Kriminalgeschichte, 40

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 
Christian tall stories

Christians, preachers of love of the enemy and of the doctrine that all authority emanates from God, celebrated the death of the emperor with great public banquets, with festivals in churches and chapels and dances in the theatres of Antioch: the city that, as Ernest Renan says, ‘was full of puppeteers, charlatans, actors, magicians, thaumaturges, witches and religious swindlers’.

The diatribe in three volumes that Julian had written shortly before his death, Against the Galileans, was promptly destroyed, but fifty years later, Cyril, the doctor of the Church still bothered to argue against it: Pro sanela Christianorum religione adversas libros athei Julian in thirty volumes, of which ten have reached us in their Greek text and ten others in Greek and Syriac fragments. Naturally, a bishop like Cyril, an avowed enemy of philosophy who even tried to prohibit its teaching in Alexandria, did not intend to grasp the thought of Julian, but only ‘crush it with maximum energy’ (Jouassard).

The Christians also destroyed all the portraits of Julian and the epigraphs that commemorated his victories, without sparing means to erase from the memory of men the remembrances of him.

During Julian’s life, the most famous doctors of the Church had kept a prudent silence, but shortly after his death, and for a long time more, they dedicated themselves to attacking him.

Ephrem, another saint whose odious songs were repeated by the parishioners of Edessa, dedicated a whole treatise to ‘Julian the Apostate’, the ‘pagan emperor’ and, according to him, ‘frantic’, ‘tyrant’, ‘trickster’, ‘damned’ ‘and’ idolatrous priest’. ‘His ambition caught the deadly release’ that ‘tore his body pregnant with oracles from his magicians’ to send him definitively ‘to hell’. The clerical historians of the 5th century, who sometimes were also jurists, such as Rufinus, Socrates, Philostorgius, Sozomen and Theodoret, speak of Julian in a still worse tone.

While the Christian world defamed the ‘apostate’, as he usually does with its enemies, the Enlightenment corrected that image in the diametrically opposite sense.

In 1699, the Protestant theologian Gottfried Arnold, in his Impartial History of the Church and of Heresy, rehabilitated the figure of Julian.

A few decades later, Montesquieu praised him as a statesman and legislator. Voltaire wrote: ‘Thus, that man who has been described to us horribly was perhaps the most noble of all, or at least the second’. Montaigne and Chateaubriand count him among the greatest historical figures.

Goethe praised himself for understanding and sharing Julian’s animosity against Christianity. Schiller wanted to make him protagonist of one of his dramas.

Shaftesbury and Fielding praised him, and Gibbon believes that he deserved to have owned the world. Ibsen wrote Caesar and Galilee and Nikos Kazantzakis his tragedy Julian the Apostate, premiered in Paris in 1948.

More recently, between 1962 and 1964, the North American Gore Vidal dedicated a novel to him. On the other hand, the Benedictine Baur (representative, in this, of many current Catholics) continues to defame Julian in the 20th century.

After the death of Julian, and having renounced the designated successor, Salutius, a moderate pagan philosopher and prefect of the praetorians of the East who had been a personal friend of Julian, the Illyrian Jovian acceded to the throne.

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 86

the-real-hitler

 

17th February 1942, evening

The birthplaces of great men.
 

 

It’s my view that, simply for the sake of their beauty, the great noblemen’s estates should be preserved. But they must retain their size, otherwise only the State would be capable of maintaining them as private country-houses. And the ideal thing is that they should remain not only in private hands, but also in the family that has traditionally lived in them—else they lose their character. Thus these great monuments of the past, which have retained their character as living organisms, are also centres of culture. But when the country-house is occupied by a caretaker acting as a guide, a little State official with a Bavarian or Saxon accent, who ingenuously recites his unvarying piece of claptrap, things no longer have a soul—the soul is gone.

Wahnfried, as in Wagner’s lifetime, is a lived-in house. It still has all its brilliance, and continues to give the effect of a lover. Goethe’s house gives the impression of a dead thing.

And how one understands that in the room where he died he should have asked for light—always more light! Schiller’s house can still move one by the picture it gives of the penury in which the poet lived.

Published in: on September 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm  Comments Off on Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 86  
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Master Builders

A Typology of the Spirit

by Stefan Zweig

der_kampf_mit_dem_daemon

Translated from the German
by Eden and Cedar Paul
Viking Press, 1930

PART TWO

The Struggle with the Daimon

Hölderlin
Kleist
Nietzsche



Excerpted from the introduction:

Hölderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche are obviously alike even in respect of the outward circumstances of their lives; they stand under the same horoscopical aspect. One and all they were hunted by an overwhelming, a so-to-say superhuman power, were hunted out of the warmth and cosiness of ordinary experience into a cyclone of devastating passion, to perish prematurely amid storms of mental disorder, and one of them by suicide.

A power greater than theirs was working within them, so that they felt themselves rushing aimlessly through the void. In their rare moments of full awareness of self, they knew that their actions were not the outcome of their own volition but that they were thralls, were possessed (in both senses of the word) by a higher power, the daimonic.

I term “daimonic” the unrest that is in us all, driving each of us out of himself into the elemental. It seems as if nature had implanted into every mind an inalienable part of the primordial chaos, and as if this part were interminably striving—with tense passion—to rejoin the superhuman, suprasensual medium whence it derives. The daimon is the incorporation of that tormenting leaven which impels our being (otherwise quiet and almost inert) towards danger, immoderation, ecstasy, renunciation, and even self-destruction. But in those of common clay, this factor of our composition which is both precious and perilous proves comparatively ineffective, is speedily absorbed and consumed. In such persons only at rare moments, during the crises of puberty or when, through love or the generative impulse, the inward cosmos is heated to the boiling point, does the longing to escape from the familiar groove, to renounce the trite and the common-place, exert its mysterious way. For the daimon cannot make its way back to the infinite which is his home except by ruthlessly destroying the finite and the earthly which restrains him, by destroying the body wherein, for a season, he is housed.

Thus it comes to pass that everyone whose nature excels the commonplace, everyone whose impulses are creative, wrestles perforce with his daimon. This is a combat of titans, a struggle between lovers, the most splendid contest in which we mortals can engage. Many succumb to the daimon’s fierce onslaught as the woman succumbs to the passion of the impetuous male; they are overpowered by his preponderant strength; they feel themselves joyfully permeated by the fertilizing element. Many subjugate him; their cold, resolute, purposive will constrains his ardours to accept their guidance even while he animates their energies.

Hölderlin, Kleist and Nietzsche were the Promethean race which is in revolt against customary forms and tends thereby to destroy itself. There is no art worthy of the name without daimonism, no great art that does not voice the music of the spheres.

The first thing that is obvious in Hölderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche is their detachment from the world. The daimon plucks away from realities those whom he holds in his grip. Not one of the three had wife or children, any more than had their congeners Beethoven and Michelangelo; they had neither fixed home nor permanent possessions, neither settled occupation nor secure footing in the world. They were nomads, vagrants, eccentrics; they were despised and rejected; they lived in the shadows. Not one of them ever had a bed to call his own; they sat in hired chairs, wrote at hired desks, and wandered from one lodging-house to another. Nowhere did they take root; not even Eros could establish binding ties for those whom the jealous daimon had espoused. Their friendships were transitory, their appointments fugitive, their work unremunerative; they stood ever in vacant spaces and created in the void. Thus their existence was like that of shooting stars, which flash on indeterminable paths, whereas Goethe circled in a fixed orbit.

For Kleist, Hölderlin and Nietzsche, living was not to be learned, nor worth learning. Fire became their element; flame, their mode of activity; and their lives were perpetually scorched in the furnaces which alone made their work possible. As time went on, they grew even more lonely, more estranged from the world of men. To the daemonic temperament reality seems inadequate: Hölderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche, each in his own way, were rebels against the existing order.

The formula of Goethe’s life was the circle, a closed curve; that of an existence perfectly rounded and self-contained; the daimonics’ curve is the parabola: a steep, impetuous ascent, an uprush into limitless space, a brusque change of direction, followed by no less a steep, a no less impetuous decline. The climax, both in respect of imaginative creation and in respect to the artist’s personal life, is reached immediately after the fall. Goethe’s death, on the other hand, is an inconspicuous point in the circle; but the life of the daimonic terminates in an explosion or a conflagration. In the latter case death compensates for the material poverty of life.

Invariably, even in the most perplexing and most dangerous manifestations, the creative genius has a value supreme over other values, a meaning profounder than that of all other meanings.