Athanasius Contra Gentes

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 18th, 2019, 4:03 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
June 18th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Right. I can't be bothered to use my hard copies of LSJ and Lampe and I was trying to read Contra Gentes w/o using a computer. That may be a lost cause. My study of On The Incarnation was done entirely on my Mac. Don't like to spend hours a day facing the glowing screen. But w/o access to hyperlinked lexicons you are at an enormous disadvantage.
I don't miss flipping through the pages of the lexicon, not one bit. But they still look nice on the bookshelf, and in case of an extended power outage... :lol:

Having said that, though, I still find having a printed text gives me the best reading experience. So in reading the Iliad, I have the printed text, and simultaneously up on the glow screen. Doing Cicero's Pro Milone the same way for my extra-curricular Latin reading. But my NT and LXX readings often take place waiting for a bus or the like, because they require less attention than texts I haven't read before, and so I don't seem to mind doing it on the phone.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Peng Huiguo » June 19th, 2019, 1:50 am

>look nice on the bookshelf, and in case of an extended power outage
>having a printed text gives the best reading experience

We're talking about LSJ here though — thing's as big and heavy as a bag of bricks, and its print's eye-killing. If the power outage's in the end time, when lights wane and roads jam, God have mercy on the LSJ hoarder.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 17th, 2019, 1:48 pm

§ 4.1Ἀποστᾶσα τῆς τῶν νοητῶν θεωρίας, καὶ ταῖς κατὰ μέρος τοῦ σώματος ἐνεργείαις καταχρωμένη, καὶ ἡσθεῖσα τῇ τοῦ σώματος θεωρίᾳ καὶ ἰδοῦσα καλὸν ἑαυτῇ εἶναι τὴν ἡδονήν, πλανηθεῖσα κατεχρήσατο τῷ τοῦ καλοῦ ὀνόματι, καὶ ἐνόμισεν εἶναι τὴν ἡδονὴν αὐτὸ τὸ ὄντως καλόν· ὥσπερ εἴ τις, τὴν διάνοιαν παραπληγείς, καὶ ἀπαιτῶν ξίφος κατὰ τῶν ἀπαντώντων, νομίζοι τοῦτο εἶναι τὸ σωφρονεῖν.

§ 4.1 Having departed from the contemplation of the things of thought, and using to the full the several activities of the body, and being pleased with the contemplation of the body, and seeing that pleasure is good for her, she was misled and abused the name of good, and thought that pleasure was the very essence of good: just as though a man out of his mind and asking for a sword to use against all he met, were to think that soundness of mind. — J.H. Newman
At this point the author is in the middle of a lengthy discussion of the human fall into corruption. My question is about Greek philosophy. The conflict between τῆς τῶν νοητῶν θεωρίας and ἡσθεῖσα τῇ τοῦ σώματος θεωρίᾳ, where does this come from, Plato?
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EricSowell
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by EricSowell » July 19th, 2019, 12:29 am

I'm having a tough time finding a digitized version of the Greek text of this online. Anyone have a link?
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 19th, 2019, 3:58 pm

EricSowell wrote:
July 19th, 2019, 12:29 am
I'm having a tough time finding a digitized version of the Greek text of this online. Anyone have a link?
Athanasius Contra Gentes
http://catholiclibrary.org/library/view ... nd=default

It appears that Athanasius' treatment of "the Fall" is also treated in Athanasius, De lncarn. § 4.4-§ 4.5 where the wording is somewhat different:
§ 4.4 Οὕτως μὲν οὖν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον πεποίηκε, καὶ μένειν ἠθέλησεν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ· ἄνθρωποι δὲ κατολιγωρήσαντες καὶ ἀποστραφέντες τὴν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν κατανόησιν, λογισάμενοι δὲ καὶ ἐπινοήσαντες ἑαυτοῖς τὴν κακίαν, ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις ἐλέχθη, ἔσχον τὴν προαπειληθεῖσαν τοῦ θανάτου κατάκρισιν, καὶ λοιπὸν οὐκ ἔτι ὡς γεγόνασι διέμενον· ἀλλ' ὡς ἐλογίζοντο διεφθείροντο· καὶ ὁ θάνατος αὐτῶν ἐκράτει βασιλεύων. Ἡ γὰρ παράβασις τῆς ἐντολῆς εἰς τὸ κατὰ φύσιν αὐτοὺς ἐπέστρεφεν, ἵνα, ὥσπερ οὐκ ὄντες γεγόνασιν, οὕτως καὶ τὴν εἰς τὸ μὴ εἶναι φθορὰν ὑπομείνωσι τῷ χρόνῳ εἰκότως.

§ 4.4 Thus, then, God has made man, and willed that he should abide in incorruption; but men, having despised and rejected the contemplation of God, and devised and contrived evil for themselves (as was said in the former treatise), received the condemnation of death with which they had been threatened; and from thenceforth no longer remained as they were made, but were being corrupted according to their devices; and death had the mastery over them as king. Romans 5:14 For transgression of the commandment was turning them back to their natural state, so that just as they have had their being out of nothing, so also, as might be expected, they might look for corruption into nothing in the course of time.

§ 4.5 Εἰ γὰρ φύσιν ἔχοντες τὸ μὴ εἶναί ποτε, τῇ τοῦ Λόγου παρουσίᾳ καὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἐκλήθησαν, ἀκόλουθον ἦν κενωθέντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τῆς περὶ Θεοῦ ἐννοίας καὶ εἰς τὰ οὐκ ὄντα ἀποστραφέντας, οὐκ ὄντα γάρ ἐστι τὰ κακά, ὄντα δὲ τὰ καλά, ἐπειδήπερ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄντος Θεοῦ γεγόνασι, κενωθῆναι καὶ τοῦ εἶναι ἀεί. Τοῦτο δέ ἐστι τὸ διαλυθέντας μένειν ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ καὶ τῇ φθορᾷ.

§ 4.5 For if, out of a former normal state of non-existence, they were called into being by the Presence and loving-kindness of the Word, it followed naturally that when men were bereft of the knowledge of God and were turned back to what was not (for what is evil is not, but what is good is), they should, since they derive their being from God who IS, be everlastingly bereft even of being; in other words, that they should be disintegrated and abide in death and corruption.
I haven't found any discussion of Athanasius borrowing ideas from the Greeks.

postsript
Gerald Bray
For Athanasius, the soul and the Garden of Eden were both manifestations of God's grace towards man, which enabled him to rise above the animals and live in an environment where his basic needs would not be permitted to interfere with his contemplation of God. Adam fell because he turned his gaze away from God and allowed himself to be distanced by the material world-by his body especially. For this reason he lost the grace of God and lapsed into the corruption which was inherent in his flesh.
http://churchsociety.org/docs/churchman ... 1_Bray.pdf
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 19th, 2019, 4:38 pm

This isn't a discussion of doctrine.
I am looked for evidence that Athanasius is framing his discussion in a cognitive framework inherited from greek philosophy. In other words this is a question about semantics at the framework level. Very much a language issue. The contrast between the contemplation of God and the fixation on the body seems to represent something from a semantic frame that is inherited from elsewhere. But where?
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 24th, 2019, 1:05 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
July 19th, 2019, 3:58 pm

Athanasius Contra Gentes
http://catholiclibrary.org/library/view ... nd=default
§ 4.5 Εἰ γὰρ φύσιν ἔχοντες τὸ μὴ εἶναί ποτε, τῇ τοῦ Λόγου παρουσίᾳ καὶ φιλανθρωπίᾳ εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἐκλήθησαν, ἀκόλουθον ἦν κενωθέντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τῆς περὶ Θεοῦ ἐννοίας καὶ εἰς τὰ οὐκ ὄντα ἀποστραφέντας, οὐκ ὄντα γάρ ἐστι τὰ κακά, ὄντα δὲ τὰ καλά, ἐπειδήπερ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄντος Θεοῦ γεγόνασι, κενωθῆναι καὶ τοῦ εἶναι ἀεί. Τοῦτο δέ ἐστι τὸ διαλυθέντας μένειν ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ καὶ τῇ φθορᾷ.

§ 4.5 For if, out of a former normal state of non-existence, they were called into being by the Presence and loving-kindness of the Word, it followed naturally that when men were bereft of the knowledge of God and were turned back to what was not (for what is evil is not, but what is good is), they should, since they derive their being from God who IS, be everlastingly bereft even of being; in other words, that they should be disintegrated and abide in death and corruption.
... οὐκ ὄντα γάρ ἐστι τὰ κακά, ὄντα δὲ τὰ καλά ... apparently this idea is found in Plotinus [1] and not in Paul Rom 1:18ff.

[1] History of Later Greek & Early Medieval Philosophy, A.H. Armstrong CUP 1970, Page 438.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 24th, 2019, 2:33 pm

The previous post uses a citation from Athanasius On The Incarnation. Here is a similar idea from Athanasius Contra Gentes.
§ 4.4 ὄντα δέ ἐστι τὰ καλά, οὐκ ὄντα δὲ τὰ φαῦλα. ὄντα δέ φημι τὰ καλά, καθότι ἐκ τοῦ ὄντος Θεοῦ τὰ παραδείγματα ἔχει· οὐκ ὄντα δὲ τὰ κακὰ λέγω, καθότι ἐπινοίαις ἀνθρώπων οὐκ ὄντα ἀναπέπλασται. ἔχοντος γὰρ τοῦ σώματος ὀφθαλμοὺς εἰς τὸ τὴν κτίσιν ὁρᾷν, καὶ διὰ τῆς παναρμονίου ταύτης συντάξεως γινώσκειν τὸν Δημιουργόν· ἔχοντος δὲ καὶ ἀκοὴν εἰς ἐπακρόασιν τῶν θείων λογίων καὶ τῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ νόμων· ἔχοντος δὲ καὶ χεῖρας, εἴς τε τὴν τῶν ἀναγκαίων ἐνέργειαν καὶ ἔκτασιν τῆς πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν εὐχῆς· ἡ ψυχὴ ἀποστᾶσα τῆς πρὸς τὰ καλὰ θεωρίας, καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς κινήσεως, λοιπὸν πλανωμένη κινεῖται εἰς τὰ ἐναντία.

§ 4.4 But good is, while evil is not; by what is, then, I mean what is good, inasmuch as it has its pattern in God Who is. But by what is not I mean what is evil, in so far as it consists in a false imagination in the thoughts of men. For though the body has eyes so as to see Creation, and by its entirely harmonious construction to recognise the Creator; and ears to listen to the divine oracles and the laws of God; and hands both to perform works of necessity and to raise to God in prayer; yet the soul, departing from the contemplation of what is good and from moving in its sphere, wanders away and moves toward its contraries.
The Problem of Evil in Plotinus
M. Brito Martins

https://www.academia.edu/28794269/The_P ... n_Plotinus
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 28th, 2019, 3:00 pm

Athanasius seems to argue here that representational art leads to idolatry. There seems to be a disjunction in the logic structure below. A missing negative particle? The reason being that the representational realism is the reason for the (erroneous) perception that the idols can hear and see and touch. Perhaps I am overlooking something. It may be that the Greek use of negation is the issue. Perhaps Newman's translation is confusing me. It is also possible that I have misconstrued the force of the argument.

§ 15.1 Εἴθε γάρ, εἴθε κἂν χωρὶς σχήματος αὐτοῖς τοὺς θεοὺς ἔπλαττεν ὁ τεχνίτης, ἵνα μὴ τῆς ἀναισθησίας φανερὸν ἔχωσι τὸν ἔλεγχον. ὑπέκλεψαν γὰρ ἂν τὴν ὑπόνοιαν τῶν ἀκεραίων, ὡς αἰσθομένων τῶν εἰδώλων, εἰ μὴ τὰ σύμβολα τῶν αἰσθήσεων, οἷον ὀφθαλμοὺς καὶ ῥῖνας καὶ ὦτα καὶ χεῖρας καὶ στόμα εἶχον ἀκινήτως κείμενα πρὸς τὴν τῆς αἰσθήσεως χρῆσιν καὶ τὴν τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἀντίληψιν. νῦν δὲ ἔχοντες οὐκ ἔχουσι καὶ στήκοντες οὐ στήκουσι, καὶ καθεζόμενοι οὐ καθέζονται. οὐ γὰρ ἔχουσι τούτων τὴν ἐνέργειαν, ἀλλ' ὡς ὁ πλάσας ἠθέλησεν, οὕτω καὶ μένουσι κείμενοι, Θεοῦ μὲν γνώρισμα μηδὲν παρέχοντες, ἄψυχοι δὲ καθόλου μόνον ἀνθρώπου τέχνῃ φαινόμενοι τεθέντες.

§ 15.1 For would that the artist would fashion the gods even without shape, so that they might not be open to so manifest an exposure of their lack of sense. For they might have cajoled the perception of simple folk to think the idols had senses, were it not that they possess the symbols of the senses, eyes for example and noses and ears and hands and mouth, without any gesture of actual perception and grasp of the objects of sense. But as a matter of fact they have these things and have them not, stand and stand not, sit and sit not. For they have not the real action of these things, but as their fashioner pleased, so they remain stationary, giving no sign of a god, but evidently mere inanimate objects, set there by man’s art. J.H. Newman
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Athanasius Contra Gentes

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 28th, 2019, 3:36 pm

Apparently Athanasius is arguing that realistic represntationalism actually works against the notion that the idols can see and hear and touch. Why do I find that counter intuitive? So apparently the worship of a stone "fallen from the sky" as in "Til We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis is to be preferred over representations of humans or animals.
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