(Post Script Summary) Did St. Mark Read Plato / Did Plato Read Moses?


Did St. Mark Read Plato / Did Plato Read Moses?

(2/2) Did St. Mark Read Plato / Did Plato Read Moses?


Truths today are usually understood as “facts” or things that are “correct,” information, and intelligence is therefore whoever has learned the most through rote and can do the best on Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit (note the name of the game, lol).  However, in teaching children we make a distinction in that if a child knows 3 X 2 = 6 this is true or correct but not yet made manifest or un-hidden (truth as a-letheia).  To unhide it, we need to model it for the child, such as counters in groups of 3, with 2 such groups, when totaled we get a sum of 6 counters.

In the previous post, we saw that when the traditional definition of marriage encounters LGBTQI+ rights on the thought path of life that this meeting un-covered the hidden vileness/violence of the traditional definition.  This is analogous to the Christian idea of the Being of the world which is hidden as it goes about its day to day but is unhidden when it encounters the especially beloved (agapetos) of God Jesus and brutally tortures and executes him as a disgusting criminal, but precisely this horrific violence un-hides the hidden nature of the world to the soldier at the cross, opening his eyes to his hidden nature that transfigures him, and thus made transformation possible.

In a Greek way, this idea of doing without knowing, such as living according to a sinful nature that is hidden from you (eg, not realizing the violence of the traditional definition of marriage), is encapsulated in the word λανθάνω and particularly as elánthane, and so we read “Croesus called on Zeus of the Hearth, because he received the guest into his house and, without knowing it (elánthane), had been feeding the murderer of his son (460 BCE – 420 BCE, Herodotus, Histories 1.44).”

Similarly, with elánthane, a blind bard named Demodocus sings of the quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles at Troy. Everyone listens with pleasure except Odysseus, who weeps at the painful memories that the story recalls. The German philologist Voss, in his variation ofthe translation, renders elanthane as “To all the other guests he concealed his flowing tears (cited at P, 23),” emphasizing the concealment in
relation to Odysseus, not the others gaping at Odysseus, which is closer to what the Greek says.

Heidegger, however, goes further. What Heidegger tries to bring out when he speaks of Odysseus in terms of concealment is that there is, in general, a concealment around him that isolates him, cuts him off from others, an unhomeliness that surrounds him. There exists a concealment of Odysseus, now keeping the ones who are present far from him (P, 27-8). Why far? Because Odysseus’ heart is far away. The concealment, as Heidegger says, is not restricted to this instance of crying, but surrounds this man’s existence. Athena brings this out quite clearly at the beginning of the Odyssey, “It is for Odysseus my heart is wrung – so subtle a man and so ill-starred; he has long been far from everything that he
loves, desolate in a wave-washed island (from Odyssey, 1, 32-108).”
The issue is clearly
not whether the others can see Odysseus crying, but rather that he is cut off from the
others in principle, because when one’s heart is elsewhere, the people and things at hand
are not of concern and hence one is not at home with them – is alone and isolated, even
among many others. Generally, Odysseus’ heart is at his home, though here he is painfully back at Troy.

In this way the basic distinction for Greek thinking is Being loves to hide (physis kryptesthai philei – Heraclitus) and aletheia (truth, “a-letheia,” “un-hidden”) If we keep in mind this fundamental Greek idea of hidden Being we operate according to (like the traditional definition of marriage), we can begin to see Heidegger’s insight into the Greeks when he says:

ἀνὰ δ᾽ ἥρπασε Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη, ἂψ δ᾽ Ἀχιλῆϊ δίδου, λάθε δ᾽ Ἕκτορα ποιμένα λαῶν

Voss translates:

“the goddess seized it (the lance) and immediately gave it back to the Peleidian, unnoticed by the warlike Hector.”

This is “well” thought and said in our German language: unnoticed by Hector, Athena gave Achilles back his lance. Thought, however, in the Greek way, it means: Athena was concealed to Hector in her giving back of the lance. We see once more how “concealedness” makes up the basic feature of the behavior of the goddess, which basic feature of concealment first bestows on her particular action the character of its “Being.” But perhaps the exact reversal of our way of experiencing, thinking, and speaking in relation to the Greek way appears most clearcut in the example of the well-known Epicurean proverb: λάθε βιώσας. We translate in “correct” German: “Live unnoticed.” But the Greeks say: “Be concealed in the way you conduct your life.” Here concealment determines the character of the presence of man among men. The “concealed” and the “unconcealed” are characters of the very being itself and not characteristics of the noticing or apprehending. Nevertheless, perceiving and saying have indeed for the Greeks, too, the basic feature of “truth” or “untruth.”

It may be clear from these few remarks how decisively the domain and the occurrence of concealing and concealedness hold sway, for the Greeks, over beings and over human comportment toward beings. If now, after this comment and in its light, we once more consider the most common Greek word of the stem λαθ, namely λανθάνομαι, then it is plain that the usual and indeed “correct” translation by our German word “to forget” renders nothing at all of the Greek way of thinking.

Thought in the Greek fashion, λανθάνομαι says: I am concealed from myself in relation to something which would otherwise be unconcealed to me. This is thereby, for its part. concealed, just as I am in my relation to it. The being sinks away into concealment in such a manner that with this concealment of the being I remain concealed from myself. Moreover, this concealment is itself concealed. Something similar does indeed occur when we forget this or that. In forgetting not only does something slip from us, but the forgetting slips into a concealment of such a kind that we ourselves fall into concealedness precisely in our relation to the forgotten. Therefore the Greeks say more precisely ἐπιλανθάνομαι, in order to capture the concealedness in which man is involved, especially with respect to the concealment’s relation to what is withheld from man because of it.