Friday, April 30, 2021
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Which came first? The institutions or the rituals?
I'm finally getting around to reading this, 20+ years after it was first published. The book is fascinating and explains much that we see going on in society, with the "single-victim mentality" and scapegoating. But I find his exegesis a bit loose and I don't think his attempt to make the founding victim myth the myth is convincing. But then, anytime someone comes up with what they think is the monolithic Ur-myth usually fails. Humanity is too complex for that.
That being said, I definitely recommend the book. It might be a hard slog for people who are unfamiliar with anthropology and mythological studies, but I think the time spent would definitely repay itself in insight into human society.
I got the book via Interlibrary Loan, and won't be posting much from it as I need to get it read and returned...
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
We see but dimly…
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
What's the big idea?
Thursday, April 22, 2021
A notion? Or a name?
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
This implies that the teacher has a very great responsibility. He must mobilize all his personal power, love, insight, and understanding. The most clever gimmicks will not achieve anything of lasting value. Unless there is an inner engagement, an attachment, a personal appreciation of the subject matter, the ﬁnest instructor will become inelfective.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 152
That is so true. Think back about the best teachers you have had. Their techniques were varied, but what didn't vary was their love and appreciation for the subject matter they were teaching. They weren't so much teaching, as giving you a glimpse of what motivated and inspired them. You can't help but be motivated by that kind of fire. How much moreso when what they are teaching is the love of God!
Monday, April 19, 2021
Substitute Christianity for Judaism, and church building for synagogue, and it describes contemporary U.S. Christianity all too well...
Friday, April 16, 2021
A safe distance
Nor is the “literary appreciation" approach more satisfactory. When I was a student in Germany, I often heard discussion about what a great collection of books the Bible is. What a great achievement, it was said, that Goethe's Faust begins with a scene from Job. We praise the Bible because it has had such a great impact on the English language and the development of English literature. But perhaps it is the other way around. Perhaps this is the greatness of English literature—that it was inﬂuenced by the Bible.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 150–151
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
It's called metaphysical for a reason...
Spiritual meaning is not always limpid; transparency is the quality of glass, while diamonds are distinguished by refractive power and the play of prismatic colors.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 136–37 (emphasis original)
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
The lure of technology
Monday, April 12, 2021
Stronger than I
Friday, April 09, 2021
The real problem
To have an idea of the good is not the same as living by the insight, Blessed is the man who does not forget Thee.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 129
Thursday, April 08, 2021
The dignity of man consists not in his ability to make tools, machines, guns, but primarily in his being endowed with the gift of addressing God. It is this gift which should be a part of the deﬁnition of man.https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374524951 —Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 116 (emphasis original)
Wednesday, April 07, 2021
And yet more on prayer…
The true source of prayer, we said above, is not an emotion but an insight. It is the insight into the mystery of reality, the sense of the ineffable, that enables us to pray. As long as we refuse to take notice of what is beyond our sight, beyond our reason; as long as we are blind to the mystery of being, the way to prayer is closed to us. 110 (emphasis original)
Tuesday, April 06, 2021
More thoughts on prayer
Monday, April 05, 2021
Prayer? Essential for theology!
There are people who maintain that prayer is a matter of emotion. In their desire to “revitalize” prayer, they would proclaim: Let there be emotion! This is, of course, based on a fallacy. Emotion is an important component; it is not the source of prayer. The power to pray does notdepend on whether a person is of a choleric or phlegmatic temperament. One may be extrenely emotional and be unable to generate that power. This is decisive: worship comes out of insight. It is not the result of an intellectual oversight.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 108
Friday, April 02, 2021
...There is something which is far greater than my desire to pray, namely, God’s desire that I pray. There is something which is far greater than my will to believe, namely, God’s will that I believe. How insigniﬁcant is the outpouring of my soul in the midst of this great universe! Unless it is the will of God that I pray, unless God desires our prayer, how ludicrous is all my praying.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 107 (emphasis original)