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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Wittenberg and Paris
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0323  Monday, 12 February 2001

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 09 Feb 2001 09:24:54 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0266 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 09 Feb 2001 07:49:22 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

[3]     From:   Frank Whigham <
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        Date:   Friday, 09 Feb 2001 09:56:53 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0312 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

[4]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Saturday, 10 Feb 2001 15:46:19 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 09 Feb 2001 09:24:54 -0600
Subject: 12.0266 Re: Wittenberg and Paris
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0266 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

I lack the inclination to spend much time replying to Graham's furious
rejoinder. Most of it lacks relevance to what I was talking about, which
is the way in which one's view of things influences one's emotional
response to and subsequently one's rational judgments about passages of
text. I will, however, offer a few comments.

He pounces on my phrase, "essentially Christian," but I can never figure
out what is wrong with it. Admittedly, Christianity varies from
denomination to denomination and even from believer to believer -- but
so do all other faiths. You can find out what a given sect asserts as
its Credo, then find that the words mean slightly different things to
everyone who says "I believe." We're only human, after all.

By essentially Christian, however, I meant -- as context -- holding
certain beliefs about God and Jesus Christ that are common to virtually
all who claim the name Christian. I won't enumerate them here. In times
of intense denominational conflict, your identification with a
particular sect may make a great deal of difference -- to the
church(es), the state, later biographers, the public executioner, all
sorts of people. But that is a political matter. Neither the
changeableness of Donne or Jonson, nor Izaaak Walton's uneasiness about
Donne's unchurched period, makes any difference to this viewpoint. (We
both seem to agree on this point, so that I am left a trifle puzzled as
to why he uses it to attack my use of the phrase).

Thus, when I said that "nobody gave a damn about where the ghost came
from" (not, I confess, noticing the joke at the time of writing), I
meant simply that it was not a political concern at the time -- as, for
example, the use of the word "God" on stage was -- so Shakespeare could
use any kind of ghost he wanted. By the ghost's own testimony, he used a
Catholic ghost.

By an atheistical viewpoint I meant not merely a hazily unbelieving one
but the kind of intensely anti-religious one that he displays in his
rejoinder.  Nietzsche, whom he cites, is another good example.

Perhaps the key to our different viewpoints can be found here: "Don is
quite right to suspect that I don't find any 'source of consolation' in
Hamlet's line about 'providence.' What has this 'providence' delivered
by the end of the play?" I like that word "delivered." It has a nice
op-ed or sports page sound to it. If God can't deliver what you want,
fire him. Or perhaps kill him?

Cheers,
Don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 09 Feb 2001 07:49:22 -0800
Subject: 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

While I've appreciated the arguments for and against notions of
purgatory, and the idea of an 'essential Christianity', I would like to
point out that it's the atheist position, rather than a Christian
position, that is most open to criticism as "essentializing".

If you don't define something discretely, if you don't limit it, it's
pretty much impossible to reject.  "In the end," Nietzsche admitted, "it
is only the God of morality who has been overcome".  In fact, I would
argue that it was first necessary to construct a god out of 19th-century
morality in order to have something to overcome.

Cheers,
Se

 

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