Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"'NEW' is the only new idea that human beings have ever had"

Cahill makes the case that the Jews created/invented the idea that history was not an endless circle/wheel; but progresses with a purpose, and towards a meaningful consummation.

He suggests that none of us would even have the concept of "new" in our vocabulary or "sensorium" (the screen through which we receive the world).

Maybe the folk who can teach us the most about "new wine" are the folks Jesus complained preferred the old.

"Nova ex veteris" (Latin: "The new must be born out of the old to be new")

"It may be said with some justice that theirs (the Jews) is the only new idea that human beings have ever had." (3)

"For the ancients, nothing new ever did happen, except for the occasional monstrosity. Life on earth followedthe course of the stars; and what had been would, in due course, come around again. What was peculiar orunique, like Oedipus’ union with his mother, was of necessity monstrous. Surprise was to be eschewed…Onecame to inner peace by coming to terms with the Wheel… In the two great narratives of the first two books ofthe Bible, Israel invents not only history but the New as a positive value….The past is no longer important justbecause it can be mined for exemplars but because it has brought us to the present; it is the first part of ourjourney, the journey of our ancestors. So, in retelling their stories we have a serious obligation to get stories straight. We are not merely creating literature: we are retelling a personal story that really happenedand that has helped us make us the people that we are."

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