Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BY

[Then, something goes wrong. Constructed society is flawed. The reigning symbolic order cannot tell why.

The symbolic order adjusts to discrepancies between what people have built (and invested in) and its consequences due to violations of lawessential. The elites always have explanations for unintended consequences. As golden calves, they also have the scapegoats to blame.

However, these expressions of lawdenial alter the language. The elites transform the meaning of words in order to suit their personal and institutional needs.

The zipper is transformed piecemeal. Some sections remain original. Other sections are adapted to interlace with new or altered material.

As the discrepancies multiply within the symbolic order, they pressure all the other oppositions (that had originally fell into line). Words that seemed to be distinct suddenly develop similarities. Some oppositions appear to no longer hold.

When the grounding opposition fails, a crisis of legitimation ensues.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BX

Summary of text [comment] page 82

[Why do the elites destroy themselves from their own iniquity in the third and fourth generations?

I now add a complementary insight.

Language is a system of differences.

How do these differences form?

Consider the metaphor of a zipper. A symbolic order initially forms on the basis of one opposition. This opposition serves as a focus, so that other oppositions fall into line.

Once the symbolic order zips, people assume that what they are saying is referential (rather than socially constructed). The symbolic order becomes the basis of practical knowledge. People sensibly build society on the basis of the meanings, presences and messages of the symbolic order.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BW

[Let me start with the latter.

God’s qualified His divine punishment (the consequences of idolatry and iniquity) in Exodus 20:6.

The scene: Moses was revealing the 10 commandments.

Commandment two (Exodus 20:4) went like this:

You shall not make for yourselves an idol. You will not fashion an idol in the image of any thing in the heavens, on the earth, or below the earth.

Then came the qualifier, answering the question: Why?

The Lord God is a jealous God. He visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation. He attends to the iniquity of those who hate Him.

Yet, He shows steadfast love to the thousands who love him and keep his commandments.

The qualifying structure gives me a hint. This commandment applies especially to the elites, the ones who fashion idols for a Public Cult.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BU

Summary of text [comment] page 82

[The first century after Christ was a period of re-ordination. The flock of words changed birds. The flock changed the way it gathered together. Words slipped from traditional moorings. ‘Flesh’ no longer contrasted with ‘blood & bones’. ‘Flesh’ no longer contrasted with ‘reason’. Both pairs were in contrast to ‘spirit’.

What does that imply?

Both ‘flesh and bones’ and ‘flesh and reason’ could be corrupted by thinkpro-object.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BT

Summary of text [comment] page 82

[In 7816 U0′, I look at that moment in history and see a mythos, a change in the ordination of a symbolic order, and I try to figure out the logos.

I am familiar with this mythos because we are experiencing the same events in our present day. Just turn on the television and watch the propaganda. Televisionaries talk in a particular fashion, spinning the traditional meanings of words to the advantage of their (infra)sovereign religions.

What is revealed in the re-ordination of the flock of words that constitutes language?]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BQ

Summary of text [comment] page 82

[ The re-ordination of the symbolic order during the first century of Christianity applies to Greek as well.

The original Greek opposition between ‘flesh’ and ‘reason’ had the same drawbacks as the original Semitic opposition of ‘flesh’ and ‘God’s law (that is, what one felt in one’s bones)’.

The drawback, in an age of Empire, was that one’s reason and one’s blood & bones could betray the truth. They were not as reliable as once imagined. One could betray one’s own people, and one’s own God, through reason and blood & bones, just as easily as through flesh and … um … flesh.

Both metaphors were adopted by the ruling elites to fashion idols (of ‘who they were’).

In Greece, the rulers became ‘paragons of reason’.

In Israel, the rulers became ‘the blood and bones of Yahweh’s cult’.]