Notable and Quotable (II)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The superiority of pagan over Christian truth was believed by Catholic Christianity's critics to subsist precisely in the fact that 'these things never happened, but always are.'"

--Markus Bockmuehl, quoting Sallustius (4th cent.), De dis et mundo 4 (tauta de egeneto oudepote, esti de aei), against Hauerwas' Matthew; Pro ecclesia 17:1 (Winter 2008): p. 27


Filed under: * General InterestNotable & Quotable

6 Comments
Posted April 29, 2008 at 1:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Irenaeus wrote:

Should that be “never happened” or “never merely happened”?

April 29, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
2. Richard Hoover wrote:

Deep. What is the pagan attraction?  Why did those who could not have believed in the existance of gods and goddesses behave as though they did? Witness pagan influences in Renaissance/Baroque/18th-19th century art, literature and general culture, and how they penetrated the highest secular and religious levels! What kinds of truth was Sallustius talking about?

April 29, 3:28 pm | [comment link]
3. John Wilkins wrote:

rather they happened, were concealed, and it didn’t have to be that way. 

Thus, the gift of a particular history that is the cross and resurrection.

April 29, 3:46 pm | [comment link]
4. WilliamS wrote:

“The historically rooted origin of Christianity…together with a Christology that demanded belief in a being both divine and human at the same time, introduced a strong rational element into the religious discourse of the next two millennia. Reason, thus inherent in Christianity, was exposed to the risk of degenerating into rationalism when it was not carefully balanced by faith and mythical/symbolic elements” (Thomas Molnar, The Pagan Temptation, 1987, p. 185).

It’s been almost twenty years since I’ve read this book, and it looks like it might be time for a re-read. I highly recommend it. He argues that a return to Christian mystery is the best antidote to the appeal of neopaganism. Richard John Neuhaus says that “This is a book that is sober in its presentation and sobering in its impact. It is urgent reading for those who have the nerve for it.”

April 29, 5:03 pm | [comment link]
5. Irenaeus wrote:

Having read the quotation more carefully, I retract comment #1.
_ _ _ _ _

Very interesting ideas to think about here.

April 29, 6:01 pm | [comment link]
6. Steve Perisho wrote:

The difference is between a philosophically sophisticated approach to pagan myth (“always are”) and the Judeo-Christian sanctification of history (“happened”), as others have already pointed out.

April 30, 10:55 am | [comment link]
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