Shunning Epinoia

Although Athanasius intended the “canon of truth,” now enshrined in the Nicene Creed, to safeguard “orthodox” interpretation of Scripture, his experience of Christians who disagreed with him showed that these “heretics” could still read the “canonical Scriptures” in ways he considered unorthodox. To prevent such readings, he insists that anyone who reads the Scriptures must do so through dianoia – the capacity to discern the meaning or intention implicit in each text. Above all, he warns believers to shun epinoia. What others revere as spiritual intuition Athanasius declares is a deceptive, all-too-human capacity to think subjectively, according to one’s preconceptions. Epinoia leads only to error – a view that the “catholic church” endorsed then and holds to this day.

 

– Elaine Pagels (2003. P 177)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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