Reviews - What do customers think about Fools for Christ: Essays on the True, the Good, & the Beautiful. Impressions of Kierkegaard, Paul, Dostoevsky, Luther, Nietzsche, Bach?
Fools for Christ Among the Theologians Jan 6, 2009
"Have you seen grandfathers going beyond logic over their grandchildren, how they enter the childish ways and they abandon the adult world for the sake of their loved ones? ... People in love are doing foolish things, they embed their love into reality and then reality is no longer compatible with their world." L. Papadopoulos
Prologue to a review: It was a delightful surprise to me in the early 1990's that the author of 'The Christian Tradition, 'Christianity and Classical Culture' and editor of 'the World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought' has started his rigorous career in 1955 with 'Fools for Christ'. Although Pelikan's theme in his study of six characters was a reflection on three concepts of truth, goodness, and beauty, yet mystical theology showed up early in his Lutheran mind.
Folly as Virtue: The concept of foolish wisdom, first fully articulated in [the West during] the Renaissance, has an ancient history. The archetypal wise fool is Socrates who explicitly claimed that his wisdom derived from his awareness of his ignorance and whose distinctive teaching method consisted in exposing the foolishness of the wise. Jesus, whom Christian tradition proclaims as the Logos and the Wisdom of God, was regarded during his lifetime as "insane" by his family and was deemed by his opponents as being possessed by Beelzebub. Not only was his behavior scandalous to the religious establishment, but also his teaching, from his "beatitudes" to his parables, challenged the Sacred Text and offended traditional wisdom. Even Peter, who should have known better, was shocked by Jesus' prediction of his passion and death and had to be reminded that he was judging "not by God's standards but by human standards (Mk 8:33), an anticipation of Paul's contrast between "God's folly" and the "wisdom of this world." Jesus' words to those who wish to follow him represent the height of folly: "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up the cross and begin to follow in my footsteps. Nickolas Pappas, Theological Studies 62(2001)
Fools for Christ: Jaroslav Pelikan, who appears to have had little time for the considering of literature and music, has pioneered building bridges to the arts. An early example of this were his essays on Dostoevsky and Bach in addition to kierkegaard, Paul, Luther, and Nietzche in his early book "Fools for Christ," published in 1955. Bach appeared again in a monograph titled "Bach Among the Theologians," a further testimony to Pelikan's stature in bridging theology with the arts was made by Yo-Yo Ma, who appeared together with Pelikan at "Musical and Theological Reflections on Bach," in 1992. The John Kluge Center, which I partially quoted, stated that "By relating Bach's work to the heritage of the Lutheran Reformation -- musical as well as theological -- Pelikan places Bach within the context of the theological currents of his time." Pelikan also demonstrates how Bach's sacred music complements and illustrates Lutheran theological trends.
In Conclusion: It has been claimed that in postmodernity storytelling and reason are no longer the way to wisdom. Recently, Nick Pappas argues that there remains another path to wisdom, namely, that of the holy fools (môrosophia).
"By taking negative theology as an example of "foolish Wisdom" I do not intend to mean that the former is to be equated with the latter but only that there is in negative theology a conscious recognition, akin to wise foolishness, that human reason and discourse are ultimately incapable of knowing and speaking about God as God is." On negative theology