The Supposed Evidence of My Anti-Catholic Bigotry

 

Justinian’s magnificent early-sixth-century Church of Hagia ‘Sophia in Constantinople (today’s Istanbul)

 

I’m being attacked by a handful of people — including a few wearisomely obsessive critics who can always be counted upon to join in whatever chorus of personal derision they find directed at me — as an “anti-Catholic” and even a bigot for a blog entry that I posted yesterday.  The entry consisted almost entirely of a quotation from a famous set of 1888 academic lectures by the respected nineteenth-century English scholar Edwin Hatch.  The quotation doesn’t mention Catholicism.  The blog entry doesn’t mention Catholicism.  The quotation contrasts the Sermon on the Mount with the Nicene Creed, which was the product (more or less) of the First Council of Nicea, held in AD 325 — a period, in my judgment, prior to the emergence of anything that can be specifically distinguished as Roman Catholicism.  (For more of my reasoning on that point, see my comments following the blog entry — comments that I won’t have much if any time to elaborate on for the rest of today and most of tomorrow, even if more criticisms are posted there.)

 

I didn’t have Catholicism specifically in mind when I posted the entry.  Nor do I think that it has anything to do with Catholicism, specifically.  The quotation is a fairly gentle criticism of mainstream creedal Christianity, not of Catholicism in particular. (News flash:  I’m a Latter-day Saint.  I don’t accept the Nicene Creed as binding.)  Edwin Hatch was, it’s true, an Anglican priest, but the Nicene Creed that he’s implicitly criticizing is authoritative within his own Anglican communion just as it is within Roman Catholicism.

 

It’s nonsense to accuse Hatch, let alone me, of anti-Catholicism for expressing reservations about the creedal formulae emerging from Nicaea and subsequent ecumenical councils — all of which, incidentally, without exception, were convened within Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), a historically Greek-speaking area that never, ever, accepted the primacy of the bishop of Rome.  That bishop is called the Pope, but, in the area of which I speak, so are other bishops (e.g., in Constantinople/Istanbul and in Alexandria).  The magnificent Church of Hagia Sophia, shown above, was never a Roman Catholic church except briefly, between 1204 and 1261 AD, when Latin soldiers of the Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople, ransacked the city, desecrated the church, and turned it into a Catholic Cathedral.  For centuries after its recapture, Eastern Christians would spit upon the tomb of Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, who commanded the Latin Christian forces that conquered the city and who is still buried within Hagia Sophia’s walls.

 

To claim, even implicitly, that Justinian was a Roman Catholic, to claim Hagia Sophia and Anatolia and the seven ecumenical councils that were held there for Rome, as if they’re the property, even the exclusive property, of the Latin West, is genuinely offensive cultural imperialism.  If anything, the tendency of people in the West to claim everything in the ancient Church for Roman Catholicism, when almost everything of Christian significance in the first postbiblical centuries occurred in Greek, and within lands that never recognized the preeminence of Rome and whose Christian population, since the Great Schism (of 1054 and subsequently), has been overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox, seems to me very largely a stunning reflection of Western provincialism.

 

And it’s instructive, by the way, that those calling me an anti-Catholic bigot never mention such columns as this one, and this one, and this one — to choose just three quite recent examples.

 

 

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  • Trailer Trash

    “attacked,” “wearisome obsessive critics,” “personal derision,” “as an “anti-Catholic” and even a bigot.” You’re drama meter is set to 13 year old girl level. (No offense meant to 13 year old girls by this comparison).

    • Darren

      Perhaps he should buy a trailer next to yours. That’ll make a man out of him.

    • DanielPeterson

      You have no idea what you’re talking about, Trailer Trash, nor what I was talking about. So you’re in no position to have an opinion on it. (Hint: I wasn’t referring to you and “oudenos.”)

      • Trailer Trash

        Thank you for the clarification. It might be useful to inform the people you are talking with on this blog when you are now talking about some other conversation about our conversation.

  • g.wesley

    Whatever constitutes being “anti-Catholic,” one challenge here is that if we want to take Jesus the Syrian peasant as the touch stone of Christianity, we’d probably have to ditch belief in his pre-existence (not to mention our own), his virgin birth,
    universal atonement, and any kind of global missionary effort or future of the church two thousand years later. Which is to say that it cuts both ways and every way, not just to the consternation of those who believe in the Nicene Creed.

    • DanielPeterson

      I’m afraid that I disagree.

  • Loyd Ericson

    That’s a mighty big windmill you have destroyed there, Quixote. I looked on the previous post, but I can’t find anyone calling YOU, Mr. Dan Quixote, an anti-Catholic bigot. Can you point it out for me?

    • Darren

      Both oudenos (who’s really really super duper smart in Greek philosophy. If you don’t believe me, just ask oudenos) and Trailer Trash, the very two here, did so by implication. They both called Edwin Hatch an anti-Catholic and Dan Peterson uses Hatch’s words to make his (Peterson’s) own point.

    • DanielPeterson

      Not here, no. But here isn’t everywhere.

      I’d missed your derision, though. For a couple of months, you’ve been either silent, or, on a couple of occasions, civil.

      I was worried about you.

      • Loyd Ericson

        Ahh. I just saw that damning allegation on the board-that-shall-not-be-mentioned. My apologies Quixote, for once you were attacking a real threat and not just another windmill of your imagination. My utmost apologies.

        And I appreciate the concern.

        • DanielPeterson

          And you continue to sneer.

          Here’s another concern: If you don’t vary your facial expression, it may become frozen into permanency.

          Try respect and civility as an alternative. They’re liberating.

          • Loyd Ericson

            You are misunderstanding me, Quixote.

            Stop persecuting me.

            Why must you be such a wearisomely obsessive critic of mine?

            Again, my apologies, I didn’t realize they were black.

            I am so misunderstood.

          • DanielPeterson

            Stop posting on my blog. That will help.

          • DanielPeterson

            Loyd Ericson has opted to take a temporary pause from posting comments on Sic et Non.

          • Loyd Ericson

            “Try respect and civility as an alternative. They’re liberating.”

            I have been doing just that. Modeling the respect and civility you have been exemplifying the last decade.

            We are such misunderstood creature, you and I, Quixote.

          • DanielPeterson

            You can begin your reformation by dropping the derisive nickname. It’s puerile.

          • Loyd Ericson

            You are misunderstanding me.

          • DanielPeterson

            And you’ve never understood me.

            Life is like that.

            Stop cluttering up my blog.

          • Loyd Ericson

            Stop persecuting me.

  • oudenos

    Dan,

    I am not a “wearisomely obsessive critic” of you, I have never interacted with you in any format at all. I read many of your posts, some I agree with, some I don’t. Your earlier post was just plain wrong (quite aside from the Catholic issue) in terms of its premise (What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?) that somehow early Christianity and, more tangible to us at present, early Christian literature (including texts of the NT) remained untouched by Hellenistic philosophy and things “Athenian.” Unless you have special access to Jesus’ words as they came from his mouth, you are subject to the same sources as the rest of scholars. The vast majority of their work contradicts your claim about Athens and Jerusalem.

    How about you just admit that you were wrong about philosophy’s influence (to use a totally inadequate word) over early Christian literature and maybe even Jesus himself. And how about you admit that this is not your field, this is not your expertise, and that you overstepped and made a blunder. Though you may be writing for a general audience, you need to know that there are specialists of all sorts who read or hear your work and who will occasionally push back, as you rightly do when people do injustice to Islam, its literature, history, etc. We all presume too much from time to time, Dan. Don’t entrench. Don’t obfuscate. Don’t act like I am purposefully trying to paint you as a villain or a dolt. Don’t turn this into a Dan-is-oppressed-by-critics thing. Admit you are wrong. Doing so won’t jeopardize your position as a respected voice. It is the price you must pay, on occasion, if you want to be a public intellectual with any legitimacy.

    • Darren

      “How about you just admit that you were wrong about philosophy’s influence (to use a totally inadequate word) over early Christian literature and maybe even Jesus himself. ”

      I don’t think anyone of serious scholarship denies that Greek philosophy has influenced Christian literature and even theological thinking / beliefs. But it’s a big claim to say that Jesus was influenced by them. In fact, Peterson’s citation of Edwin Hatch demonstrates superbly that Jesus taught according to Judaic soteriological beliefs. The Sermon on the Mount stands in stark contrast to the Greek jargon which plagues the Nicene creed and even subsequent Trinitarian creeds.

    • mike

      “Don’t turn this into a Dan-is-oppressed-by-critics thing.”

      Gee, why would Dan ever believe that? Could it be because your rhetoric belies your strange personal agenda against Dan? Most friendly discussion items don’t contain dogmatic demands such as “admit this” and “admit that,” or such ipse dixit as “don’t do X and “don’t do Y,” or employ such condescension as “you need to know…” and “don’t act like I…” Indeed, you employ such devices at least eight times in a single paragraph. It is a wonderfully superficial accomplishment.

    • DanielPeterson

      It’s not always about you, “oudenos.” There are other people out there, posting things. And not all of them — or even most of them — are doing so here.

      And I won’t admit that I’m wrong, becuase doing so would be disingenuous. I’m quite comfortable with my position.

  • Trailer Trash

    “To claim, even implicitly, that Justinian was a Catholic, to claim Hagia Sophia and Anatolia and the seven ecumenical councils that were held there for Rome, as if they’re the property, even the exclusive property, of the Latin West, is genuinely offensive culltural imperialism.”

    At least we can agree on one thing Hatch is guilty of. How does your approving quotation of him fit in to this denunciation?

    • DanielPeterson

      Sorry, Trailer Trash. The Nicene Creed is authoritative for the Anglican communion — Edwin Hatch was an Anglican priest — just as much as for the Church of Rome.

      Your desperate effort to make this into an attack on Catholicism has failed, I’m afraid.

      • Trailer Trash

        Dan,

        No desperation on my part.

        Does it really come as a surprise to you that in spite of being an Anglican priest, Hatch’s entire book is an argument against creeds in general and Nicaea in particular? That is why you quoted it, is it not? Hatch’s book is self evidently both anti-Nicaea and anti-Catholic, and I really am surprised that you continue to deny this. Anti-creedalism and anti-Catholicism were fundamental aspects of Protestant narratives of Christian history in the 19th century. Allow me to refresh your memory.

        Here is is saying Christians should abandon the Nicene Creed on page 332-33:
        “The difficulty has sometimes been evaded by the further assumption that there was no development of the truth, and that the Nicene theology was part of the original revelation—a theology divinely communicated to the apostles by Jesus Christ himself. The point of most importance in the line of study which we have been following together, is the demonstration which it affords that this latter assumption is wholly untenable. We have beenable to see, not only that the several elements of what is distinctive in the Nicene theologywere gradually formed, but also that the whole temper and frame of mind which led to the formation of those elements were extraneous to the first form of Christianity, and wereadded to it by the operation of causes which can be traced. If this be so, the assumption of the finality of the Nicene theology is the hypothesis of a development which went on for threecenturies, and was then suddenly and for ever arrested. Such a hypothesis, even if it be a priori conceivable, would require an overwhelming amount of positive testimony. Of such testimony there is absolutely none. But it may be that the time has come in which, insteadof travelling once more along the beaten tracks of these ancient controversies as to particular speculations, we should rather consider the prior question of the place whichspeculation as such should occupy in the economy of religion and of the criterion by which speculations are to be judged. We have to learn also that although for the needs of this life, for the solace of its sorrow, for the development of its possibilities, we must combineinto societies and frame our rules of conduct, and possibly our articles of belief, by striking an average, yet for the highest knowledge we must go alone upon the mountain-top ; and that though the moral law is thundered forth so that even the deaf may hear, the deepest secrets of God’s nature and of our own are whispered still in the silence of the night to theindividual soul.

        It may be that too much time has been spent upon speculations about Christianity,whether true or false, and that that which is essential consists not of speculations but of facts, and not in technical accuracy on questions of metaphysics, but in the attitude of mind in which we regard them. It would be a cold world in which no sun shone until the inhabitants thereof had; arrived at a true chemical analysis of sunlight. And it may bethat the knowledge and thought of our time, which is drawing us away from the speculativeelements in religion to that conception of it which builds it upon the character and not only upon the intellect, is drawing us thereby to that conception of it which the life of Christ was intended to set forth, and which will yet regenerate the world.”

        And here are a smattering of his anti-Catholic statements. Of course, Lecture 5 aims to show “Palestinian Philosophy” in in “complete contrast” to the “Old Catholic Church.” In other places:

        “The growth of a confederation of Christian communities necessitated the definition of a basis of confederation. Such a definition, and the further necessity of guarding it, were inconsistent with that free utterance of the Spirit which had existed before the confederation began. Prophesying died when the Catholic Church was formed.” (107)

        “the simple and unstudied language of the childhood of Christianity, with its awe-struck sense of the ineffable nature of God, was but a fading memory, and on the other hand the tendency to trust in and insist upon the results of speculation was strong. Once indeed the Catholic doctrine was formulated, then, though not till then, the majority began to deprecate investigations as to the nature of God.” (279)

        To this may be added his discussion of Catholic rituals on pages 299-302 as “Greek ritual,” “Eleusis,” and “Greek Mysteries.”This is then followed by an argument against the priesthood on similar grounds. Really, I don’t need to belabor the point. This is all typical Protestant apologetics in the guise of ecclesiastical history.

        The point is that the narrative of a absolute distinction between the purity of a Christianity unsullied by “Greek speculation” as a part of anti-creedalism and anti-Catholicism is so obvious a point that I find the only act of desperation your’s when you try to deny it.

        Now, there are certainly good reasons to object to creeds in general, and Nicaea in particular. There are also good reasons to object to historical Catholicism. But the idea that Greek philosophy corrupted an unsullied pure Christianity is, unfortunately, no longer a credible one.

        • DanielPeterson

          Your quarrel isn’t with me, Trailer Trash. It’s with the generally fairly high (if not altogether uncritical) esteem in which Edwin Hatch is still held. If you want to make him out simply to be an exceptionally learned anti-Catholic hack, I wish you well in your efforts.

          That Professor Hatch was a man of his time, situated in a particular intellectual environment and culture, is obvious. It’s his fate, along with Adolf Harnack, John Henry Newman, Phillip Schaff, Sozomen, Eusebius, and all other ecclesiastical historians of the past to become an object of study by ecclesiastical historians. Albert Schwetzer studied “the quest for the historical Jesus,” and, now, people study Albert Schweitzer. The same will eventually happen to Kenneth Latourette, Jaroslave Pelikan, Justo Gonzales, Avery Dulles, and other modern historians of Christianity.

          None of them has lived in a vacuum. All of them write with prejudices, pre-commitments, loyalties, and the like. That doesn’t negate the value of what they’ve done.

          • Trailer Trash

            Well, that was a rather abrupt flip flop from accusing me of a desperate, failed attempt to show Hatch was engaged in an anti-Catholic narrative to you conceding it entirely with a “man of his time.”

            But no, Dan. The issue has nothing to with whatever esteem you believe people have for Hatch, nor with the fact that Hatch, like everyone, was a “man of his time.”

            Rather, the issue has always been that Hatch’s framework of true Christianity vs. Hellenism is a problem (and a part of an anti-Catholic narrative), and your altogether uncritical reproduction and endorsement of it. You seem to be confused on which approach you want to take, defend your original use of Hatch or retreat to what you no doubt know is correct about the scholarship on the Christianity/Hellenism divide.

          • Walter Davis

            I wasn’t aware that the impact of anti-Catholicism on the study of Religion was all that controversial. I thought the pervasive influence of Protestant assumptions and anti-Catholic bias was generally accepted in Religious Studies. It is odd to me that this is even up for debate here. Furthermore, I think it is one thing for an Anglican to make humor out of the Trinity and a Mormon to do so, just as it is one thing for a Jew to tell jokes about his own people, but quite something else (unacceptable) for a non-Jew to do so.

          • DanielPeterson

            There are all sorts of influences on the study of religion, and there continue to be — even in the posts of oudenos, Trailer Trash, and, inevitably, Walter Davis. Every model is a model produced by a human mind — a human mind that is dated and placed in a particular historical-cultural moment.

            This isn’t particularly interesting, and isn’t usually lethal. One notes it, adjusts for it, and moves on.

            I love the implicit attempt to link me with anti-Semitism, though. That’s been tried on at least one internet hate site (where it’s a recurrent theme), but it’s a first for this blog.

          • Walter Davis

            That’s a fine dodge, Peterson, but you are confusing the logic of the comparison and the content. It simply is the case that you as a Mormon do not have the luxury of publicly chuckling about the Trinity that an Anglican has. Your agreement with the joke about the Trinity appears bigoted, whether you agree that it does or not. From what I can see, it seems that Trinitarian Christians do view your humor regarding their faith to be in poor taste.

          • DanielPeterson

            I can chuckle about the Trinity to whatever extent I feel like chuckling, Davis.

            It’s not a dodge. It’s religious freedom.

            And religious disagreement isn’t bigotry.

            There is no sin in thinking that a joke has a legitimate point. I do it all the time.

            I don’t know where you live, Davis, but feel free to take the matter up with your local Thought Police. In my country, the right to express a religious opinion is constitutionally guaranteed.

            People can and do laugh at elements of my beliefs. I don’t get huffy about it. And, very commonly, I laugh with them.

          • Walter Davis

            No doubt you have the freedom to do so. No one contests your freedom to do so. There is no law against behaving like a jackass, the last time I checked. Nor did I suggest that religious disagreement was bigotry. I am, rather, pointing out that making light of the beliefs of others in public shows disrespect and disdain for those beliefs. It has the appearance of bigotry.

            Does it bother you that some people don’t care for you joking about their beliefs? It strikes me that you have spent a good deal of time defending LDS beliefs as worthy of respect, and that you have objected to others misrepresenting them. I also haven’t noticed that you have devoted much or any time to commenting on the “point” behind humor that makes light of aspects of Mormonism.

            You can continue to try to change the subject, but the point is that your public display of casual disdain for those things other Christians hold sacred stands in stark contradiction with your own desires that people respect your faith. Maybe you should try to consider that the next time you laugh about Trinitarian dogma on a public blog. But, by all means, don’t confuse my advice with a desire to muzzle you. Be a public jerk all you like!

          • DanielPeterson

            There is indeed, fortunately, no law against behaving like a jackass. You and Loyd Ericson can properly rejoice in that.

            In the meantime, I’m happy that there’s nothing more pressing, more horrible, or more negative in your world than that fact that I chuckled at, and saw an actual point in, somebody else’s joke.

            As for my supposed “public disdain for those things other Christians hold sacred”: This is ludicrous. I’ve been writing for years, with respect and sometimes with reverence, for “those things other Christians hold sacred.” For example, I’ve published scores and scores of newspaper columns on such topics over the past few years.

            People of your ilk resolutely ignore such evidence, year after year after year, and then zero in like lasers on the fact that I once acknowledged the humor in a joke that somebody else told in a comment on my blog.

            Good grief.

            And, as a matter of fact, one of the funniest “anti-Catholic” jokes I’ve ever heard was told to me by a Catholic priest who was still, I think, the head of the Department of Theology at Notre Dame at the time.

            Good grief. Lighten up.

            Finally, learn to be a bit more civil, or I’ll start deleting your comments. I have no intention of letting my blog turn into a hate- and invective-filled message board, filled with personal insults, of the type some out there seem to favor.

          • Loyd Ericson

            Seriously, we all need to lighten up and stop misunderstanding Quixote. He didn’t realize they were black, okay?

          • Walter Davis

            Hello! I apologize for using the words “jackass” and “jerk”. I regret having done so. I should have left the issue to one of mutual respect (and displayed some), which, in my opinion, your thread lacked, instead of rising to the bait of your insulting accusation that I am some kind of fascist who cannot tolerate free speech. Since I do not believe that anyone should be prevented from saying offensive things, I found the suggestion that I do believe that not only inaccurate but also insulting. Still, I should not have insulted you in return.

            Back to the topic. Yes, a Catholic priest is capable of seeing humor in his own religious tradition. That is quite different from a Protestant poking fun at a Catholic or a Mormon poking fun at creedal Christian theology. If black comedian Chris Rock tells jokes about African Americans, it is not an invitation for me to do so as a white person. Again, if you want others to respect your faith, you might avoid poking fun at theirs (reciprocity is a basic principle of fairness).

          • DanielPeterson

            I understand the difference.

            And if I were given to routine, or even occasional, mean-spirited jabs at other faiths, I would deserve your rebuke.

            But I’m not. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve devoted years to writing and teaching and lecturing respectfully about other faiths. The evidence of that is quite easy to find, in — for example — books and recordings and literally hundreds of newspaper columns.

            The little joke at which you take umbrage — which I didn’t even tell here, and which didn’t even appear in one of my blog entries, though I’ve been aware of it for years and would have had no objection to telling it — doesn’t seem to me mean-spirited at all. It’s a mild little piece of good humored ribbing, well within the bounds of civil discourse.

            Tastes vary, of course. I don’t like coconut. Perhaps you do. But there’s little point in arguing about them.

            Incidentally, later this month I’ll be speaking to the annual meeting of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists about, among other things, cartoons taking jabs at my faith. Some of them are quite funny, and I’m going to say so.

          • DanielPeterson

            No flip-flop. No concession. I stand by the point, and find your attempt to turn my blog entry into an expression of “anti-Catholicism” ludicrous. I’m not surprised that four or five of my more obsessive and unhinged critics, elsewhere, are running with this — I expect nothing better from them — but it’s a really, really long stretch.

            And, yes, I “uncritically reproduced” that passage from Professor Hatch. It’s called a “verbatim quotation.” And my endorsement? A couple of sentences on a blog. Not an academic essay on nineteenth-century ideological currents within the rising English tradition of ecclesiastical history.

            Your partisanship on this matter has been striking, to say nothing of the yip-yipping of those, elsewhere, who have hailed your exposure of my supposed anti-Catholicism. One could just as easily attack Adolf von Harnack, a greater ecclesiastical historian than Hatch, for his liberal Lutheran presuppositions, or — for that matter — John Henry Newman for the Catholic presuppositions and nascent loyalties of his own work on the development of Christian doctrine, but to simplistically dismiss the former as “anti-Catholic” or the latter as “anti-Protestant” would be fundamentally unserious. They’re both still very much worth reading.

          • Trailer Trash

            “your attempt to turn my blog entry into an expression of “anti-Catholicism” ludicrous.”

            Sorry to have been away from this. If this is your honest assessment of what our conversation has been about, then I suggest you pause and rethink a few things. The only thing ludicrous here is this accusation.

            “I’m not surprised that four or five of my more obsessive and unhinged critics, elsewhere, are running with this”

            As you noted earlier, I really have no idea what you are talking about. I have noted that you seem to pay attention to some message board someplace that worries about you. I have no idea what that is or who is involved, and could care less. (If you want some free life advice, you should care a lot less too. But I suspect you enjoy the drama because you keep feeding into it.) In any case, I am not responsible one lick for what they say and strongly resent that you have implicitly and now explicitly lumped me in with them.

            “Your partisanship on this matter…”

            Oh, this is another ludicrous thing. I have made arguments about the inadequacy of a particular framework for thinking about early Christianity. Arguments which are entirely uncontroversial, by the way. Period.

            “One could just as easily attack Adolf von Harnack,”

            I do and I have objected to Harnack on this point and many others. As does every respectable scholar since the 1970′s. I am really still surprised that you somehow think that these scholars hold any serious sway in the field today. Sure, one could read them if they get around to it, but I would never recommend such texts to novices who lack the critical tools to evaluate their work, much less approvingly quote some of the most problematic assertions they make. But if one does read these figures, one should also be responsible to recognize their biases (at least admit them instead of pretending someone is making it all up!), and avoid repeating them.

            And, when later generations discover our biases, I hope they will do the same. I have not made any claims to objectivity, or to the lack of interpretive lenses. I have only argued against one particular lens because it just doesn’t fit the evidence and has built into it some unacceptable presuppositions.

            And now I am done wasting my time. May your disciples find good teachers and may your imitators be few.

          • DanielPeterson

            You and I disagree.

            I’m fine with that.

            I wish you the best in whatever it is that you do.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    Dr. Peterson, are you paid by Patheos for writing this blog?

    • DanielPeterson

      LOL. This is, I’m told, the latest scandal sizzling over at a certain message board where they virtually live for “watershed” revelations about my depravity and ludicrousness. (I’ve been out of town all day, and away from computers, so I’ve missed the excitement. I’ll have to look in, I suppose.)

      Yes, I’m paid. Not much. In fact, if I were paid per week what Patheos actually pays me per year, I wouldn’t be able to keep my house and might have trouble putting food on the table. But it’s nice extra money. I launched my blog more than a year ago, on my own. Patheos expressed interest in having me join them. They offered a larger audience and enough money to treat my wife to dinner and a movie once in a while. It seemed a no-brainer. No downside. But, if it enflames the usual frothing critics, that will heighten the satisfaction of it. For them and, possibly, even for me.

      • Lucy Mcgee

        Cool.

      • Walter Davis

        Frothing critics? Incredible. Where are these people? This would be interesting to see.

        • DanielPeterson

          I’m not at all inclined to share the URL for any such place. Find it yourself.

          For all I know, you’re already there, frothing with the chorus.

          • Walter Davis

            Fair enough. You have piqued my curiosity all the same.

          • DanielPeterson

            The place isn’t worth it. There’s virtually no intellectually serious content there.

  • Darren

    “To claim, even implicitly, that Justinian was a Catholic, to claim Hagia Sophia and Anatolia and the seven ecumenical councils that were held there for Rome, as if they’re the property, even the exclusive property, of the Latin West, is genuinely offensive cultural imperialism. If anything, the tendency of people in the West to claim everything in the ancient Church for Roman Catholicism, when almost everything of Christian significance in the first postbiblical centuries occurred in Greek, and within lands that never recognized the preeminence of Rome and whose Christian population, since the Great Schism (of 1054 and subsequently), has been overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox, seems to me very largely a stunning reflection of Western provincialism.”
    I’ve never thought about this before. One reason I love following your blog, facebook, the Interpreter, etc., Dan. I have learned many things about history, culture , and religion that I would otherwise remain ignorant.

  • Jeff Elhardt

    Another gaffe?

    • DanielPeterson

      No.

      Tough luck.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    What is most interesting is that a few quoted paragraphs could lead to such intense discussion. I can well imagine the fury and anger that must have existed during those first five centuries during the development of the Church. Rather than being strictly academic arguments, they were arguments of eternal life and death, causing some Christians to literally burn other Christians alive over matters which now seem no more than points to debate on a blog or at a seminar.

    The theological menu is certainly crowded.

    • DanielPeterson

      Eye-opening, no?


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