[KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever

Edward C Appel edwardcappel at frontier.com
Wed Oct 29 15:46:55 EDT 2014


By the way,  should we Burkophiles be justifiably going about criticizing "religion" in general, given the looseness with which that locution can be applied?  Many moons ago, Jim Chesebro said quite a few folks in communication regarded "us" as a "cult."  Within the past year or two, a great Burke scholar referred to our "cult of comedy" in an email I got from him.  Don't we more than a bit quote Burke, chapter and verse, as though referencing received transcendental wisdom?  Don't we meet, in General Assembly or something like Ecclesiastical Council, every three years to exchange interpretions of our common scriptures?  St. Louis University, a Jesuit institution of higher learning, was a most fitting venue, I thought, for our most recent synod of high priests and priestesses.  No Encyclicals have yet emerged, as from several of our preceding conclaves, but we're still hopeful.

On the theme of Burke and theology, as per St. Louis U., Megan, that delightful young student behind the registration table, was at the time taking a summer course in "Rhetoric and Religion."  I was most gratified to hear that she had just read, as part of her assigned work, my 1993 article, "Kenneth Burke: Coy Theologian."  Following up on that piece, and on its precursor, "Implications and Importance of the Negativew in Burke's Dramatiostic Philosophy of Language," I offer this addendum to my definition of "religion," as per my "house" theologian, KB:

I say in the opening of Chapter 3 in the Primer that we can construe the human drama in at least two ways: As a perfected transcendental projection of that generic human drama; or, the human drama can be interpreted as a derivative pale reflection of the Original, Transcendental, Eternal Drama, perhaps indirectly from On High, but still from On High, a ramification of the Imago Dei, so to speak, a working out of the "Eternity God has put in man's mind" (Ecclesiastes), that "eternity" or "infinity" being the infinite negative by another name.  Before there are "Order," the conspiratorial "Secret," and the "kill" (RM p. 260), that is to say, dramas of "Sacrifice" and "Victimage" (RR, pp. 4-5), there's the motivationally Potent and Primary Negative of Command as Author of it all.

As I assert in "Coy Theologian" (JCR, 1993, pp. 107-108) and imply in "Implications" (CQ, 1993, pp. 60-62), this "revelation," to quote Burke, is both our "glory" and our "sickness."  It is the sign of our "Fall," a falling into language that comes at us one way, but is received in another ("Implications"), that is, in dialectical form.

Fellow believers, amen, peace be with you, blessed be.



On Wed, 10/29/14, Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever
 To: "Gregory Desilet" <info at gregorydesilet.com>, "Stan Lindsay" <slindsa at yahoo.com>
 Cc: "kb at kbjournal.org" <kb at kbjournal.org>
 Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 1:37 PM
 Greg, Stan, and All,
 Most centrally, Greg and I are
 defining "religion" and "religious"
 differently.  Greg is making the "authoritative"
 (that's the term that harkens back to the
 "fascism" of the early- and mid-20th century),
 Divinely-inspired text, essentiallly non-negotiable, with
 little room for "interpretation," the
 distinguishing attribute.  My definition is different. 
 Although the word "religious" can migrate (see
 OHN, pp. 143-44 on the looseness of even "proper
 names") in myriad directions, I regard its primary
 reference as characteristic of one who believes in an
 Originary Power we can rightfully call "God." 
 For me, as a Burkean, I would reductively define that Power
 as the "Great Potential,"  In other words, a
 "religious" person  is one who believes that
 human personality, or the verbal, is "Potential"
 in the Ground of Being, Creative Source, or Generative
 Force, maybe not necessary, but at least
 "Potential."  After all, here we are (See RM, pp.
 290-91).  As such,
  a "religious"
 person would believe that human personality, or the verbal,
 is rooted in, and in some way reflective of, maybe only in a
 very, very small way relective of, the Ground of Being,
 Creative Source, or Generative Force, not just inanimate
 matter and blind physical forces.
 Called to lunch by higher authority.  Will get
 On Wed, 10/29/14, Stan Lindsay <slindsa at yahoo.com>
  Subject: Re: [KB]
 "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever
  To: "Gregory Desilet" <info at gregorydesilet.com>,
 "Ed Appel" <edwardcappel at frontier.com>
  Cc: "kb at kbjournal.org"
 <kb at kbjournal.org>
  Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 12:12 PM
  I think we are, to use
  Burke's terminology, arriving at closer
 and closer
  approximations.  I don't
 mind the religion vs.
 distinction Greg makes.  But I would apply some
  sort of Toulminian qualifier to much of this.
  Evangelical Christians (those
 who believe in an entirely
  inspired and
 100% infallible Old and New Testament,
 including those "evangelical Presbyterian
  Ed mentions) could be
 categorized as those who make the
 claim:  "The Bible is DEFINITELY
 inerrant/inspired."   There are other
  what Ed calls
 "mainline" who might claim:
  "The Bible is SUBSTANTIALLY inspired."
  are those who claim that the Bible
  inspired--wishing to back off
 of certain texts.  Even
  Luther did not
   accept the Book of James.  Some biblical
 scholars debate
  what is Pauline (written by
 the apostle) and pseudoPauline
  (only claims
 to be written by the apostle.  And, there are
  some outright unbelievers who still like to
 study the Bible.
   More on this later.  I
 have to teach a class,
  now. Dr. Stan A.
  Lindsay, Ph.D.
  Teaching Professor
  Professional Communication
  College of Applied Studies
  Florida State University
  slindsay at pc.fsu.edu
    On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:32 PM,
  Desilet <info at gregorydesilet.com>
  I find myself in agreement with much
  of what Ed
  and Stan say, but
 I also sense that it only obliquely
 addresses the issue I’ve
  raised. When Ed
 says, “You can’t paint everybody with a
 broad brush,” I assume
  by “everybody”
 he means every “religious” person.
 the issue I’m addressing
  concerns instead
 the notion that the term “religion” may
 be getting painted
  with too broad a brush.
 The use of any given term, when
  widely, becomes too thin to convey
 useful meaning.
  Accordingly, I’m
  that for all practical purposes the
 distinction between
  philosophy and
  largely collapses when religious
 texts are no longer treated
  as “sacred”
 in the
  sense I’ve indicated—namely,
 when the source of a text
  is not viewed
  divinely dictated or inspired. When a
 religious text becomes
  a text composed
  and written by a “mere” human, it shifts
 into a very
  different category than
  when it is considered “sacred.” Groups who
  religious texts in this
  fashion cannot be significantly distinguished
 from groups
  who gather to
 interpret, study, discuss, and learn from philosophical
  texts (such as the
 Books discussion groups popular in the 50s and 60s).
  Indeed, I would
 anyone following this discussion to propose a
  significant distinction
 between these “religious” and “philosophical”
  aside from the circumstance
  that one may meet in a church and the other
 may meet in a
  library or conference
  room.I understand that a great variety
  exists among
  those who happen
 to call themselves “religious” or who
 claim to belong to a “religious
 tradition.” But if such persons who claim religious
  alignment AND also claim
 their relevant religious texts are NOT divinely inspired
  cannot significantly
 distinguish their activity from what philosophers do with
  their particular
  texts of
 interest, then I do not find the label
 “religious” compellingly useful
  in such
 cases. More likely the label in these cases could be
  rightly understood
 misleading. In these cases, what would someone who says
  “this is my
 mean that could set it apart from the one who
  says, “this is my
 philosophy”?So I acknowledge there are many
  folks who
  approach what have
 traditionally been called “religious”
 texts in the
  interpretive rather than
 received manner, but I see nothing
  necessitates the label “religious”
 be applied to such
  folks other than that
  their texts have been previously called
  Applying the label in
  cases would perhaps be analogous to
 continuing to call a
  bright light in the
  morning sky the Morning Star after it has been
 discovered to
  be the planet
  Venus.  In sum, if the term “religion”
  retains primary
  connection to
 views and practices oriented toward the
 approach to texts as
  divine inspiration,
 then the metaphysical connection between
 religion and
  fascism retains a measure of
 accuracy whereby fascism
  becomes a
 distortion of
  religion by way of a shift
 into the political realm with
 implications for
  the here and now than an
 KB mailing list
 KB at kbjournal.org

More information about the KB mailing list