Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Were the Pharisees Molinists?

Being associated with the Pharisees is normally unflattering.  But considering Paul was originally a Pharisee, it's important to understand what they believed.  And they maintained God's providential control and man's freedom in a way only Molinists today can.  Here's how Josephus described the Pharisees view:

3. Now, for the Pharisees, ... when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously.

the Pharisees are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their laws, and introduce the first sect. These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men, although fate does co-operate in every action.

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