and therefore protected by due process of Roman law, complained to the magistrates about this treatment, which led to the authorities seeking to placate him (Acts 16:16-40).

After this, the group left Phillippi and proceeded to Amphipolis, Apollonia, and into Thessalonica, which had a very sizable Jewish population. How much time they spent in that city is unknown, but they did spend three Sabbaths in the Synagogue preaching and demonstrating that Jesus was the Messiah. Some Jews, and a large number of Greeks were converted. This infuriated some of the Jews who then employed certain men of dubious character to search out the missionaries. Unable to find them they grabbed some other Christians and dragged them before the magistrates, accusing them of causing a disturbance and rejecting the decrees of Caesar. The Christians were ordered to pay some kind of a fine and released. As a result of this, Paul and Silas (and presumably Timothy) left the city for Beroea, where they preached in the synagogue and converted many. However, some Jews from Thessalonica, hearing of this success, came to Beroea and began to make trouble; as a result, Paul was forced to go to Athens, leaving his companions behind, though telling them to join him as soon as possible(Acts 17:1-15).

How much time Paul spent in Athens is unknown, but his stay was probably short. It appears he made an attempt at evangelizing the city but met with little success. From Athens he proceeded to Corinth where he began preaching in the synagogue. It was here that Silas and Timothy rejoined him and the three men spent a year and a half preaching in the city (Acts 17:16-18:11). It was during this stay in Corinth that word came to them about the persecution being suffered by the church in Thessalonica (Thess 2:14). Due to this report, Timothy was sent back to the city to strengthen them (1 Thess 3:1-5). He returned with a good report concerning them, and it is this report which occasioned the letter (1 Thess 3:6-8).

Outline

The letter is in three parts, with each part being sub-divided into three sections in concentric fashion.

Part 1. 1:1-2:16

A1) Salutation and thanksgiving for the Thessalonians reception of the word (1:1-10)

B) How the Missionaries acted among them (2:1-12)

A2) Another thanksgiving for the Thessalonians reception of the word (2:13-16)

Part 2 (2:17-3:13)

A1) The missionaries wish to see their converts “face to face” (2:17-20)

B) Timothy is sent to Thessalonica (3:1-8)

A2) The missionaries pray that they might see their converts “face to face” (3:9-13)

Part 3 (4:1-5:28)

A1) Exhortations concerning right and holy conduct (4:1-12)

B) The resurrection of the faithful and Christ’s second coming (4:13-5:11)

A2) Exhortations concerning right order in the community (5:12-28)

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Notes on 1 Thessalonians 1:1

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2008

I will begin by providing the reader with links to several translations of the passage. I will then offer a brief summary of the text, then move onto a more detailed examination of individual sections. For this purpose I will be providing my own interpretive translation (Note: Although I will only be looking at the opening address in this post, I have chosen to summarize the whole of Chapter 1. Notes on the rest of Chapter 1 will be posted later today or tomorrow.)
Read the text:

According to the RSVDouay-RheimsLatin VulgateNAB

Summary:

Following the standard epistolary format of hellenistic times, the letter opens with an address consisting of three elements: 1. the senders; 2. the addressees; 3. a wish or blessing. This is then followed by a prayer of thanksgiving, which was also typical of ancient letters. The authors of the NT letters, and especially St Paul, often use these prayers (or blessings; see Eph 1:3-14) to indicate major themes or ideas dealt with and expressed in the body of the missive; therefore, readers should pay special attention to them.

Calling to mind the church’s origin in Thessalonica, the prayer celebrates the three theological virtues so active among the people (2-3). This prayer is motivated by Paul’s (and his companions) knowledge of how the church was elected or chosen through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in their mission (4-5). This knowledge is confirmed by the fact that, in spite of all the troubles and afflictions which came upon the people due to their acceptance of the gospel, they have not only remained faithful in imitation of the missionaries, but, like the missionaries, they have themselves become witnesses to the gospel as they await the return of the risen Jesus.

NOTES:

Vs 1 Paulos (Paul) and Silouanos (Silvanus,aka Silas) and Timotheos (Timothy) to the ekklesia (church; those called together; an assembly) of (i.e., made up of) the Thessalonians in (or “assembled by”) God the Father and Lord Jesus Christ: grace and peace to you. (Some texts add: “From God our father, and the Lord Jesus Christ)

Paul is, of course, the Apostle Paul; an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin (Rom 11:1); a rigid Pharisee and one time persecutor of the Church (Phil 3:5-6). While on the road to Damascus, “breathing murderous hatred” and seeking to arrest and imprison Christians (Acts 9:1), he was converted by by the risen Christ himself, manifesting God’s mercy towards this one time blasphemer and persecutor of the Church of God (1 Tim 1:12-17). Coming to realize that he had been chosen from his mother’s womb for the task to which he was called (Gal 1:15), he became the Church’s most zealous missionary by the grace of God (1 Cor 15:10).

Silvanus is most certainly to be identified with Silas, who is mentioned in the Acts of Apostle. A Christian prophet, he appears to have been an influential member of the church in Jerusalem. Along with a certain Judas/Barsabbas, he was chosen by the twelve apostles to accompany Paul and Barnabas to the churches of Antioch to make known the decrees of the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:22-35). Having fulfilled this function Judas and Silas returned to Jerusalem, while Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch for a time, possibly to deal with some difficulties. after this they decided to go to Syria and Cilicia to deliver the council’s decision and strengthen the churches they had founded. However, a dispute arose between Paul and Barnabas and the two men parted company; as a result, Paul decided to choose Silas as his companion on the mission(Acts 15:36-41). (He must have sent word back to Jerusalem of what had transpired between him and Barnabas. Recall that Barnabas was from Jerusalem and provided a “Jerusalem connection” with the pagan-in-origin people who were predominant in the churches founded by Paul). Silvanus worked with Paul throughout much of the so-called second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-21:14), but disappears from Luke’s narrative after (18:5). Besides here, his name appears twice more in Paul’s letters; in the opening address of 2 Thess and in 2 Cor 1:19. He at some point joined up with St Peter in Rome, and may have acted as his amanuensis (1 Pt 5:12).

Timothy was the son of a Jewish mother and a Greek father (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim 1:5). He was probably a native of Lystra or Iconium, and may have been converted by the preaching of Paul and Barnabas on the so-called first missionary journey. Though young (1 Tim 4:12), and apparently rather timid (1 Cor 16;10), he was well spoken of and respected by the Christians of the two cities just mentioned, this no doubt helped determine Paul’s decision to ask Timothy to accompany him on the mission (Acts 16:1-5). With Silvanus, he remained at Beroea for some time after Paul was forced to leave the city(Acts 17:10-15), rejoining him at Corinth (Acts 18:5), where the three men spent a year and half evangelizing (Acts 18:11). It was during this period that Paul sent him back to Thessalonica to ascertain the situation which is dealt with in the letter we are examining (see 1 Thess 3:1-8). Later, he, along with a certain Erastus, was sent by Paul into Macedonia, apparently to prepare for further mission work (Acts 19:22). It is rather clear from Scripture that Timothy became Paul’s right-hand man. At some point and time he was sent by Paul back to Corinth to deal with some troubles that had arisen there (1 Cor 4:17). Apparently, a second visit by Timothy was planned (1 Cor 16:10), but we do not know if it ever happened. The Same can be said of a planned visit to Philippi (Phil 2:19). Finally, two letters in the Pauline corpus are addressed to him. The words which St Paul uses to describe Timothy are full of affection and respect, I’ve always considered it unfortunate that we do not know more about him.

To the ekklesia (church) made up of Thessalonians… This is an odd way for Paul to describe the church, at least in comparison to his other letters; for Paul usually speaks of “the church of God” at such and such a place (see 1 Cor 1:2). Perhaps Paul speaks of the Church in this fashion here in order to emphasize the fact that one does not have to be a circumcised Jew to be a member of the people of God. Recall that this letter was written not long after the Jerusalem council.

Ekklesia is a Greek term designating a group called together:

751 The word “Church” (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose. 139 Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people. 140 By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is “calling together” his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means “what belongs to the Lord.”

752 In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the liturgical assembly, 141 but also the local community 142 or the whole universal community of believers. 143 These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body. (Cat. Cath. Ch.)

The church is called together by God, through Christ, by the power of the Spirit at work in the Church’s ministry (see Col 1:3-8).

Which is in (or “assembled by”) God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… I accept Earl J. Richards view that the workhorse Greek dative en, which has many possible nuances, should be translated as “assembled by”. Grammatically and contextually, the dative could qualify any of the three parts of the salutation. It could relate to the missionaries, in which case it would be a witness to their authority “in” or “by” God. It could relate to the wish/blessing of grace and peace, denoting the origin of these gifts. In this regard it should be noted that in other letters Paul often speaks of the origin of the gifts as being “in” or “by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (see 1 Cor 1:3). No such phrase occurs here except in a few manuscripts. Scholars consider the phrase a gloss, not original. Also, as Richards notes, in the other Pauline letters, the phrase is introduced with the preposition apo followed by a genitive. He takes the dative en here in an instrumental sense and translates “assembled by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In doing this he sees the dative as related to the phrase “the church (ekklesia, assembly) of the Thessalonians”, thus emphasising the initiative of the Father and Christ in establishing the church in that city. The fact that the letter associates both the father and Christ in this, using the single cunjunctive kai (and) strongly suggests the divinity of Christ.

grace and peaceTypically, letters written in Greek contained the wish charien (rejoice, have joy), but Paul replaces it with the related word charis, (grace). For Paul the word has the sense of “the saving will of God executed in Jesus Christ and communicated to men through him” (Dictionary of the Bible John L. McKenzie, S.J.). For more on grace, see here. And a more technical treatment here. See also these articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Peace reflects the Hebrew word shalom, meaning a total state of well being, especially in relation to God and Man.

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My Notes on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2008

Summary:

Following the standard epistolary format of hellenistic times, the letter opens with an address consisting of three elements: 1. the senders; 2. the addressees; 3. a wish or blessing. This is then followed by a prayer of thanksgiving, which was also typical of ancient letters. The authors of the NT letters, and especially St Paul, often use these prayers (or blessings; see Eph 1:3-14) to indicate major themes or ideas dealt with and expressed in the body of the missive; therefore, readers should pay special attention to them.

Calling to mind the church’s origin in Thessalonica, the prayer celebrates the three theological virtues so active among the people (2-3). This prayer is motivated by Paul’s (and his companions) knowledge of how the church was elected or chosen through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in their mission (4-5). This knowledge is confirmed by the fact that, in spite of all the troubles and afflictions which came upon the people due to their acceptance of the gospel, they have not only remained faithful in imitation of the missionaries, but, like the missionaries, they have themselves become witnesses to the gospel as they await the return of the risen Jesus (6-10).

NOTES:

Vs 1 (my translation).  Paulos (Paul) and Silouanos (Silvanus,aka Silas) and Timotheos (Timothy) to the ekklesia (church; those called together; an assembly) of (i.e., made up of) the Thessalonians in (or “assembled by”) God the Father and Lord Jesus Christ: grace and peace to you. (Some texts add: “From God our father, and the Lord Jesus Christ)

Paul is, of course, the Apostle Paul; an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin (Rom 11:1); a rigid Pharisee and one time persecutor of the Church (Phil 3:5-6). While on the road to Damascus, “breathing murderous hatred” and seeking to arrest and imprison Christians (Acts 9:1), he was converted by by the risen Christ himself, manifesting God’s mercy towards this one time blasphemer and persecutor of the Church of God (1 Tim 1:12-17). Coming to realize that he had been chosen from his mother’s womb for the task to which he was called (Gal 1:15), he became the Church’s most zealous missionary by the grace of God (1 Cor 15:10).

Silvanus is most certainly to be identified with Silas, who is mentioned in the Acts of Apostle. A Christian prophet, he appears to have been an influential member of the church in Jerusalem. Along with a certain Judas/Barsabbas, he was chosen by the twelve apostles to accompany Paul and Barnabas to the churches of Antioch to make known the decrees of the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:22-35). Having fulfilled this function Judas and Silas returned to Jerusalem, while Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch for a time, possibly to deal with some difficulties. after this they decided to go to Syria and Cilicia to deliver the council’s decision and strengthen the churches they had founded. However, a dispute arose between Paul and Barnabas and the two men parted company; as a result, Paul decided to choose Silas as his companion on the mission(Acts 15:36-41). (He must have sent word back to Jerusalem of what had transpired between him and Barnabas. Recall that Barnabas was from Jerusalem and provided a “Jerusalem connection” with the pagan-in-origin people who were predominant in the churches founded by Paul). Silvanus worked with Paul throughout much of the so-called second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-21:14), but disappears from Luke’s narrative after (18:5). Besides here, his name appears twice more in Paul’s letters; in the opening address of 2 Thess and in 2 Cor 1:19. He at some point joined up with St Peter in Rome, and may have acted as his amanuensis (1 Pt 5:12).

Timothy was the son of a Jewish mother and a Greek father (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim 1:5). He was probably a native of Lystra or Iconium, and may have been converted by the preaching of Paul and Barnabas on the so-called first missionary journey. Though young (1 Tim 4:12), and apparently rather timid (1 Cor 16;10), he was well spoken of and respected by the Christians of the two cities just mentioned, this no doubt helped determine Paul’s decision to ask Timothy to accompany him on the mission (Acts 16:1-5). With Silvanus, he remained at Beroea for some time after Paul was forced to leave the city(Acts 17:10-15), rejoining him at Corinth (Acts 18:5), where the three men spent a year and half evangelizing (Acts 18:11). It was during this period that Paul sent him back to Thessalonica to ascertain the situation which is dealt with in the letter we are examining (see 1 Thess 3:1-8). Later, he, along with a certain Erastus, was sent by Paul into Macedonia, apparently to prepare for further mission work (Acts 19:22). It is rather clear from Scripture that Timothy became Paul’s right-hand man. At some point and time he was sent by Paul back to Corinth to deal with some troubles that had arisen there (1 Cor 4:17). Apparently, a second visit by Timothy was planned (1 Cor 16:10), but we do not know if it ever happened. The Same can be said of a planned visit to Philippi (Phil 2:19). Finally, two letters in the Pauline corpus are addressed to him. The words which St Paul uses to describe Timothy are full of affection and respect, I’ve always considered it unfortunate that we do not know more about him.

To the ekklesia (church) made up of Thessalonians… This is an odd way for Paul to describe the church, at least in comparison to his other letters; for Paul usually speaks of “the church of God” at such and such a place (see 1 Cor 1:2). Perhaps Paul speaks of the Church in this fashion here in order to emphasize the fact that one does not have to be a circumcised Jew to be a member of the people of God. Recall that this letter was written not long after the Jerusalem council.

Ekklesia is a Greek term designating a group called together:

751 The word “Church” (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose. 139 Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people. 140 By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is “calling together” his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means “what belongs to the Lord.”

752 In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the liturgical assembly, 141 but also the local community 142 or the whole universal community of believers. 143 These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body. (Cat. Cath. Ch.)

The church is called together by God, through Christ, by the power of the Spirit at work in the Church’s ministry (see Col 1:3-8).

Which is in (or “assembled by”) God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… I accept Earl J. Richards view that the workhorse Greek dative en, which has many possible nuances, should be translated as “assembled by”. Grammatically and contextually, the dative could qualify any of the three parts of the salutation. It could relate to the missionaries, in which case it would be a witness to their authority “in” or “by” God. It could relate to the wish/blessing of grace and peace, denoting the origin of these gifts. In this regard it should be noted that in other letters Paul often speaks of the origin of the gifts as being “in” or “by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (see 1 Cor 1:3). No such phrase occurs here except in a few manuscripts. Scholars consider the phrase a gloss, not original. Also, as Richards notes, in the other Pauline letters, the phrase is introduced with the preposition apo followed by a genitive. He takes the dative en here in an instrumental sense and translates “assembled by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In doing this he sees the dative as related to the phrase “the church (ekklesia, assembly) of the Thessalonians”, thus emphasising the initiative of the Father and Christ in establishing the church in that city. The fact that the letter associates both the father and Christ in this, using the single cunjunctive kai (and) strongly suggests the divinity of Christ.

grace and peace- Typically, letters written in Greek contained the wish charien (rejoice, have joy), but Paul replaces it with the related word charis, (grace). For Paul the word has the sense of “the saving will of God executed in Jesus Christ and communicated to men through him” (Dictionary of the Bible John L. McKenzie, S.J.). For more on grace, see here. And a more technical treatment here. See also these articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Peace reflects the Hebrew word shalom, meaning a total state of well being, especially in relation to God and Man.

Read 1 Thess 1:2-3.

As he usually does in his letters, Paul opens the body with a prayer for his readers. Anyone wishing to study his letters would do well to pay special attention to these prayers, for Paul often uses them to bring up key themes he will treat of latter. Prayer was extremely important to St Paul. At the end of the letter (5:17) he will tell the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing, using the very same word he uses in verse 3; he insists that they give thanks in everything since this is God’s will in Christ Jesus. (see 5:17-18) . He also will request their prayers for him (5:25).

The missionaries prayer is one of thanksgiving (eucharisteo, see vs 2 and 2:13), Eucharisteo, when used with the dative to Theo (to God), implies that thanks is being give for some unmerited gift. Paul and his companions give thanks to God for the Thessalonians, for they are the missionaries unmerited gift from God: “Our hope, joy, and crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming” (2:19).

What motivates their prayer, and is indeed part of its subject, is expressed in a threefold pattern : “Calling to mind (1) your work of faith, and (2) your labor of love, and (3) your steadfastness (endurance, constancy) of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the presence of our God and Father.”

Work of faith means acting in accord with what one believes on the basis of God’s revealed will. The idea seems to be similar to the Pauline idea of “the obedience of faith. Faith is a total surrender and commitment to God (on which, see here).

Labor of love– Love, or charity, is the expression of faith, and without it faith is dead:”If I have faith strong enough to move mountains, yet have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:3). “in Christ Jesus” writes Paul, only faith working through love counts for anything (Gal 5:17). Kopos (labor) expresses hard, strenuous activity, and Paul will use the word in 2:19 and 3:5 to describe his apostolic labors in Thessalonica. Recall that those labors were done in the face of oppression (see Act 16:16-17:10). Paul will focus on his own apostolic kopos in 2:1-12 in order to encourage his readers in their kopos of faith as they too face oppression because of the Gospel (2:13-14). He will also exhort them to respect and show special love to those who labor among them and are over then in the Lord and who admonish them (5:12-13) Part of the work of faith is not to be a burden on others, in imitation of the missionaries who were no burden on the Thessalonians (see 2:9). Latter in the letter, the recipients will be exhorted to work with their own hands so as not to burden others; this comes in the context of brotherly love (see 9-12).

Endurance of hope- The Greek word hypomone means patiently enduring all circumstances. Like the phrase work of faith it seems to relate in this letter to the suffering of the Thessalonians. They patiently bear oppression and opposition caused by their adherence to the Gospel. This they do in hope of the coming of Christ who will judge their work of faith and labor of love.

At the very beginning of this letter we find the three theological virtues in what Stanley B Morrow calls their “salvation history sequence” (see Col 1:4-5; for a different sequence see 1 Cor 13:13). At the end of this letter, and in the context of Christ’s second coming, Paul will once again mention the three virtues, portraying them as defenses against an unfavorable judgment that will come upon many on that day (5:8).

Read 1 Thess 1:4

Earl J Richard describes this as the ultimate reason for the prayer. The word “knowing” (DRB) or the phrase “for we know” (RSV) are not adequate translations of the word oida as it is used here, for the word is in this context a perfect participle active, denoting not simply knowledge, but certainty as well. This certainty is based upon what will be said in the verses that follow (5-7). The circumstances of the letter are important here, for the missionaries were not sure their new converts were holding up under persecution (3:5). Timothy’s return from Thessalonica with a good report (3:6-8) must have given Paul and Silvanus a great relief, and one can feel that relief as he reads the letter.

Read 1 Thess 1:5-6

Note how verse 5 focuses on the divine action in the work of the human missionaries. Without God’s power through Christ, in the Holy Spirit, the Church would have no real mission.
The fact that power and the Holy Spirit were at work in the missionary endeavor to evangelize the city (Vs 5) is a prime reason for Paul’s certainty that the Thessaloninas were chosen by God. No doubt Paul has in mind here the fact that the Holy Spirit prevented him and his companions from preaching in the Roman province of Asia and the city of Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7), yet they received a vision to evangelize the province of Macedonia, of which, Thessalonica was the cheif city (Acts 16:9-10). Verse 6 is further reason for Paul’s certainty: the good response of the Thesaalonians to his preaching, even in the face of much opposition (Acts 17:1-9).

Read 1 Thess 1:7-10

The results of God’s action and the Thessalonians response is that they have become “imitators” of Paul and his companions. As already seen, they too, like like the missionaries, received the word in great affliction, but with the Spirit inspired joy of faith (vs 6). Not only that, but they have in some sense become evangelists themselves, for the word has sounded forth from them, as has their example of faith, defined as turning from idols to the living God and awaiting Christ’s return.

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Aquinas’ Summa Contra Haugen-Haas

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 28, 2008

pete-paul-003.jpg Click picture to enlarge. See explanation of it at end of post.
One of the all time great hymns is certainly Pange Lingua Gloriosi. It puts the insipid junk of Haugen and Haas to complete and utter shame. Can “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love” really compare with “Of the glorious body telling,
O my tongue, its mysteries sing”?

To hear a version of the hymn CLICK HERE. For another (choral) version CLICK HERE. Also, I found THIS LINK to a Schola Cantorum (singing school) in the Diocese of Austin, Texas. Click on multimedia link for recordings of Latin Hymns.

Pange Lingua Gloriosi
Of the glorious body telling,
O my tongue, its mysteries sing,
And the Blood, all price excelling,
Which the world’s eternal King,
In a noble womb once dwelling
Shed for the world’s ransoming.

At the last great Supper lying,
Circled by his brethren’s band,
Meekly with the law complying,
First he finished its command
Then, immortal Food supplying,
Gave himself with his own hand.

Word made Flesh, by word he maketh
Very bread his Flesh to be,
Man in wine Christ’s Blood partaketh:
And if senses fail to see,
Faith alone the true heart waketh
To behold the mystery.

Therefore we, before him bending,
This great Sacrament revere;
Types and shadows have their ending,
For the newer rite is here;
Faith, our outward sense befriending,
Makes the inward vision clear.

Glory let us give, and blessing
To the Father and the Son;
Honor, might, and praise addressing,
While eternal ages run;
Ever to his love confessing,
Who, from both, with both is one.
Amen.

Adore Te Devote:

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
Hwo says tusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.

On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican; *
Bath me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran–
Blood where of a single drop has pwoer to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest forever with thy glory’s sight.

*Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican: The pelican’s tale is a reference to an old myth that said a Pelican would feed its young with its own flesh and blood if no other food was available. It became a common symbol for the Eucharist. The photo at the top of this post is a marble mosaic panel inlaid into the altar rail of my parish church.

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ND Think Tank and Muse

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 27, 2008

python

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When Pharaohs Govern

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 27, 2008

 

FEATURED ALERT

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Extreme Abortion Proposal in Albany

Oppose the Governor’s Bill!

On April 25, 2007, Governor Eliot Spitzer put forth a radical abortion proposal that would go far beyond Roe vs. Wade. The Governor’s bill could, among other things, force Catholic hospitals to allow abortions and make abortion virtually immune from any reasonable state regulation such as parental notification or informed consent. His bill would enshrine abortion in our law as a ‘fundamental right’ and legalize it through all nine months of pregnancy, for virtually any reason.

Take action now to tell your lawmakers to oppose this extreme bill! For the sake of pregnant women and their unborn children, please take a minute to communicate your opposition to your state Senate and Assembly representatives. …

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More Bible Notes Coming

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 27, 2008

I’ve been doing a lot of posts on philosophy lately, and I intend to continue my studies in this area, however, I will again begin posting my notes on the Bible in the next few days (Isaiah, Hosea, Psalms).  I may also do a post or two on Matthew if I can find the time.  If you look at the top of this blog, just under the title, you will find pages which contain my notes.   Also, on the left of the blog, under “categories” you will find links to other notes.

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A Universe of Individuals

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 27, 2008

Chapter 8

A Universe of Individuals

1. The Universe a collection of individual things.

2. Substance and accident.

3. Quantity, action, quality.

4. Space and time.

5. Relations.

6. Grades of reality and multiplicity in each grade.

7. Internal unity, goodness, truth.

8. Scholasticism the sworn enemy of Monism.

1. The Universe a collection of individual things. Let us imagine for one moment that by some great cosmic cataclysm the activity and movement of the universe were suddenly brought to a stop, and that we were in a position to dissect at our leisure the reality of which the universe is made up, in the same way that archaeologists excavate and study the interior of a house in Pompeii. What would a similar analysis of the world we live in reveal to the mind of the medieval schoolman?

We should see in the first place that, in addition to the human race, there are thousands of other beings in existence, and that each one of these is a concrete individual thing, independent of and incommunicable to every other in its inmost nature. We should find this individuality realized in each plant and animal in the domain of life, and, as for the inorganic world, in the particles of the four elements (air, water, fire, earth) or else in a compound resulting from their combination and itself possessing a specific state of being (mixtum). The chemistry of the Middle Ages was very rudimentary, and contained a mixture of truth and falsehood. On the other hand, the metaphysics, although closely bound up with this chemistry, is of an independent development. Indeed, it belongs to the particular sciences to determine what is the primordial particle of corporeal matter in each case. It matters little to the metaphysician whether this turns out to be the molecule or the atom (or even the ion or electron). Let us suppose that it is the atom: then the Schoolmen would say that the atoms of oxygen, chlorine, ect., are the real individuals of the inorganic world, it is to them that existence primarily belongs, and they alone possess internal unity.

What is the nature of these individual realities, which make up the universe?

 

2. Substance and accidents. Let us examine more attentively any one of the many things which surround us on all sides,-a particular oak tree, for instance. This particular individual thing possesses many characteristics: it has a definite diameter, its bark is rugged, or ‘gnarled’ as the poets say, its foliage is of a somber color, it occupies a certain place in the forest, its leaves exercise a certain action upon the surrounding air, and itself is in turn influenced by things external to itself by means of the sap and the vitalizing elements which it contains. All these are so many attributes or determinations of being, or, to use the scholastic terminology, so many ‘categories,’-quantity, quality, action, passion, time, space, relation.

But all the above categories or classes of reality presuppose a still more fundamental one. Can anyone conceive the being ‘courageous’ without someone who is courageous? Can one conceive quantity, thickness, growth, and the rest, without something-our oak tree in the above example-to which they belong?Neither the action of growing, nor the extension which comes from quantity, can be conceived as independent of a subject. This fundamental subject Aristotle and the Schoolmen after him called substance. The substance is reality which is able to exist in and by itself (ens per se stans); it is self-sufficient. It has no need of any other subject in which to inhere, but it is also the support of all the rest, which therefore are called accidents,- id quod accidit alicui rei, that which supervenes on something.

Not only is it true that we conceive material realities in terms of substance and accidents,-and no philosophy denies the existence in our minds of these two concepts-but also that substance and accidents exist independently, and outside our minds. In the order of real existence, as in the order of our thought, substance and accident are relative to each other. If we succeed in proving the external existence of an accident (the thickness of the trunk of the tree, for instance), we thereby demonstrate the existence of the substance (i.e. the tree). If the act of walking is not an illusion, but something real, the same must be equally true of the substantial being who walks, and without whom there would be no act of walking.

Locke and many others have criticized the scholastic theory of substance. Their objections, however, rest on a twofold misconception of what that theory involves. First, it is supposed that one claims to know wherein one substance differs from another. Now scholastic philosophy never pretended to know wherein one substance differed from another in the external world. The concept of substance was arrived at not as the fruit of an intuition, but as the result of a reasoning process, which does not tell us what is specific in each substance, but only that substances are. We know that they must exist, but never what they are. Indeed, the idea of substance is essentially meager in content.We must repeat that we have no right to demand from a theory explanations which it does not profess to give.

A second misconception, that we can easily dispose of, represents the substance of a being as something simply underlying its other attributes. To suppose that we imagine something lying behind or underneath the accidents, as the door underlies the painted color, is simply to give a false interpretation of the scholastic theory, and of course there is no difficulty in exposing this conception to ridicule. But the interpretation is erroneous. Substance and accidents together constitute one and the same concrete existing thing. Indeed, it is the substance that confers individuality upon the particular determinations or accidents. It is the substance of the oak tree which constitutes the foundation and source of its individuality, and thus confers this individuality upon its qualities, its dimensions, and all the series of accidental determinations. This tout ensemble of substance and accidental determinations, taken together, exists by virtue of one existence, that of the concrete oak tree as a whole. This doctrine will be developed in the next chapter, where we will consider the function of substance in the cycle of cosmic evolution.

No less than the substance of the individual man or oak tree, the series of determinations which affect it deserve our careful attention. Are the figure, roughness, strength, ect., distinct realities existing in one which is more fundamental, and if so, in what sense?

To ask this question is tantamount to asking what are these determining or supervening states, which qualify a man or an oak tree as rough, strong, occupying space. Let us review the chief classes of accidents, namely quantity, action, quality, space and time, relation.

3. Quantity, action, quality. The substantial subject which I call Peter, or any particular lion, does not occupy a mere mathematical point: its body is made up of parts in contact with each other (quantity) and which also exist outside each other (extension). The internal order which is the result of this juxtaposition constitutes the internal or private space or place of the body in question. Extension does not constitute the essence of a material thing (as Descartes taught), but it is its primary real attribute or property (proprium), naturally inseparable from it, and the one concerning which our sense give us the most exact information (cf, 6:2)

At the moment when we imagined a sudden petrification as it were of the universe, all these quantified subjects were engaged in mutual action and reaction. Chemical elements were in the process of combination or disassociation; external objects were giving rise to visual sensations in the eyes of animals and men. For, every substance is active-so much so that its activity forms a measure of its perfection (agere sequitur esse, activity follows upon action)-and if a being were not endowed with activity, it would lack a sufficient reason for its existence. The action performed or undergone is a real modification of being, and cannot be denied unless we fly in the face of the evidence. It is clear, for instance, that the thought of a Edison enriches the reality of the subject involved. Of course, we do not understand the how, or in what way a being, A, independent of B, can nevertheless produce an effect in B. Once again we must not demand from a theory that which it does not pretend to give.

A quality of a being, according to the view of the Schoolmen, modifies it really in some specific character, and allows us to say of what kind it is (Qualis). Rigorously speaking, this is not a definition, as the notion is too elementary to be strictly definable. The natural figureor shape, for instance a face or a mouth of a certain type, belongs to the group of qualities (figura). It arises from the disposition or arrangement of quantified parts, but it determines the being otherwise than in its mere extension.

Besides the figure of being, the Schoolmen introduce a second group of qualities, consisting of the intrinsic powers of action, or capacities,-reservoirs, as it were, from which the action flows-for instance, when we say of a man that he is intelligent, or strong-willed. They are known as powers (potentiae) in general, and a ‘faculties’ in the case of man. Thomas maintains that every limited being acts by means of principles of action. Only the Infinite Being acts directly through it substance, because in him existing and acting are identical.

Finally, experience shows that faculties, by being exercised, acquire a certain real pliability or facility which predisposes them to act more easily with more energy. The professional competency of an artisan, the muscular agility of a baseball player, the clear-headedness of a mathematician, the moral strength of a temperate or just man,-are all dispositions more or less permanent, lasting ‘habits,’ ‘virtues,’ which vary in different subjects, but all of which enrich the being of the one possessing them, since they collaborate with the power of action regarded as a whole.

4. Space and time. We can only touch upon the question of space and time, which Aquinas, in common with the other Schoolmen, considers at great length-not only the internal space proper to each body and which he identifies with its material enclosure, but space as a whole, the result of the juxtaposition of all existing bodies. This space is obviously a function of the material things which actually exist. The ‘multitude’ of such beings might be without limit, for there is no contradiction in supposing an indefinite multitude of material things each occupying an internal space finite in extent. Space as a whole, therefore, being the sum of these individual spaces, might be indefinite.

In the opinion of Thomas, time is really the same as the continuous movement or change in which all real beings are involved. But there is, by a mere mental activity, a breaking up, a numbering of this continuous movement into distinct parts, which in consequence necessarily appear to be successive. Tempus est mumerus motus secundum prius et posterius is the pregnant definition which Thomas borrows from Aristotle. Time is the measure of the (continuous) change, which the mind views as a succession of parts. The present and fleeting state of a changing being is alone the real and existing. In the supposition of a motionless world which we made above, the present time would be a cross section of the universe, in its actual state, viewed in relation to the past and to the future. Now, since the multiplicity of beings is not necessarily limited, we may, by a process similar to our reasoning on space, conclude that time, the measure of changes which have really taken place or will take place in the future, may also be without limit in either direction.

5. Relations. Passing over the passive, intransitive state (for instance, the state of being sad) which the Schoolmen regarded as a reality distinct from the subject which it affects, there remains the last of the categories, namely, relation. By means of this, the millions of beings which make up the universe, were, at the moment when we have supposed them to be arrested in their course, all bound up in a close network. By virtue of relations some things are for other things, or stand in a particular way towards other things (ad alterum). For instance, it is in virtue of a relation that several men are greater or smaller than others, stronger or weaker, more virtuous or vicious, jealous of others, well or badly governed, ect. Is the relation ‘greater than’ distinct from the size or quantity of the thing in question, the quantity being obviously the foundation of the relation? Thomas replies in the negative, and he would not have allowed that these relations have a separate reality of their own. My being greater or smaller than some aborigine of Africa is not a new reality added to my figure or to my absolute size; otherwise, while retaining continuously the same figure, I should be constantly acquiring or losing realities, every time that aborigines increased or diminished their size, which is clearly ridiculous.

L et us continue the investigation of our dead universe. For there are two other static aspects of the ensemble of things: their hierarchical arrangement and multiplicity on the one hand, and certain attributes known as ‘transcendentals’ on the other.

6. Grades of reality and multiplicity in each grade. Although each material thing is itself, it is easy to see that there are many men all belonging to the same kind, in that these individuals possess a substantial perfection which is similar. On the other hand, being ‘man’ and being ‘oak’ belong to different grades of reality.

The explanation is that every material substance has within itself a specific principle 9we shall call it later substantial form), and the specific principle of the oak is altogether different from that of man, that of oxygen from that of hydrogen, and so on. The universe of the Schoolmen is hierarchically arranged or graded, not merely by quantitative differences (mechanistic theory) but according to their internal perfections (dynamism). A consequence of this is that the substantial perfection of man or oak tree does not admit of degrees. One is either a man or one is not: we cannot be things by halves. essentia 9id est substantia)non suscipit plus vel minu.- Essence or substance does not admit of more or less. The substance of man is the same in kind in all men. From this there will follow certain important social consequences which we shall take up later.

On the other hand, we see in one and the same substantial order of reality an indefinite number of distinct individuals. Whether we consider the past or the future, there are millions of oak trees, millions of men. Are individuals belonging to the same species just doubles or copies of each other? Have different men or different oak trees exactly the same value as realities? No. Although their substantial perfections are the same in nature and value, their accidents differ, and especially their qualities, quantities, and actions. Men or oak trees are born with different natural aptitudes, and their powers of action differ in intensity. Even two atoms of hydrogen (supposing the atom to be the chemical unit) occupy different places and have different surroundings, which is sufficient to differentiate them. Equality of substance, and inequality of accidents is the law which governs the distinction of individuals possessing the same grade of being so far as substantial perfections are concerned. We shall see that the existence of men together in society is simply an application of this principle.

7. Internal unity, truth, goodness. Since every being, which really exists or is capable of existing, is in itself individual, it possess internal unity. Ens et unum convertuntur,-being and unity are mutually convertible terms Unity is simply an aspec of being. Parts of a thing, whether they are material or otherwise, all coalexce and do not exist for themselves, but for the individual whole. We must be careful here to avoid a wrong interpretation of this doctrine. The unity in question is the unity of individual being, as found in nature; thus the unity of a man, an animal, a plant, or an atom. The unity of such an individual is quite distinct from that of a natural collection (e.g. a mountain, or a colony in biology), or an artificial one (such as amotor car, or a house). To these we attribute a nominal unity, for they are in themselves a collection of millions of individual things, united, in ways more or less intricate, by means of accidental states. A society of men is a unit of this kind.

Everything can become the object of intelligence, and in this sense, which we have met above (cf, 6:6), everything is true.

Again each being aims at some end by means of its activities, and that end is its own good or perfection. There would be no sufficient reason for a being to act, except for that which is suitable for itself (bonum sibi). Hence good is called ‘that which all things desire,’ bonum est quod omnia appetunt. Each thing is good in itself, and for itself, St Augustine remarks that this is true even of such things as the scorpion, for its poison is harmful only to other beings. This tendency towards well-being, which is deeply rooted in everything, manifests itself in a way conformable to the specific nature of each being. It is blind and unconscious in the stone which falls, or in the molecule which is governed by its chemical affinities; it is conscious but necessitated or ‘determined,’ as moderns say, in a savage beast in presence of its prey; it may be conscious and in addition it may be free in the case of man.

8. Scholasticism the sworn enemy of Monism. The individuality of a number of beings involves their being distinct: one substance is not the other. Since the universe is a collection of individual things, scholasticism is the sworn enemy of monism, which regards all or several beings as coalescing into one only. For Aquinas, monism involves a contradiction, For, it must either deny the real diversity of the various manifestations or forms of the One Being, and in that case we must conclude that multiplicity is not real but an illusion;-or else it must maintain that such diversity is real, and then it follows that the idea of unification or identity is absurd.

In other words, the diversity and mutual irreducibility of individual substances are the only sufficient reason for the diversity manifested in the universe. We shall see later that the analysis of the data of consciousness furnishes a second argument against monism, so far as individual human beings are concerned (cf, 10:1).

Although this reasoning can be applied to all forms of monism, Thomas Aquinas combats principally those systems which were current in his day,-the extreme Metaphysical Monism of Avicebron, the Materialistic Monism of David of Dinant, and the Modified Monism or Monopsychism of the Averroists of the West, which maintained that there is only one human soul for all mankind. -Excerpted from THE PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEM OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS, by Maurice Du Wolf.

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