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Vocabulary

I figure if Bill O’Reilly can promote vocabulary, why not me? So here we go, a first selection of 25…

1. antinomy — Any freedom that severs us from one another, from our memories of those who came before us, is built on a lie about being. It is a misunderstanding of that Being whose essence is to exist. It is autonomy collapsing into antinomy [vocab: A contradiction between principles] , the denial of law itself and of our created being. Dante knows both that there is an autonomy in accord with the structure of created existence, which is truly free, and that there is an autonomy that violates it, caught by its own snare.

2. aporia — There is an abdication of reason here. In some respects, it resembles the aporia (vocab: a difficulty encountered in establishing the theoretical truth of a proposition, created by the presence of evidence both for and against it.)of pacifism, which can be a strong encouragement for aggression.

3. apotropaic — The terrible dynamism of nature had to be both resisted and controlled by rites at once apotropaic (vocab: intended to ward off evil) — appeasing chaos and rationalizing it within the stability of cult — and economic — recuperating its sacrificial expenditures in the form of divine favor, a numinous power reinforcing the regime that sacrifice served.

4. aqedah — This giving again is itself, in fact, a kind of “sacrificial” motif in Hebrew Scripture, achieving its most powerful early expression in the story of Isaac’s aqedah (vocab: binding), and arriving at its consummation, perhaps, in Ezekiel’s vision in the valley of dry bones.

5. bricolage — I wish, that is, to make a point not conspicuously different from Alasdair MacIntyre’s in the first chapter of his After Virtue: in the wake of a morality of the Good, ethics has become a kind of incoherent bricolage (vocab: a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things).

6. conative — If a being exists who has no goal within the world, a being whose desire to know and need to love appears to be in some sense endless, then perhaps the goal of this creature’s striving lies beyond the world in what the religions of the world call God. The Greek Father Gregory of Nyssa already came near to this conative argument for God (vocab: from the Latin verb conare, “to strive”: we are striving for something beyond this world, and it seems more reasonable to posit that something as the ground of our striving rather than to write off our striving as absurd, something strictly unintelligible.)

7.  equivocal — In this way some words are used univocally nor purely equivocally (vocab: Open to two or more interpretations and often intended to mislead; ambiguous.) of God and creatures, but analogically, for we cannot speak of God at all except in the language we use of creatures, and so whatever is said both of God and creatures is said in virtue of the order that creatures have to God as to their source and cause in which all perfections of things pre-exist transcendently.

8. fideism — There are also signs of a resurgence of fideism (vocab: “Fideism” is the name given to that school of thought — to which Tertullian himself is frequently said to have subscribed — which answers that faith is in some sense independent of, if not outright adversarial toward, reason)., which fails to recognize the importance of rational knowledge and philosophical discourse for the understanding of faith, indeed for the very possibility of belief in God.

8. hermeneutics — Western religion was modeled on a pagan conception of God as “motionless,” until postmodern hermeneutics intervened. (vocab: The theory and methodology of interpretation, especially of scriptural text.)

9. homosexualism / homosexualist — The legitimization of the gay agenda and its lifestyle by normalizing homosexual acts. It promotes Ten Myths you should be able to identify and refute. Love that copy and paste.

10. impetratory — For so deep and intimate is the interior union between soul and soul in grace, and so authoritative the commission uttered to the Church by Christ to the effect that what she “binds on earth shall be bound in heaven,” that the Catholic Church claims to have a kind of “impetratory” (vocab: obtaining by petition or entreaty) authority over such transactions, and to be able to help one soul that is struggling heroically and lovingly upwards, by the merits of other souls that have striven yet more heroically and lovingly in the past.

11. malcarios or makarios – “Anthony de Mello defines an attachment as anything in this world — including life itself — that we convince ourselves we cannot live without. The implication, of course, is that in Christ we can live without anything in this world, and to know that in our bones is to be detached, spiritually free. To live in the infinite power of God is to realize that we need nothing other, that we crave nothing more, that we can let go of everything else. De Mello’s attachment is very close to Augustine’s concupiscentia, or errant desire.

For Augustine, all of us have been wired for God (“You have made us for yourself”) and therefore we are satisfied with nothing less than God (“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you”). To become focused on something less than God (anything created, including our own lives) is therefore to place ourselves in spiritual danger and desperately to frustrate the will. Perhaps the best way to translate these notions of attachment and concupiscence into our contemporary jargon is by using the word “addiction.” When we attach our wills to something less than God, we automatically become addicted, and this is the case precisely because the lack of satisfaction that we necessarily experience leads to an obsessive return, a compulsive desire for more and more. If that amount of money didn’t quell my deepest desire, I must need more money; if that sexual encounter didn’t satisfy the longing of my heart, I must need another more thrilling one, etc., etc. The initial thrill — the “rush” — of money, sex, or power conduces to an obsession that finally takes away our freedom and our self-possession. Jesus describes the overcoming of this addiction with the evocative word “blessed,” malcarios in Greek.”
Fr. Robert Barron, The Strangest Way

12. immanentist — Christian Revelation is the true lodestar (vocab: a star that is used to find direction) of men and women as they strive to make their way amid the pressures of an immanentist (vocab: of the present or material world) habit of mind and the constrictions of a technocratic logic.

13. indigences — It is because of his needs that the human person demands this life in society. Taken in the aspect of his indigences (vocab: seriously impoverished conditions), he demands to be integrated to a body of social communications, without which it is impossible for him to attain to his full life and achievement.

14. lodestar — Christian Revelation is the true lodestar (vocab: a star that is used to find direction) of men and women as they strive to make their way amid the pressures of an immanentist (vocab: of the present or material world) habit of mind and the constrictions of a technocratic logic.

15. malgre lui — This is meant to suggest that, beneath and beyond the wrangles and differences and diversity of philosophies, there is a subtle progress being made such that every philosopher contributes malgre lui (vocab: in spite of himself) to a cumulative achievement of the race.

16. nec plus ultra — But these ideas presented themselves as the last word in doubt, the nec plus ultra (vocab: The highest point, as of excellence or achievement; the ultimate; literally without more beyond.) of intellectual skepticism.

17. opusculum — Written while he was yet a student, On the Principles of Nature cannot be read simply as an account of what Aristotle taught. The opusculum (vocab: A small, minor work) is clearly a laying out of what its author regards as the truth of the matter.

18. peripety — This is more than a dramatic peripety (vocab: A sudden turn of events or an unexpected reversal, esp. in a literary work). The empty tomb overturns all the “responsible” and “necessary” verdicts of Christ’s judges, and so grants them neither legitimacy nor pardon.

19. propaedeutic — From all these truths, the mind is led to acknowledge the existence of a truly propaedeutic (vocab: Providing introductory instruction) path to faith, one which can lead to the acceptance of Revelation without in any way compromising the principles and autonomy of the mind itself.

20. qurban — Christ’s whole life was a reconciling qurban (vocab: Qurbān (Arabic: قربان‎, Persian: قرباني Qorbāni) is the sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid ul-Adha. The word form was borrowed from Hebrew qorbān “offering” and Syriac qurbānā “sacrifice”, etymologised through the cognate Arabic triliteral as “a way or means of approaching someone”.): an approach to the Father, a real indwelling of God’s glory in the temple of Christ’s body, and an atonement made for a people enslaved to death.

21. repristinate — Some have claimed that, in all this, John Paul II is subordinating both human action and metaphysics to a philosophy of personalism, but that misjudges his steady desire to repristinate (vocab: To restore to an original state) what Leo XIII had proposed in Aeterni Patris. We have come a long way from Pius X when John Paul II insists that the Angelic Doctor should also be called the Doctor Humanitatis. Thomas is recommended not as a tool for weeding out disorder within the Church but rather as a teacher on the integrity of the human person.

22. somatic — Although in its normal constitution, the human body carries within itself the signs of sex and is by nature male or female, the fact that man is a ‘body’ belongs more deeply to the structure of the personal subject than the fact that in his somatic constitution — he is also male or female. [vocab: The term somatic (from the Greek σωματικός) means 'of the body'. It is often used in biology to refer to the cells of the body in contrast to the cells in the germ line which give rise to the gametes (eggs or sperm). These somatic cells are diploid containing two copies of each chromosome, whereas the germ cells are haploid as they only contain one copy of each chromosome. Although under normal circumstances all somatic cells contain identical DNA, they develop a variety of tissue-specific characteristics. This process is called differentiation, through epigenetic and regulatory alterations. The grouping of like cells and tissues creates the foundation for organs.]

23. subventions — On becoming chief of the Visigoths, Alaric set out to redress the failure of the imperial treasury to pay his people certain subventions [vocab: Provision of help, aid, or support. An endowment or a subsidy, as that given by a government to an institution for research; a grant of financial aid.] they had been promised; he marched towards Constantinople before being diverted to Greece, where his men plundered many cities.

24. surd — Weil believed this sort of understanding was also possible in psychological and spiritual matters wherein surd (vocab: A surd is a number or quantity that cannot be expressed as the ratio of two integers.) elements of our experience could bespeak a need for unity on a higher plane, a need that, if met, could give us a clearer understanding of our lives and thus a firmer grasp on them.

25. univocal (adv. univocally) – Though it was perhaps Scotus’s intention to draw the world and God into closer connection, this epistemological and ontological shift had the opposite effect in maintaining that God and the world can be described with a univocal (vocab: having only one meaning; unambiguous) concept of being.

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