Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Truth, God's Possession, Can't be Had Without God

"[T]he situation created by the 'enlightened' Sophists of Plato's our situation [today]. We might describe it in these words: by its exactness, exact knowledge bars the way to wisdom, which asks about the most profound depths of our existence.

"Plato accepted the scepticism of the enlightenment, which considered man incapable of truth, only to the extent of saying that truth, in its proper meaning, is an attribute of God alone. But because, despite the prevailing scepticism, he judged man capable of receiving God, he judged him also to be open to truth. According to Plato, man cannot, it is true, actually possess truth, but he can love it and search for it. In Greek, that means: he can be a philosopher. It is there that the limitation and the greatness of man lie: he is not wise, but he is in loving search of wisdom. In this way, Plato gave the word 'philosophy' the noble content that enabled it to become likewise the goal of all those who thought and lived as Christians throughout the ages. As a philosopher, man's place, according to Plato, is between wisdom and the absence of truth. But the content of wisdom is being itself, or even more--the Good and the Beautiful that are beyond being. For man, then, philosophy is a great reaching out for eternal Being, a learning to contemplate truth, a rational effort of the Spirit to find true meaning. Its strength is Eros, that openness of man that compels him to transcend again and again the limits of the merely knowable and to move toward the eternal."

Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1987, 360.
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