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Transcendence and Immanence

January 12, 2014

Some of the things that I have been blogging about this fall are the trinity, and really trying to understand Augustine’s Book on the topic. I find the current teaching on the trinity to be very upsetting. I always hear it like this. “God sent his Son to do his will, to redeem humanity by dying on the cross, and blah, blah, blah, etc., this is a model for the marriage relationship, for how husbands should treat their wives.” That is how it sounds. So Augustine is quite a relief to me. Augustine makes it clear that there is no difference in authority between Father and Son, nor is the trinity a model for human relationships.

Second, blogging about the Eternal One, as in Adon Olam , has finally made the meanings of “transcendent” and “immanent,” relating to God, sink in. God is the one who existed before the material universe and will exist afterword. God is outside of matter, and all that is mortal. God is also supposed to be “present with us.” This is what Rosenzweig wrote in the early decades of this century. What does that mean, given the holocaust? This is the dialogue I am having with theology this fall.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2014 7:36 am

    Suzanne,
    What should we make of this?

    Augustine admired his mother because she quietly acquiesced to his father’s violence, even though she was morally superior to him.

    For him, Monica was the model of how women should accept their subordination to men.

    For Augustine, only women are under subordination in the original creation. This subordination is inherent in their female roles of helpmeets to men. There was no subordination of some men to others in the original creation, but the fall and sinful self – will brought about social disorder. Thus various forms of domination are necessary to prevent lawlessness in society, such as slavery, the domination of peasants by landlords and coercion of rebels by the state. Heretics and dissidents also need to be coerced by the Christian state and forced to submit to the rulings of the church. Thus Augustine justified hierarchical and coercive social systems to compensate for the lawlessness brought about by sin.

    Rosemary Radford Ruether, “Women in Creation, Fall and Redemption: The Classical Paradigm

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    January 15, 2014 3:25 pm

    Arrgh! I try to separate out some of this stuff. Otherwise there would be nothing left to read.

  3. January 15, 2014 3:41 pm

    🙂 Sigh. I know. Nancy Mairs says Montaigne uses rather feminist ways of writing (although he’s clearly sexist when writing a friend who’s a woman); one of my colleagues, a feminist researcher, declares that AA is masculinist and patriarchal (even though the 12 step program is collaborative and dialogic in nature with “meetings” and members who may actually “labor” to deconstruct the masculinism of addiction, and who work in “recovery” from the “disease” doing this work very akin to “feminist recovery work” in many other contexts).

    What’s left to read?! Well, I do like Feminist Interpretations of Augustine: Re-Reading the Canon edited by Judith Chelius Stark.

    And the closing poem, “To Aurelius Augustine from the Mother of His Son,” by Ann Conrad Lammers, is definitely worth a read as an imaginative note from Augustine’s mistress, written to him.

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