The Vindication of Tradition Epub è The Vindication


The Vindication of Tradition In this carefully reasoned book noted historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan offers a moving and spirited defense of the importance of tradition “Magisterial Ought not to be missed”—MD Aeschliman National Review “A soul stirring self analysis no less than a distillation of the life work of the living historian best ualified to provide solutions to those ‘Tradition versus Bible Only’ controversies that have plagued Christianity since the Reformation”—LK Shook Canadian Catholic Review “Admirably concise and penetrating”—Merle Rubin The Christian Science Monitor “It takes a scholar thoroughly steeped in a subject to be able to write with lucidity and charm about its traditions  When the scholar is Dr Pelikan the result is a kind of classic something sure to become a standard text for an interested public”—Northrop Frye “Wit grace style and wisdom vie with knowledge  A rare combination delightful to mind and memory  Recommended broadly for scholarly and general use on many levels and especially among theology students undergraduate and graduate”— Choice “Pelikan’s customary erudition wit and gracious style are evident throughout this stimulating volume”—Harold E Remus Religious Studies Review “The book clearly constitutes a unified plea that modern society finds ways and means to recapture the resources of the past and to overcome its fear of the tyranny of the dead”—Heiko A Oberman Times Literary Supplement Jaroslav Pelikan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University  Among his many books are Jesus Through the Centuries and the multivolume work The Christian Tradition After reading most of The World Beyond Your Head by Matthew Crawford which argues for the loss of tradition in our culture I was interested in reading this book I have always really viewed Pelikan as one of those rare master readers who seems to have been able to read everything This book is a collection of four lectures Perhaps a uote from the last lecture which is also in the introduction to his 5 part set on History of Church Doctrine says what he is trying to examineTradition is the living faith of the dead traditionalism is the dead faith of the living And I suppose I should add it is traditionalism that gives tradition a bad name 65At the end of the first lecture he uotes the poet Czeslaw MiloszCertainly the illiterate of past centuries then an enormous majority of mankind knew little of the history of their respective countries and of their civilization Pelikan continues yet their lives were decisively shaped by that history In fact so long as the tradition is not understood some parts of it however transmuted they may be can continue to be dominant 19 20From there he makes a bold but important statement Knowledge of the traditions that have shaped us for good or ill or some of both is not a sufficient preparation for the kind of future that will face our children and grandchildren in the twenty first century not sufficient preparation but a necessary preparation 20I agree and he makes this case only stronger in later lectures As a conclusion he gives a definition of tradition from Edmund BurkeTradition is a partnership in all science all art every virture between those who are living those who are dead and those who are to be born I like this picture of tradition The second lecture takes Newman as a case study Newman famously converted to Catholicism writing late in his life to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant 40 I think its obvious why Newman would write this often Protestants talk of church history in three figures Paul Augustine LutherCalvin Of course that is ridiculous but the reason is given earlier in the lectures Pelikan writes about the sharp distinction between gospel and tradition as a major plank in the platform of the Protestant Reformation This anti traditionalism in the Protestant Christianity has itself become a tradition But what drew me to this book and what I was really interested in exploring is tradition in general terms Pelikan opens lecture three with a uote from Daniel Boorstin's book on the lost world of JeffersonThe Jeffersonian was not confined by any particular tradition he had sought to reform the Christian tradition he had disavowed the humanist tradition and he had set himself outside the English tradition The past through which other men had discovered human possibilities was for him corrupt and dead 43From there he explains in brief how the 16th century Reformation which critiued the papacy and the sacraments and the legends of the saints leads to the Enlightenment of the 18th century which continued critiuing but even those which Protestants had declared out of bounds Once it had been set free to do its work the method of historical critical study could not accept the notion of any privileged sanctuary 44 45And Pelikan writes about the riches and vast scholarly work that comes out of this historical criticism and higher criticism Their efforts to read all the various versions to read all the contemporary writings to give context etc will likely never be repeated And we cannot go back the garrison mentality will not work However their interpretations are not pure either We must have turn on these late traditions the same critical eye and when we do we see that for many of them the rejection of the authority of tradition came first and only then the discovery that tradition was historically relative which was then used to justify the rejection and there was a highly selective process of identifying those chapters from the total history of tradition that would strikingly document the way the historical environment has molded the development of tradition and the way this development has therefore manifested constant change 47 48Pelikan says the evidences for historical continuity have tended to receive far less attention in the scholarly literature 48 giving communion as an example the changes in theory were attempts to make sense of the continuing practice 49Here is a key point and something missing both from the non religionless anti tradition views so foundational to this country and I think typical of silicon valley etc protestant anti traditionwe do not have a choice between being shaped by our intellectual and spiritual DNA and not being shaped by it as though we had sprung into being by some kind of cultural spontaneous generation 53 The uestion is whether to be conscious participants or unconscious victims 53He says we have two grandmothers Jerusalem and Athens From there he briefly explains the 8th century debates on the use of images distinguishing idols tokens and icons He does this so he can explain that when Tradition becomes an idol accordingly when it makes the preservation and the repetition of the past an end in itself; it claims to have the transcendent reality and truth captive and encapsulated in the past and it reuires an idolatrous submission to the authority of tradition since truth would not dare to appear outside it 55But he says that when Jefferson and the Enlightenment rejected this idolatry they saw it all as a token Athens and Jerusalem were arbitrary and once we pry out the universal truths and values we don't need any of their particulars That view of tradition seems to assume however that the tradition will not be replaced by something far worse and that the universal truths and values once attained no longer need the tradition to sustain them an assumption for which the history of the past two centuries does not provide any great measure of reassurance For as Clifford Geertz has pointed out 'It is in fact precisely at the point at which a political system begins to free itself from the immediate governance of received traditions that formal ideologies tend first to emerge and take hold' 56OK So what about icon as a way to view tradition Tradition is not coextensive with the truth it teaches but does present itself as the way that we who are its heirs must follow if we are to go beyond it through it but beyond it to a universal truth that is available only in a particular embodiment it refuses to choose between the false alternatives of universal and particular knowing that an authentic icon a living tradition must be both 56 57This is big and interesting that earlier he argues it is tradition that allows us to have a bothand rather than an eitheror perspective He says a living tradition should have capacity to develop while still maintaining its identity and continuity This allows us to see the development of doctrine as a sign of vitality rather than simply an example of its relativity It also allows us a different frame for which to approach the development of doctrineThe development is real but it goes on within the limits of identity which the tradition defines and continues to redefine Like any growth development may be healthy or it may be malignant; discerning the difference between these two kinds of growth reuires constant research into the pathology of traditions But it is healthy development that keeps a tradition both out of the cancer ward and out of the fossil museum 60Ultimately tradition will be vindicated for us for each of us as an individual and for us as a community by how it manages to accord with our own deepest intuitions and highest aspirations these intuitions and aspirations tell us that there must be a way of holding together what the vicissitudes of our experience have driven apart our realism about the fallen world and our hope for what the world may still become our private integrity and our public duty our hunger for community and our yearning for personal fulfillment 60He completes the lectures with a uote from Goethe's Faust What you have as heritage Take now as task; For thus you will make it your own Tradition is the living faith of the dead Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living This uote was the most salient point for me in reading this short compilation of lectures Pelikan makes use of a number of popular figures from Thomas Jefferson to John Henry Newmann and Ralph Waldo Emerson in addressing the importance of tradition innovation and creativity An interesting book somewhat dry at points but interesting especially for readers who are not prone to what CS Lewis termed chronological snobbery Pelikan's notion that new is not always better particularly in the realm of Christianity where tradition is alive and well informed Ah it was nice to read intellectual discourse again it had been a while especially concerning nonfiction I don't mind name dropping but I have Robert Duncan Culver's copy he parted with it willingly replete with his own comments and asides making it a nifty bonus filled read for me and whoever gets it after I shuffle off As you likely know Mr Pelikan is pretty top notch about things and his insights and enjoinments and adjurations make a good deal of sense throughout his four mostly connected lecturesessays I wish it were longer actually He does a fine job contextualizing all sides of the Tradition issue including the atheists who think it's all rubbish even pointing out how those who continue to follow Emerson's call for rejecting tradition are guilty of following a tradition It's full of spectacular lines none of which will be uoted here because it's all the way upstairs and I'm down here Track this down It's really good Of course if you are one of those Emersonians you'll probably not like it because it will point out how wrong you are yet it will do so intelligently and respectfully something you may not be used to from people who disagree with you and write things post things today

  • Paperback
  • 104 pages
  • The Vindication of Tradition
  • Jaroslav Pelikan
  • English
  • 09 June 2014
  • 9780300036381

About the Author: Jaroslav Pelikan

Jaroslav Jan Pelikan was born in Akron Ohio to a Slovak father and mother Jaroslav Jan Pelikan Sr and Anna Buzekova Pelikan His father was pastor of Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church in Chicago Illinois and his paternal grandfather a bishop of the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches then known as the Slovak Lutheran Church in AmericaAccording to family members Pelikan's mother taught him


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