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Fr John Meyendorff and the Orthodox critique of transubstantiation


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#101 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:06 PM

Can it be said that perhaps the Eastern Fathers "christianized" pagan philosophy, while in the West, they allowed that same philosophy to "paganize" their Christology?

#102 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:12 PM

Can it be said that perhaps the Eastern Fathers "christianized" pagan philosophy, while in the West, they allowed that same philosophy to "paganize" their Christology?

That is a good way of putting it but prehaps it should read Orthodox Fathers and Franco west. Early fathers of the West such as Saint Ambrose were in line with the Orthodox thought which survived in the East but was destroyed in the West.

The fact that the Roman territories were eroded by the Germanic tribes lead to the "Dark ages" in most of the West meant much was lost then some reintroduced by Charlemagne, hence reversing the process from Christening old philosophical terms to using the newly found "wisdom of philosophy" to alter ones understanding of Theology.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#103 Owen Jones

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:16 PM

Someone more educated than I would have to sort out the Aristotelian influences on the Antiochene school and therefore the Chalcedonian Definition. But I am certainly not arguing that Christian doctrine should never have been influenced by Aristotle or Plato. I myself have been working on the Posterior Analytics recently, not exactly light exercise for someone of my age. But if I had my wish, the Syriac school would have prevailed and there never would have been a Chalcedonian Definition. Be that as it may, I would still argue that the premise of this thread is a false dilemma for Orthodox believers. It only becomes a dilemma for people who are concerned, for whatever reason, that we need a more objective definition of what happens in the Eucharist. And I think I have to rest my case on the basis of what I've already said in the matter.

#104 Mary Lanser

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:24 PM

Can it be said that perhaps the Eastern Fathers "christianized" pagan philosophy, while in the West, they allowed that same philosophy to "paganize" their Christology?


Your evidence?

Certainly St. Thomas Aquinas would be a good place to begin and there's every evidence that his work radically Christianized classical philosophy in the west, and he used the holy fathers of the east to do so.

Perhaps you are thinking of the rise of the professionalization of theology with the rise of the universities that eventually gave rise to enlightenment thinking, but then you'd have to provide evidence that the Catholic Church, in the west, then became dependent upon the universities for their doctrinal teachings, and the Catechism of Trent does not support that idea.

Too often the protestant influence on the enlightenment is summarily blended with some waving of the hands to include the Catholic doctrinal teaching. It is much more difficult to stop hand waving and provide evidence.

#105 Owen Jones

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:28 PM

"Can it be said that perhaps the Eastern Fathers "christianized" pagan philosophy, while in the West, they allowed that same philosophy to "paganize" their Christology?"

The answer is yes...and no.

#106 Mary Lanser

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:54 AM

I realize that this post of Anna's is several years old but it raises some very interesting issues concerning the body, and also I don't think her final question has ever been answered in this thread, and I don't know if she'd ask the same question today after reading through the thread.

But I was hoping that maybe to come back to topic we could revist Anna's post and talk a bit about the ideas and questions that she raises below.

Mary

Fr Aidan,

In point 2 in your post above, I have to ask - In context, exactly what is Fr John understanding by the word "transubstantiation". Not only what is his "short definition" of the word, (which from your post seems to be "substantial change") but also the word is being used within a certain theological framework to demarcate something specific and this I would guess, as Owen has already hinted at, is more to the point of what an Orthodox theologian would object to.

One thing that Fr Seraphim Rose brought up in his book on Genesis was that in postulating about the state of Adam and Eve before the fall Thomas Aquinas draws a picture of their physicality that is very much like ours - they digested and defecated, etc. whereas in the Patristic view the physical bodies of Adam and Eve were not like ours, but rather the whole material creation was operating under a completely different set of laws, was in a very real sense very different in nature then what we are experiencing now.

Christ's resurrected body also, exists in a reality not constrained by the current laws of physics, in him human nature has not only been restored to, but gone beyond, Adam and Eve's original condition into the condition that God planned for them to grow into if they had not fallen. An Orthodox would not insist that a biochemical test show anything but bread and wine, and yet would say that nevertheless a real substantial change has occurred.

What I am trying to get at here, is that what a Catholic means when they use the word "transubstantiation" is something that an Orthodox would legitimately object to, not because of the meaning of "substantial change" which both agree to, nor over the question of whether it becomes the real Body and Blood, again both would agree with this, but because of what that change entails. It is not the same change referred to when an Orthodox uses the word and a Catholic uses the word.

But exactly what Fr John is saying is not at all clear from what you gave in your post.



#107 Max

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 08:09 PM

Scripture is very clear that Bread and Wine remain, but the objects are simultaneously the Body and Blood of Christ.

The single object we call Bread is simultaneously Christ's Flesh.
The single object we call Wine is simultaneously Christ Blood.
Each object has a dual reality.

Who can fathom the dual reality of Christ being both God and Human simultaneously? Likewise, the Eucharist is a Mystery.

The main problem with the dogma of Transubstantiation is that it rests upon a certain kind of narrow logic (even simplistic) that cannot fathom the concept of dual reality. Thankfully, the same simplistic logic is never fully applied to the Doctrine of the Incarnation! Therefore, this logic concludes that the Bread and Wine are annihilated after the change because anything else would be absurd... yet the "accidents" still remain. So silly and Aristotelian... it's like elementary children trying to describe how the Incarnation of the Word occurred using playground terminology.

Jesus and St. Paul both speak of the objects of the Bread and Wine existing simultaneously as the Body and Blood. Who can say anything beyond this without destroying the Mystery and risking error?

#108 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 09:41 PM

I know of no Orthodox teaching of a 'dual reality'. The words of the epiclesis are clear. Anything else would detract from the mystery and certainly be erroneous.




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