Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Steck on the existence of man after Auschwitz

"There are those who say, After Auschwitz one can no longer speak of God.  [Yet] Israel did so [after another such event] in the Old Testament long ago.  I [by contrast] find [that] after Auschwitz one can no longer speak in such a ridiculously 'Enlightened' fashion and with such unspeakable naïveté [(so lächerlich aufgeklärt und so unsäglich naiv)] of the self-realized and superior man [(dem selbstverwirklichten und besseren Menschen)], as so commonly today."

     Odil Hannes Steck, "Ist Gott grausam? Über Isaaks Opferung aus der Sicht des alten Testaments," Ist Gott grausam? Eine Stellungnahme zu Tilmann Mosers 'Gottesvergiftung', hrsg. Wolfgang Böhme (Stuttgart: Evangelisches Verlagswerk, 1977), 92 (75-95).  Others have said this, too, of course.

"The existence of these specific men is the existence of Jesus Christ for us and for all men."

Karl Barth, CD I/2, 486 =KD I/2, 539 (§19.2.3), as quoted by Bruce L. McCormack in his "The being of Holy Scripture is in becoming:  Karl Barth in conversation with American evangelical criticism," Evangelicals and Scripture:  tradition, authority and hermeneutics, ed. Vincent Bacote, Laura C. Miguéz, and Dennis L. Okholm (Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 2004), 68 (55-75).  "these specific men" are the "first witnesses":  "His disciples, His followers, His apostles, those who are called by Him, the witnesses of his resurrection, those to whom He Himself has directly promised and given His Holy Spirit".  So they are unique:  "It is in this function that they are distinguished from us and from all other men, whom they resemble in everything else."  Yet there is something about this that rings true for the saints as well.