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Sorin Sabou

Letter to the Romans, Nicomachean Ethics, and more

God after 'the death of God' - Christianity in the Hermeneutics of Gianni Vattimo

God after the ‘death of God’ - Christianity in the Hermeneutics of Gianni Vattimo.
Evangelical Theological Society, Southern Regional Conference, Charleston Southern University, 2021.

The thesis of the paper is that faith in God is possible again, because, according to Vattimo, after Nietzsche and Heidegger, God can no longer be an absolute metaphysical structure of reality.
I will uphold this thesis by following these steps: 1) the announcement made by Nietzsche that God is dead means that there is no ultimate foundation for reality, 2) the announcement made by Heidegger about the end of metaphysics means that from now one we can experience Being as event towards which we are engaged as interpreters on the go, and by implication of these things 3) now we are left with the contingency and historical character of our existence in which truth is a historical message that is heard and towards which we are called to give an answer.

Nietzsche and the death of God
Heidegger and the end of metaphysics
God, truth as historical message, and weak thought
Some critical historical remarks

You can watch the presentation of this paper here.

Reading the Holy Scripture

I refer to the Bible as The Holy Scripture. This means that the biblical writings have a divine origin, and were given to the Christian community of faith. The triune God has revealed himself to his people. Thus, the text of the Holy Scripture is revealed, sanctified, and inspired by the triune God, and it must be preserved and approached as part of God’s redemptive, self-revelation received by his people; God’s saving revelation leads to God’s covenantal communion with his people. The Holy Scripture must be always understood, on the one hand, in the light of origin, function and goal of God’s self-communication, and, on the other hand, in the light of its reception by the people of God. Thus, the Holy Scripture is a word of supreme dignity, legitimacy and effectiveness. Read more...

Essential Questions in Hermeneutics

(1) In interpretation should we look primarily for another's mind, maybe the original creative act? Should we seek to know the surrounding socio-historical circumstances of the author? Perhaps we should seek a dialogue with something that the author could not have foreseen, and something that his or her circumstances cannot control, namely an experience in which we ask the text questions and it asks of us.
(2) Does misunderstanding and radical difference come first in every experience? Or does a common accord, however slight, pre-exist, thereby enabling understanding?
(3) To what degree should we rely on methods, principles, or laws of understanding?
(4) What does it mean to cultivate a critical and reflective attitude? Is that mutually exclusive from methods? What is the proper role, if any, of practical wisdom and personal responsibility in hermeneutics?
(5) Is interpretation an objective or subjective act? Perhaps it is neither. Perhaps it is a play, an intersubjective accord, or maybe even something so fluid that we cannot really call it anything specific at all.
(6) Is there then a correct interpretation? Maybe we should concern ourselves with the best interpretation possible at that moment. Further still, perhaps we should reject the idea of a correct or best interpretation and seek instead merely to enjoy reading for its pleasure value alone, recognizing that there is no real transhistorical or transcultural truth involved.
(7) What is the proper role of hermeneutics in theological and biblical interpretation?

Stanley E. Porter; Jason C. Robinson (2011). Hermeneutics: An Introduction to Interpretive Theory. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory

- Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
- Augustus had brought peace to the whole wider Roman world; Augustus gave peace, as long as it was consistent with the interests of the Empire and the myth of his own glory
- the ambiguous structure of human empire, a kingdom of absolute power, bringing glory to the man at the top, and peace to those on whom his favor rested
- Augustus and Messiah; it is at his birth that the angels sing of glory and peace; which is the reality, and which the parody?
- Micah 5.2-4; and he shall be the man of peace Read more...

Silence is a woman's glory

The title of this post is an exact quote from Aristotle's Politics 1.1260a. Aristotle himself quotes a poet. Here are his exact words: 'All classes must be deemed to have their special attributes; as the poet says of women, 'Silence is a woman's glory,' (γυναικὶ κόσμον ἡ σιγὴ φέρει) but this is not equally the glory of man.'
These ideas are part of the Athenian stock and used by Aristotle in his argument on the virtues in the state. He explores the differences and common ground between men, women, slaves in the larger context of the virtues of the ruler.
It can be seen that these affirmations are echoed and shared in what Paul writes several centuries later in 1 Corinthians 11:7 and 14:34. Phrases like 'the woman is the glory of man,' and 'they are not permitted to speak' are part of the similar stock of ideas peculiar to the hellenistic vision, about the life in the city/state, as we have it in Aristotle.


John Locke and the Moral Value of Toleration

SABOU, Sorin. ‘John Locke and the Moral Value of Toleration.’ Jurnal teologic Vol. 14, No. 1 (2015): 5-13.

Abstract: The concept of freedom of conscience is in the religious affairs and political affairs at the core of Locke's understanding of tolerance. He redefined the church and the state accordingly. Even the effects of the church's discipline, and the way the state's laws have to be conceived and implemented, are seen from the perspective of tolerance. I argue that tolerance is the main lens through which Locke understands the identity and the relationship of the two. He builds a society with tolerance in view. Tolerance is the attitude that offers the context for freedom and peace.

Snippets of Modern Wisdom

SABOU, Sorin. ‘Snippets of Modern Wisdom.’ Jurnal teologic Vol 13, Nr 2 (2014): 5-27.

Abstract: These succinct snippets cover essential themes in the modern philosophy. The method is represented by Descartes, Bacon and to a certain extent Husserl. The existence of God as argued for by Descartes and the question of Being explored by Heidegger. The intention is to sketch them based on readings of primary texts. Even if the texts are short they are rich in content.

Human Nature and Moral Principles

SABOU, Sorin. ‘Human Nature and Moral Principles.’ Jurnal teologic Vol 13, Nr 1 (2014): 5-16.

Abstract: In broad general terms human nature matters to which moral principles we should endorse. Moral and political principles exist for the good of human persons. There is a link between our basic abilities as humans and the moral and political principles we endorse. Our basic abilities to live, love and choose should inform our judgments for preserving and fostering life, love and liberty.

Snippets of Ancient Wisdom - from the Milesian School to Augustine

SABOU, Sorin. "Snippets of Ancient Wisdom - from the Milesian School to Augustine." Jurnal teologic Vol 12, Nr 2 (2013): 24-36.

Abstract: These snippets of ancient wisdom are intended to offer an overview of major themes, methods, and contributions to knowledge in the areas of metaphysics, piety, ethics, knowledge and time. The masters like Thales, Anaximenes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Augustine taught about these issues and here is a snapshot of their views.

The Son from Above

SABOU, Sorin. “The Son from Above.” Jurnal teologic Vol 12, Nr 1 (2013): 43-58.

Abstract: This paper is a theological comparative study of the two New Testament texts: Philippians 2 and John 1. These portrayals of the Son of God show the common ground of communion, divinity, and of coming down to us, but also show the particularities of revelation, life, humility, and honor. These glimpses of the Son from above are the starting point for a New Testament understanding of God, history of salvation, and life in the family of God and in the city.

The Christian Proclamation as Gospel

SABOU, Sorin. “The Christian Proclamation as Gospel, The Polemics, Politics and Praxis of euangelion in the Graeco-Roman World of the First Century.” Jurnal teologic 11.1 (2012): 72-81.

Abstract: The lexical choice made by the first Christians to present the Christian message as euangelion is a stark one. This is so because euangelion is used in Ancient Greek literature almost always as a technical term for the news of victory, a term used by those in power. This choice made by the first Christians leads to polemics with those in power. The politics and praxis of victory are affected too in this incursion of early Christianity in the area of power language. Thus, euangelion is captured and restructured as being the 'euangelion of the kingdom' and 'of Christ.' This leads to a different understanding of the way a citizen should live in the world.

Leibniz on God

The main outlook on God, by Leibniz, in his Discourse on Metaphysics, is given towards the end of his argument when he says that ‘we must think of God not only as the root cause of all substances and of all beings, but also as the leader of all persons or thinking substances, or as the absolute monarch of the most perfect city or republic - which is what the universe composed of the assembled totality of mind is’ (Leibniz 1686, 35). To this I have to add what he says at the beginning of his argument that ‘God is absolutely perfect being’ (Leibniz 1686, 1). The perfection of God applies to his power, knowledge, wisdom, and actions; they are of highest degree, he has them in ‘unlimited form’ (Leibniz 1686, 1). These three metaphors of ‘root cause’, ‘leader,’ and ‘absolute monarch’ give me the structure of the answer to the question ‘What is God?’ and the related terms of ‘all substances,’ ‘thinking substances,’ and ‘the most perfect city’ give me the elements of the answer to the second question of this assignment 'What philosophical problems is Leibniz working through his contemplation of God?'

What is God?


The Ministry in Iconium - Acts 14

The way Paul and Barnabas spoke led many to faith. These were both Jews and Greeks. The Jews who did not believed stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. The narrator point of view is clearly on the side of the oppressed. They are described as brothers. The persecution comes from the unbelieving Jews. We are not told how they poisoned the souls (ἐκάκωσαν τὰς ψυχὰς) but perhaps this should be understood as referring to slander and contradicting the message/teaching of Paul and Barnabas.Read more...

Hume on Justice

Hume says that ‘public utility is the sole origin of justice’ (Hume 1777, III.1), and that ‘the rules of equity and justice depend entirely on the particular state and condition in which men are placed’ (Hume 1777, III.1).

Justice and Well-Being


Berkeley on God

The role of God in Berkeley philosophy is that of the foundation of existence. Everything that exists, exists because exists in the mind of the Eternal Spirit/God. In Berkeley’s words this is expressed as follows: ‘All the bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any subsistence without a mind, that their being is to be perceived or known; that consequently so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit’ (Berkeley 1710, I.6).

Perception, Reality and God


Primul președinte lutheran evanghelic al României

Acest fapt în sine este istoric. În trecutul monarhist am avut conducători de origine germană care au fost aduși în țara noastră de elita politică a vremii. Acum a fost ales prin vot un președinte de etnie germană, de religie lutheran evanghelică; acest fapt arată o oarecare maturitate în luarea de hotărâri a multora dintre cei din neamul nostru. Știu că domnul Iohannis nu a adus aspectul religios în centrul mesajului său, dar cel al etniei sale a fost central. Aceasta s-a văzut în sloganul de campanie: „România lucrului bine făcut.“ Acest mesaj este bazat direct pe faptul că lucrurile făcute de nemți sunt bine făcute, și că așa ceva se poate face și în România, în special de un cetățean român de etnie germană.

A Humble Grass that Thinks

Human being is just a humble grass, but a grass that thinks. (Pascal)
Most probably that in the West the metaphor of grass applied to humans is taken from the Bible (‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls.’ (1 Peter 1.24) The temporal character of the human existence is the main point of this metaphor.

Pavel și călătoriile lui

Pentru cei interesați întreaga serie de seminarii despre Apostolul Pavel și călătoriile lui poate fi urmărită aici. În aceste 13 seminarii prezint cele trei călătorii misionare ale lui Pavel așa cum sunt ele redate în cartea Faptele apostolilor. Motivul pastoral pentru aceste seminarii este cel de consolidare și dezvoltare a mărturiei creștine în diferite tipuri de contexte. Oriunde ne-am afla trebuie să fim sare ș lumină. Apostolul Pavel este un model de urmat atât în ce privește ascultarea de chemarea primită, cât și în ce privește dezvoltarea vieții bisericilor plantate de el și a echipei de slujire.

Berkeley and Locke on Human Knowledge

Experience and Knowledge

Locke argued that all our ideas have their origin in our experience. When we are born our mind is a blank slate (tabula rasa). Any experience is leaving an imprint on this slate (mind). When we experience anything through our senses our minds receive their perceptions. There is content in our mind because of our senses. Locke is famous for the following phrase: nihil in intellect quod prius non fuerit in sensu (there is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses) (cf. Moore 2011, 114).

The Museum, Education and Worldviews

My own experience in visiting famous museums (such as National Gallery, London, Art Institute, Chicago, or National Museum of Art, Bucharest) thought me that the events organized there are at least of three kinds: historical overviews of art (based and limited on/to their collections), individual artist, and trend or school overview (Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism, etc.). For me as a visitor it was helpful, but I never had the opportunity to see some event as that described by Gaskell around the painting done by Rubens (Gaskell 2003).

Nussbaum's Two Levels of Human Nature

Nussbaum’s Level 1 of the Thick Vague Conception is presented as a story of what seems to be part of any life that we count as human life. The shape of the human form of life has the following aspects: mortality, the human body (hunger, thirst, need for shelter, sexual desire, mobility), capacity for pleasure and pain, cognitive capability (perceiving, imagining, thinking), early infant development, practical reason, affiliation with other human beings, relatedness to other species and to nature, humor and play, separateness. As this list is based on observation of human life across cultures and is able to integrate both the aspects of individuality and community of human life I agree with it. Read more...

Zangwill's Aesthetic Theory of Art

Zangwill builds his argument for an aesthetic theory of art by arguing that we need ‘an independent account of aesthetic properties’ (Zangwill 2002, 112). These properties can be delineated with reference to the central aesthetic properties of ‘beauty and ugliness’ (Zangwill 2002, 112). These properties are intrinsic and valuable (Zangwill 2000, 329), and they are artist related (Zangwill 2000, 330). He deals with the variety of types of art (avant-garde, narrative) and says that ‘works of art are necessarily things that have an aesthetic point’ (Zangwill 2002, 114) and then, that the ‘essential truth’ about the vast number of objects and events in the category of act is captured by the aesthetic approach (Zangwill 2002, 114). Read more...

Locke versus Hobbes

Locke identifies his difference from a Hobbist position in Essay III.5 when he asks why a man must keep his word? ‘Because God, who has the power of eternal life and death, requires it of us.’ To this question a Hobbist would answer ‘because the public requires it, and the Leviathan will punish you, if you do not.’ The authorities are different in situations like these: God as a judge, or the public as a judge. Read more...

Kukathas On Cultural Rights

Kukathas argues that we need to ‘reassert the fundamental importance of individual liberty or individual rights and question the idea that cultural minorities have collective rights’ (Kukathas 1992, 107). Groups matter but there is no need to ‘depart from the liberal language of individual rights to do justice to them’ (Kukathas 1992, 107). Kukathas argues for his thesis by focusing on the way are groups are formed. They are ‘not fixed and unchanging entities in the moral and political universe’ (Kukathas 1992, 110), their boundaries shift with the political context; their formation is ‘the product of environmental influences’ especially political institutions (Kukathas 1992, 111). Read more...

Hobbes On Bacon's Idols

Bacon’s Idols are referring to the way we use our minds; there are ‘four classes of idols that beset men’s minds’ (NO, 1.39): idols of the tribe, idols of the cave, idols of the market, idols of the theatre. Bacon does not use the term ‘idol’ in a religious sense (an image that represents a god), but simply as an image (from Greek eidolon).

Formalism In The Philosophy of Art

Formalism in the philosophy of art says that ‘the properties in virtue of which an artwork is an artwork […] are formal in the sense of being a accessible by direct sensation alone’ (Dowling). We can go deeper in the area of aesthetics if we have two qualities: artistic sensibility and clear thinking (Bell, 261); the personal experience is central to this endeavor. Is there some quality common and peculiar to all objects that are able to provoke the ‘aesthetic emotion’? (Bell, 262) The existence of an artwork depends on this quality. Bell understands this quality as ‘significant form’ (Bell, 262). The variety of relations and combinations of lines and colors is called ‘significant form.’Read more...

Bacon's Scientific Method

Bacon’s scientific method, in his own words, is ‘hard in practice but easy to explain’ (Novum Organum, Preface). Bacon proposes ‘to establish degrees of certainty’ (NO, Preface) by starting from ‘sense-perception’ (NO, Preface). He is determined to reject ‘ways of thinking that track along after sensation’ (NO, Preface).Read more...

Banksy's Works

These days I searched for Banksy’s works and I liked most of them. They are a mixture of protest, innocence, sadness, hope, wanted love, anti establishment, satirical. I imagine that they are done in a hurry as this type of art is perceived by the authorities as vandalism, or to quote mayor Bloomberg as ‘a sign of decay.’ Read more...

Kant on Genius

Kant understands the genius under four main labels: a) a talent for art that takes the lead and determine the procedure, b) someone who has a definite concept of the product (understanding, representation, a relation of the imagination to the understanding), c) it display itself in the expression of aesthetic ideas containing a wealth of material for effecting that intention, and d) harmony of imagination and understanding of the law that points to an unsought and undesigned subjective finality.Read more...

Descartes's Method

The overall method of Descartes is a method of doubt. He dismisses knowledge derived from authority, senses, and reason (Watson, 2014). His demonstration is one of clarity and absolute certainty (Skirry). He is determined to bring any belief based on sensation into doubt because they might be a dream; mathematics included, because of the existence of an evil demon with supreme power of cunning about everything.Read more...

Hume on Objective and Subjective Taste

D. Hume works with the distinction between matters of fact and pronouncements of sentiment. The standards of taste should provide rules for ‘confirming one sentiment, and condemning another.’ Hume envisions the standard of taste as the consensus of true critics.

What is Philosophy?

I will put together my answer following two major sources: Plato and Aristotle. The summary of these positions is as follows: Read more...


Existentialism is a philosophical theory characterized by a search for the meaning of existence/being. The norm of authenticity (Crowell, 2010) is the governing norm in this search. The considered aspects of existence are several: the problematic character of the human situation, the phenomena of this situation, the intersubjectivity that is inherent in existence, the general meaning of Being, and the therapeutic value of existential analysis (Abbagnano, 2014).Read more...

Ross on Duties

This is a summary on W. D. Ross' theory of prima facie duties.
When we try to determine what we ought to do there are several prima facie duties. A prima facie duty is a duty that is binding; you have to do it. The prima facie duties are fidelity (keeping promises and contracts), reparation (making up for injuries done to others), gratitude (being grateful for benefactions), non-injury (not to harm others), harm-prevention (to prevent harm to others), beneficence (doing good to others), self-improvement (to promote one's own good), and justice (distributing benefits and burdens fairly). Read more...

Functionalism and Behaviorism

Functionalism in philosophy of mind can be understood as a sophisticated form of philosophical behaviorism. In Functionalism a thought is defined by a function it plays, whereas in Behaviorism a thought is defined by a set of behaviors and/or dispositions to behave. Read more...

The Qualities of Perception

Locke and Berkeley on the qualities of perception
Because the mind we are born with is a blank slate (Locke), the knowledge we have come from the outside as perceptions. Locke tries to avoid the split between the mind and the world around us by introducing the distinction between primary and secondary qualities of perception. The primary qualities are the qualities of objective, extra-mental reality; the qualities of the object independent of who, or whether anyone is perceiving the object (shape, size, weight). These qualities are independent of perception. The secondary qualities are not properties of the object at all. They occur in the mind of the perceiver at the moment of perception and they endure only as long as the perception endures. They depend primarily on our senses (color, taste, smell). Read more...

Lessons From the History of Ideas

The structure of this reflective précis is necessary historical; from the Milesian School to Francis Bacon it is a vast distance and a variety of interests and approaches. In a nutshell these are the main things I move forward with.
Test your hypotheses by observing natural forces and processes. After your research is done engage in an open search for knowledge that is intended to identify any possible confusion and errors. Read more...

Francis Bacon and the Idols of the Mind

This aspect of Bacon’s thinking is about the way we use our minds. According to Bacon there are ‘four classes of idols that beset men’s minds’ (New Organon, 1.39; Russell 2009, 439). Bacon uses the term ‘idol’ not in a religious sense (an image that represents a god), but simply as an ‘image’ (from the Greek eidolon). The way he organizes them helps the reader to understand the way they hinder human’s mind. Bacon sees them in ‘classes’ and in this way points towards their complexity and particularities.

Ockham's razor

Even if it is attributed to him, the affirmation ‘don’t multiply entities beyond necessity’ is not found in the surviving writings of William Ockham. He made use of it, even if he is not the first to do this (Durand de Saint-Pourcain used it before him). This concern for ‘ontological parsimony’ was characteristic for his work in the area metaphysics (Spade, Panaccio, 2011). This principle ‘gives precedence to simplicity’ (EB, 2013). Ockham used this ‘razor’ to dispense with relations, with efficient causality, with motion, with psychological powers, and with the presence of ideas in the mind of the Creator (cf. EB, 2013). For Ockham the ‘only true necessary entity is God’ (Spade, Panaccio, 2011). Read more...

Epicurus' Metaphysics

This is a reconstruct mainly from a poem (De rerum natura) by the disciple Lucretius in the last days of Roman republic (Clark, 1994).
The reality is seen in terms of ‘atoms and the void’ (Clark 1994). At this point Epicurus follows Democritus. These atoms are moving in the void (O’Keefe 2005). This movement, because of the weight of atoms, is mainly downward but randomly, also, sideways (O’Keefe 2005). These aspects of ‘weight’ and ‘swerve’ are modifications of Democritus understanding of atoms. Movement is possible because of the ‘void’ (the empty space). Read more...

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

The Allegory of the Cave is a figure conceived by Plato to illustrate the way ‘how our nature is enlightened or unenlightened.’ Humanity is seen to be in an underground den having the legs and the necks chained; they cannot move and only see what is before them. Above and behind them there is a fire blazing at a distance. They see only their shadows, the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave. In a situation like this the truth for humanity is ‘nothing but the shadows of the images.’ Read more...

Plato's theory of forms

A General Overview
Plato’s theory of forms has several fundamental points of view: the difference between reality and appearance, and between knowledge and opinion. These points of view are related in that knowledge is at the level of reality, and opinion at the level of appearance. 
Reality and knowledge are about Ideas or Forms. These are made by God, they are eternal and do not change. And appearance and opinion is about the world of the senses that is temporary and does change.Read more...

The Nature of Piety in Euthyphro

Socrates is willing to know about piety because of his court case with Meletus. It appears that Euthyphro has some knowledge on the subject and is willing to talk to Socrates. But soon, it is seen that Euthyphro is not able to offer the answer Socrates is looking for.Read more...

The Socratic method

The Socratic method is an inquiry in which, by engaging in a dialogue, a teacher and an interlocutor are pushing the discussion further by question and answer. It is a open ended search for knowledge which is intended to identify any possible confusion and errors. The method presupposes knowledge on the part of the participants and the role of the teacher is described, according to Socrates, by the metaphor of a 'midwife.' He is there to help when the ideas are born; he evokes knowledge.Read more...

The Milesian School

The positions of the philosophers from the Milesian school can be misinterpreted; here they are as they survived to us: 'the chief substance is water' (Thales), 'the Non-Limited is the original material of existing things' and its 'essential nature is everlasting and ageless' (Anaximander), and 'air is near to the incorporeal; and since we come into being by an efflux from this air, it is bound to be both non-limited and rich so that it never fails' (Anaximenes). (Freeman, 1948). Read more...

Jurnal video de călătorie: în Apuseni


Jurnal video de călătorie: frumuseți venețiene

Împărtășesc cu prietenii și cititorii blogului meu câteva file de călătorie din această vară. Prima dintre ele este cu locul care îmi place cel mai mult: Veneția. Intrarea pe Canal Grande este ca intrarea în poveste.
Admirați și voi secvențe din călătoria pe Canal Grande: de la Piața le Roma la Piața San Marco.



Who am I? To answer this question I have to understand myself in historical, physical, gender, psychological, social and religious perspective.[1] The identity of someone is a complex issue. The innate and relational character of a person make the answer kaleidoscopic in nature. The layers of bodily and psychological [2] are part of the package, but not whole thing. Read more...

Membership in Chicago Society for Biblical Research

Yesterday at University of Valparaiso I was voted to become a member of this select group of Biblical scholars from Chicagoland. Many thanks to Prof. Troy Martin (St Xavier University) for nominating me to membership in CSBR.
The intention of CSBR is to provide a platform for presenting current academic research in the field of Biblical Studies. Follow this link for details about the society.

Glory Ascribed - Nathan Negru & Robert Titean