Carne Levare

Know Other People

A Few Posts You Should Have Read

Posted by Remy on October 23, 2009

I don’t know why you’d read anything here if you aren’t reading Peter Leithart, but in case you aren’t these are must reads:

Why the opposite of love isn’t hate but apathy.

Love is “as strong as the grave” and ardor “as hard as Sheol.”  Both descriptions are arresting because they attribute a kind of violence to love.

“Strong” describes the driving wind of the exodus (Exodus 14:21), the raging waters of the sea that swallowed up Pharaoh (Nehemiah 9:11).  It describes anger (Genesis 49:7), the harshness of a king (Isaiah 19:4), the fierce faces of Gentiles invading Israel (Deuteronomy 28:50).

“Hard” is used to describe Israel’s servitude in Egypt (Exodus 1:14; 6:9), the Egypt-like hardness of Israel’s life under Solomon (1 Kings 12:4), hard hearts (Ezekiel 3:7) and faces (Ezekiel 2:4), violent winds (Isaiah 27:8) and the turmoil of battle (2 Samuel 2:17).

Love is not a soft passion.

But more, love is a match for every difficulty Israel faces.  The sea that threatens Israel may be strong, but Yahweh’s love is more than enough.  A king may be harsh, and invaders cruel, but love is as strong as death.

Pharaoh subjected Israel to bitter and hard bondage, but love is as hard as Sheol.  Israel’s own hearts may be stubborn, stony as flint, and they may set their faces like rock against the Lord, but His love is more stubborn still.  The hard wind that drives Israel out of exile is Yahweh’s own wind, and it’s through this exile that Judah will find forgiveness.  If the nations are a vehement wind, Yahweh is too, for He is Wind and blows where He wishes.

All opposing “strengths” and “hardnesses” are forms of death, threats to life and limb.  But love is as strong as death, Yahweh’s ardor as hard as Sheol.

Late medieval theology in 4 short sentences.

Late medieval theologians were divided, we’re told, between intellectualists and voluntarists.  The first took God’s intellect to be “prior” to His will, and believed His will conforms to His reason.  The latter put the will in the place of “priority” and said that God’s intellect is as it is because He wills it to be so.

It’s a sterile debate, and misses what the Bible places in the position of “priority”: Neither reason nor will but Word.

Why Perichoresis Blows a Hole in Marcionism.

Hegel’s “sublation” seems to be a conceptual vestige of perichoresis.

Sublation requires the Trinity: If all is one, nothing other can be absorbed within being destroyed.  If we have sheer differentiation, all is utterly other.

Hegel is right: Sublation happens.  Aquinas does absorb Aristotle, so that Aristotle is still recognizably there even though he’s been sublated into a new system.  Marx does the same to Hegel.  Shall we say too that the New Testament does the same to the Old.

Sublation is simply the indwelling of the other within the same, the old within the new.  But the indwelling goes the other way as well, since once the old is absorbed into the new, the new cannot be understood without the old.

Hegel’s aspiration was to arrive at a point where thought itself was Christian.  Seems that he made some progress toward that end.

My new motto these days is “Know Other People” and this post is a good start explaining why.

It is not good for man to be alone.  Hegel says, It is impossible.

“I have my self-consciousness not in myself but in the other.  I am satisfied and have peace with myself only in this other – and I am only because I have peace with myself; if I did not have it, then I would be a contradiction that falls to pieces.  This other, because it likewise exists outside itself, has its self-consciousness only in me, and both the other and I are only this consciousness of being-outside-ourselves and of our identity; we are only this intuition, felling, and knowledge of our unity.  This is love, and without knowing that love is both a distinction and the sublation of the distinction, one speaks emptily of it.  This is the simple, eternal idea.”

Williams explains: “Our thinking . . . is ultimately radical loving: ecstasy, being-outside-ourselves.”

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