Rosenstock-Huessy

Farewell to Descartes

Rosenstack-Huessy dedicates an entire chapter bidding farewell to Descartes. He observes that “we do not exist because we think. Man is the son of God and not brought into being by thinking. We are called into a society by a mighty entreaty, “Who art thou, man, that I should care for thee?”…we grow into society on faith, listening to all kinds of human imperatives. Later we stammer and stutter, nations and individuals alike, in the effort to justify our existence by responding to the call (pgs. 9-10, I am an Impure Thinker).” Huessy prefers the idea that our humanity is based on our ability to respond. As the Persons of the Trinity communicate clearly with one another and respond appropriately, so too there is an inherent liturgical component in Yahweh’s image-bearers. We are worshiping beings because of our ability to respond to the sacred call by interacting with the groom.

Truth Must be Socially Represented

Rosenstanck-Huessy viewed truth as social necessity. Indeed, truth needs to be placed and shared  in the midst of the people. Paul makes a similar point in Philemon when he spoke about the fellowship (koinonia) of truth deepening our understanding of the riches we have in Christ. Only by placing truth in the social realm we are able to change. As Huessy’s famous Latin phrase declares respondeo etsi mutabor (I respond although I will be changed).

Death Precedes Life

My exposure to Rosenstuock-Huessy have come mainly from my dear brothers Jim Jordan, Peter Leithart, and Rich Bledsoe. I have been cautiously delving into I am An Impure Thinker. I found this gem right in the beginning (Moltke quotes Huessy):

In nature birth precedes death. In nature life tries to shun death. In the spirit death precedes life. In the spirit the founder’s death guides his heir’s lives. (72)