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Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Theologies of Marika

(source: blogger profile)
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I found the blog of Marika by pure chance. There was a discussion on Facebook, one hour ago, about St Ephrem the Syrian (or the Assyrian, or the Syriac, or Ἐφραίμ ὁ Σῦρος, or Ephraem Syrus, or just ܡܪܝ ܐܦܪܝܡ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ if you speak in Syriac tongue, which I don't, though I'd like to) and also about St. Thomas Aquinas. Actually today the Eastern Church celebrates St Ephrem, while the Western Church celebrates St. Thomas. So it goes. Well, our Facebook discussion shifted quickly to the multiple senses to be found in any text in the Holy Scripture (and this theory as one of the theological contributions of the Aquinas).

At this point of our talk my friend Adrian Rezus noted that St. Thomas was not the first to deal with the multiple senses of the Biblical texts, there had been much earlier contributions, and then mentioned a blog where the teachings of the Aquinas on this topic were presented very clearly. It was the blog of Marika.

I went to the link (http://marikablogs.blogspot.com/2009/05/aquinas-on-four-senses-of-scripture.html), and I was immediately hooked. I knew something about the topic from a History of the Italian Renaissance [1] that I had read long time ago: Dante was giving an explanation about the four Scriptural senses. From Marika's blog I understood the opinion of Aquinas, for him any word in the Holy Scripture having an obvious meaning (literal, or historical), and additionally a figurative sense (either moral, or allegorical, or anagogical).

And again from the blogpost of Marika, a dicho by St. Gregory the Great, Holy Writ, by the manner of its speech transcends every science, because in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery.

So, here is what the Doctors of the Church say about the multiple scriptural senses. I must confess I am attracted by the modern view, that any reading (of the Bible, or any other book) is mediated by the culture that the reader lives within: education, milieu, own experience, etc. But, who am I to question the Aquinas? As Marika says, life's too short for everyone to read Aquinas.

I started then to browse Marika's blog. Wow, from the Aquinas to Zizek, stepping by Nietzsche, Derrida, Meister Ekhart, Feminism, Anthropology, and so on and so forth! Marika is a PhD student at Durham University, trying to find ways to distract herself from the study of Zizek, apophatic theology and failure (viewed as a combination of Zizek and apophatic theology: her PhD thesis is on A Theology of Failure: Ontology and Desire in Slavoj Žižek and Christian Apophaticism). It's a great blog (actually she has two blogs: on philosophy and on poetry) and I'm so glad I came upon it.

[1] Renaşterea Italiană, Fred Bérence,Editura Meridiane, 1969

(A Life in Books)



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