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Index: Theology

Volume Five.

Rev. Andrew Louth: ‘The completion of the project of translating the Philokalia is an end that is also a beginning. Now we have in English a complete translation of the Philokalia.’

God and His absence in China.

By ALAN MACFARLANE. I WAS BROUGHT up in a Christian household in the West. My uncle was devout and I went to religious camps as a boy where we were encouraged to ask Jesus into our hearts. Jesus seemed unenthusiastic about coming at my call, nevertheless I never really questioned my Christian faith through the […]

What good are you?

Anthony O’Hear: ‘Aristotle, who wrote as well about virtue as anyone, insists on the way that virtue depends on habits, and very largely on habits acquired in one’s upbringing, before one can begin to reason. If one is brought up rightly, then one’s love of the virtues, along with an appropriate sense of honour and its countervailing shame, will enable one to reason well about morality. Otherwise, if one is not already attracted to virtue, in moral matters one is in danger of reasoning cleverly, but badly, and also of acting badly and without shame. ‘

Jeffrey Kripal and the secret body.

A Fortnightly Review of Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions by Jeffrey J. Kripal University of Chicago Press 2017 | 448pp | $45.00 £34.50 By JAMES GALLANT. JEFFREY KIRPAL HAS devoted a substantial part of his academic career to what he sometimes calls, in ironic deference to modern skepticism, “impossible” […]

‘Do you know Brunetière?’

Erik Butler: ‘When Brunetière wrote that “battle looms,” he was not exaggerating. Two World Wars, if nothing else, should have proven as much; the struggles for national liberation that emerged when European empires collapsed have dotted the globe with expanding theaters of conflict. The economic and cultural imperialism of gung-ho American capitalism has begotten a market that can operate perfectly well without its creator. Fundamentalism has only flourished in response to “progress” (including, not too long ago, the “scientific socialism” espoused by the Soviet Union).’


Alan Wall: ‘What terrifies about Satan and the demons is intelligent cunning and damnable determination, not the multi-coloured yawns of the possessed. It is that which makes them uncanny and terrifying, and it is that quality of hellishness which connects them with the goings-on in From Hell. This quality of transcendent and merciless intelligence is what intrigues us about infernal agents. ‘

Against Mysticism.

Oliver Elton: ‘We must cherish the hope that one day the bitter experience and illusory vision which are at the root of official mysticism may tend to die out, at any rate in the West. The process may be as long as the step from primitive idolatry, and meantime the regular mystics and their dispensaries must hold a regarded place. But science now forces us to think in long periods of time. ‘

The god of Athens.

Thomas Conlon: ‘Christians are panentheists in the very limited sense that they believe that 2000 years ago God became man for a short period. Any wider identification of God with any part of nature weakens the force and radicalness of the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity. Although some of his best friends may be panentheists Cooper, the biblical Christian, is not about to join them.’

Rowan Williams and the freedom of Bonhoeffer.

After all, what other sort of freedom is finally worth having? It may cost us everything we thought we needed to hang on to; but – as the history of Christ’s journey to the cross and the resurrection makes clear – the end of the story is a fulfilment, a homecoming, for which we can never find adequate words. It’s the freedom to be what we most deeply are.

Skirmishes in the battle of Whence.

Science, symbolism, and ideology are getting lumped together in the discourse of the new atheism.

Why on earth would an infinite God bother with Incarnation?

Eastern Christian theology helps us understand the full dimensions of the why of the Incarnation through its concept of theosis, or divinization: God becomes man so that we might become like God—so that we can live comfortably with God forever.

The evolution of mystery.

Maurice Maeterlinck: There is a hopefulness in man which renders him unwilling to grant that the cause of his misfortune may be as transparent as that of the wave which dies away in the sand or is hurled on the cliff, of the insect whose little wings gleam for an instant in the light of the sun till the passing bird absorbs its existence.

• The liturgy of details in the new Roman Missal.

Much of that vocabulary, and a great many of those images, were lost under the “dynamic equivalence” theory of translation; they have now been restored under the “formal equivalence” method of translating. Over the next years and decades, the Catholic Church will be reminded of just what a treasure-house of wonders the liturgy is.

• ‘A luminous antidote to the darkness’ of Hallowe’en, even for Joey Ramone.

By DOUGLAS M. DYE [Juneau Empire] – All Saints’ Day is a luminous antidote to the darkness that so often takes center stage on Halloween. I first celebrated All Saints’ Day when living in Sweden many years ago. During my stay there, I happened to visit my great Uncle Axel on that holy day. Several […]

• Hildegard of Bingen: nobody’s singing nun.

The real Hildegard, however, was of course a hardcore medieval Catholic: among many other things, a defender of hierarchy in Church and society and a hammerer of heretics whose visions were in essence doctrinal expositions of Scripture according with the beliefs of the times.