Saturday, May 07, 2005 +

02005 05 07 +

Mary performed this evening at a mothers-daughters dinner at the Reformed Church in Berne. I got to share dinner in the kitchen with the husbands who cooked, served, and cleaned up.

Am very much enjoying Remembered Past: John Lukacs on History, Historians, and Historical Knowledge—A Reader, edited by Mark G. Malvasi and Jeffrey O. Nelson (Wilmington DE, ISI Books, 2005).

Here are a couple of excerpts:

All of the parables of Christ taught us to believe in truth, not in justice.
—“The Presence of Historical Thinking” (2002), Remembered Past, P. 16.

[Pope Pius XII] had to weigh the prospect that his condemnation of the crimes against the Jews, besides being futile, would endanger the spiritual welfare of millions of Catholic Germans. There remain, however, these considerations: If the Catholic Church is the catholic church, and if the pope is the Vicar of Christ, should his concern for the spiritual privileges of Catholics have a necessarily categorical preference over his moral concern for the life and death of non-Catholics? Moreover—was it not possible that the spiritual welfare of German Catholics may have become undermined in a subtle way, by the very fact that their Church and their Pope did not clearly and unequivocally condemn what was wrong?
—“Questions about Pius XII” (1964), Remembered Past, p. 513.

Lukacs quoting Jakob Burckhardt:

Furthermore we must understand that when we try to immerse ourselves wholly in the reading of a classic, only we alone can find what is important for us. No reference work in the world with its quotes can replace that chemical bonding that mysteriously occurs when a phrase found by ourselves illuminates something in our mind, crystallizing itself into a real piece of spiritual property that is ours.
—“Jakob Burckhardt” (1985), Remembered Past, p. 228.

Quoting Simone Weil:

I used to believe, with regard to any problem whatever, that to know was to solve the problem; now I realize that it means to know how the problem concerns me. The world weighs on my free will in such a way as to make me, if I do not resist, the plaything of my impulses; in return, the exercise of my free judgment cannot leave the world untouched.
—“Simone Weil” (1990), Remembered Past, p. 380.

The object of our search should not be the supernatural, but the world. The supernatural is light itself; if we make an object of it we lower it.
—Ibid., p 385