Friday, 3 June 2016
Names And Words
Pope John Paul II was named after his predecessor who was named after his two predecessors who were named after authors of the New Testament, one of whom, Paul, was named after the second King of Israel, Saul. Thus, one joint name summarized all that history in the Abrahamic tradition.
But any words can do the same. I attended a talk where the speaker said, "In the beginning was the deed." He was quoting Goethe's Faust who was deliberately misquoting and correcting the beginning of the Fourth Gospel. The Fourth Evangelist quoted the opening phrase of Genesis and linked it to a Greek philosophical concept. Here we not only look back along the Abrahamic tradition but also synthesize it with the Classical tradition - and also advance the traditions by progressing from word to deed.
Paradoxes: Faust contrasted deed with word; "deed" and "word" are both words; to speak is to act.