/ -ism: usually,
someone who claims that one cannot know about the existence or
nature of God*. However
, most of us (all of us?) will surely have some degree of
agnosticism, since we are mortals and limited in our knowledge.
view that the world doesn’t contain reliable data or coherent
/ -ist: see
wide-ranging, relevant to everyone; of the church: the whole of
Christianity, East and West.
See also Orthodoxy.
to rapid change… tending to conserve *.
One speaks of ‘conservative’ Christians, Catholics,
for everything, including religion and culture, to be governed by
what the public thinks it wants.
on the creeds.
cycle of prescribed psalms, scripture readings and prayers used by
the Church for its regular prayer; sometimes known generally as Opus
Dei, the work of God.
rite of Christianity, in which the Church gives thanks over bread
and wine, as symbols of the whole of life, in continuity with
Jesus’ last meal before he died.
for ‘from nothing’ (as in creation ex nihilo).
/ -ist: a
term coined by a conservative Protestant movement in America in
the late 19th century to denote the ‘fundamentals’ of their
faith. It rejected ‘liberalism’
and asserted biblical infallibility.
Now used in a derogatory way of any strongly-held belief
system – including science, and even atheism.
apart from the
usual definitions, consider also in terms of Origin… Word…
Gift… See also
‘god’ do atheists not believe in?)
with human rather than divine or supernatural matters*.
doctrine that ‘the Word was made flesh and dwelt among
us’ (John 1.14) in Jesus of Nazareth. One
may debate whether the Incarnation of the Word in Jesus was a
unique occurrence or a special case of a universal one.
Radical Orthodoxy tends to go for the latter, and
this connects with one of its most important themes: our own participation
in God, humanity and nature.
est orare: ‘To
work is to pray’ (said by S. Benedict, now almost a motto of the
Benedictine order). See
theology: ‘regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable,
invalidated by modern thought or liable to change.’*
/ -ism: in
theology, interpreting biblical stories or credal statements as if
only the literal, or surface meaning (the ‘storyline’),
mattered. ‘Good practice’, however, is to follow the
ancient system that all stories (and creeds) should be read at
least three levels: (1)
the surface (‘storyline’) level; (2) the moral; and (3) the
allegorical. All good
stories, and particularly fable and fairy stories, are to be read
in this way (e.g. Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Pigling Bland;
J.R.R.Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.
Unfortunately anti-foundationalism is a commonly
held belief, so that many people are unaware that such meanings
form of public worship*, especially the Eucharist.
‘Word’, in Greek philosophy spoken of as a sort of ‘cosmic
cement’ which orders the universe and the human world.
Spoken of by early Church theologians as the Second Person
of the Trinity, incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. See also Wisdom.
of the spheres: Pythagoras
(?582-?500 bc), who
was a strong influence on Plato, discovered universal
mathematical ratios between the notes of a musical scale; and he
regarded the movement of the planets, by virtue of the ratios of
each of their distances from the sun, as singing in a chorus of
celestial music, which he called ‘the music of the spheres.’
narrative usually involving supernatural or imaginary persons*.
Should not be used in the popular sense of a story or
statement that isn’t true.
the view that
existence has no meaning or purpose.
that universals or general ideas are mere names *. Cf Realism.
/ -y: what has
been believed ‘everywhere, always and by all’ (Vincentian
Canon, 5th century). Cf. heterodox, deviation from this.
a key word in Radical
Orthodoxy, denoting the idea that all humanity and all nature
shares in the life of God, and the expectation that individuals
will share their lives with one another.
All of creation contains traces of the divine, which means
that in such sharing we share in the life of God the Trinity.
feminist discourse, denotes the idea that the work in question has
been written from a male perspective.
/ -ist: the
view that only what can be observed by the outward senses is
valid. Belief in God is therefore rejected. In Radical Orthodoxy, however, the term is sometimes
used in the sense of a credal statement being used in a literalist
way, to imply it is being used as mere currency without real
meaning, e.g. the ascension of Jesus, or the inerrancy of
Scripture, in a context of ‘This is what you must believe!’
/ -ism -ity: in
literature, art, music, politics, theology etc, a movement that
reacts against ‘modern’ tendencies, largely by drawing
attention to the styles and techniques that went into making them,
thus exposing their ‘unconscious’ assumptions.
Cf. Modern / -ism / -ity: in
literature, music and art, refers mainly to those works of the
20th century that rejected the styles and conventions of the 19th
century, such as realism. In theology, modern is a
loose term which can denote several things: the school of ‘Honest to God’, and the work of the
former Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins; the practice of analysing
the text of the Bible in a systematic and scientific way; and the
wrestling with the doubt and anger triggered by the dark evils of
the 20th century. It
is used even more vaguely to denote any theology that is seen to
have liberal tendencies.
For Radical Orthodoxy, however, the modern period
begins with the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, since
we say that by then – disastrously for the West – ‘reason’
had been set up as something separate from ‘faith’.
Cf. Premodern / -ism / -ity:
in literature, pre-20th century; in Radical Orthodoxy,
pre 15th century, and includes the seminal figures of Plato (c.428-c.347bc),
and Aquinas (1225-1274).
recent movement within Christian theology, combining premodern theology,
postmodern philosophy and somewhat left wing politics.
revolutionary, showing a tendency to throw out accepted ways when
they are considered past their sell-by date.
/ -ist: in
medieval philosophy, the doctrine that universals
or abstract concepts are not mere words but do have objective
literature, ‘telling it as it is’, like a photograph or a
theology, describing ‘reality’, i.e. what is presumed to have
‘actually happened’ or ‘is the case’.
This contrasts with theological non-realism, which
may claim that a story or doctrine ought to be understood in a
dumbing down, oversimplifying, e.g. understanding the Resurrection
‘only in a spiritual sense’.
the study of
signs and symbols, especially in culture, e.g. Why does this
advert influence me?
the body of
rites, beliefs, and modes of authority handed down in Catholic
Christianity. See Orthodoxy,
that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As with incarnation, Radical Orthodoxy, in
line with classical Christian theology, sees this doctrine
as representative of all reality.
Augustine identified trinitarian ‘software’ in the
human person, for example in our threefold function of memory,
understanding and will. In this triad, memory
corresponds to God the Father, understanding to God the Son, and
will or vitality to God the Holy Spirit, each of which relate to
the other two in a rather specific way.
See also participation.
similar to Logos,
and used in both Hebrew and early Church theology in a similar
way, but with a female gender.
See also Logos, Word.
translates Logos, spoken of as the Second Person of the Trinity,
incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. See
also Logos, Wisdom. Also used of Holy Scripture.
not just what
we do to earn a living, but expending energy in healing the world
and bringing to it greater splendour and beauty.
See Laborare est orare.