Grant GallichoSeptember 28, 2006 - 12:17pm14 comments
University of Chicago historian David Nirenberg dissects the pope's Regensburg lecture at the New Republic. A sample:
Benedict's plea for Hellenization draws on a German philosophical tradition--stretching from Hegel's The Spirit of Christianitythrough Weber's sociology of religions to the post-World War IIwritings of Heidegger--whose confrontations of Hebraism with Hellenismcontributed to, rather than prevented, violence against non-Christianson a scale unheard of in the Muslim world. We may grant that such anintellectual dependence is hard to avoid, given the deep and abidinginfluence of this theological and philosophical tradition on the modernhumanities and social sciences. From a Eurocentric point of view, wemight even concede the pope's well-worn claim that, as Heine put it in1841, the "harmonious fusion of the two elements," the Hebraic and theHellenic, was "the task of all European civilization."
What we cannot accept without contradiction or hypocrisy is the pope's presentation of the speech as an invitation to dialogue.