Meaning of κατὰ θέσιν?

Discussion in 'Languages' started by NaphtaliPress, Feb 13, 2019.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    In the two uses, one in Turretin and one in JDRE (jus divinum regiminis ecclesiastici), how is the Greek, κατὰ θέσιν, being used? The both have it following the affirmation or the positive, what it is, side of a question.

    Turretin. Second proposition: An absolute right in sacred things does not belong to the magistrate, but a limited. In what it does not consist, negatively (κατ' ἅρσιν).
    XII. Second proposition. “Although a right about sacred things belongs to the magistrate, it is not absolute, but limited and circumscribed within certain limits, differing greatly from the right of pastors.” This can be shown: [1.] negatively (κατ' ἅρσιν), in what it does not consist; [2.] affirmatively (κατά θέσιν) and positively, in what it does. As the former: (1.) he cannot make new articles of faith or institute and enjoin new worship because it is will-worship (ἐθελοθρησκεία) condemned by the word of God (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15:8, 9; Col. 2:23) and subjected to a curse (Gal. 1:8, 9) and vindicated by various examples of the divine judgment in Jeroboam, Ahab and Nebuchadnezzar. (2.) To him does not belong the preaching of the word or the administration of the sacraments, because they are proper and essential formal ministerial acts (Matt. 28:19, 20) which no one ought to exercise without a call (Heb. 5:4; 1 Cor. 7:20).

    JDRE: Now this receptacle of power comes to be evidenced, affirmatively, (κατὰ θέσιν), what it is, viz. (according to the express words of the description of government,
     
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    It is "according to the thesis," or in conformity to what has been proposed.

    That's what I think it means. Possibly, the two Gk phrases in conjunction mean something like, "as it stands" or "straightforwardly;" and the other means alternatively/conversely "in a roundabout way."
     
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    The second term appear linguistically related to "catharsis" (typ. cleansing, purification) which acc. to here https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/κάθαρσις
    could have the sense (as it may relate to the Q.) of 2. clarification, explanation.

    lit. according to (at) a remove
     
  4. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Chris,

    Athanasius represents Arius as using the term κατά θέσιν to claim that the Word was the Son of God “according to adoption” as opposed to κατὰ φύσιν (according to nature). De Sententia Dionysii, §23, PG 25:513A.

    Also, you might want to check out footnote 59 (a mixture of Latin & Greek) in Migne (PG 10:1101) from Gregory Thaumaturgus' In Origenem Oratio Panegyrica, (The Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen, the translation of which is found in Schaff’s ANF2), where in that footnote κατʼ ἄρσιν seems to be contrasted with κατά θέσιν as it is in Turretin. Again, the footnote is a mixture of Latin and Greek, but this may present you with a clue for your research.

    Also, I think ἅρσιν should have a smooth breathing mark ̓ rather than a rough breathing mark ̔ . . . ἄρσιν.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    This work uses it to mean "according to convention" (I think) which aligns with what Bruce was getting after. Thoughts?
    https://tinyurl.com/y6hlazz7
     
  6. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, that or "according to affirmation." The magistrate can affirm articles of faith, but he is prohibited from inventing, making, or defining them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I was typing other options but saw your reply, and this seems to resolve to the simple use the Lutheran article makes (see last entry), "kata thesin, that is from the positive side, but not kat' arsin, that is from the negative side." that is kata thesin is defining "Affirmatively" in the JDRE quotation. ??

    In addition to by adoption I see it use to mean arbitrary convention.
    Or as an inheritance, "according to arbitrary convention”) "In other words, this is knowledge which is determined kata phusin (κατὰ φύσιν, “according to the known object’s nature or reality”) in contradistinction to knowledge which is poetic or thetic, determined kata thesin (κατὰ θέσιν, “according to arbitrary convention”).10 10. Torrence, Trinitarian Faith, 48 cited in THE BODY OF Christ ANALOGY IN T. F. TORRANCE’S ECUMENICAL ECCLESIOLOGY, p. 53.

    Or by circumstance, by reason of having the Father in himself? For it seems you do not know what by nature means, or what ‘being of any thing by nature’ means as compared with so being by circumstance: note: 4. kata thesin as opposed to kata physin: God the Son is Son kata physin (by nature) as begotten so; we are sons of God kata thesin (by circumstance or adoption) as made so.

    Turretin contrasts is again here:
    II. Concerning the formal reason of free will, it can be disputed: (1) kat' arsin and negatively that we may see in what it does not consist; (2) kata thesin and positively that it may be evident in what it does properly consist. As to the former, we must oppose the error of the adversaries who place its formal reason in indifference. As to the latter, we must establish the orthodox truth which asserts that it is placed in rational willingness.

    And here an late 19th century Lutheran article seems to indicate all it means is what it says in English, "Even this mystery is indefinable, kata thesin, that is from the positive side, but not kat' arsin, that is from the negative side."
     
  8. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    The term κατά θέσιν is a reference to kataphatic theology (according to a positive thesis), and the second term κατ' ἅρσιν is a reference to apophatic theology (via negativa is another way of saying it). So, according to the first way of doing theology, you make positive statements about, say, the character of God. According to the second way, you say what God is not.
     
  9. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    So, for the general reader what would be a useful note to explain the term to them? "Kατὰ θέσιν: According to the positive thesis. The term κατά θέσιν is in reference to kataphatic theology, where one makes positive statements of support for a doctrine. This is opposed to κατ' ἅρσιν, or apophatic theology, arguing via negativa what is not the correct doctrine, which the authors have just completed in the prior chapters.
     
  10. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Or: Κατὰ θέσιν: According to the positive thesis. The term κατά θέσιν is in reference to kataphatic theology, where one makes positive statements in defining a doctrine. This is opposed to κατ’ ἅρσιν, or apophatic theology, arguing via negativa what is not the correct doctrine, which the authors have done in the previous chapters nine and ten.
     
  11. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Chris, I would say you've got the first one correct. However, κατ’ ἅρσιν doesn't really mean arguing from what is incorrect doctrine. It is more like the negative particles in the words "immortal," "invisible." It actually tells us something about God by saying what He is not (not mortal, not visible, etc.). I would phrase an explanatory note on κατ’ ἅρσιν this way: "κατ’ ἅρσιν" means "according to the negative." A way of doing theology by ruling out certain alternatives. An example would be the word "immortal," which would describe God's character by saying that it is not mortal.
     
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  12. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Lane; I'll make that change. I wonder why I got nothing hit on like this on Google in several pages?
     
  13. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I don't know. It is also odd that these two terms do not make an appearance in Muller's Dictionary, either under the Greek terms, or under "kataphatic" or "apophatic." I think the terms are a bit more common in Eastern Orthodoxy than they are in Reformed circles.
     
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  14. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Chris, if I may, since this is the direction the thread has taken . . . most of your eastern fathers spoke of God in apophatic terms, i.e. what God is not, rather than, in kataphatic terms, what God is positively. With the easterns of the ancient church God was something of a mystery best described in terms of what He is not. I'm not convinced with Lane that κατ’ ἅρσιν and/or κατά θέσιν are being used, for example, by Turretin with that particular nuance or vice versa. But it is true that the writers of the ancient eastern church often chose to speak of God in apophatic (or negative) terms. Again, that God is best described in terms of what He is not. An example being the impassibility of God, which states negatively that God is without passions.

    By way of appending my post above, I thought of the following example of Cyril of Alexandria speaking of the divine Logos in apophatic terms...

    Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444): . . . we grant that Emmanuel consisted of one Christ and son, composed of two perfections⸺of both deity and humanity. For we do not accept the opinion of some who consider that the divine temple, which the divine Logos possessed from the holy Virgin, was void of a rational soul. But as he was perfect in his deity, so also in his humanity, while existing as a single being in a way that is ineffable and beyond understanding. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 137, St. Cyril of Alexandria: Glaphyra on the Pentateuch, Vol. 1, Genesis (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2018), p. 283.
    Greek text: . . . συντεθεῖσθαι δώσομεν τὸν Ἐμμανουὴλ εἰς ἕνα Χριστὸν καὶ Υἱὸν ἐκ δυοῖν τελείοιν, θεότητός τε καὶ ἀνθρωπότητος. Οὐ γάρ τοι παραδεξόμεθα τό τισι δοκοῦν, οἰομένοις ὅτι ψυχῆς λογικῆς ὁ θεῖος ἐκεῖνος κεκένωτο ναὸς, ὃν ἐκ τῆς ἁγίας Παρθένου πεφόρηκεν ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος. Ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ ἦν τέλειος ἐν θεότητι, οὕτω καὶ ἐν ἀνθρωπότητι, πλὴν εἰς ἕνα συγκείμενος ἀποῤῥήτως τε καὶ ὑπὲρ νοῦν. Glaphyrorum in Genesim, Liber VΙ, §4, PG 69:297C.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  15. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Seems to me, the idea that Turretin is using E.O. technical vocab for his purpose, given the apparent prevalent (if spotty) logical use of the terms in the west, might be overspecializing. The development of the use of a term by a certain party does not mean that others must be borrowing that same (full) sense when they use the term. That seems more like an application, one which has its own natural development from the common, more ancient Gk terms, sometimes used in conjunction, sometimes in apposition to one another.

    Directly and indirectly might be vague enough to capture almost all the nuanced proposals so far.
     
  16. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    This is my current note: Κατὰ θέσιν: According to the positive thesis. The term κατά θέσιν is in reference to kataphatic theology, where one makes positive statements supporting and defining a doctrine. This is opposed to κατ’ ἅρσιν, or apophatic theology, which argues via negativa, “according to the negative,” a way of doing theology by ruling out certain alternatives. This the authors did in the previous chapters nine and ten.

    Would it be better not to describe this in those theological terms which tend to be EO associated? It does seem they are pursuing the negatively what biblically something is not, and then what it is. Bear with me. They proposed this description of church government which outlines the whole book (skip to III 6 for the main point in question here).

    This description of church government may be thus explained and proved. Three things are principally considered herein, viz.:

    I. The definitum, or thing defined, or described, viz. church government [chapter 2].

    II. The genus, or general nature of this government which it has in common with all other governments, viz. power or authority [chapter 3].

    III. The differentia, or the specific difference whereby it is distinguished from all other governments whatsoever [chapter 4]. Herein six things are observable:

    1. The special Rule, wherein it is revealed, and whereby it is to be measured, viz. The Holy Scriptures [chapter 4].

    2. The proper author, or fountain, whence this power is derived, viz. from Jesus Christ our Mediator, peculiarly [chapter 5].

    3. The species, or special kind of this power or authority, viz. It is a spiritual power; it is a derived power; it is an exercised power [chapter 6].

    4. The various parts or acts wherein this power puts forth itself: viz., in dispensing the Word, seals, censures, and all other ordinances of Christ [chapter 7].

    5. The special end or scope of this power, viz. the edifying of the church of Christ [chapter 8].

    6. The proper and distinct subject or receptacle wherein Christ has placed and entrusted all this power, viz. only His own officers [chapter 9–15].

    All these things are comprehended in this description and unto these various heads the whole nature of church government may be reduced. So that these being explained and confirmed by Scriptures, it will easily and fully be discovered what that church government is, which is jure divino and by the will and appointment of Jesus Christ our Mediator.​

    Under the last pt. 6. JDRE breaks it out into two questions.

    Chapter Nine III. 6. 1. Of the proper receptacle and distinct subject of all this power and authority of church government, which Christ has peculiarly entrusted with the execution thereof, according to the Scriptures. And I. Negatively, 1. that the political magistrate is not the proper subject of this power.

    Chapter Ten. III. 6. I. [Negatively,] 2. That the Community of the faithful, or [the] Body of the people, are not the Immediate Receptacle or Subject of the power of church government.

    Chapter Eleven. III. 6. Of the proper receptacle or immediate subject of the power of church government: II. Affirmatively, what it is: viz. Christ’s own officers.​

    So it is not a question whether JDRE is using the method of first describing the doctrine by what it is not (negatively) and then by what it is (affirmatively), but whether I should specifically categorize this under the more EO terms? Or what?
     
  17. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Chris, I would not take the reference to kataphatic and apophatic as being of the essence here. It's a description of a negative and positive statement. While that can be broadened out to describe a whole method, here they are just pursuing an argument of a different shape. The idea of negation and affirmation gets at it, and all you would really need as a note is that κατ’ ἅρσιν and κατά θέσιν are so contrasted.
     
  18. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Ruben. How is this revision of my note:
    Κατὰ θέσιν: According to the positive thesis. The authors having described or argued κατ’ ἅρσιν, negatively, who are not the recipient of church power from Christ, here affirm who are the true recipients.
     
  19. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Or better: Κατὰ θέσιν: Affirmatively. The authors having described or argued κατ’ ἅρσιν, or negatively, who are not the receptacles of church power from Christ, here describe it affirmatively.
     
  20. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I favor that very simple explication of those terms; it just clarifies what the present author intends by his reference to "the vocab of argumentation" in vogue at the time of writing.

    Meanwhile, we've all gotten a lesson in linguistic and technical development.
     
  21. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    That sounds like a good note to me. Is the accent on the Kατά going to get placed over the alpha in typesetting?
     
  22. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Do you mean in Κατὰ θέσιν? This is how the typesetting looks.
    upload_2019-2-15_13-54-23.png
    upload_2019-2-15_13-53-52.png
     
  23. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Yes, that's what I was getting at. It shows up properly in typesetting, but when you copied and pasted here, on my display the accent was not above the final alpha.
     
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