September 17, 2003

A note against empiricism: Derrida quotes Scheler (in his essay on Levinas, “Violence and Metaphysics”) to this effect: “I see not only the eye of an other, I see also that he looks at me.” That is, what is seen is not only a thing, a dead object, but also a responding subject, an intention even. If a look can be seen, then empiricism and all the reductionisms that are associated with it are destroyed. But a look can be… Read more

September 17, 2003

Levinas claims that an absolute other must necessarily be invisible. If the other is visible, I can at least “capture” and “grasp” and “encompass” him in my gaze, which is the first moment in a sequence that could lead to capturing, grasping, and encompassing and dominating him in other ways. An invisible other is beyond my gaze, and therefore absolutely beyond my control. We can “fix” someone with our gaze, but not an invisible other, for where shall we look?… Read more

September 17, 2003

Yeats said that the classical world was fundamentally tragic, with the Oedipus myth as the founding myth — the man kills his father and marries his mother. Yeats would have been better off pointing to the myth of Zeus, for that truly is the founding myth of the Olympian order, and it too involves the slaughter of the father by the son — Kronos by Zeus. Christianity is founded on the event of the Son’s utter obedience and submission to… Read more

September 17, 2003

In his history of the ancient concept of progress, E. R. Dodds says that one <blockquote>fundamental limitation on the idea of progress was imposed by the theory of Forms, both in Platonic and in the Aristotelian version. For Plato all progress consists in approximation to a pre-existing model; the model has existed and will exist to all eternity in the unchanging world of transcendent Forms. There is thus, strictly speaking, no open future and no such thing as invention; what… Read more

September 17, 2003

Looking at Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound for an article, I came across this statement: Speaking of the senselessness of men before Prometheus gave them sense, he describes men as “seeing, they saw amiss, and hearing heard not.” The similarity to Jesus’ description of His reasons for telling parables is pretty striking, though I don’t know if the Greek is as close as my English translation (the Great Books translation — sorry!) makes it sound. Might be worth looking into at some… Read more

September 17, 2003

Why does the centurion in Luke 7 say that he is a man “under” (Greek, hupo ) authority? It seems more reasonable for him to say that he is a man having authority. And what does he mean when he says “I also (Greek, kai ) am a man under authority”? Clearly he sees Jesus as a man under authority, and therefore a man having authority. Though this seems paradoxical, it is not. The centurion’s word only carried the weight… Read more

September 17, 2003

The Weekly Standard has been playing Br’er Rabbit with the Democrats, publishing several hand-wringing articles worrying over threat posed by Howard Dean to the Bush reelection. “Please, Oh, Please, NOT Howard DEAN! ANYBODY, anybody but Howard DEAN!” The entrance of Wesley Clark into the mix changes the dynamics of the race. Bush won’t be able to coast on national security and defense issues the way he could with Dean and most of the other Democratic candidates. But the last general… Read more

September 17, 2003

The Weekly Standard has been playing Br’er Rabbit with the Democrats, publishing several hand-wringing articles worrying over threat posed by Howard Dean to the Bush reelection. “Please, Oh, Please, NOT Howard DEAN! ANYBODY, anybody but Howard DEAN!” The entrance of Wesley Clark into the mix changes the dynamics of the race. Bush won’t be able to coast on national security and defense issues the way he could with Dean and most of the other Democratic candidates. But the last general… Read more

September 17, 2003

Back to supra/infra: On reflection, I think the main issue in my rethinking of this has been my hostility to any nature-grace scheme, which seems to be encouraged by the infra position. In the infra framework, creation exists (in the decree of God) as creation, without being considered as the object of glorification and redemption. Creation provides the backdrop for the drama of redemption, but has a degree of independence from that scheme, and even a decree of priority to… Read more

September 17, 2003

In Jesus’ sermon in Luke 6, he contrasts the behavior of His disciples with that of “sinners” in a series of three point. Sinners love those who love themselves, but Jesus’ disciples must love enemies. Sinners do good only to those who do good to them, but Jesus’ disciples must do good to enemies without any hope for good in return. Sinners lend only to those who can repay, but Jesus’ disciples must lend without expecting return. Who are these… Read more

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