Ramon Llull, quotes from the Book of the Gentile

...it is impossible for infinite evil to exist.
Book II

The Gentile said to the Christian, "Tell me why the Trinity which is in God consists of paternity, filiation, and procession, and not of some other thing which is neither Father, Son, nor Holy Ghost."
Book III

For if the Son had wanted to be born of a queen, ruler of all the kingdoms in the world, He could easily have done so; but it would not have signified so great a concordance of humility, justice against injustice, pride.
Book III, Article 9

The Saracens claim that Jesus Christ did not die. And you know why? Because they think they are rendering Him honor by saying that He did not die. But they do not understand the honor that is His in being the hope and consolation of every man, no matter how poor or guilty he may be...
Book III, Article 10

All trans. by Anthony Bonner

Comments

Samuel said…
It appears that I'm unable to locate Llull's Book of the Gentile and the Three Wise Men on the internet (if it is there), perhaps because it is copyrighted.

As I'm not a Lull reader, I don't know the extent to which these apparently disparate passages could lead one to make an out-of-context comment in response. Thus my comments on those selected passages may be out of context, but are nevertheless my responses to anyone (Llull or Joe) who makes them without other prior background. Feel free to correct me if I misunderstood, but I presume that the selected passages have enough in them to stand together (without prerequisites).

Re: Book II. ...it is impossible for infinite evil to exist.

Even if we assume that evil is infinite, one can maintain that mathematically it would still be far inferior to God's infinitude. For example, evil's infinity could be aleph-null N while that of God's could be that of a much higher infinity, such as 2^N (the cardinality of the real number system), or 2^{2^N}, or 2^{2^{2^N}}, etc. (2^N = 2 to the power N.) God, having created all things, created evil as well, so it would have inferior magnitude with respect to Him. We use infinity and infinitesimals in calculus to understand God's creation, so this may indicate something infinite (& infinitely magnificent) about His creation, but which is clearly still much less than Him.

Re: Book III. The Trinity consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by definition. Another view may be to treat it as a fundamental axiom (or doctrine) of Christianity, just as the axioms of the various geometries define them; just as we use the word 'moon' to define that round object nearest the earth that goes around it. The questioner who asks why "Trinity" can't be other than what the word has usually been referring to, would seem to be thinking of a different definition for the word and so should be asked to supply his/her usage of the word---as well as to why he/she is using a different and uncommon meaning for a word that has a well-established meaning.

Book III, Article 9. My problem with that rationale would be that it does not work because of the fact that Jesus' is the Son of God and One with the creator of the Universe, which is not very humbling (being much more prestigious than being born from a queen), though His earthly birth is humbling to be sure (unless one brings up His being born of the Mother of God---ouch!). :-)

Book III, Article 10. As for this one, it sounds more like sophistry since one can look at 'honor' from nearly any angle (so not much substance here either way).
JohnG. said…
Hi Abu,

I regularly read (always with interest ) your blog.

And I find particularly very interesting what you write about R. Lull.

Please feel free to go on sharing us on that stuff.

And what about an about Daoud labelled explanations of the quotations? After all, you can give the testimony of someone who not onbly knows things by books, but also by a living experience !
Abu Daoud said…
Hi John:

>>And what about an about Daoud labelled explanations of the quotations.

I'm not sure if I get your meaning exactly. As in, my own reflections on what Llull is writing and what it means? Or just a tab somewhere with more bio info on me? Please clarify.
Abu Daoud said…
Samuel:

Let me continue to post Llull quotes and things may become clearer. Llull is not an easy guy to read, because he is not Aristotelian or Platonist, which is a main way we classify theological thought, especially in the medieval period when Llull was around.

One comment though, re the Trinity. He is agreeing that the Trinity is three personae of one substance. But his question has to do with relationality: why filiation and procession? Why not something else?

I think you are right that The Book of the Gentile is not on the internet for free, though do check the Lullian Arts link here on the blog for his ars menor which is the bedrock of his philosophy.
Samuel said…
Abu Daoud, it looks like Llull is a dangerous guy to quote (if he's not easy to read and quoted piecemeal). :-)

Llull is not "Aristotelian or Platonist"? But you pointed out (in a later thread) that Llull "lays out certain definitions and relations so that the rest of his epistemological system can function correctly"---which suggest some rational process. So in what sense not Aristotelian nor Platonist? Are you talking about his theological approach?

Thanks for pointing out the link "Llullian Arts" on your blog. I missed it. After having looked at it, I chose not to install that software on my computer for security reasons---plus it looks like it will require 100's of hours that I'm afraid I can't afford.
Samuel said…
PS---As for the 'why' question (why filiation and procession?), my reaction is 'why not'!? I suspect the real answer is unknowable and only God knows. In my mind, the Trinity has been defined, and anything else that substitutes 3 other categories in place of filiation and procession would not be a Trinity but some other thing. After all, we don't even know exactly the meaning of divine filiation, for example (we only have an analogy). The New Testament is not interested to give us a graduate course on the subject. :-)

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