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Church Fathers on Theological Education

AntoniousNikolas

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Hey Guys.  I thought it might be useful to have a thread where we post quotes from the Church Fathers on the topic of theological education and why it is necessary.  Oftentimes, people abuse or misapply quotes like "a theologian is one who prays" to make it out as if theological education in a seminary or other classroom setting is superfluous or even harmful to our "spirituality".  In some of the Oriental Orthodox jurisdictions, this approach has led to some bad things.  Any quotes from any Fathers anyone could post here - OO or EO, ancient or modern - would be very much appreciated.  Thank you.
 

NicholasMyra

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A quote I've posted here before:

They say that on the portals of Plato’s school there was the inscription: ‘Let no one enter who is ignorant of geometry.’ One who is unable to conceive and speak of inseparable realities as separate is a man absolutely ignorant of geometry. For a limit without something limited belongs to the realm of the impossible. In the case of geometry virtually all discussion concerns limits, and even apart from actual limited things limits are sometimes defined and proposed per se because the mind separates inseparables. If a man has never learned to separate in his mind the body from the properties around it, how can he entertain nature in itself? Nature as it inheres in bodies is not only inseparable from the natural properties, but it can never exist without them. How can he entertain the universals which exist as such in particulars but are distinguished from them by the mind and reason alone and are conceived prior to the many though they have no existence at all apart from the many, in true reasoning at least. How can he entertain intelligibles and intellectuals? How will he understand us when we say that each mind possesses also thoughts and each of the thoughts is our mind? Will he not laugh and cry out accusing us of saying that each man possesses two or many minds?

If in such instances he is unable to speak of or entertain indivisible realities as distinct, how will he be able to speak of or be taught any such thing in God’s case, where according to the theologians there are and are said to be many unions and distinctions?

-St. Gregory Palamas, 150 chapters
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Thank you, Nicholas!  :)

One of my favorites by St. John Chrysostom: "Tell me, which trees are best? Do we not prefer those that are inwardly strong, and are not injured by rainstorms, or hail, or gusts of wind, or by any sort of harsh weather, but stand exposed to them all without fences or garden to protect them? He who truly loves wisdom is like this, and his riches we have already described. He has nothing, yet has everything; he has everything, yet has nothing. A fence does not provide internal strength, nor is a wall a natural support; they provide only artificial protection. What is a strong body? Is it not one that is healthy, whether hungry or surfeited, cold or warm? Or is it something that is dependent upon restaurants, tailors, merchants, and physicians for health? The truly rich man, the true lover of wisdom, needs none of these things, and that is why the blessed Apostle admonishes us to bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."
 

AntoniousNikolas

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A brace of good ones from St. Basil the Great:

“Young people must be made to distinguish between helpful and
injurious knowledge, keeping clearly in mind that Christian's purpose
in life. So, like an athlete or the musician, they must bend every energy to
one task, the winning of the heavenly crown.”

"Seek out with much care and thought, a teacher who will be a
safe guide to you in your manner of life; one who knows well how to
lead such as are journeying towards God; a teacher who is rich
in virtues [...] and wise in the Holy Scriptures.”
 

Second Chance

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I may be perceived as going off topic, but I think the following essay gives this effort much needed context.

http://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1413&context=ree&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fsearch%3Fpc%3DCOSP%26ptag%3DD111216-A251FF33716%26form%3DCONBDF%26conlogo%3DCT3334491%26q%3Dorthodox%2Bview%2Bon%2Btheological%2Beducation#search=%22orthodox%20view%20theological%20education%22
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
I may be perceived as going off topic, but I think the following essay gives this effort much needed context.

http://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1413&context=ree&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fsearch%3Fpc%3DCOSP%26ptag%3DD111216-A251FF33716%26form%3DCONBDF%26conlogo%3DCT3334491%26q%3Dorthodox%2Bview%2Bon%2Btheological%2Beducation#search=%22orthodox%20view%20theological%20education%22
This is not off topic at all, Carl.  Thank you!  :)
 
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