16 September 2006

Pope Benedict XVI's 12th September University of Regensburg speech was (I think) mostly a critique of (modern) reason and the supposed universality of structures of knowledge built on post-enlightenment reason. He argued that you can't build a community or an ethics if your understanding of reason excludes faith - and it's an impoverishment of what it means to be human when you try and do so. He intimated a whole bunch of other things, in part through the perhaps disingenuous and certainly ill-judged use of a 14th century framing device.
Near the beginning, he cited Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus' claim (albeit as "erstaunlich schroffer, uns überraschend schroffer") that prophet Muhammad's contribution was "only evil and inhuman". This upset muslims. Today he issued an apology.

I think we should cut the pope some slack - he's not infallible.


  1. piff-paff.

    the big insult wasn't the bit about what a 14th cent. byzantine emperor said (whose proximate successors, btw, WERE overwhelmed in 1453 by certain hordes who took over what is now istanbul). The BIG insult was that B-16 likened Islam to Kantianism. The case is that neither has any reason, with reference to faith, for preferring this or that set of affairs. The Church, on the other hand, rests upon the principle that what is against reason must be against the Faith and hence against the Truth.

    surprising how most missed the ecumenical outreach of a (roman) pontiff quoting a (schismatic?) eastern emperor, hence affirming the commonality of east and west in the faith.

    shall we continue? i gotta be 500 miles tonite to pay my bills. so maybe tomorrow.

  2. Great to hear from you dude.

    I like and appreciate "ecumenical outreach"; and retort "rhetorical overreach".

    I'm wary of getting into Kantianism because it looks awfully like you're suggesting, troublingly, that Kant didn't place Reason next to godliness - which I've every reason to believe he did. And then I'd have to go back and engage with his self-serving, timid and joyless system again. And his writing.

    But! I have got an article I found that makes a contribution regarding that fabulously essentialist quiz show question "Who's the Greekest?":


    Yes, do bring it, and…

    keep on truckin'