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Ryan,

Thanks for the responce, I have been reading up on these topics of late, since I only have a thesis (that has nothing to do with any theology) to work on and all :-). I would definitely agree that Islam is manifesting Arian heresy, but I think that it would have had different roots than those ot the heresy which brought about the use of the filioque in Spain. (This is me speculating from my small amount of reading.)

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Rose:

Yes, I agree entirely that the roots of Islam are rather different than those of the Arians in Spain at the time of the introduction of the filioque into the creed. In my previous post, I was just trying to show why I think it is understandable that some Christians thought of Mohammad and other early Muslims as Arians.

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The theological language of the RC is mostly English with terms that have a Greek and Latin epistemology. Some of the documents are published in Latin and Italian - but also other languages too. For the most part the thesis are worked out in English.

If all the members of the RC were Greek and spoke Greek - it would make sense to use Greek. But just as it makes no sense to speak to a German ... in French ... or speak to an American in an ancient African language ... English is pretty much a universal language and if you were spreading the gospel you would want to make yourself ... understood to your listeners.

The intent of language is to impart a mental meaning. The use of language make it a means to an end and not an end in itself. Nor
should its semantics be treated as if they were mathematical formula by which correct or incorrect axioms can be proved.

I am reminded of math - which is used physics to 'prove' a theory. UIt was Steven Hawkings who 'proved' that there was a bog bang and it took his several years to prove the math. Once the math was successful - Hawkings actually changed his mind and then set about to prove that there was no big bang - it took him several more years to get the math right that proves his new theory. But by that time - the big bang was so entrenched into the scientific community that they did not want to change things and they ignored Hawkings. The moral of the story is that math is no real proof. It is just a tool.

One should pick ones tools according to the task at hand. And to use a more appropriate tool when the situation calls for it.

Yet most people are going to believe what they want to believe and uses semantics to prove themselves right.

Greek, English, Latin, Hebrew, etc ... one is as good as another but should be chosen according to a universal standard and then also what the native lanaguge of your listener is.

It is not the language - which is theology - it is the invisible mental concepts and meaning - that is theology.

The foundation of Latin theology was in Greek. It was when a few words in Greek had a shift in meaning and the East adopted the new meaning while the Latin church remained with the agreed upon original meaning - that trouble with the creed happened. So in regards that the meaning of words in any language do change over time and use - even the common use of Greek would not guarantee full similarity decade after decade.

So you see - the common use of Greek - actually contributed to the first major disagreement. But it would have happened with any language - people just wanted to split the church.

Go figure.

This is just my opinion.
-ray

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Originally Posted by Ray Kaliss
[. . .]

The foundation of Latin theology was in Greek. It was when a few words in Greek had a shift in meaning and the East adopted the new meaning while the Latin church remained with the agreed upon original meaning - that trouble with the creed happened. So in regards that the meaning of words in any language do change over time and use - even the common use of Greek would not guarantee full similarity decade after decade.

[. . .]

The Eastern Church has remained faithful to the Cappadocian Fathers understanding of the Greek terms used in Triadology (e.g., homoousios, ousia, physis, hypostasis, prosopon, ekporeusis, arche, pege theotetos, etc.), so I do not agree with the views you have expressed in this part of your post.

Finally, as far as the "trouble with the creed" is concerned, that happened because the Latin Church unilaterally altered the creed of the Fathers of Constantinople by adding the false notion of a double procession of origin (ekporeusis) for the Holy Spirit, i.e., "from the Father and the Son as from one principle," which is contrary to Scripture and Tradition.

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Apotheoun,

Without getting into the Filioque... smile

Perhaps, what Ray was thinking about was that

a) the original terms were "coined", or found proper application, in Greek;

b) the Latin-speakers (starting with Tertullian, I believe) then "coined" or found proper application, for correlative words in Latin (prosopon --> persona; homoousion --> consubstantialis);

c) both languages continued their natural development;

d) the meanings of these various terms didn't change, or remain the same, at the same rate, in their respective cultures?

I throw this out (hypothetically) since I remember in reading Aquinas's works on the Trinity and on the Hypostatic Union, he had to do a fair amount of sorting-out of the meaning of various Greek and Latin terms, and their correspondences (many of which are on your list).

Best,
Michael

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I would suggest that we return to classical theological education. It was inspired from the Croos where there was written. Jesus King of the Jews in the three languages of that time. Hebrew, Latin and Greek.
Surely this would give everone a better insight into the questions of faith.Unfortunately during my time in seminary none were offered, and alas I am way to old to begin now, although I have tried somewhat to educate myself in the following years since ordination.
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I throw this out (hypothetically) since I remember in reading Aquinas's works on the Trinity and on the Hypostatic Union, he had to do a fair amount of sorting-out of the meaning of various Greek and Latin terms, and their correspondences (many of which are on your list).


Indeed. Some of his answers in the Summa regarding these matters involve nothing more than sorting out the many different terms applied in both Latin and Greek, and making distinctions where necessary. It's actually pretty fascinating to read, IMO, because it gives a quick glance at just how truly difficult translating theological concepts between languages can be.

Peace and God bless!

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Originally Posted by EdHash
Originally Posted by robster
I would respectfully submit, Eddie, that the Catholic Church is indeed one and always so, regardless of what regrettable divisions have occurred in Christendom.


The Orthodox refer to themselves as Catholic too. how can both be one if both are separate?

Does unity imply uniformity?

Eddie


Eddie, I believe that the Eastern Orthodox refer to themselves as 'catholic' as a general adjective, just like Catholics refer to themselves as 'orthodox' with a lower-case 'o'. But as for as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, the true Church of Christ is concerned, this would be the Catholic Church and only the Catholic Church, according to normative Catholic teaching. This is what has been held through the ages, and, more recently, has been restated in both Dominus Iesus (2000) as well as the recent CDF document on the nature of the Church.

As for unity and uniformity, I would think that there is to be uniformity in foundational, infallible essentials, while there can be diversity in the relative weight placed on various essentials, as well as in non-essential ideas and forms of expression.

Best,
Robster

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Originally Posted by Xristoforos
I believe that if Greek was the theological language of all Churches we would more likely have unity between the Churches and overcome theological disagreements.

Does anyone believe this makes sense?

I recognize it is probably ridiculous for me to comtemplate this idea, however the early Roman Church appeared to use Koine Greek not Latin, this was a time of significant unity.
My idea started with a comment which user Zenovia made a few months ago, I quote:
Quote
Actually though, there are serious theological differences between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. Things have to be resolved to a certain extent, although they can never be resolved to their fullest extent because the Orthodox think in Greek and the Catholics in Latin. Or so I think! :rolleyes:


I also was influenced by an article I read about St. Augustine on the Greek Archdiocese's site:

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In making the point, (Gennadios) Scholarios argues that the doctrines of the western theologians must be judged according to Eastern Christian Orthodox standards. This is because of the clarity of the Greek language. He gives three arguments in defence of the Eastern Christian positions as being the true ones: that Greek is more broad and flexible than Latin as well as clearer in meaning. And, of course, the Greek is the source of the Latin language. He gives references to Augustine, Athanasios, and Gregory the Theologian who state that Latin is much narrower and that is the cause of the schism between East and West.

The second reason is the formulation of dogma is clearly stated in the Greek language.[19] The eastern fathers and teachers formulated the dogmas with great care because they struggled against the heretical doctrines. For this reason, it was necessary for them to articulate the faith with great precision in order not to give the heretics the excuse to attack them for their lack of clarity and vagueness.[20]

The third reason he gives is that it prevailed in the Latin language to express itself in universal and general terms (katholikoterais kai genidoterais lexesi), whereas in the East, the Fathers use specific and precise names (idikoterois onomasi) in articulating the Christian doctrines.[21]


http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8153.asp


It is impractical for us all to communicate - as in having a conversation - in Greek or Latin, but it is important to use these languages as primary, rather than English translations in discussion, because often English words carry conotations, which, unless the interloccutor knows the conotation you are using, there is a lot of misunderstanding. English is fine once ya'll know what ya'll mean.

The Greek theological lexicon, as we have it now, is very precise while at the same time leaving room for the mystery. Bringing up the early disputes about how to understand words as evidence of some remaining impreciseness seems to be a strawman arguement to me. The disputes are important not because they show that the language is unclear now, but because they show that we have already dealt with working out the meaning of the terms, which we use to understand our faith in the present. The same goes for the Latin terms used in the Western Church.

Rather than saying that we should reduce all of our discussion to only one language for theology, it would be better to understand both lexicons and what is similar and what is different so that we can better communicate, because there are multiple expressions of the faith built upon both, some heretical and some orthodox. It is probably fair to say, that Latin and Greek, while the two dominant languages, do not stand alone, and that there maybe a few others that require study for their ancient use. wink But, I am not studied on those myself.

In my own study of theology and languages, I have learned that Greek, being the older language has a greater complexity (this cannot be disputed, because it is a linguistic judgement) and this accounts for much of the early disputes for the use of language. There were and will be problems fo translation because of the gap in complexity between Latin and Greek. St. Thomas probably dealt more with this, than the technical use of words. He also did not have access to all of the Greek Fathers and so too the greater plethora of Greek usage. (Incidently he was still working with translations right? Did he actually deal with the Greek language, or just the concepts through a Latin translation.) This is simply to say, that we still have much work to do. smile

On a personal note: I happen to like Greek a lot for many reasons, and plan to focus my studies there, because I have far to go in understanding its vocabulary and use.

As in all things, charity should previal; in this case in communication!

God Bless,
Rosemary

P.S. I hope this rambling contributes something to the conversation.

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Originally Posted by Stephanos I
I would suggest that we return to classical theological education. It was inspired from the Cross where there was written "Jesus King of the Jews" in the three languages of that time. Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

Stephanos I


Oh, if only we could have this dream that everyone be taught these three languages! They are the foundation of our humanity and of Western civilization.

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Just a few thoughts:

Greek is very flexible. I'm not an expert, but I believe all words in Greek are action words. Nouns are formed by combining verbs. This is the reason Greek is used whenever a new name is needed.

A perfect example of this is astronaut. Astro means star, and naut means sailor...but actually, it is not sailor star, nor star sailor, but rather someone sailing to a star. That combination and it's meaning, comes about because of the many grammatical endings in Greek.

In ancient Greek, there were over three hundred different endings to each verb...or so I've heard. Because of this, words can be created in Greek, something that cannot be done in other languages.

So what we have here, is a very precise language. Things cannot be vague in Greek, but can be brought to the narrowest dimension possible, at least within our human reasoning. As for the words, they are the same as in modern Greek. The difference is that many foreign words have entered the language.

The grammar, some of the vocabulary and certainly the sentence structure is different, but just as we are capable of understanding the most commonly used words in German because we are a German language, anyone with a knowledge of modern Greek knows and understands similar words in the Greek of the Bible. The meanings have not changed.

So considering that, how could the meanings of koine Greek have changed, if the words are still the same today? What though might have changed, is the total concept of a sentence, since the structure is different.

Just some thoughts to ponder, for whatever it is worth, and since we're speaking about Greek, here's a few more thoughts.

I think the Orthodox believe that the Greeks were created by God for their minds and their ability in expressing theology, in the same way the Jews were created for their morality, and the Romans for the Empire, and the communicational possibilities that came about because of it.

Many years ago, a learned man told me that the ancient Greeks spoke in rhyme. Now this made an impression on me, and after much thought, I found what he said had to be true.. The original Greeks must have been highly superstitious, and therefore spoke in rhyme. In order to be able to do so, they had to continuously change the sentence structure by creating new verb endings...otherwise, why would the language be so flexible?

Of course the possibility exists that they might have been chanting. wink One never knows!

God Bless,

Zenovia

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Originally Posted by Rufinus
Originally Posted by Stephanos I
I would suggest that we return to classical theological education. It was inspired from the Cross where there was written "Jesus King of the Jews" in the three languages of that time. Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

Stephanos I


Oh, if only we could have this dream that everyone be taught these three languages! They are the foundation of our humanity and of Western civilization.


To counter the assertion that these three languages are the foundation of our humanity, I would include Sanskrit and Chinese to that list - each of which is worth more than Hebrew and Latin combined.

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Zenovia,

Thank you for your thoughts on Greek! I love the language too, but have a few points to make...

Originally Posted by Zenovia
Just a few thoughts:

Greek is very flexible. I'm not an expert, but I believe all words in Greek are action words. Nouns are formed by combining verbs. This is the reason Greek is used whenever a new name is needed.

A perfect example of this is astronaut. Astro means star, and naut means sailor...but actually, it is not sailor star, nor star sailor, but rather someone sailing to a star. That combination and it's meaning, comes about because of the many grammatical endings in Greek.


Uh - that's a combination of two nouns, not verbs. Astēr can't be a verb. Nautáō can be a verb though...

Originally Posted by Zenovia
In ancient Greek, there were over three hundred different endings to each verb...or so I've heard. Because of this, words can be created in Greek, something that cannot be done in other languages.


English and Chinese are equally rich in word-formation! The only reason Greek and Latin have been favoured for word-formation in European languages is that the neologism thus formed look more 'learned'.

Originally Posted by Zenovia
So what we have here, is a very precise language. Things cannot be vague in Greek, but can be brought to the narrowest dimension possible, at least within our human reasoning. As for the words, they are the same as in modern Greek. The difference is that many foreign words have entered the language.


It is perfectly possible to be vague in Greek! Look at the word 'kalos', for a start. It can mean 'good' or 'beautiful', and a look at any lexicon of Ancient Greek will reveal the bewildering range of possible meanings of the word.

What then about the infinitive and double accusative construction so beloved of Ancient Greeks? Aeschylus' 'ton zēta kaínein tous tethnēkótas légō' could equally mean 'I say the dead are killing the living' or 'I say the living are killing the dead'. The Oracles constantly used this sort of ambiguity in riddles.

Originally Posted by Zenovia
The grammar, some of the vocabulary and certainly the sentence structure is different, but just as we are capable of understanding the most commonly used words in German because we are a German language, anyone with a knowledge of modern Greek knows and understands similar words in the Greek of the Bible. The meanings have not changed.


Lots of meanings certainly *have* changed. 'Trapeza' for a start, no longer means 'table' but rather 'bank'. The words for 'house', 'water' and 'bread' have changed to entirely different ones. Then there's 'gamō', which in Classical and Koine Greek means 'to marry', but is obscene in Modern Greek.

Originally Posted by Zenovia
So considering that, how could the meanings of koine Greek have changed, if the words are still the same today? What though might have changed, is the total concept of a sentence, since the structure is different.


It's part of the natural development of a language - 'villain' for example, no longer means someone from the countryside.
ghts.

Originally Posted by Zenovia
I think the Orthodox believe that the Greeks were created by God for their minds and their ability in expressing theology, in the same way the Jews were created for their morality, and the Romans for the Empire, and the communicational possibilities that came about because of it.


I think only Greeks believe that.

Originally Posted by Zenovia
Many years ago, a learned man told me that the ancient Greeks spoke in rhyme. Now this made an impression on me, and after much thought, I found what he said had to be true.. The original Greeks must have been highly superstitious, and therefore spoke in rhyme. In order to be able to do so, they had to continuously change the sentence structure by creating new verb endings...otherwise, why would the language be so flexible?


Impossible. Ancient Greeks did not use rhyme. It's nowhere in Homer, or the dramatists, or the historians or even in comedy (where the spoken lines are closest to daily speech). The few rhyming lines in surviving literature are remarkable because they are so few. If the Ancient Greeks spoke in rhyme, it would have been far more common in surviving texts. I fail to see how being superstitious leads to speaking in rhyme.

The multiplicity of verb endings are there because they each have a precise meaning. If one constantly creates new verb endings, the precision of the language falls to bits, and Ancient Greek simply doesn't work like that. If anyone can show me how changing the ending of a verb in Greek to fit a rhyme doesn't alter the meaning entirely, they will have single-handedly destroyed how the Ancient Greek language works.

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Dear Edward Yong,

Before I proceed to answer what you posted in reference to what I posted, I must make you aware that I'm a complete idiot. I have no knowledge of ancient Greek, Latin, Chinese, and my English is quite poor. So you can take what I say for what it's worth. grin

Quote

Uh - that's a combination of two nouns, not verbs. Astēr can't be a verb. Nautáō can be a verb though...


...And who's to say that Aster doesn't mean unsteady or something'? confused

Quote


English and Chinese are equally rich in word-formation! The only reason Greek and Latin have been favoured for word-formation in European languages is that the neologism thus formed look more 'learned'.


Then you better go the one's that keep making up words, because they say it can't be done in any language other than Greek.

Quote


It is perfectly possible to be vague in Greek! Look at the word 'kalos', for a start. It can mean 'good' or 'beautiful', and a look at any lexicon of Ancient Greek will reveal the bewildering range of possible meanings of the word.


To a Greek, beauty is good. smile

Quote

What then about the infinitive and double accusative construction so beloved of Ancient Greeks? Aeschylus' 'ton zēta kaínein tous tethnēkótas légō' could equally mean 'I say the dead are killing the living' or 'I say the living are killing the dead'. The Oracles constantly used this sort of ambiguity in riddles.


Confusing weren't they? crazy

Quote


Lots of meanings certainly *have* changed. 'Trapeza' for a start, no longer means 'table' but rather 'bank'. The words for 'house', 'water' and 'bread' have changed to entirely different ones. Then there's 'gamō', which in Classical and Koine Greek means 'to marry', but is obscene in Modern Greek.


Trapezi means table in modern Greek. I guess the name for bank derived from the table that was used to exchange money, etc. As for water and bread, it is not the same. As stated many foreign words came into the language, but as for the obscenity, it means marriage you know. Even in modern Greek. shocked

Quote
Quote
Originally Posted By: Zenovia
I think the Orthodox believe that the Greeks were created by God for their minds and their ability in expressing theology, in the same way the Jews were created for their morality, and the Romans for the Empire, and the communicational possibilities that came about because of it.

I think only Greeks believe that.


Actually Pope Benedict XVI recently emphasized the role of Hellenism in Christianity.
Quote


Impossible. Ancient Greeks did not use rhyme. It's nowhere in Homer, or the dramatists, or the historians or even in comedy (where the spoken lines are closest to daily speech). The few rhyming lines in surviving literature are remarkable because they are so few. If the Ancient Greeks spoke in rhyme, it would have been far more common in surviving texts. I fail to see how being superstitious leads to speaking in rhyme.


When I mentioned Greeks speaking in Rhyme, I am talking about the first Greeks, the children of the god Helen. The one's that created the language, rather than those that acquired the language and became Greek. I've heard that they spoke in rhyme even through another source, but of course, these are things that can never be proven.

As far as speaking in rhyme because of superstition, the Irish did a jig whenever they came to a crossing....so there! I bet you never heard that one? cool

Quote

The multiplicity of verb endings are there because they each have a precise meaning. If one constantly creates new verb endings, the precision of the language falls to bits, and Ancient Greek simply doesn't work like that. If anyone can show me how changing the ending of a verb in Greek to fit a rhyme doesn't alter the meaning entirely, they will have single-handedly destroyed how the Ancient Greek language works.


In my younger days, and out of boredom, I would take a perfectly logical statement in English,and switch the verb endings and sentence structure so that what was said seemed incomprehensible to others. Yet the meaning was exactly the same.

God Bless,

Zenovia



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