Saturday, July 27, 2013

Classicism and Christianity

It's always entertaining to read the Greek and Roman writings from the first years BC and compare them to the Christian ones that emerged in the first century. What it shows, at least to me, is how much like our own world and our day the problems that, say, the classical dramatists dealt with, and how utterly crude and obscure are the Christian writings. Although possibly not accurate in all aspects, I think that there's some truth in Nietzsche's assessment of Christianity as being a kind of folk belief of ignorant people on the bottom of society.  I have little sympathy for the Old Testament as well, although I think that Judaism as a whole has done a good job of taking it and making something positive out of it.

But what comes out with Christianity, what may have come out at the time and, regardless, is still with us today, is the fusion of bad philosophy with interminable stories that have little to no actual theological or philosophical content.

So on balance, you have that, and then you have the wonderful literature of the classical world, that is clear, that is prescient, that deals with problems that we can identify with today. Seneca the Younger's letters are more coherent than the whole New Testament. 

1 comment:

John Madziarczyk said...

I think one thing that's responsible for the differences between Judaism and Christianity with these things is the lack of Talmudic understanding on the part of Christians. This is the stuff that takes the stories and gives an interpretation of them.