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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Quotations’ Category

Religion

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Religion is the power to encounter the unique as unique; superstition is the weakness to make the unique into something already known. . . .

Religion is the power, gentlemen, to neglect space. Philosophy is the power to neglect time. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Comparative Religion, 1954)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 15, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Posted in Quotations

Practical atheism

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Ralph Allen Smith, commenting on Zephaniah 1 (emphasis added):

The people that are complacent are saying in their hearts, “The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill. They are practical atheists, in a way. . . They don’t believe that God is going to bring covenantal blessing or covenantal judgment.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 15, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Fruit

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The works of a Christian man, who is justified and saved by his faith out of the pure and unsought mercy of God, ought to be regarded in the same light as would have been those of Adam and Eve in paradise if they had not sinned. Of them it is said, “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Now Adam had been created by God just and righteous, so that he could not have needed to be justified and made righteous by keeping the garden and working in it; but, that he might not be unemployed, God gave him the business of keeping and cultivating paradise. These would have indeed been works of perfect freedom, being done for no object but that of pleasing God, and not in order to obtain justification, which he already had to the full, and which would have been innate in us all.

So it is with the works of a believer. Being by his faith replaced afresh in paradise and created anew, he does not need works for his justification, but that he may not be idle, but may exercise his own body and preserve it. His works are to be done freely, with the sole object of pleasing God. Only we are not yet fully created anew in perfect faith and love; these require to be increased, not, however, through works, but through themselves. . . .

True, then, are these two sayings: “Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works”; “Bad works do not make a bad man, but a bad man does bad works.” Thus it is always necessary that the substance or person should be good before any good works can be done, and that good works should follow and proceed from a good person. . . .

As then trees must exist before their fruit, and as the fruit does not make the tree either good or bad, but on the contrary, a tree of either kind produces fruit of the same kind, so must first the person of the man be good or bad before he can do either a good or a bad work; and his works do not make him bad or good, but he himself makes his works either bad or good. (Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 5, 2017 at 10:21 pm

Posted in Quotations

Veiled

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You store up powers of discretion and of decision by reading poetry. Poetry has always to deal with your future. And I’m already able to know what I positively cannot know about myself, in this very strange garment woven as a dream about the future. If you wanted to know the same truth, which the poet offers you, in the form of an ethical code, in the form of a lecture on morality, without this poetic veil, you would become a solemn ass.

It is asinine to study a course of ethics in advance. No situation which you will have to meet will ever have anything to do with all the abstract notions, and sentences, and phrases, which you have picked up in the process of learning about yourself, directly. But it is very different when you have read Goethe’s Werther, or Moby–Dick or Pierre, and then become despondent. Your despondency will be illuminated. You can strengthen and fortify your heart in this simile. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Make Bold To Be Ashamed, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 3, 2017 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Poetry, Quotations

Love language

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Adam McIntosh writes:

Self-sacrifice [is] the Bible’s love language (John 15:13).

Written by Scott Moonen

October 26, 2017 at 8:10 pm

She’s unusual

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Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy attributes to Ben Franklin and his contemporaries the great error of destroying ends by turning them into mere means. Thus, religion becomes merely a means to happiness rather than an end in itself. A walk in the woods becomes a means to greater health rather than something simply to be enjoyed. And at the end of the road, people become a means to our own ends rather than something of fundamental value (see, we struggle to express ourselves any other way!) in themselves. Fixating on “usefulness,” far from elevating the value of something, eviscerates it of any transcendent or enduring worth.

Thus, speaking of romance:

The same thing in every changing moment [is now] treated as end or as means. This is the terror of life. And Franklin has said dogmatically, and you all believe it—23 hours a day you believe it—except when you are in love, you always believe it. The only person where you say she is unusual is the girl. Now what is unusual? Something that can’t be put to any use. What is usual? Something that is in usu, that is, that we know the use for. . . A girl, you cannot. It’s certainly not a girl that counts for something. The harlot, you know her use. But a real person, you cannot. She’s absolutely useless. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

In the best possible sense of the word; because one desires her, not what he can get from her.

Later, he comments on how the end of this is tyranny:

We are not means. Once you’ve begun to conceive of other people as means, you end with all the systems of tyranny. You can’t have it, you see. It’s too tempting. It’s too obvious. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

He then goes on to relate this to how literature has descended to fiction, using James Fenimore Cooper as his foil. He lays on the shoulders of Cooper and the rest of the Romantic School the blame for descending, from literature as a reflection of life, to fiction as vain longing for the ends that we have lost.

Mr. Franklin is the beginning of great things. He’s certainly the beginning of Mr. Hitler. But Mr. Cooper is the beginning of the burlesque show, because man cannot live by reason, so he has to create fiction. And the fiction world is after all always the exact complementary part to the world in which we actually live. So the heroes of the fiction story are very different from the heroes of great literature. I mean, Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, they are [ourselves], you see, in earnest. But this Natty Bumppo of course is not Mr. Cooper at all, you see. It’s the other half, his wish, his desire.

The heroes of great literature, gentlemen, are the undesirable: real creatures. And the heroes of so-called fiction are, you see, our wish-dreams. . .  They fill out the void. Now, the greater the void you create in your philosophy, the more distorted must be the other person. That is the price of empty philosophy. If usefulness is the criterion for the real life, then uselessness must be the criterion of the other half, of fiction, which it is. [Cooper’s] Indians are no use to anybody. They can’t even be integrated into the historical existence of society, you see. And therefore, they are so beloved. And the waterfalls, and the moonlight, and all these things are, you see, so much on the other side, that the Romantic School says, “This is for the feelings.” Can you see this? Half and half. But they are two halves that never get together. The one is therefore called “fiction.” Of course, Mr. Cooper didn’t dare to call it “fiction” in his days. This was great art. It was “the novel,” as it was called. We call it today, brutally, “fiction.” (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

October 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Quotations

Disciples

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Now, you are so much victims of modern propaganda, that you even believe that all propaganda is of the same brand, and that only those who do not propagate their faith are decent, and everybody who wants to make disciples is indecent. Gentlemen, I want to make disciples. Certainly. But it is claimed as bad taste in this college: “You mustn’t make disciples.” Gentlemen, then I couldn’t teach. And therefore you have no teaching in this college, because nobody wants to do anything but make suggestions, and perhaps it’s a good idea. Perhaps you look at it in your own way. I think that’s silly; it’s a complete waste of time. If I am not convinced, that is, if I do not think that my thought must bear fruit, I certainly am not adequate for teaching. Teaching means the propagation, you see, of the truth, and can only propagate it if you get hold of this truth, because I say so. (Eugen Rosenstock–Huessy, Hinge of Generations, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

October 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm