Stellman June 6, 2012 1:01 PM
> Dave, > Jason
> I am surprised this is so hard for me to communicate effectively. Prosecuting Leithart while inwardly struggling with my questions was easy, because the issue
was NEVER “Whose views are correct?” In a Reformed denomination we all operate
under the supposition that our doctrinal standards give us the Bible’s system of
doctrine, and we’ve all made vows to that effect.
> I could have been a militant Muslim and prosecuted Leithart, because from
where I sat, his views were outside the pale of the Confession and Catechisms.
My own inward struggles had nothing to do with anything, they were a completely
Rosenstock-Huessy contended that schizophrenia was the paradigmatic mental illness of modernity, because it was the carrying of “objectivity” to its logical conclusions. Rosenstock-Huessy is in a sense following along after Chesterton when he said that insanity was not the loss of reason, but when reason is all that one is left with. Chesterton was referencing a paranoid, and Rosenstock-Huessy, schizophrenia, but both may be diseases of rationalistic modernity (post modernity will have different illnesses).
What Rosenstock-Huessy meant was that the schizophrenic is the one who carries objectivity so
far forward that he does away with his own subjective being, and his very person, or ex-person, becomes only an object to be observed along with everything else. He gives as an example the professor who wanted to be wired to be able to watch, through his own brain, brain surgery being done on him.
Jason’s above entrance has a whiff of the schizophrenic about it. He is not like a paid trial lawyer who takes the case, no matter what (although on does wonder how close to madness some lawyers come in taking on cases they cannot believe in themselves).
Is it not the case that the rise of the Bible, and being able to listen to and to believe in the Bible as the Word of God is what gave rise to real personhood in the first place? I suspect it was marginally less possible for say, Virgil, or Homer, to be in unity with their own stories than for a Bible believer. A background of many gods and behind that a Greek dualism cannot give rise to integrated wholeness such as the Church could give rise to (Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, gives massive documentation to this).
As a test case for modernity, compare say Abraham Kuyper with Rudolph Bultmann.
Bultmann would have to be the complete and totally “objective” German professor, totally divorcing his own personal convictions from anything he taught or believed as a human being, as a citizen, a father and husband. His convictions about the New Testament (and Old Testament, which is even less relevant) could give what kind of guidance to his life as a citizen, or husband, or neighbor? How could he not become the play thing of whatever the Principalities and Powers are floating around in the air as the current opinion? His professional life might be fascinating, and his research absorbing. But he can no more unite his professional opinions with whole life than water and fire can cohere together. They have nothing to do with one another. As a professor, he must transform his person into an object who is an onlooker at all that he does and teaches. Then that on-looker must at some point in the day be at home with his wife and children and nieces and nephews, and must at some point engage in political discourse concerning the fate and travels of the nation. He must somehow carry on discourse as a professor with other professors, and in all of this, his most “core beliefs” can offer…nothing. He is an observer as a person and an observer of himself as he “objectively” observes all other things.
And worst of all perhaps, what kind of pretty pickle does he leave the local and national parish pastors in who have always found his way in this Book that is now a tatters because of “objectivity.” Must he too become objective non-person who also will be forced to take all of his cues from the principalities and powers and the opinion that is in the air?
Compare this to Abraham Kuyper (as a good test case and contrast). This will take far fewer words, is so much simpler, and almost completely coherent (nobody is perfect). Although, he no doubt fell short, and made sincere mistakes, and the mistakes and misapprehensions that sin leads even the best into, his life is a coherent whole everywhere, because he has been spoken to by God Himself, and all areas of his life are subject to the personal God. He is subjectively healthy; he is person in coherence and under Person. When he seeks truth, he does so not as a divorced object, but as a subject who is subject to the Subject. Inward and outward, he is whole and complete.
To destroy the Bible as the foundation is to destroy the possibility of personhood? I think so, I deeply suspect so.
Now, how exactly does Klinianism with its common and sacred split fit into all of this? Klinianism is certainly not Bultmannianism. But it does turn large, if not vast areas of life over to the “objective realm” that is not spoken to personally by a personal God… I would suggest it is the “crack in the door” that gives rise to the above sort of schizophrenia.
To return to Rosenstock-Huessy again, he replaced the Cartesian dictum, “I think therefore I am…” with, “I have been spoken to, therefore I am.” If the Bible in toto (with Bultmannianism) or in part (in Klinianism) is no longer the personal Word of God to me in all of life, then one is to that extent turned over to the barren, and impersonal, and objective, and even the ego begins to be objectified. When the Bible is silenced, one might begin to long for a word from a Pope, from a Magisterium. One cannot bear the realm and the splitness of objective silence.