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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Filioque

was the single word that split the Eastern and Western Christian churches in two. (Of course it was only the final straw, but still, it was the final straw!)

3 comments:

  1. That's the only part of the Creed I don't chant enthusiastically.

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  2. By the way, do you think the split between Eastern and Western Christians is a historical accident which should not be viewed as a genuine divide by Christians today, or do you think it was a result of strong, irreconcilable differences?

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  3. Prateek, I don't think the term "accident" has any place in history:

    "And lastly, Bury’s theory of contingent events implies that in history there are accidents, surprises, abnormalities. But the notion of the accidental is contradictory of the whole character of the historical world. It is a notion which the historian, when he sits down to write history, must dismiss from his mind. History knows nothing of the fortuitous or the unexpected; in history there is nothing extraordinary, because there is nothing ordinary. The hard winter of 1814 which ruined Napoleon’s expedition to Russia, the storm which dispersed the Armada—these, from the standpoint of the participants, were distressing mischances; all (from that point of view) might so easily have been different. But the attitude of the historian is not that of the eyewitness or the participant. Where they see mischance and accident, he sees fact and event. And he is never called upon to consider what might have happened had circumstances been different. For himself and his friends the death of William I was an accident; for the historian it is no more accidental than if he had died in his bed. To think, as Bury does, of the death of Pericles as in some sense accidental because he died of the plague is to have abandoned history altogether. If we consider Napoleon abstractly, merely as a human being, it was an accident that he was born in Corsica. But when he is considered as the historical Napoleon who (evidence obliges us to believe) was born in Corsica, his birthplace is no more accidental than any other event in the whole range of history. In short, chance or accident is a mask which it is the precise duty of the historian to tear away, it is a way of thinking which he cannot understand. In the historical past there are no accidental events because, in the scientific sense, there are no necessary or inevitable events. Nevertheless, if history has no place for the accidental, it does not replace it with ‘providence’ or a ‘plan’; it replaces accident with the actual course of events which the evidence establishes." -- Michael Oakeshott, Experience and Its Modes

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