Augustine on Scripture

September 13, 2007

I would not believe the holy Gospels if it were not for the authority of the Holy Catholic Church.

Roman Catholic apologists often use this statement of Augustine’s (can’t find the citation) to try to show the protestant doctrine of sola scriptura mistaken. While writing my previous post, I came across the following quote by Augustine, which I liked very much because it shows that Augustine cannot be unambiguously claimed for the Pope’s cause.

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Oops, I did it again. . .

September 13, 2007

And by ‘it’ I mean joined a conversation about the respective merits of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. I don’t know how I keep doing this, but in for the penny is in for the pound so . . .

My friend, colleague and erstwhile fellow-protestant Rob Porwoll hopes to catch the unsavvy Protestant believer by pointing out a logical inconsistency in the doctrine of sola Scriptura. I’m just going to post the first half of his piece, because I don’t think there is a good way to link it.

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Disaffected Spanish Teenagers from the 1950’s Singing Pange Lingua

June 18, 2007

One of those philosophical commonplaces I detest is that the “God of the Philosophers” (where “the Philosophers” is taken to include Anselm, Thomas Aquinas and others) is an inadequate object of worship. Heidegger has a famous remark to this effect.

In response, I point out that Thomas wrote hymns and Heidegger did not.

By the concinnity of providence, I have come across a video of disaffected Spanish teenagers from the 1950’s singing Thomas’s Corpus Christi hymn Pange Lingua in Latin on YouTube.

Go on . . . you know you want to see it.

Vos on Thomas and Barth

June 18, 2007

“Aquinas’s claim that God is the formal object of faith has been made in a slightly different way by a number of twentieth-century Protestant theologians, most notably Karl Barth, who has insisted that God must always remain the subject–the one who speaks–and never become an object in theology. Theologians must listen to God, nor can they ever free themselves from this demand. We can presume Aquinas would have agreed with the substance of Barth’s claim, but he would have bridled at the epistemological assumption that Barth seems to accept–namely, that a self-revealing subject cannot become an object. A faulty notion of objectivity is at the root of the problem. If it is the case that in attaining objectivity the mind constitutes the object rather than conforms itself to it, then God cannot become an object. For Aquinas, however, nothing of the sort is involved. For him it is precisely by holding fast to the first principle, God himself, that one arrives at the content, the material object, of theology.” (Arvis Vos, Aquinas, Calvin & Contemporary Protestant Thought, Eerdmans, 1985: 14-15)

Thomas Aquinas is not a Semi-Pelagian

June 15, 2007

À propos of nothing I would like to spend a bit of time putting forward Thomas Aquinas’ position on the relationship of nature and grace. The goal here is to exonerate Thomas of the charge of Semi-Pelagianism. This is a fairly common accusation protestants raise against the scholastics, and it would not surprise me if there were some pelagians running around in the later 14th or 15th century, but I do not think the charge sticks well against Thomas–not because I have some prior commitment to Thomas being right all the time–just because I don’t think it happens to be true.

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Arvin Vos on Thomas Aquinas’s understanding of faith

June 1, 2007

[This is from Arvin Vos’s interesting book “Aquinas, Calvin, & Contemporary Protestant Thought: A Critique of Protestant Views on the Thought of Thomas Aquinas” (Christian University Press, 1985), pp. 10-12]

According to Augustine, to believe is to think with assent (cum assentione cogitare). Aquinas fixes the meaning of this statement by noting that the verb to think (cogitare) refers not to just any act of intellectual knowing, but in the narrower sense to an act of intellectual consideration “that is accompanied by a certain searching prior to reaching complete understanding in the certitude of seeing.” Again, “in this more proper sense cogitatio describes the process of the mind searching before reaching its term in the full vision of the truth” (ST 2a2ae, 2, 1). It is, in other words, the state in which one is reasoning, puzzling, pondering, unable to come to a conclusion.
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Henry of Ghent’s Doctrine of Analogy: Its Origins and Interpretations

May 29, 2007

Whoo boy! Feels good to finally finish my Master’s Thesis. If for some reason the preceding post didn’t slake your thirst, you can read the whole thing here:

Henry of Ghent’s Doctrine of Analogy

Let’s all just hope that it passes!