Blog Template Theology of the Body: Notes from the Fiat Mihi Symposium: Paul Griffiths on a Renewal of Marian Theology

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Notes from the Fiat Mihi Symposium: Paul Griffiths on a Renewal of Marian Theology

Paul Griffiths is the Warren Professor of Catholic Theology at Duke University.

Griffith's presentation, entitled "Quickening the Pagans: Mary Visits the Unbaptized" referred to Christ's presence in His mother, quickening the uncircumcised and pre-intellectual infant John in the womb of Elizabeth. This reference to Luke also hearkens to the delight of the pagan chorus who observe the dazzling beauty of the Shulamite Bride (a type of Mary and the Church) in the Song of Songs, and the exulting of King David before the Ark of the Covenant (also a traditional image of Mary, who "contains" and encompasses the God of Israel, Incarnate, in her womb).

From these Scriptural suggestions, Griffiths considered the pagan's relationship to Mary on 1) the order of being and on 2) the order of knowing. With regard to the first aspect, Griffiths explored Mary's basic humanity in being- acted- upon by the Holy Spirit, and receiving His work in a profound act of assent and acceptance, as primordial model of all humanity in receiving the salvation announced by the Gospel. On the order of knowing, Griffiths considered Mary's response of faith to the angellic annunciation as an act of delighted acceptation which embodies the ideal of fides quaerens intellectum.

Interestingly, the conversation concluded with an emphasis not on modern missiology but on the vocation of the academic theologian: to resist grasping and controlling the data of theology, but rather to work in a mode of faith seeking understanding, on the model of Mary's delighted acceptation of what has already been given and accomplished.

...Favorite anecdote from this session? - "The vocation of the theologian is to render conceptually beautiful what is already given in the Church's liturgy and prayer."

More to Come...