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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Theological Notebook: "My Favourite Zizioulas Joke" 
11th-Sep-2006 12:55 am
After being jumped on for my apparently less-than-exact political groussing, I will stay closer to my own expertise for this entry. In fact, it will be so much so that I don't know if hardly anyone will get the proper smile from this, except for Seraphim, of course.... :-)

While at the library tonight, I got some good emails, including a gracious one from my Doktorvater who is settling into his retirement in the Jesuit community at Boston College, next to the fellow on whom I'm writing the dissertation he's directing, and one from Tom Near, who was once long ago with me one of the bad boys of the Department of History at Northern. After discovering me online after not hearing from one another for a decade, he sent me one of those cool "catch up" letters that are so much fun. His current location leaves me more than impressed: he's a new professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale.

Lastly, I received from my advisor this little gem. Hysterical. Really. It is. You have to believe me! :
Subject: My Favorite Zizioulas Joke

Last weekend at a conference in Cambridge (UK) Zizioulas was forced to admit that a theologumenon he said was Gregory of Nyssa's was in fact not something Gregory ever said: quote,"Well, yes, Gregory did not say this, but it is what he would say if he were alive today." He then proceeded to say that according to GregNys and Maximus it is the case that through the Incarnation we become part of the Trinity (which set Kallistos Ware off like a bomb.)
11th-Sep-2006 06:26 am (UTC)
it is more or less the sense of John 17
isnt it? of course in the whole area of
'theosis' there is no precision ,and
no doubt none possible, as to what is
meant etc.
anyway if Gregory of Nyssa were alive today
I am sure he would be pleased that Notre
Dame whomped Penn State on Saturday, I will
go that far with confidence.
11th-Sep-2006 06:32 am (UTC)
I will trust in your insight into your tradition on that last: it seems reasonable in light of Gregory's experience of the as-yet unbroken church.

Another student on the mailing responded with the following, which you might find interesting:
Zizioulas must have been reading Pelikan's "The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition" which in several places says that members of the eastern tradition held to theosis - but he leaves his language so vague in several spots that the casual, or even not so casual, reader would think that we actually achieve the divine nature, an ontological joining. I read this work prior to starting at MU and was so surprised that I had a 30 minute conversation with Fr. Golitzin who assured me that not only he but the vast majority of scholars would disagree with Pelikan's assessment.
11th-Sep-2006 06:43 am (UTC)
well scholars for better or worse will
not decide it. for me an interesting
approach is that of the expression
'necessity of being' in charles williams
poem about galahad 'necessity of being
was communicated to the son of lancelot'...
I believe this gets to the point where the
rubber hits the road and in other words
is the universe 'necessary' ...I will wish
to say, understanding it is only words etc
and images are better but still not the
thing itself, yes.
the fourth side of rublevs table of the
Trinity...the fourth sought by Jung etc...
11th-Sep-2006 12:53 pm (UTC) - term
in general I suppose this
regarding of the cosmos and
individuals as grounded in
the Divine is what is known
as panentheism isn't it? I
have never gotten much of a handle
on any of this, well and of course
in one sense who has? part of the
problem with theological discussion
of the nature of Reality is that
X can assert A and Y can assert
B but Reality will remain somehow
beyond all of that won't it? rather
as in supposed remark of galileo
that it still goes around the sun
etc after his prudent retractions.
11th-Sep-2006 06:27 pm (UTC) - Re: term
Well, I don't want to go so far, perhaps: I think you could be misconstrued in both replies above into being thought to have said that theology can't really determine anything – the modern prejudice against theology as a legitimate source of knowledge or as a science.

But clearly I think the negative way is strong in its security, that we can with much greater certainty say what God is not: logic serves us very well there. And obviously with revelation in particular, there's a lot that can be said in the positive mode, too. It's the clash of ideas that whittles away at revealing the Truth of these things over time. So, for example, whether or not it seems random to people who've never studied the long history of the inquiry into the matter, I feel very secure in describing God as Triune. That sort of thing....
11th-Sep-2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
agreed...well but I was speaking
of this discussion of theosis, it
is not really for us to decide is it?
was my little thought...but yes of
11th-Sep-2006 11:30 am (UTC)
i'm sorry you were jumped on. that's always unpleasant. we're all just people here, and we're entitled to hold views without having people savage us for them. (i never talk about politics, though, precisely because my views are nebulous, and i don't like catching flak for them. but we don't have to be experts about everything all the time.)
11th-Sep-2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, that isn't what I meant to imply, nor was I upset in the least: just sheepish, mostly. If I get jumped for inaccuracies in my facts or my thinking, I'm pretty grateful for the correction. That's one part of pride you need to let go of as early as possible in the university life.
11th-Sep-2006 01:03 pm (UTC) - off like a bomb
it is amiable to imagine Bishop
Calistos going "off like a bomb"
but I am sure it was a fairly
courteous explosion, the dear fellow.

else looked at your political post
and see that the danger seems limited
to that "twenty years" from now
you might be a registered
Democrat. concluding that this is a
condition contrary to present fact, it
seems not alarming. None of us can be
sure that we will not fall into this
or that vice in the future, let us just
hope all your future vices are pleasant
and not worse than(as nabokov said 5
of the 7 deadly sins were) peccadillos...
as it would seem to me being a
democrat is not.
Nabokov said that without the other two
(lust and pride) the human race could
not survive.

well thinking theologically now before
Bp C goes off at a distance I would say
accepting that in its terms, of course
considerably as bon mot, the virtues
including humilty and chastity are also
necessary to the race.
12th-Sep-2006 04:07 am (UTC) - Re: off like a bomb
Fine points. And yes, I too just simply enjoyed the image of Ware blowing up at what he would think a fairly crazed thing to claim.
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