Thursday, January 12, 2012



“...the teaching of Hui-neng’s disciple Shen-hui (684−758) had stirred up a movement of reformist fervor oriented towards quietism and anti-intellectualism (Demiéville 1987: 14).” The translator (Neal Donner) adds a note to the term quietism (ibid. 34, n. 4: “‘Quietism’ here means something analogous to the doctrinal posture taken by the seventeenth-century French semi-quietist Fénelon, cited by Demiéville near the end of the chapter. This is viewed by Catholoc Church as ‘a recurrence of the ultrasupernaturalism that has plagued and stimulated the Church from its earliest years. ... (It reaches) the ultimate moral aberration (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 12: 26−27). Spanish quietism in its pure form was condemned (and its principle proponent imprisoned) as heretical by the Holy Office in 1687, only to resurface briefly again with Fénelon in a somewhat emended form. It clearly does not signify ‘a quiet condition or habit, especially of mind’ (Webster).” Seyfort Ruegg speaks of ‘ethical and spiritual quietism’ (Seyfort Ruegg 1989: 3), ‘ethical or intellectual quietism’ (Seyfort Ruegg 1989: 4) and ‘ethico-religious quietism’ (Seyfort Ruegg 1989: 124). Cf. “The use of the term ‘quietism’ to refer to the Ch’an side is an unfortunate legacy of Demiéville’s otherwise impeccable scholarship” (Gomez 1983: 428, n. 14). 

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