View Full Version : Medieval Angelology - Thomas Aquinas (sf Shoutbox)

13-06-2015, 04:48 PM
There was a somewhat lively discussion on Thomas Aquinas' Angelology in the Shoutbox. As some of the discussion is worth preserving I have captured what I thought were the salient posts. Future commentary should really be made here for the sake of posterity and not re-inventing the wheel if the argument comes up again...

Unlike the shoutbox the following is read from top to bottom in chronological order. Multiple shouts by the one author have been grouped together. All timestamps are in Australian Central Standard.

[10-06, 21:26] Rincewind: Angels in the architecture, spinning in infinity

[11-06, 07:29] Tony Dowden: Angels dancing on pinheads are evidently spinning with particular vim and vigour

[11-06, 09:47] Capablanca-Fan: No medieval theologian ever talked about angels on pinheads. One of the many lies told about the Middle Ages, along with the appellation "Dark Ages" and accusation that they believed in a flat earth.
[11-06, 09:48] Capablanca-Fan: But I agree it would be akin to the inane comments by the atheopaths below.

[11-06, 12:12] Rincewind: See Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica Part I, Question 50.
[11-06, 12:13] Rincewind: While he makes no mention of pins or needles he does spend a lot of words on the material substance of angels and their number.

[11-06, 12:17] Capablanca-Fan: That is about "Whether an angel is altogether incorporeal." 52(3) "Whether several angels can be at the same time in the same place" Yet it didn't stop the dishonest attacks on arguments never made.

[11-06, 12:20] Rincewind: The comment regarding pinheads could simply be a parody of Aquinas and his ilk who base their theology on a wide and disparate range of sources to answer questions of no practical importance
[11-06, 12:21] Rincewind: Only a true pinhead would compain that a parody was not a verbatim question that was actually argued
[11-06, 12:34] Rincewind: Actually Q53 is a better example of inanity of Aquinas angeology. He ties himself in knots comptemplating the inifinity of the continuum and beings he contends exist but do not occupy space.

[12-06, 01:45] Capablanca-Fan: It is simple mendacity to claim that medieval theologians talked about angels on pinheads. It is just crass to expect them to understand 19th-century ideas like the continuum hypothesis.
[12-06, 01:46] Capablanca-Fan: And angels were a very small part of Summa Theologiae, and evidently they were questions being asked. The Middle Ages were a period of inquisitivity about logic, science, and theology.
[12-06, 01:46] Capablanca-Fan: Not to be confused with the Inquisition which started in the Renaissance.

[12-06, 21:24] Rincewind: Regardless of how small a part of Summa Theologica was dedicated to angelology there is still a treatise on Angels specifically
[12-06, 21:25] Rincewind: And it is not easy to see that talking about angels on pinheads could easily be a parody of exactly that sort of treatise
[12-06, 21:25] Rincewind: So to claim that medieval theologicans did not debate specifically that question in that wording is just being deliberately obtuse

[12-06, 22:28] Capablanca-Fan: The false clam is angels dancing on pinheads. The angels part is right, both dancing and pinheads is just made up. 2 out of 3 wrong is not a good record.
[12-06, 22:28] Capablanca-Fan: But atheopaths like you don't care about the truth if there is a chance to bash the church.

[12-06, 22:33] Rincewind: More obfuscation. Aquinas definitely theologised on the size and number of angels and concluded that a large number could exist in a small area
[12-06, 22:34] Rincewind: What is the practical difference between that and the parody of angels on pinheads?
[12-06, 22:34] Rincewind: You would also likely complain that Palin never said that she could see Russia from her backyard
[12-06, 22:35] Rincewind: No one seriously thinks that she did but she certainly said similar inane things so that someone doing satire could easily be mistaken for an actual quote
[12-06, 22:37] Rincewind: In both cases Palin's cluelessness and Aquinas' attention to detail on esoteric angelology make them targets
[12-06, 22:39] Rincewind: To complain that the parodies were not done with verbatim quotes is just an asinine objection

[13-06, 06:42] Capablanca-Fan: Yes, leftists can't refute what conservatives actually say, but knock down straw men instead. Indeed, Palin pointed out correctly that there are parts of Russia visible from an island belonging to Alaska http://www.snopes.com/politics/palin/russia.asp
[13-06, 06:43] Capablanca-Fan: And that is in response to an interviewer who first brought up that she lived close to Russia.
[13-06, 06:44] Capablanca-Fan: Thomas' attention to detail is par for the course in the Middle Ages, where they also studied semantic paradoxes like "what I am saying is false", and they founded the University to question things
[13-06, 06:47] Capablanca-Fan: hardly any different from theorizing about whether aleph-1 = beth-1. Most non-mathematicians couldn't care less. I think Thomas would have been quite interested though,

[13-06, 10:54] Rincewind: Except Thomas specifically was talking about how must space is taken up by angels and he used as evidence the opinion of church fathers.
[13-06, 10:55] Rincewind: Contrary to mathematicians who don't care about Cantor's opinion near as much as what he was able to prove.

[13-06, 12:41] Capablanca-Fan: -Thomas also used deductive methods starting from certain propositions, including Aristotle's hylomorphism

[13-06, 12:44] Rincewind: Indeed and also appealed to Plato's natural philosophy

13-06-2015, 09:20 PM
10-06, 21:52 antichrist: If God's conversations were hacked into what would we likely hear?