1) New blog on the kid : GWW got Aristotle and St Thomas wrong. · 2) HGL's F.B. writings : What Mechanism? Are "Angelic Movers Outside Natural Sciences"? · 3) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : GWW vs Plato, HGL vs GWW · 4) New blog on the kid : Was There No Celestial Mechanics for Tychonian System? Oh, yes! · 5) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : One More Quote, if I May, Please! · 6) HGL's F.B. writings : Sungenis Countering Flat Earthers - with Some Lacks in his Argument · 7) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Any Fathers NOT Supporting Round Earth? Any Authorities that DO support Angelic Movers? · 8) HGL's F.B. writings : Debating with Sungenis, Mainly
On my debate with Sungenis, we came into questions of authorities.
Here I looked up some, though my reference to St Cyril of Jerusalem is still lacking.
The Divine Institutes (Lactantius) Book III Of the false wisdom of philosophers Chapter 24. Of the Antipodes, the Heaven, and the Stars.
|How is it with those who imagine that there are antipodes opposite to our footsteps? Do they say anything to the purpose? Or is there any one so senseless as to believe that there are men whose footsteps are higher than their heads? Or that the things which with us are in a recumbent position, with them hang in an inverted direction? That the crops and trees grow downwards? That the rains, and snow, and hail fall upwards to the earth? And does any one wonder that hanging gardens are mentioned among the seven wonders of the world, when philosophers make hanging fields, and seas, and cities, and mountains? The origin of this error must also be set forth by us. For they are always deceived in the same manner. For when they have assumed anything false in the commencement of their investigations, led by the resemblance of the truth, they necessarily fall into those things which are its consequences. Thus they fall into many ridiculous things; because those things which are in agreement with false things, must themselves be false. But since they placed confidence in the first, they do not consider the character of those things which follow, but defend them in every way; whereas they ought to judge from those which follow, whether the first are true or false.
What course of argument, therefore, led them to the idea of the antipodes? They saw the courses of the stars travelling towards the west; they saw that the sun and the moon always set towards the same quarter, and rise from the same. But since they did not perceive what contrivance regulated their courses, nor how they returned from the west to the east, but supposed that the heaven itself sloped downwards in every direction, which appearance it must present on account of its immense breadth, they thought that the world is round like a ball, and they fancied that the heaven revolves in accordance with the motion of the heavenly bodies; and thus that the stars and sun, when they have set, by the very rapidity of the motion of the world are borne back to the east. Therefore they both constructed brazen orbs, as though after the figure of the world, and engraved upon them certain monstrous images, which they said were constellations. It followed, therefore, from this rotundity of the heaven, that the earth was enclosed in the midst of its curved surface. But if this were so, the earth also itself must be like a globe; for that could not possibly be anything but round, which was held enclosed by that which was round. But if the earth also were round, it must necessarily happen that it should present the same appearance to all parts of the heaven; that is, that it should raise aloft mountains, extend plains, and have level seas. And if this were so, that last consequence also followed, that there would be no part of the earth uninhabited by men and the other animals. Thus the rotundity of the earth leads, in addition, to the invention of those suspended antipodes.
But if you inquire from those who defend these marvellous fictions, why all things do not fall into that lower part of the heaven, they reply that such is the nature of things, that heavy bodies are borne to the middle, and that they are all joined together towards the middle, as we see spokes in a wheel; but that the bodies which are light, as mist, smoke, and fire, are borne away from the middle, so as to seek the heaven. I am at a loss what to say respecting those who, when they have once erred, consistently persevere in their folly, and defend one vain thing by another; but that I sometimes imagine that they either discuss philosophy for the sake of a jest, or purposely and knowingly undertake to defend falsehoods, as if to exercise or display their talents on false subjects. But I should be able to prove by many arguments that it is impossible for the heaven to be lower than the earth, were is not that this book must now be concluded, and that some things still remain, which are more necessary for the present work. And since it is not the work of a single book to run over the errors of each individually, let it be sufficient to have enumerated a few, from which the nature of the others may be understood.
It is fairly remarcable that Robert Sungenis quotemined a middle in the text passage, referring to what had been introduced with "The origin of this error must also be set forth by us," of previous paragraph and followed in next paragraph with "But if you inquire from those who defend these marvellous fictions," as if the sole words quotemined involved Lactantius accepting himself the argument he is referring:
|Lactantius: "It followed, therefore, from this rotundity of the heaven, that the earth was enclosed in the midst of its curved surface. But if this were so, the earth also itself must be like a globe; for that could not possibly be anything but round, which was held enclosed by that which was round. But if the earth also were round, it must necessarily happen that it should present the same appearance to all parts of the heaven."|
Even if he skimmed over the rest of what I just quoted and he referred to, how come he didn't get "it followed" (past tense) as indicating "it followed subjectively in their reasoning" as opposed to "it follows" (present tense), where one says "it follows" in order to imply "always and therefore objectively"?
I am confident, if I looked up the Latin original, I would even find a kind of oratio obliqua, which in itself would indicate his referring to others's opinion rather than stating his own, in the quote. Or at least, what is later known as erlebte Rede.
Hexameron, I Homily: starting 2nd half of chapter 8
|If I ask you to leave these vain questions, I will not expect you to try and find out the earth's point of support. The mind would reel on beholding its reasonings losing themselves without end. Do you say that the earth reposes on a bed of air? How, then, can this soft substance, without consistency, resist the enormous weight which presses upon it? How is it that it does not slip away in all directions, to avoid the sinking weight, and to spread itself over the mass which overwhelms it? Do you suppose that water is the foundation of the earth? You will then always have to ask yourself how it is that so heavy and opaque a body does not pass through the water; how a mass of such a weight is held up by a nature weaker than itself. Then you must seek a base for the waters, and you will be in much difficulty to say upon what the water itself rests.
9. Do you suppose that a heavier body prevents the earth from falling into the abyss? Then you must consider that this support needs itself a support to prevent it from falling. Can we imagine one? Our reason again demands yet another support, and thus we shall fall into the infinite, always imagining a base for the base which we have already found. And the further we advance in this reasoning the greater force we are obliged to give to this base, so that it may be able to support all the mass weighing upon it. Put then a limit to your thought, so that your curiosity in investigating the incomprehensible may not incur the reproaches of Job, and you be not asked by him, "Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?" Job 38:6 If ever you hear in the Psalms, "I bear up the pillars of it;" see in these pillars the power which sustains it. Because what means this other passage, "He has founded it upon the sea," if not that the water is spread all around the earth? How then can water, the fluid element which flows down every declivity, remain suspended without ever flowing? You do not reflect that the idea of the earth suspended by itself throws your reason into a like but even greater difficulty, since from its nature it is heavier. But let us admit that the earth rests upon itself, or let us say that it rides the waters, we must still remain faithful to thought of true religion and recognise that all is sustained by the Creator's power. Let us then reply to ourselves, and let us reply to those who ask us upon what support this enormous mass rests, "In His hands are the ends of the earth." It is a doctrine as infallible for our own information as profitable for our hearers.
10. There are inquirers into nature who with a great display of words give reasons for the immobility of the earth. Placed, they say, in the middle of the universe and not being able to incline more to one side than the other because its centre is everywhere the same distance from the surface, it necessarily rests upon itself; since a weight which is everywhere equal cannot lean to either side. It is not, they go on, without reason or by chance that the earth occupies the centre of the universe. It is its natural and necessary position. As the celestial body occupies the higher extremity of space all heavy bodies, they argue, that we may suppose to have fallen from these high regions, will be carried from all directions to the centre, and the point towards which the parts are tending will evidently be the one to which the whole mass will be thrust together. If stones, wood, all terrestrial bodies, fall from above downwards, this must be the proper and natural place of the whole earth. If, on the contrary, a light body is separated from the centre, it is evident that it will ascend towards the higher regions. Thus heavy bodies move from the top to the bottom, and following this reasoning, the bottom is none other than the centre of the world. Do not then be surprised that the world never falls: it occupies the centre of the universe, its natural place. By necessity it is obliged to remain in its place, unless a movement contrary to nature should displace it. If there is anything in this system which might appear probable to you, keep your admiration for the source of such perfect order, for the wisdom of God. Grand phenomena do not strike us the less when we have discovered something of their wonderful mechanism. Is it otherwise here? At all events let us prefer the simplicity of faith to the demonstrations of reason.
Note that he is here proposing Aristotelic Round Earth cosmology with a previous and an ensuing warning:
"There are inquirers into nature who with a great display of words give reasons for the immobility of the earth. Placed, they say, in the middle of the universe ..."
Great display of words is never a good criticism in a Church Father.
"If there is anything in this system which might appear probable to you, keep your admiration for the source of such perfect order, for the wisdom of God. "
Which might appear probable to YOU?
In other words, he is refraining from judging in favour of this Round Earth cosmology. He is leaving his hearers both options.
The Hexaemeron quote of the work by Sungenis, p.36:
|Basil : “These are lakes, and there is only one sea, as those affirm who have traveled round the Earth.”|
Hexameron, Homily IV, 4.
First, some historical context. Travelling around the Earth in Magellan's day was NOT travelling around the globe Magellan wise, or even across the Atlantic Columbus wise.
They probably meant, they had travelled from Polar Sea where it touches Atlantic, over Atlantic just outside Europe and Africa, into Indian Ocean to India. Hardly even that they had travelled across India and Indochina into Pacific where it touches Asia, from South East to North East, to where Pacific touches Polar Sea once again.
Second, whether they meant the earlier or the later, presumably the earlier, it is consistent with a "primitive Flat Earth geography". Not the one now used by Flat Earthers, with North Pole in centre (that is a loan from Indian Flat Earth, which is another deal), but one where Old World is basically THE supercontinent, which it can be whether Earth is flat or not (falt except the cavities down into which the waters float, that is.)
Third, here is whole of chapter:
|4. To say that the waters were gathered in one place indicates that previously they were scattered in many places. The mountains, intersected by deep ravines, accumulated water in their valleys, when from every direction the waters betook themselves to the one gathering place. What vast plains, in their extent resembling wide seas, what valleys, what cavities hollowed in many different ways, at that time full of water, must have been emptied by the command of God! But we must not therefore say, that if the water covered the face of the earth, all the basins which have since received the sea were originally full. Where can the gathering of the waters have come from if the basins were already full? These basins, we reply, were only prepared at the moment when the water had to unite in a single mass. At that time the sea which is beyond Gadeira and the vast ocean, so dreaded by navigators, which surrounds the isle of Britain and western Spain, did not exist. But, all of a sudden, God created this vast space, and the mass of waters flowed in.
Now if our explanation of the creation of the world may appear contrary to experience, (because it is evident that all the waters did not flow together in one place,) many answers may be made, all obvious as soon as they are stated. Perhaps it is even ridiculous to reply to such objections. Ought they to bring forward in opposition ponds and accumulations of rain water, and think that this is enough to upset our reasonings? Evidently the chief and most complete affluence of the waters was what received the name of gathering unto one place. For wells are also gathering places for water, made by the hand of man to receive the moisture diffused in the hollow of the earth. This name of gathering does not mean any chance massing of water, but the greatest and most important one, wherein the element is shown collected together. In the same way that fire, in spite of its being divided into minute particles which are sufficient for our needs here, is spread in a mass in the æther; in the same way that air, in spite of a like minute division, has occupied the region round the earth; so also water, in spite of the small amount spread abroad everywhere, only forms one gathering together, that which separates the whole element from the rest. Without doubt the lakes as well those of the northern regions and those that are to be found in Greece, in Macedonia, in Bithynia and in Palestine, are gatherings together of waters; but here it means the greatest of all, that gathering the extent of which equals that of the earth. The first contain a great quantity of water; no one will deny this. Nevertheless no one could reasonably give them the name of seas, not even if they are like the great sea, charged with salt and sand. They instance for example, the Lacus Asphaltitis in Judæa, and the Serbonian lake which extends between Egypt and Palestine in the Arabian desert. These are lakes, and there is only one sea, as those affirm who have travelled round the earth. Although some authorities think the Hyrcanian and Caspian Seas are enclosed in their own boundaries, if we are to believe the geographers, they communicate with each other and together discharge themselves into the Great Sea. It is thus that, according to their account, the Red Sea and that beyond Gadeira only form one. Then why did God call the different masses of water seas? This is the reason; the waters flowed into one place, and their different accumulations, that is to say, the gulfs that the earth embraced in her folds, received from the Lord the name of seas: North Sea, South Sea, Eastern Sea, and Western Sea. The seas have even their own names, the Euxine, the Propontis, the Hellespont, the Ægean, the Ionian, the Sardinian, the Sicilian, the Tyrrhene, and many other names of which an exact enumeration would now be too long, and quite out of place. See why God calls the gathering together of waters seas. But let us return to the point from which the course of my argument has diverted me.
OK, where exactly is he proposing Round Earth?
Hexaemeron IX:6, at the end:
|But evening, which long ago sent the sun to the west, imposes silence upon me. Here, then, let me be content with what I have said, and put my discourse to bed. I have told you enough up to this point to excite your zeal; with the help of the Holy Spirit I will make for you a deeper investigation into the truths which follow. Retire, then, I beg you, with joy, O Christ-loving congregation, and, instead of sumptuous dishes of various delicacies, adorn and sanctify your tables with the remembrance of my words. May the Anomœan be confounded, the Jew covered with shame, the faithful exultant in the dogmas of truth, and the Lord glorified, the Lord to Whom be glory and power, world without end. Amen.|
I skimmed up to here, and found no more direct allusions to shape of Earth than these ones. In Hexaemeron. As I pointed out to him in debate, the work De Fide Orthodoxa, which he quotes more than once as St Basil, is actually another saint, St John of Damascus.
Now, I was a bit hasty when skimming through the ninth and final sermon. Here is chapter one, sentence by sentence, with the relevant ones highlighted by underscore:
|How did you like the fare of my morning's discourse?
It seemed to me that I had the good intentions of a poor giver of a feast, who, ambitious of having the credit of keeping a good table saddens his guests by the poor supply of the more expensive dishes.
In vain he lavishly covers his table with his mean fare; his ambition only shows his folly.
It is for you to judge if I have shared the same fate. Yet, whatever my discourse may have been, take care lest you disregard it. No one refused to sit at the table of Elisha; and yet he only gave his friends wild vegetables. 2 Kings 4:39
I know the laws of allegory, though less by myself than from the works of others.
There are those truly, who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to make them serve their own ends.
For me grass is grass; plant, fish, wild beast, domestic animal, I take all in the literal sense.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel." Romans 1:16
Those who have written about the nature of the universe have discussed at length the shape of the earth.
If it be spherical or cylindrical, if it resemble a disc and is equally rounded in all parts, or if it has the forth of a winnowing basket and is hollow in the middle; all these conjectures have been suggested by cosmographers, each one upsetting that of his predecessor.
It will not lead me to give less importance to the creation of the universe, that the servant of God, Moses, is silent as to shapes; he has not said that the earth is a hundred and eighty thousand furlongs in circumference; he has not measured into what extent of air its shadow projects itself while the sun revolves around it, nor stated how this shadow, casting itself upon the moon, produces eclipses.
He has passed over in silence, as useless, all that is unimportant for us.
Shall I then prefer foolish wisdom to the oracles of the Holy Spirit?
Shall I not rather exalt Him who, not wishing to fill our minds with these vanities, has regulated all the economy of Scripture in view of the edification and the making perfect of our souls?
It is this which those seem to me not to have understood, who, giving themselves up to the distorted meaning of allegory, have undertaken to give a majesty of their own invention to Scripture.
It is to believe themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and to bring forth their own ideas under a pretext of exegesis. Let us hear Scripture as it has been written.
I take this as his denying the question has importance, as his refusing to decide. Precisely as when he left Aristotelic cosmology to the discretion of his hearers and readers.
So much for his lack of authorities to Round Earth being believed by ALL Church Fathers.
Now, he is also claiming that angels have as sole function to help us. Well, those moving celestial objects to make seasons, they obviously do that. But he was probably referring to what guardian angels do.
Now, are all angels guardian angels? No more than all are angelic movers of heavenly bodies.
Catechism of St Pius X:
|24 Q. What became of the Angels who remained faithful to God?
A. The Angels who remained faithful to God were confirmed in grace, for ever enjoy the vision of God, love Him, bless Him, and praise Him eternally.
25 Q. Does God use the Angels as His ministers?
A. Yes, God uses the Angels as His ministers, and especially does He entrust to many of them the office of acting as our guardians and protectors.
He is stating that guardian angels of men are more important than angelic movers (if such) of heavenly bodies - not that these do not exist.
|13 Q. Which are the noblest of God's creatures?
A. The noblest creatures created by God are the Angels.
14 Q. Who are the Angels?
A. The Angels are intelligent and purely spiritual creatures.
15 Q. Why did God create the Angels?
A. God created the Angels so as to be honoured and served by them, and to give them eternal happiness.
In other words, as long as angelic movers of planets or of windgusts turning this way rather than that are honouring and serving God in doing so, they are not forfeiting their eternal happiness.
Council of Trent:
(First clause of creed, somewhat into the text)
|CREATION OF THE WORLD OF SPIRITS
Moreover, He created out of nothing the spiritual world and Angels innumerable to serve and minister to Him; and these He enriched and adorned with the admirable gifts of His grace and power.
That the devil and the other rebel angels were gifted from the beginning of their creation with grace, clearly follows from these words of the Sacred Scriptures: He (the devil) stood not in the truth.59 On this subject St. Augustine says: In creating the Angels He endowed them with good will, that is, with pure love that they might adhere to Him, giving them existence and adorning them with grace at one and the same time. Hence we are to believe that the holy Angels were never without good will, that is, the love of God.60
As to their knowledge we have this testimony of Holy Scripture: Thou, my Lord, O king, art wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to understand all things upon earth.61 Finally, the inspired David ascribes power to them, saying that they are mighty in strength, and execute his word,62 and on this account they are often called in Scripture the powers and the armies of the Lord.*
But although they were all endowed with celestial gifts, very many, having rebelled against God, their Father and Creator, were hurled from those high mansions of bliss, and shut up in the darkest dungeon of earth, there to suffer for eternity the punishment of their pride. Speaking of them the Prince of the Apostles says: God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them, drawn by infernal ropes to the lower hell, unto torments, to be reserved unto judgment.63 *
FORMATION OF THE UNIVERSE
The earth also God commanded to stand in the midst of the world, rooted in its own foundation, and made the mountains ascend, and the plains descend into the place which he had founded for them. That the waters should not inundate the earth, He set a bound which they shall not pass over; neither shall they return to cover the earth.64 He next not only clothed and adorned it with trees and every variety of plant and flower, but filled it, as He had already filled the air and water, with innumerable kinds of living creatures.*
PRODUCTION OF MAN
Lastly, He formed man from the slime of the earth, so created and constituted in body as to be immortal and impassible, not, however, by the strength of nature, but by the bounty of God. Man's soul He created to His own image and likeness; gifted him with free will, and tempered all his motions and appetites so as to subject them, at all times, to the dictates of reason. He then added the admirable gift of original righteousness, and next gave him dominion over all other animals. By referring to the sacred history of Genesis the pastor will easily make himself familiar with these things for the instruction of the faithful.*
"Of all Things Visible and Invisible"
What we have said, then, of the creation of the universe is to be understood as conveyed by the words heaven and earth, and is thus briefly set forth by the Prophet: Yours are the heavens, and yours is the earth: the world and the fullness thereof you have founded.65 Still more briefly the Fathers of the Council of Nice expressed this truth by adding in their Creed these words: of all things visible and invisible. Whatever exists in the universe, whatever we confess to have been created by God, either falls under the senses and is included in the word visible, or is an object of mental perception and intelligence and is expressed by the word invisible.
God Preserves, Rules and Moves all Created Things
We are not, however, to understand that God is in such wise the Creator and Maker of all things that His works, when once created and finished, could thereafter continue to exist unsupported by His omnipotence. For as all things derive existence from the Creator's supreme power, wisdom, and goodness, so unless preserved continually by His Providence, and by the same power which produced them, they would instantly return into their nothingness. This the Scriptures declare when they say:if not called by thee?66
Not only does God protect and govern all things by His Providence, but He also by an internal power impels to motion and action whatever moves and acts, and this in such a manner that, although He excludes not, He yet precedes the agency of secondary causes. For His invisible influence extends to all things, and, as the Wise Man says, reachesfrom end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly. 67 This is the reason why the Apostle, announcing to the Athenians the God whom, not knowing, they adored, said:He is not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and are.68 *
Creation is the Work of the Three Persons
Let so much suffice for the explanation of the first Article of the Creed. It may not be superfluous, however, to add that creation is the common work of the Three Persons of the Holy and undivided Trinity, - of the Father, whom according to the doctrine of the Apostles we here declare to be Creator of heaven and earth; of the Son, of whom the Scripture says, all things were made by him;69 and of the Holy Spirit, of whom it is written: The spirit of God moved over the waters,70 and again, By the word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth.71 *
Not one word to exclude angelic movers from being secondary causes relevant for movement of celestial bodies. Unless? Look here:
He also by an internal power impels to motion and action whatever moves and acts, and this in such a manner that, although He excludes not, He yet precedes the agency of secondary causes.
If stars are moving and acting by an internal power, or if angels are moving stars and hence acting astronomy by their internal power, either way secondary causes clause and "by an internal power" clause is respected. So, no. This clause does not preclude angelic movers.
Catechism of Trent on THE THIRD PETITION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER: "THY WILL BE DONE"
(here too somwhat into the text)
|"On Earth as it is in Heaven"
We also pray for the standard and model of this obedience, that our conformity to the will of God be regulated according to the rule observed in heaven by the blessed Angels and choirs of heavenly spirits, that, as they willingly and with supreme joy obey God, we too may yield a cheerful obedience to His will in the manner most acceptable to Him.
God requires that in serving Him we be actuated by the greatest love and by the most exalted charity; that although we devote ourselves entirely to Him with the hope of receiving heaven as reward, yet the reason we look forward to that reward should be that the Divine Majesty has commanded us to cherish that hope. Let all our hopes, therefore, be based on the love of God, who promises to reward our love with eternal happiness.
There are some who serve another with love, but who do so solely with a view to some recompense, which is the end and aim of their love; while others, influenced by love and loyalty alone, look to nothing else in the services which they render than the goodness and worth of him whom they serve, and, knowing and admiring his qualities consider themselves happy in being able to render him these services. This is the meaning of the clause On earth as it is in heaven appended (to the Petition).
It is then, our duty to endeavour to the best of our ability to be obedient to God, as we have said the blessed spirits are, whose profound obedience is praised by David in the Psalm in which he sings: Bless the Lord, all ye hosts; ye ministers of his that do his will.
Should anyone, adopting the interpretation of St. Cyprian, understand the words in heaven, to mean in the good and the pious, and the words on earth, in the wicked and the impious, we do not disapprove of the interpretation, by the word heaven understanding the spirit, and by the word earth, the flesh, that every person and every creature may in all things obey the will of God.
Next psalm (103) has:
 Who makest thy angels spirits: and thy ministers a burning fire.  Who hast founded the earth upon its own bases: it shall not be moved for ever and ever.  The deep like a garment is its clothing: above the mountains shall the waters stand.  At thy rebuke they shall flee: at the voice of thy thunder they shall fear.
Where fire and water are either animate or moved by angels.
So, would some of the angels who obey God IN HEAVEN possibly be angelic movers of celestial bodies?
St Robert's contemporary Riccioli said a resounding yes.
Back to Round or Flat Earth in St Cyril, I found this discussion on ethical atheist:
St. Cyril of Jerusalem – It is said that he followed Basil’s teaching. Seems to have been in the flat earth camp. Quotes frequently from the Bible and portrays earth as firmament floating on water using Gen. i. 6. He wrote in his Catechetical Lectures: Lecture IX: “Him who reared the sky as a dome, who out of the fluid nature of the waters formed the stable substance of the heaven. For God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water. God spake once for all, and it stands fast, and falls not. The heaven is water, and the orbs therein, sun, moon, and stars are of fire: and how do the orbs of fire run their course in the water? But if any one disputes this because of the opposite natures of fire and water, let him remember the fire which in the time of Moses in Egypt flamed amid the hail…”  For a biography, see 
Some argue that he was not influential and note that his view did not prevail. (Also see discussion on “Influential or Fringe Writers?” in Chapter 3.)
Meaning, the case for St Cyril being a flat earth writer depends on the passage in Genesis being a flat earth statement. Which it is not.
So, the case for St Cyril being Flat Earth falls. This case at any rate. However, St Cyril was ... no, St Chrysostomus was believing the box shaped universe, this according to Hannam, who does not give reference:
Some early Christians were victims of misinterpretation. Lactantius rejected the existence of the antipodes - lands on the other side of the equator - on the grounds that anyone who lived there would be upside down. It's a childish error, but does not mean he also believed the earth to be flat. St John Chrysostom thought the heavens were a box rather than a sphere, but he never says the earth is not a sphere in the centre of the box. Other writers may well have simply been using common language that we still use today. Saying "to the ends of the earth", "the four corners of the world" or "the sun sank into the sea" does not make you a flat Earther and we should treat ancient people with the same generosity. ....
To this can be said, he does not say that St John Chrysostom said that the earth IS a sphere in the centre of the box either.
And his treatment of Lactantius is disingenious, since as quoted above (Hannam does not give reference for Lactantius either), this writer actually rabbled off the arguments for a round earth, and argued that these were fictions and folly of philosophers (see also the general title of Book III of Divine Institutes). He gives a similar disingenious interpretation of St Basil, according to our correspondence, here I am extracting from it:
- Finally, re-reading St Basil, it is clear he knew perfectly well what the shape of the earth was and could reel off the standard arguments from Aristotle and Ptolemy. He just didn't think it mattered much!
- St Basil citing the arguments of Aristotle does not necessarily mean he believed them.
- 1) Lunar eclipses could theoretically be due to some other body than Earth.
Vedic astronomy which IS tied to flat earthism has a special planet Rahu with the sole function of explaning eclipses. Solar and Lunar. Accepting our explanation would involve admitting it was Earth's shadow on a Lunar eclipse. Hence, Rahu.
Though St Basil might nowhere have shown knowledge of this theory, he might have been no great astronomy buff, he might nevertheless have considered the argument from Lunar eclipses insufficient.
- 2) Experiment of Eratosthenes and sightings of objects crossing horizon (in aparent motion parallactic to a ship motion or in own motion if object was mast and hull of a ship) certainly suggest Earth is bent, but not necessarily a full globe.
- 3) Geographic argument was strongest when Aristotle considered Straits of Gibraltar to be on other side of Ganges, but before the time of St Basil this might already have been debunked as the misidentification it was, while he wrote about a thousand years before Vasco da Gama supplied real best argument (which has since been redocumented in the Vasco da Gama form time after time).
So, he may well have been exactly as undecided himself as he considered one should be.
- 1) Lunar eclipses could theoretically be due to some other body than Earth.
Correcting "as he considered one should be" to "as he considered one could be". And obviously da Gama to Magellan.
So, Flat Earth, while erroneous and somewhat absurd after Magellan, is nevertheless not a heresy, since some Church Fathers allowed it. And angelic movers, which are truly there (unless stars are themselves alive) are also not a heresy in angelology.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Monday after Laetare Sunday