Monday, October 24, 2005

Thou Art That II

I can't praise this little book too highly. A rejuvenated Campbell gives us the benefit of his many years experience learning about the religious ideas of the world with a thumbnail study of the judeo-christian tradition that borders on the devout (This might properly be call a rebirth; the seminary professors used to say, "you must be born again, and again, and again").

I could spend months posting (sharing with you) the inspiration coming to me from his 83 page (plus questions and answers) exposition of my faith.

The problem with my faith (like so many) is that I learned the concrete dimension as a child and it has taken lo these many years to develop an adult faith that perceives what I call the spiritual meaning of everything in the Bible:

"Spiritual truths that transcend time and space can only be borne in metaphorical vessels whose meaning in found in their connotations, that is the cloud of witnesses to the many sides of truth that they spontaneously evoke, not in their denotations, the hard factual unidemensional casings of their historical reference" (p. xvi).

The child gets the denotation; the connotations come to you in the years in which you strive to be an adult.
Blake, the genius from whom Campbell and I both sprang, put it best:
"The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could percieve.
And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity;
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood;
Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.
And at length they pronounc'd that the Gods had order'd such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast."


Matt said...

As someone once said (I can't remember who):
In the beginning God created man in His own image and man promptly turned around and returned the favor by creating God in man's image.

Larry said...

so right, Matt.

Larry said...