Monday, April 12, 2010
The Word speaks Aramaic with a Galilean accent
Via the Incarnation, the Word was translated from God into humanity to result in Christ -- from one language (to extend the metaphor) into another language, which results, thanks to a kind of hybrid vigor, in something else larger again for both the speaker and the hearer.
Via the spoken word, spreading the Gospel of the Incarnation does the same, resulting in something larger than the spoken word for the speaker, and something larger than the heard word for the hearer who accepts it.
I think. Or something like that.
In any case, I think a linguistic approach to studying the Word, and the Incarnation, and the Gospel, is better for all concerned than, like, biology.
In fact, choosing "word" to translate "logos" (thought, principle, mind, reason, word), can be seen as a tautology. No one word from one language alone can "be" the thing itself. Any word, including "word", is itself is a translation, or a name, for a thing - not the thing.
And "logos" comes from Greek philosophy: surely something that cannot stand as the first principle above all others for approaching the Risen Christ.
However, ER, if this line of thinking is fruitful for you, you may want to read Gerhard Ebeling - if you don't already know him. Recreating the "Word Event" was a serious metaphor for him as the theologian's (and Christian thinker's) task.
Yes! Which means, as I've been waiting to say, every word is a textual metaphor for for the idea it represents -- that is, an attempt to translate the meaning of the idea by the one who had the idea to the one who is hearing about it, which is, almost literally using words to say the same thing in different ways -- but the ways are more different than different words; using differents words to express the same idea CHANGES THE IDEA. Which is to say, back to the subject at hand: God was/is changed, and humanity was/is changed, by the translation that took/is taking placed by the Incarnation.
And it does give me great comfort, at the moment, to think of these things this way. :-)
I guess I would start off by saying this is a too Historical and Linear a view of God- The Soul of Man- or Logos and should be reconsidered.
You wandering down a path that is too far and snakey leading to no destination.
I understand the cuteness of the idea. But I don't think it can take you very far for many reasons. Primarily because - IMHO - the definition of "metaphor" is arbitrarily expansive. In the end, to say that all language is metaphor does not convey anything except the limits of language. And that notion is easily accounted for and not really covered by the metaphoric point you're saying (but maybe not intending) that, if language itself is a "metaphor" then all language is a playful semantic comparison of things that are different but share one or more memes of similarity. I don't buy that specificity. "Toe" is not a metaphor in any concretely meaningful way suggested by the sense of "metaphor."
Also, regarding your words above, the sense begins to come loose in other ways. One can easily say - as LBJ says in the previous post - that it is the "idea" about reality that is the actual metaphor and that language is just a poor medium for conveying metaphors that are isolated from each other by individual minds that can never, ultimately, cross the bridge of communication to clarity. In this picture, we are all islands, connected only by our unsupportive, watery voice.
Then, plus LBJ "historical" criticism.
Gerhard Ebeling. "Word and Faith". Look him up in the library: this would be a moment still in existence where the student cannot go to Wiki or Amazon or iTunes and find out stuff.
Not wandering. Walking deliberately. If it's a dead end, I know the way back. LOL
Specifically, these thoughts are my working through a book I finished awhile back for the sheer fun of it, "The Metaphor of God Incarnate," by John Hick (serious work of theology, heretical or not), and the chapter "The Translation Principle in Christian History" (subheadings "Translation and Incarnation," "Oral Recital in a Literary Culture" and "Christianity in Northern Oral Culture") in Andrew F. Walls, "The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith" (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orrbis Books, 1996), which is one of the texts in my History of Christianity II class.
Hick, a Quaker, meaning no sacraments allowed. Words and silence: the only things remaining from the Enlightenment's run through the Christian closet of human nature.
Quakers may be the only honest post-Enlightenment Christian faith.
"All together now" -- I'me behind on my reading!
Plus, I have a quiz in 2 hours on 2 chapters I haven't read yet. Adios!
This is my problem with most of protestantism. By now, all the precepts of the Enlightenment rationalism has been integrated, but communal practices still act as if ritual means something. But I don't find protestantism really able to locate any meaning in ritual beyond that of comforting custom.
And comforting custom does not a religious experience make. It just makes for a great lead in to a cafeteria for lunch and football on the TV for the afternoon.