Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dostoevsky's Idiot and Holbein's Christ by Brad Jersak


The theologia crucis of George Grant, John Oman and Dostoevsky by Brad Jersak

George Grant on Oman’s theologia crucis

George P. Grant’s PhD dissertation focused on John Oman. And Grant’s theology of the Cross actually bears many of the marks of Oman’s theologia crucis. Both men held the Cross as central to all Christian theology, that faith (not reason) is essential to one’s knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness, and that God’s providence must ultimately remain a mystery. Both believed redemption was accomplished—consummated1—in Gethsemane and Golgotha. They believed that Christ is risen, but that Easter Sunday did not reverse a Good Friday defeat. The Resurrection was not a fulfillment, but a consequence of the Cross.2 Sheila illustrates Oman’s lingering impact on Grant by comparing an analogy common to each.

Oman: “The theologia gloriae sees on the cross ‘the King in rags, who will soon tear off his disguise and show himself in triumph.”

Grant (1976 lectures at McMasters): “There is a ghastly way of speaking about the Resurrection in the modern world which I call the fairy-tale way. A prince is dressed in rags, and everybody scorns him. Suddenly the clothes are pulled off and he appears in his prince’s costume, and everybody treats him well.”3

But Grant also critiques Oman’s theology as insufficient—too simple, triumphant, and voluntaristic for moderns whose faith is shattered by despair. Oman’s vision is beautiful as far as it goes: Grant acknowledges Oman’s Cross as a prophetic revelation of the Father’s love, the Son’s forgiveness, and the call to “find joy in the world by the knowledge that all can be redeemed.”4 It also reveals God’s call to an ethic of forgiveness: “Oman’s faith is that Our Lord on the Cross reveals the Father as Love, Who demands from men that they take up their crosses in forgiveness. The Father’s Love and man’s freedom to partake of it are the essence of Christianity.”5 But something is missing. By resisting Oman, Grant tells us his own story—how this simplicity is marred by the reality of doubt and despair that comes with extreme affliction.

To read the rest of this article:  Download Grant Oman Dostoevsky

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday - 1951 by George Grant

Good Friday [1]

O dearest word, the very Word indeed,
Breathes on our striving, for the cross is done;
All fate forgotten and from judgement freed,
Call Him then less - Who shows us this - Your Son?
Look it is here, at death, not three days later,
The love that binds the granite into being.
Here the sea's blueness finds its true creator,
His glance on Golgotha our sun for seeing.
Nor say the choice is ours, what choice is left?
Forgiveness shows God's Will most fully done.
There on the cross the myth of hell is cleft,
And the black garden blazes with the sun.
Hold close the crown of thorns, the scourge, the rod,
For in His sweat, full front, the face of God.

[1] S. Grant, “Grant and the Theology of the Cross” (1996), 248 (citing United Church Observer 13.6 (15/05/1951): 16).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Books on George Grant and Red Toryism

These new publications on George Grant and Red Toryism are now available in paperback and kindle. They include essays in political theology, political science and philosophy, exploring Grant's engagement with Nietzsche, Heidegger, Weil and much more.

Red torySimone Weil and George P. Grant were among the 20th century's top political theologians. Weil, a philosopher-activist-mystic from France, was the Christian mystic who refused to join the Church but nevertheless, influenced the Vatican II popes with her radical openness. George Grant, one of Canada's top three thinkers, once said that next to the four Gospels, Weil was his highest authority. This book is a series of essays in political theology, exploring some of their key themes and how their work inter-relates. This book explores in depth, for the first time, how their 'theology of consent' informs their political philosophy and a public ethic of the Cross.

Table of Contents Preface / 1 Part 1 – SIMONE WEIL: RED VIRGIN 1. Simone Weil: George Grant’s Diotima / 5 2. Stages of Weil’s Mystical Ascent / 19 3. Competing Conceptions of God in Biblical Religion / 49 Part 2 – GEORGE GRANT: RED TORY 4. Grant and the Matrix: Complex of Ideologies / 71 5. Grant and the Matrix: Dialogue Partners / 75 6. Finding His Voice: Conversion to Lament / 83 Part 3 – DIVINE CONSENT 7. Wrath and Love as Divine Consent / 109 Abbreviations / 123 Bibliography of Sources Consulted / 127

Minerva coverGeorge P. Grant (1918-88) was one of Canada's premier political philosophers and stands as the benchmark for the Red Tory Tradition. He can also be credited with introducing the thought of Nietzsche, Heidegger and Simone Weil to Canada, critically analyzing their work seriously for the first time. Grant's Red Toryism has been revived and modified in the UK, but for a look at the essential thought of its chief architect, this book is a must read. Included in this work are essays in political theology, along with previously unpublished letters and classnotes that are critical to an understanding of Grant's 'primacy of the Good' vis-a-vis the 'primacy of freedom-as-mastery.' Especially important is the analysis of his theological relationship to Simone Weil and an appropriation of his work to rise above the culture wars of left and right.

Table of Contents Preface / 1 Part 1 – CONVERSION 1. George Grant’s Conversion Accounts / 5 2. Simone Weil’s Encounter with Christ in Marseilles / 13 3. Grant’s McMaster Sermon / 17 Part 2 – THE RISE OF MODERNITY 4. Sprouts of Modernity in Medieval Theology / 23 5. Blooms of Modernity in the Reformation and Calvinist Puritanism / 37 6. The Autonomous Subject: Knowing as Willing in Descartes, Bacon and Kant / 49 Part 3 – MYSTICAL EPISTEMOLOGY 7. Etymology of Nous / 65 8. Heidegger’s Eckart / 81 9. Weil’s Mystical Ascent / 85 Part 4 – GRANTEAN THEOLOGY 10. God the All-Powerful, All-Powerless / 111 11. Consent as Coercion / 123 Part 5 – GRANTEAN JUSTICE 12. Grant’s Rhetorical Method / 131 13. Christ at the Checkpoint / 141 Part 6 – PRIMARY SOURCES 14. Previously Unpublished Letters and Journal Entries / 151 15. Reading Simone Weil: Unpublished Excerpt / 199 16. Dalhousie Classnotes on Plato / 201 17. Robin Mathews: The Wave of the Future / 211 18. Grant’s References to Martin Luther’s Thesis 21 / 213 APPENDICES 19. Grant’s Readings in Weil: French and English / 219 20. Beyond Dualism: Correspondence with Radical Orthodoxy / 221 Abbreviations / 227 Bibliography of Sources Consulted / 231