Saturday, May 12, 2007


As you are no doubt aware, the Knights Templar have become a peculiarly popular trope in fiction, as a sort of super-conspiracy theory; as Eco notes in Foucault's Pendulum, the kooks, the ones locked into a psychosis of resemblances, always end up talking about the Templars. The Templars, or the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, were the first Christian military order; as a religious order, Templars took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and were supposed to live lives of piety as any monk would. (The Templar Rule, in fact, was an adaptation of the Cistercian adaptation of the Rule of Benedict. This original Cistercian influence, incidentally, is why Templars wear white -- Cistercian habits were white, and the Templars just took a version of that habit and added a red cross to it, to indicate their crusader's vow.) They were soldiers, however, who were supposed never to surrender. Their original purpose was to protect pilgrims and the Christian presence in the Holy Land. Pilgrimmage was at times, and particularly in the Holy Land, a dangerous venture; the Church worried about the safety of pilgrims through a good portion of the Middle Ages. So when in 1118 Hugues de Payens and eight companions offered their services, there was certainly a demand.

Knights in the battlefield, monks in the chapel. Something more perfectly calculated to fascinate the medieval mind could hardly be conceived. They received privileges, money, land; they found recruitment easy. Its wealth, one of the major elements in the legend that attracts the kooks, became a thing of legend. And other military orders, the most famous of which was the Order of the Kights of St. John of Jeruselm, more popularly known as the Knights Hospitaller, founded by Blessed Gerard Thom, who ran and guarded hospitals and hospices for pilgrims (and tended to have an Augustinian rather than a Cistercian tone).

The Templars came to a terrible end -- another reason they attract crazy people. On October 13, 1307, King Philip of France had all the Templars arrested and interviewed, or, rather, tortured, in order to collect confessions about Templar rites of initiation. Since these rites were conducted secretly, there was no open evidence against any accusation that the enemies of the order might make up; and since confessions were collected by torture, evidence for any made-up accusation could easily be fabricated. Pope Clement V vigorously protested, and declared the proceedings null and void; but with the confessions in hand, Philip was able to convince the Pope to conduct a separate ecclesiastical inquiry, which, of course, investigated the order not just in France, but throughout the world. The inquiry found that the knights of the order, for the most part, were innocent of any charges, and that there was no evidence that the order itself embraced any heresy. The question of whether the Templars should continue as an order sanctioned by the Church was brought before the General Council of Vienne in 1311; the great majority of the conciliar fathers did not wish to condemn the order, but because of the scandal, they felt that something had to be done. To avoid actually condemning the order, it was deemed best simply to dissolve, not as punishment, but as a matter of prudence. According to Clement:

The majority of the cardinals and of those elected by the council, a proportion of more than four-fifths, have thought it better, more expedient and advantageous for God's honour and for the preservation of the christian faith, also for the aid of the holy Land and many other valid reasons, to suppress the order by way of ordinance and provision of the apostolic see, assigning the property to the use for which it was intended. Provision is also to be made for the members of the order who are still alive. This way has been found preferable to that of safeguarding the right of defence with the consequent postponement of judgment on the order. We observe also that in other cases the Roman church has suppressed other important orders for reasons of far less gravity than those mentioned above, with no fault on the part of the brethren. Therefore, with a sad heart, not by definitive sentence, but by apostolic provision or ordinance, we suppress, with the approval of the sacred council, the order of Templars, and its rule, habit and name, by an inviolable and perpetual decree, and we entirely forbid that anyone from now on enter the order, or receive or wear its habit, or presume to behave as a Templar. If anyone acts otherwise, he incurs automatic excommunication.

One of the things I've always been puzzled about is why the Hospitallers aren't as big a part of the conspiracy story as the Templars. After all, the Hospitallers were major rivals of the Templars; on the dissolution of the Templar order, they received Templar property; and, unlike the Templars, they still exist. But that's perhaps the whole point; the Order of Malta does excellent charity work, but it doesn't look like the sort of organization that is running the world behind the scenes. Templar nonexistence functions like the version of Templar secrecy. Templar secrecy allowed the order's enemies to make up anything they pleased and pin it on the order; Templar nonexistence allows the kooks to do the same.

UPDATE: After some discussion, Pensans has convinced me that the claim that the inquiry found "that the knights of the order, for the most part, were innocent of any charges" is probably too strong and certainly not sufficiently nuanced.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sympathy for the Oliphaunt

I wanted to continue my series on Hume's Dialogues,but I'm too tired to say much tonight. However, you like Tolkien and haven't read the post on Sympathy for the Oliphaunt at "Fido the Yak", you should.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Reading the Truthlikeness entry in the SEP, which is a good summary of the common views on verisimilitude, it struck me that all of these views gloss truthlike as 'like the truth'. Thus saying P is truthlike is to say that P is like the truth T which we are, as it were, trying to get at in talking about P in the first place. But surely there's another, better way of glossing it, namely, that truthlike is 'like truth', i.e., it may or may not be true, but it is as if it were, it has characteristics making it resemble truth. This is why Academic skeptics can accept the verisimilar: to say that P is truthlike you don't have to know that it is like T in particular. (And why Augustine can reply to the Academics that saying P is truthlike is only possible if you know what features go with some truth, even if not the particular truth in question, so as to be able to say that P is like it in some way.)


In discussing the Filioque, it's often forgotten that there are in fact more than one possible Filioquist view. I was reminded of this in particular when reading Michael Liccione's post on the Filioque, which I haven't had a chance to discuss yet. Like Mike, I hold DMF -- the monarchy of the Father. Like Mike, I am a Filioquist. I even agree with a great deal of what he says in laying out his own account. However, there are a number of differences between my view of the Filioque and Mike's. For instance, I think his claim that on his account "it can also be said that the Son is begotten ex Patri spirituque," if true (I'm actually not convinced it is), would be a reductio ad absurdum of the account. For another example, I am in wholehearted agreement with CP, or at least the only reasonable and genuinely Cappodocian version of it: every real divine property must either be individual or common to all three. Unlike Mike, I don't think this is negotiable; and unlike Mike, I don't think, when properly understood, it causes any problems. And the reason, I think, is fairly clear; on my view of the Filioque, the Holy Spirit is God in his own right, with regard to possessing the essence; the Holy Spirit is from the Father alone with regard to His hypostasis; and the Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son notionally. This requires some explanation. But I want to start with CP.

The only argument from CP that any Filioquist need bother with at all is the one begun by Photios; other arguments, to the extent that they can be taken seriously at all, are only versions of this. And the argument, as found in the Mystagogy, is this: Aside from the distinctively characteristic properties of the persons, whenever some property is truly possessed by distinct persons, the property shared by those persons is referred to the nature (this is, more or less, CP; I think it best not to quibble about precise formulations, because they all have to be understood a particular way in order to be consistent with things that are definitely orthodox, anyway, as we shall see). Therefore if we attribute to the Son a property distinctive of the Father, the logical consequence is to completely resolve the Father's person into the nature, extirpating the Principle of the Godhead.

Now, I think this argument is sound. I think it misses the point, since the Filioque doesn't attribute to the Son a property distinctive of the Father. But I think it's right, and identifies a point that any adequate exposition of the doctrine of Filioque must take into account. But the governing principle of the argument, or CP (in some version or other), is tricky to interpret, because while I think it's right, we must be careful as to how we understand 'shared properties'. For some properties are shared naturally and some notionally, and the two are not the same.

As Gregory of Nyssa points out it is impossible to distinguish the Persons except in respect of cause and of the cause. Thus, the Father and the Son are one in nature, and so cannot be distinguished by nature. The only way to distinguish them is by mode of existence or subsistence in that nature, i.e.: that the Son does not exist without generation, nor the Father by generation. And thus we distinguish the persons only in this way: the Father is the origin or principle, the Son is of the origin, and the Spirit is of the origin by interposition of the Son, where 'interposition' is understood to preserve his unique characteristic as the one and only begotten, despite the Spirit's also being of the origin. (It should perhaps be pointed out that Gregory's point can't be handled by the standard responses based on the essence/energies distinction, because he explicitly distinguishes the point being discussed from the essence and energies.)

But one might argue in this way. When St. Gregory makes a distinction in 'of the cause', distinguishing between (1) that which is of the cause and (2) that which is of the cause by interposition of (1), is he not assigning a property that is neither individual nor common to all? For it seems to be shared by the Spirit and the Son, and not by the Father. And the answer, I think, is clearly not. The reason is that 'of the cause' is a single description for both the Son and the Holy Spirit; but it doesn't follow from this that it posits a single property, unless we have an understanding of the term 'property' that is so expansive that even a slight difference in description would make a new property. In fact, in one phrase 'of the cause' or 'from the Father' posits two distinct properties, which is why it is susceptible of further distinction into one that is of the cause as only-begotten and another that is of the cause but by interposition.

Conversely, when I say the Father is that from which the Spirit proceeds and that by which the Son is begotten, these two descriptions, 'that from which the Spirit proceeds' and 'that by which the Son is begotten' do not indicate two distinctive properties in the Father, as if He were two people, the Origin of Procession and the Origin of the Son. In fact, the two descriptions are both incomplete and imperfect characterizations of the one distinctive property of the Father. The reason this is the converse of the point I just made about descriptions like 'from the Father' is that the reason we have to allow these descriptions, which describe two persons distinctly from another, is that they are necessary to an orthodox description of the third's distinctive property. To say that both the Son and the Spirit are from the Father is an indirect way of describing the Father's distinctive property as origin or unbegotten fontal plenitude. If we could not describe both the Son and the Spirit by this one description, 'from the Father', we would be logically committed to denying that the Father is the Principle of Godhead. Thus it is possible and, indeed, necessary, to have descriptions or notions shared by two persons and not by the third.

As I've already pointed out, though, these two-person descriptions or notions do not identify a single distinctive property, nor do they do anything more in this regard than preserve the distinctive property of the third person. They are orthodox, though -- indeed, they are necessary to orthodoxy -- and any version of CP must be understood in a way so as not to rule them out. Let those who have a problem with that take it up with the Cappadocian Fathers.

Another way to think of it is to think of it in St. Basil's terms, taking the special distinctive of the Spirit to be inseparably apprehended with the Son so as to be known "after and together with" the Son. This inseparable apprehension is in fact extremely important. Anyone who thinks they are indicating the Father are implicitly also indicating the Son from the Father and the Spirit from the Father through the Son; or they are not indicating the Father at all. Likewise, anyone who indicates the Son is indicating also the Father from whom the Son is and the Spirit who proceeds from the Father through and together with the Son, so as to be known after and together with the Son. And likewise, anyone who indicates the Holy Spirit is indicating also the Father from whom He proceeds and the Son with whom He is inseparable adjoined. We could just as easily say that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and rests with the Son, or dwells in the Son.

Thus the question of the Filioque boils down to this: whether it is a legitimate two-person notion, or, in other words, whether it is, as understood by the West, a reasonably decent description of the way in which the Spirit is inseparably apprehended with the Son, and the Son with the Father. To say that the Spirit is from the Father and the Son is as much to say that the Father is together-with-the-Son in the procession of the Spirit, just as to say "Paul and Silvanus" is as much to say "Paul-with-Silvanus". This is why there is only one spiration; the spiration is always from the Father; but the Son is with the Father in the Spirit's being breathed forth by the Father, and thus distinctively interposes without detriment to the Spirit's full Godhead. The Son, on the other hand, is in being begotten together-with-the-Spirit from the Father(not begotten from the Father and the Spirit), and together-with-the-Father in the Spirit's proceeding, as the only-begotten who has the same Spirit as His Father.

To return to St. Photios, who is undoubtedly a saint and a God-graced theologian, but who will ever be to the West what St. Augustine is to the East: that is, a stone against which those of us who are neither saints nor God-graced theologians dash ourselves if we get too haughty. As I said, I think Photios's argument, at least in some version of it, is sound. However, I think that we Filioquists and St. Photios have been separated from each other not by any shadow of heterdoxy but by the shadow of Babel's legacy. It is right to say that properties that are not distinctive are natural; if it is understood not to require us to reject two-person descriptions like 'from the Father'. But the Filioque is such a description. It is right to say that attributing the distinctive property of the Father to the Son makes the Father an attribute of the nature and not a person. But the Filioque as presented by II Lyons and Florence does not do this. The argument contributes nothing to the dispute, at least at this point in time. If there remains an insuperable disagreement, it is elsewhere.

Not as Wounds but as Worships

Yesterday the Anglicans celebrated the memorial for Julian of Norwich, and I missed it, so here's a selection from her Revelations:

By contrition we are made clean, by compassion we are made ready, and by true longing toward God we are made worthy. These are three means, as I understand, whereby that all souls come to heaven: that is to say, that have been sinners in earth and shall be saved: for by these three medicines it behoveth that every soul be healed. Though the soul be healed, his wounds are seen afore God,—not as wounds but as worships. And so on the contrary-wise, as we be punished here with sorrow and penance, we shall be rewarded in heaven by the courteous love of our Lord God Almighty, who willeth that none that come there lose his travail in any degree. For He holdeth sin as sorrow and pain to His lovers, to whom He assigneth no blame, for love. The meed that we shall receive shall not be little, but it shall be high, glorious, and worshipful. And so shall shame be turned to worship and more joy.

Isaiah the Prophet

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two they covered their face, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And they called to each other: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory."

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am lost! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?"

And I said, "Here I am. Send me!"

[Isaiah 6:1-8]

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


From Sally Haslanger's Changing the Ideology and Culture of Philosophy: Not by Reason (Alone) (PDF):

My point here is that I don’t think we need to scratch our heads and wonder what on earth is going on that keeps women out of philosophy. In my experience it is very hard to find a place in philosophy that isn’t actively hostile towards women and minorities, or at least assumes that a successful philosopher should look and act like a (traditional, white) man. And most women and minorities who are sufficiently qualified to get into grad school in philosophy have choices. They don’t have to put up with this mistreatment. Many who recognize that something about choices is relevant have "explained" to me that women choose not to go into philosophy because they have other options that pay better or have more prestige. This may be true for some, but this doesn’t sound like the women I know who have quit philosophy (and it sounds a lot more like the men I know who have quit). Women, I believe, want a good working environment with mutual respect. And philosophy, mostly, doesn’t offer that.

Very sad, but in even my limited experience too true. The saddest part about it, though, is that most of the people who are the problem don't recognize what they are doing. They don't have sufficient discipline for the self-examination that would be required. If confronted many of them would insist that they treat women as equals.

What is needed is something like what is implied in Haslanger's paper: an active, thorough, and rigorous investigation to identify those aspects of the culture and institutions of academic philosophy that are discouraging bright and qualified women in this way; and an active, thorough, and rigorous fixing of those flaws. Unfortunately, I don't think this is likely to happen; there are too many people entirely consumed by polishing up their next paper to step back and see the more cancerous tendencies of certain aspects of the profession, and too many people who are the problem but would never let themselves see it. It's a problem whose solution I don't really know. And I don't think anyone really does, since the only solutions on the table require mass conversion of academic professionals to a perspective they largely won't even acknowledge. And that's the worrying thing about it. To have serious change, are we really going to have to work for generations so that people die off and new blood can be moved, baby step by baby step, to the point of seeing what should already be obvious?

Monday, May 07, 2007

MacIntyre on Inquiry and Narrative

Of every particular enquiry there is a narrative to be written, and being able to understand that enquiry is inseparable from, implicitly or explicitly, being able to identify and follow that narrative. Correspondingly every philosophical account of enquiry presupposes some account of how the narratives of particular enquiries should be written. And indeed every narrative of some particular enquiry, insofar as it makes the progress of that enquiry intelligible, by exhibiting the course of its victories and its defeats, its frustrations and endurances, its changes of strategy and tactics, presuppose some ordering of causes of the kind that is only provided by an adequate philosophical account of enquiry.

[Alasdair MacIntyre, First Principles, Final Ends and Contemporary Philosophical Issues, p. 49.]

Substandard Treatment of Aquinas's Ways

I disagree with Alexander Pruss fairly often, but I was very, very pleased to see this in his recent review of Graham Oppy's Arguing about Gods:

On the side of cosmological argument, we begin with a substandard discussion of the first three Ways in Aquinas. Oppy accuses Aquinas of giving invalid arguments since the arguments clearly fail to establish the uniqueness of the First Cause (pp. 99, 103, 106). The accusation is ludicrous since Aquinas cannot be intending to establish uniqueness in Question 2 (the Five Ways) of the Prima Pars of the Summa Theologiae as he explicitly devotes Question 11 to arguing for uniqueness, and Oppy never considers the arguments of Question 11. On p. 101, Oppy speculates about how Aquinas might rule out the possibility of an endless regress of movers, apparently unaware of Aquinas' giving three explicit arguments in the Summa Contra Gentiles, I, 13. In fact, Oppy in general seems quite unaware of the fact that the arguments in the Summa Theologiae are mere summaries, and extended subarguments for the main premises of the Five Ways are given elsewhere. Nor is any use made of the distinction between per se and per accidens series which appears to many to be central to interpreting the text. Without addressing Aquinas' full argument, the comprehensiveness necessary for Oppy's project has not been achieved.

This sort of substandard treatment of Aquinas's arguments is appallingly common among atheists who discuss them, particularly when only a tiny bit of research could remedy these flaws. The uniqueness objection is especially absurd (and absurdly common), and comes from the ridiculous practice of treating arguments in a wholly decontextualized way. It is a travesty that it ever survives undergraduate philosophy courses.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Notes and Links

* An interesting review of a work on Mulla Sadra at NDPR.

* One of the most famous [Protestant] scholastics is Lutheran Johann Gerhard. You can get a taste of his work by reading his discussion of the state of exinanition and exaltation (PDF) of Christ. Exinanitio is the Latin term for kenosis. His Sacred Meditations (PDF) are also online; as you might expect from a Lutheran, the chapters on faith are the most interesting.

* SFFAudio points to a list of online lectures by Courtney Brown (Emory) for his Science Fiction and Politics course. I've begun listening to them, and from what I've heard the lectures on Asimov's Foundation novels -- born of a little bit of cribbin' from the works of Edward Gibbon -- are definitely interesting.

* Kenny Pearce has an interesting excerpt from his paper on the ontological economy of idealism.

* Ralph Luker posts an awesome presentation by Hans Rosling on graphical presentation of data on global economy and health.

* One of the reasons I went off a bit on Warburton's interview about clarity in my post on the subject is that much of Warburton's advice struck me as just plain silly. If you must offer rules of thumb for writing philosophy clearly, surely one could do much, much better. Frank Wilson at Books, Inq. responded with some thoughtful comments. I do think he's right about addressing general readers; while I wouldn't make the ability to communicate the subject to general readers a test of understanding it does seem to be a sign of it, assuming that we're talking about an ability to communicate the subject without distorting it. But I don't think Warburton can put this forward as a defense of his advice, because his explanation of why clarity is important puts heavy emphasis on the collaborative aspect of philosophy. I was also simply puzzled by his choice of examples, which are supposed to show the clarity that contributes to collaboration and the obscurity that impedes it, seem to be simply chosen on the basis of taste and familiarity, not on the basis of any serious reflection. It all just seemed muddled, even allowing for the conditions of an interview.

Warburton has given much better advice before. 6 on that list is just the usual arbitrary nonsense people repeat uncritically when giving advice about writing. I wish people would stop telling students not to write long sentences and instead tell them how to write long sentences well. Similar things may be said of all the other advice in 6. It's absurd to tell people to use adverbs sparingly when what they need to know is how to use them discriminatingly; it is silly to tell them to avoid complex syntax when what they need to know is how to balance that complexity. It's like telling people that the best way to do maintenance around the house is to throw out any tool bigger than a breadbox. Not only does such advice not tell people how to do maintenance, it would limit their tools for doing it. The same must be said of all these Thou-shalt-nots people hand out for writing. They are not a guide for writing well, and they lead to writers who try to avoid altogether instruments of language that are profoundly useful when well-applied. Much of the other advice in that post, however, is salutary, and could form the basis of a better account of clear writing than given in the interview, so perhaps it was just an 'off day' for Warburton. The muddle around the concept of 'clarity' exhibited in the interview, however, seems to me to be quite common among philosophers. I think it dangerous to good reasoning.

Hume and the Infamous Footnote

The current version of the Wikipedia article on David Hume has a brief section on the infamous footnote in Hume's essay on natural characters. The footnote:

I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all the other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction betwixt these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negroe slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; tho' low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica indeed they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but ‘tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.

Of this footnote the article says,

This should be understood in its historical context, of course, such views were all but ubiquitous in the intellectual establishment (as elsewhere) of the time, and indeed would continue to be for a century after his death. Unlike many others of his day and much in advance of his time, in 1758, Hume condemned slavery at great length.

The claim that such views were all but ubiquitous in the intellectual establishment of the time is, if it refers to eighteenth century Scotland, much more complicated. One of the early responses to the footnote was by his much more popular contemporary, James Beattie, who tears it to shreds. Beattie is an egalitarian; he believes that all men are created equal, and he attacks, mocks, and refutes every point here. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a lovely summary of some of Beattie's main points. Hume was not in advance of his time; his condemnation of slavery in the essay on the populousness of ancient nations (to which the 1758 date refers) is far more restrained and ambiguous than condemnations that already existed. Gershom Carmichael had attacked the institution far more fiercely in his work on natural rights (PDF). People like Beattie and Carmichael were ahead of their time; Hume was right in step. The short passage that the Wikipedia article calls a condemnation "at great length" amounts to a criticism of slavery as a way of breeding antisocial habits in the masters. How unimpressive this is can be seen in comparing it to Carmichael's or Beattie's attack on it as inconsistent with natural rights. From the end of Beattie's long attack on Hume's racism:

It is easy to see, with what views some modern authors throw out these hints to prove the natural inferiority of negroes. But let every friend to humanity pray, that they may be disappointed. Britons are famous for generosity; a virtue in which it is easy for them to excel both the Romans and the Greeks.

Let it never be said, that slavery is countenanced by the bravest and most generous people on earth; by a people who are animated with that heroic passion, the love of liberty, beyond all nations ancient or modern; and the fame of whose toilsome, but unwearied perseverance, in vindicating, at the expense of life and fortune, the sacred rights of mankind, will strike terror into the hearts of sycophants and tyrants, and excite the admiration and gratitude of all good men, to the latest posterity.

[James Beattie: Selected Philosophical Writings, James A. Harris, ed. Imprint Academic (Charlottesville, VA: 2004) 137.]

Eric Morton discusses the infamous footnote at some length in his important article, Race and Racism in the Works of David Hume.

Hawkins on Unauthoritative Tradition

One of the early influences on Newman's understanding of tradition was Edward Hawkins's book on unauthoritative tradition. Hawkins argues that God gave us not merely Scripture but the Church, and that both are legitimate means for attaining Christian truth. However, he is very clear that Scripture retains the dominant place. His argument for Church tradition is that it has presumptive value given that (1) the need for it is palpably felt when we try to teach Scripture; (2) it has in fact constantly existed; and (3) God has provided for it by instituting a system of ministers and teachers.

He thus sets up a sort of comparison between Scripture and the unauthoritative tradition of the Church. Scripture proves; Church tradition teaches. Scripture furnishes the foundation, Church tradition carries down the system. Scripture provides the substance, Church tradition provides the arrangement. Scripture demonstrates Christian truth, Church tradition by being unbroken points to it presumptively.

Hawkins, of course, is primarily thinking of catechesis, and his argument in favor of unauthoritative tradition is, in fact, an argument that the Church of England needs to do more to further its catechetical work. It's an argument that the catechesis of the Church has a fundamental role to play in spreading Christian truth. Interestingly, on such a view the Church becomes chiefly a catechetical system; Christians learn the truth from Scripture, and the purpose of the Church is chiefly to catechize people in it.

The emphasis on the word 'unauthoritative' serves the purpose of distinguishing this very Anglican view from the Catholic view. Catholics, of course, believe in unauthoritative tradition just as much as Hawkins. Hawkins, however, is very concerned to deny the 'Romish' view that there is a currently existing authoritative tradition. To have an authoritative tradition, Hawkins argues, you must have apostles, and we haven't had apostles in quite some time. Indeed, he suggests that there is a parallel between authoritative tradition and miracles: since he's a cessationist, he suggests that the transition from authoritative tradition to purely unauthoritative tradition is analogous to, and probably contemporaneous with, the transition from miracles to purely non-miraculous work. (Usually Newman's chief works on tradition are thought to be the book on the Arians and the essay on development; but, given that Newman was familiar with Hawkins's work, it's an interesting thought that perhaps the work on ecclesiastical miracles plays an essential role in Newman's thought and development on the subject of tradition. By reversing Hawkins and showing that the age of miracles did not cease, Newman can reverse the analogy, increasing the antecedent probability of an authoritative tradition.)

Hawkins also discussed the subject of unauthoritative tradition in his Bampton Lectures of 1840.