Wednesday, February 18, 2009

...something other that is promised...

In light of our last discussion today that led to our considering the openness of Biblical speech, its ambiguity, shadows, and the unendingness of its interpretability, (which we contrasted with the powerful, closed "fully lit" systems built by the Greeks), this quote from Erich Auerbach's "Figura," bringing his preoccupation with figuration to bear upon the understanding of history, seems relevant:

History, with all its concrete force, remains forever a figure, cloaked and needful of interpretation. In this light the history of no epoch ever has the practical self-sufficiency, which, both from the standpoint of primitive man and of modern science, resides in the accomplished fact; all history, rather, remains open and questionable, points to something still concealed, and the tentativeness of events in the figural interpretation is fundamentally different from the tentativeness of events in the modern view of historical development. . . . In the figural system the interpretation is always sought from above; events are considered not in their unbroken relation to one another, but torn apart, each in relation to something other that is promised and not yet present.

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