Monday, January 10, 2005

Calvinists and Epicureans

and now for the next installment of the piecemeal report on the APA.

i attended part of a panel called 'epicureanism in the renaissance' and heard a paper by kirk summers entitled 'the calvinists against the epicureans: whom are they attacking?' the epicureans are frequently mentioned in reformation texts as a currently existing group with whom Christians must contend, and are rebuked with force. prof. summers, if i am remembering correctly, suspected, before he began his investigation, that the calvinist disagreement with the epicureans would be on ethical grounds; as it turned out, however, ethics were a basis on which Catholics disagreed with epicureans. calvinists, on the other hand, found fault with them because they viewed God as uninvolved in His universe--a view which flew in the face of calvinist ideas and doctrine about Divine Providence. these epicureans were viewed as such important opposition that they received mention in both the belgic confession and the second helvetic confession. from the belgic confession (as quoted in the handout):

On Providence
"For that reason we reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God involves himself in nothing and leaves everything to chance."

and from the second helvetic confession:

The Epicureans. We therefore condemn the Epicureans who deny the providence of God, and all those who blasphemously say that God is busy with the heavens and neither sees nor cares about us and our affairs.

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