Friday, October 12, 2018

Symbolic values?

So. While I was brought up with no religious affiliation, in my late teens I flirted with with the idea of converting to Catholiicism, a common trend in those days.  Luckily, I averted this mistake but came, for a time, to think that this religion and particularly the Bible harbored symbolic truths.

It is not east to recapture a mindset from long ago, but I must try. 

In a nutshell, what is the symbolic harvest in question? First is the idea that any historical event or person may be studied in both the literal sense (just the facts!) and one or more allegorical senses, The latter approach may be easily abused, but interpretation of literature and art require it at some level. 

Then there is the idea that history (or histories) is not just one damned thing after another, but exhibits certain constants. To be sure, adopting the Christian view of providential history means acquiescing in the kidnapping of the Hebrew Bible, which certainly did not originate as some sort of extended prologue to the New Testament. 
Per contra, some “lessons” seem less than edifying. With all his eloquence Kirkegaard does not make the Sacrifice of Isaac - odious even though finally averted - an adequate support for his pet notion of the Leap of Faith. There is nothing exemplary about the sorry episode of Lot and his Daughters. And so forth.