domingo, junho 03, 2007


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Spiritual history ... spiritual 'authority' ... concepts entirely new to me. A-and a clue about how to see the world (again?) as something to be loved and cherished ...

From the OED: Heilsgeschichte [Ger.] Sacred history, specifically the history of God's saving work among men; history seen as the working out of God's salvation. So heilsgeschichtlich adjective.

1938 C. H. DODD History & Gospel v. 168 The whole of history is in the last resort sacred history, or Heilsgeschichte. 1952 G. E. WRIGHT God who Acts v. 115 Biblical faith may be treated in such a way as to preserve its history-centred (or as the Germans call it, heilsgeschichtlich) nature. 1957 D. M. BAILLIE Theol. Sacraments ii. 69 It is bound up with the rediscovery that the Christian message is a Heilsgeschichte, a sacred story, running on from eternity through history to eternity again, with Christ as its central and determinative point. 1959 GUTHRIE & HALL tr. Cullmann's Christology N.T. i. 9 There can be no Heilsgeschichte without Christology; no Christology without a Heilsgeschichte which unfolds in time.

Northrop Frye, The Double Vision, Chapter One:
"The gospel confronts us with all kinds of marvels and mysteries, so that one's initial reaction may well be that what we are reading is fantastic and incredible. Biblical scholars have a distinction here ready to hand, the distinction between world history and sacred history, Weltgeschichte and Heilsgeschichte. Unfortunately, there is as yet almost no understanding of what sacred history is, so the usual procedure is to try to squeeze everything possible into ordinary history, with the bulges of the incredible that still stick out being smoothed away by a process called demythologizing. However the Gospels are all myth and all bulge, and the operation does not work."

Self-liquidating, says Frye: Northrop Frye, The Double Vision, Chapter Three:
"All personal authority in the spiritual world is self-liquidating: it is the authority of the teachers who want their students to become their scholarly equals, of the preachers who, like Moses (Numbers 11:29), wish that all God's people were prophets."

'Pure language,' says Frye in his conclusion: Northrop Frye, The Double Vision, Chapter Four:
"One of the benefits of the coming of the kingdom of the spirit, the prophet tells us, is the restoring of a 'pure speech' (Zephaniah 3:9). Such purity can hardly be the abstract purity of logic or descriptive accuracy, much less the isolation of one existing language from others. It is rather the purity of simple speech, the parable or aphorism that begins to speak only after we have heard it and feel that we have exhausted its explicit meaning. From that explicit meaning it begins to ripple out into the remotest mysteries of what it expresses and clarifies but does not 'say.' Not all pure speech is in the Bible: T.S. Eliot* and Mallarmé* tell us that purifying the speech of the 'tribe' or society around us is what gives a social function to the poet. Such purity of speech is not simply a creative element in the mind, but a power that re-creates the mind, or perhaps has actually created the mind in the first place, as though it were an autonomous force deriving from an authentic creation; as though there really were a Logos uniting mind and nature that really does mean 'Word.'

We also spoke of Blake's double vision, which seems at first to be reverting from the conscious awareness of an objective order to the old superstitious notion of presences haunting it. But we also suggested that Blake is really talking about a third stage of development, one in which the vision of gods comes back in the form of a sense of identity with nature, where nature is not merely to be studied and lived in but loved and cherished, where place becomes home. A new covenant with nature, Hosea tells us (2:18) will come after war has been swept from the face of the earth. The growth of nature from a manifestation of order and intellectual coherence into an object of love would bring about the harmony of spirit and nature that has been a central theme of this work. Some recent writers have been deeply impressed by the conception in Chinese culture of a harmony between two similar worlds, usually translated as 'heaven' and 'earth,' which is the goal of all genuinely human aspiration. We should perhaps not overlook the fact that what seems like the same kind of harmony is prominently featured in the Lord's Prayer."

"Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us
To purify the dialect of the tribe
And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight,
Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort."
     from T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding.

"Donner un sens plus pur aux mots de la tribu,"
     from Stéphane Mallarmé, Le tombeau d'Edgar Poe.

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
     King James Bible, Psalm 12:6.

As palavras do Senhor são palavras puras, prata refinada em cadinho de barro, depurada sete vezes.
     Biblia versão João Ferreira de Almeida, Salmos 12.

'Spiritual batteries,' says Frye, also in his conclusion: Northrop Frye, The Double Vision, Chapter Four:
"The 'both ways' we have, therefore, are only the alternatives of the choice between using the Gospels as spiritual batteries, so to speak, for charging one's spiritual energies, and looking at them objectively as aesthetic productions."

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