Philosophy

“Thomism” is Invalid: A Proof by Contradiction — Guest Post by John Kelleher

Briggs: My rebuttal is in the comments.

For centuries, a welter of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic commentators, with nary a whimper from their “common sense,” dutifully repeated Aristotle’s statement in On the Heavens (I.vi) that of two bodies the one with twice the mass will fall from the same height in one-half the time. And they rarely if ever seemed to notice how radically insufficient Aristotle’s understanding of motion had to be for him to make that statement about what happens to bodies when they fall.

For centuries, a welter of devout Catholic theologians, in discussion of the source and summit of Catholic life, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist, have dutifully repeated St. Thomas’s placement of all sacramental efficacy in the words of consecration: “This is my Body; This is my Blood.” And similarly, they too have rarely seemed even to notice how radically insufficient St. Thomas’s metaphysical system had to be for him to make his argument about the Eucharist.

For not even a genius of St. Thomas’s caliber was able to deploy that Aristotelian analysis to account for the simple Catholic facts of the matter without generating contradictions.

Thus St. Thomas’s argument on this point refutes — not merely eviscerates, but refutes — any possible use of Aristotle’s brand of form-matter analysis in Catholic theology.

… if we take seriously the meaning of form and matter in the Thomist act-potency analysis, it is clear that only by the “form” of the sacramental sign (sacramentum tantum), viz., by the words of consecration, do the bread or the wine signify and cause what they signify. That the bread and wine, as signs, are indispensable to this efficacy must be conceded—and in fact this is insisted upon over and again by St. Thomas, for if the bread or the wine is corrupt, or substituted for by invalid matter, there is no sacrament—but he provides no act-potency explanation for their indispensability. If the words of consecration are truly the formal content of the sacramental sign, the matter upon which they bear cannot but be formally insignificant; as material causes, they can do no more than individuate the sign in space and time, for which purpose any material whatever would suffice.

[ Rev. Donald Keefe, SJ, Covenantal Theology Vol. II, Ch. 5, pp. 422 ]

St. Thomas finds himself in a pickle. Supporting wholeheartedly the clear and constant profession of the Catholic Church, he affirms repeatedly that the bread and wine are indispensable to the efficacy of the sacrament, and he also must affirm, by the Aristotelian form-matter analysis that he wants to deploy, that as material causes, the bread and wine are completely dispensable.

According to the metaphysics of Aristotle, the bread and wine can be any material whatever, but according to the Catholic Church, this is a complete falsity, a gigantic heresy, an outright absurdity, with numerous and deep implications for the whole of Catholic profession and life. It’s difficult to imagine saying that “in principle” the bread and wine could be anything whatever, and remaining any kind of Catholic at all. It’s that far removed from the “this-ness” of real Catholicism.

But this is precisely what the Aristotelian metaphysics forces. So (following his Catholic faith) St. Thomas says that the bread and wine are very specifically indispensable to the sacrament, but (following Aristotle) he must simultaneously say that it is impossible for the bread and wine to be indispensable; for they lack a formal “subject of inherence.”

This contradiction, out of St. Thomas’s own mouth, and regarding the Eucharist itself, the very heart of the Catholic Church, refutes “Thomism” root and branch. The Aristotelian form-matter analysis is radically insufficient to Catholic theology. The proof by contradiction is complete.

It is true that I have never read, nor met, any Thomist dumb enough to fall for such a simple, clear, “inclined plane”, “balls dropped from the tower” refutation of an entire theory. Thomists are far too intelligent, too highly trained, even to be bothered, let alone intrigued, by a parlor trick.

Nonetheless, Fr. Keefe himself was optimistic:

…the first step toward the conversion of cosmology to a Christian metaphysics was taken by St. Thomas himself, without which no Thomism would exist and no progress in it would be possible. To refuse to proceed further is to hesitate where St. Thomas did not, whose great respect for “the Philosopher” did not prevent his undertaking a theological–and therefore a historical–systematic project. If we are to continue what Thomas began, we must recognize that he left unfinished the conversion of the Aristotelian cosmology which constitutes his metaphysics.

[ ibid. p. 423 ]

About Fr Keefe, see Kelleher’s earlier post.

Categories: Philosophy

80 replies »

  1. I don’t see how this refutes Aristotelian metaphysics, as interpreted by St Thomas. But it is suggestive that it doesn’t apply chaotically, as it were.

    Is this a fair summary of Keefe’s argument? We need actual bread and actual wine, which are then by the priest and the miracle of God, transformed into the actual flesh and actual blood of Christ.

    We couldn’t use a pickle and beer and achieve the same consecration; or even a razor blade and a Cuisnart blender. It has to be actual (wheat) bread and actual (grape) wine.

    Keefe then says Aristotelian metaphysics of actuality and potency implies any objects could take the place of bread and wine. Therefore, Thomism is false.

    That right?

    This is not a failure, I think, of Thomism or Aristotelian metaphysics. It merely seems to be a limitation placed on a particular ceremony by God. It is God, after all, that works the miracle. And for whatever reason He chose, He wants actual bread and actual wine.

    Perhaps—and I don’t stick to this; it’s only a suggestion—because bread and wine serve to remind of the staples of life. God could, it seems, change the form of a razor and a blender, I don’t think Keefe would object to that. But these objects seem to us strange to eat. The miracle of eating them and surviving them, to those who don’t believe, is huge. No faith would be required to know a miracle has happened. All would know all the time. Talk about signs!

    The miracle in tranforming actual bread and wine is, if you like, smaller, less showy. And it requires faith to believe.

    Also, in Aristotelian metaphysics, things can’t change into what they can’t change into. For instance, a razor doesn’t have the potential to change to bread. This is known in the same way we know the essences/natures of razors and bread. In other words, there is no “proof” other than by appealing to our intuitions, which is how we know forms.

    Water has the potential to become wine, we know, because Jesus miraculously made the change. Dead has the potential to life, which we know fo the same reason. But we don’t see other miracles that seem as strange as razors to bread.

    I don’t see how my summary of Keefe’s argument refutes Thomism. Maybe I misunderstood Keefe, or maybe Thomism has to modified. Or maybe Keefe’s theory does.

  2. Or maybe none of what either author wrote makes sense if you’re not Catholic. I’m going with that answer.

  3. “material causes, they can do no more than individuate the sign in space and time, for which purpose any material whatever would suffice”

    “It merely seems to be a limitation placed on a particular ceremony by God”

    So, bread and wine are metaphysically dispensable, but spiritually essential? or in other words, Aristotle explains the Metaphysics, but the metaphysics do not explain the whole of the Eucharist.

    That doesn’t sound like a terrible problem for Thomism, especially as the Eucharist is a divine mystery, which I would have thought is the sort of thing that couldn’t be explained fully by any branch of philosophy.

    “Maybe I misunderstood Keefe”

    Ditto.

  4. “Oh, so St. Thomas provided no act-potency account of the indispensability of the bread and wine? I’ll just provide one myself — problem solved!”

    That’s either a proof (a) that St. Thomas was so dumb that he just ‘forgot’ to do that himself, or (b) a proof that one thing (a Thomist committed to Aristotelianism on the hoof) cannot be changed into another thing.

    Speaking of…

    [ CT Vol. I Ch 3 n. 63, p.369 ] “The nominalist temptation cannot be said to be entirely foreign to St. Thomas; in another connection, he had anticipated the essence of the nominalist movement in a single sentence: see ST iiia q. 75, a. 4, ad 3.”

    The citation Fr. Keefe references shows that in order to answer the objection, St. Thomas himself recognized that he could give no act-potency account of the objection, and abandoned his system — abandoned Aristotelian metaphysics — and said, “Well, the answer is, Then A Miracle Occurs.” Which, as Fr. Keefe rightly points out, is the essence of nominalism. (The citation means, Summa Theologiae, iiia, question 75, article 4, reply to objection 3; and here it is, with a little context).

    ===

    Article 4. Whether bread can be converted into the body of Christ?

    Objection 3. Further, when two things are diverse, one never becomes the other, as whiteness never becomes blackness, as is stated in Phys. i. But since two contrary forms are of themselves diverse, as being the principles of formal difference, so two signate matters are of themselves diverse, as being the principles of material distinction. Consequently, it is not possible for this matter of bread to become this matter whereby Christ’s body is individuated, and so it is not possible for this substance of bread to be changed into the substance of Christ’s body.

    Reply to Objection 3. Form cannot be changed into form, nor matter into matter by the power of any finite agent. Such a change, however, can be made by the power of an infinite agent, which has control over all being, because the nature of being is common to both forms and to both matters; and whatever there is of being in the one, the author of being can change into whatever there is of being in the other, withdrawing that whereby it was distinguished from the other.

    ===

    And — c’mon guys, it’s an 800 word blog post. Of course there are other profound reasons why the pagan metaphysics of Aristotle cannot be reconciled with the Catholic faith, absent a far more profound conversion than St. Thomas provided, or that Thomists evince any felt need to provide.

    But apparently Aristotle was right: it is impossible for a “Thomist” to become some other thing. For as Matt is well aware, in the real world of complex theories, it is always possible to “save the appearances.” You just have to want it hard enough.

  5. John,

    Well, I’m willing to be talked out of Thomism, once I see an argument that truly refutes it.

    For instance, I don’t see how it is the “definition” of nominalism to say a miracle occurred. The form, Thomists would say, of Lazarus was miraculously changed from dead to alive.

    I’m just not understanding Keefe’s objection. Surely he agrees that in the consecration, the bread and wine brought to the altar are actual bread and actual wine, which a nominalist would carp about (never agreeing on the essence of anything), but not a Thomist.

    What does Keefe say happens to that actual bread and actual wine when it becomes actually the body and blood of Christ (which we all accept)? Not a miracle?

    I don’t think Keefe’s case is at all clear here.

  6. 1. Aristotelian philosophers in the Late Middle Ages demolished Aristotle’s physics; specifically, Albert of Saxony [iirc], proposed the thought experiment that showed that the Stagirite’s reasoning was incorrect. [In fact, Aristotle’s account of motion is correct for motion in a plenum. He just vastly overestimated air resistance, is all. Try dropping a bowling ball and a golf ball in your swimming pool.] But none of it lays a glove on Aristotelian metaphysics.

    2. Nothing wrong with hylemorphism. “After all, every thing is some thing.” There can be no matter without form. It is form that makes matter the kind of thing it is: Louis XIV chair or an armadillo, for example.

    3. The Eucharist is not a transformation, at all. The matter retains the forms of bread and wine. It is a transubstantiation. It is the substance that changes, not the form of matter. When uranium decays, the matter loses the form of uranium and takes on the form of lead. (There are intermediate phases.) When you paint a wall, it loses the form of red (let us say) and takes on the form of blue (or whatever). When an acorn sprouts, it loses the form of acorn and takes on the form of oak. Likewise, material may lose the form of pigments and take on the form of Mona Lisa. Sodium + chlorine take on the form of salt. Etc., etc.

  7. @YOS regarding item 3, however extraordinary, I submit that the Eucharist has the potential to *transform* into actual flesh and and blood, e.g. miracles. So wouldn’t it be more precise to say the Eucharist is *not necessarily* a transformation?

  8. I understood immediately what Keefe was doing, when I saw the initials SJ. They never really seek to ‘prove’ anything, only to sow doubt. That is their sole job, and their sole tactic. They leave the harvest to their revolutionary follow-ons. (With apologies to the few who stayed true).

  9. “Also, in Aristotelian metaphysics, things can’t change into what they can’t change into. ”
    That’s silly

  10. Whoa horse! Hold on a second…

    Unless I’ve misunderstood something, our refuter is confused.

    There is no contradiction between Thomas and Aristotle.

    Aristotelian view is right in that any matter could be used. Like crackers and lemon juice. Or a rock and hard water. Even Satan knew God could command stones into bread.

    But given the Eucharist is a supernatural action by God, predicated upon human obedience to His instructions because He wishes cooperative actions in His dealings with man, and given God can make anything ex nihilo, from nothing, absolutely any matter could do.

    But God limited it to bread and wine. Much about its symbolic and cultural reasons can be written, but that’s not the point.

    God instructed that it be those particular things or else He isn’t going to do anything, much like He instructed Moses to hold his staff over the Red Sea to part it and not the Nile where the same action would produce nothing.

    Only idiots would think they are being very innovative by changing the rules and those that do are always heretics and usually want some moral rules changed fir their convenience and those almost always have to do with sex. So every right thinking person knows to avoid these fools.

    So yes, bread and wine is an imposed limitation due to exceptional reasons. It has nothing to do with Aristotle’s general points and therefore is not at all a contradiction for Thomas.

    This just seems like a poorly thought-out attempt at a gotcha.

  11. My Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (incorrectly known by many as “The Mormons”) holds that the bread and wine are symbolic and represent the concepts of the sacrifices of Christ — his blood and his body — which we take in remembrance of Him while renewing our covenants made at baptism.

    In our services, we use water in place of wine, and in times of hardship — soldiers in the trenches, disaster zones — crackers, hardtack, dried potato peel have been substituted for bread.

  12. Peter Kreeft summarizes Saint Thomas Aquinas’ position on Eucharist as such, “God said it; I believe it; that settles it.” I think YOS’s explanation is very clear to me. Theological concepts like transubstantiation and consubstantial are somewhat mysterious to us, but we know there is no contradiction within them. Ultimately these mysteries are accepted with the premise of the authority of the Scriptures and the Church, which can be accepted with induction. What I am confused about is what you said about razors does not have the potential to become bread. It seems odd to me that we could say water has the potential to become wine on the ground of revelation yet do not accept that razors have the potential to become bread. God cannot make square circles, but I don’t see why God cannot turn razors into bread (or turn square into circles for that matter). There is no inherent contradiction here. On the other hand, from reason, it seems we can neither accept that razors have the potential to become bread nor water has the potential to become wine, for else our understanding of the world would be chaotic. I wonder if Thomism can address such paradox (if it is a paradox).

  13. For me, this is straight decision theory: it’s how you weight the facts and the probabilities. Suppose we have a system that simply doesn’t account for some fact. Then (I say), “OK, it doesn’t account for that fact, but that doesn’t make the system wrong.” I might also weight how ‘important’ the fact is, and make a judgment as to how much use I can make of a system that doesn’t account for it.

    But notice, in ST iiia q. 75, a. 4, ad 3, that St. Thomas says not merely that Aristotelian metaphysics doesn’t account for the transubstantiation of the bread.

    It is impossible to overemphasize this: Thomas himself recognizes, and says out loud, that Aristotelian metaphysics is antithetical to a central dogma of the Catholic faith, the transubstantiation of the bread: “Form cannot be changed into form, nor matter into matter…”

    And then Thomas commences his ad hoc shift into Then A Miracle Occurs: “…by the power of any finite agent. (etc.)”

    All of a sudden, at a critical moment, the system is abandoned, and God Can Do Anything. I personally give a very low weight to ad hoc explanations, and wonder aloud, how infinitely they might be multiplied.

    The way that I weight all of that is: “I consider transubstantiation to be a very important, a fundamental, a crucial, fact of the Catholic faith. My system says that transubstantiation is impossible. So, either transubstantiation is impossible, or my system is just plain wrong in very important, fundamental, crucial ways.”

    But Thomists decide very differently. To Thomists, what St. Thomas says in ST iiia q. 75, a. 4, ad 3 does not challenge their Fundamentally True And Practically Perfect system. (If they think about it at all), it appears to them as a mere annoyance, a fly for some reason still buzzing about the picnic, but one readily waved off.

    I would that Thomists would weight, and thus decide, differently.

  14. “Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

    I don’t pretend to understand the discussion in this blog today, but it brings to mind Moses striking the rock. As a kid, this story impressed upon me that God is very big on protocol.

  15. 6.941 (u) angels, I think.

    P.S. feed a baby enough bread and wine and you will grow a person – with a diet of razor blades and blenders you don’t.

  16. Has anyone ever sampled Jesus’s DNA from a communion cracker? If not, I’ll assume that transubstantiation is blood-magic hocus pocus no different to the sort of thing you’d read in Harry Potter.

  17. “Has anyone ever sampled Jesus’s DNA from a communion cracker? ”

    Actually… YES, stupid!

    Look up various Eucharistic miracles.

  18. Well this is another fine mess. It’s all your fault, Briggs. YOS tells me I have to drop bowling balls and golf balls in my pool, and I don’t even have a pool. Hate ’em, always worrying about the Ph, and the filter’s clogged, and you neighbor’s kid is drowning in it. Bah. Sheri thinks it’s a bunch of pinhead dancing eggheads and since I’m a damned Lutheran that sounds about right. And Kip’s a gold tablet buried in upstate New York Moron who says it’s all symbolic. Probably that’s what Luther said, but he’s an idiot, like me. Johnno says it’s all about sex or Jesuits – no wait that was Watkins – and it’s hard to disagree with that. Joy foments her usual trouble. Swordfish plumps bouncing billiard balls. Tom and Ari should get in the ring and battle it out, winner take all. However that goes I’m not eating razor blades nor getting vexxinated. I’ll have the bread and wine, thank you. I hope that clarifies things.

  19. Dean ERricson,
    You and I are opposite. You always seek approval.

    You never dare disagree about anything and yet it’s clear, as a Lutheran, you must disagree with much of what is claimed by the Catholic side.
    So I see you as appeasing, for your own self preservation. Then claiming anything else is just fomenting trouble.

    Don’t you think calling a Mormon by a pejorative name, fomenting trouble? I do.
    We all have our own standards and some of us have higher standards when it comes to telling the truth, or being honest. You call it fomentation of trouble and just keep quiet, like the other one who pretends to being a protestant.

  20. “My Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (incorrectly known by many as “The Mormons”) holds that the bread and wine are symbolic and represent the concepts of the sacrifices of Christ — his blood and his body — which we take in remembrance of Him while renewing our covenants made at baptism.”

    It is the same in the Church Of England.
    We use wafers and wine from a supermarket!
    So does your local Catholic Church, same source. dunno about the wafers, but they’re hardly bread.

  21. So this doesn’t disprove “Thomism” but rather disproves transubstantiation, as if an idea as stupid as transubstantiation even needs a disproof.

  22. “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.”
    –Flannery O’Connor

  23. Jesus said, ” This IS my Body …. This IS my Blood …. no explanation …. so the choice is to Believe Christ or to not believe Him.

    It would have been better if the “theys” at the time when questions of this action first arose … way back when …. if the Catholic Church had simply said …. we believe Jesus, His words, His actions, regarding the Breaking of the Bread, the offering of the Cup, and had not gone into any further explanation.

    There is no test to “prove” the bread, the wine, becomes Jesus’ Body, His Blood. It would not matter that the ability for such testing did not exist at the time. There was and is no need for such. If there were such tests with genuine validity, then the requirement of Faith for the Apostles would not have been, and would not be a requirement for anyone.

    I say that the Body and Blood of the Risen Christ has no DNA anyway, as that is in our mortal bodies, the ones we have now, which will die when God calls us. Our glorified bodies will not be mortal in any way, then.

    God bless, C-Marie

  24. Jesus’s words are not known. According to scholars from all sides,.
    Hebrew, Greek, Latin and historical scholars all know this to be true.

    He also said,
    “Do this in remembrance of me”.
    As Michael 2 pointed out, if it is something on which ‘salvation’ rests? He would have been as emphatic as it seems he was when he told the followers NOT to call heaven for vengeance. They were rebuked for it.

    It is interesting that after his death when he was seen, one of the disciples noted the way that he broke the bread as being a sign that it was really him. This is a clue. If he had looked like Jesus, there would’ve been no need to identify the bread breaking as evidence of interest.

    Often, the actions in the gospels speak louder than the words
    The those words are emphatic, they speak loudly too

    His commandments were emphatic. They are not compatible with a vengeful God.
    God offers the hope of justice to all those who are wronged and forgiveness of sins. It is by THAT way, mankind is offered hope. Salvation is from sin, not an infinitely sadistic punishment.

    “All things are possible with God”
    They are also made possible by God. God is not petty God is not spiteful
    He is peaceful and kind. Why do Christians not resemble that?

  25. Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

    These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

    Then many of his disciples who were listening* said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

    Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.

    And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

    As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
    — John 6: 53-66

    We do not read that Jesus then said, “Wait, no! Come back! I only meant it symbolically!”

    *Among those who cry, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” are many Moderns 1500 years later, incl. PhD candidates in search of a dissertation on foundational points that had missed the attention of the Churches for a millennium and a half

    BTW, one should not get too hung up on the Protestant/Catholic thingie, should ask: What do the other three Traditional Churches believe? That ought to give us a least common denominator for what the early Church believed. Lo! We discover that the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, and Syriac Churches all believe (on this matter) the same as the Catholic. The four ancient patriarchates split from one another on other issues, such as the number of natures in Christ, but not on the Eucharist; which Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch continue to hold with Rome, not with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Bible-thumping Shack.

  26. Can we have the chapters and verses, YOS and the version of the Bible you’re quoting?
    Never Mind, I’ll google it

    Like I said,
    Jesus words are not known.
    “Jesus’s words are not known. According to scholars from all sides,.
    Hebrew, Greek, Latin and historical scholars all know this to be true.”
    It is not possible to know for sure what he said.

    So, like everybody else, catholics and true Christians alike are left to make sense of the text with all other things they know about the world. They are not forced to believe nonsense just because it makes perfect sense to someone claiming the keys to heaven.

    The keys are with Jesus and that is clear and repeated throughout the bible.
    Nobody gets to stand between Jesus and a person. Not even a Thomas

  27. Here is the King James Version. The chapter in its entirety reads somewhat differently when taken in its whole.

    God knows who believes and who does not, mostChristians if not all, agree on that point.
    So it makes more sense to read the entire chapter with THAT in mind.

    1After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.

    2And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

    3And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.

    4And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

    5When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

    6And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

    7Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

    8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,

    9There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

    10And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

    11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

    12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

    13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

    14Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

    15When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

    16And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,

    17And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.

    18And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.

    19So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

    20But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.

    21Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

    22The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;

    23(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)

    24When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

    25And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

    26Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

    27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

    28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

    29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    30They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

    31Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

    32Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

    33For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

    34Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

    35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

    36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

    37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

    38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

    39And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

    40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    41The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

    42And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

    43Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

    44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

    46Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

    47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

    48I am that bread of life.

    49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

    50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

    51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

    52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

    53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

    54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

    55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

    56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

    57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

    58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

    59These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

    60Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

    61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

    62What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

    63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    64But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

    65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

    66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

    68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

    69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

    70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

    71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

    Not sure why YOS needed to omit so much about something so apparently crucial.

  28. Like I said,
    “Jesus’s words are not known. According to scholars from all sides

    At least, according to scholars 2000 years after the fact. [Note to literalists: rounding off there.] But why be skeptical of accounts written within the lifetimes of the participants and not skeptical tenure-seekers writting far, far later. It is, as the Traditions tell us, a “hard saying” that drove away many followers. Why put it in the gospels in the first place, let alone persist in it? It eventually drove off a third of Europe, eager to craft a new religion more pleasing to their rulers.

    Note that these are historical arguments, not theological ones. This is what the Church did believe and teach well before brainiacs like Luther (“that whore, reason”) and Calvin came along to pound their vernacular translations of the Bible the Orthodox had prepared.

    What we do know is that this was the Tradition that came down from the Apostles and preserved as orthodoxy by the one holy Apostolic Church. You may sneer at the Orthodox all you like, but they (along with the Catholic, Coptic, and Syriac) have taught the True Presence for a great long time.

  29. Not sure why YOS needed to omit so much about something so apparently crucial.

    To keep the response shorter and avoid as much TH;DR as possible.
    And not bury the lede.

  30. YOS,
    Where did you mean the blockquote to end? I’ll fix.<C

    Like I said,
    “Jesus’s words are not known. According to scholars from all sides.

  31. YOS the important point is up to the first waves line. You are being a literalist:

    At least, according to scholars 2000 years after the fact. [Note to literalists: rounding off there.] erm, no, small point but not 2000 years, cut a quarter off that but the point is taken.

    You are a literalist YOS as and when it suits you. Your interpretation assumes that the “hard saying” is because he spoke of the (translated phrase) flesh and blood, when in fact he explains through the verses before what he means. The multitude did not except him as the spiritual messiah. It was and is the contemporary Jewish error. They wanted a King of this world to save them. The flesh refers to power of the physical world.

    “The flesh profits nothing”.
    “The spirit gives life. He explains that his words are the true Spirit of God the Father who sent him.
    ~~~
    But why be skeptical of accounts written within the lifetimes of the participants and not skeptical tenure-seekers writting far, far later.”

    Firstly, I give you Thomas Acquinas!

    Then? How do you know which parts I am skeptical of?
    Most of what is spoken about the Bible is not sensible or believable. Everybody, even bloggers are looking for some kind of return on their investments. It is not just tenure seekers, as you rightly put it.

    So it must seem curious that this particular aspect of the faith is problematic. It is for me, or it was until I worked out what was really going on. WHY? It ‘mattered’ so much? You can claim what you like but I have come to this position from one of complete indifference and not without good reason.

    There are lives which have been lost as a direct result of the kind of behaviour also discouraged strongly by Jesus.

    Why are those words from Jesus not so important? I

    Different interpretations and differences in people’s understanding or experience of the presence of God.
    ~~~
    “Note that these are historical arguments, not theological ones. “
    Do you genuinely think that God is seeing the distinction?
    Serious question,
    ~~~
    “You may sneer at the Orthodox all you like, but they (along with the Catholic, Coptic, and Syriac) have taught the True Presence for a great long time.”
    I have never sneered at the orthodox church.
    It isn’t my way.

    Saying I may, I suppose gets you off the hook as it’s just an insinuation.

    I take issue, as stated, with those who know not about what they are speaking and yet use a power which does not belong to them to toy with and intimidate individuals who are often entirely innocent.
    ~~~
    Regarding the one Holy and Apostolic Church”
    That makes part of the creed in the Church of England.
    I’m willing to bet that you are very well aware of that fact since you’e been reading my comments for several years now. From even

  32. Ye Olde Statistician,

    But why be skeptical of accounts written within the lifetimes of the participants and not skeptical tenure-seekers writing far, far later.

    1. You’re assuming the thing you’re trying to prove. We don’t even know who the participants were, or of they even existed at all.

    2. False dichotomy. We’re sceptical of both the gospels and historians. And if we’re sceptical of “tenure-seekers”, shouldn’t we be all the more sceptical of the Christian apologists who used to pass for historians?

    3. Because these accounts contain many supernatural elements.

    4. Because these accounts sometimes copy from one another, display clear signs of legendary development, and contain contradictions.

  33. I’ve just noticed the not so subtle word changes:
    “True Presence”<

    That is what I believe and all C Christians who I have known personally, believe.
    I don’t believe in transubstantiation.
    However, I believe that there is always True Presence.
    (if God is really there, he doesn’t come and g like a bad radio signalo)

    It is the Human Spirits which fluctuate and changes.
    God doesn’t change

  34. So, the crowd reacts as if he had told them they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, but you have discovered an anagogical meaning. But the one meaning does not cancel out the other. The Church taught the True Presence from the get-go. Not until the 16th century State Religions did anyone on record gainsay that. The Traditional Churches have continued to teach it for 2000 years.

    You are dissing the Orthodox when you criticize only the Catholics for teaching the True Presence. But if you deny this, you deny Orthodoxy, too, as well as Antioch and Alexandria. [Protestants, in general, seem to ignore the eastern Churches and gloss over the implications when all three agree with Rome on X.]

    Regarding the one Holy and Apostolic Church”
    That makes part of the creed in the Church of England.

    Indeed, they can call themselves a cheese danish if they please, but that doesn’t make them one. But perhaps that’s why a big chunk of them rejoined the Church.
    http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/

  35. I’ve just noticed the not so subtle word changes:
    “True Presence”

    That is what I believe and all C Christians who I have known personally, believe.
    I don’t believe in transubstantiation.
    However, I believe that there is always True Presence.
    (if God is really there, he doesn’t come and go like a bad radio signal)

    It is the Human Spirit which fluctuates and changes.
    God doesn’t change. He said,
    “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there”

  36. “So, the crowd reacts as if he had told them they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, …”
    No! that’s where you’re wrong. You say that’s what happened because you’ve said it a thousand times before.
    Or are being deliberately obtuse, which is often the way with you

    I say that the meaning is clear that he means that the flesh profits NOTHING.

    It is clear that physical flesh is the thing being ‘dissed’ as you so childishly put it.

    The food and drink is of the spirit. Nothing to do with HIS body
    Nothing so frankly silly or petty.

    Why does it matter?
    Because otherwise people won’t go into the building. That’s why.
    It’s all about the lure for earthly power and the money, the control, which comes from the former. The insistence on the phoney Thomas explanation has nothing to do with Godliness even if it’s what Thomas originally intended. It is just a device.

    “The Church taught the True Presence from the get-go. Not until the 16th century State Religions did anyone on record gainsay that. The Traditional Churches have continued to teach it for 2000 years.”
    (Apart from the reformation, when quite a bit changed. ). I’m not talking about traditional Churches YOU ARE!

    You are dissing the Orthodox ….really YOS grow up…..when you criticize only the Catholics for teaching the True Presence. But if you deny this, you deny Orthodoxy, too, as well as Antioch and Alexandria.”
    That is just a display of your personal bias.

    The true presence is NOT what you’re talking about. It is the quantum mechanics part on which we disagree. You know this and it is the topic of the blog.

    [Protestants, in general, seem to ignore the eastern Churches and gloss over the implications when all three agree with Rome on X.]
    No, there you go again insinuating..
    I’ve told you the reason. People just don’t believe it and I’ll wager a good deal of your claimed own church don’t believe it either.
    Dissent is allowed in Christianity. We don’t live in medieval times.

    As for your nasty remark about the Church of England, well that’s on you. You clearly don’t know as much as you pretend about us.

  37. Mr Bones,
    None of your objections matter. The only item in play at the moment is whether the original Church believed in the Real Presence, not whether the Real Presence is factual (or even truthful), and not whether the evangelists wrote believing themselves to be Late 19th Cent. newspaper reporters or treated genealogies like DAR examiners.

    The question of 1st cent. Evangelists and 2nd cent. Fathers vis a vis 16th cent. Reformers and 19th cent German philosophers has only to do with who was closer in time to the events and so more likely to know what they were talking about. Do we discount Plutarch and Suetonius because their bioi include supernatural events? Do we doubt that Hannibal or Socrates ever existed given the lack of any contemporary accounts of either? What’s sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander. The one thing of which contemporary polytheists and Jews never accused the Christians was the nonexistence of their subject.

  38. Joy,

    It seems you think verse 63…

    63. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    …is a kind of rebuke of 54-56:

    54. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    55. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    56. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

    So what makes it a hard saying to the followers is not because merely eating His flesh is difficult. Rather it is because, on the one hand, eating His flesh will grant eternal life and the indwelling of Christ, and on the other hand the flesh profiteth nothing?

    How certain are we that the flesh referred to in 53-56 is the same in 63? Do other languages, e.g. Hebrew, differentiate?

  39. Joseph,
    No, the rebuke I speak of is in another part of the bible.

    At least you thought to clarify though! Will find the rebuke, relevant to other current discussions where catholics behave like fundamentalists

  40. Joseph, here is the reference e and quote:
    Re the language I’ll read your comment and resend separately.
    Luke 9: 54-55

    54
    And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
    55
    But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

  41. Joy’s Church of Adultery and only symbolic crackers and juice strategy consists of –

    1. We dunno what Jesus acktually said. They didn’t have tape recorders back then! So I’m going to conveniently ignore Scripture I don’t like. Like the entire Old Testament from which the fact that we must physically eat actual flesh is tied to actually eating the sacrificial lamb and Temple bread.

    2. Here are similar words from a completely different context in Scripture, please force them exegetically into this verse that I want to spin in my favour so that my adulterous pro sodomy church which normally just blatantly ignores clear condemnations of adultery and sodomy now wishes to insist on one tortured form of Scripture we grasp at that informs our heretical opinions that have no basis in the entirety of early Christian history. But we know better bevause it’s 2021!

    Human flesh profits nothing, or in this context, human understanding, Christ, being the INCARNATE WORD OF GOD, DIVINITY MADE FLESH – HIS BODY, HIS BLOOD STANDING RIGHT BEFORE THEM WITH THE COMPLETE SPIRIT OF GOD THAT MAKES THINGS HAPPEN – EVEN HARD TEACHINGS. That is why He asks them if they’d wish to see Him ascend.

    They asked Him for miracle to prove Who He was! He says He’ll give them bread from Heaven. They want it. He says, EAT ME! They go, wuh? He says, yes, YOU HEARD ME? I’M THAT BREAD. IT AIN’T YOUR ANGLICAN WALMART CRACKERS! AND IT AIN’T LIKE THE MANNA OF YOUR ANCESTORS! YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME? YOU WANNA SEE ME ASCEND INTO HEAVEN FIRST? – YOUR FLESH does nothing! Mine, being of the Spirit and being THE WORD DOES!

    This is what was SHOCKING to the audience. He wouldn’t clarify any alleged symbolism, and do note that He literally fed all of them with actual bread only a miraculous day ago. So they knew He wasn’t talking about that which he’d already given them, because they were asking for another bread, from Heaven, which He clarified was not to be mistaken for manna. But rather points to Himself and says He came down from Heaven just like manna, the Father sent both, and He can go back up to Heaven too.

    Joy’s pretend church is all flesh and crackers, and little wonder there is nothing to show for it except a state run circle jerk in decline.

    Christ’s bread will not leave you hungry. Joy’s crackers are appetizers. Christ’s bread comes from Heaven. Joy’s are from the discount aisle. People ate manna and died. People eat crackers and catch covid and die from co-morbidities. The masks do nothing. Christ’s bread has eternal life. You need to consume this SAME eternity. The actual eternity. NOT JUST A SYMBOLIC ONE, BECAUSE THE MANNA IN THE DESERT WAS ALSO SYMBOLIC, MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN ANGLICAN CRACKERS, AND YOU STILL DIED. But CHRIST’S BREAD RAISES YOU FROM THE DEAD!

    The Jews doubted Christ coming down from Heaven, and thus doubted his flesh would do anything because to them he was just a son of Joseph. That’s why He also had to emphasize that human flesh does nothing. You need the flesh from Heaven. And as it can be uncarnated into a human, that same thing can occur in bread and wine.

    The Catholic Church has it.

    Joy’s anglicans don’t. It is a campy women’s society gathering where all that is missing is the dip.

  42. No YOS,
    “The only item in play at the moment is whether the original Church believed in the Real Presence, not whether the Real Presence is factual (or even truthful), and not whether the evangelists wrote believing themselves to be
    Beyond your projection right out of the preparatory text which you enjoy, you know little to nothing of the workings of the Church of England’s creed or what people think or believe. What is said and what is not.

    We weren’t taught that Catholics had such a word as Transubstantiation. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
    It appears that if people are not going to attend communion classes they don’t get told anything about it.
    Those who do are not taught the transubstantiation story which you insist is told.

    According to Kieth Ward, what you claim about the Eastern Orthodox is not strictly true.
    They believe in something which rather resembles a joining of minds into one when they attend services. I will have to find the quote if you’re going to take issue with it.

    Eastern Orthodox do not believe in original sin, for example. That doesn’t get a mention from you, ever.
    So let others believe what they will and you can keep to your own faith too. I don’t mention Eastern Orthodox because they have never impinged! They have some good music though, as dos the choir of the Mormon church.
    Excuse typos, Writing in the comment box which is always dangerous.

  43. I’m not talking about traditional Churches
    I.e., the entire Church up to the 16th cent. monarchial revolution. Not talking about Arians, Valentinians, Donatists, Cathars, Protestants, and other breakaway sects.

    Why do you criticize the Orthodox, Catholic, Coptic, and Syriac Churches for teaching the True Presence for 2000 years and put your eggs is the rather more recent basket of the soi disant Reformers?

    I once attended a neighbor child’s funeral, which was at a Maronite parish here in town. It was the Liturgy of St James and, while most of it was in Syriac, the words of institution were spoken in Aramaic.

  44. Joseph:
    Joseph
    You asked for certainty but that is impossible.
    What I /we know:
    According to scholars, is that Jesus spoke in Aramaic. He did not even speak in Greek or Latin.

    He never spoke a direct word that was recorded except about five words. Which he wrote in the sand.

    The words seen in the Gospels are remembered accounts by those who knew him.

    St. Paul never met Jesus. Yet Christians accept his teaching about the law: Thos who knew him said you must keep the old Jewish law. Paul said,

    “The written Law kills the Spirit gives life.“

    That is in accord with what was said by Jesus in the chapter above. Repetition is important.

    The words themselves are translated as soma or sarx. These are not anatomical or physiological terms that relate today, and the human body hasn’t changed. That’s also problematic. As far as I can tell sarx seems to refer to muscle, or meat, so I take that to be about physical power. Soma? is a vague reference to the spinal, head neck and trunk region. Perhaps the central nervous system which is the only thing that would appear to incorporate all of those things. It is another reference to the physical power of a person.

    Flesh also can refer to the mortal body, whee sin resides!
    It looks like the same kind of word, to me. The Spirit lives within the human heart and is therefore not considered to be ‘of the flesh’.
    I don’t see the ‘hard saying’ meaning it would cause them to walk away, other than that they did not believe he was the ‘bread of life’. If they had believed who he was they would have no problem and just would never walk away.

  45. We weren’t taught that Catholics had such a word as Transubstantiation.

    Of course not.

    Eastern Orthodox do not believe in original sin

    Do you intend to go through a roster of beliefs? How does a diversity on how original sin is explained mean that a consensus on the True Presence doesn’t exist. The only point there was that if Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, and Constantinople agree on something, that something is likely inherited from the early Church.

    But sometimes, as has been said, apparent disagreements are really just problems with Greek grammar. Once, two Greek terms making a fine distinction had to be translated as the same term in Syriac and the distinction was lost. Hey, presto! The heresy of monophysitism! I once read an article by an Orthodox cleric explaining what his Church believed regarding Adam’s sin and I thought, Why, that’s just what we believe! Only we have a name for it.

    I don’t mention Eastern Orthodox because they have never impinged!

    That may be relevant as regards administrative authority; but how does it apply to theology? It makes you sound like the president of Harvard disputing Alan Dershowitz. He told Dershowitz that Harvard admitted few Jews because “Jews cheat.” Dershowitz replied that gentiles also have cheated and Harvard prez said, “Don’t change the subject.” It’s like criticizing horses because they have four legs. Or Englishmen because they exhale carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The great English writer G.K.Chesterton once said that is one wished to criticize Christianity it should be over the faults peculiar to Christianity and not those general to mankind.

    Same here. If the Catholics have a dopey belief regarding the Presence, then so do the Orthodox, Coptics, and Syriacs. And if they all share the same belief, that belief is likely to be found prior to their respective schisms.

    Once upon a time, the King of England wanted to change his woman, so he nationalized the Church within his reach and looted the monasteries for his treasury, then had his new “department of religion” put out a ruling more to his liking.

  46. YOS,
    Why do you always change the subject and dodge the point?
    The point is about transubstantiation. Not “True Presence” or “Real Presence” or whatever other totally different thing you twisted the discussion to be about. .

    Ego? YOS? You don’t know me but I have noticed it’s a word used by the catholic against those who disagree when they’re out of ideas. There are four or five other examples of precisely the same ploy. It’s a personal attack

    Try that consensus /ego argument when it comes to some of your sceptical science arguments over covid, climage, and see how well that goes.

    What does a funeral in Aramaic have to do with anything here? I like music in a church service and that’s why Eastern Orthodox are more appealing than the Catholic masses which I have attended, actually, not just for funerals or weddings.

    You’re still labouring under a false notion about what you think I’m supposed to think or know?
    Stop reading preparatory texts about people and start listening to real ones who are telling you straight and are NOT all the same, as you would prefer.

    It’s a really weird version of a straw man argument. Maybe you’re just thinking out loud and want to move to the Eastern Orthodox Church yourself? That would make sense re your comments.
    Mormons appeal as they sing beautiful music but no.

  47. YOS

    Eastern Orthodox do not believe in original sin

    Do you intend to go through a roster of beliefs? How does a diversity on how original sin is explained mean that a

    No, just calling it out as it’s the fashion, when in Rome.

  48. Here goes the usual reference to the English man, the only one in the Catholic influencer’s play book who they like to pretend hated his country or his fellow Anglicans. He was not a bit like the internet crop of Old Roman Catholic fundamentalists.

    He loved his country despite the propaganda that has been written recently about him, nor did he dislike his fellow Anglicans and seek to cause trouble and sectarianism as you want to telegraph is the way YOU feel.

    G.K.Chesterton once said that is one wished to criticize Christianity it should be over the faults peculiar to Christianity and not those general to mankind.”

    No, you’re using the same argument Swordfish and I have used in the past and which is rather obvious as I thought of it! re natural law as a justification for gay bashing. Men in general go about hating and bashing such men so why do you think you’re special? Or more moral, for a start? Given that atheists often feel precisely the same? That’s the exact point that gets me in. Trouble because it’s true. It says nothing about my own views on it’s sinfulness otherwise. In a world where debate is long over, that doesn’t matter. The ends justify the means unless it’s aSunday!

    Same here. If the Catholics have a dopey belief regarding the Presence, ….”

    There you go again, YOS, not reading just repeating a false claim of your own very recent invention. Having been corrected about four times just in this thread.

    As for your Once Upon A Time. You’re sounding a bit nutty at that point. Have you been drinking? whiskey?

  49. Reading this post, I don’t see where the “proof” that Thomism or specifically hylomorphism is inadequate in accounting for the Real Presence. And this is not coming from a Thomist or a “standard Catholic” by any means. I personally consider hylomorphism to be part mythology and I wouldn’t use a potency/act paradigm to explain the Eucharist.
    Why should bread and whine be “indispensable” -morally and ritually indispensable material that is – for Holy Communion? Why would you expect a theory on change and metaphysics to account for this? That’s too much of a demand there. If God, being omnipotent, can transform bread into the Corpus Christi, who’s the say that He couldn’t technically do it with any other material like apples or oranges?
    Heck, some scientists nowsdays are theorizing that we live in a hologram universe – and that might be. Imagine how the Deity can control the “appearances” given that view.
    But hey, if anyone sees something to this post that’s fine. I don’t accept the Thomist system at large anyway.

  50. And I would have to add that Ye Old Statistician has won the theological debate here with Joy… The “Real Presence” was certainly a doctrine of Christianity from its beginning and roots and it’s hard to get around it with the gospel of John, Chapter 6.

  51. YOS: My humorous account of your bowling balls and golf balls aside, your sallies here are magnificent.

  52. Joy is unwilling to state that Christ actually rose from the dead, but she will lecture on us in the exact manner He is present in the Eucharist.

    Note too that even when professing a belief in a “true presence” it is only as a statement that God is present in the Eucharist as anywhere else. But given that she’s already subscribed to a belief that the Eucharist is merely symbolic she’s forced to take such a position anyway, even though she claims that belief in a “true presence” is the dividing line between Christians and non-Christians.

    If I am characterizing your views incorrectly Joy, please prove me wrong. Say that Christ rose from the dead, that He is your Lord and Savior, and that He is present in the Eucharist in a way beyond His presence in any arbitrary location.

  53. Bobcat, aka the Cranky prof
    You can say what yo like but you’ll be wrong in your assessment.

    The discussion was about Transubstantiation and what actually happens to the bread and wine.
    All that is said in John six, which YOS brought up as a distraction to the Thomism post, is irrelevant in that regard. It is YOS who insists that transubstantiation actually takes place, in accordance with the dogma. All that Catholic verbiage came later, despite what he pretended, Thomas , who is to blame for this but not for how it has come to be abused, is medieval. YOS tried several times to talk about two thousand years and skirt around the issue. It didn’t go unnoticed here.

    Nor does it follow that,
    “that is an hard saying’ make it all okay and proof that Jesus intended for everybody to need to eat him. ..all of a sudden.

    “if thy right eye offend thee pluck it out”
    Is also a hard saying. Nobody takes that literally.
    Every person is free to believe that which, by the light of reason, they hold to be true.
    Apparently Dean want to give that up.
    Best be thankful for the reformation.

  54. Rudolph Why do you think it is okay to talk about people as if they re not there?
    See above where I responded at the beginning and you are shown to be wrong, utterly.

    Nothing like deliberately defaming and bad mouthing someone from a position of pure spite and ignorance. That is you, Rudolph Rude oaf. but not the cute one with the red nose.

    If I’m saying something about someone it’s actually true. I know my facts before hand.
    I could probably make you weep with embarrassment if you only knew what I know.
    You’re not going to brow beat a reaction that will be to your liking. I’m not from your church.

  55. “I could probably make you weep with embarrassment if you only knew what I know.”

    Then tell me. Put up or shut up. Put me in my place.

    “I’m not from your church.”

    So far you haven’t demonstrated that you are from any church that believes in Christ, even though the standard for that demonstration (i.e. a statement of faith) would be trivial.

  56. I don’t do your bidding. Especially if you’re catholic.
    Why on earth you think someone would put up with your BS and the likes of Johnno and the other trolls if I were not serious about this is rather odd.
    It makes no difference if you say I’m not a Christian because you’re not the one in charge.
    God is.
    As for put you in your place? are you some kind of sadist masquerading as a masochist?

  57. Martyrs are blessed because they continue to praise Christ’s name, even unto death.

    Lukewarm Christians of modernity refuse to praise Christ if it leads to mild social inconvenience.

  58. Unto death certainly ‘worse’ than just plain death!
    “unto” is an interesting word, offered a good twenty seconds of distraction there for a moment.
    Into, onto, but unto?
    Where are the others? Ento, Anto…
    The time we use that in normal speech is at Christmas, or if we’re quoting ancient text. Shame it’s not used more often.
    It’s as if it is ‘To’ NotTo, but not so and yet it is so.

    We all know what it means though and that’s the important thing

  59. Try that consensus /ego argument when it comes to some of your sceptical science arguments over covid, climage, and see how well that goes.

    I think you misunderstand. I do not contend that True Presence is correct because the Churches of two-thirds of all Christians teach it; only that four branches of the Church would not have the same belief in this respect unless they have inherited it from the trunk, the ancestral Church from which they descend. They didn’t get their beliefs from one another like the “climate consensus.” Alexandria and Antioch fell under muslim rule, which cut off most communication with the Orthodox Church; and Constantinople and Western Europe became less communicative after the fall of the Western Empire. So, it’s not likely that they adopted the True Presence because Rome.

    Transubstantiation (change of substance) was the Western attempt to explain the True Presence. It was clearly not a transformation, since the forms of bread and wine are unchanged. (Hence, no DNA. Sorry.) But that was because the Western Church was obsessed with logic and reason — at least down to the Protestant Reformation when Luther declared that reason was a ‘whore.’

    What does a funeral in Aramaic have to do with anything here?

    Someone upthread made a point about Jesus not speaking Greek or Latin. (How they know this, I don’t know. They weren’t there. But you can’t shake Late Modern certainty.) So, I thought the fact that the Liturgy of St James, Jesus’ brother, preserved in the West Syriac Rite and elsewhere, would be interesting, since Jesus’s words are spoken in Aramaic. Too many people suppose the show began with the foundation of St Peter at Rome. But Pete was also the first bishop of Antioch and his secretary, Mark, was first bishop of Alexandria. His brother, Andrew, is supposed to have been the first bishop of Byzantium [which later became Constantinople], but that is as may be.

    I have noticed [ego is] a word used by the catholic against those who disagree

    That is as may be; but have I used it?

  60. Eastern Orthodox do not believe in original sin

    Of course, they believe in the Fall, and in what do you suppose sin originated? They did not elaborate on it and did not make it a doctrine. They emphasize that all men have inherited the consequence of the original sin, but not the guilt.
    https://www.oca.org/questions/teaching/original-sin

    St Augustine (writing in Latin, not Greek) riffed on St Paul:
    “Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned.” Rom 5:12
    Irenaeus, Origen, and others had already written on this, using such tools as Stoic philosophy to support the transmission of the original sin to all mankind. Augustine used other arguments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes the following statement:

    How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”. By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” – a state and not an act.
    — CCC 404

    So, I don’t see a world of difference here. Although Modern thought, influenced by positive law, equates “a sin” with “a crime,” i.e., a specific transgression which one commits, its original meaning (“malus”) meant simply a deficiency in a good (“defectus boni”). You don’t have to do anything to suffer a deficiency any more than you have to do anything to inherit blue eyes.

  61. unto (prep.)
    mid-13c., perhaps a modification of until, with southern to in place of northern equivalent till. Or perhaps a contraction of native *und to, formed on the model of until from Old English *un- “up to, as far as,” cognate of the first element in until. “Very rare in standard writers of the 18th c.,” according to OED, and since then chiefly in dignified, archaic, or Biblical styles.

  62. Dear YOS. Judging from your polemics you appear to be a member of the Orthodox Church and you have, a time or two in here, referenced the “Ancestral Church” (What is it?) but even the saints amongst the Hierarchy of the Orthodox taught (used to each) the primacy of Peter and not that Peter was first among equals; Primus inter pares.

    Here is a collection of statements of those saints created by my friend Eliot:

    https://ebougis.wordpress.com/my-eastern-papist-florilegium/

  63. you have, a time or two in here, referenced the “Ancestral Church” (What is it?)

    The Church as she was before the four patriarchies parted ways.

  64. Try that consensus /ego argument when it comes to some of your sceptical science arguments over covid, climage, and see how well that goes.
    I think you misunderstand.

    It is you here, who is lacking understanding.
    I do not contend that True Presence is correct because the Churches of two-thirds of all Christians teach it; only that four branches of the Church would not have the same belief in this respect unless they have inherited it from the trunk, …
    Well firstly, you are doing that by default even if it is not your declared contention:
    Nevertheless your point about the Trunk is reference to the Vine about which Jesus is recorded as having spoken in John’s Gospel at great length. So there’s a lot of potential for divisiveness right there and careful note is made of that kind of thing, for those of us used to being subjected, (on line, by the way), to being considered no part of the ‘true Church’.
    Your claim is that your notion of transubstantiation is original, therefore true, where in reality, it is added on much later. I’m contending that it is a prop , added on.
    Do you concede that this s mypoint?
    ~~~
    Transubstantiation (change of substance) was the Western attempt to explain the True Presence. It was clearly not a transformation, since the forms of bread and wine are unchanged. (Hence, no DNA. Sorry.)
    Perhaps you are writing for Johnno’s benefit?
    No need to apologise for lack of DNA, that is blatantly obvious.
    I know what your claim is regarding substance and hypostasis, etc. We’ve discussed it at length.
    Weird that you think it isn’t clear. The manoeuvre is just a label for a word you don’t know and neither do I. It’s Medieval certainty about underpinnings.

    What does a funeral in Aramaic have to do with anything here?
    Someone upthread made a point about Jesus not speaking Greek or Latin.

    That would be me. Scholars have determined that is so and nobody except you is arguing about it. What we know is that when the bible was written, (the part we’re discussing), Jesus had already been crucified. He did not dictate line and verse and you know this, too. So the fact that he spoke Aramaic simply means that the translation has to go through several filters of pure language before you even get to context and interpretation of intention, contemporaneous vernacular or metaphor and so on.
    So you thought it was interesting that the service was in Aramaic yet, the fact that they don’t believe in original sin? Not so? I was pointing out the variability/inconsistency for some of the less well informed
    .…
    The Church which is the invisible true one, is in my view, going to withstand anything and everything that history or liars can throw at it. Yet you don’t seem so sure.
    Evil tyrannical Empires fight over real estate and power without using God as an excuse or justification. Christianity should never be like that
    See your GK Chesterton quote.

  65. Yawn….

    “”””“that is an hard saying’ make it all okay and proof that Jesus intended for everybody to need to eat him. ..all of a sudden.””””

    Only if you COMPLETELY IGNORE every other word Jesus utterred preceding this, saying He’ll give them bread from Heaven, this bread is not what he fed them yesterday, this bread is not their ancestor’s manna, that HE CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, that just like the Father sent them the manna bread from Heaven, the Father SENT HIM FROM HEAVEN, and therefore they had to EAT HIS FLESH AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, yes even implying they had to gnaw on Him like a dog which we believe the Greek captures truthfully, and how ALL OF THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE OLD TESTAMENT RITUALS which Joy rejects because real Christianty is tooooo hard! Becuase adultery and homosexuality are her golden calves.

    “”””“if thy right eye offend thee pluck it out”
    Is also a hard saying. Nobody takes that literally.””””

    Only because you needn’t go that far if you can exercise self control. But once you’re in Hell, you’d probably wish you could have if it would’ve helped.

    Joy, are you prepared to cut off and pluck out certain things from your life that are endangering your soul? Are you prepared to abandon the Anglican heretics, abandon your liberalism, abandon your support for sodomy, and abandon your pride and leave it all behind to save yourself?

    My taking the time to chide you in detail is not trolling. I’m 100% serious with everything I’ve levelled at you. Bith for you and the benefit of others reading your errors of fact and logic.

    You need to stop.

  66. Mr. Kelleher tells us that “Thomism” (in this case, the Thomistic and Church teaching on transubstantiation) is invalid because it contradicts Aristotelian metaphysics; yet he begins his argument by pointing out Aristotle’s insufficient, and rather easily disproven, understanding of gravity’s affect on bodies in motion.

    So right out of the starting gate, we’re (rightly) told that Aristotle had a demonstrably insufficient understanding of physics, which attempts to measure the material (corporeal) world.

    Kelleher then pivots to the metaphysics of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and to St. Thomas’ (and the Church’s) placement of the sacramental efficacy upon the words of consecration: “This is my body (which has been given up for you)” and “This is my blood(, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant)….”

    Kelleher, and his Jesuit theologian-expert Donald Keefe, think this reflects St. Thomas’ “radically insufficient metaphysical system.” Why? Apparently because it refutes “Aristotle’s brand of form-matter analysis in Catholic theology.”

    So we’re to understand, that because St. Thomas (apparently) refuted Aristotle’s understanding of metaphysics, whom Kelleher already pointed out, had an insufficient understanding of physics….ergo….St. Thomas’ metaphysical system was “radically insufficient.”

    Say what? Perhaps it isn’t St. Thomas who falls short here, but rather, Aristotle; if Aristotle’s understanding of physics fell short, why is his metaphysics (as Kelleher writes, his “brand of form-matter analysis in Catholic theology”), unassailable?

    Who are really proving their arguments “invalid by contradiction” here, if not the author and Donald Keefe, SJ?

    Kelleher and his Jesuit expert, claim that “following Aristotle,” (is it Aristotle whom these “Christians” follow?) “the bread and wine are completely dispensable” because they “lack a formal subject of inherence” [which may be defined as the relation of an attribute to its subject].

    In other words, these “Christians” claim there is no inherent (metaphysical) relation of the bread and wine prepared for consecration, to the body and blood of Christ. Say what? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the un-bloody re-presentation through-out time of Christ’s own bloody sacrifice, once for all, on the Holy Cross, and of His institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, where Christ SAID “this IS my body….this IS my blood….”

    It would seem to this reader, that for a Christian, the ultimate “metaphysician” is Christ (the King), and if he says that bread and wine ARE his body and blood, at His Word, or acting through His priest at the words of consecration, that ought to be good enough for us. As we’ve seen elsewhere in Holy Scripture, He wasn’t speaking “metaphorically” and “many left Him” because of this teaching.

    It seems to this reader, that it is not St. Thomas Aquinas, but rather, the author and his Jesuit expert, who are, themselves, suffering from a “radically insufficient metaphysical system.”

    They may want to re-visit their OWN understanding of physics and metaphysics, as I recently have mine, by watching “The End of Quantum Reality” by Wolfgang Smith, and reading his 184-pg. Opus, “The Vertical Ascent – From Particles to the Tripartite Cosmos and Beyond.”

    I came across Wolfgang Smith BECAUSE of a guest-post here on Briggs’ blog, and Johnno (I think it was him) later recommended the great documentary “The End of Quantum Reality”; I’m now working my way through “The Vertical Ascent” and I think it would help Mr. Kelleher and, and might even help your average modern Jesuit, obtain a better understanding of “vertical causation” vs. “horizontal causation” and therefore, some understanding of the metaphysics of transubstantiation.

    In his book “The Vertical Ascent” Dr. Smith demonstrates that Aristotle was perhaps the first western philosopher to transition from the “high” metaphysical doctrine of the sapiential traditions to (albeit pre-modern) physics, and this shift in fact, constitutes a decline:

    “a shift downwards of the intellectual gaze, from the ‘vertical’ orientation of Platonism to the inherently ‘horizontal’ outlook, acceptive of corporeal entities at the level on which they are sensibly perceived. What in this —inherently hylomorphic—optic, endows a corporeal entity with “being”, is “form”: substantial form, to use the Thomistic term….”

    Dr. Smith observes that with Aristotle, the direction of the ontological outlook was shifted 90 degrees, from vertical, to horizontal. By accepting corporeal entities at the level on which they are sensibly perceived (ie, taking the shadow of the thing, for the thing), we have, to quote Nietzsche, “abolished the true world….What has remained? The apparent one perhaps? Oh no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one.”

    As Dr. Smith observes, this “shift in gaze, from the vertical to the horizontal”, which was “the first decisive step in the destruction of the mythocosm”—(which is, in a sense ‘the true world’)—would lead over the course of two millennia to the veritable ‘nothingness’ opening up before us today in the physics of the twenty-first century!”

  67. Scholars have determined that is so

    Why, then it must be so!

    I recollect a short story many years ago yclept “Letter from a Higher Critic” in which scholars in the far future proved through textual criticism that WW2 never happened. It was clearly metaphorical. Just look at the names. Adolph (Wolf) smashes against Stalin (Steel) while England endures like a Church on a Hill.

    What we know is that when the bible was written, (the part we’re discussing), Jesus had already been crucified.

    Well, duh. That is in line with ancient Greek historiography. No one’s bio was written down when they were still alive. The Greeks preferred what they called “the living word,” i.e., the testimony of eyewitnesses. (They could be cross-examined. You could ‘look ’em in the eye’). Also, the texts do not purport to be dictated by Jesus. They purport to be the gospel “according to Mark” or Matthew, Luke , John. They were written in the lifetime of the participants. Mark was Peter’s secretary and translator and jotted down in Rome whatever Peter said in his sermons. Then he put these recollections in order — but not necessarily chronological order. (That was not the practice of the time; see Plutarch, Suetonius.) Given his position, and the life-changing nature of the events, Peter is likely to have remembered essentially correctly. [cf. Vansinna, Jan. Oral Tradition as History, which is an anthropological text, not a religious one.]

    IOW, directly dictated texts in ancient times were a rarity. J. Caesar is the only exception that comes to mind. Usually, it is a disciple who gives us the skinny after the subject is dead or soon to be. Plato told us about Socrates; Porphyry gave us Plotinus; Plutarch served up the Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. Suetonius lived well after Julius, Augustus, and the rest.

    several filters of pure language

    Peter spoke Aramaic. Mark was a translator. He listened in Aramaic and wrote in crude Greek (to reach a wider audience?). That doesn’t seem like ‘several’ layers. Matthew is said to have written in Aramaic, but we don’t have that version. Our Matthew was rewritten in Greek for the Greek audience. Luke was an educated man, a doctor by account, and likely knew both Aramaic and Greek. (His gospel has the clearest traces of Greek historiographical practice.) John likewise seems to have been fluent in Greek, and he was a direct participant (even if he had editors to shape it up).

  68. Johnno,

    Actually… YES, stupid! Look up various Eucharistic miracles.

    I looked up the one linked to by ‘Joseph’. There was no mention of any DNA test results (Not that such results would prove anything anyway. I was being facetious earlier.) Nor any evidence of anything miraculous. Nor has there ever been any convincing evidence for any miraculous claim ever.

  69. Briggs,

    The form, Thomists would say, of Lazarus was miraculously changed from dead to alive.

    You can avoid all this tedious metaphysics by applying some basic scepticism. In Luke’s gospel, Lazarus’s resurrection is presented as a parable, not something that really happened. In John’s (later) gospel, it is promoted into an actual historical event. Realistically, if you have two accounts of something, one framing it as a story, the other claiming to be real, then it would be wise to take it with a pinch of salt. If the something in question is the miraculous resurrection of a person, you’d need a whole saltmine.

  70. swordlookuptrombone

    I looked up the one linked to by ‘Joseph’. Etc.

    Google.com

    ‘eucharistic miracles’

    People also ask > What blood type are Eucharistic miracles?

    According to Linoli’s study, the flesh is human cardiac tissue of type AB. He said he found proteins in the blood in the same proportions as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of normal blood. Linoli found no trace of preservatives.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Lanciano

    Many more where that came from.

    You want?

    Glad you asked!

    Here’s a lengthy video lecture.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ1apYsc7RI

    Joy should watch it too. Very instructive! Doesn’t happen in the Anglican Church!

    Particularly like this one –

    Eucharistic Miracle, 2013, Poland – The Final Medical Statement by the Department of Forensic Medicine found that “in the histopathological image, the fragments (of the Fost) were found containing parts of the cross striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle. Tests also determined the tissue to be of human origin, and found that it bore signs of distress.

    https://smac.edu/en/news-events/news/new-eucharistic-miracle-poland

    Now even if the sceptics subscribe to a CONSPIRACY THEORY that the Church is somehow fooling everyone with such accounts as they dive into the grains of saltiness of the Dead Sea. Examinations of these Hosts show consistent blood type, cardiac tissue and patterns spanning hundreds of years, and as another demonstrated, the cardiac tissue was interwoven into the bread, as if it was growing out of it.

    Does swordfish know of any 3D printers that can fabricate that? Is the Vatican hiding this secret rechnology somewhere that they’ve also used to fabricate the Shroud of Turin hundreds of years ago?

    In Luke’s gospel, Lazarus’s resurrection is presented as a parable, not something that really happened.

    Nope. What even possesses you to say that? The fact that Luke wasn’t there and would hear it second-hand, whereas John was?

    If the something in question is the miraculous resurrection of a person, you’d need a whole saltmine.

    Like the theories of cosmological and biological evolution?

  71. Dear Swordfish; In Luke’s gospel, Lazarus’s resurrection is presented as a parable, not something that really happened.

    You appear to be confusing a parable about a rich man and a poor man, Lazarus (which was not about resurrection , but about the after life consequences of our actions on earth) with the miracle of Jesus tasing Lazarus from the dead.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    From Vol. 5 Radio Replies:

    113. Did the resurrection of Lazarus (Jn., 11:1-44) really happen, or was it as has been said a story invented as a parable to illustrate the teaching of Jesus?

    The event, definitely historical, was, it is true, one of profound significance from a doctrinal point of view, But St. John certainly did not invent a non-historical episode in order to make the teachings of Christ more impressive. So many Jews came afterwards to see Lazarus out of curiosity that the chief priests, in order to prevent further possible conversions, thought to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus (Jn., 12:10). While St. John’s intention was to stress the religious meaning of the miracle which brought Lazarus back from death, the symbolism of the event would have had no actual value had the event itself not been a reality

    114. Why did not the first three Gospels mention so wonderful a miracle?

    St. John himself gives the key to that when, at the end of his Gospel, he says that there were many other things that Jesus did, far more than could be put into writing by the evangelists. In other words, for their summary accounts, a selection of incidents had to be made; and the first three evangelists were mainly concerned with the ministry of Jesus in Galilee, not in Judea. As a matter of fact, they record two miracles of raising the dead which Jesus wrought there, that of the daughter of Jairus (Mk., 5:41) and that of the son of the widow of Nairn (Lk., 7:14). St. John, supplementing their accounts with details of the ministry in Judea, recorded the case of Lazarus which occurred there, and which was more in accord with the scope of his own Gospel.

    +++++++++++++++=
    2 Peter 3:16 was written in anticipation of men like you

  72. Amateur Brain Surgeon,

    You appear to be confusing a parable about a rich man and a poor man, Lazarus (which was not about resurrection, but about the after life consequences of our actions on earth) with the miracle of Jesus tasing [sic] Lazarus from the dead.

    (Somewhat childish of me, but I had to laugh at “tasing Lazarus from the dead”!)

    Yes and no. I misremembered the parable, but I was thinking of the last line:

    Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

    It’s way too much of a coincidence that the gospel of John later claims there was a real Lazarus who was actually raised from the dead, especially as the Lazarus parable in Luke is the only one with a name attached. And of course, it’s implausible that none of the other gospels mention this highly significant miracle.

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