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D.N.

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  1. Indeed. That's why the qualifier's included. I just found it an interesting thing that I don't think would be as apparent inside the conversation. I'm also not saying you need to draw a specific conclusion from that. You could certainly suggest it, but I don't think the general movement's that way.
  2. Um ... so this is spiritual milk, instead of meat? How hard do I have to work to start getting to the spiritual steak and potatoes here? This doesn't like like it's going to be very brief, it's 5 VOLUMES. Maybe the Summa Theologica was considered the elementary basics for Christian "babes in Christ" by Aquinas or his translators back in the day. But now I already feel like my modern day IQ is a lot lower than it's supposed to be. Remember that the Summa is a college textbook. It's meant to be read over a long period of time, complete with assignments, argument, and so on. It really is for beginners--but most of us are beginners. In his terms, unless you have a deep understanding of Scripture, tradition, and creation, you're a beginner. Not a few insights or something, but deep knowledge. All he's trying to do is outline the basics of all of reality--so, ya know. In any case, despair not. It's not a breeze, it's not a book, but it wasn't meant to be (it's a course). You know the image of Flannery O'Connor reading a bit of Summa at night and talking to her mother in faux-scholastic argumentation as she turns off the light? That's more of what you're in for. It takes a while, and you steep in it. Also, here's the biggest thing that I've found people (even scholars) have a hard time keeping straight: the Q&A/dialogue form of the questions. In case you'd like a rundown, it goes essentially like this: 1) Question [posed by teacher] 2) Objections; answers that will be in certain respects wrong [from students] 3) The 'on the contrary', which is a counterpoint to all of the above, but may not be entirely/fully 'correct'--drawn from an authority, be it Scripture, tradition, or philosophy. [think of it as a senior student/TA butting in] 4) The teacher's response ['I respond'], which not only disproves the students' answers, but interprets the 'on the contrary' and other existing authorities, synthesizing them into a solution. 5) The teacher's individual response to each students' objection/incorrect answer, which may augment the 'I respond' considerably. So, only the last two are what Aquinas is trying to teach you. My general practice is to skim over the objections, read the 'on the contrary', his response, and then read the objections when I get down to his response to those objections, if at all (sometimes it's just obvious). As for the Summa of the Summa, it is rather good, but it necessarily suffers from what it omits. Not a bad place to start (and I do love his footnotes), but if reading something in it gets your mind going at all, jump over to the real deal and read it in full. And, no, really, it's not milk--except as he meant when he said it was all 'straw'. In comparison with the highest truths, the little ladders we use to get there are utterly unimportant. By the way, it wasn't until I read the Summa contra Gentiles that I really 'got' Thomas. It's actually fairly short (here's a version online that looks promising, though I've not used it; there are certainly others) and sketches in brief some of the most interesting (to me) parts of the Summa, in that it jumps to the big questions: existence, theology, and everything. And it's much more expostulatory than pedagogic, relatively speaking. It's certainly not a replacement for the Summa Theologica, but you might give it a shot at some point, whether that's at the beginning or (like I did) after getting used to Thomas in the Summa. Cheers, and good reading.
  3. So I am going to make this as uncontroversial as I can. To an outside observer, this thread may seem a pretty good proof of (Persiflage's) concept. He comes in with a blunt thesis and sets it out, fielding comments. He is met with cries of 'offensive' and 'ignorant'--one could even say 'brutish'--is teamed up on, and there is even, at one point, an attempt to psychoanalize him, the thought being he must not be a happy man romantically. In the classical Western conception of sexuality, and in the rather mainstream and un-fringe-like understanding Persiflage pronounces, one of those things would be considered manly, and one would most decidedly not be. Food for thought.
  4. -- Nixing my previous comment as unhelpful. -- But I'd be interested as well, and may even delurk to comment.
  5. I dunno. I almost don't want to bring it up. But I went to a lit event recently and there were these postcards scattered all over the place (pretty sure I saw the author around). I saw 'dark coming-of-age', 'religion and sex', and 'Jehova's Witness' and thought of this group here. Here's the writeup: A dark coming-of-age comedy that goes behind closed doors into the rarely-glimpsed world of Jehovah's Witnesses. Gabe is a teenage Jehovah's Witness convinced God is going to kill him at Armageddon for masturbating. But Gabe's not alone: There's his best friend Peter, who writes obscenities in the margins of his Watchtower; Jin, the Korean kid in the congregation, who subsists on Ho Hos and Doritos; and Camille, who follows Gabe around, trying to be his girlfriend. When he falls in love with Jasmine, Camille's beautiful older sister, things only get more complicated. Meanwhile, the adult world around him seems to be going from mildly absurd to full-blown dysfunctional. His dad is an elder in the congregation who decides the fate of sinners (like the married couple who confess to accidentally having anal sex), while his mother waits for happiness on the other side of Armaggedon. Fearing eternal damnation and caught in the only belief system he has ever known, it is up to Gabe to find a path to romance, love, sanity, and something like happiness. Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk is Tony's debut novel. A typical endorsement says that the book "captures the ache of an adolescent heart drunk on a combustible cocktail of Jesus, hormones, and visions of escape. You'll pull for this most sympathetic hero and hope he finds a god of his own." His writing as found on the internet is, at first blush anyway, alternately pretty okay and gushy. Every once in a while something strikes as funny or somewhat surprising. It's plain he's no longer a believer and is still a fairly depressed fellow, though coping--in part, perhaps, by writing in the continuously self-referential vein, the long tail of the figuring-stuff-out approach. What I find interesting is the theme of (ravenous, pubescent) sexual desire alongside religious conviction. Based on the synopsis and reviews, I don't anticipate it approaching The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man levels with that issue, but it's an inherently intriguing one. Again, though, I don't know. Maybe he surprises. Anyone read it? Or planning on it?
  6. Jesuses. I've never heard anyone seriously promote Jesi. I'd think they were joking. It's a needlessly cute and confusing Latinism, and doesn't have breadth of use on its side. Adding to the confusion would be the possessive form of Jesi: Jesi's (looks singular) vs. Jesuses' (obviously plural). Seems to fall under the "we speak English, so let's speak English" category.
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