Two of the most-clicked posts on this blog have been Paul Holmer: How literature functions and Umberto Eco on theory and narrative. The common theme between the two might be that storytelling is not only necessary, but also of greater value than systematized and abstracted knowledge. Granted, the structure of Eco’s quotation seems to give priority to theorizing, but Holmer argues that humans learn more broadly and deeply from stories than from abstract or systematic knowledge.
So a quotation from James K.A. Smith’s book Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church, found in this recent review, was a welcome addition to the theme:
“We were created for stories, not propositions; for drama, not bullet points.”
In this context, it’s probably worth remembering that beloved storyteller C.S. Lewis warned against systematizing the Bible.
Posted in Christian Humanism, common grace, literature, philosophy, story, storytelling, theology
Tagged books, bullet points, C.S. Lewis, drama, James K.A. Smith, narrative, Paul Holmer, philosophy, propositions, stories, storytelling, theory, Umberto Eco
“He began crawling toward the dark hallway arch. Ozzie had never taught him or Diana any prayers, so he whispered the words of religious Christmas carols…”
From the novel Last Call (1992) by Tim Powers
I can’t remember the name of the book where I found these, but I thought they were worth snapping —
Posted in Christian Humanism
Tagged books, Carl Jung, existential, existentialism, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Life, living, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Mary Midgley, meaning, quotations
One of my buds at the university has this excellent website called What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? It’s devoted to interviews with contemporary philosophers, and the conversational blend of biography and perspective is always fascinating, at least to people like me. I’ve previously posted an excerpt from the interview with Michael Ruse.
In the latest interview, David McNaughton, who like Ruse is a philosopher at Florida State, talks about his love of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Both of these Inklings, especially Lewis, make appearances throughout the interview. (McNaughton doesn’t name Tolkien, but he names The Lord of the Rings as a favorite three times.)
Posted in Christian Humanism, Humanities, Inklings, philosopher, philosophy, The Inklings
Tagged books, C.S. Lewis, Cliff Sosis, David McNaughton, Inklings, interviews, J.R.R. Tolkien, philosophers, philosophy, The Lord of the Rings
Charles Williams, one of the Inklings, wrote in an essay passage about religious dramatists:
“They might, in fact, take up the business of defining, with intense excitement, the nature, habits and mode of operation of Almighty Love, infusing into their excitement a proper skepticism as to its existence at all. It is not dogma that creates narrowness; it is the inability to ask an infinite number of questions about dogma.” (emphasis added)
That excerpt was quoted by W.H. Auden in his review of Williams’s posthumous collection The Image of the City and Other Essays, selected by Anne Ridler. Auden’s review of The Image of the City appeared in the January 31, 1959, issue of National Review.
Posted in Charles Williams, Christian Humanism, Humanities, Inklings, W.H. Auden
Tagged Anne Ridler, books, Charles Williams, dogma, National Review, questions, quotations, The Image of the City and Other Essays
I admit I like the perspective. I wasn’t planning to take a photo; I was just opening the camera on my phone.
In The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, John Ralston Saul offers this opening to his entry, “Babel, Tower Of” —
“Multilingualism remains the source of movement and growth in a civilization. The ability to fill the house of reality, intellect, and imagination with different furniture is a great pleasure and a great strength.”