Log24

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday February 13, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM
The Lincoln Brigade

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Marches On.

As yesterday’s Lincoln’s Birthday entry indicated, my own sympathies are not with the “created equal” crowd.  Still, the Catholic Fascism of Franco admirer Andrew Cusack seems somewhat over-the-top.  A more thoughtful approach to these matters may be found in a recommendation by Ross Douthat at The American Scene:

Read Eve Tushnet on the virtues of The Man in the High Castle.

Related material: Log24 on Nov. 14, Nov. 15, and Nov. 16, 2003.

Another item of interest from Eve:

“Transubstantiation [is equivalent but not equal to] art (deceptive accident hides truthful substance), as vs. Plato’s condemnation of the physical & the fictive? (Geo. Steiner)”

Related material:

The End of Endings
(excerpt)
by Father Richard John Neuhaus,
First Things
115 (Aug.-Sept. 2001), 47-56:

“In Grammars of Creation, more than in his 1989 book Real Presences, Steiner acknowledges that his argument rests on inescapably Christian foundations. In fact, he has in the past sometimes written in a strongly anti–Christian vein, while the present book reflects the influence of, among others, Miri Rubin, whose Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture is credited in a footnote. Steiner asserts that, after the Platonisms and Gnosticisms of late antiquity, it is the doctrines of incarnation and transubstantiation that mark ‘the disciplining of Western syntax and conceptualization’ in philosophy and art. ‘Every heading met with in a study of “creation,” every nuance of analytic and figural discourse,’ he says, derives from incarnation and transubstantiation, ‘concepts utterly alien to either Judaic or Hellenic perspectives– though they did, in a sense, arise from the collisions and commerce between both.’….

The incarnation of God in the Son, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into his body and blood, are ‘a mysterium, an articulated, subtly innervated attempt to reason the irrational at the very highest levels of intellectual pressure.’ ‘Uniquely, perhaps, the hammering out of the teaching of the eucharist compels Western thought to relate the depth of the unconscious and of pre-history with speculative abstractions at the boundaries of logic and of linguistic philosophy.’ Later, the ‘perhaps’ in that claim seems to have disappeared:

At every significant point, Western philosophies of art and Western poetics draw their secular idiom from the substratum of Christological debate. Like no other event in our mental history, the postulate of God’s kenosis through Jesus and of the never-ending availability of the Savior in the wafer and wine of the eucharist, conditions not only the development of Western art and rhetoric itself, but at a much deeper level, that of our understanding and reception of the truth of art– a truth antithetical to the condemnation of the fictive in Plato.

This truth reaches its unrepeated perfection in Dante, says Steiner. In Dante, ‘It rounds in glory the investigation of creativity and creation, of divine authorship and human poesis, of the concentric spheres of the aesthetic, the philosophical, and the theological. Now truth and fiction are made one, now imagination is prayer, and Plato’s exile of the poets refuted.’ In the fashionable critical theories of our day, we witness ‘endeavors of the aesthetic to flee from incarnation.’ ‘It is the old heresies which revive in the models of absence, of negation or erasure, of the deferral of meaning in late–twentieth–century deconstruction. The counter-semantics of the deconstructionist, his refusal to ascribe a stable significance to the sign, are moves familiar to [an earlier] negative theology.’ Heidegger’s poetics of ‘pure immanence’ are but one more attempt ‘to liberate our experience of sense and of form from the grip of the theophanic.’ But, Steiner suggests, attempted flights from the reality of Corpus Christi will not carry the day. ‘Two millennia are only a brief moment.’

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