1. Anonymous Guest

    please translate this
    I know Dei means G-d ,
    but i'd like to know what the phrase capax Dei means .

    I have a theology class and I didn't hear him when he translated it :(

    Thank you very much for your time & help :)
  2. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Capax, broadly speaking, means "capacity", both in the sense of "ability to contain" and in the sense of "understanding, ability".

    Dei here is genitive: "of God". I believe, however, that the phrase does not usually mean "the capacity of God" in the usual English sense, but rather capacity for God, that is, man's ability (and need) to relate to the Divine. I believe that the phrase goes back to Augustine; I'll see what I can find and get back in a little while.
  3. Anonymous Guest

    I'd like to thank you for your time and help.

    I appreciate your want to get into the definition further, but if it's too much trouble, then I'll have to ask you not to pursue it.

    The definition is all I wanted to understand.

    Thanks, again.

  4. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Believe it or not, Emanuel, this is fun for me (and I think for a number of us here). I've tracked your phrase back to the fourteenth book of Augustine's De Trinititate. I won't bore you with the details (especially as I'm pretty sure I don't understand them fully myself).

    A point of some general interest, perhaps, is that a sentence attributed to Augustine in at least several places on the web:

    Eo mens est imago Dei, quo capax Dei est et particeps esse potest

    does not in fact occur in that book in that form (at least not in any text available to me), though it is a reasonable paraphrase. I think the sentence means "The more the mind is an image of God, the more it is capable of God, and able to participate (in Him)".

    I think this is another example of what I call the "play-it-again-Sam" phenomenon. Bogart in Casablanca says something like "You played it for her; you can play it for me-- play it, Sam", but he does not say "play it again, Sam". And Occam's razor, in the words usually given, occurs nowhere in Occam's surviving writings. Humans seem to have a propensity for "improving" quotations over time.
  5. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Chicago, IL
    I have never read the De Trinitate in Latin, but I believe the (false) quote summarizes Augustine's approach to the problem of the Trinity. He shows reason why any physical analogue to this concept leads to absurdity, and instead (since we are made in God's image) looks for a possible analogue in the workings of the human mind.

    Roughly, he finds it by dividing our mental capabilities into memory, understanding (a bit different than pure reason), and will. The relationship between these mental processes roughly corresponds to the relationship between the persons of the Trinity (he runs thru several examples). This theology, I think, is still pretty much the standard interpretation of the doctrine in the RCC.
  6. Anonymous Guest

    i can definitely see why it's fun for you.

    i find the latin language absolutely fascinating.
    i truly do.

    i'll have to learn a lot of it because i plan on going to law school.
    so maybe becoming an active member on this forum will do me some good.

    once again, thanks for all your help.

  7. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    You're very welcome, Emanuel, and we hope will indeed spend some more time here-- the more the merrier!

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