the world that we inhabit, that we create together as spiritual beings, that we perceive, that is the work of our wills in our ignorance is maya

Transcription from David Bentley Hart on the “Actually, It’s Good” podcast with an episode titled “Gnosticism… It’s Good” published Nov 17, 2020: 19:32My interest in recovering the real form of gnosticism, trying to understand what it really was, if we are going to keep trying to use that word, is mostly to try to detachContinue reading “the world that we inhabit, that we create together as spiritual beings, that we perceive, that is the work of our wills in our ignorance is maya”

the presence of the invisible within the visible

In Greek philosophy, …the highest kind of knowledge, and therefore the highest moment of earthly life, …connected the visible with the invisible. [This] was noetic: the unencumbered exercise of that highest faculty of alertness and heedfulness and comprehension for which they reserved the name, “nous,” a noun that we can render variously as intellectual intuition,Continue reading “the presence of the invisible within the visible”

the universe is a most holy temple and into it man is introduced through birth as a spectator

I am delighted with Diogenes, who, when he saw his host in Sparta preparing with much ado for a certain festival, said, ‘Does not a good man consider every day a festival?’ and a very splendid one, to be sure, if we are sound of mind [nous]. For the universe is a most holy templeContinue reading “the universe is a most holy temple and into it man is introduced through birth as a spectator”

the colors and the sheen that call to mind the past that made them

Some passages from In Praise of Shadows by Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965). This is from he translation by Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker. As a general matter we find it hard to be really at home with things that shine and glitter. The Westerner uses silver and steel and nickel tableware, and polishes itContinue reading “the colors and the sheen that call to mind the past that made them”

a non-existent country, with laws alien to earth and man

The Return of the Exile George Seferis (translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard) ‘My old friend, what are you looking for?After years abroad you’ve come backwith images you’ve nourishedunder foreign skiesfar from you own country.’ ‘I’m looking for my old garden;the trees come to my waistand the hills resemble terracesyet as a childI usedContinue reading “a non-existent country, with laws alien to earth and man”

the fall of rational creation and the conquest of the cosmos by death is something that appears to us nowhere within the course of nature or history

The moral apostasy of rational beings from the proper love of God is somehow the reason for the reign of death and suffering in the cosmos, that human beings—constituting what Maximus the Confessor called the priestly “methorios” (the boundary or frontier) between the physical and the spiritual realms—severed the bond between God’s eternity and cosmicContinue reading “the fall of rational creation and the conquest of the cosmos by death is something that appears to us nowhere within the course of nature or history”

The stars, inasmuch as they are visible, do not embody exact knowledge, which can only be grasped by the mind and thought.

Summary of Plato’s understanding of the stars from Origen and the Life of the Stars: A History of an Idea by Alan Scott (Oxford Early Christian Studies, Clarendon Press, 1994): Plato is less concerned with how things happen than with why they happen, and for this reason he regards astronomy as only of secondary importance.Continue reading “The stars, inasmuch as they are visible, do not embody exact knowledge, which can only be grasped by the mind and thought.”

free of the mechanical hypotaxis of the one and the boring boisterousness of the other

The circular, “synthetic;’ and pleromatic grandeur of the Hegelian infinite and the chaotic, univocal, and unharmonizable flux of the postmodern infinite are equally dreary; but the Christian infinite, free of the mechanical hypotaxis of the one and the boring boisterousness of the other, yields a profuse and irreducible parataxis, a boundless flood of beauties, beyondContinue reading “free of the mechanical hypotaxis of the one and the boring boisterousness of the other”

Giver of life

There’s a phrase in the Nicene–Constantinopolitan Creed identifying the Holy Spirit as the “Giver of life.” This phrase often gets unpacked in ancient hymns that expand on the Holy Spirit as the source of all the glorious life in the world around us. These examples below are not the most effusive, but I noticed themContinue reading “Giver of life”

on this day spring is fragrant

“On this day spring is fragrant; the new creation dances now.” O Thomas, thou hast searched out * My wounded limbs with thine own hand; * doubt not of Me Who was wounded * for thee, but have a single mind * with the disciples, and preach Me, * the Living God, to all mankind.Continue reading “on this day spring is fragrant”