St. Patrick’s Melody

Spirituality Mar 24, 2015 No Comments

It was during a St. Patrick’s Day party that a friend of the host shared with me her return to faith. This friend of a friend is a philosophy professor and she spoke of her return to the biblical text, via its original languages — both Hebrew and Greek. What she discovered led her not to religion she says, she probably would even disagree with my statement of a “return to faith,” but to self-identify as a Theist Existentialist. I might add that theologian Tillich and liberation theologian James Cone both subscribe to existentialism. The father of Christian existential thought is Soren Kierkegaard. Christian existentialism relies on Kierkegaard’s understanding of Christianity.

Kierkegaard argued that the universe is fundamentally paradoxical, and that its greatest paradox is the transcendent union of God and humans in the person of Jesus Christ. He also posits having a personal relationship with God that supersedes all prescribed moralities, social structures and communal norms, since he asserted that following social conventions is essentially a personal aesthetic choice made by individuals (Wikepedia).

Ok, but what led her to this claim is the realization that the Bible is a musical, poetic, symphonic narrative that resembles musical expression and relies on the polyphonic melodies and voices to create a sound that transcends words and reason. Poetic expressions often use jagged turns, shifts in rhythms and disjointed notes to produce an overall beautiful piece that touches the heart of the hearer. She decided (see existentialism; choice) that it is in this way that the Bible becomes beautiful for the reader, or hearer, too, thereby, negating any logical attempts to make sense of its paradoxes — it is in these necessary mellifluous contradictions that the biblical narrative transforms us.


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