Friday, November 28, 2008

RE: The Grand Synthesis

And yet we know that every text is synthetic, every writing is a conglomeration of certain texts (and not others). Likewise, every reading is synthetic and there is no access to any original source. We are infected with existence and the passivity of being on every side. For all our criticisms of the Grand Synthesis, for all the unease it causes us because of its convenient coincidence with our wants and desires, we are helpless. Every proposition we affirm will be coloured with bias, omission, and dogma. We are always, everywhere guilty of everything we never say - and yet the greatest sin might be all the things we affirm that we will never read (not because we won't but because we can't). Every thought bears the trace of everything it isn't, and thus all finite communication seems guilty of the hubris of the Grand Synthesis, every noble assent being conformed to some ideology somewhere.

But there is a hope. At least, if we employ some clever qualifications, there is.

What distinguishes the patron of Grand Synthetic fables and the harbinger of Truth(!) is first and foremost that Isaianic humility that ought to color every confession: We are men of unclean lips and we live among a people of unclean lips. This is the point of annoying the doctrine of perspicuity. It is not that we must doubt the clarity of God's Word, but we must doubt the clarity of men who speak boldly of such clarity. The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture serves far better than any doctrine to keep men from believing Scripture. For, if Scripture is "clear" and we know "what it says," then we may find that following a cursory reading or two of the Bible, we may heretofore conclude whatever the Bible will or can say. If we have already decided that we know what the Scriptures say, if we have already formulated what the Gospel is (and what it couldn't possibly be), then what is the point of further reading? My own belief is that, if that were the case, then there is no point. We are done, dead, and damned as we condemn every future confession/repentance as "revisionism." (God save us should we ever attempt to turn from error.)

However, the other thing, the thing that will overthrow every Magisterium in every epoch is the wisdom of typology, a topic in which I have only deepening interest.