Monday, May 28, 2007

In Extremis (Abelard vs. Bertrand)

Went to see the play ‘In Extremis’ @ Shakespeare’s Globe with Becca on Saturday. The play set in 12thC France depicts the battle between Philosophy and Catholic Mysticism.

I found myself agreeing with statements made by both of the protagonists. Abelard in stating that reason is a gift given by God and Bertrand in his position that we need revelation from God.

Both Characters came out badly ‘ethically’ speaking, Abelard in using his position as teacher to bed Heloise (under the age of consent) and Bertrand in his political manoeuvres.

The play (I feel) left me with a mood of ambivalence toward philosophers and mockery of the “derangement of (the) self-flagellating monks” (Time Out London 23/05/07). They were both caricatures of how these positions are perceived in today’s culture.

The question I left with is “Who do I side with? The passionate philosopher or the nutter?”

When presented like that there seems to be little choice, but is that the choice we have? Only if these caricatures are the only things we ever see…

How our society needs to hear the words of the gospel that come with power, the Holy Spirit and deep conviction that tell of how we can be those who have:

“turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for
his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from
the wrath to come.” (I Thessaloninas 1:9-10)


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