This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Literalists and figurative speech

Unbeknownst to most of us, we tend to take figuratively statements in Scripture, the meaning of which can only be grasped in its full meaning if it is understood literally.

What is ironic is that the same people who insist on a literal reading of Scripture are those who insist on a figurative meaning when the literal one seems a bit extreme, alien to their understanding, mysterious, or even distasteful. Thus, literalists refuse to understand Christ’s claim at the last supper regarding his body and blood in any sense other than figurative (they might say, ‘symbolic’, but this is an improper use of that term, since a true symbol has an identity with the truth it represents).

However, it is not only strict literalists who do this, but seems to be natural to our understanding that us to tend toward the easy and the comfortable—for it is much easier to take figuratively St. Paul’s teachings about all believers forming one body than it is to try and plumb the depths of this teaching as if it pertained to a real unity.

This is perhaps one of the unique aspects of the Christian revelation, referred to already: that it lays bare the esoteric even at the most obvious level, so that in order to maintain an exoteric perspective (the preference of the literalists), even the literalist approach must be abandoned and replaced by the figurative. This will be explored in more detail when we discuss Christianity specifically.

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