Sophia Review
year II, n. 2, July-December 2010


SINISCALCO, Paolo. Dalla creazione alla storia. La sfida dell'evento di Gesù Cristo, ieri e oggi

The notions of "creation" and "history" are in the forefront of current debates. Looking at them mostly from a historical perspective, the article indicates the necessity of a biblical understanding of "event", seen as something that brings about an irreversible change in history and in the world. It is divided into three parts: the first considers current opinions on the subject; the second considers the Judeo-Christian roots handed down to us from the great tradition of the Church’s first thousand years; and the third considers the possibilities opened up by the charism of Chiara Lubich as it illuminates and deepens the previous tradition.


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CODA, Piero. L'unità e la trinità di Dio nel ritmo di un'ontologia trinitaria

In a previous article (For a Trinitarian Ontology of the Person, 1 [2009/2]), the Author verified how, based on the history of dogma and trinitarian theology, the use of the concept of hypostasis/person in reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit satisfied the need, imposed by revelation, to affirm a real distinction/otherness of the Three within the unity of the one, true God. Once affirmed, it was then necessary to appropriately describe the living relation between the Divine Persons, in a way that would dynamically express the trinitarian movement of their unity. In the present article, starting from the data acquired in the dogmatic and theological tradition, three lines of research are developed: the integration of the concept of subsisting relation with that of trinitarian reciprocity; the articulation of the concept of relative non-being and relational no being; a study of the ontology of liberty in the Trinity.


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MARIANELLI, Massimiliano. "La percossa del bello": la bellezza come discesa e ascesa in Simone Weil

In one of her earliest writings, the essay "Le Beau et le Bien" in 1926, Simone Weil asks herself about the nature of beauty and its meaning. She refers in particular to architecture and underlines how "the temple" shows itself to be a "law unto itself". The temple, therefore, is not an "imitation" or copy in any way at all: its parts are beautiful if considered within the unity of the temple itself and not if looked at in isolation from one another. The same criterion is valid for music, whose perfection appears in its unity, as it is valid supremely also for dance, a "living architecture in movement". Indeed, the elements of dance "are no longer stones but people ... taken from their animal existence to be transported into the life of society, that is, the life that is properly human". The reason for this is, in Weil’s view, that dance derives from liturgy and "liturgy is nothing other than Sophia II (2010-2) 190-208 the manifestation of society". According to Weil beauty presents itself as something "impenetrable by the spirit and responding to all because of a single, mysterious presence: the symbol of God as object, just like the sphinx". Art prepares for silence and a new way of see- ing things; by means of the experience of beauty it possible to come to see things as they are: "Things are as they are: the supreme lesson. Sum qui sum in creation. Space and solitude in painting. Space is solitude, indifference to all things. Some events are no more meaningful than others; also the crucifixion of Christ was no more meaningful that a pine-needle that falls; God wants all things equally ... the arts use the materials of space and time, and this indifference is the object they portray". Art, therefore, is the representation of the indifference of all things and in this way, in Weil’s view, it can pre- sent itself as the downward movement which is the condition for an upward movement, that is, it is that movement which allows us to return to the reality of things - namely their indifference - and to discern their essence: "seeing the es- sence beneath existence", seeing the divine lying beneath all things.


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INAUEN, Emil; FREY, Bruno S.; ROST, Katja; OSTERLOH, Margit. Benedictine tradition and good governance

Governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions affecting the way an organization is directed and controlled. In the past few years, with the world economic crisis, and the huge scandals related to excessive manager compensation and fraudulent bookkeeping, the discussion over the need for good governance has become a hot topic. Many political and economic leaders recommend an accentuation and extension of external control mechanisms, such as a tightening of the law or new monitoring measures. This original and unconventional paper shows that alternative solutions can be found in an unexpected place, namely in the ancient governance structures of religious orders like the Benedictines. With their governance, tested in practice over more than 1000 years, the Benedictine monasteries are a call to give weight to internal governance as well. It is interest- ing to note, among other aspects, that in order to reduce misbehavior, monastic governance involves broad participation rights of the members or an emphasis on implementing values and norms.


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PABST, Adrian. Economy of life: charismatic dynamics and relational goodS

The paper ties Balthasar’s essentially Christological argument for "charismatic personalism" to Pope Benedict XVI’s strongly Trinitarian account of relationality and the concomitant accentuation of relational goods that bridge the gap between the charism embodied by the Church and the social reality of secular societies. In an article the then Cardinal Ratzinger links the sacramental nature of church office to what he calls the “charism or event of the Holy Spirit” whose interruption in the world mediates between divine creativity and human agency. Just as the Church cannot be reduced to a rival society which consists of purely formal institutions governed by abstract rules, so society is not cut off from the operation of charismatic principles and practices within the living tradition of the Church.


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MURPHY, James Bernard. Opus Dei: prayer or labor?

The paper critically discusses the charism of Saint Benedict spirituality and its motto ora et labora or sometimes orare et laborare. In particular, the author notes the common practice of misquoting this motto to say: “laborare est orare”, in relation of Opus Dei spirituality. The paper underlynes that the Latin motto cannot be found in the writings of Escriva, but the idea captured in “Laborare est Orare” is the basis for the spirituality of Opus Dei. The paper then arguments how Sts. Benedict and Escriva represent the fundamental alternative charisms of work. In Benedict, work the necessary precondition for the spiritual freedom of prayer while for Escriva work is itself offered up as a form of prayer. In the first, we encounter God through the spiritual exercise of prayer, in the second, through the exertion of our daily occupation.


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BUCKEYE, Jeanne. Charism and Institution: an organizational theory case study of the economy of communion

This paper examines the Economy of Communion (EOC), seen as a form of “charismatic economy”, through the lens of organizational theory, seeking a fuller understanding of a movement that continues to resist facile definition. Noting the absence of a unified, comprehensive theory of organizations, two differing theoretical perspectives that share a similar label are explored. “Institutional theory”, rooted in scientific rationalism and a teleology of efficiency, views organizations as “closed systems” largely shaped by their external environments. This perspective, originating largely with Max Weber, has evolved to include a teleology of social legitimacy but retains the view of organizations as closed systems. The second perspective, the “institutional school” suggests that organizations are “open systems”, both shaping and being shaped by their environments but through differing types of organizational behaviors. The paper considers EOC companies in light of charism; that is, as concrete enactments of spiritual gift. Organizational theorydoesn’t treat this possibility at all.


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O’BRIEN, David J. The Charismatic Principle in an American and Democratic Context

Many movements inspired by charismatic leaders have had great influence on American culture and society. The paper will examine three leaders and the movements they led: Eugene Debs and Democratic Socialism, Dorothy Day and Catholic Personalism, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Christian Nonviolence. In particular the paper will examine the charismatic messages, the charismatic leaderships, the social movement or movements inspired by this charismatic message and leader, the cultural impact of message and movement, the response of institutions, particularly economic and governmental institutions, and, finally, the history of principles and associations after the departure of the leader. The paper will end with reflections about the implications of this study (and related studies of charisma in American history) for Catholic social teaching and social and pastoral action, in the USA.


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WEINSTEIN, Ian. Dr Martin Luther King and the American Civil Rights Movement: charismatic and institutional perspectives

The paper applies Weber's idea of charismatic authority to the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the American struggle for racial equality and social justice. Viewing Dr. King as a paradigmatic example of the charismatic leader, the author recounts a bit of the story of his central role in the American civil rights struggle from the mid 1950s to his death in 1968. The thesis of the paperi t that much of Dr. King's work and his legacy is well explained in Weber's framework. In particular, some questions are put at the core of this research: Do Weber's ideal types capture the possibilities for the role of charismatic leadership in a society dramatically more dynamic, informed and democratic than Germany in the early 20th century? Can Weber's deep insights be usefully expanded by attention to the important roles of professional and private corporate authority in America? The conclusion of the paper claims that contemporary life permits us to imagine a future in which the spark of charism need not be extinguished in the name of social stability but can remain an integrated force for change and ongoing transformation, whether that happens primarily on the individual level or the level social structure.


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