Jansenist Lag

colognial

Senior Member
Persian
Hello. Could you please help me understand the meaning of "Jansenist lag", or just "lag", in the following lines:

Joyce regarded the Dublin mysticists as in undisclosed collusion with the Catholic Church, which especially in Ireland, perhaps out of Jansenist lag, derogated the mortal body in favour of the immortal soul.
(Ulysses on the Liffey, by Richard Ellman)

I do, in general, understand the meaning of 'lag': delay, weakened stance, inertia (maybe). But I'm not sure how to read it in the context of that sentence above. Furthermore, I expect the Catholic Church's stance to be opposite to that of the Jansenist movement. But the sentence seems to suggest there was in fact something Jansenist about the idea of the immortal soul being promulgated by the official church in Ireland. Is this indeed what the author of the sentence is saying?

Thank you.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Jansenism dates from the 17th century - the idea being expressed here is that the Catholic Church in Ireland was perhaps influenced by Jansenist ideas with a lag (that is, very much later).
     

    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thanks, Glasguensis. I think you are saying the Jansenists must have done the same, that is, derogated the body in favour of the soul, only well before the Catholics cottoned on to the idea. Am I right?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    The Jansenists were Catholics. I am not a theologian, I am merely telling you that the text says that the attitude of the Catholic Church in Ireland at that time may have been influenced by Jansenist ideas. Yes, this specifically refers to the prioritisation of the soul over the body.
     

    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I am not a theologian either. I was just asking about your understanding of the text, and mine of your answer. Jansenism was condemned by the Catholic Church, so it seems strange that the same church later adopted a doctrine it might at an earlier stage have considered heretical.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    The ideas of the Catholic Church have evolved over time. Galileo for example was condemned as a heretic, but his ideas were later accepted and indeed enthusiastically propagated by the church.
     
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