Anamnesis and the Return to Eden: A Liturgical Reading of Plato’s Meno

“The whole of searching and learning is recollection.” – Socrates

Things get started in the Meno – regarding anamnesis – when Meno, in 80d, poses this question to Socrates: “How will you look for it, Socrates, when you do not know at all what it is? How will you aim to search for something you do not know at all? If you should meet with it, how will you know that this is the thing that you did not know?”1 Now known as the ‘Paradox of Inquiry,’ this excerpt serves as the problematic that propels the rest of the dialogue’s inquiry into knowledge.2 For if we don’t know what we are looking for, how are we ever supposed to know if we found it or not?

In order to solve this paradox regarding knowledge posed by Meno, Socrates develops the idea that all knowledge is anamnesis, remembering something that was already latent within oneself. A rough sketch of the argument that Socrates gives for the plausibility of anamnesis goes like this: if knowledge begins through realizing stuff within one’s mind, then the mind must be ‘recollecting’ something that has always been latent in one’s mind.

To demonstrate this, Socrates poses a seemingly simple geometrical problem to one of Meno’s slaves. Through repeatedly questioning (this concept will become crucial later on) the slave about this problem, the slave, at first, realizes that he doesn’t know the answer. But as the questioning continues, the slave eventually comes to understand the answer to the problem by his own internal reasonings. But how is this so, asks Socrates? It must be that the slave had always had the answer to the problem latent within himself, and now, through anamnesis, remembers what he had once forgotten. As Socrates says, “the truth about reality is always in our souls,” we just need to recall the knowledge that is there, hidden in the deep recesses of our souls.3 Thus, within the soul, all knowledge is contained.

The problem arises, for Socrates, when the soul is incarnated within a body. Since the corporeal realm gets in the way of true knowledge, once the (pre-existent) soul gets encapsulated within the body, the human must struggle to circumvent the body, through intellection (dianoia), in order to get back to the knowledge latent in one’s soul.4 Only when the soul is released from one’s body will one be able to attain to the Forms.

In one way or another, this has been the underlying assumption working underneath the history of philosophy; with few exceptions.5 This tradition has thus perpetuated the philosophers neo-Manichean dream that pure intellection is the method of which we shall acquire ‘truth.’ As I will shortly argue, the Liturgy is starkly opposed to this very view (and thus a critique of knowledge as presented in the Meno), in addition (on a more positive note) to being a play off, and support of, other aspects of anamnesis in the same dialogue.

 “The important thing is not to understand but to attain the true.6 – Lacan

Skepticism about truth is at an all-time high, and so much so that world-class philosophers are even suggesting that we do away with the term ‘truth’ altogether. The so-called ‘pursuit of truth’ has been deemed by Donald Davidson as an “empty enterprise,”7 and, in the case of Richard Rorty, truth has been reduced to “simply a compliment we pay to those beliefs which are successful in helping us do what we want to do.”8 Correspondence theories of truth are now seen as passé, a pre-Darwinian prejudice, of which we need to do away with; or, at best, uninteresting.9 And while significant attempts to revive full-bodied realist theories of truth have been offered by the likes of Thomas Nagel, John Searle, and William Alston, one thing is clear: they are in the minority, or, at the very least, unfashionable.

So, what is truth? Per Davidson, truth isn’t an object, and so it can’t be true; truth is a concept, and is intelligibly attributed to things like sentences, utterances, beliefs and propositions, entities which have a propositional content.”10 And on the face of it, this seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to say. Truth is in the realm of propositions, not ontology.11 But is this actually the case? Can truth also, contra Davidson, be ontological?

In De Veritate, Aquinas says precisely this, namely that truth can be properly predicated of objects, and not just sentences, beliefs, propositions, etc. Using the example of the craftsman, Aquinas argues that, “A craftsman is said to produce a false work if it falls short of the proper operation of his art.”12 Or, as a general rule, given by Avicenna, “the truth of anything is a property of the act of being which has been established for it.”13 Thus, although the Angelic Doctor does unequivocally state that truth primarily resides in the intellect (veritas est adaequatio intellectus ad rem), and thus a matter for epistemology (Davidson and co.), he is no less clear in his insistence truth also resides in objects, insofar as objects are subordinated to the divine intellect. This ontological reading of truth can also be found in Hegel, where he distinguishes between formal (epistemological) truth, and the deeper sense of truth (ontological), which is reached when “objectivity is identical with the Concept.”14 No less the philosopher, Heidegger also touches on this in his On the Essence of Truth.

The thing is, if things become truer the more they fulfill their end (thus more full of being), then God, qua ipsum esse, must be true par excellence. This much is obvious. What isn’t obvious is precisely what this truth – the truth in which all other truth coheres – consists of.

But enough of this for now, we shall return to this later.

“Before that sinne turn’d flesh to stone
          And all our lump to leaven;
A fervent sigh might well have blown
          Our innocent earth to heaven.
For sure when Adam did not know
          To sinne, or sinne to smother
He might to heav’n from Paradise go,
          As from one room t’another.”15
– George Herbert, “The Holy Communion”

In the Meno, Socrates is clear that all the knowledge in our soul, which we once consciously knew, we have now forgotten. The proper goal of life thus resides in remembering the knowledge of which we once forgot (anamnesis).

Well, in Eden, there was “complete clarity… of the knowledge of God”16 (while this knowledge was not on the same par as the beatific vision – seeing God directly – Adam had immediate cognition of God through his effects, and thus “had knowledge of all things.”)17 After the fall, humans lost this “divinely infused species.”18

Here, it is important we remember, that, addition to being a particular, individual human being, Adam stands for all of humankind, and thus, in a sense, “bears within himself all humankind.”19 As Bulgakov points out, this is the first condition of the incarnation, being that if Christ were to contain all of humanity within himself, Adam – as the prefigurement of Christ – must be analogously the same.20 Thus, with Adam, “in whom we have all sinned,” we all fall; hence original sin.21 But if we all fall in Adam, doesn’t this mean that we all, in some sense, have previously had immediate cognition of God, and thus knew all things?22 And if so, how do we return to this state?

“Carmina tum melius, cum venerit ipse, canemus.”23 – Virgil

As early as Irenaeus (or Paul, in his letters, for that matter), we have evidence for the practice of drawing parallels between Eden and the cross. This typological connection is traced by dint of the fact that, just as death (and with it, loss of knowledge) came through a tree, life (and with it, the remembrance of this knowledge) also comes through a tree, the cross.24 Keeping with the parallel, Christ is thus the ‘fruit’ of the tree, just like the fruit of the tree in Eden. But, if death came through eating this fruit in Eden, wouldn’t the reverse be true: namely, that life comes through eating the fruit of the cross? Well: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”25 Thus, it is through receiving Christ in the Eucharist, the new apple, shall we be able to return to our Edenic state, and once again, know all things.26 Put simply: “Christ Himself, swallowed in the Host, is the antidote for the Edenic apple.”27

So, as the priest confects the elements, he recites the words of our Lord: “Do this in anamnesis of me.” The anamnesis in the liturgy thus becomes a communal event, where one receives the truth: Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity.28 This is prima facie opposed to Socrates’ vision, where anamnesis is a matter of one’s individual ability for intellection (dianoia), and thus, in Pegalian fashion, primarily dependent on the subject. But maybe this is too quick of a judgment. For, even in this, Socrates emphasizes the importance for another to question the subject, and thus awaken the memory. Moreover, while the fact that one receives truth in the Eucharist seems to place all the cards in the hands of another, we must not forget that the other side of things: namely, the subjective appropriation of the truth by the recipient. If one receives the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, they will not receive the graces of the sacrament, but rather incur further judgment upon themselves.29 In the less extreme case, a person with venial sins will also be unable to fully, consciously realize the truth they have received. Catherine of Sienna put it like this: the Eucharist is efficacious “in proportion to the disposition and affection of him who receives It.”30 And this makes perfect sense, considering the fact that when people receive the Eucharist, they don’t suddenly know everything. Their sinfulness gets in the way. This is why we continually receive the Eucharist, instead of it being just a one-time deal. We shall return to this point later. But before doing so, a few crucial differences between these two senses of anamnesis must be pointed out.

First, notice how, in both the Socratic and Christian theories of anamnesis, there is a subject who must appropriate the truth. For the Christian, truth is something we receive, par excellence, in the Eucharist; but we only fail to fully, consciously realize the truth due to one thing, our sin. On Socrates’ picture, the truth is within us, and must be remembered – with the outside help of a questioner, of course – and failure to remember this forgotten truth is a failure of the intellect. Well, this, in addition to being due to that pesky thing we call the body ‘getting in the way.’ If you haven’t noticed already, the glaring difference between these accounts is what ‘gets in the way’ of truth. For Socrates, it is a failure of the intellect. For Christians, it is because we have performed acts that have damaged one’s relationship with God, sins.

It was sin that banished us from the knowledge of all things in Eden, for only “the clean of heart… will see God.”31 Lest we forget that truth is the “supreme conception that cannot be explained by anything else but is explainable only by immersing oneself in the conception itself,” let us be reminded that, contra Socrates, the intellect will not do.32

 As for the body getting in the way of attaining the truth, this simply cannot be the case for the Christian, who believes in the beatific vision even after the bodily resurrection. Or, even now, with the Eucharist, when truth is received, it emphatically isn’t the body that gets in the way of one’s recognition of truth, but one’s sin. To say otherwise is to flirt with Manichaeism.

The other crucial difference has to do with sociality and the communal, which was touched on shortly before. But in order to get at this, some groundwork must first be done, starting with one the early forerunners of the nouvelle théologie movement, Henri de Lubac.

In his landmark work Corpus Mysticum, Cardinal de Lubac argues the thesis that, around the time of Hugh of St. Victor, a shift in the meaning of two words took place: corpus verum (true body) and corpus mysticum (mystical body). For the Fathers, de Lubac contends, corpus mysticum was the term used to designate the Eucharist, while corpus verum was used in the context of referring to the Church. In the 12th century, a radical shift occurred where corpus mysticum came be associated with the Church, while corpus verum became centralized within the Eucharist. Thus, the ‘true body’ of Christ became the Eucharist, leaving the Church to be the ‘mystical body.’ This eventually became codified into the Church’s language during the Council of Trent, where the ‘real presence’ of the body of Christ was located in the Eucharistic host. So does this mean that the Church has changed on a point of essential doctrine? Not in the least; for, in the final analysis, neither is wrong, as “the Church is the sacrament of Christ.”33

By receiving the Eucharist, it is not the eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it.34 As Augustine imagined Christ putting it: “I am the food of grown men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you change me, like the food of your flesh, into yourself, but you shall be changed into me.”35 The reception of the truth (Christ) in the Eucharist, qua an incorporation into ‘Christ’s body’ (corpus verum), is thus simultaneously an incorporation into the mystical body (corpus mysticum) of Christ (the Church); for, as Joan of Arc said, “Christ and the Church… are just one thing.”36 This means that to receive the truth in the Eucharist is a social event par excellence, not by dint of the obvious fact that the Liturgy typically involves quite a few people, no, not at all. One could be the last person left on this vale of tears, receive the Eucharist, and it would still be a social event. The reason why, being, that it is in the Eucharist where one is wholly incorporated into Christ (so much so that Augustine could say, “we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself… Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ”), and thus the social body of Christ, wherein all humanity is contained.37 As Saint Paul said, “we being many are… one body” in Christ.38

On Socrates’ view, the process of anamnesis is produced through another’s ability to awaken the knowledge that lays dormant in the subject’s soul. This is strikingly similar to the Eucharist, as previously shown. But, on my reading, the Liturgy breaks off insofar as it is irreducibly social. Of course, in the Meno, anamnesis is shown to deal with another subject (Socrates) questioning someone else (the slave), and is therefore social in that sense. And this is the same sense in which I originally explained the sociality of the Liturgy, namely, that it a communal event where one receives the Eucharist from someone else (minus the celebrant), in addition to doing it with other people. So in this superficial level, yes, both versions of anamnesis are social. The thing is, with the Eucharist, one is brought into relation with the rest of the body of Christ independent of whether or not there is anybody else there, as I mentioned before. For Socrates’, the same cannot be said. Get rid of other people, and anamnesis is no longer social. Well unless, of course, one wants to dress up the Forms in Pauline, body of Christ, terminology; but… yeah.

Anyways, let’s get back to where we started: truth.

“Ille homo esset ipsa divina veritas.”39 – Thomas Aquinas

As quoted above, this human being is divine truth itself. Rick Warren is thus, contra Davidson, precisely correct when he states that, “Truth is not a principle. Truth is a person: Jesus Christ.”40 It is important to remember here that, as the incarnate Logos, Jesus is in what all other logoi cohere. True statements, covering the epistemological (e.g. it is true that this paper is mediocre at best), and true objects, covering the ontological (e.g. Big L was a true rapper), are merely logoi. When one asks, “what is truth,” one is asking about the Logos, in whom all other truths (logoi) cohere. Truth isn’t predicated of Christ; Christ is the very predicate truth. This is the same thing that applies when making the distinction between Being and beings. God doesn’t ‘exist,’ in the sense of being ‘a’ being. God is being itself, and thus the condition for the possibility that one can predicate being to anything else. Of course, the golden thread of analogy still holds (analogia entis), which allows for some faint connection between the two, but the dissimilarity is always greater; meaning that, truth itself will therefore have a tiny, analogical (not univocal, you Scotists!) semblance to truths, but for the large part, it will be nothing like truths.41

The theologian can thus find common ground with Davidson when he claims that, “Truth is… an undefinable concept.”42 For this should come as no surprise to a Christian, who believes that God is undefinable (only negatively). Davidson, along with Ernest Sosa, are thus both allies, insofar as they open up space for a special revelation of truth, which, of course, has occurred within the person of Christ.43 And what do persons do? Live a life, of course.

This makes perfect sense when one recalls the famous passage in the Gospel of John, where Christ associates himself with “the way, the truth, and the life,” quite the astonishing claim.44 Since Christ is indivisible, the truth thus cannot be separated from the life, meaning that, not only is the truth inseparable from the Life, truth is the Life; God’s truth, otherwise known as Truth, is precisely the Life.45 By being made in the image of God, humans are partakers within this very Life, making it that the more we are formed into this Life, the more we shall participate in, become, and – lastly – know the Truth. And being that God isn’t some static blob of ousia of which the intellect can reach out and grasp (rather, as the Cappadocian Fathers knew so well, God is defined first and foremost through relation), we must enter into God precisely through relation-ship, Life.46 Luce Irigaray is thus exactly correct when she urges us to “envision as absolute… the perfection of the relation,” where “conceptual intelligence is of little use.”47 For the Catholic, this perfection of the relation to the divine, of course, is enabled, in the ordinary case, through the sacramental life of the Church, and par excellence in the Holy Eucharist, where we receive the Way, the Truth, and the Life.48

Catherine Pickstock put it well: for the “Catholic position, the most abstruse intellectual reflection on truth passes into the more profound and ineffable apprehension of truth in the Eucharist. In this way, there is no gulf for him between the most elite and the most common.”49 Because truth is a person, we know truth the more we know Christ.

But is this diametrically opposed to Socrates’ view of truth? It would seem so. But maybe Kierkegaard ought to give this claim pause when he declares, in a journal entry a year before his death, that “how true and how Socratic was this Socratic principle: to understand, truly to understand, is to be. For us more ordinary men this divides and becomes twofold: it is one thing to understand and another to be. Socrates is so elevated that he does away with this distinction…”50 I shall leave this for the reader to decide.

“Recollection is a beautiful old women who never quite suits the moment. Repetition is a beloved wife of whom one never tires because it is only the new of which one tires.”51 – Søren Kierkegaard

 Harkening back to the beginning of this essay, I mentioned something of which I said would be ‘crucial later on.’ Remember? Well if you don’t, then, lucky for you, I shall say it again. It is the part of the Meno where Socrates repeatedly questions the slave, in order to assist in ‘awakening,’ to immediate consciousness, the knowledge that lies latent within the slave’s mind. Once again, this is strikingly similar to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

As I mentioned before, the Eucharist isn’t one-and-done type of deal. It is repeated over and over again, typically once a week (with the exception of those who go to daily Mass). But so what? Socrates repeats questions, the Church repeats the Eucharist. Who cares? It seems to be a rather trivial connection. And, prima facie, I agree.

But it hit me when I was reading over Marcus Pound’s Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma. While talking about the Eucharist as a joke, Pound makes this observation: “In the Eucharist one is faced with a paradox… that refuses any form of mediation… In Lacanese, one could say that the Eucharist becomes a ‘moment of concluding’ because it hastens the interpretive decision we must make about the signifiers that determine us.”52 When the priest raises the Host, and says, “This is my body,” this declarative statement (heard by the active observer) takes on the form of a question: is this actually Christ’s body? By being “repeatedly exposed to the trauma of the Eucharist, he [sic] is invited into the constant process of reflection and affirmation, because each Sacred Mass is a chance to re-evaluate the signifiers that constitute identity in the light of Christ’s incarnation, passion, resurrection and eschaton.”53 The joke of the Eucharist, precisely because it is a contradiction, “demands interpretation, thereby fostering the subjective appropriation of truth.”54 Thus, by answering, through bodily actions, to the Eucharistic question (joke), the subject is able to start the process of anamnesis. Of course this subjective appropriation of the truth is hindered by sin, and thereby requires the repetition of the Eucharist question, Mass after Mass, ad infinitum. If you haven’t noticed already, this is directly parallel to the Meno. Socrates questions the slave repeatedly in order to spark the process of anamnesis within the slave’s mind. To this, the slave continually answers Socrates’ questions, and is eventually able to remember the knowledge, of which he once forgot, through this very process: anamnesis.


Notes and References
1 Cooper, John. Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (Hackett Publishing Company, 2002). p. 70.
2 Franz Brentano brings up this same argument in a different manner, when he says, in The True and the Evident, that, “I cannot accomplish this [comparing one’s judgment with the thing that one is judging about] unless I am already sufficiently acquainted with the thing to be able to know what it is in reality. And this means that I must already be in possession of the truth—something which is not the result of my having compared my own judgment with what it is that I know.” (p. 115).
3 Cooper, John. Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (Hackett Publishing Company, 2002). p. 78.
4 Howland, Jacob. Kierkegaard and Socrates: A Study of Philosophy and Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2002). p. 44.
5 Here I am thinking of the great (anti-) philosophers, such as Kierkegaard, Lacan, and Nietzsche.
6 Quoted in Peter Hallward, Badiou: A Subject to Truth, p. xxiv.
7 Donald Davidson ‘Truth Rehabilitated’ in Robert Brandom (ed.) Rorty and His Critics (Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2000). p. 67.
8 Rorty, Richard. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1980). p. 10.
9 As Bernard Williams, while explaining the differing views on ‘T-sentences,’ says in his Truth and Truthfulness: “There is no account of facts that… does more than trivially reiterate the content of sentences for which it is supposed to be illuminating the truth-conditions. That is to say, there can be no interesting correspondence theory.” (p. 65). Richard Rorty, in his Consequences of Pragmatism, says practically the same thing: “[T]ruth is not the sort of thing that one should expect to have a philosophically interesting theory about.” (p. xiii).
10 Donald Davidson ‘Truth Rehabilitated’ in Robert Brandom (ed.) Rorty and His Critics (Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2000). p. 65.
11 This sentiment is echoed in W.V.O. Quine’s essay Truth, which can be found in Michael P. Lynch’s (ed.) The Nature of Truth: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, where he says, “What are true and false, it will be widely agreed, are propositions.” (p. 473).
12 S.T. I. Q. 17 a.1 resp.
13 Quoted in Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate Q. 1 a. 2 resp.
14 Quoted in Peter Stern, Hegelian Metaphysics, p. 78.
15 Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert (Kessinger Publishing, 2009). p. 63.
16 Bulgakov, Sergius. The Bride of the Lamb (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002). p. 176.
17 S.T. I. Q. 94 a.3 resp.
18 Ibid.
19 Bulgakov, Sergius. The Bride of the Lamb (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002). p. 176.
20 Bulgakov, Sergius. The Bride of the Lamb (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002). p. 187.
21 Augustine of Hippo, Saint. The Complete Works of Saint Augustine (Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2011). Loc. 42938 on Kindle.
22 Ronnie Rombs, in Saint Augustine and the Fall of the Soul: Beyond O’Connell and His Critics, describes how, “in Augustine’s later writings, the De Trinitate and the City of God in particular, Augustine distinguishes between the individual or proper life (propria vita) of each soul and a transcendent, transindividual (or common) aspect of souls in Adam to explain our involvement with the sin and guilt of Adam. Put succinctly, we are justly included in the culpability of Adam’s sin, because we share on a transindividual level a unity or solidarity with Adam.” It is in this sense by which we share in Adam’s sin (and with that, Adam’s pre-lapsarian period), without admitting the pre-existence of souls, per se.
23 Quoted in Johann Hamann, Writings on Philosophy and Language, p. 239.
24 As Saint John of the Cross put in stanza 23 of his Spiritual Canticles: “For human nature, your mother, was corrupted in your first parents under the tree, and you too under the tree of the cross were restored.” And Tertullian says pretty much the same thing in the thirteenth chapter of his An Answer to the Jews when he states that, “what had formerly perished through the ‘tree’ in Adam… [is] restored through the ‘tree’ in Christ.”
25 John 6:53
26 S.T. I. Q. 94 a.3 resp.
27 Astell, Ann. Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages (New York: Cornell University Press, 2006). p. 30. Although the way I presented the topic may seem like Christ and Eden are a smooth parallel, this book also shows how the apple, while prefiguring Christ in the Eucharist, is also radically inverted by the Eucharist. She quotes Alger of Liège, showing how, while the apple was beautiful and sweet to eat (ponum visu decorum et suave ad comedendum), and appeared to be the fruit of life rather than death, the fruit of the tree we receive in the Eucharist seems to be the food of our mortality (cibus mortalitatis nostrae) – since the separation of the body from the blood signifies death (Leviticus 17:11) – while it is in fact the food of everlasting life.
28 Denzinger, Heinrich. The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: Herder, 1957). p. 270.
29 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
30 Catherine of Siena, Saint. The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena (Magisterium Press, 2015). Loc. 768 on Kindle.
31 Matthew 5:8
32 Kierkegaard, Soren. Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992). p. 220.
33 Vanderwilt, Jeffery. A Church Without Borders: The Eucharist and the Church in Ecumenical Perspective (Liturgical Press, 1998). p. 49.
34 This is from Pope Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal
 Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, section 70.
35 Quoted by Pope Benedict XVI’s Sacramentum Caritatis, section 70.
36 Quoted in CCC 795.
37 Ibid.
38 1 Corinthians 10:17
39 Quoted in Bruce Marshall, Trinity and Truth, p. 2.
40
http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/jesus-is-the-truth
41 This can be found in the texts of the Fourth Lateran Council. When I talk about analogous ‘similarity’ between created being and God, I agree with David Bentley Hart’s assessment in The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth that, “the analogy of being does not analogize God and creatures under the more general category of being, but is the analogization of being in the difference between God and creatures; it is as subversive of the notion of a general and univocal category of being as of the equally ‘totalizing’ notion of ontological equivocity.” (p. 141-142).
42 Quoted in Bernard Williams, Truth & Truthfulness, p. 63.
43 Richard Rorty apophatic approach to truth is helpful here as well. In a 2000 interview with Wim Kayzer entitled Of Beauty and Consolation, he explains his belief that truth is much like the classical view of God, in that, precisely because both are relative to nothing, there is nothing to be said of either.
44 I owe this thought to Michel Henry in his I Am the Truth: Toward a Philosophy of Christianity.
45 This primacy of the relation within the Godhead was one of the driving forces behind the theological disagreements between the East and West when it came to the Filioque. The West, taking its inspiration from Augustine, looked at divine causality from the perspective of ousia, while the Cappadocian fathers focused on causality within the Godhead from the perspective of relation. The two sides largely talked passed each other because of this problem. See John Zizioulas’s Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church for a further discussion of this.
46 John 14:6
47 Irigaray, Luce. Key Writings (New York: Continuum, 2004). p. 183.
48 In the case of the Eucharist, to ‘receive’ means to eat, in a communal setting, at table. Truth, on this side of the eschaton, is thus given, par excellence, through a shared meal. For further discussion of this, see Angel F. Méndez Montoya’s Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist.
49 Milbank, John & Pickstock, Catherine. Truth in Aquinas (London: Routledge, 2001). p. xiv.
50 Howland, Jacob. Kierkegaard and Socrates: A Study of Philosophy and Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2002.) p. 16.
51 Kierkegaard, Soren. Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs (Oxford University Press, 2009). p. 4.
52 Pound, Marcus. Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma (SCM Press, 2007). p. 164-165.
53 Pound, Marcus. Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma (SCM Press, 2007). p. 164.
54 Ibid.

Joseph Catalfamo is a undergraduate at Clemson University.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s