Unconditional Faith

I’ve moved on to a translation of Dionysius the Areopagite’s Mystical Theology (by William Riordan), for reasons I don’t recall (it was surely referenced in the previous reading…). Again my notes are not any kind of comprehensive summary of the work, but merely random bits that struck me. In this case, a footnote in the introduction, found on page 21 of the print edition:

In his Meaning and History, Karl Löwith speaks of what man can know of history only from the revealing Trinity in contrast with his own limited human range of knowing: [follows quote from pp 206-7 of Meaning and History] If such unconditional faith seems to be fanciful to a modern mind, which prides itself on being ‘scientifically conditioned,’ the modern mind fails to see that the Christian message was at all times extreme and incredible to the natural reason of the well-balanced citizen. St. Paul was no less at odds with the skeptical wisdom of enlightened Romans than was Léon Bloy with that of enlightened Frenchmen. Natural reason will perhaps accept the hypothetical predictions of cosmic catastrophes and historical disintegrations, just as now, after the event, it accepts Kierkegaard’s, Bauer’s, Nietzsche’s, and Dostoevski’s amazing predictions of the end of Old Europe. Reason can even enjoy their power of foresight; for the fulfillment of prophecies, like that of scientific predictions, carries with it an invincible satisfaction. But reason will not accept the categorical, yet unfulfilled proclamation of a veritable eschaton with last judgement and redemption.

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