Thursday, February 27, 2014

St Thomas' Theory of Our Knowledge of Things - Q 84 in a Nutshell

1) St Thomas' Theory of Our Knowledge of Things - Q 84 in a Nutshell, 2) John Gideon Hartnett is Wrong about the Greeks

I have skipped objections and abbreviated each paragraph within the corpus, restating most in my words.

Q 84* resumed:

"Early philosophers" (pre-Socratics) were sceptics because materialists. Body all there is, and in a flux.

Plato answered we know ideas, "by participation of which each one of those singular things is said to be man or horse or the like" but not bodies of which they are ideas.

This is false, movement and matter are objects of science and the material things are manifest. Plato thought the form of the thing known must be in outside reality in same manner as in human mind, but our ideas idealise in a way not corresponding to what we observe of reality around us. Whiteness can - when observed rather than when we think of it as such - be of different intensity. Knowledge is received in the mode of the receiver and therefore ideas of mobile things as immobile ideas.

"Ancient philosophers" (pre-Socratics) considered we know things - bodily things - through the essence of our soul. Plato observed our soul is of immaterial nature and thought the forms of things (which we know) subsist immaterially (proven by the fact we, with immaterial minds, know them). But pre-Socratics thought known objects exist materially within the soul. They thought it must have same nature as most basic element, or it would not be able to mold itself to those different forms. And if Empedocles believed there are four elements plus attraction and repulsion, he concludes our soul is made of those too.

Aristotle argued against Empedocles that in that case one would need to have not just the material principles but indeed the results of them in the soul to known them, bone to know bones, flesh to know flesh, and so on. And if the soul knows fire because it is fire, so also the fire outside the soul would need to know fire.

But then we can avoid this only by saying material things exist IM-materially in the knowing soul. The material component of anything known stays outside the soul, it is through the immaterial component (of something - us or it) we know it. Things that accept forms only materially cannot know them. Senses give us the forms without the matter of the objects, intellect gives us the forms without even individuating circumstances of the matter. Among senses sight is most perfect since least material, among intellects that which is least material is most perfect.

The pre-Socratics were in a way right to think what knows a thing must include the principles of which they are an effect, but only insofar as that applies to Divine Knowledge, it is totally off the hook when applied to human knowledge since we are not the Creator. It is even wrong about angels.

Form is principle of action and something only potentially performing the action only potentially has the form. This means the species with which we might know things are not innate, what is innate is only the potentiality to all of them.

Of course an action can be hindered, and Plato thought we have actual species in us which are hindered by forgetfulness. But I cannot believe one can forget what one knows by the fact of having for nature to know it, and men born blind have no concept of colour.

Some have held that the species of our intellect or concepts of our understanding are derived from separate forms, in two ways. For Plato there was a thing like "man in himself" or "horse in itself" which subsisted without matter, and that these forms were on the one hand shared by matter (in each instance of "this man" or "this horse") and on the other hand by our soul. They gave existance to the "this one" and "that one" as well as knowledge to our soul. When matter participates the form "stone" it does so in becoming an individual stone, when soul participates the same for stone, it does so in starting to understand stone. The idea of participation can be understood as the relation of copy to original.

Aristotle proves in many ways the selfcontradiction of forms of material things subsisting without matter, so Avicenna says the immaterial forms pre-exist in each intellect. The ultimate one being "active intelligence" from which the species flow both into our souls (as understandable concepts) and into matter (as sensible images).

St Thomas answer Avicenna "if the soul by its very nature had an inborn aptitude for receiving intelligible species through the influence of only certain separate principles, and were not to receive them from the senses, it would not need the body in order to understand: wherefore to no purpose would it be united to the body."

Platonists would consider the senses (and species as images) as giving occasions to wake up to the ideal knowledge (where species are concepts), but the problem here is that if so the souls from senses only receives partial compensation for being united to the body at all, since that union was thought to cause the forgetfulness.

We cannot agree with Avicenna that by senses we ar aroused to turn to the active intellect, a man born blind cannot by hearing (or by its own nature for that matter) be turned to the active intellect and there come to know colours.

Next article St Thomas turns to St Augustine as source of a Platonism purified of errors, he cites De Doctrina Christiana ii:11 for the principle.

"If those who are called philosophers said by chance anything that was true and consistent with our faith, we must claim it from them as from unjust possessors. For some of the doctrines of the heathens are spurious imitations or superstitious inventions, which we must be careful to avoid when we renounce the society of the heathens."

The big difference is that instead of attributing creative and illuminative action to disembodied ideas of bodily things, he attributes the creative and illuminative action to God and says the disembodied ideas are ideas in God's mind.

Now, the Souls of the Blessed can look directly at the Eternal Types in God's mind and in that way know things in their eternal types. We on earth cannot, but we can see our senses in the light of the eternal types. How exactly?

Democritus did not distinguish between knowledge and sense and considered that knowledge occurs by a discharge of images.

Plato held that when sense impressions touch sense organs, these provoke in the soul sensual images which in their turn provoke the knowledge of eternal species.

Aristotle agreed much, but thought that sense perception belonged to body and soul at the same time. And Aristotle considered unlike Democritus that the objects caused this by some kind of operation. But activity is nobler than passivity and soul nobler than body. So, soul cannot be directly passive receiver of the action of sensible objects as if that sufficed, it also - itself - abstracts from them sense images to make of them understandable concepts. "According to this opinion, then, on the part of the phantasms, intellectual knowledge is caused by the senses. But since the phantasms cannot of themselves affect the passive intellect, and require to be made actually intelligible by the active intellect, it cannot be said that sensible knowledge is the total and perfect cause of intellectual knowledge, but rather that it is in a way the material cause."

As long as we live in our bodies, our soul needs phantasms of sense imagery to be engaged in actually understanding something.

First impaired brain function impairs understanding. The pure concepts need no brain, but we cannot directly access them without phantasms that do.

Second whenever we struggle to understand anything we make a construct of phantasms (sense imagery not concomitant to actual seeing or hearing etc.). "For this reason it is that when we wish to help someone to understand something, we lay examples before him, from which he forms phantasms for the purpose of understanding."

The power of knowledge "is proportioned to the thing known. Wherefore the proper object of the angelic intellect, which is entirely separate from a body, is an intelligible substance separate from a body. Whereas the proper object of the human intellect, which is united to a body, is a quiddity or nature existing in corporeal matter; and through such natures of visible things it rises to a certain knowledge of things invisible." And of course the visible things exist individually and therefore materially (St Thomas considered "matter" rather than "thisness" to be the principle of individuation, therein differring from Duns Scotus and from Bishop Tempier).

In the present life we cannot know things perfectly while our powers of sense are suspended, because the object of our knowledge here is incomplete without the sensual part. So, a suspension of senses implies a suspension of the correct judgement of the intellect.

So far Aquinas! One problem is his reason against Plato. Or part of it:

But since that which has a form actually, is sometimes unable to act according to that form on account of some hindrance, as a light thing may be hindered from moving upwards; for this reason did Plato hold that naturally man's intellect is filled with all intelligible species, but that, by being united to the body, it is hindered from the realization of its act. But this seems to be unreasonable.

First, because, if the soul has a natural knowledge of all things, it seems impossible for the soul so far to forget the existence of such knowledge as not to know itself to be possessed thereof: for no man forgets what he knows naturally; that, for instance, the whole is larger than the part, and such like. And especially unreasonable does this seem if we suppose that it is natural to the soul to be united to the body, as we have established above (76, 1): for it is unreasonable that the natural operation of a thing be totally hindered by that which belongs to it naturally.

From "And especially unreasonable does this seem if we suppose that it is natural to the soul to be united to the body", I have no objection. But as to impossibility of forgetting, what it is natural to know, well, I suppose he had never seen party hypnosis. But I totally agree that it is natural for the soul to be united to the body, and also for the soul to understand, so it cannot be a hindrance for the soul's understanding to be united to the body.

Or to have one's body placed where it is natural for the body to live, like on earth.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Baudemer de Lyon

PS, when it comes to blind born men having no concept of colour, that seems to have been proven wrong since then. Karl May could imagine colour before an operation (in the childhood) gave him the eyesight he had never enjoyed before./HGL

* This resumé is based on:

New Advent site > Summa Theologica > First Part > Question 84
How the soul while united to the body understands corporeal things beneath it

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dixit Faarlund: "and these kinds of structures are very unlikely to change within a language"

1) Amusing or Exasperating?, 2) Traditional Order of Genders and Cases, 3) Dixit Faarlund: "and these kinds of structures are very unlikely to change within a language"

Now, Norwegians sometimes refer to us Swedes as "søte bror", but in this case this Swede thinks it is they who are being cute:*

"We can show that wherever English differs syntactically from the other Western Germanic languages -- German, Dutch, Frisian -- it has the same structure as the Scandinavian languages." Here are some examples:

  • Word order: In English and Scandinavian the object is placed after the verb German and Dutch (and Old English) put the verb at the end.
  • English and Scandinavian can have a preposition at the end of the sentence.
  • English and Scandinavian can have a split infinitive, i.e. we can insert a word between the infinitive marker and the verb.
  • Group genitive:...

"All of this is impossible in German or Dutch, and these kinds of structures are very unlikely to change within a language. The only reasonable explanation then is that English is in fact a Scandinavian language, and a continuation of the Norwegian-Danish language which was used in England during the Middle Ages."

"But why the inhabitants of the British Isles chose the Scandinavian grammar is something we can only speculate on," says Jan Terje Faarlund.**

I am not disputing a single of the examples of the examples, so I omit them from the quote. I agree totally that these things are impossible in German and Dutch, though in one example, the first, the statement only applies to certain clauses, not to main clauses with simple verb forms in German (I know less of Dutch).

I will however concentrate on the statement given in the title of the essay.

"and these kinds of structures are very unlikely to change within a language"

Well, apparently they did in English. It is not a Scandinavian language. Its plural verb forms are one form all persons - a "fourth person"*** if you like - as in Anglo-Saxon, "we, ye, thei speken Frensche" (before "speken" coincided with "speke"), while all Scandinavian languages as long as they keep their conjugation (another such structure that has changed!) are differentiating "við tölum arabísku, ið telið (?) sænsku, þeir tala kínversku". It does not have a passive, not even a proper reflexive. Scandinavian languages have both. So, if the English had taken over Scandinavian, then also they changed structures within a language.

On the contrary, one is likely to experiment with these structures and to occasionally change them, as any other apspect of a language. One famous author wrote a sentence "Helms too they chose" and got a letter asking if it was grammatical or claiming it was not, and replied that if English had lost the knack of inversion for emphasis, it had better pick up the trick again. Here again, word order is not Scandinavian. "Helms too they chose" vs. "Hjelmar valde de ock."

Now the point is that to me "Helms too they chose" sounds grammatical and a long sentence spanning all of a paragraph may be so too. To someone brought up in modern schools and learning his language mastery from there, they might seem "ungrammatical". Obviously it is a question of them having a lesser span of available expressions for the same idea, or even - in case a complex idea may be stated simpler with a single complex sentence than with five simple ones - a lack of available expressions for an idea. I will not say I am disfavouring their comprehension by using my span, simply because they complain my English (or whatever other language) is ungrammatical. I will admit being unclear when they show that they really did not understand and that their misunderstanding is not systematically related to a misunderstanding (in my view, on their part) of the subject or type of argument I was making. Like when they reply to something I did not state without its being comprehensible as a strawman misstatement or deliberate miscomprehension. Which has not occurred very often to me over the years of debate since more than a decade back.

But the point is, the century which saw this debate between the Professor and the Critics, clearly was not unified as to what structures are acceptable in English. It is clearly changing, to more archaism or to more modernism, I do not really know the outcome, but it is not in a fixed state.

Nor is German.

Ich habe das Buch gelesen. Here we are at one, Jan Terje and me.

Ich habe das Buch über die kleinsten Détails der vergleichenden Grammatik zwischen Englisch, Deutsch und Nordische Sprachen nicht gelesen, da es noch nicht geschrieben ist.


Ich habe das Buch nicht gelesen, welches über die kleinsten Détails der vergleichenden Grammatik zwischen Englisch, Deutsch und die Nordische Sprachen handelt, da es noch nicht geschrieben ist.

OR ... hold on ...

Ich habe nicht gelesen: das Buch über die kleinsten Détails der vergleichenden Grammatik zwischen Englisch, Deutsch und Nordische Sprachen, da es noch nicht geschrieben ist.

It is called Ausklammerung, and it is in German a tactic (more acceptable to my German Guest Professor in the 90's than to myself,° that is why I changed the grammar with a colon and an emphasis on the negation) used to avoid getting too much space between "ich habe" and "gelesen". It is possibly also more used in dialects.

There is an ideological reason for saying "and these kinds of structures are very unlikely to change within a language". That way one can keep up the idea that languages sharing lots of structures must needs have common ancestry. At least if they are not related systematically like Turkish versus Chinese word order issues. Like V-O or O-V to the order between noun and adjective. The ideological reason is saving face for the idea all languages with Indo-European traits must come from a common Proto-Indo-European language and if some traits are both Indo-European and Fenno-Ugrian (like much of the conjugation endings) then Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Fenno-Ugrian must needs come from an even older language.

Apart from Ausklammerung, I can cite an even more recent debate meaning structures do indeed change. The Swedish debate in, I think it was the eighties, about "ba", etymologically from "bara", as in "only" or "just", but used in ways that seem to bury this origin "han bara kom, ba, liksom asså" where "just" is expressed twice, once as correctly as "bara" and once as very colloquial "ba", used as a sentence tag. In this somewhat parodic or even self ironising example, there are two more sentence tags.

No, there is no inherent improbability that some structures like this do change, it is only a very little statistical chance beforehand that it will be this or that particular one. And the chances are very much higher if the newer structure is used in a language for which they are bilingual, most speakers that is. At least in the community taking over the turn of phrase. Precisely as Roumanian and Modern Greek have merged Dative and Genitive (Modern Greek "less organically so", simply "mechanically" suppressing the Dative form, Roumanian has unitary forms sometimes hailing from a Latin Dative - in the Singular - and sometimes from a Latin Genitive - in the Plural). Precisely as Roumanian and Bulgarian as well as nearly all Scandinavian languages (not Southern Jutlandic and not English if we were to agree with Jan Terje Faarlund for a moment) attaches definite article of a noun to the end of itself.°° Not to mention how the use of Medieval Latin imposed a unitary tense system and much of its consecutio temporum on West European languages, including Scandinavian ones. There are really other reasons than common descent as possible explanations for common traits in languages. It is really possible to adopt a half or a third of a grammatical structure one is in prolonged contact with.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Walburga of Heidenheim

* Science Daily: Linguist makes sensational claim: English is a Scandinavian language
Date: November 27, 2012
Source:University of Oslo

** I am very briefly tempted to make a Swedish pun on his surname, but then he could simply be ironic. Or he could simply be Norwegian. Or trying to give me a cue, even, as a solidarity between Scandinavian linguists against non-Scandinavian non-linguists.

*** A bit like German declination has plural as a "fourth gender".

° Since Ausklammerung gives a Swedish and Ungerman impression on my ear, no doubt.

°° Or, if you prefer, with a structure that has changed, both in English and Swedish, "attaches definite article of a noun to the end thereof."

Traditional Order of Genders and Cases

1) Amusing or Exasperating?, 2) Traditional Order of Genders and Cases, 3) Dixit Faarlund: "and these kinds of structures are very unlikely to change within a language"

As written in a footnote for previous post: for traditional order in German Paradigms, put Neuter between Feminine and Plural, Accusative last. In Latin paradigms too the traditional order is Masculine, Feminine and Neuter, both for Singular, and, unlike German, Plural too. In Latin too the Cases go with Accusative after Dative, and then Vocative comes between Accusative and Ablative:

Gender/NumberMasculine SingularFeminine SgNeuter SgMasc PluralFem PlNeut Pl

German has in theory 16 forms, but only 6 phonetically different realisations. For Latin (period when Ablative ending -a was long, but Nom/Voc -a short), the 36 theoretical forms are reduced to 14 phonetically distinct ones. After writing this originally in a footnote, I checked, the paradigm of καλος is of 45 possible slots in the grid using 21 phonetically distinct forms. Or 20, if homophony makes καλωι in τωι καλωι ανδρι διδωσι καλα τινα βιβλια equal to καλω in τω καλω αδελφω καλως τρεχετον. Or otherwise again 20, if homography makes equality between καλα (long α) as in τα καλα αδελφα καλως τρεχετον with καλα (short α) as in τα καλα ζοα καλως τρεχει.*

Part of the trick (if a collective thing like a language can be held to possess such) is sometimes merging similar meanings, like dative/genitive or dative/ablative, part of it is reusing with pure homophony, since "den" as Masculine Singular Accusative is clearly sth else than "den" as Dative Plural, and "bona" as Feminine Singular Nom/Voc is not Neuter Plural Nom/Acc/Voc. In Greek the theoretical grid is 45 (five cases in three genders times three numbers), but the only place where Genitive and Dative merge is the Dual, which was lost in popular speech before Κοινη became Δημοτικη.

Reason for traditional order comes from Greek grammar, where Genitive has also meaning of Ablative/Elative or "where from?", Dative also as Locative or "where" (and Instrumental), Accusative also as Allative/Illative or "where to":

1 - 4 Enunciative cases5) Vocative
1) Nominative2 - 4 Oblique cases
2) Genitive3) Dative4) Accusative

Sixth case in Latin was sixth because it was one lacking in Greek, where its meanings were expressed by 2 or 3, depending on which one of them. Accordingly, it was placed after the five Greek ones.

Is there any utility in using the traditional sequence rather than the grids given in previous post? Well, it is this that if you put in the Feminine between the Masculine and the Neuter, each time you recite a paradigm, that means you are likelier to stay sure that these two genders are different, despite forms in common due to their similarity, and if keeping the non-common forms distinct. And if you put Genitive and Dative between Nominative and Accusative, same again.

Nominativeο, hicτο, hoc
Accusativeτον, hunc

For of course, if at one stage of a language you have aurum, aurum as Neuter and puer, puerum or filius, filium as masculine and at a later stage you have ouros, ouro, filhos, filho as both masculines, and even then you have ouros, filhos as nominatives and ouro filho as oblique, but later still you have only ouro, filho with no distinction between nominative and oblique, and with prepositions making new genitive-ablatives and dative-allatives: o filho, do filho, ao filho, o filho, then this means that at some point people who knew how to distinguish neuter from masculine or even nominative from accusative, neglected to do so.

Languages - as I have said often before - do not change because of evolution, nor because of devolution, but because of intelligent (or less intelligent) redesign.

One case for keeping a written language strictly traditional, though it may lead to diglossia, the state in which you write one language and nearly pronounce another one, and in which the written language is more posh the less it reflects the current speech, is that you can thereby still read something which was written not just one hundred, or even five hundred but as long as thousand years ago. One price to pay for Classical Literacy is going over the paradigms. Most pupils will not willingly do that with paradigms including forms that they no longer use, though maybe their greatgrandparents did. One way of making it attractive is the bilingualism, as between Greek and Latin, as between Sumerian and Akkadian, as between Nesili (Hittite language, showing Indo-European traits) and Hattili (Hatti language, not showing them). Or as between Latin and Vernacular. One other way of doing it is making Classical literacy a privilege, not necessarily excluding non-privileged actively, but on the other hand making it an entrance card for other privileges. And there may be very solid non-linguistic grounds for doing that, or grounds in which linguistics are reduced to functionality (doctrine, liturgy, law studies and sciences profit from exact terminology which profits from terminology being unchanging, checkable with the past) rather than being the goal. But these grounds are neglected now. Meanwhile, any budding polyglot can enjoy himself learning the paradigm of καλος by heart. It is not a hard exercise. It is about twenty years ago I did this, completing later with the Dual, and I could find back to most of the forms yesterday, then had to stop and think a while if Feminine Singular had a separate Vocative καλα (short α), and if the Dual had a separate Feminine form also for Nominative/Accusative/Vocative (I knew the Genitive-Dative distinguished καλαιν from καλοιν in Masculine and Neuter). I concluded there was a form καλα (long α) for the Nominative/Accusative/Vocative Dual Feminine. Paradigm learning does help.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Walpurga of Eystetten
Heidenheim Monastery, Virgin**

* Examples featuring also a range of meanings of the adjective καλος in the translations):

καλωιDative Singular Masculine or Neuter
τωι καλωι ανδρι διδωσι καλα τινα βιβλιαThey give the stylish man some beautiful books
καλωNominative/Accusative/Vocative Dual Masculine or Neuter
τω καλω αδελφω καλως τρεχετονThe two stylish brothers run smoothly
καλα (long α)Nominative/Accusative/Vocative Dual Feminine
τα καλα αδελφα καλως τρεχετονThe two beautiful sisters run smoothly
καλα (short α)Nominative/Accusative/Vocative Plural Neuter
τα καλα ζοα καλως τρεχειThe beautiful animals run smoothly

** The first feast of today makes me sympathise a little with people simplifying the paradigms they use. Victorinus, Victor, Nicephorus, Claudian, Dioscorus, Serapion and Papias ... holy Martyrs, no doubt, but a little long for dating a letter or essay! They were, by the way, from Egypt. Martyred under Emperor Numerian. Two first tortured in refined ways and beheaded, Nicephorus vanquished burning fire dishes and fires before getting cut into wok strips ("minutatim concisus est"), Claudian and Dioscorus were burnt to death, the last two, Serapion and Papias, killed by the sword. If you tend to say "oh, what fanciful stories, Romans had a very bureaucratic system of courts and laws," (as I have "heard" while doing Apologetics on internet) think again - this was before Codex Iuris Civilis (which is mainly the work of a Christian Emperor or a few of them).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Amusing or Exasperating?

1) Amusing or Exasperating?, 2) Traditional Order of Genders and Cases, 3) Dixit Faarlund: "and these kinds of structures are very unlikely to change within a language"

I know as since very early years an obsessive linguaphile - which is Alexander Arguelles' way of describing people who want to learn a lot of facts about languages without taking the trouble of actually learning them (and knowing the facts is not the same thing as knowing to speak the languages) - that Roumanian and Modern Greek share a somewhat curious trait. Genitive and Dative coincide. At least it is curious for Scandinavian and English speakers, where Genitive is one very odd part of the case system, all other cases coinciding in a unitary case (nominative and oblique in one). A bit less so to German speakers where feminines in the singular have the same article for genitive and dative, namely "der". In German the genders and cases are four, if plural of all genders counts as a gender. I take them in non traditional order to make similars join similars as much as possible:


Now, Classical Latin, like German, has for feminine singulars a coalescence between genitive and dative:


And ... Latin was one of the languages on the Balkan. Roumanian is its daughter language. Modern Greek is not, Bulgarian language is not. But they too have a coalescence of dative and genitive, not just in feminine singular, but all over the system (in case of Bulgarian that only concerns the pronouns, since in nouns we deal with an oblique case both dative and accusative at the same time).

Latin has a Dative and a Genitive that coincide in Feminine Singular. In Plurals they do not. In Masculines and Neuters they do not, but in Feminines they do. Even in Classic Latin. In the East then - Dative and Genitive go together for other nouns as well. Accusative also joins Nominative, after sound change. In the West, Dative and Ablative of Masculines and Neuters being already identical, and coinciding through sound change with Accusative, Genitive disappears and while Feminines have identic forms in Singular, Masculines (which swallow up Neuters) have a Nominative that stands out (serving also for Vocative, which is not the case in the East, but that I will not enter on).

N/Aunu omuuna casaunu scamnu
G/Dunui omuunaei casaeunui scamnu
nescio quid ominescio quid casaenescio quid scamnae
unorum omiunorum casaeunorum scamnae

But in fact, if in the West the Genitive disppeared, it may be because it coincided with Dative, thanks to the Feminines, precisely as in the East. So, in Romance languages of the West you have an Accusative that coincides with the Dative/Genitive, differring from the Nominative, in the Romance languages of the East - only Roumanian left now - you have an Accusative which coincides with the Nominative differring from Dative/Genitive, in Modern Greek you have an Accusative that remains separate from both Nominative (except Neuters and Feminine singulars) and Dative/Genitive. All over the field you have a coalescence of Dative and Genitive into one.

And obviously it spread from Latin Feminine Singulars into other nouns and from Latin to Greek. Never mind if it spread to Bulgarian also or not. It is an illustration of the Sprachbund phenomenon even so.

The article of the wikipedia on the Bulgarian language noted this trait a few weeks ago.** It noted it was common to those languages. It did not mention Latin at all. I added a comparison with Latin. No big deal to change the wiki by adding a few words. I did.

Since then it is not so much a question of having the addition deleted as having the whole section on the Bulgarian language remade. My addition about Latin is nowhere to be found. Neither is the original comparison with other Balkan languages. All that part of the article has a completely new division into sections. It would be hard to find the place where the comparison was originally.

Of course, the new division gives rise to much more comprehensive overview over Bulgarian grammar. There is a new article - or I just discovered it this time - on Bulgarian pronouns, where the forms are divided into "Subject Nominative", "Direct Complement Accusative", "Indirect Complement no preposition Dative" and "preposition" (with forms identical to Direct Complement Accusative). It even included a certain point that Genitive is superfluous insofar as there are Possessive pronouns.

Not quite. In Greek and Slavonic and Baltic grammar in general Genitive is not just a case for possessing, but also denotes anything meaning "from" whether in the meaning of separation (like without) or the meaning of movement with increasing distance (like away from). Of course these might very well in Modern Bulgarian take Accusative forms rather than Dative-Genitive forms. Precisely because Accusative has become the generalised Oblique case. But on the one hand, that leaves at least Roumanian and Modern Greek with a common form for Dative and Genitive (and in nouns! unlike for Modern Bulgarian), precisely like Latin feminine singulars, like bonae except when it is nominative/vocative plural. On the other hand, if I was mistaken about Bulgarian pronouns, it concerned only my addition to the wiki article, which has been changed, and not my text of a previous article here** which included the guess that Bulgarian and Albanian maybe also had this merger between the two cases. But as I stated it as a total guess (having some little knowledge of Modern Greek and Roumanian, but no fluency even for a simple conversation, and next to no knowledge at all about Bulgarian, except what the wiki I looked up just confirmed for me, that Bulgarian does attach definite articles at the end of nouns), my credibility for the articles is not affected negatively by me being wrong in that particular, since I stated I was not sure of it.

My point is pretty clear even so.

Now, why would anyone want to shuffle it? For one thing some linguists have wanted to trace the coalescence of Dative and Genitive to Thracian, Dacian or Illyrian influences, rather than to Latin Feminine singulars, which they seem not to have considered, for if they had they would have been preferring an unknown explanation*** to a known one. And for another, the two Bulgarian immigrant homeless I was sharing breakfast with and one Roumanian too, and some people giving us all breakfast, might resent me knowing some facts about their language and being eager to show me what I did not know about it. They are not exactly helping me to have my posts printed in booklets and books, and getting off the streets that way, they are more eager to prepare me for a better chance at some other job. Because it gives them a chance to feel power, obviously over an intellectual geek they do not really like very much.

What is exasperating is how some people who already are into printing, publishing and all that will boycott me due to such people talking about me, and will also block younger people from trying a start at printing with my blogs as material. It is exasperating because it is so far keeping me in the street for quite a few years too many by now.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BU Nanterre
St Mathias Apostle

PS, I suppose some of them might also resent either being told anything from a Roman Catholic rather than a Greek Orthodox, or having any kind of origin (more than unavoidable, see Roumanian) in Latin. You know the Antilatin prejudice of Eastern Schismatics./HGL


For traditional order in German Paradigms, put Neuter between Feminine and Plural, Accusative last. In Latin paradigms too the traditional order is Masculine, Feminine and Neuter, both for Singular, and, unlike German, Plural too. In Latin too the Cases go with Accusative after Dative, and then Vocative comes between Accusative and Ablative: here I originally added tables and comment fit for a new message.

** Back when writing: Cette langue et le français ...

*** Thracian, Dacian or Illyrian are all very much less known than Hittite, not to mention Latin. However, Hittite has also a partial merger of Dative and Genitive, I think in the plural somewhere.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Vive la scholastique!

Dans l'extrait suivant, les "qualités sécondes" d'un philosophe comme Locke (dont l'Essai sur l'entendement humain se trouvait sur l'Index des livres interdits jusqu'à la dernière édition) ne comprennent pas la quantité ni le strictement quantifiable, uniquement le non-quantifiable dans les accidents de la substance. Pour St Thomas d'Aquin la quantité elle-même est un accident, à même que les qualités sensibles (que ce soit pesanteur ou que ce soit couleur). La tentative de Locke a reduire les "qualités sécondes" à épiphénomène des "qualités primaires" n'est pas formulable en théorie scholastique comme réduction des accidents à la seule substance, à moins que la quantité elle-même serait substance. Ce qui n'est pas automatiquement le cas en théorie scholastique.

L’atomisme occupera une place importante dans les débats scientifiques du XVIIe siècle. Un des livres les plus percutants décrivant la philosophie atomiste sera Il Saggiatore (L’Essayeur), publié en italien par Galilée en 1623. Galilée y fait des remarques intéressantes sur l’atomisme et déclare que l’atome possède bien des qualités premières, qui lui sont propres, mais que ce qu’on appelle les « qualités secondes » ou les « accidents » dans la terminologie scolastique – qui déterminent le goût, le toucher, l’odeur – sont en fait le fruit de l’interaction des objets avec les organes du corps humain. Or, dans la théorie aristotélicienne de la matière, telle qu’elle est comprise à l’époque, la matière elle-même possède à la fois des qualités premières et des qualités secondes, comme un noyau (qualité première) recouvert d’une pelure* (qualités secondes). Pour les atomistes au contraire, la matière n’a que des qualités premières, donc un noyau et pas de pelure. C’est l’interaction directe du noyau avec notre main ou notre langue qui définit les qualités secondes que sont les sensations. Cette approche a des conséquences théologiques importantes. Les jésuites, entre autres, soulèveront la question, car ils ont compris très vite que l’atomisme est, comme nous le verrons plus loin, incompatible avec le dogme de la transsubstantiation.

idées, Histoire de science
L’atomisme contre la transsubstantiation
par Yves Gingras

Notons deux choses.

1) L'atomisme au sens stricte - la subjectivité des accidents sauf la quantité, et l'identité ou la quasiidentité de celle-ci avec la substance elle-même - n'a pas été prouvé.

Une application serait que le son n'est pas la qualité audible, mais les vibrations et que la qualité audible serait une phénomène subjectif là où les vibrations touchent l'oreille. D'où la question de Berkeley: si un arbre tombe dans une forêt sans oreilles humaines ou animales, est-ce qu'il y a un bruit ou non?

Le premier grand fondateur - après justement Galilée de Pise - de l'acoustique, à savoir un frère mendiant de la Congrégation Minime nommé Mersenne, lui, il refusait de trancher. Il disait que les deux théories sont possibles, soit que le son est la vibration d'où découle la sensation par causalité corporelle sur nos organes, soit que le son est une qualité inhérente à l'air quand elle sonne et qui accompagne les vibrations.

Aucune preuve a été donné contre la théorie qui sauvegarde les accidents au sens d'Aristote et de St Thomas d'Aquin. Et je suis bien conscient de l'expérience de Rutherford, et je ne la refuse pas dans les données par un quelconque gnosticisme, je le trouve juste mal interprêté par le scientifique lui-même.

2) Si c'est correct que Pape Urbain VIII ait pu réagir sur cet aspect atomiste de la philosophie de Galilée, alors on comprend très bien pourquoi il a considéré Galilée comme plus dangéreux encore que les Réformateurs. Pour moi ça suffisait que les preuves de l'existence de Dieu - notamment Prima Via - étaient faussées dans un sens vers Giordano Bruno et Mormonisme alternativement athéisme par la négation de la rotation diurne de l'Univers.

Je suis heureux d'avoir été, au début de ma démarche comme traditionnel après la démarche comme converti catholique (et pour défendre l'essentiel dedans) libre de l'erreur atomiste assez vite, et que je n'ai pas suivi Galilée de Pise dans cette démarche d'atomisme ou Locke dans la sienne.

Bien que la controverse entourant la théorie copernicienne soit plus connue, car elle a entraîné la condamnation de Galilée à la réclusion à vie par l’Église en 1633, cet épisode obscur autour de l’atomisme est en fait plus radical, car il concerne un véritable dogme de l’Église catholique. Que la Terre soit au centre de l’Univers était accepté par l’Église comme conforme au contenu de la Bible, mais cela n’était pas, du strict point de vue du droit canon, un dogme de l’Église catholique. En revanche, la transsubstantiation est bien un dogme, et s’en écarter (encore de nos jours) mène à l’excommunication.

Si Urbain VIII avait le genre d'arrière-pensées qu'on lui donne de nos jours, alors il a pu vouloir sauver son ami du bûcher. En l'entrainant dans une controverse de moindre importance. Mission réussie. Dans ce cas. Mais je lui attribue aussi, après la controverse de Bruno, une intention plus directement liée au bien du dogme catholique, à savoir de la sachabilité de l'existence et de l'unité de Dieu, un point qui devient saillant quand on considère I Q 2 A 3 dans la lumière de I Q 11 A 3.

Dieu a pu créer le Monde comme Il le voulait, et Il a pu le faire apparaître comme Il le voulait. Comme Chrétiens nous le savons. Tribuons-Lui alors la Bonté de ne pas avoir mis une limite épaisse entre chose et apparence, ni en faisant de jour et nuit des illusions optiques comme le voudrait l'Héliocentrisme, ni en faisant des accidents qui ne sont des qualités que de séconde réalité, comme le voudrait l'Atomisme.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Cathedra St Petri Apostoli Antiochiae

* Le point est plutôt si l'extension et l'interaction avec les autres substances sont le noyeau ou de la pelure. Pour St Thomas c'est précisément l'extension (quantitas dimensiva) qui est la base des autres accidents, précisément quand à l'interaction avec par exemple nos sens. Notons aussi que l'atomisme intégral esquissé ici n'est pas identique à tout ce qu'on peut appeler théorie atomique, ni biensûr - déjà dit - avec le résultat immédiatement observé de l'expérience de Rutherford.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nephelim Genes and Salvation

Just read this on CMI:

The watchers and genetic diversity
Feedback from Rob M. US
Answer by Dr. Robert Carter CMI-US

The Bible is the very word of God, so where else would we turn for answers to these questions? Wisdom first comes in the form of biblical literacy. Additional wisdom can be gleaned from the pursuit of science. Applying both of these sources of wisdom leads one to reject the idea that there are descendants of the nephilim on earth today. You are a child of Adam, a descendant of Noah, and a normal human being, created in the image of God and with the capacity to respond to His loving offer of salvation. Let nobody tell you otherwise.

First of all, I fully agree with the last sentences:

You are a child of Adam, a descendant of Noah, and a normal human being, created in the image of God and with the capacity to respond to His loving offer of salvation. Let nobody tell you otherwise.

At least depending on how broadly you define normal. Normality as in total freedom from Nephelim genes, is, unlike claims from Jewish and Chuck Missler sources, not an ontological prerequisite for salvation. The Catholic Church does baptise children who have clearly Down's Syndrom who are clearly not normal, and does so in the hope, obviously, that they can be saved.

The Book of Henoch which some count as "clearly extra-Biblical" but which St Augustine was not sure of and which Ethiopian Church has in its canon (despite St Augustine's cautionary recommendations) does not say that no children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren and so on ever of the Watchers (Irin being a word used in Daniel for Angels but having this meaning) could ever at any time be saved. It says that the immediate children of them would in fact not be saved.

Baruch, which we Catholics do count very definitely as Canonical (and Haydock comment uses Baruch 6 to refute some Calvinist doctrine) says that none of the giants of old found wisdom. Meaning - in good logic - there could be another generation later one in which some had such.

So, if any descendant of Nephelim were alive today, he would not be doomed to damnation, any more than the clearly existant descendants of Canaan (say Lebanese, possible admixture further away, like of Anatolian Hittites have anything in common with those in Land of Canaan or like Scandinavians and British Isles with admixtures from Phoenician traders) are doomed to slavery because his grandfather cursed him. He may be the prototype of slaves, but not the ancestor of all, and more importantly not the ancestor of only such. And the children of the Watchers may be prototypes of later damned giants, but not the ancestor of all such and - if my guess is right - not ancestor of only such.

Next in line is what Dr Carter says about where to get wisdom:

Wisdom first comes in the form of biblical literacy. Additional wisdom can be gleaned from the pursuit of science.

This sounds a bit as if "natural science" is ok as a pursuit for additional gleaning of wisdom, but certain other things, like popular medieval legend are not. I actually think, as far as the part of wisdom concerned with "information", that pre-Christian, overtly pagan legends are ok, as long as you weed out the pagan erroneous theology first (and of course put it second place after Holy Bible, even in not directly theological issues, not first place before it). So also the Middle Age Christians thought about the matter.*

Why I mention popular legend, you see, Christendom is pretty clear on the fact that St Christopher was a giant, and indeed that he served Satan before he served Christ. This means that somehow giants have come into existence after the flood as well. Which we already know from the two Goliath's among the Anakim. And from the case of Nimrod, if gebôr means giant in his case.

One answer is "second incursions". If Book of Henoch is historically true, then this would be close to unthinkable in terms of a second batch of angels or even individual ones falling the same way. At least Rob Skiba argued that the punishment of the two hundred Watchers was so awful that not one dared to do such a thing since.

One second answer, given by Rob Skiba, is some genetic taint came abord the Ark. Not in Noah's or his wife's person, nor in the person of the daughter in law who was married to Shem, but in one or two of the other daughters in law. Note that this cannot mean that they were excluded from salvation or no true human people. The Arc is the image of the Church, which is called "arc of salvation".

One third answer is that having Watchers for genetic origin is not one prerequisite for being a giant.

St Thomas Aquinas following St Augustine rejects angelic view of Genesis 6. He does however give a scenario in which fallen angels, in and of themselves pure spirits, with no possibility to reproduce themselves, actually sneak and steal genetic material and commit the kind of rapes which pagan myth commemorates as Zeus impregnating Leda and what not. With, obviously, the cells they need for that stolen through acting previously as succubae.

Now, what is there for a meaning in rejecting angelic view of Genesis 6? Now we get from three a to three b.

How could "sons of God" apply only to Sethite line and "daughters of men" to women of Cainite line? Well, in St Augustine's view the Sethite line was, like later the Hebrews, the chosen people and the community of those regenerate by grace. And the Cainite line was a merely humanly decent society (less and less decent, with heavier and heavier penalties) ... the awful offspring of Nephelim might just possibly have been one punishment for what corresponds to a Christian getting seduced by a witch and making a kind of family outside the Christian community, involved in rites which he knew to be wrong.

But Rob Skiba rejects this view in favour of the angelic view. He takes St Jude (with a pretty clear indication) and St Peter (with a less clear such) as telling in favour of the Book of Henoch version. He also says that St Augustine when arguing against it used words "the angels do not marry" as if they meant "cannot", but that is not what it says.

Very well, Book of Henoch and more imortantly Book of Baruch (the one which broader canons and lists of apocrypha, which may list this Book of Baruch as such would call Baruch 1) do not say either that the children of the Watchers (Book of Henoch), nor that the giants of old (Book of Baruch) "cannot be saved" only that they "will not be" so (Book of Henoch) and "did not find wisdom" (Book of Baruch) "no not one of them".

One point about the question that the answer was meant to answer: if angels can take bodies that are able to breed with human women, then it is not likely that their genetics would be vastly different from human such. And therefore not that a Nephelim line would be genetically detectable as such.

There are many today who are told they are a descendant of the "Watchers", but they, or those telling them such, are not appealing to the Bible for the answer.

I am not sure why anyone would tell someone something like that. I am not aware of any kind of task that especially needs that kind of origin. I could possibly imagine one if writing a fantasy novel about it, but the main task for a Christian with even cognitive certitude of descending from the likeliest candidates post-Flood to any indirect such origin, Goliath, Hercules, or even Nimrod himself, would be to save their souls as Christians without worrying. Precisly as a descendant of Nero should not hope to recuperate Rome and make a brave new world with Christianity "somewhat subdued" (it might begin but would not end there), but rather follow the example of the Czartoryski** family. The descend from Gedimynas*** who killed Catholic monks for preaching the Gospel, these were Franciscans, but they are themselves, generally speaking, Catholics.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Mairie du III
St Severian of Scythopolis

* Conversely, as I am sure Dr Carter agrees when it comes to Evolutionism, or he would not be replying on behalf of CMI, I consider that parts of Modern Science would be very much tainted with a kind of real and illicit paganism, close to Pythagorean Ten Pairs of Opposites or even to the superstitions of Numa Pompilius or of the Oracle of Delphi.

** Polish nobility. *** Lithuanian Grand Duke who - surrounded by Catholics in the West and Orthodox in the East was willing to get baptised, until one Pagan rebellion dissuaded him and set him even persecuting Christianity in Vilnius, in the Pagan heartland.

Note on my usage of "Medieval Legend"

"In Lycia sancti Christophori Martyris, qui, sub Decio, virgis ferreis attritus, et e flammae aestuantis incendio superna Christi virtute servatus, ad ultimum, sagittarum ictibus confossus, capitis obtruncatione martyrium complevit."

These words, under martyrdom of St James the Greater, for July 25 (each year) are from Roman martyrology which is a Church Document. These are not always totally infallible as to fact (notably both Marseilles and Larnaka claim that St Lazarus the Four Days Dead died there as bishop, I think in both cases also stating he was the first bishop of Samaria, Acts 8 or a few days later on same place). But nevertheless they are presumably usually correct.

Level of correctness of Book of Jasher if not of the Bible.

But above words do neither contain he was a giant nor his carreer of three successive loyalties. But I believe also the legend attached to martyrology, as at least presumably true unless special reasons occur for it being mistaken./HGL

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Guess who did just that?

Now, I was pleasantly surprised after reading Barnes Notes (New School Presbyterian of 19th C.) on the curse of Cham, to read what Charles Hodge* (Old School Presbyterian of 19th C.) had to say on Ephesians. He differred in nothing from a Catholic on that point. Here is his summing up on slavery according to Ephesians VI:*

It is thus that the Holy Spirit deals with slavery. Slaves are not commanded to refuse to be slaves, to break their bonds and repudiate the authority of their masters. They are required to obey with alacrity and with a sincere desire to do their duty to their masters, as part of their duty to Christ. Masters are not commanded as an immediate and imperative duty to emancipate their slaves, but to treat them according to the principles of justice and equity. It is not to be expected that men of the world will act in conformity with the Gospel in this, any more than in other respects. But believers will. And the result of such obedience if it could become general would be, that first the evils of slavery, and then slavery itself, would pass away as naturally and as healthfully as children cease to be minors.

Now, the thing is this is not just a theory of how slavery could be abolished in South Carolina (I suppose Hodge wrote this before the Civil War). It is also a correct description of how the Roman Empire, which as Chesterton said under Constantine was "as much a slave state as South Carolina" before the war, eventually became (under its successor states with often Germanic monarchs as also under Slavonic States once they were Christianised) a territory where slaves were basically a very obsolete social description.

But as the men and women involved in this change were retty obviously Catholic and not Calvinist - how come he did not find the true Church? Especially as his final words in the Epistle commentary were a clear recommendation of lives such as those of St Bennet and St Francis.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BU Nanterre
Sept Fondateurs des
Servites de la BVM

* CCEL - Charles Hodge - Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Who Was it Who Willed to Hang the Vagrants?

1547 England introduced a very evil legislation which was in itself not carried out.* It partly inspired a subsequent one of 1572, which was carried out. Both involved hanging of vagrants if sufficiently obstinate and reoffending and the first included lifelong slavery in a stage before the hanging. However, the act of 1547 was revoked well before that.

Now, the law of 1547 was nominally by King Edward VI but really by one Lord Protector Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset.

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset,_1st_Duke_of_Somerset

The wiki on him includes some information about his frequentations, among others this one:

Somerset's commissions were led by the evangelical M.P. John Hales, whose socially liberal rhetoric linked the issue of enclosure with Reformation theology and the notion of a godly commonwealth. Local groups often assumed that the findings of these commissions entitled them to act against offending landlords themselves. King Edward wrote in his Chronicle that the 1549 risings began "because certain commissions were sent down to pluck down enclosures".

OK, then we have John Hales:

John Hales (politician)

When King Edward VI came to the throne in 1547, Hales was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Middlesex and Warwickshire, and became a Member of Parliament for Preston, Lancashire.

Hales supported the economic policies pursued by the young King's uncle, Protector Somerset. Hales was particularly opposed to the enclosure of land, and is said to have been the most active of the commissioners appointed in 1548 to redress this evil. However he failed to carry several remedial measures through Parliament. When Somerset fell from power in October 1549, Hales was imprisoned in the Tower, likely as a result of his support for Somerset's policies. He was released in 1550, and after enfeoffing his lands to his brother, Stephen, and to Sir Ralph Sadler, obtained licence on 2 February 1551 to leave England in the company of Sir Richard Morison, who was being sent as ambassador to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Hales lived in Germany with his brother, Christopher, principally at Frankfurt, until Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne. While there he formed a friendship with the scholar Sturmius.

Who was this scholar Sturmius?

Johannes Sturm

Based on:

New Schaff Herzog, Religious Encyclopedia, vol. XI, p. 121

Johannes (or Jean) Sturm, Latinized as Ioannes Sturmius (1 October 1507 – 3 March 1589) was a German educator, influential in the design of the Gymnasium system of secondary education.


Influenced by the writings of Martin Bucer he adopted the principles of the Protestant Reformation. He participated in the attempt to reconcile Protestant and Roman Catholic parties in 1534.


After helping to negotiate peace between England and Francei 1545, he again went to France in 1546, at the outbreak of the War of the Schmalkaldic League, to seek the help of François I. He asked for German aid to the Huguenots, which made him suspect in the eyes of Lutherans.


Sturm was generally regarded as the greatest educator connected with the Reformed Church. The school he directed and his art of teaching were a humanist model for a century all over Europe. His ideal in education was “to direct the aspiration of the scholars toward God, to develop their intelligence, and to render them useful citizens by teaching them the skill to communicate their thoughts and sentiments with persuasive effect.”

Sturm implemented a gradation of the course of study, and novel methods of instruction. His system of classes (practically the same that still prevailed in all gymnasia some centuries later), his classification of literary material for use in schools, his writing of textbooks, and his organization of school management shaped the practice of secondary education, not only in the German schools, but also in secondary schools of England and France.

In addition to the Gymnasium, Foyer Jean-Sturm, a modern student dormitory in Strasbourg, also bears his name.

More Reformed than Lutheran. An admirer of Bucer. A humanist. Maybe a fit friend for an Evangelical like Hales? We do not have to guess, we know they were friends.

But Hales was after all doing the evil under Seymour before making friends with Sturm ... can we have any assurance that it is connected with as highly esteemed Protestants as Sturm? Look at the last three sentences condemned by Leo X in Exsurge Domine:

39. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishment.

40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.

41. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money bags of beggary.


Exsurge Domine
Bull of Pope Leo X issued June 15, 1520

So, unless Leo X lied about what Luther had written, Luther himself was against beggars - as well as against seeking relief without taking pains in the next world.

And Pope Leo X was for giving relief to the souls in Purgatory and for giving relief to the poor. He also showed that in another connexion. So, obviously not for enslaving them. In the case of loans, he had supported municipal authorities exacting an interest sufficient to pay office clerks living very modestly. But he had also uttered a preference for exacting only half the interest needed to pay them because it was more just and more holy to let municipal taxation pay for the other half.

Note, he was not for the modern intrusive state which taxes many beyond the half of their income and makes thousands of projects, only some of which come to the benefit of the poor, if he had been that, indeed if he had seen modern taxation without protesting against it, he might have suggested that the office clerks were entirely paid from tax money and no interest at all exacted. But the little taxation (compared to modern Western World standards) that there was back then, as well as municipal sources of income (for instance fields owned by the town and only rented by the peasants) he thought it correct to put into the Montes Pietatis so as to lower the interest on loans and make it pay only half the clerks' costs for their office work.

En lengua romance en Antimodernism y de mis caminaciones : Lateranense V Concilii Sessio X
Leo PP X, in conc. Lateranense V
Sessio X, 4 maii 1515
De reformatione Montium Pietatis

Luther at first rejected interest taken by Montes Pietatis altogether, and Calvinists of the first generation, excepting Calvin, were stricter on interest than Pope Leo X (but did not require the state to take measures against it). A generation or so later at least the Calvinists had come to accept interest much more "generously" (to the banker) than Leo X had.

No, I do not really think Pope Leo X was the enemy and the Calvinists the friends of Vagrants. Not really. Gilbert Keither Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc were perfectly consistent in being Catholics and in being in favour of vagrants.

However, they would have approved of one act of John Hales and Somerset, their opposition to the Enclosures. But back to English Poor Law between 1547 and 1572:

In 1550 these excessive punishments were revised in a new act that was passed. The act of 1550 makes a reference to the limited enforcement of the punishments established by the Act of 1547 by stating "the extremity of some [of the laws] have been occasion that they have not been put into use."

Parliament and the parish

Following the revision of the Duke of Somerset’s Act of 1547, parliament passed a new act in 1552. This act focused on using parishioners as a source of funds to combat the increasing poverty epidemic. This statute appointed two individuals from each parish to collect alms to distribute to the poor individuals inhabiting the town. These individuals were to ‘gently ask’ [1] for donations for the cause. Refusal to donate to the cause would ultimately result in a meeting with the bishop who would ‘induce and persuade’ them. However, at times even these intimidating meetings by the bishop would often fail to complete their objective.

It is possible that Cranmer - the man the teenaged King Edward trusted the most - had something to do with this. Let us not paint all of the Reformers as bloodthrsty enemies of the poor. But the revisions of the acts still suppressed vagrancy and individual supplication on part of the needy themselves.

Were there no antivagrancy acts before the Reformation then? Yes, as there were such in France before the Hundred Yaers War and before the French Revolution, under Louis XV!

In the later period of the 15th century, legal measures were put in place for poverty which focused on punishing the individual for acts such as vagabonding and begging. In 1495 during the reign of Henry VII of England, Parliament passed the Vagabond Act. This act stated that officials arrest and hold "all such vagabonds, idle and suspect persons living suspiciously and then so taken to set in stocks, there to remain three nights and to have none other sustenance but bread and water; and after the said three days and three nights, to be had out and set at large and to be commanded to avoid the town."

Two things strike: taken to the stocks for three days on water and bread and told to avoid the town (1495, in a still Catholic England) is much milder than two years indentured slavery with punishments against runaways going to lifelong slavery and to death penalty (1547, under first really Protestant, though not first Schismatic Ruler, enacted by basically his tutor). And, secondly, even the first Act was not unpunished by God, the Reformation came to correct with Martyrdoms a Catholic Clergy which had not objected to that earlier legislation. As the act of Jean le Bon (similar to the Act of 1495) had been punished by English Ascendancy in France. As the Act of Louis XV - left uncorrected by his successor Louis XV - had been punished in the French Revolution. There is a saying implying that God will not be mocked.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BU de Nanterre
L'Apparition de ND
à Lourdes**

* The following reference is given by the wiki Poor Law:

Rathbone,Mark. "Vagabond!", History Review; March 2005, Issue 51, p8-13 Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 25, 2010)

** For the curious: Lourdes is in Latin either Lapurdum or Lapurdus. For the pious, the second feast of today is St Lucius and Companions, martyred by the Arians under Constantius in Adrianople or Edirne.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sudet Germans and Finland Swedes

After reading what happened to Germans in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1938 (with Hitler coming as a revenge), I am very thankful that neither Czar Alexander nor (obviously) Marshal Mannerheim was acting like a Doctor Beneš to the Finland Swedes.

Some of the best Swedish literature is by Finland Swedes, and the country is less dechristianised than Sweden.

OK, I admit that Finland Swedes also may be more prejudiced against Catholics, and this goes for part of the literature I am referring to as well.

Now, readers, my own text here is not very informative, but if you click the links, then you will see what I mean!/HGL

Czar Alexander I of Russia

Field Marshall Mannerheim

Doctor Edvard Beneš

Finland Swedes

Feldtskärns berättelser

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ce que je pense des "apocryphes"

On m'a demandé une réponse en peu de mots. Le début de ma réponse fait référence au fait que le mot s'utilise des manières diverses: quels "apocryphes"? Dans le nouveau testament la plupart des apocryphes sont infectes, l'évangile de l’enfance par St Thomas peut être de lui ou encore être une fiction et le protévangile de St Jacques Frère de Dieu est probablement correcte.

Quand à l'Ancien Testament, en étant Catholique je n'accepte pas du tout comme une Bible complète qqc avec moins de 72/73 livres (est-ce que celui de Baruch compte comme livre séparé ou comme appendice à Jérémie?), je pense que d'autres livres attribués à Baruch [un accepté par Syriens et un autre par soit Coptes en général, soit Éthiopiens] pourraient être correctes aussi, que les livres Maccabées III et IV (acceptés par les Roumains) et d'Énoch (par les Éthiopiens) le pourraient être aussi.

En plus, les Russes acceptent encore un livre d'Ezra supplémentaire, de manière que nos I et II Ezra (ou Ezra et Néhémiah) sont leurs II et III Ezra, tandis que leur I Ezra n'est pas dans notre Bible. Ni le Concile de Carthage, ni le Concile de Trente nous obligent à les tenir pour condamnés, que je sache, parce que ni l'un ni l'autre de ces canons condamne comme apocryphes tous les livres qui n'y sont pas condamnés. Euh, qui n'y sont pas énumérés. Et encore ici "que je sache".

La plus fervente condamnation des apocryphes vient du I Concile de Tolède, donc contre ceux surtout qu'utilisèrent les Priscilliens. Mais I Tolède, c'est vrai qu'il est accepté par Rome, par pape St Léon I, mais ça ne confère pas un infaillibilité en chaque détail de manière que tout doive être tenu pour inviolable, me semble-t-il.*

De toute façon, NOTRE livre de Baruch (I Baruch pour ceux qui en ont plusieurs) a été tranché du canon des Juifs parce que le chapitre 3 parle de l'Incarnation de Dieu. Ce chapitre est par conséquent lu chaque Samedi Saint dans l'église latine et nous DEVONS tenir ce livre comme canonique.

Quand au livre dit "de Yachar", je soupçonne qu'il était un livre pieux et humain mais non pas inspiré. C'est possible mais loin de sûr que la Bible fait référence au livre qu'on peut de nos jours trouver sous ce titre, les Juifs sont divisés sur son utilité et son identité ou autre d'avec le livre du Juste auquel le livre de Josué fait référence. Je le soupçonne de ne pas être divin, parce qu'il attribue le miracle punitif à Babel à 70 anges déchus, tandis que normalement seul Dieu pourrait avoir un tel accès aux facultés linguistiques des hommes, surtout de ceux qui avaient changé leur langue à domicile, sans avoir eu eux-mêmes ou elles -mêmes participé dans le chantier de Babel.

Quand aux premiers habitants de Thèbes en Grèce en Béothie, ceux qui apparaissaient comme semés par les dents du dragon, le diable a pu leur arranger un oubli de leur vie passée de manière qu'il ne se souvenaient pas des événements passés [ils étaient hommes adultes et avaient pu commettre des péchés mortels avant de se trouver dans ce pétrin], mais ils ont gardé la langue qu'ils parlaient avant, probablement comme celle de Kadmos lui-même le Phénicien. Ça le diable n'a pas pu leur réarranger. DONC le livre de Yachar, comme on l'appelle dans les éditions, n'est pas un livre inspiré.

Que le livre appelé "du Juste" (Yachar = juste en Hébreux) ait été inspiré n'est pas nécessaire. Josué y fait appel comme un témoin, mais un témoin peut être humain et non pas un saint. S'il est ou était le même que celui qu'on retrouve en I Rois (I Samuel) est possible. Dans ce cas, c'était un livre qui, comme Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, avait un auteur collectif et cumulatif. Je ne sais pas si ces écrivains anonymes étaient déjà actifs au temps de la Genèse ou non.

Que de tout ceci personne prenne excuse de ma part pour lire et croire des bêtises comme "Évangile de Thomas" ou "Évangile de Philippe", qui ne sont rien que des Apocryphes fortement hérétiques et certes condamnés.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BU Nanterre
S:te Bérénike dite Véronique

* Ou plutôt: si les apocryphes condamnés - sous ce nom et sans détailler les titres - utilisés par les Priscilliens étaient des choses comme "Évangile de Thomas" ou "Évangile de Philippe", alors l'intention de ce Concile est très inviolable. Mais les mots ne le sont pas en ce qui pourrait être interprêté comme de condamner IV Macchabées, que les Roumains appellent Josif, puisqu'il est attribué à Flave Josèphe.