Wednesday, August 10, 2005

one of wb's more lucid and, i dare say, incisive moments

I refer you, Beloved, to a comment thread in Pontifications, well worth the several weeks it will take you to read. Find it here. Its good to see serious philosophical engagement with the issues. Reproduced below is one of my own comments which cuts to the heart of those things on which I am forever declaiming:

From the Scotist: “My point was whatever Paul had in mind shouldn’t settle what the passage means—the text doesn’t belong to Paul regardless of his authorship, but it does belong to the worshipping Church (and, I should say, to God who inspired Paul). Paul’s intended meaning, supposing we can discern it, can only be one ingredient among others in our interpretation. Worse–we should remain open to the Spirit moving us as we read it, even if the Spirit moves us away from whatever Paul himself meant.”

Echoing Fr. Stephen, and what Fr. Kimel hinted at, it seems to me that we can pretty freely grant the Scotist’s proposition above. But would even liberal Episcopalians be so audacious as to claim that their coterie is coextensive with “the worshipping Church”? Amazingly, that’s what Scotist seems to imply. Has no one commenting on, e.g., Romans 1 ever been “open to the Spirit” until the late 20th century in the Episcopal Church? I grant his last sentence, that we should be open to the listings of the Spirit, even if they lead us away from what Paul seems to have meant. There seems to be a suppressed premise: that the doctrine of ECUSA is, in fact, a product of the ECUSA’s hierarchy’s having been “open to the Spirit” in its exegetical undertakings. The problem, though, is that that is exactly the claim of the whole Tradition, which concludes otherwise than ECUSA regarding human sexuality. And why on earth should ECUSA’s view be so privileged over and against 2000 years of commentators who have consistently concluded otherwise? That’s what I want to know. Is it maybe because ECUSA is so rich and lily-white, as J.S. Spong implied at Lambeth 1998?

Even Origen humbly deferred to the decisions of Holy Mother Church, should she ever decide against him, as she would do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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