Saturday, November 19, 2005


+ Athanasius of Alexandria

Peter and I have been reading some good stuff lately.

Sapience is
engaged knowledge that emotionally connects the knower to the known.
[. . .]
Sapiential truth is unintelligible to the modern secularized construal of truth. Modern epistemology not only fragmented truth itself, privileging correct information over beauty and goodness, it relocated truth in facts and ideas. The search for truth in the modern scientific sense is a cognitive enterprise that seeks correct information useful to the improvement of human comfort and efficiency rather than in intellectual activity employed for spiritual growth. Knowing the truth no longer implied loving it, wanting it, and being transformed by it, because the truth no longer brings the knower to God but to use information to subdue nature. Knowing became limited to being informed about things, not as these are things of God but as they stand (or totter) on their own feet. The classical notion that truth leads us to God simply ceased to be intelligible and came to be viewed with suspicion.

From Ellen T. Charry, By the Renewing of Your Minds: The Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine, pp. 4, 236.
I agree with Charry's assessment. May God save us from reading the Bible so that we merely believe right things.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Nice -- I think I'll read it.

Have you read/heard of a book entitled Theolgia by Edward Farley. The book is a history of the idea of theology and what it means to study theology. He shows how theology was seen as a habitus or disposition of the soul rooted in knowledge as sapientia. Eventually it disolved into an acadmeic discipline among disciplines in the university and became a set of skills one needs for the profession of ministry. What we have now, according to him started in the 19th C. German university system and with the rise of the seminary system in North America.

Good read -- recommend it.

go to and take a look.