Posted on: April 8th, 2022 Roland in Moonlight

I’ve long resonated with the Benedictine maxim “Always we begin again.” After three decades of passionate struggle to touch the profoundest mysteries of philosophy and theology, alas, I still at times feel lost at sea. I’m pretty sure that Socrates (even in old age) would have felt the same.

The Preacher (Qoheleth) channeled a similar spirit in the book of Ecclesiastes when he said “Of the making (or reading) of books there is no end.” Indeed, the finite time allotted to man is dwarfed by the number of books I desire to read.

Enter David Bentley Hart’s Roland in Moonlight. Not unlike the that of the intellectual biography, there is something about the genre of this book (intellectual fiction?) that I find quite helpful. Helpful in clarifying or confirming certain basic “hunches” that I’ve had, but seen only hazily.

For example, Roland’s (note: Roland is a dog!) discussion of recognition on page 31 is only the second instance of a rigorous thinker articulating “what I have thought” about recognition (the first being Catherine Pickstock’s Repetition and Identity). That this discussion also employs the term “eidetic” only adds to my cognitive rest.

So then, intellectual biography and intellectual fiction: these are two genres I find quite helpful in clarifying and especially confirming certain emerging convictions of mine which I nevertheless grasp only hazily, often doubting the solidity of my footing.

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