Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 9)

0082 Longenecker introduces a podcast entitled “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries”.  My guess is that he intends to proceed through these three topics using insights from Jungian psychology.  This is good, but not complete.

Jungian psychology addresses essence.  Longenecker may argue that if the essence is convincing, in terms of patterns of the human psyche, then esse_ce needs not be actual.  He may argue this even though his previous independent research locates the magi, not as Persians, but as traders living between Persia and Israel.

0083 Myth has a hylomorphic structure, requiring attention to both esse_ce and essence.  Without substance, the myth becomes a fantasy (pure essence) as opposed to a historical documentary (pure esse_ce).

0084 The doctrine of original sin rests on the esse_ce and essence of the Genesis stories of Adam and Eve, even though they are fairy tales.

Augustine paints Adam and Eve as the first humans.

The hypothesis of the first singularity pictures Adam and Eve as fairy tale figures that encapsulate the theodramatic appearance of the Ubaid culture.  Speech-alone talk is realized and sets the Ubaid on an irreversible course towards unconstrained social complexity.

0085 In terms of mystery, a single actuality forms out of two.  The Lebenswelt that we evolved in intersects with our current Lebenswelt.

Figure 21

0086 This intersection depicts the first singularity.  Adam and Eve stand at this intersection.  So does the esse_ce and essence of the doctrine of original sin.

The myth Adam and Eve is a fairy tale.  As such, the metaphor of grain of sand [hides within and gives rise to] a pearlapplies.  The oyster is the human mind.  The oyster is also our world of unconstrained social complexity.

0087 In sum, the stories of Adam and Eve bring us to the beginning of our current Lebenswelt

Ours is a world of mysteries.

Ours is a world of monsters.

Ours is a world of myths.

0088 A grain of sand hides within and gives rise to a pearl.

Figure 22

00892 The myth of Adam and Eve sets the stage for the two monsters that Jesus brings into one.  Roman rule2 is all about state power.  State power maintains order1.  Jewish legalism2 is all about the routinization of righteousness1.  Legalities2confer righteousness in the eyes of God1.

Jesus Christ stands as the single actuality2 containing Roman rule2 and Jewish legalism2.  This intersection serves as the starting point for all political theology.  In Roman rule2, the state does not serve the people.  In Christian political theology, it does.  In Jewish legalism, the deed does not stand for the intention1.  In Christian ethics, it does.

Jesus is the one who tames the two monsters of state and church.  One without the other leads to catastrophe.  Both without Jesus leads to devastating conflict.

0090 In sum, political theology transforms one of the mysteries of Jesus Christ into a hylomorphism, a thing to be discussed and explored.

Here is a picture.

Figure 23

0091 Myths are like pearls, expressing both esse_ce (being as existent) and essence.

Myths offer monsters to perceive.

Our perception of monsters allows us to appreciate imbalances between esse_ce and essence.

0075 The most horrifying monsters are articulated in the modern era.  They are existence0 (esse_ce without substance) and form0 (essence without substance).

They are not confined to the modern era.  Indeed, they have been here since the beginning.  They include Roman rule2and Jewish legalism2.

The life and passion of Jesus Christ takes on the characteristics of myth.  Jesus brings two historic monsters into a single actuality.  Jesus both contains and transcends these  monsters.  Jesus serves as their intersection.  All roads lead through Christ.

Political theology brings this mystery back into Aristotle’s hylomorphism.  The mystery becomes a field of inquiry.  That inquiry is called, “political theology”.

0076 This concludes my comments on Fr. Dwight Longnecker’s Podcast (2020) on myths, monsters and mysteries.The progression from myths to monsters to mysteries constitutes a profound insight that inspires these comments.  My gratitude for Fr. Longnecker’s intiative.


Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 8)

0065 Now, I proceed from monsters to mysteries.

Many Jungian commentators of the Matrix movies say that the hero, named “Neo”, is a Christ-like figure.

Is the comparison appropriate?

If it is, then Jesus gives substance to twin monsters through a human sacrifice.  In doing so, he humanizes them.

0066 What are the monsters?

The Roman empire is like the machine world.

The fixation of the Jewish law into ritual is like the matrix.

Here is a picture.

Figure 17

0067 Every monster is an actuality2.  Every monster is an ill-proportioned thing.  Esse_ce and essence are out of balance.  That tells us something.  It produces phantasms that serve as warnings.

0068 Remember the minotaur?

Do you have some money to invest?

Most investors have met a minotaur.  He is someone so bullish that it makes him dangerous.  He survives in a labyrith of rules, conditions, and documentation filled with fine print.  Once your money is in, it cannot come out of the investment. The financial minotaur is completely confident.  He is fully capable of losing your investment.

0069 Longenecker may talk about monsters like the minotaur.

0070 Perhaps, he will talk about the most horrifying monstrosities.  These monsters lack substance.  Such is the case for the monsters of Roman power and Jewish ritual law.

Roman power is like esse_ce without substance.  Rome serves the order that it imposes.  Sure, Romans pay tribute to their gods.  But, their gods did not order them to construct an empire.  Roman power survives because trade flourishes under its rule.  Romans place tariffs on trade.  Romans rule foreign subjects and tax their wealth.  Romans take slaves and sell them at their markets.  How does this serve Jupiter?

Jewish ritual law is like essence without substance.  Self-described scholars examine the Pentateuch for legal proscriptions.  By the time of Christ, scholars accrue lists with hundreds of regulations.  There is no way that a Jew could fulfill all these proscriptions correctly.  Of course, wealth provides options.  One can hire a scholar to manage one’s divine legalities for a reasonable fee.

That fee, of course, is unreasonable for the common person.

0071 Roman power is existential, existence0.

Jewish legalisms are formalisms, form0.

0072 Is there a relation between these two monsters?

At first, it seems that Roman rule2b situates Jewish legalism2a.  Standard histories of first-century Palestine make this assumption.  These histories try to establish what happened.  They propose material and instrumental reasons for conditions and parameters.

In the context of modern history, the following sensible two-level interscope applies.  The following configuration is one answer to the question, what does this mean to me3b.  That answer is proximate.  It addresses the esse_ce, not the essenceof history.

Figure 18

0073 There are other answers.  After all, history does not reduce to conditions and parameters.  Is there an essence to history?

These are the answers – or perhaps, the questions – that Longenecker addresses.

In the context of what it ultimately means to me3b, Roman law2 does not situate Jewish legalism2.  One monster cannot honestly situate the other, because something is missing on a higher level.  Rome does not have righteousness and Jerusalem cannot impose order.  What brings them into relation?

0074 The passion of Christ, depicted in the four gospels, is masterful.  It reads like a fantasy.  It reads like a historical document.  The four gospels embody and transcend myth.

Both Roman rule2 and Jewish legalisms2 play out in the contradiction-filled theological and political arenas of first century Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is a provincial capital for Rome.  Jerusalem is the center of message, meaning and presencefor the Jews.

0075 Two monsters occupy Jerusalem.  Each accommodates and resists the other.  Neither wants to see anyone like Jesus.  Jesus appears to threaten Roman order. That is easy to accomplish. Gathering a crowd will do.  Crowds intimidate the lion. Also, Jesus obviously undermines the letters of Jewish legalities.  He upsets the sheep.  He insists that the Jewish Law has a substance, a moral and theological vision.

0076 Monsters do not necessarily create mysteries.  No, monsters are drawn into mysteries.

One way to appreciate how Jesus unites both Roman rule2 and Jewish legalism2 is found in a permutation of the previous diagram.

Figure 19

0077 In the life and passion of Jesus Christ, Roman rule2 and Jewish legalism2one monster filled with esse_ce and the other full of essence, are drawn into a single actuality2.  For this moment in history, two monsters coalesce.  This is the type of event that eventually leads to myths.  It happens right before the eyes of the disciples.

0078 What is this single actuality2?

If Roman rule2 does not honestly situate Jewish legalism2, or visa versa, then they cannot align.  Their normal contexts3are mutually exclusive.  They may accommodate one another.  But, in the encounter with Jesus, they coalesce, forming a single actuality that resists Jesus.

This is the way of theodrama3The essence of history is theodramatic.

The theodrama of power3 appears independent of the theodrama of revelation3.  Until, of course, they are not.  They are never independent in the eyes of God.  They are never independent in the presence of God.

0079 Intersections are mysteries.  Intersections are described in the chapter on message in How To Define the Word “Religion”.

Here is a picture of the intersection.

Figure 20

0080 Indeed, before the eyes of the disciples, Roman law2 and Jewish legalism2 coalesce into one intersection, one mystery.

What is the single actuality that labels this intersection?

The most appropriate label is the name of Jesus Christ, who rises from the dead to defy Roman rule2 and who offers a pathway to the Father in defiance of Jewish legalism2.

0081 In mythic terms, Jesus tames two monsters.  The lion lies with the lamb.  The power of the state and the legalism of religious institutions come into conflict, but that conflict is contained within the object that brings us all into relation, Jesus Christ.Without Jesus, two monsters are set loose upon the world.


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 MF

[In the above examples, what do I desire?

I want to get along.

Therefore, the elites must never be satisfied with me.

They will always be morally superior in order to force me to pretend to desire things that I would never would desire on my own.

I desire to be left alone.

What I do to accomplish that desire validates the values that valorize elite moral superiority.]