Saturday, March 13, 2004

Countering the critics

You don’t really criticize any author to whom you have never surrendered yourself. . .You have to give yourself up, and then recover yourself, and the third moment is having something to say, before you have wholly forgotten both surrender and recovery.
- T.S. Eliot, Christianity and Culture
Easy enough to see how most anti-orthodox critics fail to implement this hermeneutic rule in their analysis of TPOTC. But harder to see how we "orthodox" counter-critics might be doing likewise in our response to the accusations of anti-Semitism and sadomasochism. When I hear Christians scornfully muse over the absence of pogroms, I wonder if we're not "surrendering," at least temporarily, open to whatever truth may be within our enemies' criticisms. I like how Eliot doesn't just end his rule with surrender, which is as far as postmodernism will go. The "recovery," to me, is a process of ordering the fragmented truths according to the Truth.