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Re: [christian-philosophy] Origen, "Commentary on John" II.4

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  • Edward Moore
    Greetings Alex (and All), and thank you for inviting me to share my over-determined and obfuscatory thoughts on the matter at hand -- i.e., on Origen and
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 1, 2001
      Greetings Alex (and All), and thank you for inviting me to share my
      over-determined and obfuscatory thoughts on the matter at hand -- i.e.,
      on Origen and Absolute Truth ...

      On Fri, 30 Nov 2001 05:40:01 +0100 Aleksandar Katanovic
      <akatanov@...> writes:

      > What is the goal of interpreting truth than to grasp its truth?

      Possibly to describe the conditions and, originarily, the moment in which
      the possibility of grasping truth first becomes a possibility -- an
      originary or primordial possibility ... not quite as violent as
      Heraclitus' polemos, nor as unassuming as Plato's "good beyond being,"
      but something in between, perhaps, a principle of harmony that is yet
      situated outside the music, like a conductor ...

      > What I find as problematic with the text is that it is not clear in
      > what sense is 'truth' understood. In analytic tradition, truth is a
      > semantic feature of sentences in language. For Heidegger, 'truth' has
      an more
      > extended meaning related to something genuine.

      Ah! now Alex, you have opened the Pandora's box containing the hydra-like
      difference(s) separating analytic from Continental philosophy. Where
      shall I begin? ...

      Heidegger, in his Introduction to Metaphysics (a somewhat controversial,
      perhaps even taboo text, considering the circumstances in which it was
      written and presented, but valuable nonetheless) explains quite admirably
      and adequately how philosophy has become confused with the strictures of
      grammar, and hence, of logic. The major error, according to Heidegger,
      is philosophy's self-subjugation to its own offshoot of logic, if you
      will ... Speculations on grammar and the logical structure of language
      first began with Plato, in the Sophist; but philosophy itself had already
      begun long before that, with Anaximander's primordial and convulsive
      response to the unfolding of existence by way of the apeiron, the
      "from-out-of-which ..." And Heraclitus, who declared "war" (polemos) to
      be the "father of all," and Empedocles, who sought the harmony of Love
      and Strife ... Yes, this primal reply to the openness of existence
      before its source was poetic, descriptive, reactionary, even -- but not
      logical! Logic only came later, after the initial Dionysian revel of the
      Pre-Socratics passed over into a sober accounting and 'rendering
      practical' of Thought. Once thinking was brought under the sway of
      practical, ethical concerns, was the initial openness of philosophy to
      the self-presentation of Truth stifled and forced into the wholly
      contingent structure of logic and grammar -- a structure which, itself,
      owes its very existence to the radical and rupturous thinking of the
      early philosophers. And here we are, now, 2500 years later, still going
      to great lengths to avoid the rupture, to cling to beings over-against
      Being, and to avoid the epochal question of "What is Truth?" -- i.e.,
      Being.

      So there you have, in a nutshell, Heidegger's argument against
      enslavement to logic and modern science, which only serves to blind us to
      Being's self-showing, and to turn our gaze toward the contingent, the
      'seeming,' the inauthentic, etc. ...

      > We can have
      > different
      > interpretation of our observations, but what we try to realize with
      > our
      > interpretations is to grasp some truth.

      Right, and that is the problem -- always "some truth," and never Truth.

      > I do not find anything objectionable as a semantic-realist in our
      > talk
      > about approximating Truth.

      To paraphrase St. Athanasius: when we approximate truth we are
      endeavoring to replace or imitate, through our own efforts, that which
      can only reach us from God, and through the Logos.

      > Well, what do you mean by the term 'Universal Truth'. Do you mean
      > some set
      > of true beliefs about our world? Or mathematical true statements? Or
      > the
      > principles of logic? Or something else?

      I understand "Universal Truth" as the possibility of all possibility, the
      openness of Being to beings, and vice-versa. The apparent fact that we
      are only able to 'grasp' this openness in the form of a fleeting moment,
      a flash of insight, an aesthetic rapture, etc., does not, and should not,
      detract from its originary value. With logic we build systems; with the
      originary moment we are given the ability to produce such systems.
      Truly, Truth is es gibt, the gift, that which gives ...

      A nice Christmas meditation, wouldn't you say?

      Regards,

      Edward





      Edward Moore
      St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology
      Home: http://www.saaot.edu
      Septuagint Translation Project: http://www.lxx.org
      Email. proteus28@... Fax. 1 810 454 1893

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • drm
      Yes, Ulrich, I have most of VT s works on paper, and the CD Rom of all his works. I find that John Frame is a good expositor of VT. I agree more with VT than
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 21, 2001
        Yes, Ulrich, I have most of VT's works on paper, and the CD Rom of all his
        works.
        I find that John Frame is a good expositor of VT. I agree more with VT than
        with
        Clark, but Clark did have a few good ideas. I find VT to be much much more
        difficult to understand than Clark. I believe that Clark tries to simplify
        things too
        much, i.e., thinking that he can understand and explain all of Scripture,
        that the
        "content" of God's thought on any subject coincides exactly with the content
        of
        our thought. I agree with VT that all of God's revelation to us is
        analogical. Frame has
        a very good "solution" to the conflict between the two, IMHO, as given in
        his book,
        "VT, An Analysis of His Thought."


        david.
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "ULRICHPUN7" <ulrichpun7@...>
        To: <christian-philosophy@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 7:26 PM
        Subject: Re: [christian-philosophy] Origen, "Commentary on John" II.4


        > I greatly prefer Van Til to Clark on Method . Have you read Van Til David
        ?
        > Ulrich
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: drm <drmorphias@...>
        > To: <christian-philosophy@yahoogroups.com>
        > Sent: Monday, November 26, 2001 10:39 PM
        > Subject: Re: [christian-philosophy] Origen, "Commentary on John" II.4
        >
        >
        > > Edward, although I don't agree with Clark on some things
        > > I do agree on the fact EVERYONE has presuppositions,
        > > whether they know it or not. And My presupposition is
        > > Scripture. That is, I take as my axioms for my system
        > > of knowledge the entire Bible. Hence I know what
        > > Truth is, for what it is is stated in the Bible.
        > >
        > > david.
        > >
        > > ----- Original Message -----
        > >
        > > From: "Edward Moore" <proteus28@...>
        > >
        > > To: <christian-philosophy@yahoogroups.com>
        > >
        > > Cc: <christian-philosophy@yahoogroups.com>
        > >
        > > Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2001 11:56 PM
        > >
        > > Subject: [christian-philosophy] Origen, "Commentary on John" II.4
        > >
        > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Origen, Commentary on John (Book II. ch. 4, excerpt):
        > > >
        > > > Any one will confess that there is only one truth; it could never be
        > said
        > > > in this case that there is one truth of God, and another of the
        angels,
        > > > and another of man,--it lies ill the nature of things that the truth
        > > > about anything is one. Now, if truth be one, it is clear that the
        > > > preparation of it and its demonstration, which is wisdom, must in
        reason
        > > > be conceived as one, since what is regarded as wisdom cannot justly
        > claim
        > > > that title where truth, which is one, is absent from its grasp. But if
        > > > truth is one and wisdom one, then Reason (Logos) also, which announces
        > > > truth and makes truth simple and manifest to those who are fitted to
        > > > receive it, will be one.
        > > >
        > > > [The complete text of this treatise is available at
        > > > http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101502.htm%5d
        > > >
        > > > ------------------------------------------------
        > > >
        > > > COMMENTARY:
        > > >
        > > > Origen makes quite a presupposition in this passage, when he states
        that
        > > > "[a]ny one will confess that there is only one truth"; for we know
        that
        > > > in our present pluralistic society, truth is -- on those rare
        occasions
        > > > when it is actually spoken of -- treated as something in the
        possession
        > > > and at the mercy of the individual thinker, who interprets 'truth' on
        > the
        > > > basis of his or her place or role in a given socio-cultural context.
        > > > Contemporary thinkers, cultural theorists (as they are often called)
        > > > speak only of "truth-values," or "interpretative gestures" in and by
        > > > which something approximating Truth (in Origen's sense) is brought to
        > our
        > > > attention.
        > > >
        > > > I would like to ask a question now, and I hope for a response: In what
        > > > way are we justified -- as Christians in a secular world -- to make
        the
        > > > claim that Universal Truth exists? According to Heidegger, the
        question
        > > > par excellence of/that is Philosophy is "why are there beings at all
        > > > instead of nothing?" (Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics,
        > > > 1935). As Christians, are we not obliged to recognize the contingency
        or
        > > > presupposition of this question -- i.e., that Truth really and truly
        > > > exists -- and to recognize (in our turn) and formulate, on the basis
        of
        > > > Faith, the even more fundamental 'counter question' of: what is the
        > > > (hoped for) Truth in light of which we ask all questions in the first
        > > > place?
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > ~ Edward Moore
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
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