WHERE AND WHY I DISAGREE WITH JASPERS--HOW HE AVOIDS SECTARIAN CLAIMS--THE EXISTENZ-KJSNA WEBPAGE, Part 5, posted Dec. 12, 2007—A response to Alan Olson’s current handling of Karl Jaspers’ reflections about Jesus as Christ. Alan’s treatment is found at www.bu.edu/paideia in the 2007 Fall Article “Jesus…in Karl Jaspers’s Great Philosophers, Vol.I”.
WHAT JASPERS SAID HE MEANT BY THE JESUS CHRIST COMMENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cross-referencing notation, the Dover trial
1. The impact of Alan’s unpacking of Jaspers’ retrospective and prospective views on Jesus as the Christ—
(Cross-referencing notation, the Dover trial--Kierkegaard once said that the State should stop paying priests. Of course he was Bill-of-Rights right. My Webpage here serves also as an introduction to another coming Webpage expressing the view that the State should stop funding atheism. That argument continues on my upcoming Dover trial Webpage (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District) where the testimony of witnesses shows that tax supported institutions are teaching atheistic thinking in the guise of “science” and by default. For instance Barbara Forrest was an honest witness for the plaintiffs; under oath as an affirmed “atheist” she understood that given the premise of “evolutionism” it logically follows that the pre-mission’s consequence could only conclude in atheistic thinking. (Correction made 1-19-2008; A closer look at Barbara Forrest's testimony reveals no affirmation, i.e., no "atheism" label was claimed.) In the execution of that mission the testimony tends toward the judicial establishment of atheism and institutes the prevarication of the science of epistemology. The metaphorical jury is still out on that bench trial and neglected subtle issues are nonetheless real enough that the limited grounds for appeal should be delimited and the propriety of counter charges discussed.)
0. PRELIMINARY, INFORMED AND MODIFIABLE GUESSING—Without being purely ornery, one can wonder about the Editors of Boston University’s “paideia-existenz” Webpage. A trace of an editorial design might be manifesting itself, though camouflaged by an apparent purposelessness. Engaging a healthy degree of wondering involves being alert to possible intentions, namely, the paideia task to assure that in “the” or “an” education process one is certain to avoid an objective approach to a “fundamentalism” assumed to be purely subjective. The wondering is meant to avoid reducing the rudiments of conservative conduct to analytically restraining objectifications. My wondering is consistent with a radical phenomenological approach in keeping with desperate time, a time for a friendly unsheathing of the metaphoric two edged sword in the task of truth—applied gently with a “tell me when it hurts” to locate where normal sensitivity has been lost.
01. Unlegislated Sunshine--Surely I am a little correct when guessing that the consistency in this Fall’s edition is to make certain that interpretations of Jaspers’ works cannot tend toward supporting the principles of independent small religious sects growing on protestant soil, for every “Academician” knows how evil fundamental religionists are—that consensus is why I have to say the statement here is facetious. No mentally balanced critic would approach a “paideia” editorial program without being prepared to look for a scientific-like method designed to appear more than less tending toward humane unity, i.e., the overall “professional” and established institutional responsibility for setting the course for serfs of the soil--including students who are tempted to sell body parts to make a dent in student loans. So, one would be amiss not to wonder what backroom autocratic think-tank tasks are in the works, and be alert to who’s who in that domain where spins are refined. The sunshine law is first of all a philosophical principle and only a law due to the appearance of potential misbehavior. Philosophically the benefits of trust must prevail over metaphysical doubt, and the editors’ benevolent intentions accepted—but not unconditionally.
02. Shadows of enlightened outlines--The Editors Leonard Ehrlich and Alan Olson authored two of this Fall’s six essays, the former with only an Abstract in English (while none are better qualified, if circumstances allow it, to translate). Ehrlich’s essay is a sensitive take on Jaspers’ Existenz philosophy relative to zeit and sein/sein and zeit (time-space, space-time, i.e., Transcendental Being-immanental being) phenomenology; it’s so sensitive and valuable that a Leonard Ehrlich or Gregory Walters’ translation (Gregory is qualified, busy, and a Board Editor) seems too conspicuously absent. The absence is tempered somewhat by the fact that Leonard’s is a reprint of a previous presentation elsewhere. Leonard does not hide behind German nor normally toss it about to be secretive or appear most scholarly. One is not being overly critical by wondering about the paideia-effect and the procedures involved in the selection of the essays. For instance it would be nice to not have to wonder about the selective intricacies involved in, for instance, Susan Kirkbight’s essay which concludes with more of a question than a quoted Jaspers’ statement about the encompassing timelessness and material timeliness involved in “urgeheimnis” (i.e., that best-quarantined pandemic “evolution” complex). Again, amidst all the necessities of academic survival, the element of trust must prevail—trust being consistent with theistic faith (Jaspers) and the mission of fair and open communication.
WHAT JASPERS SAID HE MEANT BY THE JESUS CHRIST COMMENTS
1. The impact of Alan’s unpacking of Jaspers’ retrospective and prospective views on Jesus as the Christ--Alan attempts to “unpack” what Jaspers meant when he said that the Doctors of the Faith, Catholics and Protestants, are more interested in the Christ phenomena than the Jesus phenomenon of history (GP Vol I,). Jaspers’ comment has been spun into something complex, though informative, by Alan’s research as nearly 30 personages are called forth to share in the risk of determining what Jaspers meant--to be sure that all the currently academic greats get a say in the interpretation thereby insuring that “the” scholarly discipline meets the institutional expectations of the fashionable academic network. I supposed that’s done due to the infringements and potential threats by the Internet info-sphere. Of course Alan’s thesis involves the need to culturally inform our selves without limit—including critiquing what is generally meant by “cult”.
1.1. Jaspers needs no protection from small-sect claims—Perhaps the “Existenz Webpage” Editor, Alan, one of two Editors, wants to make sure that no fundamentalist group or individual can lay authoritative claim to Jaspers. However, in this information age, and if human rights survives, Alan and Editors (at large, and board) do not have to worry about that for Jaspers has therapeutically used his cipher language and neither the Catholic Cult or any protestant cult can claim him as a “Saint” (nor anybody given a “Jaspers Incarnation Award” to cover a multitude of differences). I began this paragraph with “perhaps” for there is reason to think there could be a premeditated undercurrent of concern over protestant fundamentalism manifested in the unavoidably editorially designed essay sequence, a dialectical meaning that has to be ferreted out. So a biblical-standard advocate will want to seek meaning through the most historically clear source, i.e., Jaspers’ works. The objective will be to determine what he meant by those Jesus-and-Christ comments. Then I want to show how one can differ in the phenomenological sense without being wholly right or wrong, but yet show how “yea” and “nay” can be applied to the…phenomenal Word. I’ll be pointing out where I disagree with Jaspers’ expressions, while somewhat understanding the basis for our differences.
1.2. In difference to quantity (Alan’s 30 personages), Jaspers qualifies what he means in the book Philosophical Faith and Revelation (@345) —Standing alone as an outstanding psychopathologist looking back and looking forward he sees the on-a-roll exponential misuse of Christ, and the momentous distraction from the historical Jesus. I agree with Jaspers regarding the misuse of the Christ phenomenon by Catholicism and that this misuse, is the “very Catholic religious principle whose perpetuation keeps Protestantism everywhere imprisoned in Catholicism”. Jaspers’ call for a whole reformation effort is clear. The part in that “Christ” meaning that I agree with is that reducing the phenomenal Jesus to an incarnate continuum within the structure of a denomination or an ecumenical union is to take liberties Jesus never intended. The part in the Jaspers’ language that I disagree with is that the historical Jesus, the biblical Peter, Paul, and John misused the messianic idea. They did not misuse the Christ idea; rather they contributed toward its contemporal fulfillment potential in each individual. I maintain that Jesus’ purpose in part was to end the genetic fallacious attitude, that he consciously and actively put an end to the irresponsible excuse for not living as though in the Kingdom of God. He put and end to relative genetic excuses for sin, and pointed toward the Transcendent genetic theistic fatherhood. There is no doubt that Jaspers’ position is that the Kingdom of God is to be found within the individual, as Jesus said. Fundamental or conservative differences with Jaspers’ expressions cannot be understated nor overstated without qualification: The difference between my expressions and Jaspers can be absorbed and comprehended in the rudiments of our distinctive and diverse “experience of belief” (PFR 349). Having said that, Jesus can be in conformity with the Old Testament by using the concept of “I am” and in conformity with the New Testament psyche-centered transformation principle of total individual responsibility in confessing that Jesus is the Christ which includes but not limited to the commitment that the concept should not be used any longer as grounds for a direct political theocracy.
1.3. In other words, I do not agree with Jaspers’ view that Jesus could not have said that he is the way the truth and the life and that no one can come to the father but through him. What Jaspers has affirmed is that the messianic cipher has not only been misused by Catholic and protestant catholicism but Judaism as well—well, the latter less pronounced to preserve a harmonious nuptial relationship (Gertrude and his in-laws, and significant associations, e.g., Hannah Arendt for she edited Jaspers’ paradigmatic Jesus—and Jaspers has said that he did not read English all that well, and could speak it less well. And I am sure that Ruth Nanda Anshen, planner and Editor of Religious Perspectives, and Board of Editors including Karl Barth, and Paul Tillich would be glad to make suggestions to Jaspers and his translator that would make his book, Philosophical Faith and Revelation, most accommodating to the prevailing academic trends).
1.4. Alan chooses and confines his primary-source remarks to the one part of Jaspers’ works where he can be interpreted as reflecting most negatively on the New Testament. It is where in a momentary lapse of independent reasoning Jaspers’ succumbed to a reliance on “scholarly” dating about John’s gospel’s account, a dating and discounting that undercuts the Bible’s standard--the standard more than compatible to Catholic Church authority. Jaspers cloistered with Schweitzer at Basel when he should have remained independent, and he needed to try to show better reasoning—it was unfair to share the risk when questioning Jesus’ statements. It was unfair because of the higher criticism of the biblical accounts compared to the accounts of the other paradigmatic personages. However, Jaspers’ better part of reason is manifested in Philosophical Faith and Revelation, for it is this biblical unity, the word, recognized by Jaspers as the “Protestant principle, the one thing that entitles Protestantism to confront the Catholic Church on its own. To Protestants the Church means something other than to Catholics. It means a community of institutions and forms in which the faith is preached, but as such are not holy” (346). Furthermore, Jaspers reasons, “unlike the Catholic priest, the Protestant pastor is no official functioning as the impersonal conveyor of grace”, rather the pastor “awakens each individual power of judgment and conscience from its source, by the light of the Bible” (352).
1.5. The Gospel of John need not fear highest criticism. My disagreement with Jaspers can be put succinctly: A review of Dead Sea Scrolls compared to John’s forms of thinking and style of expression suggests not only an early date but also would justify avoiding any suggestion of a genetic fallacy, i.e., John avoids misinterpreting the gospels’ lineage account such as provided by Matthew. Without changing the current biblical arrangement, John can be read as not something come-lately and emphasizing some latter-day thinking; it can be read just as timely as the other gospels. John’s account could be read as primary to the Gospels’ arrangement if doing so did not, or does not, appear in competition with the first and second chapter of Genesis. On the other hand a comparison can be made of Dead Sea Scrolls and John’s style and end-of-theocratic-Jerusalem forms of thinking. Beyond that the hope engendered by Christ living in each, that messianic transformation, shows enough difference to discard any quite rational unfolding of a dialectical process. In other words Jaspers’ acceptance of higher criticism’s view that Jesus did not say “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6) is objectionable.
1.6. The epigones upon epigones genetic fallacy--Most importantly the verse by any stretch of the contemporary imagination cannot mean an incarnation into Catholicism’s maxim that “outside the Church there can be no salvation” (from Christ to Peter epigone to the “papacy” epigones, or as Jaspers says epigones upon epigones). An independent small-sect protestant need not apologize for the historical Jesus (who killed no one and suffered incomparably) nor find it necessary to throw out the historical Jesus nor the biblical Christ. Moreover the small-sect protestant need not say anything more or less than how the words reads regarding God Christ and Jesus. Disagreement with Jaspers is always tempered by his admitted unavoidable ambiguity within the reasoning process especially regarding revelation and philosophical faith, which helps explain the apparent ambivalence when he says: “Protestantism has only the word, the past revelation, the essence—poor and stunted in comparison with the Catholic one” (345), and such as that he sees the inherent problem to be “the Catholic one”, of God reduced, limited to Jesus and then incarnated into the corporeal Church where Papal authority becomes the surrogate “Holy Father” ( “Holy Farther” is my comment and quotation marks). With that understanding one can still be reasonably intolerant of Jaspers’ taking too much liberty with unavoidable ambivalence, for, in what some call convolutions, his leaning toward the invisible church comes through again when the stunted-sect, though less visible, its vital existence extends also within the at-large establishments where only God knows whether there “there are pure souls among [monks]” (343).
2. Philosophy is not unfolded religion--risk of seeking support in numbers—The mention of some of Alan’s thirty personages seem designed to absorb and delimit Jaspers’ meaning, the meaning reduced to mimicking something Kantian, Hegelian, and Weberian--as though Jaspers too would not risk being independently rebellious and more historically orthodox (in the sense of returning to the source, biblical source). I mean Jaspers is not leaving room for hereditary charisma in even the extended family sense to accommodate some mystic authority due to lineage. Weber and Jaspers were too objective in research for that (see Reinhard Bendix’s Max Weber, An Intellectual Portrait; hereditary charisma @p102; and Jaspers’ Three Essays, Weber). Where Alan is less correct or less accurately read, I say that neither Weber or Jaspers thought that for a charismatic personage to be effective a transformation to an institution had to occur as though it were a natural unfolding theological law. That sort of accusation about Jaspers is one reason he needed to overstate the Jesus and Christ psychosocial complex. Jaspers’ Jesus/Christ distinction also means no protestant sect should mention Jaspers from the pulpit, for there is an extended family “consistent constant” within the local congregation, perpetuated because Jesus as the Christ is preached (e.g., Luke’s Gospel, Luke’s Acts, and Paul’s letters regarding democratic and republic church organization).
2.1. Alan surprisingly gives Hegel a dominant position of influence in Jaspers’ handling of Jesus, whereas Jaspers lists Hegel with those whose reasoning “turned out to be delusions” (PFR 200). The reason for Alan’s inexact assessment can be found in an effort to make some of the other 30 personages pertinent enough to include them within an interdisciplinary academic flock, perhaps to gain strength through numbers. Several of the 30 are theologians, and this peer-acknowledgment fallacy might explain why Jaspers is erroneously interpreted as thinking that philosophy is dependent on religion. Jaspers: “Philosophy is older than the biblical revelation” (337 PFR).
2.2. Why a Hegel-Jaspers’ connection is unfair in view of the decade after Hegel--Jaspers is objective and critical of Hegel’s influence and points out his limits. That seems to be overlooked by Alan, or to make a point I am reading something into Alan’s essay. One can wonder if it has anything to do with dialectical idealism, and the consequential dialectical materialism, and then the forms of progressive-thinking in terms of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, the thinking now so material to the ontological premise or thesis of origins by cosmogonists and teleologists--that “thinking” revolving about the brain coming first and then mind (which then allegedly conjures the image of God and moreover God as such). Assurances are needed that there is no synthetic effort to launch off such an academic consensus where “nothing exists unless it makes a noise” (349PFR), and that such as the noise about the “Big Bang” has been substituted for faith and comprehension. That is said because Jaspers in his works and especially in PFR unmistakably points at Hegel’s problematic idealism (ism being rationalism). The Protestant-Tübingen Hegelian logic probably can be shown to have contributed more to the damage that Darwinism and neoDarwinism has done to the scientific attitude--but only to be outdone by its “papal” sanction, dogmatization, by intervening through legislative, educational, and judicial affairs of state (see coming Webpage on Dover trial).
2.3. Jaspers and Hegel differ in phenomenology—Jaspers reminds us that though the term phenomenology “was used by Hegel” in the sense that essence is revealed thereby to consciousness, Jaspers restricts it to individual psyche experience, as an empirical method of inquiry relative to communication by another (Gen. Psycho. ft. nt. p.55). In this reference he is speaking of patients but the principle is consistent in that in linguistic science’s openness to communication there is empathy, understanding and comprehension. The point is Hegel and Jaspers are philosophically and logically incompatible. There are reasons Hegel and Jaspers were in logical principle incompatible. Hegel’s phenomenology does not apply to Jaspers’ science of psychology, which involves communicating with individuals—patients and non-patients in a cooperative effort to understand phenomena.
2.4. Jaspers’ approach to Jesus involves the phenomenological method in so far as possible. It was a hampered approach and technique, for Jaspers could not have a clinical-like communication with Jesus. Even if he could have, Jaspers made clear that the way Hegel used the term phenomenology would not apply to Jesus as the historically real individual. However, Jaspers relied unfortunately too much on the scholarship of his peer-cloister, and in that sense Alan is in good company, the bad peer-cloister fallacy. Jaspers showed this distinction clearly enough in Gen. Pys. (264f) where he addresses the results of Hegel’s physiognomy, a “once and for all grasp” which led to a theory of “degeneration” or reductionism, a looking into the substratum of life by way of such things as variations of form such as the Darwinian ear-fold. Jaspers does not go this Hegelian materialistic way because such comparisons were applicable “only within extremely narrow limits” (see p. 266; updated in 1953 for he included a footnote for that year)—though there is a bending of the ear toward the cloister (the bent-ear fallacy).
2.5. DNA 99.99% comparison and primary contests--Hegel’s dialectical unfolding “evolutionary” process is evaluated but more from the critical perspective: “Whether and when psychopathological world-pictures, in themselves unhistorical, have had any relevance for history and culture is a matter for historical research but no unequivocal answers have yet been found.” Jaspers was contemporary and prospective enough to see how Hegel’s logical forms could be misused. Moreover he was retrospective enough too to bring forward a qualifying historicity; I mean psychopathology pertains to unhistorical aberrational variables (281). Jaspers’ clinical experience, the value of suspending “definite and particular insight” and explaining life “in terms of chemistry and physics” is like the thinking of the “young Hegel”, i.e., “entangled now with the newer findings of biological research transformed in meaning through the use of them as analogies and absolutes” (533). Since Jaspers passing some experiences contribute to less unequivocal answers regarding world-pictures or ontological fixations. They can be evaluated psychopathologically (Papal interference, atheism, Dover trial). The ontological thesis, the dialectical picture propagated now with papal-like authority is that DNA comparisons between animal and human is approaching “more than” 98.7 with talk that sounds like unequivocally bonobos can replace theological primates, run in presidential primaries, and be featured in a “paideia” Webpage. To prove an ontologism, an ape might even receive an honorary degree in biological science, and at the bonobo festschrift festively serve up fundamentalists. The ontological leap between thesis and antithesis is supposedly quantitatively trounced in this dialectical idealism’s materialistic synthesis. The genetic and inheritance fallacy has now been reduced to the proof that the synthesis is established through the argument that it is kosher to base one’s diet on DNA comparative measurements. It’s a good bite of neoHegelian dialectical argument but not as savory as dissertations about the immeasurable uniqueness of humankind.
2.6. Admittedly I’m overstretching defensively and probably doing discredit to Alan’s position. But there are reasons: Among Alan’s 30 personages is Paul Tillich whom John F. Haught claimed as one going a long way toward meeting Teilhard de Chardin’s effort to take into account the alleged “reality of evolution”. I’m mentioning Haught’s comment because he witnessed for the plaintiffs at the Dover Trial. Facetiously said: Haught is attempting to resurrect some of Tillich’s ashes (from Robert Owens’ New Harmony, Indiana) to sprinkle on himself and Chardin. (Haught’s testimony regarding Chardin and the “Papacy” will be considered on my to be posted Dover trial Webpage.) However I think Haught probably correctly assesses Tillich’s accommodation to “evolutionary” ontologism, which means he contributes to the catholicity already spoiling the protestant spirit initiated in large part by protestant Hegel’s dialectic method (see Tillich, p. 41 Systematic Theology, Vol. II)--that consequential catholicity inherit in Hegelian rationalism Jaspers so perceptively, retrospectively, and prospectively critiqued.
3. Hegelian and Susan Neiman connection--The second of the 30 personages Alan mentioned, and in the first footnote along with Hegel, is Susan Neiman. One can wonder whether the association is proper, and seriously question whether Jaspers would agree with the view that philosophical faith is encompassed by the philosophical realities manifested by the Great Philosophers in the sense that philosophy is dependent on religious speculation, as Alan seems to say. One can question even more that philosophical faith might be dependent on religious faith in particular. Unlike traditional theological predictions, philosophical truthful “prediction would already be their realization” (337 PFR). Not so, if Alan means Jaspers’ philosophy always comes too late, following up religion to catch up with what effects might be underway. I mean the statement that philosophy comes on the scene too late is like saying that an organism is preeminent to inheritable consciousness and conscience. That is too much neoHegelianism materialism, and too much of Chardinism’s Church—which introduced the misuse of “Christ” after the crucifixion. Chardin was right about one thing in particular and that is one can believe with his Church that a type of consciousness and guilty conscience increases with organ complexity. But such a dialectical progression means one must logically be an undercover atheist as a major condition for good standing in his Church. Augustine could fit the atheist category if and still be “Saint” if he would not believe if it were not for central authority orders. That logic may depict a Hegelian dialectic, but Jaspers is not Hegelian regarding the dialectical forms of thinking that were transformed by Darwinians a decade later and now manifested by neoDarwinians. Jaspers did not believe philosophy was dependent on religion. That is why he could write: “Unless there can be communication between the two origins of faith theology and philosophy will remain separate and mutually exclusive” (356 PFR). He was continuing his thought that the Protestant principle includes a return to the source, i.e., the biblical faith or biblical religion (355). Now as ever, for Jaspers, philosophy and religious catholicity is incongruent and union would mean the excommunication of one or the other. (356) At least a dichotomy is not only preferable but also unavoidable. At best we can only aim at “a conscious unity of disparates, of communicating poles that keep not only attracting but rejecting each other” (356). So the reason Susan Neiman is mentioned in the same footnote as Hegel and Jaspers could be because she has written with too little understanding about “religious fundamentalism”, and that weakness in analytical acumen could involve her own religious rudiments regarding the messiah.
4. Method: more about what Jaspers says he meant by Drs. of the Faith--Unlike Alan’s essay which includes a brief and sometimes questionable comparison of the 30 thirty with the real philosophy of Jaspers, my continued response here on this Webpage will be restricted to what Jaspers has to say about what he meant by referring to Protestant-Catholic Doctors of the Faith. Whereas Alan’s personages cum laude in academia’s presumed inter-discipline and “concerted and responsible” way, my response below will differ from the “pedagogy” of Boston University’s Paideia Website. The emphasis will be simply more of what Jaspers says he means. In other words we will let Jaspers unpack with greater care what unpacking overskill contributed to excessive baggage. So, I will not be documenting 30 or even one extra source in this response, but rather continue first-hand findings regarding what Jaspers meant.
4.1. More detailed meaning revealed in Philosophical Faith and Revelation--What Jaspers meant by the misuse of Christ by doctors of establishments and doctors in rebellion, both via exclusivity, can be found clarified in PFR @ p. 345. “From Catholic sources we hear that the Protestant principle must in the end lead to a denial of God’s incarnation in Jesus Christ. I think this is true, and therefore I think it is this very Catholic religious principle whose perpetuation keeps Protestantism everywhere imprisoned in Catholicism.” That orthodox-form of dialectical thinking might be found in Alan’s call for academia’s interdisciplinary control and within the same paragraph that the word “paideia” is mentioned as though the “Existenz” webpage encapsulates authoritatively Jaspers’ existenz, or at least how existenz should slant.
4.2. Jaspers last psycho reference to Hegel in Gen. Psycho. is on p. 821 where he makes paideia-relevant statements, and it seems applicable regarding the use of terms like “existenz”. Here he warns against using psychotherapeutic terms too lowly, and complains that “the level is still extremely fluctuating”. “The human image [such as what “existenz” represents] should be defined by the greatest of human beings and only they should coin the modes of speech to be used in talking about the psyche. It is from them we can learn to use the concepts which will help the individual to illuminate himself.” In this frame of reference here, Hegel is mentioned among the greats, but those greats, including Kierkegaard, Jaspers has found reason to critique, pointing out something of essence that is disagreeable—including Kant and Kierkegaard. So, the meaning of “existenz” could best be used according to Jaspers’ meaning. I mean Hegel and Jaspers are distinct for good reasons, and Jaspers is distinct from Kierkegaard for good reasons and those distinctions should not be nullified by identification fallacies.
5. Where I disagree with Jaspers’ translated expressions—If the philosophical potential for reflection on phenomena predates biblical revelation as Jaspers says (337PFR), this is consistent with the potential for predicting what is already a reality begun in some nuanced empirical sense. It could be playfully said that such close proximity between philosophical faith and revelation might be imagined to be the effect of the spins and opposite spins involved in clear and unclear dimensions of matter. But given these two ideas: (1) philosophy prior to revelation (philosophy as predicament predicated on existential necessity “Existenz has to decide in time” 253 PFR), and (2) predictions’ accuracy depends on a reality already in process (337) (not something emerging because prophesied or privately interpreted in the struggle for power), then it seems like a violation of this philosophical, metaphysical, and empirical way of thinking to presume that Jesus was not aware that he had “to decide in time”, in his time, that the time had come, his time and humankind’s time had come. That Jesus was aware of Old Testament messianic prophesies takes no stretch of hermeneutic imagination, and the realization of the need for instant personification of the ideal rests on the immediate and instant fulfillment in real person in real time.
5.1. Jaspers’ apparent waffling understood--So, I cannot agree with the parenthetical statement attributed to Jaspers that Jesus did not and could not have been heard saying “I am the way, the truth, and life” (105 Great), and “we do not come to God by way of Christ alone, as taught by the apostles” (339PFR) and that such interpolation was the effort of men to deify the Jesus image (105). But I do think apostate men exploited the saying. Jaspers’ reliance on peer scholarship seems to catch him in logical inconsistencies, for he can find Jesus proclaiming the only way (104), fulfilling ultimate human potentialities (105), and concluding that Jesus is not a model to imitate though Jaspers was speaking of paradigmatic individuals. The more apparent conflict is seen as less real when later he writes “the imitation of Jesus is not man’s only task, nor is one who declines it dependent on ‘justification by faith alone’” (339 PFR) and “we are to take our bearing from Jesus”.
5.2.Instantiation--I don’t see why it should be difficult for one to think that Jesus could grasp in an instant that Jerusalem was seen then as the center of the world that was in need of being saved. It was no harder for Jesus to see this than for Josephus to report that John the Baptist understood the consequences of Herod’s cavorting with the mistress of Rome while politically married to and threatening to kill the daughter of a neighboring Arabian King. Nor is it difficult to see why Jesus would use Petra as analogous in some sense to the narrow path and the keys of messianic conduct for entrance into the kingdom hewed from a solid rock of ages. Whether this participates in the “instantiation” Alan touches on regarding one of the 30 I don’t know. But it would be hard to subsume in one term the suffering of Jesus (338) or make it compatible with others deserving of paradigmatic status. And regarding the resurrection, Jaspers says that to substitute the “Risen” “for the simultaneousness of the concrete Church…seems violent and artificial” (345). I would agree but stipulate that there is no substitute for the “Risen” especially the “no Risen” alternative, except in so far as the messianic Spirit, Christ, lives in the individual rather than centralized geocentrically.
5.3. Jaspers and Matthew 24--Also, Jaspers appears to depend too much on peer scholars and misunderstands the 24th Chapter of Matthew. Here even a casual reader can understand that the account shows Jesus was asked a question that had at least two answers and his answer was not equivocal. One was about the destruction of the world, Jerusalem, and than the generalized projection that if the world as such had a beginning then it is logical that it will have and end (as each individual thinks in terms of birth and death), and all this end-of-time thinking understood in terms of the greater encompassing hope and consequential conduct if survival were believed regardless of the particular and general eschatologies coexisting.
5.4. Jaspers as victim of Tübingen, Interim gospel form of thinking--So, Jaspers falls victim to viewing Matthew 24 through the Protestant grasp of the early “Church” apostasy and the later evangelical catholicity involved in “the” rapture. He falls short of the protestant movement toward the restoration of the “return to the source” (356). While the destruction of Christ’s world’s temple was obvious and within a normal lifespan, some to be saved and some lost (but not due to moral judgment); but the world’s end could not be timely known, but its truth should produce timely emergency conduct congruent with immortality and theistic logic in preparation and hope that some would be saved then, there, too—and now. Both sorts of end-time logical forms are as real if not more so in our information age. So, the argument for an “interim gospel” is as improper now as then. I mean for Jaspers, peer trend was to judge Christ through viewing Jesus through dark ages; through those tainted spectacles Jaspers sees the “incarnation”, the “man-God”, “Jesus, the man, turned into Christ, the God” (343) as not being a biblical conformation (338). In sharing the risk of interpretation, Jaspers momentarily, in time, and dependent on personages in his Basel space, failed to take a birds-eye worldview while walking the fine line between the eternal and temporal—a fine line stretched on one side by protestant catholicity and from the other side Catholic Catholicity, and with attachments to Gertrude’s ties and the atheism of his father. And this sheds some light on Jaspers’ difficulty in agreeing with Kierkegaard’s rejection of historical research (348). Kierkegaard had philosophically grasped that a Tübingin central source of higher criticism had become the infiltratable center of a time and space confining sort of investigative thinking about biblical revelation vs. church catholicism. So Jaspers concludes, it seems, that modern theologians’ reversion to Kierkegaard as a substitute for biblical criticism, was something he could not and need not identify with, and Kierkegaard, the very source of the word “existenz”, could not be understood though he had attempted to come to terms with it (349PFR). Thus, the need for a Jaspers’ existenz.
5.5. The invisible Church and the smallest unit—To guard against what Jaspers’ sees as Kierkegaard’s efforts resulting in the end of Christianity, if one goes to the source, i.e., the New Testament, it is plain that the biblical institution was kept small, local, and difficult to infiltrate. The biblical Paul (and consistently Jaspers fails to appreciate Paul) had much to do with this effort. What replaces charisma’s transformation into an institution is the book about the life and ministry of Jesus. The establishing institutions’ need for miracles to make “Saints” and orders was precluded because confined to the book’s period covering the fulfillment of the messianic primordial breath, to avoid miraculous intervention being substituted for good works. The book about the charismatic person became the intervening final good news. The gospel message as ever remains what puts us all on probation in practical life (356PFR) and that is less an interim law and more the messianic continuum in each individual. The only way I can understand Jaspers difficulty with understanding Kierkegaard’s return to the source is that Jaspers is reacting to “attempts [that] have been made” by “modern theology” to avoid criticizing protestant catholicity (349).
5.6. “A return to the source” “this source is the Bible” is the Protestant principle; that is language that sounds fundamental enough, and “a radical reformation of the faith itself” “I would imagine this on Protestant soil” (351) is language by an increasingly popular philosopher-psychopathologist that a denomination might like to claim. But Jaspers is not such a philosopher (like Weber was not, too), but philosophical enough to be disqualified from being claimed as a sanctifying agent in the transformation of the “invisible church” and baring him from cultivating on “biblical soil” (355). There are no allowances in biblical sects for talk about “nothingness” as a ground for transformations growing out of “biblical soil” (355). And that disqualifies Jaspers from being “our Church philosopher”. It almost makes others vulnerable to superficially thinking that religious atheists could claim Jaspers. He is too biblically and historically alert for that to happen.
6. My main point here is to show that no group can establish claims on Jaspers, but that it is good to know that he is more affable toward the biblical standard than toward catholicity. This assurance, these vital points of difference, could have been intentionally planted and designed to germinate like primordial seeds in cipher form.