Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

5 Comments

  1. villanovanus
    May 31, 2013 @ 4:45 am

  2. villanovanus
    May 30, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    P.S. Even assuming that God’s “monarchy” is not referred by Gregory of Nazianzus so much to the Father as to the Godhead in its “essence”, there is no doubt that at least two major EO theologians (Behr and Hopko) embrace the traditional EO teaching of the “the monarchy of the Father”.

    MdS

  3. villanovanus
    May 30, 2013 @ 10:43 am

    @ Dale [#2, May 30, 2013 at 8:04 am]

    This [“Eastern Christian understanding of the ‘trinity’ has always remained ‘social’ and even, to some extent, Subordinationist”] is part of common, oft-repeated lore nowadays by theologians and to some extent by philosophers, largely, it seems, based on misreading a letter by Gregory of Nyssa, reading too much into his use of an analogy of three men for the Trinity.

    Actually, of the three Cappadocian scoundrels, it is not so much Gregory of Nyssa, but the other Gregory, the friend Gregory of Nazianzus, that is more relevant to the affirmation of the unique personal distinctions (unbegottenness, begottenness, procession) in the ‘trinity’:

    The chief object of the Preacher in these and most other of his public utterances, is to maintain the Nicene Faith of the Trinity or Trinity of God; that is, the Doctrine that while there is but One Substance or Essence in the Godhead, and by consequence God is in the most sense One, yet God is not Unipersonal, but within this Undivided Unity there are three Self-determining Subjects or Persons, distinguished from one another by special characteristics (idiotêtes) or personal properties—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (Introduction to the [five] “Theological” Orations by Gregory of Nazianzus, @ ccel.org)

    Of course, Gregory of Nazianzus had to compensate for his clear assertion of three subjects in the Godhead, and for the equally clear assertion of the “monarchy” of the Father, with a robust amount of mysterian apophaticism (perhaps even more so than his friend Gregory of Nyssa), as Dale should know perfectly well from this post of his own.

    About Nye, if Dale doesn’t agree that his views “can’t have been all than different from those of Theophilus Lindsey”, he should take issue with Ernest Gordon Rupp (see his Religion in England, 1688-1791, 1986, p. 248), not with me. Once again, there is no doubt (even from Dale’s words) that both Stephen Nye and Theophilus Lindsey seems to have been “conflating ‘Socinian’ and modalist theologies”.

    About Dale’s own peculiar treatment of Subordinationism as though it was a (even major) division of “unitarianism”, I challenge him to provide other (relevant, theological and philosophical) authors who follow him in his idiosyncratic approach. Then we can talk about it, without “feet stomping” and without “bother”, Dale may rest assured.

    MdS

  4. Dale
    May 30, 2013 @ 8:04 am

    “And, BTW, there is more than a suspicion that Eastern Christian understanding of the “trinity” has always remained “social” and even, to some extent, Subordinationist, even if this may seem (conceptual) anathema to Dale Tuggy.”

    This is part of common, oft-repeated lore nowadays by theologians and to some extent by philosophers, largely, it seems, based on misreading a letter by Gregory of Nyssa, reading too much into his use of an analogy of three men for the Trinity.

    About Nye, his main concern seems to have been that the Trinity should amount to one self – monotheism was his main concern. In the 1690s, he seemed to argue from a roughly Socinian (really Biddlean) position. But from South he took the idea that the “persons” of the Trinity were in some sense modes of one self, and ran with it. I think in so doing, he firmly chose an element of catholic tradition over fidelity to the NT. That move allowed him, in his mind, to remain within the catholic fold, and to keep his job as a minister. So, that’s where he ended up – writing two books you could call modalist, the last being in the early 1700s. These were refuted by, among others, the noted commenter and theologian Daniel Whitby. So no, his view is really not at all like Lindsey’s. As a result of this dispute, and Nye’s strange theological turn, in the early 1700s in England, it is common to see people conflating “Socinian” and modalist theologies. Both are one-self theories about the Trinity, but they differ greatly, perhaps most importantly in this: the modalist theory rules out the Son of God from being a different self than God, and so rules out the two having an inter-personal relationship.

    About my being “oblivious” in treating subordinationist theologies as a variety of unitarianism. I’m afraid you’re just stomping your foot. You’ve not shown any confusion there, though I’ve shown you the definitions and invited you show how they are too wide or too narrow, poorly motivated, etc. All that’s clear is that this classification bothers you.

  5. villanovanus
    May 30, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    If any of you who read and comment wants to look at Theophilus Lindsey‘s book, you don’t have to buy the Lulu book (copyrighted and published by Dale Tuggy): Google eBooks has it for you (for free …). Here it is: The apology of Theophilus Lindsey, M.A. on resigning the vicarage of Catterick, Yorkshire, 1774. And here is the quotation, at pp. 62-65.

    I don’t think Lindsey’s right in his last statement. How could the power of the state force an end to a theological disagreement? And if you force people to use old words – be those of the ecumenical creeds, or those of the Bible – they will simply redefine them to fit their theories.

    This is NOT what T. Lindsay says. If “the words hooked in a parenthesis” had been omitted, the consequence would have been to speak of the “trinity” ONLY resorting to [1] “what is contained in the holy scripture” and [2] “carefully avoid[ing] all new terms” [“new terms”, with reference to the holy scripture, that is]. Perhaps this would engender (apparent) contradictions: certainly NOT abusive dogmas, though.

    Five quick counter-comments.

    First, the remark on the “typical fate for a three-self Trinity theory”, obviously, applies ONLY to Dr. Sherlock, NOT to Dr. South. And, BTW, there is more than a suspicion that Eastern Christian understanding of the “trinity” has always remained “social” and even, to some extent, Subordinationist, even if this may seem (conceptual) anathema to Dale Tuggy.

    Second, that “the King’s attempt to stamp out debate did not work” shows, most of all, the less than perfect capacity of the Anglican Church to steer the State to stamp out debate.

    Third, it is most certainly improper to “lump together” Modalism (Sabellianism) and Unitarianism, but Dale seems happily oblivious that it is equally improper to “lump together” Unitarianism and Subordinationism, as he does in his Unitarianism “Supplement to Trinity” @ the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

    Forth, perhaps the “famous passage in Augustine” to which Dale refers, and that suggests that the “persons” are not really persons in the obvious (at least since Boethius) sense of the word (person = self-conscious entity, endowed with reason, freedom and will), but, rather, “somewhats”:

    Yet, when the question is asked, What three? human language labors altogether under great poverty of speech. The answer, however, is given, three “persons,” not that it might be [completely] spoken, but that it might not be left [wholly] unspoken. (Augustine of Hippo, On the Holy Trinity, Book V, Chapter 9)

    Fifth, the views of Stephen Nye (1648 – 1719) can’t have been all than different from those of Theophilus Lindsey (1723 – 1808) if he called William Sherlock a “tritheist” and Robert South a “Socinian” (see Ernest Gordon Rupp, Religion in England, 1688-1791, 1986, p. 248). For a synthetic and synoptic account of the Unitarian controversy in the Church of England this Wikipedia article is quite useful: Socinian controversy.

    MdS