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Revista Studii Teologice

REVISTA FACULTĂŢILOR DE TEOLOGIE DIN PATRIARHIA ROMÂNĂ



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Ἡ προσαγωγὴ πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα. Experienţa paulină a comuniunii cu Sfânta Treime, în perspectiva teologiei iconomice a Părintelui Dumitru Stăniloae

Ἡ προσαγωγὴ πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα. The Pauline experience of the communion with the Holy Trinity, in the perspective of the iconomical Triadology of Father Dumitru Stăniloae

Autor(i): Pr. Pavel (Călin-Mirel) ROTARU


The present theological and exegetical study certainly constitutes a challenge to a manner of making theology and biblical exegesis that is dominant in the West-ern, non-Orthodox, scholarship. The Greek language text of the title represents an allusion to Ephesians 2,18, the concept, as such, of “Holy Trinity” does not appear in the Pauline corpus or in the New Testament, “iconomical Triadology” is a dogmatic theology issue that refers to the out-going saving work of the Trinity in the world, and Fr. Stăniloae is the author of a well-defined and modern theology reflecting and continuing twenty centuries of Christian theology. The present study could definitely be labeled as “eisegetical”. And yet, it attempts to read Ephesians 2, 18 (and other representative Pauline texts) as expressing the communion of the believers of the Primitive Church with the Holy Trinity, and to suggest the legitimacy and necessity of employment of the Triadologic theological perspective of Fr. Stăniloae for an in-depth understanding of that communion. This study does acknowledge the fact that the theology of Fr. Stăniloae represents (as compared to the theology of the Pauline corpus) an advanced level of complex theological development; it tries to argue, how-ever, for the highly consistent continuity between St. Paul the Apostle and Fr. Stăni-loae, continuity that is to be found in the crucial point of the believers’ access to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. It should be noted that celebrating twenty years from the great Romanian theologian’s departure from this life “to be with Christ” (cf. Philippians 1,23) is an appropriate occasion for such a paper. The fact that Fr. Stăniloae is so well known and beloved in the modern Christian world (both inside and outside Orthodoxy) is no accident. His theology is genuine, pro-found, true to the Bible and deeply connected with the Christian life.
The necessity of such an approach is obvious at the present time, taking into account the current status of the international biblical scholarship. Much of this mod-ern biblical studies science (cf., e.g., the famous James D.G. Dunn’s work The Theolo-gy of Paul the Apostle, but many other examples could be offered) gives enough signals that justify the verdict of neo-Arianism pronounced by St. Justin Popovici on the modern theological scholarship. All too often, many Western scholars – adepts of the historical-critical ideology (for this method has become an ideology) propose an understanding of the Bible that is dissociated from the patristic doctrine of the Trini-ty. Such an “emancipated” pattern not only produces a theologically dubious exegesis of the Bible, but also presents one major hermeneutical drawback. Without attempt-ing to do so, it nevertheless severs the biblical text from the reality of God. Different-ly, in the patristic theology and in the theology of Fr. Stăniloae the biblical text is not viewed as an independent object of study but as an expression of the living relation-ship between God and humankind. The patristic theology (e.g., St. Gregory of Nazi-anz) affirms that there was a progression of the Holy Trinity’s revelation in the hu-man history, and we can also accept that there was a development of the theological discourse and terminology over the centuries. The experience, however, of the Holy Trinity – experience which the believers (or the saints) have had along the centuries – is really one and the same, both in the New Testament period and later on in the history of the Church. Therefore, integrating the theology of Fr. Stăniloae into our understanding of the Pauline corpus (and of the entire Bible) is not only legitimate, but decisive for us, if we want to remain articulated in our scholarship to the real spiritual life of communion with God. Otherwise, the unwise application of the histori-cal-critical approach will bring us into a situation characterized by a very serious lack of perspective and realism.
Within the Orthodox hermeneutical framework suggested above, the second section of the present study focuses on the Triadology developed by Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae. In terms of “theology”, the life in itself of the Holy Trinity, the Romanian thinker places the greatest possible emphasis on the interpersonal, dialogical and loving communion between the three divine Persons. Fr. Stăniloae’s quite extensive, yet profound, intense and creative meditations on the issue constitute a unique piece of modern Orthodox scholarship that proves to be a considerable aid to our under-standing of the dynamics of the divine life. The integration by Fr. Stăniloae into a unitary, coherent and personal perspective of the biblical and patristic data about the ἐκπόρευσις, the ἀνάπαυσις and the ἔκλαμψις of the Holy Spirit is highly signifi-cant. In these acts (the procession of the Spirit from the Father towards the Son, the rest of the Spirit in the Son and the shining of the Spirit from the Son towards the Father) Fr. Stăniloae perceives the perfectness of the Holy Trinity’s existence. The final loving unity between the Father and the Son is realized through the Spirit. Together with the Spirit the Father loves the Son and together with the same Spirit the Son responds to the love of the Father. In terms of “iconomy”, the salvation and deification of the human beings is viewed by Fr. Stăniloae as a communion with God and, more exactly, as “the extending of the affectionate relationships between the divine Persons to” the humans. Thus, the objective of the incarnation of the Son of God is to bring us into relationship with God the Father as adopted children. The sacrifice of Christ opens up the perspective of our eternal communion with the Fa-ther. As regards Pnevmatology, our communion with the Father is sustained by the Spirit, because the Spirit sustains from eternity the communion between the Father and the Son. However, this theological and spiritual experience is the experience of the primitive Church, and the nucleus of this theological perspective is to be found in the Pauline corpus.
The second section of the present study naturally focuses on the writings of St. Paul the Apostle (including the Epistles which the modern historical-critical schol-arship calls “Deutero-Pauline”). The modern debate about the “key” of the Pauline theology is taken into consideration, and the “christocentric soteriology” (proposed by Joseph Fitzmyer) is viewed as a good entering point into the universe of St. Paul’s theology. However, when the Pauline texts are read carefully, it will be observed that the “Christ event” (together with its soteriological effects) represents the precondition of our communion with the Father. This communion of the believers with God the Father – as adopted children associated with the Son and led by the Holy Spirit – is the essence of St. Paul’s spiritual experience and theology. In Jesus Christ the believ-ers are ζῶντες τῷ Θεῷ, just as he Son lives to the Father. In Christ, the believers are συγκληρονόμοι Χριστοῦ and σύμμορφοι τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ Υἱοῦ. Just as Christ used to do (as it is attested by the Gospels) they also address God the Father as Αββα ὁ Πατήρ. Υἱοθεσία stands, indeed, at the center of Pauline theology. This entire experience is, for St. Paul the Apostle, permeated by the Holy Spirit. The be-lievers experience the love of God the Father διὰ Πνεῦματος Ἁγίου τοῦ δοθέντος ἡμῖν, all the things of the new life are revealed to the believers through the same Spirit. The prayer addressed to the Father by the believers is sustained by the Spirit. As St. Paul notes, αὐτὸ τὸ Πνεῦμα συμμαρτυρεῖ τῷ πνεύματι ἡμῶν ὅτι ἐσμὲν τέκνα Θεοῦ. To conclude, Ephesians 2, 18 concentrates the essence of the entire Pauline theology.
It is, thus, my conviction that the theology of Fr. Stăniloae represents a great (maybe the greatest) commentary on the Pauline theology, in spite of the fact that he himself was not, technically speaking, a biblical theology scholar.

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Pagini: 107-148