Quietism brought the individual to a state of “holy indifference” where nothing mattered; particularities of Christian belief and practice, pleasures of the senses, personal desires, all vanished in the utter self-abandonment of the soul in the presence of God. The “resigned” soul simply left everything to God. This was a mode of spirituality but also a challenge to the Church and the need for its sacraments. Ecclesiastical authorities of various colors, both protestant and Roman Catholic, found this unacceptable in its (...) earlier manifestations in the later Middle Ages and again in its heydey in the late seventeenth century. Meanwhile in the sixteenth century, adiaphora had become controversial. These were matters of Christian belief and practice about which Christian opinion could legitimately vary and which were therefore “indifferent.” This paper explores the ways in which both these controversies rose from the same underground stream of medieval dissidence, discussing the contributions of the leading characters in the story and seeking to describe the common ground of idea and ideology which unites the history and which suggests that Quietism represents an archetype among the great “positions” of Christendom. (shrink)
This essay, which is the editor's introduction to part 1 of a multipart symposium on quietism, also constitutes his call for symposium papers. The symposium is meant be comprehensive. It is described as political and broadly cultural as well as religious, and in religious terms is said to cover not only the Catholic and Protestant quietisms (most properly so called) of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but also the proto-quietisms of the medieval Western church and reputedly quietist aspects of (...) the Gnostic, Eastern Orthodox, early Hasidic, Shi'ite, Jain and other Indic, Taoist, and Zen religious traditions. This introduction emphasizes the secular approaches, mostly antipolitical or postphilosophical, that wear the adjective “quietist” metaphorically, including the postmodern currents that Martha Nussbaum has named “hip quietism” and the “minimalist” philosophical version developed by Wittgenstein and some of his successors, notably Richard Rorty. This introduction concludes with attention to Rorty's late essay “Naturalism and Quietism,” then with a dedication of the entire symposium to Rorty's memory. (shrink)
This paper forms an introduction to this issue, the contents of which arose directly or indirectly from a conference in May 2001 on Corruption of scientific integrity? — The commercialisation of academic science. The introduction, in recent decades, of business culture and values into universities and research institutions is incompatible with the openness which scientific and all academic pursuit traditionally require. It has given rise to a web of problems over intellectual property and conflict of interest which has even led (...) to corporate sponsors’ suppressing unfavourable results of clinical trials, to the detriment of patients’ health. Although there are those who see the norms of science developing to recognise the importance of instrumental science aiming at specific goals and of knowledge judged by its value in a context of application, none justifies the covert manipulation of results by vested interest. Public awareness of these problems is growing and creating a climate of opinion where they may be addressed. We suggest a way forward by the introduction of nationally and internationally-accepted guidelines for industrial collaboration which contain proper protections of the core purposes of universities and of the independence of their research. Some codes suggested for this purpose are discussed. We note that some universities are moving to adopt such codes of conduct, but argue the need for strong support from the government through its funding bodies. (shrink)
In the thousand years from the end of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance and Reformation of the Sixteenth century the discussion of the great questions of philosophy and religion was intense. Does God exist? What is he like? What is the purpose of human life and how does God show concern for the future of mankind? This is an introduction to the debates which did more than anything else to transform the ancient into the modern world of thought.
Augustine, perhaps the most important and most widely read Father of the Church, first became preoccupied with the problem of evil in his boyhood, and this preoccupation continued throughout his life. Augustine's ideas about evil were to mark out the boundaries of the problem for those who came after him; his influence was greater and more widespread than any other early Christian thinker and is still of importance both with those who agree with him and with those who do not. (...) Augustine's personality, so loveably and intricately revealed in his Confessions, has always made him a figure of intense interest. (shrink)