Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Worldview and Symbols

"All cultures (that is) have a sense of identity, of environment, of a problem with the way the world is, and a way forward - a redemptive eschatology, to be more precise- which will, or may, lead out of that problem... the stories that express the worldview, and the answers which it provides to the questions of identity, environment, evil and eschatology, are expressed (as we saw in the previous chapter) in cultural symbols. These can be both artifacts and events - festivals, family gatherings and the like. In modern North America the New York victory parade after a successful way war brings together two of the most powerful symbols of the culture: the towering skyscrapers of business-orientated Manhattan, and the heroes of battle. Both in their own fashion, demonstrate, promote and celebrate The American Way. In first-century Palestine, celebrating the Passover functioned similarly, with Jerusalem and the Temple taking the place of Manhattan, and the Passover sacrifice and meal taking the place of the victory parade. The buildings. instead of speaking of economic/ethnic goals, spoke of religious/ethnic ones; instead of the celebration speaking of triumph achieved over the forces of darkness, it spoke of vindication yet to come."
-N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 123-4.

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