At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Friday, November 17, 2006

New posthumous Philip K. Dick novel. PW says "Shallow characterization and crude dialogue show a young novelist groping for style," but I'll read it anyway.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

New documentary on D. T. Suzuki. Looks like it will discuss, among other things, his influence on Western beatnik spirituality--Snyder, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Merton.

New Walter Benjamin volume On Hashish.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

For Pablo

Would Luke 3:8 tell in favor of synergism? The principle invoked by John the Baptist seems to be that any state of affairs God could unilaterally bring about (e.g. being a child of Abraham) is not salvific. Our free assent is the only thing God cannot unilaterally bring about, therefore it is required for salvation.

On the other hand, taking the verse literally doesn't make much sense. Despite his omnipotence, God couldn't raise up physical descendants of Abraham from inorganic matter because, by definition, a descendant is generated through the normal biological processes. (Similarly, God couldn't create a genuine dollar bill.) So "stones" and "children of Abraham" must be figurative. Perhaps the stones are the Gentiles who are part of the crowd (e.g. the publicans and soldiers who seek John's counsel a few verses later); the Jews then shouldn't rely on being (physical) descendants of Abraham since God could raise up (spiritual) children of Abraham from the Gentiles. This reading would be more monergistic.

Or maybe the Baptist grabbed his scrotum when he said "these stones."