The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
Margarita, Cae, Cyril_Meth, ruthenianbyz513, Panteleimon
5625 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
1 registered members (1 invisible), 118 guests, and 400 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Byzantine Nebraska
Church of the Holy Trinity (UGCC) - Brazil
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
Upgraded Russian icon corner
Russian Greek Catholic Global Congress
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics34,808
Posts412,317
Members5,625
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 6 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: Utroque] #340797 01/07/10 02:01 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
StuartK Offline
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
A much better book on the relationship between Christianity and Hellenism is Jaroslav Pelikan's Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism.

As a scholar, Murray just is not in the same league with Pelikan, and Pelikan's work effectively vindicates Apotheoun's assertion that, while the Fathers were intimately familiar with Plato and the Neo-Platonists, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans and the whole pantheon of Greek philosophy (much more, in fact, than Aquinas, who had only limited texts at two removes from the original), and were quite willing to use the terminology of Greek philosophy when it suited their purposes, they did not accept the underlying assumptions of that philosophy, nor were they wedded to the definitions assigned to certain terms. In short, the patristic mind was immersed in Greek philosophy, but not in thrall to it.

There is nothing in the Fathers that shows particular concern either for the moment at which the Eucharistic gifts are transformed, or the means by which they are transformed; such questions were simply alien to them. The essential for them was belief that the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ were truly present in the consecrated Gifts; beyond that, everything was a great mystery, and the Fathers actively discouraged speculation into areas not revealed to man.

Aquinas and the Scholastics were also influenced by the breakdown of the holistic relationship between symbol and reality readily assumed by the Fathers. That is why the Anaphora of St. Basil the Great can refer to the Eucharist as "symbols" of Christ's Body and Blood, and yet there is no doubt that the Gifts are truly Christ's Body and Blood--symbol and reality interpenetrate each other, without a hard and fast division of the two.

The heresy of Berengarius of Tours was twofold. On the one hand, he denied the Eucharistic presence of Christ by saying that, insofar as the Eucharist was a symbol, it was not "real". But the more insidious heresy was erecting the false dichotomy between "symbol" and "reality". The Latin Church compounded the problem in their response to Berengarius, which was a reflexive negation: because the Eucharist was "real", it could not be a "symbol". Western Christians have been chasing their tails over that one ever since.

Faced with a similar crisis in the 10th and 11th centuries, the Church of Constantinople in two synods responded in a very different manner, saying that the Eucharist is a "deep anamnesis" of Christ's sacrifice upon the Cross, hence the Bread and the Wine mystically become the Body and Blood of Christ; the bond between symbol and reality is upheld, the patristic point of view is maintained, and there is no need to go adventuring into metaphysical minefields.

Last edited by StuartK; 01/07/10 02:02 PM.
Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: StuartK] #340808 01/07/10 04:33 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 565
U
Utroque Offline
Member
Offline
Member
U
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 565
This dueling between east and west, Pelikan and Murray puzzles me. Why can't one appreciate and glory in both. The accidents (taste, texture, color, nourishment) of bread and wine in the Eucharist are the symbols of what the reality (substantia/ousia), the Body and Blood of Christ, is for us. The substance of bread and wine is changed; as in, "Make this bread and wine to be..." I think that is the faith of the Church, both east and west, Orthodox and Catholic. No one is trying to impose a philosophical system on anyone. The Latin church at Trent felt that that faith is best described as "Transubstantiation". You can certainly search for other terms that you might find better, but you need not disparage a term that others found suitable. Aquinas was only enthralled with the mystery, as in "Adoro Te", not in any philosophical system. He merely found the terminology of Aristotle, thrice removed or not, useful as did the Fathers. Metaphysics was no adventure for these people of faith it was an ancillary tool.

Last edited by Utroque; 01/07/10 04:34 PM.
Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: mardukm] #340816 01/07/10 06:15 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,502
Stephanos I Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,502
Excuse me, but isnt that what transubstatiation is in effect?
There is a change but the accidents remain.
Bread looks like and tastes likes bread, wine looks like and tastes likes and would have the same effect as wine, but the reality is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Stephanos I

Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: Stephanos I] #340821 01/07/10 07:00 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
StuartK Offline
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
Well, I'm not the one trying to force a freighted philosophical term onto a Church whose Tradition does not use that term. Just because we are in communion with you does not mean we have to adopt your language, thought or frames of reference. I'm not denigrating anything, just saying you've got your thing going for you, all well and good. Don't try to pretend it's what the Church has believed always and everywhere. The doctrine of transubstantiation is, at best, "theologia secunda", or what the Greeks would call "theoria"--an elaboration upon a revealed truth. The theologia prima of the undivided Church made no effort to elaborate how or why the bread and wine become Body and Blood, but was content to assert that they did. No further speculation was considered necessary.

Once one does begin to speculate, however, one must be careful of unintended consequences, for Aquinas may have been divinely inspired, but his followers frequently less so. You would be hard pressed to find many in the Latin Church today who would subscribe whole-heartedly to the hylomorphic sacramentology of the Schoolmen, and with good reason.

By the way, Pelikan was Lutheran when he wrote his book, despite which, he was still a much greater scholar than Murray.

Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: StuartK] #340828 01/07/10 08:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 565
U
Utroque Offline
Member
Offline
Member
U
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 565
And you're smarter than me etc.,etc., in saecula saeculorum. I would say presumptuous, too, in assuming I'm Latin. I realize the term "transubstantiation" is not used in the east, but it is not an elaboration or theoria. The term is used in the west not to elaborate on "the how" and "the why", but is used to affirm and illustrate the faith of the Church in the Eucharist which I hope is the same for both east and west. I don't think too many in the Latin church today, unfortunately, have the intellectual ability to understand the metaphysics involved in the hylomorphic theory of matter. Call the "change" anything you want, but I think transubstantiation is a suitable term to describe the mystery before us in the Eucharist. It is not theological speculation and it does not exhaust the mystery involved.

Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: Utroque] #340837 01/07/10 11:12 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
StuartK Offline
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
Hey, I said at the beginning of the thread that the entire discussion was silly.

Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: StuartK] #340845 01/08/10 12:23 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,502
Stephanos I Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,502
Whoaaaaaaaaaah wait just a minute before you go off half cocked.
No one was making any such claims.
Stephanos I

Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: Stephanos I] #340864 01/08/10 02:29 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
StuartK Offline
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
First off, there is no such beast as "transubstantiationism", so it seems unlikely that the early Churches either would or would not be so. As I noted, the Fathers did not think that way, therefore the entire question was both moot and ridiculous, an exercise in misleading anachronism, hence silly.

Last edited by StuartK; 01/08/10 02:29 AM.
Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: StuartK] #340876 01/08/10 05:26 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 157
F
Fr_Kimel Offline
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 157
I am more than a bit sympathetic with concern about excessive speculation about the divine mysteries, but let's not push this too far. The simple fact is, both Eastern and Western theologians have thought and speculated deeply about many aspects of the Christian faith. This is not just a 2nd millennium scholastic problem. While Eastern theologians have been content with the simple identification of the consecrated elements with the Body and Blood, they have not been content to simply speak affirm of three divine hypostases in one divine ousia. They have insisted on thinking deeply about these matters, as anyone knows who has tried to wade through the Cappadocian writings on the Holy Trinity. And ditto for the two natures of Christ and the two wills of Christ. St Maximus the Confessor wasn't afraid to speculate about these questions. If it is correct to speculate on God, then it is surely permissible to speculate on the nature of the eucharistic presence, especially if the Church is confronted with heretical teaching, as was the case with Berengar.

The only interesting question is, Did St Thomas and others do a good job? What are the strengths of transubstantiation? What are the weaknesses? What are the gains? What are the losses?




Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: Fr_Kimel] #340930 01/08/10 04:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 29
P
Precentrix Offline
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
P
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 29
Reverend Father,

As a Latin and a would-be Dominican, I'm probably just a teensy weensy bit biased in favour of St. Thomas.

That said, I think that he, drawing on tradition, did quite a good job. The strengths of his 'explanation', or rather 'statement of what happens', are two-fold.

1) It makes it abundantly clear that what we receive in the sacred species is the Lord, body, blood, soul and divinity.
2) It makes it equally clear that we do not receive anything else (i.e. bread, wine etc).

The flaw would be in the reliance on Aristotelian terminology, though St. Thomas was not exclusively an Aristotelian. His theology of the Eucharist actually ties in very much with his discussions on Being and on the nature of God, but unless you are aware of that it can seem quite arbitrary.

The Council of Trent adopted his terminology because it seemed like the simplest way of countering the theories of the Protestant reformers. Presumably readers are aware that Luther's consubstantiation in fact involves only a temporary Presence and that the other reformers just, well, didn't believe in it at all. In the East, where as usual these particular heresies weren't an issue, there was no need for the definition. At least, that's what I assume.

The neatness of St. Thomas' explanation is that it sort of gives us a reason why the senses fail, why all we perceive is bread and wine, whilst at the same time stressing that the bread and wine is no longer there. By making the distinction between substance and accident, he is able to do that. He also was fascinated by the way in which the accidents remained despite the lack of a substance in which to adhere...

That said, at the time he was writing, the scholastics still weren't exactly sure what they meant by the word 'sacrament'. But if we must speculate about these things, which we will whether or not we should, I don't think anyone has come up with a better 'theory'.

Re: The early churches weren't transubstantiationist [Re: StuartK] #340947 01/08/10 06:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,833
Apotheoun Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,833
Originally Posted by StuartK
First off, there is no such beast as "transubstantiationism", so it seems unlikely that the early Churches either would or would not be so. As I noted, the Fathers did not think that way, therefore the entire question was both moot and ridiculous, an exercise in misleading anachronism, hence silly.

Well said!

Page 6 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6

The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2020 (Forum 1998-2020). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3