Re: [Sartre] Bultmann, Heidegger, and Gnosticism
- EDWARD MOORE:
Perhaps we can go into this time. For now, I will simply say that it is
important to note that "myth" for Bultmann does not mean a simple, primitive
conception or account of the world and its phenomena. Like Paul Ricoeur
(especially!) Bultmann recognized that myths are the primary symbols upon
which a philosophy is later built, or always depends, in some way.
"Demythologization," then, means for Bultmann the act of displaying,
philosophically, the inner power and 'truth' of the myths -- without in any
way discounting or abandoning them as mere children's tales. That said, I
heartily recommend Bultmann's essay on "The Historicity of Man and Faith"
(in _Existence and Faith_ 1960). It contains an excellent rebuttal to
Heidegger that I'm sure you will find most interesting.
RE:GARY C MOORE:
I'm a bit skeptical. I've been trying to 'rebut' Heidegger for years and
years, and the thoroughly duplicitous bastard has always got around behind
me with a surprize attack from the rear, no pun intended. Rebutting
Heidegger would be like rebutting Aristotle or Nietzsche or even Kant. It is
hard to believe that Bultmann is really up to it. And EXISTENCE AND FAITH,
as far as I can tell is out of print. Is "Historicity of Man and Faith" in
one of the other antologies? Anyone?
This polemic is engrossing to read, and the judiciousness, wisdom and sheer
scholasticism is highly impressive. It is my opinion though that it doesn't
matter how erudite and intellectually equipped one is in such dialectic, one
of the participants is forced to acquiesce and adopt the linguistic and
semantic 'book of rules' of the other purely in order that the discussion
can proceed. It is my own experience that when disputing with religious
people it is always the sceptic who must make the accommodation and adopt
the jargon and the field of battle of contestation. In this sort of
discourse that battlefield is always the bible - a digest that is notorious
for its self contradictory equivocalness - to the adept bible student
[Jehovah's Witnesses are particularly good at this] it is possible to find
some passage in the bible which aptly 'proves' a point in a given
discussion, whilst it may contradict completely another section of the holy
book in its import, which is of course ignored and goes unregarded by both
disputants. I have always found this to be very frustrating, and although my
knowledge of the bible is better than most Christians, I find that a
discourse with a Christian normally ends up as two people citing
contradictory passages at each other and getting nowhere fast.
As a subject of knowledge and of history and anthropological interest I find
religion quite absorbing, but only as an onlooker, in the same way that one
observes the social activity of bees or locusts or the behaviour of those
bare-assed savages in Papua New Guinea somewhere, who worship bamboo
airplanes in the jungle - the so-called Cargo Cults. From what I can see
Christianity is nothing more than a Westernised more sophisticated variant
of the cargo-cults, where instead of a payload of cheap radios and beads,
the shipment is one of an intellectual opt-out from the chores of thinking
for the self, a flight from reality, and the possibility of hitching or
stowing-away on a return-flight to the eternal spiritual bliss of God's
flying field of a heavenly bliss in never-never land. I must say though,
that if Eisenman is correct and the "Saul" who invited Vespasian to destroy
the Jews in Jerusalem was Paul himself it is quite chilling rather like a
sort of Christian Adolf Eichman? I find the concept of Paul the quisling
quite shuddery, and the thought that this proselytite monster went on to
become Christianity's leading light and rather disturbing.
I suppose his conversion on the road to Damascus lets him off the hook as
far as some people are concerned, but the thought of receiving wine and
bread [the body of Christ] from the same bloodied-by-proxy hands of a man
who had conspired in the throat-slitting of his own folk is enough to give
anyone the willies.
Reminds me of Heidegger's complicity with the Nazis and his going back to
his desk to continue writing about the higher realms of human cerebrations
just after putting down the telephone after phoning the Gestapo and
arranging for some poor Jew to be picked up and carted off to the ovens.