– Had this plan to write 3-4 posts on how it often happens in the world that things can come to look a lot like a conspiracy without, you know, being a *conspiracy* conspiracy. Even got section I written. For section II, went to look for some quotes from the Reformers, and ended up with half a dozen tabs opened to stuff from or about Luther and Calvin which, while supplying exactly the quotes I needed, were also things I hadn’t read before, so now I think I should read them, and, well, you get the picture – I’m climbing the Cliffs of Insanity! I have this thing: when I’m saying something that might be inflammatory in print, I want to be able to stand behind it with a reasonable degree of confidence. Then comes the ‘turn over half a library to write a single blog post’ stage, and things end up in the draft folder for a year or two. Seriously.
Maybe an Inigo Montoya will throw me a rope?
– Reading all these different German authors in close proximity with each others is a strange experience. From Luther to Hegel, as different as they are, they all share some hard to pin down ways of looking at the world – that I don’t share. As best I can figure, the mature expression of one thread is Hegel’s idea of the Spirit unfolding through time. This concept of unfolding seems to be a metaphor based on what a flower does: complicated buds are tightly wrapped, with the folds and crinkles of the petals intertwined in such a way that it’s impossible to envision from the bud what the flower will look like. Yet, as it unfolds, its true nature as expressed in the full bloom comes gradually into view. But there’s more to it than that, at least in Hegel.
Another item that’s just everywhere in these writers – Luther, Kant, Pestalozzi, Fichte and Hegel – is an absolute dismissal of the Scholastics. Not even a nod that st. Thomas had anything to say at all, but rather out of hand disparagement. It’s so bad that Luther says that nobody knows why, in his day, there had been a rebirth of interest in Greek and Hebrew. Um, Martin – over the preceding 2 and half centuries, the Scholastics have been scouring the known world for source texts that happen to be in Greek; and despite your convenient delusions to the contrary, the Church has been studying Scripture non-stop since she compiled it. Hebrew has never gone out of fashion. You, Martin Luther, learned these languages in the universities set up and run by the Scholastics. Luther: making mysteries out of facts and facts out of mysteries.
– We have William Briggs quoting Hillaire Belloc. What more do you want? Well, if it’s TOF commenting on it, it has that, too.
– Pardon the adolescent nature of this next picture, but this slayed me so many ways. From Simcha Fisher’s on line store:
Maybe you need to be from California.