3.30.2016

Dilige et fac quod vis

Keeping the Law 
Disciples asked the maggid of Zlotchov: "In the Talmud we read that our Father Abraham kept all the laws. How could this be, since they had not yet been given to him?" 
"All that is needful," he said, "is to love God. If you are about to do something and you think it might lessen your love, then you will know it is sin. If you are about to do something and think it will increase your love, you will know that your will is in keeping with the will of God. That is what Abraham did."
Yehiel Mikhal of Zlotchov. in Tales of the Hasidim (Martin Buber ed.), Olga Marx (trad.) Schocken Books (1947)

3.28.2016

Quando Deus falava Persa

Nor is Allah referred to as 'Our Father, who art in heaven', because, as a truly transcendent deity, he must transcend gender as well. The God of Islam encompasses both traditionally 'male' attributes such as those of generation and domination and 'female' attributes, such as those of loving-kindness and nurturance. Allah is called 'He' only because of the nature of the Arabic language, which assigns make or female to all nouns and pronouns. Indeed, it is probably not coincidental that so much mystical poetry in Islam has been written in Persian, a language with no gender markers to convey unintended theological limitations.
V. J. Cornell. Tawhid: The Recognition of the One in Islam in Islam: A Challenge for Christianity. SCM Press (1994)

3.26.2016

Distinções

[Estrangeiro] De facto, meu caro, fazer todos os esforços para separar tudo de tudo o resto não se limita a ser antes de mais algo que destoa, mas ainda por cima é a obra de alguém totalmente desprovido quer de música quer de filosofia.
[Teeteto] Então porquê?
[Estrangeiro] Separar cada coisa de tudo o resto é a forma mais segura de fazer desaparecer todo o falar, pois se há fala em nós isso deve-se ao entrelaçamento de ideias umas com as outras.
Platão. Sophista 259d9-259e6 Tradução minha
{ΞΕ.} Καὶ γάρ, ὠγαθέ, τό γε πᾶν ἀπὸ παντὸς ἐπιχειρεῖν ἀποχωρίζειν ἄλλως τε οὐκ ἐμμελὲς καὶ δὴ καὶ παντάπασιν ἀμούσου τινὸς καὶ ἀφιλοσόφου.
{ΘΕΑΙ.} Τί δή;
{ΞΕ.} Τελεωτάτη πάντων λόγων ἐστὶν ἀφάνισις τὸ διαλύειν ἕκαστον ἀπὸ πάντων· διὰ γὰρ τὴν ἀλλήλων τῶν εἰδῶν συμπλοκὴν ὁ λόγος γέγονεν ἡμῖν.

3.24.2016

Proselitismo e a Rota da Seda

It is only possible to bring things or discoveries to China, while it is impossible to bring faith.
Perhaps that is the way it is because the Jesuits brought their faith to China on sea trade routes?
Perhaps they needed to look for special routes – perhaps routes of faith?
After all, it’s said that Khan Buddhism was brought to China by one man.
On foot.
Undinė RadzevičiūtėFish and Dragons. Jayde Will (trad.) 2013.

3.22.2016

Curso da Vida // um poema do Hölderlin

Curso da Vida

Tu querias algo maior, mas o Amor empurra
nos para baixo, o sofrimento curva-se violentamente,
Mas não é em vão que nosso arco
Se vira para lá donde veio.

Para cima ou para baixo! ou já não impera na noite sagrada,
Onde a muda Natureza a sucessão dos dias medita,
Já não impera nas profundezas do Orco
Uma Medida, uma Lei?

Por isto passei eu. Pois jamais, como os Mestre mortais fazem,
Vós, Celestes, Vós que Sois Sempre,
Que eu tenha sabido, com precaução
Me haveis guiado no caminho certo.

Tudo o Humano põe à prova, dizem os Celestes,
Para que, poderosamente nutrido, aprenda a dar graças por tudo,
E compreenda a liberdade
De partir para adonde deseja.


Friedrich Hölderlin. Tradução minha.


Lebenslauf

Größeres wolltest auch du, aber die Liebe zwingt
All uns nieder, das Leid beugt gewaltiger,
Doch es kehret umsonst nicht
Unser Bogen, woher er kommt.

Aufwärts oder hinab! herrschet in heiliger Nacht,
Wo die stumme Natur werdende Tage sinnt,
Herrscht im schiefesten Orkus
Nicht ein Grades, ein Recht noch auch?

Dies erfuhr ich. Denn nie, sterblichen Meistern gleich,
Habt ihr Himmlischen, ihr Alleserhaltenden,
Daß ich wüßte, mit Vorsicht
Mich des ebenen Pfads geführt.

Alles prüfe der Mensch, sagen die Himmlischen,
Daß er, kräftig genährt, danken für alles lern,
Und verstehe die Freiheit,
Aufzubrechen, wohin er will.

3.20.2016

Sinal da Cruz

§1
»Βαδίσωμεν,» ἔφην, «ἐπὶ τὸ τῆς Ἰλιάδος Ἀθηνᾶς τέμενος». Ὁ δὲ καὶ μάλα προθύμως ἀπήγαγέ με καὶ ἀνέῳξε τὸν νεών, καὶ ὥσπερ μαρτυρόμενος ἐπέδειξέ μοι πάντα ἀκριβῶς σῶα τὰ ἀγάλματα, καὶ ἔπραξεν οὐθὲν ὧν εἰώθασιν οἱ δυσσεβεῖς ἐκεῖνοι πράττειν, ἐπὶ τοῦ μετώπου τοῦ δυσσεβοῦς τὸ ὑπό μνημα σκιογραφοῦντες, οὐδὲ ἐσύριττεν, ὥσπερ ἐκεῖνοι, αὐτὸς καθ' ἑαυτόν· ἡ γὰρ ἄκρα θεολογία παρ' αὐτοῖς ἐστι δύο ταῦτα, συρίττειν τε πρὸς τοὺς δαίμονας καὶ σκιογραφεῖν ἐπὶ τοῦ μετώπου τὸν σταυρόν.

Juliano o Filósofo. Carta XIX. Tradução minha.

"Vamos ao templo de Atena Ilíada", disse-me ele, abriu-o e guiou-me com muito entusiasmo até ao interior. Como se estivesse a dar testemunho de algo mostrou-me todas as estátuas intactas, e tudo isto sem jamais agir da maneira que os ímpios [i.e., os Cristãos] costumam agir quando desenham sobre a sua testa descrente aquele seu sinal, e sem silvar, também isso contrário deles. Isto porque a teologia deles consiste exclusivamente dessas duas coisas, silvar face aos espíritos e desenhar a cruz na testa.



§2
οὗτος ἡμῖν δέδοται ἐπὶ τοῦ μετώπου, ὅν τρόπον τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἡ περιτομή · δι'αὐτοῦ γὰρ οἱ πιστοὶ τῶν ἀπίστων ἀποδιιστάμεθά τε καὶ γνωριζόμεθα. οὗτος θυρεὸς καὶ ὅπλον καὶ τρόπαιον κατὰ τοῦ διαβόλου. οὗτος σφραφίς, ἵνα μὴ θίγῃ ἧμῶν ὁ ὀλοθρεύων, ὥς φησιν ἡ γραφή. Οὗτος τῶν κειμένων ἀνάστασις, τῶν ἑστώτων στήριγμα, ἀσθενῶν βακτηρία, ποιμαινομένων ῥάβδος, ἐπιστρεφόντων χειραγωγία, προκοπτόντων τελείωσις, ψυχῆς σωτηρία καὶ σώματος, πάντων κακῶν ἀποτρόπαιον, πάντων ἀγαθῶν πρόξενος, ἁμαρτίας ἀναίρεσις, φυτὸν ἀναστάσεως, ξύλον ζωῆς αἰωνίου.

João Damasceno. Exposição da Fé. Capítulo LXXXIV. Tradução minha.

Este [sinal] na testa foi-nos concedido da mesma forma que a Israel foi concedida a circuncisão. É por ele que nós os crentes nos distinguimos dos descrentes. Ele é um escudo, é uma arma, é um troféu contra o Demónio. É um selo para que o Destruidor jamais nos toque, como diz a Escritura. É ele o ressurgir daqueles que caíram, o sustento dos que se mantém de pé, o bastão dos doentes, a vara dos pastores, o trazer pela mão daqueles que voltam para trás, o destino final daqueles que avançam, a salvação da alma e do corpo, o talismã contra todos os males, o patrono de todos os bons, a destruição do pecado, o rebento da ressurreição, a árvore da vida eterna.




§3

A partir de [10:58]

3.17.2016

Theologia e Etymologia

John [Damascene]’s Christology, and the nature of his response to Monophysitism has, however, long been the subject of misunderstanding, a misunderstanding created by Friedrich Loofs (following on from the presentation of Christology by certain Protestant scholastic theologians), and popularized in the English.-speaking world by Maurice Relton. This misunderstanding is the doctrine of enhypostasia, the notion that the human nature of Christ is ‘anhypostatic’, and finds its hypostasis in that of the assuming Word, so that the Word, by becoming incarnate, accomplishes an ontological process known as ‘enhypostatization’. The error underlying this is very simple, and also typical of the etymologizing style of theology of the first half of the twentieth century, according to which words, and their supposed etymologies, had a kind of life of their own. But in fact, as Brian Daley has argued, the adjective enypostatos is not formed from the preposition en plus an adjective formed from hypostasis (suggesting the idea of being inward to a hypostasis); it is rather the simple adjective from hypostasis, the prefix en affirming the qualify designated by the root, in contrast to the prefix an, which denies it (cf. emphonos/aphonos, enylos/anylos, entimos/atimos): enypostatos, therefore, means ‘real’, and anypostatos ‘unreal’, or sometimes, more precisely, possessing (or not) concrete reality. There is no mysterious process of ‘enhypostatization’.
Andrew Louth. St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Thought p.161. OUP (2002)

A arte da Bizantinística

Averil CameronByzantine Matters. (2014) Princeton UP.
Recognition of the agendas lying behind many individual artworks designed to expound and claim their various versions of orthodox doctrine, and their capacity to enunciate complex theological themes in visual terms, has been part of the move among Byzantine art historians toward a highly contextual exposition and away from stylistic analysis. To be a Byzantine art historian at this juncture requires a highly sophisticated theological awareness combined with the deployment of complex and often obscure theological texts. And since so much Byzantine writing of this kind remains imperfectly edited or is even unpublished, this means that they must be philologists, theologians, and liturgists too.

3.16.2016

Theologia Musices

Commentators on the Dialectica often remark that the matters discussed do not seem to have any real bearing on the rest of The Fountain Head of Knowledge, or even constitute any kind of preparation for the rest of John’s theological œuvre. Richter, for instance, says that ‘the Expositio makes no use of the Philosophical Chapters'. It is true that there are many chapters of the Dialectica that are rarely referred to in John’s other writings, if at all. But this does not mean that the Dialectica has nothing really to do with On the Orthodox Faith. Presumably the purpose of the Dialectica, in John’s eyes, was to help novice theologians to think clearly and argue convincingly, abilities that are necessary to read On the Orthodox Faith profitably, and build on the positions set out in that treatise. To say that On the Orthodox Faith makes no use of the Dialectica is a bit like saying that Beethoven’s piano sonatas make no use of the piano exercises of Hanon’s The Virtuoso Pianist: it is certainly true that few of Hanon’s exercises appear in Beethoven’s sonatas, not even all the scales in their various forms, and yet someone who has not mastered Hanon would certainly be ill-prepared to play Beethoven’s sonatas.
Andrew Louth. St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Thought. OUP (2002)

True Philology

§1

“Nach dem Essen ging er in seinem schönen Garten mit mir auf und ab und erkundigte sich sehr freundlich nach meiner Arbeit. Ich hatte damals den grösseren Teil des Aristophanes gelesen und fing an Leo davon vorzuschwärmen, mich über den Zauber dieser Poesie, die Schönheit der Chorlieder zu verbreiten, und ich weiss nicht was noch alles. Leo liess mich ruhig ausreden, vielleicht zehn Minuten lang, ohne irgend ein Zeichen der Missbilligung oder der Ungeduld. Als ich fertig war, fragte er: ‘In welcher Ausgabe lesen Sie eigentlich den Aristophanes?’ Ich dachte: hat er denn überhaupt nicht zugehört? was hat denn seine Frage mit dem zu tun, was ich ihm erzählt habe? Nach einem Augenblick unmutigen Zauderns antwortete ich: ‘In der Teubner-Ausgabe’. Er: ‘Ach, Sie lesen Aristophanes ohne kritischen Apparat’. Er sagte es ganz ruhig, ohne jede Schärfe, ohne einen Hauch von Spott, nur ehrlich erstaunt, wie es möglich war dass ein leidlich intelligenter junger Mensch so etwas tun konnte. Ich sah auf den Rasen neben mir und hatte nur eine einzige, überwältigend starke Empfindung: νῦν μοι χάνοι εὐρεῖα χθών. Später kam es mir vor, als hätte ich in diesem Augenblick begriffen, was ordentliche Philologenarbeit bedeutet.
E. Fraenkel. Prefácio aos Ausgewählte kleine Schriften de Friedrich Leo.
I had by then read the greater part of Aristophanes, and I began to rave about it to Leo, and to wax eloquent on the magic of this poetry, the beauty of the choral odes, and so on and so forth. Leo let me have my say, perhaps ten minutes in all, without showing any sign of disapproval or impatience. When I was finished, he asked: "In which edition do you read Aristophanes?" I thought: has he not been listening? What has his question got to do with what I have been telling him? After a moment's ruffled hesitation I answered: "The Teubner". Leo: "Oh, you read Aristophanes without a critical apparatus." He said it quite calmly, without any sharpness, without a whiff of sarcasm, just sincerely taken aback that it was possible for a tolerably intelligent young man to do such a thing. I looked at the lawn nearby and had a single, overwhelming sensation: νῦν μοι χάνοι εὐρεῖα χθών. Later it seemed to me that in that moment I had understood the meaning of real scholarship.

(Martin L. West trad.)

§2
Margolis would ask each student to take a special assignment, such as a particular version or commentary and be responsible for its evidence. He told me on my first day in class to handle the Syriac version. 'But I don't know Syriac,' I protested. He looked at me sternly and growled, 'Where do you think you are? In a kindergarten? Go home and learn Syriac.'
Cyrius Gordon. Fonte.

3.14.2016

oração de Irene de Athenas à Theotokos // um poema

imperadores, imperadores sem fim
imperadores sob o eterno império
do teu radiante olhar,
Senhora. e eu a ashik
da legenda do teu santo nome.
trovo-te na luz
e no sangue dos meus.
do branco dos seus olhos pinto
os teus olhos.
da sua íris as tuas santas vestes.
do sangue a imperial tua púrpura.
elevo-te não sem pavor,
mãos que elevaram e choraram um filho
a uma que elevaste e choraste o teu filho.
nenhum do ouro senão às mães, às mães.
as mães crucificadas em tronos.
as mães crucificadas em tronos
endurecem em sincronia com o ouro das paredes,
Senhora, eu, a paz que não olha à paz
mas à fé segura e firme
ditada e assegurada pelos padres,
a mosaica e romana fé
de que cada um dos teus cabelos
foi assim, de que o teu olhar
incendiou de amor teu filho
como me incendeia a mim
e a toda a minha Romanía
de amor por ti. mais fé, mais forte
do que as muralhas de todas as Romas,
és tu a Cidade.
perco-me nas lágrimas do teu pálio.
visto-me de ti, visto-me do teu
sangue e dos meus.
nenhum do teu
ouro e do meu, Senhora,
desmancharão eles
com seu radiante olhar.

3.12.2016

um poema do Iosif Brodskii

A Halt in the Desert

So few Greeks live in Leningrad today
that we have razed a Greek church, to make space
for a new concert hall, built oin today's
grim and unhappy style. And yet a con-
cert hall with more than fifteen hundred seats
is not so grim a thing. And who's to blame
if virtuosity has more appeal
than the worn banners of an ancient faith?
Still, it is sad that from this distance now
we see, not the familiar onion domes,
but a grotesquely flattened silhouette.
Yet men are not so heavily in debt
to the grim ugliness of balanced forms
as to the balanced forms of ugliness.

I well remember how the church succumbed.
I was then making frequent springtime calls
at the home of a Tartar family
who lived nearby. From their front window one
could clearly see the outline of the church.
It started in the midst of Tartar talk,
but soon the racket forced its rumbling way
into our conversation, mingling with,
then drowning out, our steady human speech.
A huge power shovel clanked up to the church,
an iron ball dangling from its boom, and soon
the walls began to give way peaceably.
Not to give way would be ridiculous
for a mere wall in face of such a foe.
Moreover, the power shovel may have thought
the wall a dead and soulless thing and thus,
to a degree, like its own self. And in
the universe of dead and soulless things
resistance is regarded as bad form.
Next came the dump trucks, then the bulldozers . . .
So, in the end, I sat — late that same thing —
among the fresh ruins in church's apse.
Night yawned behind the altar's gaping holes.
And through those open altar wounds I watched
retreating streetcars as they slowly swam
past phalanxes of deathly pale streetlamaps.
I saw now through the prism of that church
a swarm of things that churches do not show.

Some day, when we who now live are no more,
or rather after we have been, there will
spring up in what was once our space
a thing of such a kind as will bring fear,
a panic fear, to those who knew us best.
But those who knew us will be very few.
The dogs, moved by old memory, still lift
their hindlegs at a once familiar spot.
The church's walls have long since been torn down,
but these dogs see the church walls in their dreams —
dog-dreams have cancelled out reality.
Perhaps the earth still holds that ancient smell:
asphalt can't cover up what a dog sniffs.
What can this building be to such as dogs!
For them the church still stands; they see it plain.
And what to people is a patent fact
leaves them entirely cold. This quality
is sometimes called 'a dog's fidelity'.
And, if I were to speak in earnest of
the 'relay face of human history',
I'd swear by nothing but this relay race—
this face of all the generations who
have sniffed, and who will sniff, the ancient smells.

So few Greeks live in Leningrad today,
outside of Greece, in general, so few—
too few to save the buildings of the faith.
And to have faith in buildings — none asks that.
It is one thing to bring a folk to Christ;
to bear His cross is something else again.
Their duty was a single thing and clear,
but they lacked strength to live that duty whole.
Their unploughed fields grew thick with vagrant weeds.
'Thou who doest sow, keep they sharp plough at hand
and we shall tell thee when they grain is ripe.'
They failed to keep their sharp ploughs close at hand.

Tonight I stare out through the black windows
and think about that point to which we've come,
and then I ask myself: from which are we
now more remote — the world of ancient Greece,
or Orthodoxy? Which is closer now?
What lies ahead? Does a new epoch wait
for us? And, if it does, what duty do we owe? —
What sacrifices must we make for it?


Joseph Brodsky. in Selected Poems. George L. Kline (trad). Harper & Row (1973)

3.08.2016

Nous demanderons

Platoniciens nous saurons toute notre cité, kantiens nous saurons tout notre devoir. Platoniciens, ou héritiers des anciens platoniciens, nous saurons toute notre République et nous saurons toutes nos lois. Kantiens ou héritiers des —nouveaux— kantiens, nous saurons toutes nos obligations morales. Mais nous demanderons aux anciens que ces obligations morales demeurent belles, nous demanderons aux chrétiens que ces obligations morales demeurent saintes, demeurent charitables, aux messianiques nous demanderons qu'elles demeurent ardentes, aux cartésiens nous demanderons qu'elles demeurent distinctes et claires, aux bergsoniens nous demanderons qu'elles demeurent profoundes, intérieures et vivantes, mouvantes et réelles.

Charles Péguy. La Bonne Anée 

A distância infinita


La distance infinie des corps aux esprits figure la distance infiniment plus infinie des esprits à la charité, car elle est surnaturelle.

Charles Péguy. La Bonne Anée

3.05.2016

// John Burside, Haar

(Nota: 'Haar' è scozzese per 'Hoar', quindi 'brina'.)

Haar
Matthew 19-22

This is as good as it gets:
this cold fog over the water, this pale
companion to the dreams I can't forget
and never quite recall.

Stale afternoon. My neighbour stands in her yard
and watches the sky:
her children are gone; her husband is lost at sea;
how she remembers them now is by looking out patterns

for Arran sweaters, mittens,
balaclavas. Her landlord, a lickspittle spiv
in a flat tweed cap,
sits in his house on Toll Road

counting his money.
He's not really sure what it's for,
and he's mostly past caring
— maybe he knew something once, and maybe he woke

in the small of the dark with a glimmer of scent on his hands
that he couldn't quite place.
Now he's alone with his ledger.
He won't have a cat.

All day, the harbour dwingles.
Nothing much happens; there's nothing to smell or touch,
the shore road is mostly gift shops and fish'n'chips,
a colourless tavern, the glister of handmade toffees.

There are day trips out to the island, to see the puffins;
fairground attractions; amusements; a tidy marina;
boys in their hot-cars, waiting for someone to see them;
fishermen; coaches; pleasure boats; tailored poodles.

It's warmer at night, when the lights go on in the pool hall,
the moon on the empty firth like the spirit of neon,
girls from the Glasgow Fair drifting down to The Ship
for vodka and cranberry, Budweiser, rum and black,

but days are best: these days of salt and fog,
mornings when last night's dreams fit snug in my head,
erotic and golden, the clue to a better life
than this fudged and elaborate pact with a stranger's daytime.

The old town is gone.
The high sails out on the water,
boatloads of herring
gutted and trimmed on the pier,

the marriage feasts of skate
— to bring forth children —
the dead in their box-beds,
whispering under the eaves.

Now, as the haar comes in,
I look for ghosts,
children with dip-nets,
women with salt in their faces,
men going out before dawn in the coats that will drown them,

but this is as good as it gets: this quiet fog,
the cool of it threading my eyes
with the promise of elsewhere,
its breath on my skin like the lover I meet in a dream.

My neighbour stands in her yard and stares at the sea;
her landlord drifts in a stupor of calculation;
the town hall opens for bingo; the harbour whitens;
foghorns call from the firth, like abandoned cattle;

and as I walk back from town with the milk and a paper,
the haar whites out the main streets, one by one:
James Street, John Street, Burnside, Tollbooth Wynd,
one step ahead all the time, as I make my way home,

tracing a path of erasure back to the house
where all I possess is laid up, like a storm:
my furniture, my books, my ornaments,
my lost love in the kitchen, brewing tea.

John Burnside

3.03.2016

This is Aleppo

After a while I complied with my grandmother's request to switch on the radio, and searched round for a station. I found one as the clock turned seven.
'This is Aleppo.'
I drew a veil of silence over the voice.
'Let's hear the news,' protested my grandmother.
Flicking through the pages of the morning paper, I said:
'It's stale news.'
'New things may happen, my son,' exclaimed the old lady, suddenly conscious of her age.
Walid Ikhlassi. The Dead Afternoon in Modern Arabic Short Stories. Denys Johnson-Davies (trad). OUP (1967)

Ler Hegel

Portanto, esta categoria, ou seja, a simples unidade da autoconsciência e do ser, contém em si a diferença; isto porque a sua essência reside precisamente na alteridade ou diferença absoluta e imediata para consigo mesma. De forma que a diferença existe, mas de forma totalmente transparente, e como uma diferença que portanto não é diferença nenhuma.
Hegel. Fenomenologia do Espírito. §235. Tradução minha.
Diese Kategorie nun oder einfache Einheit des Selbstbewußtseins und des Seins hat aber an sich den Unterschied; denn ihr Wesen ist eben dieses, im Anderssein oder im absoluten Unterschiede unmittelbar sich selbst gleich zu sein. Der Unterschied ist daher; aber vollkommen durchsichtig, und als ein Unterschied, derzugleich keiner ist.
Às vezes pergunto-me porquê.