Saturday, November 1, 2008

Resurfacing, & the Lutheran Confession of God

I have been busy, and have neglected my blog. I am working on a number of things, and will be blogging on them in the days ahead. For one thing, there are books, and writers, that I want to recommend here, such as John Kenedy Toole, Anthony Trollope, Michael Barber, and Joyce Carol Oates.

Where does one begin in a discussion of Joyce Carol Oates? Might as well start at the beginning; lately I have been composing an observation or two on certain themes, especially in her early work. And thanks to the generosity and kindness of Joyce Carol Oates, who recently gave me permission to post a chunky little portion of one of her novels here, I will do just that soon, along with a couple notes. So stay tuned.

Also, Fr. Hollywood has tagged me. I think it will be the first blog tag with which I have ever cooperated. I have been composing an answer & will have that ready soon. Stay tuned for that as well.

Since yesterday was Halloween, which is also the anniversary of Luther's posting of the so called 95 Theses, which kicked off the Reformation, I thought I would kick off a discussion on the Lutheran Confession of the Catholic faith. So we begin, quite simply, with the first article of the Augsburg Confession, with observations to follow. The translation you see below is the work of Gerhard Friedrich Bente & William Herman Theodore Dau, which along with the rest of the Book of Concord, both in translation and in its original Latin and German, was published on behalf of the Missouri Synod as a gift to the Church, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (though its publication was delayed, because of the First World War, until 1921). For the university students, first year seminarians, and others who are interested, please find the Latin below.

Article I:
Of God
Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles, one Good and the other Evil; also the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and all such. They condemn also the Samosatenes, old and new, who, contending that there is but one Person, sophistically and impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Ghost are not distinct Persons, but that “Word” signifies a spoken word, and “Spirit” signifies motion created in things.

Articulus Primus:
De Deo
Ecclesiae magno consensu apud nos docent, decretum Nicaenae synodi de unitate essentiae divinae et de tribus personis verum et sine ulla dubitatione credendum esse, videlicet, quod sit una essentia divina, quae et appellatur et est Deus, aeternus, incorporeus, impartibilis, immensa potentia, sapientia, bonitate, Creator et Conservator omnium rerum, visibilium et invisibilium; et tamen tres sint personae eiusdem essentiae et potentiae, et coaeternae, Pater, Filius et Spiritus Sanctus. Et nomine personae utuntur ea significatione, qua usi sunt in hac causa scriptores ecclesiastici, ut significet non partem aut qualitatem in alio, sed quod proprie subsistit.

Damnant omnes haereses, contra hunc articulum exortas, ut Manichaeos, qui duo principia ponebant, bonum et malum, item Valentinianos, Arianos, Eunomianos, Mahometistas et omnes horum similes. Damnant et Samosatenos, veteres et neotericos, qui, quum tantum unam personam esse contendant, de Verbo et de Spiritu Sancto astute et impie rhetoricantur, quod non sint personae distinctae, sed quod Verbum significet verbum et Spiritus motum in rebus creatum.

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