Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dwight Longenecker and the Bildungsroman

1) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Fable and Allegory, 2) Correspondence of Hans Georg Lundahl : With Dwight on Definition of Fundies, 3) Dwight Longenecker Not Knowing What Computers Are, and Not Answering a Challenge On It, 4) With Dwight on Fundies, Again, 5) One item on Dwight, related to Teen Marriages, 6) Was Dwight Ever Outright Heretic? If So, it is Here I Blamed him, 7) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica (again) : Dwight Longenecker and Bildungsroman

It seems Dwight makes the assumption, that the literary form of Wilhelm Meister meets the kind of soul to whom is said "mitis depone colla Sigamber":

The theological theory of Indiana Jones goes like this: The films reflect the religious and spiritual growth of humanity as Jones develops positively as a human being. ... To understand the theory it is necessary to start with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom—which is the second film to be made, but as a prequel is the first of the stories chronologically. ... [L]ike the pagans he is countering, Jones replies, “Fortune and glory, honey. Fortune and glory.” In other words, in the first film Indiana Jones’ main concern is Indiana Jones. Jones for the money. Jones for the show. Jones for the showgirl. Temple of Doom was criticized for its nihilistic tone, dark themes and violence, but whether the film makers intended it or not, the bloodthirstiness and dark terror are a fitting reflection of the pagan world view and Jones’ own lusty, greedy, bloodthirsty self.

The second film in the chronological sequence is Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. As Judaism is an advance on paganism, so Dr. Jones is now not only pursuing a Jewish artifact, but he is also engaged in a moral battle against evil incarnate—the Nazis. ...

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade takes the storyline into Christian territory. From being a selfish grave robber to being a world savior by finding the lost ark, Indiana Jones now continues his personal crusade not only to recover the holy grail, but to find his father. The final film in the trilogy therefore echoes with Christian symbolism and themes. The cross or “X” always marks the spot. The guardians of the grail are willing to be martyrs to defend the holy relic, and Indy comes to realize that the quest is about eternal life and reconciliation with the father, not just the pursuit of “fortune and glory, honey.” The climax of the film (and arguably the whole trilogy) is when Jones Sr. is shot and the villain Donovan says, “It’s time to ask yourself what you believe Dr . Jones.”

To save his father’s life Jones must face three tests, which are the marks of becoming a Christian. He must be penitent. He must hear the word of God and he must take the step of faith.* ...

I am not sure there was all that kind of character development in the real Sigambrian, in Clovis. When he is bowing down for baptism, he is not really distanced from "fortune and glory", he is thanking the God who provided it for him. And afterwards, he is not behaving in a perfectly Christian way either. His wife on the other hand hardly needed such a conversion, though she needed her husband's. She is Saint Coltilde.

Hollywood believes in character development, not because Hollywood is Christian, but more like because Hollywood is Jewish. What is wrong with being Jewish and believing in character development? That it is un-Christian. Especially it is un-Christian to make bets on someone else's character development provided you stop him from remaining himself, time after time, whatever little he may have done to merit a persecution, just because he is still not the character you would like. How is it said this is un-Christian?

Matthew 23:15 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves.

Or Jude: [22] And some indeed reprove, being judged: [23] But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.

Obviously, if you hate someone's spotted garment, you are not counting on his character development. And if you pull someone out of the fire, you do it pretty quickly, like the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future did on one night with Mr. Scrooge. You do not spend years tracking him over land and sea to convert him to your view of what a Christian should be.

Here is the Challoner comment:

[22] Reprove, being judged: He gives them another instruction to practice charity in endeavouring to convert their neighbour, where they will meet with three sorts of persons:

  • 1 st, With persons obstinate in their errors and sins; these may be said to be already judged and condemned; they are to be sharply reprehended, reproved, and if possible convinced of their error.

  • 2 d, As to others you must endeavour to save them, by pulling them, as it were, out of the fire, from the ruin they stand in great danger of.

  • 3 d, You must have mercy on others in fear, when you see them through ignorance of frailty, in danger of being drawn into the snares of these heretics; with these you must deal more gently and mildly, with a charitable compassion, hating always, and teaching others to hate the carnal garment which is spotted, their sensual and corrupt manners, that defile both the soul and body.

Here is Dwight again:

While the theological theory of Indiana Jones works cleverly, what is mysterious about it is that it is very unlikely to have been intentional. The character and idea for the films were conceived by George Lucas, but Steven Spielberg was soon heavily involved. The story and first two screenplays were written by Lucas, Philip Kauffman, Lawrence Kasdan, Willard Huyck, and Gloria Katz. Spielberg increasingly took charge, and the third movie went through various stages of development with input from Lucas, Spielberg, and five different writers who, among other things, were wrestling with an earlier concept called Indiana Jones and the Monkey King, while also trying to weave in the ideas of stars Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

I think it is very naïve not to expect such a Bildungsroman motive to have been intentional, at least for the last item. If items one and two were kind of unintentionally leading up to a third, this would pretty certainly have been explicitly known by those making third. But even the "one" being a prequel to the already extant "two" means it may have been meant for such a buildup. Jews are great moralists, great believers in character development, great optimists who may expect a real Pagan like Indiana Jones of the Temple of Doom to just develop (at least in response to necessities of the peripeties) into the Indiana Jones of the Last Crusade.

I have a very deep gut feeling, while some Jews were indeed killed in the camps, many, even most, where pushed into a process intended for character development. Because someone may have experienced that Jews, although great moralists, were not always as moral as they expected others to be. Auschwitz may have been built in order to mainly bring Jews of that type to develop from the one Indian Jones into the other one, over the in between one.

Someone has suggested Hitler was antisemitic due to reading Karl May. When it comes to his hating economic injustice, this may be true. Or it may be he was an Austrian. But no one has suggested (or if I did, I seem not to have been heard) he believed a little too much in character development after reading Karl May and also a little too much after probably failing as an artist because some Jewish Connexion believed his character development depended on that.

Now, in the sense of character development, Karl May did take the adventure hero into the Lehrjahre of Wilhelm Meister a bit before Hollywood did so after Karl May.

And I think it has been done to others, including to me, including by Catholic ecclesiastics (if you will call such Catholics) who are interested, along with Jewish friends, in my "character development". In another article, on his own blog, Dwight is basically stating God is sometimes not hearing prayer because He is interested in - very basically - our character development.

Now, Father Bryan Houghton, he once wrote and wrote to refute an idelogy about prayer in which "God is more eager for our moral progress than for our praise". No doubt, after certain backslidings, certain progresses must needs be made. One is not praying correctly if praying in a state of mortal sin. But the human life, like the angelic life, is mainly made for praising God. Not for "moral progress". Father Bryan Houghton in Unwanted Priest also diagnosed this new idea about prayer as, first of all, not due to any Jesuit before dissolution and reorganisation of the order, and second as the root cause of the Liturgic Reform. Which he considered a thoroughly bad one. He also entitled one of the chapters - since I read the French translation, not the original, I must translate back - L'église du bavardage, presumably The Church of Babbling. Close enough to "Church (? or whatever) of Babylon".

Unlike how I see Dwight, I consider Father Bryan Houghton to have been a thoroughly Catholic Catholic.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Vigil of Epiphany

* Same link as yesterday.

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