Archive for September, 2014

September 30, 2014

Adam was made in the image of the incarnate Christ

Irenaeus concluded—amazingly—that Adam came into being as a result of Christ and his passion, that Adam was made in the image of the incarnate Christ, who himself is the beginning and the end.

From Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives by Peter C. Bouteneff. Here it is with more context (including several other profound points):

Adam as the sinner is the antitype of Christ as the glorious; indeed, the Jewish tradition that saw Adam as a priest, a patriarch, and a king, was utterly transformed in early Christian thinking, which saw Adam as failing in all these vocations and Christ as fulfilling them. The glory of Adam became the glory of Christ. The modern word “typology”—expressing this relationship and so many of the characters and features of the OT with those of the NT—hardly does justice to the transformative thrust of Christian thinking.

…One of the fullest expressions of this thinking came from Irenaeus, who interpreted the Lukan genealogy together with Romans 5:14 to mean that Christ joins the end to the beginning, recapitulating in himself all nations, languages, and generations. Irenaeus concluded—amazingly—that Adam came into being as a result of Christ and his passion, that Adam was made in the image of the incarnate Christ, who himself is the beginning and the end. This trajectory of thinking, which cannily stands temporal chronology on its head, was definitive for the patristic era and right on through the fourteenth century in Nicholas Cabasilas, who puts it this way:

It was for the New Man that human nature was created at the beginning. . . . It was not the old Adam who was the model for the new, but the new Adam for the old. . . . For those who have known him first, the old Adam is the archetype because of our fallen nature. But for him who sees all things before they exist, the first Adam is the imitation of the second. (The Life in Christ 6.91–94)

“Typology” must be understood against the backdrop of this reconfiguration of history, which, then, began not in some calendrically datable time five thousand, six thousand, or even 13.7 billion years ago, but with Christ and his incarnation and, even more, with his passion. Indeed, to the extent we dwell with the fathers in this perspective, the significance of the age of the world is entirely limited to the sphere of science and bears no theological significance whatsoever.

September 21, 2014

on whose branches (dogmas) birds (sublime souls) may safely alight

Borrowing from the opening lines of Origen’s Exodus homilies, Gregory likens the scriptural word to a seed: its proper exegesis is the resulting tree, on whose branches (viz., dogmas) birds (viz., sublime souls) may safely alight (In Hex. 64AB).

From Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives by Peter C. Bouteneff.
Amazing to compare with “The Book on the Windowsill” by Elena Shvarts.

September 4, 2014

better to begin

There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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September 2, 2014

we know so little about life

The question is, does the system I’ve just devised help us in the evaluation of literature? Perhaps a real masterpiece cannot be crucified on a cross of this design. How about Hamlet?

…But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth…. The truth is, we know so little about life, we really don’t know what the good news is and what the bad news is.
And if I die–God forbid–I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, “Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?”

From A Man Without a Country (2005) by Kurt Vonnegut.

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September 2, 2014

a way to make your soul grow

The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

From A Man Without a Country (2005) by Kurt Vonnegut.

September 1, 2014

a man may do both

“Halflings! But they are only a little people in old songs and children’s tales out of the North. Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in daylight?”

“A man may do both,” said Aragorn. “For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!”

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

September 1, 2014

wise but unlearned

“They are proud and wilful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years.”

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

September 1, 2014

Rede oft is found at the rising of the Sun

“Yet do not cast all hope away. Tomorrow is unknown. Rede oft is found at the rising of the Sun.”
“Three suns already have risen on our chase and brought no counsel,” said Gimli.

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (mostly because the word “rede” is wonderful).

September 1, 2014

Job himself recovers by his praying for them

In this passage near the end of the book, Job appears preeminently as an effective petitioner on behalf of his friends. These men are restored to God’s favor by Job’s praying for them, and Job himself recovers by his praying for them. …We learn of Job’s intercessions almost before we discover anything else about him. Concerned for the welfare of his children, we are told, Job “would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all” (Job 1:5). Let me suggest that between Job’s intersessions at the beginning and the end of the book, we may regard chapters 2 through 37 as a kind of Satanic distraction to Job’s life of prayer.

From The Trial of Job by Patrick Henry Reardon (8-9).

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