Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And the spark goes out

We saw toward the end of my last response that Svendsen's rationality was starting to break down. There were crazy charges that I didn't read the Fathers, that Augustine didn't talk about the person/nature distinction, that I read "harlequin novels from Rome" on Church history, that my reading of the scholarship was "highly selective," that Father Edward Oakes was saying literally the opposite of what he said. And this is why I don't talk to him: because he's nuts. When it comes to Rome, he loses the capacity for dealing with reality. This is exactly what happens when you get "locked up in your own head" on a matter; you cease to be accountable to reality. I recommended Anthony Rizzi's The Science before Science, which deals with Svendsen's brand of modernist philosophical idealism quite handily. In matters of theology, Svendsen takes the absurd position that theology is a purely deductive science, which no one this side of Godel's incompleteness theorem should be foolish enough to accept.

In his last installment, sadly, Svendsen is purely raving. There are no arguments; there is no accountability to reality. He simply makes assertions without even the benefit of logical structure, and in many cases, without even meaningful premises.

I can only assume the Book of Hezekiah is where Jonathan Prejean gets his Christology. My final contribution to the discussion with Prejean over his neo-Platinist tendencies follows:

I can only assume that Svendsen has learned a new word and thinks he will demonstrate his intelligence by using it, because I doubt that he knows what Neoplatonism is any more than he knew what Aristotelian categories or Platonic concepts were.

This is just gratuitous nonsense, and Prejean should just stay out of this arena altogether. He has claimed to know what exegesis is, but he keeps proving he is clueless about it. “Mundane” words do not suddenly have a different “meaning” just because they are found to be inspired. On the contrary; it is precisely because they are inspired and therefore authoritative that we must “pay even closer attention” (Heb 2) to them and take them at face value rather than play with them as “spiritual toys” to be manipulated by those who would have them say whatever they want them to say.

Svendsen has no argument for why inspiration doesn't give additional meaning to mundane words; he simply asserts it. He can't actually interact with my view, which is different from his, so he baldly asserts that I should "stay out of" the arena without explaining why. Numerous Fathers have pointed out that one aspect of the richness of divine Scripture is that it has multiple meanings because of inspiration and the action of the Holy Spirit. As usual, Svendsen's method is self-contradictory; he accuses me of "manipulating" Scripture based on his irrational conviction that his inductive method provides a certainty that he denies inductive methods can have. This is what happens when you develop your theological method on blind faith, unaccountable to reality. You make up some source for certainty, you call that authority, and you detach yourself from justifying it.

Yes, Prejean did in fact say Scripture is irrelevant and meaningless as a consideration in the present debate, and it is embarrassingly obvious that he is now backpedaling on this point. All one need do is read the previous installments to this dialogue to know this is true. Prejean writes his current point as though this discussion is about whether or not the relevance of Scripture for today is tied directly to its inspiration. He’s stating a given, and he’s doing it as a smokescreen to take the pressure off for his rather moronic comments about Scripture’s irrelevance made earlier in this discussion. His statements both then and now are akin to stating “an orange has no flavor,” and then, once challenged on the utter foolishness of that statement, making the rather silly “clarification” that what he really meant to say was “apart from the citrus and the sugars and the rest of the chemical makeup that constitutes flavor, an orange has no flavor.” The backpedaling is obvious.

Yet another example of the Svendsen MO: accuse me of saying something I didn't say, and then act as if I actually said it. What I said was "I have nothing to hide; I have never been anything other than willing to yield the field if you want to discuss matters of Biblical exegesis, because I don't share your concept of Scriptural authority. From my perspective, it's about as interesting to me as an argument from the Book of Mormon or the Qu'ran; we might as well be reading different books." Svendsen's exegetical method ignores what I consider to be the greater part of the meaning of Scripture, and he won't present an argument for his view of revelation (see above), so why should I care what he thinks? As a historical document, Scripture's relevance cannot be tied to inspiration, simply because one cannot take the supernatural into account in a matter of purely human effort (historical exegesis). Svendsen has a bizarre hybrid method that tries to give to a mundane method (historical exegesis) more certainty than it can have (asserting that a merely probable method can be certain) on account of Scripture being what Svendsen calls "revelation." But he hasn't presented any argument for why "revelation" means what he says or why a purely historical method can be modified in the way he describes. He simply asserts his own view of inspiration, bereft on any justification. Since I don't share it, it's pointless for him to simply assert his method. Until he can present an argument for it, he isn't interacting with other views; he's simply dismissing them. I was extremely clear that I didn't see any point in discussing exegesis because Svendsen hadn't justified his concept of Scriptural authority, and he still hasn't! What I'm saying here is little different than what Dr. Philip Blosser points out repeatedly in his massive reply to Steve Hays: there's just no argument made for his concept of Scriptural authority. Until that is made, I don't see why Svendsen's concept of Scriptural authority or Hays's is any more pertinent to my view than any other unjustified claim of textual authority (e.g., the Qu'ran, the Book of Mormon). This is probably the number one reason for Catholics finding Evangelical arguments simply irrelevant.

All very gnostic indeed. The “human” aspect of Scripture, according to Prejean, is “mundane” and “irrelevant” for us today. It is only the “divine” aspect, whose meaning not only transcends the words of the text, but ends up being a different meaning altogether (albeit not contradictory), and is discerned only by the magisterial illuminati.

If it's not contradictory, then it doesn't "transcend" the words of the text completely; it simply extends outside of the historical intent of the author. But the rule of faith from which the meaning is discerned is quite public. If it weren't for sin leading to carelessness and error in people's thinking, Christians wouldn't even need a Magisterium. The Magisterium is there to provide a process to judge error as sin produces it over time.

If what Prejean intends to show is that Paul read some kind of mystical reading into the OT wilderness narrative, he is off base. Paul is not reinterpreting the OT narrative; he is simply making a modern-day application of its principle. Prejean wants us to believe that what Paul is saying here is that there is a deeper “hidden” meaning in Scripture that can be discerned only through the magisterium.

It's a mystical reading and a reinterpretation on its face, and "its principle" is an equivocation. Svendsen has simply read in his concept of inspiration and revelation here; he assumes, anachronistically, that the authors of the OT story knew that they were foreshadowing a future event (Christ's life). That's a mystical reading and reinterpretation, a deeper "hidden" meaning, not a strictly historical conclusion (indeed, it couldn't possibly be). Similar mystical reinterpretations include viewing Scripture as a whole, believing Scripture is inerrant in certain respects, etc. Nothing in the purely historical content of Scripture can justify these beliefs; only inductive reasoning can. But Svendsen once again deprives us of any sort of reason to believe him. Note also that my point is that the rule of faith is perfectly public; anyone who believes it can use it, although one might still make errors on account of man's fallen state. Fortunately, there is the Magisterium there to ensure that these errors leave no lasting and permanent mark.

But this is far from what Paul is doing here, and it is simply a case of eisegesis on the part of Prejean to suggest he is. Paul is not saying that the “rock” from which the Israelites drank was Christ in an exegetical sense, or even as some “fuller” sense of Scripture (as though Christ transformed into an inanimate object). It’s a figure of speech made as an application to the Corinthians in light of the Christ event. Christ, revealed as God in the NT, was by that fact the one who nourished the Israelites in the dessert. They were “baptized” into Moses, not in a “deeper” sense, but in a symbolic sense, illustrated by their passing “through the sea.” They partook of Christ’s provision of manna and water, and also partook of idols in the golden calf event. Being laid to waste for that idolatry was the consequence of such treason. In the same way, the Corinthians were partaking of Christ in the Supper, and they were partaking in idolatry at pagan feasts. Paul’s point is that they too were in danger of God’s displeasure. But there is nothing in this passage that lends itself to the Roman version of sensus plenior. And if this is what Prejean was trying to show, there are many other NT passages that would have made his point more readily (although even those would be suspect).

I picked that passage because it's the one you used. My point is that the use of a passage in a "symbolic sense" for some contemporary event is anachronism; making interpretations "in light of the Christ event" is JUST the sort of regula fidei I'm urging. But that regula fidei must be articulable and defensible, and Svendsen won't bother to justify it. His assertion that it's not the "Roman version of the sensus plenior" is gratuitous denial; it simply begs the question of what the inspired meaning of Scripture actually is.

Except for that nagging little fact that a good portion of the New Testament was written expressly to convince readers that they need to come to know God’s Son, including the Gospels of Matthew and John: “these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). Hence, the ability to understand revelation, even as an unbeliever, is assumed throughout.

Non sequitur. If this passage actually applied to everyone who could read Scripture, then everyone who read Scripture would believe, but Svendsen doesn't believe that. Obviously, the historical meaning of Scripture isn't sufficient to cause someone to believe, because not everyone who reads Scripture believes. Svendsen's citation is inapposite.

The Christological reading of the OT is something that came to light after the Christ event, and it was largely based on the new revelation received by the apostles. We have no corresponding “new” revelation that would similarly “explain” the NT, or that would suggest we ought to be looking for hidden meanings. Much less do we have mandates from the apostles that we ought to be reading and understanding their instructions and teachings in ways that “twist” the words of Scripture (2 Pet 3:16).

You don't need "new" revelation; you simply adhere faithfully to the same principle that the Apostles used, i.e., Christ. That isn't "twisting" Scripture; it's simply being faithful to the same revelation they received, else Paul was guilty of "twisting Scripture" in saying that the Rock was Christ, giving a symbolic meaning that was not there before the "Christ event" (incidentally, I thought only flaming liberals used that term). St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies dispenses with the notion that using the rule of faith to discern the formal content of Scripture somehow introduces "new" or "secret" revelation, a la Gnosticism. Instead, Christ provides the principle of ALL revelation, used to interpret ALL of Scripture. The exegetical method is uses the ontological reality of Christ as the rule by which the correctness of Scriptural interpretation is judged; "the Christ event" is both question-begging on your concept of "revelation" and dismissive of the full reality of the Incarnation. Just as the reality of Christ is not exhausted by the historical reality of His life, so the words of the Apostles are not exhausted by the historical meaning they had at the time. Your method of exegesis is Jewish or atheist, not Christian, and you've dismissed the historical Christian method of exegesis by assertion, nothing more.

It’s implicitly docetic to say that the apostles do not speak to us today; and it’s gnostic to say that the “human” aspect of Scripture carries a different meaning of Scripture than the “divine” aspect.

It would be implicitly docetic, but I am not saying that the Apostles don't speak to us today at all, only that this is not a limitation on how they speak to us. You even admitted this when you pointed out that I have always said that such meanings cannot contradict the literal meaning; a Docetist would not accept this stricture. It's not Gnostic to say that the divine and human aspects carry different meanings, only that they don't contradict one another, so that the human aspect is false. The latter statement simply begs the question based on your confused hybridization of mundane and supernatural methods. There's no a priori reason that revelation can't have meaning beyond the mundane.

“Nestorianism isn't the belief that there is no union in Christ; most Nestorians affirmed that there was a union. Nestorianism is the belief that the union between the natures is constituted by something other than the person of the Word of God, and particularly, by union of operations like will or love (i.e., Nestorian-type monoenergism, aka, monothelitism). It has nothing to do with my "limited paradigm," but rather with my belief that Christ cannot be constituted by the union of the natures.”

Again, according to what? A biblical paradigm, or a neo-Platonist paradigm?

A historical paradigm, in terms of knowing what the Nestorians actually believed. In terms of the logical difficulty, it's the law of non-contradiction: is Christ identical with the Word of God, or isn't He? You don't have to know anything about the nature of the Word of God to know whether you are affirming that they are the same thing or not. If you are saying that Christ is the union of the natures, and the union of the natures is not the Word of God, then Christ is not the Word of God. No Platonic, Aristotelian, or Neoplatonic thinking there, just a basic appeal to the law of non-contradiction. Whatever sort of thing the Word of God might happen to be, it's not possible to be and not be the Word of God at the same time.

“it's Svendsen who has ventured to say that the union in Christ consists of the union between two natures, just as Nestorius speculated. I am content to affirm that Christ IS the Word of God, the same person, and to deny the speculation that appropriating a human nature changes that.”

What? Where have I ever insinuated that the immutable Word changed? I have never stated such a thing. Yet, here we have in Prejean’s solution traces of apollinarianism—Jesus wasn’t a man; he simply appropriated “human nature.”

Well, if you don't draw a distinction between person and nature, then the following syllogism renders your position irrational: The Word of God does not change. Christ changes. Therefore, Christ is not the Word of God. That's why one has to distinguish person and nature; one has to say that the Word of God changes according to His human nature and not according to His divine nature. To say otherwise is to say that Christ is not the Word of God. There's not a hint of apollinarism here; the entire human nature is assumed (body and rational soul) and concretely instantiated by the Word of God.

It is entirely meaningless to use Prejean’s categories. If, as Prejean concedes, “nature” does not exist apart from “instantiation”—that is, outside of a person—then Prejean is making a distinction without a difference. A person is a person in his whole being—nature included—and is not chopped up into “instantiation” and “nature” as Prejean argues. It is meaningless to talk about “instantiations” of a thing if that thing does not exist apart from the “instantiation.” In Prejean’s incoherent philosophical speculation, 1 x 0 = 1.

That certainly is an incredible philosophical claim. Svendsen appears to be arguing that there is no difference between concreta and abstracta, that abstract entities aren't real. Logically, he has to make an argument for that.

But perhaps the problem is with Prejean’s use of the word “instantiation.” In its dictionary definition, “instantiation” is nothing more than an “instance” of something that is already known to exist, and “to instantiate” is to “represent by an instance,” not “to bring into existence” (as Prejean seems to be using the word).

Yes, and since that's a relatively routine use for philosophers, I see no reason why this would be confusing.

For instance, heos hou in Matt 1:25 “instantiates” the meaning “until but not after”; that is to say, the phrase in Matt 1:25 represents an instance of that underlying meaning. It doesn’t “cause” that meaning to exist.

That's a perfectly fine use of the term (apart from the unconvincing claim of Svendsen's thesis that this is the meaning of the phrase in Matt. 1:25). It even bears some resemblance to the ontological idea of instantiation, although it's not quite identical, philosophy of language being a bit different than ontology. In this case, it isn't the "cause" of the meaning, but it is the concrete realization of an abstract meaning.

It can instantiate that meaning only because the meaning exists apart from that instance.

True, but the meaning need only exist abstractly, not concretely. "Instantiations" as used in this Christian context of the nature/person distinction refer to concrete instances, not abstract existence.

Prejean wants to apply this word to “nature,” claiming that “person” instantiates “nature.” But this makes sense only on the ground that person is a concrete instance of nature and not something separate from nature.

Natures are abstract, and persons are concrete, so being a concrete instance of nature is different from the nature itself (except in the case of God, Who exists concretely and not merely abstractly).

To say that “person” instantiates “nature,” is to say that “person” is an “instance” of nature, and therefore that person is nothing more and nothing other than an instance of nature.

Except that's not what "instantiate" means in this context. With the exception of the divine nature (for reasons that can be relatively easily perceived), it refers to giving concrete existence to an abstract entity.

If that’s the case, then an instantiation of human nature must be a human person.

An instantiation of a human nature must be human; that is trivial. The reason you don't say that the instantiation must be a human person is that this would imply that the person exists by instantiating the nature. In the case of Christ, that is false. Christ exists as the Word of God whether or not He ever instantiates the human nature.

Prejean wants to avoid this conclusion by proposing that the Word assumed human nature, but in so doing destroys the very definition of instantiation. In other words, Prejean’s view is left incoherent because it is internally inconsistent with the terms and definitions he has adopted to promote it.

Svendsen is the one with the logical incoherence based on the syllogism I advanced before. One can reframe the contradiction for this instance: The Word of God became flesh. Becoming is changing. The Word of God is unchanging, which is a contradiction of becoming. If you don't draw a distinction between person and nature, then "the Word became flesh" is rendered incoherent. On the other hand, for me to contradict the definition of instantiation, I would have to say that the Word does not concretely assume the human nature. But obviously Christ does this, although how He is Incarnated remains a mystery.

In any case, we have again shown the utter inadequacy of Prejean’s approach to this issue. He wants to be able to explain the inexplicable in an attempt to have a “coherent” Christology; but at the end of the day his view is shown to be nothing less than incoherent.

All Svendsen has shown in an incoherence in a dictionary definition that doesn't reflect the technical use of the term. By contrast, I have shown how Svendsen's failure to distinguish nature and person renders "the Word became flesh" nonsensical.

“The nature is given concrete existence by the person”

Then “instantiation” is the wrong word to use in this discussion. What kind of “existence” does it have outside of the “person”? A theoretical one? These are simply nonsensical human speculations that have no basis in Scripture. And the more Prejean writes on these things, the clearer that point becomes.

It has an abstract existence, being known by God. How the notion that creation is known to God before its existence can be denied by Svendsen is completely beyond me. Natures exist abstractly until God instantiates them, at which time they become concrete. The Incarnation is the instantiation of human nature in God's own person. What is unbiblical about this is completely beyond my grasp.

“The doctrine of the Incarnation is that the divine person instantiates the human nature (really and concretely).”

Really? Did Prejean find this particular explanation of the Incarnation in the book of Hezekiah, perhaps?

The Gospel of John, actually.

We have already shown that “instantiation” (in its dictionary definition) simply does not support Prejean’s view.

Which is completely irrelevant, since the dictionary definition is not the technical use.

Prejean has contended that “person” is defined as “instantiation of rational nature.”

... in the technical sense of the concrete realization of an abstract.

If he wants to tack onto that the statement that “divine person instantiates human nature,” then the outcome cannot be “divine person” with “human nature,” but must instead be “person” with “divine nature” and “human nature.”

Svendsen is saying here that the Word cannot become flesh. He affirms the Word is unchanging, meaning that He cannot change in His person according to His divinity. But he says that His person must change from "divine person" to merely "person." That's straight contradiction. He's asserting that assuming flesh produces a change in the person simpliciter, which contradicts the Word's unchanging divinity.

If there is an “instance” of “human nature” in Christ, then by Prejean’s own definition it must be a “human person.”

My definition was that the modifier of person specifies the nature by which instantiation the person exists. The Word of God clearly does not exist because He is Incarnate.

Note well Prejean’s muddled and confused explanation—“person is an instantiation of nature” (or perhaps “category of instantiation of nature,” we‘re not exactly sure), and “absent an instantiation, there are no concrete properties to be bundled into a concrete entity,” and “the nature is given concrete existence by the person,” and concludes “The doctrine of the Incarnation is that the divine person instantiates the human nature.”

It's Svendsen who is muddled, or more likely, employing his usual tactic: impute a belief I don't have (in this case a dictionary definition that I never used), then act like I had the belief. He's confused the dictionary definition of "instantiation" with my use, which I made quite clear in the last statement "what gives concrete existence to the nature." It's a perfectly clear and simple statement that the Word gives concrete reality to His human nature.

Now compare this to the utter simplicity of Scripture: “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Who is the one in the discussion engaging in philosophical speculation? It is certainly not I.

Certainly not, because if you were engaging in any sort of philosophical reasoning, you would have realized the bare contradiction between this affirmation and saying that the Word becomes a different person in the Incarnation. Because you won't engage in any sort of philosophical reasoning, you speak nonsense as if it actually meant something.

“A 'person' isn't a nature; we classify persons by the instantiation from which they derive their existence.”

Here we have evidence that Prejean is teetering between two meanings of “person.” On the one hand (via his use of “instantiation,” unless he is misusing the word), he claims to maintain that “person” represents an instance of nature.

This is the sort of thing that I mean by losing the power of rationality. I'm not "misusing" a term by giving it a well-known technical meaning, and certainly not when I not only use it in that way but also provide an explicit statement of how I am using it. But generally, if you don't know how a person is using a word, you ask how it is being used. In fact, I never used the word in this way, and the fact that it isn't the dictionary meaning that Svendsen has nothing to do with anything. This is just basic intellectual charity, and Svendsen can't muster it, instead following his usual MO: impute something I don't believe to me, then act like I said it.

This definition gives priority to nature, not person. Person is simply a concrete instance of something that is assumed to exist (that is the dictionary definition of “instantiation”), and so “person” derives its existence from “nature.” So, contrary to Prejean’s statement above, “person” IS “nature” concretely considered (or applied). On the other hand, he wants to argue that “person” somehow exists apart from nature, giving person priority. Nature in this case is the lesser thing that is considered after the fact of “person.” On this definition, “nature” derives its existence from “person.” Prejean’s view is based on an equivocation of the term “person,” and is therefore incoherent.

It's not nature concretely considered or applied; it's nature actually existing concretely. Just because natures exist abstractly doesn't mean they also exist concretely. A nature depends on a person for its concrete existence, although not for its abstract existence, because it is known by God eternally. It's not giving nature priority; it's giving God priority. Nothing but God exists unless God makes it so. Svendsen's view says things have to exist before God gives them concrete existence, which is philosophical nonsense.

But regardless of which definition he really holds, we are once again compelled to ask the question, Says who? Who says “person isn't a nature” or that a person is the “instantiation from which they derive their existence”? Prejean’s neo-Platonist instructors?

Considering that these concepts are necessary to affirm "the Word became flesh," then I think that Svendsen ought to tread very carefully. Person/nature predates Neoplatonism, by the way; if you're going to use the jargon, at least learn what it means.

If “existence” is all that defines “person,” then a dog is a person, an insect is a person, and a tree is a person. But then Prejean will object, “No, what I meant is person is an instantiation of rational nature,” but that just begs the question and is nothing more than gratuitous circular reasoning.

It's circular to say "This thing is a dog," "this thing is an insect," and "this thing is a man?" That's what I mean by being grounded in reality. At some point, your reasoning has to terminate on reality. Is a dog a different kind of thing than a man? Is one rational and one not? This isn't a question of circularity, but reality. Even my three-year-old knows the difference between a dog and a human; are you accusing her of circular reasoning and Neoplatonic philosophizing? This is just insane, but it's practically par for the course in a modernist world.

What degree of “rational” is then required? There is evidence that even apes and dolphins can respond rationally. No one can really know for certain one way or the other. Although greatly debated, even dogs have been shown to demonstrate some degree of rational behavior. Are these “persons” as well?

Anthony Rizzi's book does a great job of this one. Again, Svendsen is using the dictionary definition of "rational." I'm using the term in its technical (and in this case Aristotelian) sense. If I really wanted to be pedantic, I would point out that the faculty is actually the perception of reality according to sentient intellection in the Zubirian sense, but the point is that there's a perfectly good and understandable definition of what "reason" means.

“The Word of God in no way depends on His human nature for His existence, so it would be wrong to say that He is a ‘human person.’”

Notice again Prejean’s biblical confusion on this point. Of course the “Word” does not require human nature for his existence. But the “Word” is Christ’s pre-incarnate designation. His post-incarnate designation is “Christ Jesus.” Contra Prejean, Christ does not and cannot “exist” apart from his humanity. His “manness,” his human existence in all its fullness, is (again, contra Prejean) absolutely required for him to be and to remain “Christ Jesus.” Prejean simply confuses pre-incarnation conditions with the incarnation itself.

The "pre-incarnate designation" is irrelevant; we are speaking of the things to which terms refer. If the Word of God isn't Svendsen's preferred term, the Second Person of the Trinity will do just as nicely. Does the Second Person of the Trinity depend on flesh for His existence? Does Christ? Is Christ the Second Person of the Trinity? Svendsen can't get around a bare logical contradiction by shuffling terms. For that matter, he says the Word is unchanging, so whatever change in "designation" there might be can't correspond to any change in person simpliciter. Consequently, the term is just as good before or after, no matter what label is used. Note the slippery way Svendsen tries to get around his own implicit denial that Christ is the Word of God. This is just like Nestorius's use of Christotokos to try to avoid facing the fact that he implicitly denied that Christ was the Word of God.

“This is backward; attributes aren't gathered together into an entity; the entity instantiates them (the concrete reality is the person, not the nature).”

No; at least on the dictionary definition of “instantiation,” the concrete “instance” is the person; but the underlying “reality” is the nature.

And the dictionary definition is thoroughly irrelevant to the discussion, so it isn't even rational for Svendsen to raise it.

“The instantiation of a human nature doesn't require a human person because a divine person can instantiate the human nature without depending on that nature for His existence.”

Teeter Totter, Bread and Water. Prejean would be well advised to pick a definition of “person” and go with it. He earlier argued that a person is an instance of rational nature. That is the closest Prejean comes to the actual definition of “instantiate.”

Since I never held the definition that Svendsen thinks I did (which Svendsen calls the "actual definition" for no reason that I can perceive, given that he is supposed to be answering my view).

Then he suggested that “instantiate” means something like “create” (“person gives concrete reality to nature”; the word does not mean that at all).

That's the only thing I have ever meant by it, and moreover, it's the standard use of the term in the context of concrete and abstract entities. The word DOES mean exactly that, but Svendsen irrationally insists that it doesn't, despite my repeated insistence and explicit statement that I am using it in this way.

From that standpoint he is now arguing that “person” is something entirely separate from “nature” and that “nature” is something entirely separate from “person,” so that there can now be an “instance” of human nature without it resulting in a “person”

Natures are abstract; persons are concrete. Persons can instantiate natures without deriving their existence from the instantiation of a nature, although the Incarnation is the only case of it.

that is to say, an instance of “nature” can be extracted from the very thing it is supposed to be an instance of, so that it becomes an entity in itself without consideration of “personage,” and then can be pasted onto another “person” of a completely different nature.

Svendsen's slipped back into the dictionary meaning; he's talking nonsense again. Natures are abstract; they lack concrete existence outside of persons. Persons give natures concrete existence.

“Person” begins as nothing more than an artifact (instance) of rational nature (in this case rational “human” nature), and ends up being something that can in fact be extracted from that instance and disposed of.

If it were disposed of, there would be no concrete existence. If Svendsen is asserting that there is no difference between existence and non-existence, well, that's just crazy.

This remaining “instance” of human nature (no longer a “person,” mind you, even though Person and Instance began as the very same thing) can now be repackaged and re-used by other “persons.”

There is no "instance" of a non-instantiated nature. Svendsen is just spouting nonsense that has nothing to do with what I said.

This is equivocation of the worst kind. And where exactly does Prejean get this notion in the first place? Hezekiah 46:2? Reread Prejean’s statement above; the arrogance of such an assertion is staggering. On what authority does Prejean’s assertion stand outside of the word of his neo-Platonist instructors? How exactly does Prejean know things like “attributes aren't gathered together into an entity” and “the entity instantiates [the attributes]”?

Um, because I believe in a difference between existence as an idea and existence in reality. I don't think that you can collect a bunch of thoughts together and make a real thing out of them. For example, if I collect the attributes "equine," "one-horned," and "lavender" in my head, a purple unicorn does not spring into existence, even though I can form a perfectly good concept. I know that it isn't popular for the modern mind to confront the idea that things in my head don't actually have to exist (see Rizzi's treatment of "beings of reason"), but that's the reality.

In Prejean’s mind, philosophy is a hard science that allows you to break down the properties of “person” and “nature” and conduct DNA analysis on them. Prejean displays a remarkable childish confidence in his position on these things—or else he has special revelation from God about them that no one else has (the book of Hezekiah, perhaps?). I’ll wager it’s the former.

Sure, and why not? If anything, philosophy is the hardest science; it deals with reality most directly. It's the anti-metaphysical nonsense of modernism that produces such a corruption of God-given reason. God gave you senses to know about the world and reason to know these things.

“Sure. He can be a divine person instantiating the human nature. Why not?”

Why not? Because Prejean has previously defined “person” as “instantiation of rational nature,” that’s why. “Person,” therefore, is not a thing that is separate from instantiation—it is the instantiation.

Sure. That's not a reason why not.

And if Christ instantiated human nature then it follows inextricably that Christ is a human person.

But adjectives modifying the person say something about the person's existence, not what natures the person instantiates. Even if you were doing that, the term would have to be "divino-human person," because He instantiates both natures, not merely one or the other. But that's not the default meaning of "person."

Once again, Prejean begins with one definition of “person” (person is an instance of rational nature, and an instance of rational human nature is therefore a human person—what else would define us as a human person?), and then changes it to another (person can be extracted from an instance of human nature—even though “instance” and “person” were once defined as the very same thing—and the remaining “instance of human nature” can be glued onto another “person”) to suit his cause.

Once again, Svendsen begins with a definition that I didn't hold and finds a contradiction with the definition I was always using. Once again, he repeats the category error between abstract and concrete existence. This evidently never gets old for him.

Prejean previously denied that “person” is a thing in itself, but rather something like an artifact of “instantiation.” If that is his working definition of “person” (unless he is now going to backpedal on that as well), and if he agrees (as he has in his answers to my questionnaire regarding the proper nomenclature of a “human person” and the consequent redundancy of referring to a man as a “human person with a human nature”) that “instantiation of rational nature” = “person,” and that “instantiation of rational divine nature” = “divine person,” then it follows inextricably, by Prejean’s own reasoning, that “instantiation of rational human nature” = “human person.” To make an exception in the case of Christ is to engage in the fallacy of special pleading. Remember, it is Prejean who insisted that any view on this issue must be coherent and internally consistent. His is neither.

Again, there is no length to which Svendsen will not go to misrepresent me or to attack me irrationally. I didn't say that person was an artifact of instantiation; I said it was the instantiation (with the technical meaning I repeatedly ascribed to it). "Human person" is NOT proper nomenclature because the person instantiates human nature; it is proper nomenclature because it defines the nature of which the person exists by instantiating. "Human person with a human nature" is redundant because if a person derives its existence from instantiating the human nature, then that person is necessarily human. In other words, human person says MORE THAN person instantiating the human nature. For some reason, and I have no idea what that reason is, Svendsen thinks that when I am denying that Christ is a human person, I am denying that He instantiates the human nature. What I am denying is precisely the additional component of "human person," namely, that the person derives His existence from instantiating the human nature. Any formulation that says the Second Person of the Trinity NEEDS the human nature to exist is blasphemy.

Further, Prejean’s insistence on making a hard and fast distinction between “person” and “nature” results in a nonsensical product. If things like “rational thought,” mind, spirit, will, knowledge, wisdom, etc.—all those things we know were “human” in Christ (“he grew in wisdom”), what is left to define “person”?

Concrete existence. That's it. That's all. "Person" is the difference between a rational nature existing concretely versus abstractly. There are consequences of the real instantiation (for example, the possession of accidental properties), but the reality that distinguishes a person from an abstract nature is concrete existence.

This point (combined with my point about the radical natures of sin) is what has led Prejean to clarify that “person” is not a “thing” in itself but an instantiation of a thing in the first place.

No, the person IS the thing in itself. That's what instantiation means.

Now he seems to be backpedaling and re-defining "person" as a thing in itself (considered apart from the nature it instantiates) that instantiates just any nature it wants. Prejean is nothing if not slippery in his definitions; and that in itself is enough to charge his own view with incoherence.

Except the only one who has ever asserted this definition is Svendsen, and he pulled it from a dictionary in direct contradiction to my own stated definition. Can we repeat it once more? Misrepresent my view, then act like I believed it. Svendsen's slippery understanding doesn't make me incoherent.

I affirm that the man Jesus Christ is the word of God made flesh. I affirm he is one person. But that does nothing to answer the question at hand. I also have to affirm that Jesus is as much man as he is God—and if he is less than fully man, we are unredeemed and left in our sins. If Prejean wants to refer to as “nature” all the attributes that most people recognize as comprising a “person”—mind, will, intellect, soul, spirit, desire, emotion, etc.—I suppose that’s his prerogative.

The nature collects the attributes in the abstract; the person realizes them concretely. What is hard about this? Does Svendsen honestly have this much trouble separating the idea of a will from actually having one? Is Jesus Christ a combination of two real things, or is He one? Why are these hard questions?

I maintain that if a position must degenerate to this microscopic level of distinctions, based as they are on human speculation (what Paul calls the “wisdom of this world,” 1 Cor 1), the position is typically not worth arguing

Personally, I think affirming a bare contradiction in "the Word became flesh" is a sufficient reason. If the concepts are superfluous are redundant, then explain why. How hard is that? If you don't like the distinctions, don't say that they are wrong when you can't muster an argument against them. It's like saying because you don't like chocolate, no one should eat it. Your distaste is not a reason. But if you are going to claim that there is no real distinction between a person that exists necessarily and a person that exists contingently, then you need to make an argument for why the distinction is "based ... on human speculation" rather than reality.

I said I would forego this point, but this is just too delicious, because it illustrates so well the sub-Christian beliefs of Jonathan Prejean. The "sin nature," according to Prejean, is a "metaphysical absurdity" (Hezekiah 46:2). Why is it, then, no one in this world can live a sinless life no matter how hard he tries?

There are perfectly good explanations that don't resort to some hypothetical entity called a "sin nature" that can't even be defined coherently.

How does Prejean explain the case of Mary in his own Roman Catholic belief? How is it Mary lived a sinless life? Was it because she did not sin accidentally, or rather because she was "conceived without sin"?

Because she didn't choose to sin, and because she was given grace enabling her to make that choice. Being conceived without sin is beside the point; Adam was conceived without sin, and he chose to sin anyway.

How is it that, once redeemed, no one in heaven will ever sin?

Because they have fixed their will in virtue, so that their authentic power of choice will not deviate from its natural end.

Why do people die in this life?

As a consequence of Adam's sin, which has put us in a situation in which we are vulnerable to separation of body and soul.

The sin nature that Prejean denies effects many consequences in us: it condemns us, it causes our bodies to decay and die (what Paul calls “the corruption” in Rom 8), it produces a sinful disposition (Rom 3), and it prompts us to rebel against God (Rom 1).

The "power of sin" is a condition, not an ontological entity. Svendsen is reifying evil into a metaphysical essence, like a Manichee. I don't deny the condition; I deny that St. Paul is talking about an evil metaphysical nature. Note particularly St. Paul on bodily resurrection in 1 Cor. 15; the body is resurrected according to its nature even though the sin of Adam made it vulnerable to death. Evil, and vulnerability to evil, provides the circumstance for sin; it doesn't cause sin. As in Romans 1, it is ultimately evil choice that is responsible for sin.

Paul affirms that before our conversion, “we were by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2—I suppose Prejean thinks our “children of wrath” nature is a “metaphysical absurdity” as well). If we are by nature children of wrath, that speaks of a sin principle that resides within us and that results in God’s judgment (unless God just condemns us arbitrarily).

Not at all. I think it is a metaphorical description of our condition on account of being born human, not some ontological definition of a philosophical mechanism. It's odd how Svendsen is willing to engage in philosophical speculation to create an entity called a "sin nature," rather than simply taking St. Paul's word at face value.

Indeed, no one can read Paul’s theology of the human condition in Rom 1:10-18 apart from the principle of sin that resides in and controls every single one of us, making us “slaves to sin”:

“as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.’ ‘Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,’ ‘The poison of asps is under their lips’; ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness’; ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace have they not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’”

Certainly, this is an apt description of humanity deprived of grace, unable to attain to its supernatural end. A pathetic state indeed. A condition, however, is not a metaphysical principle; it is an accidental situation.

Paul addresses this same condition in chapter 7 of the same letter:

“For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death (v. 5). . . But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. (8-11). . . For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin (14). . . So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me (17). . . . But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me (20). I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good (21). For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (21-23).

Sinful passions and "the flesh" are nothing other than the faculties of nature inordinately used, turned from their natural purpose. By Svendsen's reasoning, the Law actually causes sin, which is an obvious contradiction with Paul's own statement that the Law is spiritual and the person is carnal. The way the Law produces sin and sinful passions is exactly through being veiwed inordinately. When the Law becomes a source of pride in human nature, as if mere human effort could earn God's favor, it turns into an avenue for coveting God's own power, denying the dependence of human nature on its supernatural end. This lesson is taught over and over by St. Paul in Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and more besides. The Law is intended to illustrate our dependence on God, but its message is perverted into the delusion that man does not need God, if he but obeys the Law.

Here Paul clearly sees a principle of sin "at work within us"—that’s the sin nature.

It's far from clear; it's not there. Paul is talking about a condition, not a metaphysical entity.

According to Paul, sin "indwells" us, "works in" us, is "alive" in us, is "present within" us, is a "principle" that wages war against our minds, and as a result makes us its "slave," putting us into "bondage to sin" and making us its "prisoner."

Sure, but how? Through action, through direction of the will toward inordinate fleshly ends. The reality of sin is the reality of human choice, not some Manichaean metaphysical necessity. There is no alien principle of sin; there is simply the disorder in which we set ourselves against the purpose of our own natures.

According to Paul, this condition is the result of our being "sold into bondage to sin."

Then we might want to distinguish conditional results from metaphysical entities, based on St. Paul's own description.

Indeed, note well how Paul puts v. 8: "But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind." Paul does not say that coveting produced acts of sin, which is what Prejean's view requires. He says the opposite; namely, that sin produced coveting. How is that possible apart from the very "sin nature" that Prejean rejects as "metaphysically absurd" and that Paul takes pains to demonstrate is a metaphysical reality?

The "sin nature" is completely unnecessary to the explanation. If we don't needlessly reify "sin" in this passage, and particularly if we interpret it in light of "sinful passions," we realize that this is simply sinful misuse of the faculties (sinful desire) begetting more sin. The person is looking to be his own god, so when he says the law, he turns it in an opportunity to make himself righteous, to deny his dependence on God, to covet God's power. Let's not make up nonsensical metaphysical entities through vain philosophical speculation.

Prejean continues to demonstrate that he learns his "truth" from Plato, not Paul. This, as I stated above, well illustrates the sub-Christian nature of Prejean’s belief system. He denies the sin principle that Paul insists resides in us all.

More like I am sticking to Paul, and Svendsen is getting his ideas from Mani, who originates the idea of a "sin nature" that Augustine later found nonsensical.

John himself tells us: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn 1:8). John is here referring to the same “sin principle” (or sin nature) as Paul in Romans 7.

The one that Svendsen got from Mani? Sorry, I'm not buying it.

This sin principle is distinguished from personal acts of sin addressed two verses later: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (v. 10). Now Prejean, I assume, affirms the latter (personal acts of sin); but he denies the former (the inherent principle of sin). As such, according to the Apostle, “the truth is not in” Jonathan Prejean. Rather, like the incipient Gnostics John battles in this letter, he “deceives” himself (the charge of Gnosticism keeps mounting against Prejean).

Certainly, I think there is a difference between a sinful disposition and acts of sin, but that doesn't imply a metaphysical "sin principle." Our condition of being born vulnerable to sin creates the occasion for disordering the faculties,the disordering of the faculties leads to acts of sin, which further disorders the faculties, in a vicious spiral. Absent grace, there is no way past the vulnerability of sin, so that our dependence on God's grace is absolute. Why this somehow makes me forced to believe in a "sin principle" straight out of Mani is beyond me.

Since I have already debunked Prejean’s notion of “no sin nature,” I will assume that the additional points he makes based on this mistaken notion fall to the ground as well.

You've proved the point by reifying the "sin nature" just as I described. You posit something that the Apostles' words don't require.

I wrote:“Yet Prejean ends up abandoning this definition when he insists on referring to Christ as a “divine person with a human nature.” In every other case, instantiation of rational human nature, according to Prejean, is the very definition of "human person"; but in the case of Christ, Prejean conceives of "person" as something in addition to the instantiation of a rational human nature--indeed, the instantiation of rational human nature in the case of Christ is left hanging in the air! That instantiation of rational human nature ends up being nothing more than . . . human nature; whereas in every other case it is a person! He has already conceded that existence is part of “nature” (at least for the divine), not part of “person.” Hence, even if this “person” has “life in himself,” that is only by virtue of his divine nature, not by virtue of his person per se. It makes no sense to refer to someone as a “divine person” who also happens to instantiate humanity.”

Prejean responded: “Svendsen has misunderstood me pretty seriously.”

No, I have not misunderstood Prejean; I have simply shown the absurdity and incoherence of his view. There is nothing coherent about a view that equivocates on the words “person” and “instantiation,” using them as synonyms at first, and treating them as separate things in the end.

Svendsen has just gone back to his dictionary definition of "instantiation," which I never used. The contradiction is with Svendsen's own definition, not mine.

“‘Person’ is whatever instantiates a rational nature, no matter whether it takes its existence from instantiating that nature or not.”

Here Prejean views “person” as a "thing" apart from nature; whereas before “person” was defined as an instance of rational nature, more along the lines of an artifact.

Based on Svendsen's dictionary definition of "instantiation," which was not mine.

“Ordinarily, no nature necessarily has an instantiation; thus, a ‘human person’ does not necessarily exist, not does an ‘angelic person.’ They are created.”

Whether it necessarily exists or not is beside the point. Prejean has defined “person” as “the instantiation of rational nature.” Once the instantiation takes place, the “person” exists, whether from itself or from an external source. And so, if an instance if rational nature exists (whether from itself or not), then we must ask the question “what kind of rational nature is it?” And if we have already agreed that an instance of rational nature is a person, then once we determine that this particular “instance of rational nature” is in fact “rational human nature,” we cannot conclude that the resulting “person” is something other than a human person; for that would be akin to saying that it wasn’t really an instantiation of human nature in the first place. In that case, we end up positing that an instantiation of human nature results in a non-human instantiation: A=non-A in Prejean’s view (confirming Prejean in his Docetism). That is why Prejean’s position is incoherent. It is self-contradictory.

This assumes that person and nature are the same thing, which is only true by Svendsen's definition of "instantiation" as if an instantiation were simply "one of" a thing rather than a concrete realization of an abstract entity. Certainly, if I didn't distinguish a person from a nature, then this would be true. However, my use of terms indicates rather clearly that I do. Svendsen simply doesn't know what's going on.

“The divine nature necessarily exists, but it is wrong to say that the existence is part of the divine nature (which would break the divine nature into parts). Rather, the divine nature is necessarily instantiated tri-personally; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit necessarily exist and are necessarily God.”

Yes, they necessarily exist and they are necessarily God—but not apart from their divine nature. God, apart from his nature, ceases to be God. Hence, it is simply absurd to suggest that God’s existence is not an integral part of his divine nature. Of course it is! Prejean is apparently capitalizing on my phrase “part of,” and drawing all kinds of absurd conclusions about it. “Part of” is simply another way of saying that divine nature and divine existence are mutually dependent.

"God, apart from His nature" is simply nonsense. To say that divine nature and divine existence are mutually dependent is to say that they are two things. Svendsen needs to learn how to express himself coherently on the subject of divine simplicity, if his thoughts are actually coherent.

“On the other hand, if the Word of God does not merely happen to instantiate the human nature (that is, accidentially) but instead essentially does so, then we have the human nature necessarily existing and the Word of God as necessarily Incarnate, which is obviously unacceptable as well.”

The problem with Prejean’s statement is that what he denies is exactly what we have. As I mentioned before, while I can agree that human nature is not essential to the existence of the Word of God, it is indeed absolutely essential to the existence of Christ Jesus. There is no “Christ Jesus” without human nature, nor biblically could there be. The Word was not Christ Jesus pre-Incarnation. Although the Word “was,” Christ Jesus “became”; hence it is biblically necessary to say that both divine nature and human nature are essential to the existence of Christ Jesus—for absent one or the other, Christ Jesus does not exist.

Then the Word of God and Christ Jesus are not identical; hence, Christ is the union of two entities and not one. This is Nestorianism. Note that Svendsen is at odd with the Biblical language here, in plain contradiction with "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

“Because the person of Christ is the Word of God, and the Word of God does not derive His existence from being human.”

Not quite; rather the person of Christ is the MAN Christ Jesus and the Word of God.

Nestorianism, plainly and simply. I have no idea why Svendsen doesn't simply admit it. All I have ever meant by Nestorianism is the statement "the person of Christ is the MAN Christ Jesus and the Word of God' which is a bare contradiction of "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." It doesn't say "The Word united Himself to flesh and His flesh dwelt among us."

“The question is whether the person of Christ is constituted by the union, or whether the person of Christ is the Word of God.”

I have no problem with either statement—and just for the record, the latter statement does not necessarily preclude the former, nor are the two statements necessarily mutually exclusive.

The latter is exclusive if understood to mean an identity relationship, which is how I mean it. The Gospel of John says "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us," which precludes anything but identity.

But as a biblicist, I have consciously decided not to commit to either of them because to do so is to speculate well beyond Scripture.

Odd that St. John didn't think so, given that he commenced his Gospel with it.

Yet this is the very question that militates against Prejean’s claim that he isn’t attempting to figure out the divine by sheer force of intellect.

I'm not trying to figure out the mechanism of the Incarnation. It's Svendsen who seems to be suggesting that because the Incarnation can't be explained, God can't really become man.

It is the question that refutes his claim that he does not concern himself about “how” this union took place, only “what kind” of union it is (as though the latter can sterilely be posited apart from attempting to explain the former).

There's nothing "sterile" about recognizing the bounds of human reason.

The question, as I have maintained throughout, is certainly not biblically resolved in any case.

Except in the bare statement "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

Since Christ is necessarily human (without humanity there would be no “Christ,” only “Word”), and necessarily divine (without the Word there would be no Christ, only “man”), I don’t see how it can be answered apart from divine revelation; and divine revelation simply does not tell us.

So Christ is not the Word of God and we shouldn't worship Him. Got it.

It is interesting to note that even Prejean’s Eastern Orthodox friends are now entertaining the notion that Prejean’s own view is Nestorian, and that he is indeed relying on hyper-rational speculation to figure out the nature of the Incarnation.

Considering that they consider my view Nestorian for different reasons, and those different reasons are inapposite to Svendsen's view, this is a classic red herring, completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand, just as Hays's original tu quoque was.

The article is actually very much on target (in spite of an expected gaffe on the part of Perry Robinson, a sniveling third-rate philosophy student, and one of his associates, both of whom seem to be extremely ill informed about what constitutes a “degree mill,” and both of whom seem to think that it is an acceptable practice to get their information from the “research” of a third-rate catholic e-pologist who has no training in theology and who possesses no advanced degree—if that is the research method taught at their institution of higher learning, then I am certain I won’t be sending my children to “Saint Louis University”).

Daniel and Perry both thought I was using a term differently than I was, and at any rate, their criticism of my position was not Svendsen's. Svendsen also evidently has no concept of academic reputation. St. Louis is one of the best philosophy program in the world based on scholarly regard. It's not even possible to be a student, much less make As, at a graduate school of that quality as a "third-rate" philosopher. Perry is using "diploma mill" as most academics do: as an expression of contempt for schools with minimal requirements and non-existent scholarly regard. Svendsen's doctoral program has no scholarly reputation that I can perceive, and the sort of academic incest that the Catholic apologist in question documented is a good sign that they can't find enough people in the scholarly community willing to vouch for them. The fact that Svendsen shows such contempt for a university with such an academic reputation just shows how much of a fringe quack non-scholar Svendsen is.

To engage the unknown and the unrevealed using Prejean’s approach—namely, “I don’t need yer stinkin’ Bible ‘cause I can just figure it all out using my own brilliance”—results in a sub-Christian (nay, un-Christian or even anti-Christian) belief system that at best undermines the authority of Scripture and at worst promotes open idolatry.

That's not my approach. On the other hand, Svendsen's concept of the "authority of Scripture" is so illogical (I'm deductive, except when I'm not) that it results in more disrespect for Scripture, because it makes us Christians look like anti-intellectuals, even believers in nonsense.

Worse for me, it wastes a great deal of my energy and time—energy and time I really don’t have anymore—to continue in such dialogues. They result in nothing useful.

Finally, we can agree on something. I'd have been more than happy to leave this one where I left it more than a year ago. Unfortunately, Svendsen couldn't manage the character to do that, because he had to subsequently excise my half of the discussion despite mentioning me by name. But I'm the coward. Go figure.

In the end Prejean will remain a neo-Platonist/Gnostic/Docetist, and I will remain devoted to the apostle’s teaching.

... except the parts that Svendsen inherently contradicts without providing any explanation for it.

I assume Prejean will be responding to this; if so, he’ll have the last word on it.

Works for me.

Prejean’s view is incoherent and relies heavily on the equivocations of terms.

Heck of a way to finish. You admit that your view presumes that I "rely heavily" on equivocation of terms when the equivocation was created by you imputing a definition out of a dictionary that was completely irrelevant to the subject and that I never used. This is vintage Svendsen, and it's why any thinking Catholic just laughs at you. In fact, I only brought this up to show how, despite having put this much time and energy into it, you still can't get around the arguments. In the end, you're still Nestorian.

I’ve adequately demonstrated the deficiencies of his views and his approach. My job here is done.

Mine too. If that was the best you could do, then it pretty clearly demonstrates that you have nothing. All the cards are on the table; you've got the losing hand. Evangelicals of your stripe simply can't beat Catholics with rational argument; that's all there is to it.