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1. Philotheos: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Jovana Šijaković

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The paper highlights some related features of allegorical interpretations of Odysseus and Abraham. Both figures were interpreted as souls on a quest. The affinity between exegetical depic­tions of these quests may have prompted the later synthesis of ancient readings regarding Odys­seus’ intellectual pursuits. The comparison of Penelope and her maids to philosophy and lesser dis­ciplines influenced Philo’s image of Abraham as the husband of wisdom, and the mirror image of Philo himself as the husband of philosophy. There are grounds to question whether Philo’s exegesis subsequently formed a background against which Odysseus’ pursuits were expounded. Among the similarities between his Abraham and Eustathios’ Odysseus the philosopher, the portrayal of these characters as stargazers is the most conspicuous.

2. Philotheos: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
James Filler

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The lumen naturale plays an important role in the philosophy of Descartes, particularly in the Meditations. Yet, while its analysis has not been completely neglected, the lumen naturale has hardly received the philosophical examination it deserves. While it is not possible in so short a pa­per to entirely remedy this deficiency, I do hope in this article to provide some insights into Descartes’ understanding of this concept. In this light, I will seek to examine Descartes’ understanding of the lumen naturale in terms of how it functions and its object(s) in order to understand what, if anything, the lumen naturale tells us about the world around us.

3. Philotheos: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Aleksandar Knežević

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There are two reasons why Christian theology introduces the concept of the absolute nothing into its doctrine of creation. Firstly, unlike platonic non-being, the absolute nihil is not eternally co-existent with God and it does not limit His creative freedom. We notice that God’s freedom is identified with the freedom to create. Platonic non-being represented a necessity. To create, therefore, means to be able to overcome every form of necessity. The concept of the absolute nothing, therefore, needs to provide an ontological ground for the creation of the absolute novum. Sergius Bulgakov and Nikolai Berdyaev, the authors I am quoting in this essay, agree that the apology of the world is inconceivable on the level of monistic ontology, for which substance or ousia is the main category. They are aware that simultaneous communion and otherness between God and the world is imaginable only on the level of the person or hypostasis. Christian theology introduces absolute nothing to secure God’s creative freedom. God is free if He can overcome givenness and create a newness in being. But Bulgakov stresses that to “create out of nothing” means that God creates out of Himself. God can create only what is already given in Him. Berdyaev’s God does not create out of Himself but out of uncreated freedom. Berdyaev explicitly confirms uncreatedness of freedom by stressing that this freedom is outside of God. This is why God can break through the givenness of the world and create an absolute newness.

4. Philotheos: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Kirche Trajanov

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Father Sergei Bulgakov (1871–1944), directly influenced by Vladimir Solovyov and especially by Father Pavel Florensky, developed his sophiological concept which takes a central place in his doctrine of Trinity and God's economy. The main failure of the Russian sophiology is that the question of God's Wisdom is not Christologically founded in the spirit of the New Testament and patristic teaching. Bulgakov neglects the theology of God's uncreated energies. He thinks that it does not sufficiently explain the creation of the world as well as the relationship between God and the world. According to him, the creation of the world and its unity with God can be explained only through a mediator who acts as an “ontological bridge” between the Creator and the creation. Bulgakov, using the ontological mediation paradigms that are characteristic for certain ancient philosophical systems, especially Neo-Platonism, develops his doctrine of Sophia. She is immanent to both the nature of God and the creation. This attitude leads Bulgakov to the position of pantheism. In order to avoid this danger, he modifies his teaching introducing two models of Sophia: “Divine Sophia” and “Created Sophia”. Unlike the patristic theology, Bulgakov’s sophiological essentialism does not tend the antinomy of apophatic-kataphatic theology, and thereby he puts into question the ontological difference between the Creator and the creation. It is a failed attempt to interpret the dogma of the creation of the world ex nihilo, through categories and concepts that are alien to the church tradition.

5. Philotheos: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Michael Arvanitopoulos

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If there is one pivotal epistemological issue the Eastern and the Western Christian churches have agreed upon, this must be the understanding that God’s essence is inherently and conclusively unavailable to humans. This settlement is based on the shared assumption that there is no possible mode of accessing this or any essence, other than either from objective or subjective knowl­edge. Neo-Orthodoxy has preserved the heritage of Pateric apophaticism and has built upon the shared assumption its own, ecclesial accessibility instead to God’s existence. In this exclusivist orientation Neo-Orthodoxy has further proclaimed itself the only true heir to ancient Greece, cutting off the West and criticizing it as a bastion of rational alienation. A phenomenological investigation of Greek statuary art, however, addresses prosody as a third, hitherto unexplored mode of epistemological intelligibility for an access to the essence of “God.” Through the implementation of suprasegmental theory in the phenomenological reduction of a certain statue, we revisit certain key concepts in the discussion between Christos Yannaras, whose works comprise the Neo-Orthodox manifesto, and Martin Heidegger, who claimed that the Greek statue “is the god himself.” Amongst the conclusions emerging from this comparative hermeneutics is the idea that in fact the West may have remained all along more ready than the East to move into the next historical step of man’s self-elucidation in the light of what is Holy.

6. Philotheos: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
John Mizzoni

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Going back to 1950, several Catholic Popes have stated that believing that evolution takes place in nature does not conflict with believing in God or the Catholic faith. Yet disagreement about theistic evolution persists among Catholics. Several popes have stated that to combine an evolutionary view with a Catholic view we must consider the methods used in various branches of knowledge. To do this, we must keep consciously in mind the distinctions between science, metaphysics, philosophy, and theology. This perspective about the branches of knowledge serves to rebut various charges that Catholicism is incompatible with evolution.

7. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Abraham Mounitz

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This exegetical article seeks to offer a close reading of Ecclesiastes that would allow us to surmount the difficulties associated with its exegesis. The book’s text is widely known to be replete with contrasts and antinomies that introduce a certain vagueness to its writer’s intentions. The article suggests that the reader should approach the book as if it was written as a first-person logbook which appears, superficially, to have been written in no logical order, at random, and at different times according to the order of the writer’s experiences and meditations. Such an approach would reduce the readers’ expectations for a logical order and would direct them to a deeper examination of the logical contexts scattered throughout the book. The article also presents the determinist con­texts of reality and their association with a wise person’s perspective as opposed to the randomness associated with a fool’s perspective. The writer’s sceptical descriptions of his encounter with reality and his first-person thoughts about this reality express an explicitly critical view of reality. The writ­er’s pre-reflexive doubt is thus nothing but a methodical doubt akin to Descartes’ pre-cogito doubts. An attentive reader will identify that the book’s text encompasses a reflexive/critical perspective on a sceptical view of reality. As such, the writer’s critical view voids the fool’s non-reflexive sceptical perspective (which is reflected in a superficial reading of the book’s text). The article’s close read­ing of the book thus posits a fool’s vanity which is a “vexation of spirit” (KJV) [re‘ut ruah․] among those who view reality as being coincidental. Conversely, it also posits a wise person’s vanity, which is a “vexation of spirit” [ra‘ayon ruah․], which critiques the fool’s pre-reflexive random view of reality as vanity and as a vexation of spirit [re‘ut ruah․]. This view of the wise person, whose “eyes are in his head” (2:14), is the true free will the writer is alluding to.

8. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Christos Terezis, Lydia Petridou

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In this article, we present a proposal for a synthetic theoretical approach of the myth of Atlantis, firstly presented by Plato in his Timaeus, and, subsequently, systematically approached by Proclus. Τhis is first and foremost a literary subject which in Proclus’ texts, involves many disciplines and causes general interest for research. The main question to deal with since Plato’s era is whether this is a myth or a true story. In our view, Proclus’ comments on the Timaeus appear to be quite important, for they constitute the most detailed and extended original source, which provides a number of interdisciplinary and interpretative approaches. In every case, four are the pillars according to Proclus for any research on the Atlantis hypothesis. Specifically, for Proclus one should approach the story from a historical, natural-scientific/geophysical, epistemological and philosophical point of view. That is to say, Syrianus’ student perspective is as synthetic as possible. Methodologically, he combines the scientific-analytical with the philosophical-synthetic and the theological-hermeneutical aspect, in order to give answers to particular questions. In this way, he aims to avoid simplistic readings and scientific dogmatism and to show a new spirit with decisive axiological judgments. In our general approach which follows we mostly attempt to show how in his commentary Proclus brings together natural sciences with ethics and politics in a frame in which the natural world appears as an authentic reflection of the metaphysical level.

9. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Tadej Rifel

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An expression apophatic philosophy can be understood as an appropriate synonym for a more traditional expression apophatic theology. Traditional philosophical views on the mystery of God created besides its mere rational reflection also thought which is over-rational but definitely not antirational. It can be found in texts in the field of mysticism, both religious and philosophical. Classical Greek culture joined with Christian faith. Therefore, we cannot talk about it as an individual entity being separated by these two worlds. Athens can be recognized in Jerusalem – to use expression of Leo Shestov. A symbol joins the mind. Can anybody still follow its directness? Slovenian philosophical field has developed specific understanding for Christian mystical tradition in its high theoretical expression. Most credit can be given to the thought of Gorazd Kocijančič (born 1964), a philosopher, poet, translator and publisher since it confirms axiomatics of the reality of a spiritual world, which does not correspond to any other reality. Radical denial or negation (apo-fasko) as a modus vivendi of philosophy represents at the same time a relationship of a radical openness between mysteries of God and human being. This contribution will mostly focus on Kocijančič’s synthesis from his philosophical trilogy: Razbitje: Sedem radikalnih esejev [Being broken apart: seven radical essays] (2009), Erotika, politika itn. Trije poskusi o duši [Erotics, politics etc.: three essays on the soul] (2011), O nekaterih drugih: Štirje eseji o preobilju [On some others: four essays on superabundance] (2016) and mainly on his relationship towards phenomenological thinking. As he stresses in his preface to his translation of Levinas’ Le temps et l’autre, apophatics goes beyond the phenomenology.

10. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Václav Ježek

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The following account explores, the issues of the spirituality of the heart, understood as the central spiritual organ of the human being. We analyse the patristic tradition regarding the necessity of protecting the spiritual heart, against all possible attacks. Our main concern is to analyse the tension between the heart and the mind. To understand the dynamics of the relationship between the heart and the mind and to understand the relationship of the heart with love and other related concepts. We discern two forms of spiritualities of the heart, which basically either give preference to the predominance of the heart over the mind or vice versa. If we understand love as being unpredictable and free, what is the consequence of this for the mind and its functions? If we understand the mind and reason to be operating on certain unchangeable principles and conditions how then can we understand the issue of the mind controlling the heart or the hearts relationship with the mind. The theme is important in our contemporary period where there is a clear separation between the mind and the heart, between freedom and love and data and information. The theme is highly relevant today not least because emotionality and love are being relativised or limited by the onset of mechanical processes related to information technology and the mind of the human being itself. In our humble contribution within the limits we have we refer to the thought of Basil the Great and Gregory Palamas.

11. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Mikonja Knežević, Milesa Stefanović-Banović

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In this paper we try to give some further evidence concerning the chronology of Palamas’ treatise Contra Beccum. Taking into consideration different parameters, external and internal, we incline to think that this treatise was composed – or, at least, reworked – in 1355, approximately at the same period when Palamas published the second edition of his Logoi apodeiktikoi.

12. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Deepa Majumdar

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Bréhier revives the possibility of Indian Upaniṣadic influence on Plotinus, specifically in the area of mysticism – asking what in Plotinus’ philosophy is foreign with respect to the Greek philosophical tradition. After Bréhier there are vigorous defenses of Plotinus’ Greek origins – not all of which respond directly to the key issues he raises, or address Plotinus’ mysticism specifically. My purpose in this paper is not to answer Bréhier, but to revisit him, for the purpose of delineating paradigmatic differences between Plotinus’ metaphysics and that in Advaita Vedānta. Starting with differences in their respective texts and conceptions of the Divine, I explore concrete concepts (Māyā, tolma, the forms, gun․as, etc.), so unique to each tradition that they comprise the heart and essence of their differences. I assert as well that their metaphysical distinctions imply dissimilarities in their modes of mysticism. In this effort I uphold numinous experience above historical influences. This paper therefore has four parts: (1) Revisiting Bréhier, Armstrong, and Others; (2) Defining Terms: Texts, Methods, and Conceptions of the Divine (Striking Similarities); (3) Contrasting Advaita Vedānta and the Enneads (Paradigmatic Differences); and (4) Conclusion.

13. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Aleksandar Danilović

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There is almost no Christian who has never heard about John Chrysostom, one of the greatest preachers since the Apostle Paul himself. He is honored as a saint, and his Liturgy is the most celebrated one in the Byzantine Rite even today. On the other hand, the story about the Gittite Goliath and a young boy named David, the future king of Israel and the one from whose royal line Christ will be borne, is one of the most read and used biblical stories. Art, music, popular culture, even sports, and politics – all of them, in their own way, used this story to tell how a tiny ruddy boy can win the giant. But how was it in the time of Saint Chrysostom? How did he read this story? If one knows the difference between the Greek and Hebrew version, which one did John read and preach to his community? Can his approach to this biblical text help us better understand Church Fathers’ exegesis and the Bible itself?

14. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Aleksandar Milojkov

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In this paper, we are going to try to present the concept of synergy in the triadology and anthropology of Saint Augustine. Through the analysis of Augustine’s original texts, we are putting effort to highlight the synergistic interpretation of Augustine’s triadology instead of the essentialist interpretation, which is based on de Régnon’s paradigm as а mainstream exegesis in Orthodox theology. After the triadology, we are making an attempt to analyse the concept of synergy in the anthropology of Saint Augustine – i.e, to interpret the relation between God’s grace and man’s free will in a synergistic key, criticizing the Calvinist monergistic interpretation.

15. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Kaveh Nassirin

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Although it is one of the indispensable standards of relevant research that Heidegger shortly after Being and Time made a „turn“ („Kehre“) in the development of his thinking, it can be shown that this is merely due to a misunderstanding or misinterpretation that began in 1949/50 with an at least incorrect reading of the corresponding passage in the Letter of Humanism. But if this legend of research can be proven as such, the question arises as to what consequences this will have for the comprehension of Heidegger’s thinking, for it is said that with the „turn“, the transcendental approach was given up in favor of an aletheiological one with which it was possible for Heidegger to overcome subjectivism. In rejection of this by now equally canonical interpretation scheme it is shown here that the aletheiological approach is merely a recourse to conceptions important to Heidegger even before Being and Time and that after the failure of its third section – Time and Being – subjectivistic features were rather transferred, partially into a being that was increasingly thought of as an active one, partially into concepts like that of the „first thinker“ („erster Denker“) or the „messenger of being“ („Botenganger des Seins“). All in all, it is argued that the paradigm of „Heidegger‘ s turn“ should be abandoned in order to enable an unobstructed view on Heidegger’s thinking.

16. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Rastko Jović

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Resurrected Christ comes to the Apostles bearing signs of His torture. His body is a perfect body, but yet his “glorious body of the resurrected Christ is disfigured and disabled in that it still bears the marks of crucifixion.” His ribs have obvious signs of injuries. Resurrected Christ has a perfect body that passes through the walls, and yet with visible wounds, “and by his wounds we are healed” (Is 53:4). United apostles have been with no fear, because His visible “defects” convinced them that eschatology entered present time. It is because of his bodily “imperfections” that they believed in Him. Wounds became a powerful symbol of faith, motivation and conviction. Disability, sickness and other conditions of human beings became incorporated into God, participating in His suffering body.

17. Philotheos: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Milesa Stefanović-Banović

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The Serbian Orthodox Church is considered by a number of Serbian citizens to be the “guardian” of tradition and cultural heritage. Issues related to church reforms are thus often particularly sensitive, and are perceived by some of the public as a danger to the preservation of cultur­al and religious identity. On the other hand, there are opinions in favor of reforms. In this context, the issue of church calendar reform is of special interest. Although it has been raised for more than a century, it is still as relevant as in the first attempts at the reform thereof. This paper explores the attitudes on online platforms in Serbia on this issue. Is the church calendar perceived as an integral part of the cultural heritage? What are the pros and cons of calendar reform? What would be the consequences of its potential change?

18. Philotheos: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Abbas Ahsan

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I shall present an analysis of analytic theology as primarily characterised by Michael Rea (2011). I shall establish that if analytic theology is essentially characterised with the ambitions outlined by Rea, then it corresponds to a theological realist view. Such a theological realist view would subsequently result in an onto-theology. To demonstrate this, I shall examine how an onto-theological approach to a God of the Abrahamic Faiths (namely, a transcendent God) would prove to be (theologically) incompatible and even hostile. In essence, my argument shall demonstrate that providing analytic theology is essentially characterised with the ambitions Rea alludes to, it is discordant with a transcendent God of the Abrahamic Faiths.

19. Philotheos: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Marina Ćakić

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Philo’s work On the Life of Moses contains the story of the origin of the Septuagint (section 2.8–65). The scholars have examined this passage from two different perspectives: explaining the connection between Mosaic Law and the law of nature (2.12–14 and 2:45–53) or examining the very process of translation (2.25–44). Even though dealing with the different aspects of the story, both groups of scholars have come to the same conclusion: Philo claims that the Torah has universal significance. The starting point of this paper is that the two approaches, when taken separately, are insufficient. They both raise two essential questions. First, considering that Philo was using the LXX and not the Hebrew Bible, could it be possible that his claim that the Torah is “an excellent copy” of the law of nature also refers to LXX? Second, even though the Torah is finally translated into Greek – the lingua franca of its day – why would its laws be relevant for the people outside the Jewish communities? In this paper, the analysis of Philo’s story on the LXX origin is compared with the LXX origin account in the Letter of Aristeas. The comparison will demonstrate that the changes Philo introduces into the story are indicative of his two major concerns: the universality of Mosaic law and divine intervention in the process of translation. The contribution of this paper is the acknowledgment that the two mentioned aspects – the universality of the Mosaic law and the divine intervention in the translation process are dependent on each other. The latter made the LXX not merely a translation but the same Torah that was once already given to Moses. Consequently, if the Hebrew Torah and the LXX are equal in every regard, that would mean that the LXX also perfectly reflects the natural law, which makes it relevant for all people.

20. Philotheos: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Milan Kostrešević

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Paulus spricht das Thema der Beschneidung zum ersten Mal im Galaterbrief 5, 2–6 ausdrücklich an. Die genaue Bedeutung der Beschneidung, sowohl historisch als auch exegetisch, wurde jedoch in der paulinischen Forschung viel diskutiert. Wenn es um die Beschneidung und die Argumentation des Gal geht, geht es um mehr als das, was die Neutestamentler normalerweise betont haben. Historisch gesehen war die Beschneidung auch mit der Unterwerfung von Gedanken und Leidenschaften unter den Willen Gottes sowie mit Idealen der Vollkommenheit und Heiligkeit verbunden. Exegetisch ist Paulus in Gal 5, 2–6 gegen die Beschneidung, weil dies die Aufrechterhaltung der fortwährenden Glaubenserfahrung der Gläubigen, d. h. der Heiligung, gefährden würde. Paulus antwortet auf die Sorge, seine Erfahrung in Christus aufrechtzuerhalten, indem er schreibt, dass der Christus durch seine völlige Hingabe an Gott durch Glaube erkannt werden sollte, eine Hingabe an das heiligende Werk des Geistes, das im Leben des Gläubigen Früchte trägt. Daher analysiert diese Studie, die sich der zeitgenössischen Diskussion der paulinischen Theologie anschliesst, Paulus’ Beziehung zur Beschneidung in Gal 5, 2-6 im Kontext der galatianischen Welt des neutestamentlichen Zeitalters.