Friday, November 22, 2013

Begbie: music and perichoresis

Begbie uses musical categories to speak of perichoresis:
“When more than one sound is present, occupying the same space while remaining audibly distinct, we may speak of a space not of mutual exclusive but of ‘interpenetration.’  Sounds do not have to ‘cut each other off’ or obscure each other, in the manner of visually perceived objects.  The tones of a chord can be heard sounding through each other.  In the acoustic realm, in other words, there is no neat distinction between a place and its occupant.”  Later he writes, “Music directly ‘pulls the strings,’ so to speak, of the spatial framework in which it is deployed – no neat divine marks off occupant and place in musical experience.  We need only to think of a three-tone major chord, which we hear as three distinct, mutually enhancing (not mutually exclusive) sounds, but together occupying the same aural space.”  Sounds occupy the space created by other sounds, and in occupying that space also create space for the sounds in which they exist.  Each envelops each.
In Resounding Praise, he draws the Trinitarian implications directly:  “What could be more apt than to speak of the Trinity as a three-note chord, a resonance of life; Father, Son, and Spirit mutually indwelling, without mutual exclusion, and yet without merger, each occupying the same space, ‘sounding through’ one another, yet irreducibly distinct, reciprocally enhancing, and establishing one another as other?”
To say that the Persons are in perichoretic communion is to say that God is

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