October 28, 2003

It’s not at all accidental that postmodernism takes its rise in the mid-1960s. Bloom wrote the first draft of the anxiety of influence in 1967, and revised it over several years before its initial publication in 1973. Derrida’s annus miraibilis was 1967, which saw the publication of Speech and Phenomena , Writing and Difference , and Of Grammatology . In a real sense, postmodernism, and particularly its filial revolt against the father, didn’t arise at the Sorbonne or at the… Read more

October 28, 2003

Turns out that Harold Bloom’s “anxiety of influence” is just another variation on the same set of themes that Derrida is obsessed with — the son’s murder of the father. For Bloom, the son is the “strong poet” who resists the influence of his predecessor/father in order to carve out space for his own work. Bloom is more openly Freudian and Oedipal than Derrida, but the mythology is the same. Is the whole of postmodernism just this ?Ea Trinitarianism inverted… Read more

October 27, 2003

Jonathan Ree has this to say to the Platonic realist who is afraid of attacks on realism: “you’re worried about being deprived of something that actually you haven’t got, and you wouldn’t know if you had . . . . it’s a chimera, this thing that they’re worried about having taken away from them.” Read more

October 27, 2003

Derrida explains Plato’s dualism as an effort to dominate writing (and, I suppose, reality) by the imposition of organizing contrasts and differences. Words are ambiguous; pharmakon means remedy or poison. Rather than leave this ambiguity lie, and simply follow out the proliferating differences that flow from it, Plato organizes and controls the ambiguity by dividing the word and making the two meanings external to one another. Systematic thought, and hence systematic theology, are unavoidable. But Derrida’s point should give us… Read more

October 27, 2003

Derrida explains Plato’s dualism as an effort to dominate writing (and, I suppose, reality) by the imposition of organizing contrasts and differences. Words are ambiguous; pharmakon means remedy or poison. Rather than leave this ambiguity lie, and simply follow out the proliferating differences that flow from it, Plato organizes and controls the ambiguity by dividing the word and making the two meanings external to one another. Systematic thought, and hence systematic theology, are unavoidable. But Derrida’s point should give us… Read more

October 27, 2003

Alan Jacobs reviews Stanley Hauerwas’s Against the Grain of the Universe in the current issue of Books & Culture , and Hauerwas talks about Barth’s insight that natural theology can never be “first” theology: “Barth discovered early in his career that the great error of 19th-century Protestant theology was its decision to think that human ‘religious experience’ was an appropriate first principle of Christian theology. Indeed, some of the strongest opponents of Christianity ?Enotably Feuerbach and Nietzsche ?Erealized that a… Read more

October 26, 2003

Exhortation for October 26: We pray every week that God’s kingdom would come. This is a very general prayer, that God would extend His righteous rule to the ends of the earth. But since we live everywhere, our prayer that God’s kingdom would come is a focused prayer that His kingdom would come here, in Moscow, Idaho. We are praying each week for the people of this city to acknowledge God as King, and bow before Jesus, the Son installed… Read more

October 25, 2003

We speak of “sacred cows,” and think that we are using a dead and meaningless metaphor. But the “sacred” of “sacred cow” is very real. Lay a finger on the sacred rights of the individual to do anything he likes with his genitals, tread on the sacred ground of individual rights, question the unquestioned holiness of democracy, and you’ll see a reaction that would do the Pharisees proud. Read more

October 25, 2003

Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees’ concern with the “outside” is remarkable. He condemns them for cleaning the outside of the plate and cut without concern for the robbery and wickedness within. That looks like a simple opposition of inner v. outer purity, however much Jesus combines the two in v 40. But the combination is not just a juxtaposition, as if Jesus saw the internal and external man as separate entities pressed and glued together. The climax comes in v… Read more

October 25, 2003

Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees’ concern with the “outside” is remarkable. He condemns them for cleaning the outside of the plate and cut without concern for the robbery and wickedness within. That looks like a simple opposition of inner v. outer purity, however much Jesus combines the two in v 40. But the combination is not just a juxtaposition, as if Jesus saw the internal and external man as separate entities pressed and glued together. The climax comes in v… Read more

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