Wednesday, January 05, 2005

On "Scotosis"

Thanks to Robert Cunningham for sending me a link to the essay, "'I Didn't See Any Anti-Semitism': Why Many Christians Don't Have a Problem with The Passion of the Christ" in the Spring 2004 issue of Cross Currents Magazine.

The article introduced me to a very useful word -- "scotosis." Mary C. Boys credits Bernard Lonergan with defining the term "scotosis" as "a hardening of the mind against unwanted wisdom through the repression of questions that might lead to a deeper insight into problematic readings of the Gospels."

I must confess that, before I read Boy's article, I missed discussions of this concept.

It summarizes a phenomenon that I observe every day on a massive scale among Southern Baptists -- but have never had a term to describe it. The only difference is that Southern Baptists are "scotosistic" regarding problematic readings of the entire biblical canon.


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ and I don't plan to. It disturbs me that so many Christians flocked to see an R-rated movie and it makes me sad, seeing what power Christians have - to make a movie that wasn't expected to do well into one of the biggest hits of the year - that they don't use this power to affect Hollywood for the better by making hits of the few good family movies that have been made recently. (Second Hand Lions is one that I'm contantly pushing. Not religious, just a good old-fashioned family movie.)

Anonymous said...

Oops. That was me. I didn't mean to post anonymously.

Reflections in d minor

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

I like "Second Hand Lions" a lot more than "The Passion" myself.

P.M. Prescott said...

It dawned on me when you mentioned scotosis, that this issue is six or seven hundred years old. Shaefer in his book Escape From Reason traced the theological and philosophical descent from Thomas Aquinas. Costaine's Plantagenet series in The Magnificent Century states: Duns Scotus established a school of thought directly opposed to that of Thomas Aquinas. As Thomas was a Dominican and Duns a Franciscan, the antagonism between the two orders fanned the controversy over the beliefs and philosophies of the two men into a blaze of hatred... The Thomists called their opponents Dunces, and the word made a place for itself in the language...
The Christian Manefesto and most fundamentalist thought is a retreat to the blind faith Duns Scotus proposed so it is fitting that this inconsistant interpretation of scripture be attributed to Scotus by reinvoking his name. Duncism might be more appropriate though.