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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The Mass in continuity with the Jewish tradition

It has become common to view all aspects of the Christian life as a radical departure from and even a rejection of the Old Testament ways of relating to God. A rejection of ritual sacrifice naturally accompanies this view.

It is not surprising that this view is popular, even within Catholic circles. A reading of Christ’s discourses with the Pharisees will naturally leave one with the impression that he wanted nothing to do with their way of relating to God. This is unfortunate because to reject the Pharisees is not to reject the Jewish tradition wholesale. The problem is simply that modern Christians know so little about the Jewish tradition that they take Christs rejection of Phariseeism and apply it to the tradition in its entirety. By doing this, it is overlooked how much of that tradition Christ retained and in fact took for granted as the foundation of the New Covenant that He was to institute: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”[1]

It is essential, then, that we interpret Christ’s words and actions in continuity with the Old Testament and within the Jewish religious life and not as something completely outside it.

To put it another way, if we are to establish the proper ‘hermeneutic site’ that is necessary in order to arrive at a proper understanding of the nature of Christianity, we must situate ourselves within the perspective of Hellenistic Judaism. This will permit us to understand that Christianity is not a radically spiritualized rejection of all Jewish ritual, but rather a recapitulation and perfection of the ritual life of the Old Testament. This is why Christianity properly understood is the Old Law transfigured and synthesized into a new religious life, devoid of bloody sacrifice, but not devoid of sacrifice altogether, since it institutes the one perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

This new life with its new ritual form, most significantly demonstrated at the last supper, is today referred to as the sacramental life of the Church, and from this point of view it is not incorrect to call Christianity a kind of sacramentalism.

[1] Matthew 5:17.

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