Friday, May 11, 2018

Xavier Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions, trans. Joaquin Redondo

The copyright notice (2001-2008, Joaquin Redondo) states that "Permission to republish in any form is hereby granted, provided this source is acknowledged." This was retrieved from the Internet Archive of THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri Translator and Editor Introductions (i-v) THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS (Outside back cover) The history of religions is more than a simple catalog of successive forms of religions; it is the great experience of mankind, individual as well as social and historical, concerning the ultimate truth of the power of the real. The philosophical presuppositions of this thesis have been established by XAVIER ZUBIRI (1898-1983) in his trilogy Inteligencia Sentiente ("Sentient Intelligence", tr. by Dr. T. B. Fowler, Jr.), and in his study concerning El hombre y Dios (“Man and God“, tr. by J. A. Redondo). In these, Zubiri radically questioned the conceptualism and idealism, which burden both the classical Theory of Knowledge, and Theodicy, while at the same time proposing a new and important alternative. To the traditional primacy of subject, logos, and being, Zubiri has contrasted the “primordial apprehension of reality”. His approach, with respect to the problem of God, reveals a new way, neither anthropologic nor metaphysical: the way of religation. But religation necessarily adopts a concrete specific form, molding itself into religion. Zubiri now activates the central categories of his thought to outline, in the texts we present here, an original and penetrating analysis of the religious fact and its history. Because of this, the present volume of previously unpublished material constitutes not only the natural continuation of Man and God, but also a prime contribution to the study of a theme, which no great philosophy has avoided or can avoid. It will be followed, in a third volume, by a systematic study of Christianity, which will complete the analysis of what Zubiri called “The theological problem of man”. XAVIER ZUBIRI THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS Translated by Joaquín A. Redondo, M.E., M.A.(Phil.) Critically reviewed by Dr. Thomas B. Fowler, Jr., Sc.D. (From El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, Alianza-Fundación, First Spanish Edition, Madrid, November, 1993) (Numbers in braces “{ }” refer to the pagination of the above First Spanish Edition) TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION The second book of Zubiri’s trilogy about God brings all the intellectual precision of Zubiri to bear on the facts of historical religion. The proper introduction to this book has to be Man and God, with all its introductory remarks. There is no other. However, since Zubiri prepares his points carefully, this book can be tackled directly by those already aware of the problems. For these, my brief introduction to Man and God would probably suffice as a start. Nevertheless, there is a definite point of departure for this book. In the last page of Man and God the point is clearly made by Zubiri that what we really have is fundamental theology, not præambula fidei. A knowledge that is theological, not theologic. Therefore, Zubiri has presented to us the intellectual way to discover God qua God “in” reality, where we are installed together with all real things. That is theological knowledge. If this is so, the encounter with real theologic knowledge “in” historical reality will not require gymnastic “leaps of faith”. It is precisely by removing the fundamental reality involved in this “preliminary” search for God qua God that “leaps” would have to appear everywhere. By not grounding intellectual steps “in” reality, the only God we could ultimately “conceive” would be a “leaping” God, something like an “infinite” super-being. From this to “super-man” is only a step, because the direction has been lost. Aberrant intellection. Zubiri recaptures the sense of direction “towards” God, and brings us to what is the “only” historical way to God. A way fundamented “in” reality, and our intelligence recognizing that God qua God has to be the absolutely absolute reality and ground of our own relatively absolute reality “in” Him. A God that really cares about each one of us, and comes to meet us, not only intellectually, but “in” reality. One word of warning about the use of “yo” by Zubiri. The Spanish “yo” is rendered as “I” in English. There is no English “i”, just as there is no "Yo" in Spanish. However, Zubiri writes “Yo” to make a profound distinction. To keep this distinction alive in the English text we shall use “I” for the Spanish “Yo”, and “I” for the usual “yo”. With this, Zubiri is pointing to the difference between the I as the being of the substantive, a posterior act of the substantive I, and the I of the substantive reality. The I of the being of the substantive is a reaffirmation of the I of the substantive reality. Something Zubiri will explain. I mention it now so the reader may be prepared. It is an important metaphysical distinction that must be kept in the English text. With respect to the quotations in Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek, I have decided to use transliterations in this website, to avoid their loss due to lack of proper fonts to read them. In some cases Zubiri also provided transliterations, and in others he just gave the transliteration. For other languages Zubiri only used transliteration, as the editor indicates. On these I have avoided the more complicated phonetic diacritic marks which would require special phonetic fonts to read them. I mention it because Zubiri had mastered all the languages he quotes, and his quotations are fully accurate. The decision to accomodate has been my own in order to make the terms somewhat understandable even without those diacritic marks. I know the experts will extend their benevolence. My thanks to Dr. Thomas B. Fowler, Jr., President of the Zubiri Foundation of North America for his valuable suggestions. {i} EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION Religions and their history constituted one of the most important intellectual preoccupations of Xavier Zubiri. As he did with other intellectual disciplines, Zubiri did not wish to keep in mind for his philosophical reflections only the results of the investigations of other disciplines, but was also interested in acquiring a direct contact with their methods and activities. Besides knowing the work of the historians and sociologists of religion, of the phenomenology of religion and of theology, Zubiri dedicated himself, primarily during the 1930’s, to the study of oriental languages and cultures, and to the direct translation of their texts, first in Rome and afterwards in Paris. The article of 1935 En torno al problema de Dios (“In regard to the problem of God”, incorporated into Naturaleza, historia, Dios, 9ª ed., Madrid, 1987, pp. 417-454) [Nature, History, God, tr. by T. B. Fowler, Jr.], where Zubiri introduces the concept of religation; the “Note sur la Philosophie de la Religion“ (“Note about the Philosophy of Religion”) (Bulletin de l’Institut Catholique de Paris, vol. 28, no. 10, 1937, pp. 333-341), written for a course at the Catholic Institute of Paris; and the paper “A la mémoire du P. Lagrange, O.P., Docteur de la tradition biblique“ (“To the memory of Fr. Lagrange, O.P., Doctor of Biblical Tradition”) (Chroniques du Foyer des Ètudiants Catholiques, no. 9, 1938, pp. 3-7) display the first philosophical and theological fruits of these investigations. His interest in studies of this type did not disappear {ii} during Zubiri’s years of maturation and intellectual plenitude. There are, in addition to some isolated publications such as the article Zurvanismo (Zoroastrianism) written for the Gran Enciclopedia del Mundo ("Great World Encyclopedia") (Bilbao, 1964, vol. 19, pp. 485-486), and his participation in the III Convegno di Studi di Filosofia della Religione (III Conference of Studies about the Philosophy of Religion) at Peruggia, many unpublished manuscripts, mostly written for the non-university conference seminars dedicated to philosophical reflection about religions. In 1965 Zubiri approached the theme of religions philosophically in two seminars, one at Madrid (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones) (The philosophical problem of the history of religions), and a shorter one at Barcelona (El problema de Dios en la historia de las religiones) (The problem of God in the history of religions). In the 1968 seminar on El hombre y el problema de Dios (Man and the problem of God) there appeared again, not only the theme of religation, but also several references to the history of religions as a philosophical and theological problem. In 1971 Zubiri delivered a wide ranging seminar on El problema teologal del hombre: Dios, religión, Cristianismo (The theological problem of man: God, religion, Christianity). This seminar presented the three part division into which Zubiri placed the problem of religions. A first part, entitled El hombre y Dios (Man and God), was the object of a new seminar in 1973 at Rome, which would result in the publication of his posthumous work with that title (El hombre y Dios, Madrid, 1984). The third part, dedicated to Christianity, recapitulated the themes of the seminar Reflexiones filosóficas sobre algunos problemas de teología (Philosophical reflections about some problems of theology) given in 1967. The content corresponding to one of these conferences, greatly developed afterwards, was published in 1981 in the article "Reflexiones filosóficas sobre la Eucaristía" (Philosophical reflections on the Eucharist) (Estudios eclesiásticos, no. 56, 1981, pp. 41-59). The conferences of the second part of the 1971 seminar, entitled Religión y religiones (Religion and religions) have remained unpublished up to now except for brief references to them in the article {iii} El problema teologal del hombre (The theological problem of man), published in 1975 and incorporated into El hombre y Dios (pp. 369-383). Both seminars of 1965, and the second part of the 1971 seminar display a similar structure, which is also revealed in an index, which Zubiri himself prepared for the 1965 Madrid seminar. In some instances the seminars are almost identical, since Zubiri was using the typed pages of a transcript from an earlier seminar, corrected by himself, as a departure point for the new seminar. The differences primarily have to do with the length assigned to each of the points into which Zubiri divided his analysis, and also, naturally, to the progressive maturity and precision of some of the concepts. The latter seemed to suggest that the best way to edit the unpublished material was to take the text of 1971 as a base, supplementing it with references in notes or appendices to the previous seminars. However, several reasons militated against it. First, the second part of the 1971 seminar presupposes —as part of the analysis of the problem of God in the first part of the seminar— the important exposition of religation, which appears in the seminars of 1965, and therefore does not include it. In the second place, the transcript of the two 1965 seminars had been carefully corrected by Zubiri, including the insertion of texts at some important places, hand-written or typed by Zubiri himself; while the second part of the 1971 seminar was not revised. Finally, the elaboration of some concrete problems is much more extensive and precise both in the seminars of 1965, and in some sections of the 1968 seminar dealing with religions. The foregoing led us to the following option. As an outline of the present work we have followed the index prepared by Zubiri {iv} for the 1965 Madrid seminar. However, we have not taken any of the seminars as the only basic text, but in each instance we have chosen what we considered the most finished text, placing in notes and appendices those observations and reflections of Zubiri stemming from the other seminars. Of course, the reader is always informed about the origin of each of the passages, so that those studying Zubiri, even though not facing a critical edition in the strictest sense, will be able to judge by themselves the differences between seminars. The result is a work whose structure and text belong to Zubiri, and only to him. Even the titles of the chapters and sections, as well as the transitions among them, proceed from Zubiri himself. The only responsibility of the editor has been the preference in each case for one the seminars, the inclusion of particular texts of Zubiri as notes or appendices, and the slight corrections implied by the change from the oral to the written style, keeping in mind that the great majority of these corrections had been made by Zubiri while revising the typed pages of the seminars. As will be noted, the quotations in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic have been kept in their original form, since this is the one Zubiri used while correcting the typed pages of his seminars. In the case of other languages like Arabic or Iranian we have preferred, following Zubiri, the use of transcription. Also, the Hebrew terms in frequent use, for example Yahweh, have been transcribed. The notes at the foot of the page are the work of the editor unless the contrary is indicated. For the correct reading of this work one must not forget that it constitutes in a certain way the continuation of Man and God. Indeed, the first part of the present {v} book, dedicated to the exposition of religation, gathers and partially condenses some of the key points of that work. However, the philosophical consequences of many of the theses in the present volume will only be evaluated correctly if one keeps in mind Man and God, and the other philosophical writings of Zubiri, especially the three volumes of Sentient Intelligence. The reader is referred to them by notes placed at the most critical points. On the other hand, the meditations of Zubiri throughout these pages provide many clues towards the understanding of the evolution, and perhaps even the genesis of several fundamental concepts of his philosophy. In addition, the present work, which makes several excursions into the field of theology, comprises a necessary preparation for the study of Christianity, which will be the subject of a new volume of unpublished manuscripts soon to be published. This will finally provide in three volumes, the three parts of Zubiri's examination of the “theological problem” in which man consists. Finally, I would like to thank Carmen Castro for her valuable help and suggestions, the Xavier Zubiri Foundation —especially Asunción Medinaveitia and Diego Gracia— for all the assistance provided to the present publication, and Gabino Uríbarri for his detailed revision of the text. Antonio González Madrid, February, 1993 THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri --- Intro. & Chapter 1 (9-28) {9} THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS {11} INTRODUCTION1 In this book I propose to reflect on that great fact in the history of mankind represented by the history of religions. Of course, within the narrow confines allowed by these pages I can do nothing but to approach the history of religions as a whole, i.e., I cannot address religions individually, but only consider the history of religions in a particular manner, —if one prefers— in the abstract, as a history, which occurs within mankind. That not only does not impede, but indeed compels us, in the course of these reflections, to make allusions, albeit sporadic ones (quite understandably), to different religions, religious practices, or religious customs. Within this totality of the history of religions it is not our intention to make a kind of comparative balance of the different religions —though that would doubtlessly be more enticing, and interesting. That is a matter for the science of the history of religions, and is not the subject of these pages, which do not deliberately address the “history of religions”, but the philosophical problem posed by the fact of the history of religions. We are concerned, therefore, with just a {12} philosophical intellection on this fact, taken in its totality as an historical reality. To do this it will be necessary, above all, to start by articulating what it is that we understand by the adjective “religious”. In what does the religious aspect of those facts, which comprise the history of religions consist, and why are they called “religious facts”? At the outset one might think this is something trivial and insignificant —everyone knows more or less what a religious fact is. However, we shall soon realize that this is not so insignificant or trivial. Once this matter is resolved, it will then be possible to have the spiritual amplitude to confront the subject of the history of religions itself from a purely philosophical perspective. In this study a consideration of Christianity cannot be excluded for clearly understandable reasons. And yet, it is not our intention to make an historical apology for Christianity; it is purely and simply the case of understanding it in its intrinsic historical condition. No religion escapes the historical functionality with which it has been born, exists, and develops. It is the case, therefore, of considering Christianity purely and simply within the history of religions, without any pathos. Philosophy has no other pathos but the monotony of bare truth. We have thus delineated the way we shall follow, in three stages: First: What do we understand by a religious fact? In other words, What is the religious as such, actually? Second: the fact itself of the history of religions. What is this religious fact? Third: Christianity in the history of religions. {13} FIRST PART THE RELIGIOUS FACT {15} CHAPTER I THE RELIGIOUS FACT AS SUCH In this chapter we are going to concentrate our attention on the first of the points mentioned in the introduction, namely: What is a religious fact? The problem is not to describe religious facts, which are well known by everyone, nor is it to ask about characteristics which more or less distinguish religious facts from those, which are not such or more precisely, to distinguish that, which is religious in some facts from what is not religious in others. Rather, it is about asking ourselves In what does the religious formally and constitutively consist as such? To answer this question we can proceed in several ways. {16} § 1 RELIGION AS AN INSTITUTION The first and most obvious way, is the one which consists in saying: religions are facts, which exist out there, in human society, and as such are constituted by certain religious institutions, certain rites, certain beliefs, certain practices, etc., framed within the society to which they belong. Those beliefs, practices, and precepts constitute a moment of the objective spirit, whose social aspect is independent of and different from what may be the individual spirit of each member of that society. What is religious would be the religious institutionality. It is said that this objective spirit, equally in the order of religion as in the other social facts, is imposed on all individuals. Not only does it float above them, but in a certain way has that peculiar character of coercive pressure over each of the individuals living in that society, not as a function of authority, but as a social fact. This social pressure, institutionalized, would constitute, if not religion or the religious, at least one of its essential aspects. This is the classic theoretical and thematic position of Durkheim in his famous book The Elemental Forms of Religious Life2. That a religion in general may take on this form is undeniable. Moreover, it is definitely something essential to religion. But that is not the question, because to the conception of religion {17} so understood —without loss of the validity it has within its limits— one must contrast, in the first place, that it leaves outside of its framework many religious acts, which do not belong to the institution: for example, supplication, individual prayer. Even for the believer belonging to a particular religious institution there are many acts of his religious life, which are quite individual. How can one say that this does not belong to religion? The overextension of the social and collective characteristic of the religious phenomenon cannot cancel in any way a dimension (as insufficient as it may be, but real and authentic) of religiosity, if not individual in the sense of opposition to the social, at least true with respect to religious acts, which are of an individual nature. In the second place, all these institutions, rites, practices, collective organizations, etc., which —I must again emphasize— are essential to a religion, nevertheless they are not themselves religion: they are the body in which religion becomes incarnate. Under apparently equal rites, and under very similar institutions, which have been able to be transferred from one religion to another, there may lie quite different religions. Institutionalization is the form of the objective spirit, but not the very essence of the religious as such. And, in the third place, the strength of the religious is not simply, even inside the institutions, social pressure. Just the opposite: social pressure always constitutes religion if and when it refers to the religious. In other words, the religious is prior to the social. Social pressure is religious because it already incorporates the religious character, but is not religious because it may have the characteristic of social pressure. It is necessary that this series of acts, as social, refer specifically to a religious object. Durkheim himself recognizes this, and points out that this object thus qualified is precisely the sacred. {18} § 2 RELIGION AS DOMAIN OF THE SACRED This is the second way we must follow: the way of the sacred. The precise and formal object of the religious would be the sacred. It is not precisely the gods, because there are religions, which have none; Buddhism, Taoism, certain forms of Jainism, probably even Brahmanism itself, strictly speaking lack any gods. It is not that they lack supernatural entities —that is another matter—, but all those supernatural entities superior to the ones of Earth are subject as a whole to something, which is not precisely a god, and constitutes the formal terminus of those religions. It is said that what is specific to religion is the sacred. And religion is defined by the thematic and polar opposition between the sacred and the profane. Of course, then we must ask, What is the sacred? That is the question. A) The first answer to this question is given by Durkheim himself. The duality in question between the sacred and the profane —he tells us— is not capable of definition: one can only say it is absolute. So absolutely absolute, Durkheim says, that even the opposition between moral good and evil pales next to the difference between the sacred and the profane. Precisely in its absolute absolutism, so to speak, the whole strength of this opposition resides. The sacred is that which is intangible, that which cannot be touched by the profane. And upon this characteristic of separation, which the sacred has would rest {19} the specific characteristic of the religious act. Needless to say this was precisely the conception, which fascinated Durkheim so much that he believed the elementary form of religious life was precisely a taboo. The opposition is absolute, and between both worlds there is no possible communication. It is possible that something belonging to the profane may become sacred. For example, the initiation rites, or also other religious rites, sacralize the profane; but the result of those religious acts consists precisely in a kind of internal metamorphosis of the one who submits to them, by virtue of which one ceases to belong to the world of the profane in order to become rooted mysteriously in the world of the sacred. Naturally, the complete definition of religion for Durkheim is not only that it may be a social institution, but a social institution, which rests on the sacred, where the difference between the sacred and the profane is constituted precisely by the social bonds themselves. Now then, to this conception of the sacred we must make several objections. In the first place, it does not extend to all the dimensions of the sacred. The sacred is not only the untouchable; it is also the venerable. It does not appear that all the dimensions of the sacred fall within Durkheim’s conception. Moreover, in second place, it is true that the sacred is in its own way untouchable, but it is so because it is sacred. It is not the case that it is sacred because it is untouchable. What the social organization does is precisely to delimit or select the ambit of the sacred, to declare with the strength of a social institution which things are sacred, but it does not create the sacred as such. As it turns out, this notion of the sacred is merely negative, consisting only in saying what is not profane. The sacred, however, in order to be of use to us in our endeavor, must have a positive content, and must be a positive quality. {20} This is the second concept of the sacred: the sacred as an objective quality. B) The sacred is undefinable, like anything elemental, however, it is perfectly objective. The book by Rudolf Otto Das Heilige3 —which should be translated as The Sacred— has indeed become a manual of the theorization of that which is sacred. It is, Otto says, a perfectly objective quality. Certainly, it is not apprehended in an act of reason, and in this sense it is irrational. It is formally apprehended, he tells us, in an act of sentiment. But sentiments are not completely subjective: they have an objective correlate which is value. The sacred is a value, and as a value it is perfectly objective. To one who has no religious sense to perceive the sacred this conception tells him nothing, Otto points out; but someone born blind would find himself in the same situation unable to understand an explanation as to what color is. Assuming one may have this sentiment, the sacred presents itself to the mind of the one who senses it as a perfectly objective characteristic. Sacredness —Otto says— is not reducible to whatever is good physically or even morally. When, for example, the Old Testament refers to God as kadosh (holy), the Greeks as hierón, etc., these terms include a dimension of moral goodness. But they transcend it in large measure; they mean much more. And this “more” is precisely what characterizes the sacred. It is what he called the “numinous”, a term derived from the Latin word numen. Facing the {21} numinous, man feels overwhelmed. But this being overwhelmed is not the first feeling with which the sacred is apprehended. It is apprehended in a sentiment specifically numinous, the sentiment of the numinous. The overwhelming, Otto says, is purely and simply the subjective reflection of the apprehension of the numinous as such. Somewhat more positively, What is this numinous thing? In the first place, he tells us, it is shattering, it is tremendous. Tremendous... we cannot, in a certain way, approach it. From a certain point of view it is majestic —sebastós the Greeks used to say—, facing which man feels himself in the subjective reflex of humility. But in addition it is energetic in the Greek sense of the word: source of life, vitality and movement. Let us remember, for example, the idea of orgé, the wrath of God. Besides being tremendous it is mysterious: it is mysterium tremendum. It is not only admirable —this would be the subjective reflection—, but is in itself the marvelous. It has that quality, precisely by being marvelous, which separates it radically from everything else. The numinous in this sense is wholly other, what is totally other. Because of this it encompases precisely that paradoxical and antinomial structure in which all mystics find solace. Besides being tremendous and mysterious, it is fascinating. Not only is it marvelous, it is also prodigious. And the prodigious form attracts, but also frightens: is deinós (Gk.), terrible. Finally, he tells us, it is the holy. The expression Tu solus sanctus —Otto repeats— is one of the essential characteristics of the sacred. The overthrow of this value is justifiably a sin; something worse than a moral transgression. And everything not belonging to this sacred order is purely and simply the profane. In conclusion, confronting the presence of the numinous and the sacred, man is in the presence of a tremendous and fascinating mystery. {22} The sacred rests upon itself as something majestic. And religion is nothing but the piety, the obedience, and the submission before this supreme sacred value: the reverent bow, and the respect facing the numinous. The analysis of Rudolf Otto has been very influential. A thousand detailed observations could be made from this analysis, but its essential element has imposed itself like a flood over the current mentality: in the science of religions, in philosophy, and even in theology itself. In the history of religions it has had its most splendid expression in a book, absolutely first class and unique in its field, by Mircea Eliade entitled Treatise on the History of Religions4. For Mircea Eliade what is religious is anything, which possesses the value of the sacred. In this sense, the object of religion is always a manifestation of the sacred: it is a hierophany. Naturally, the sacred and the profane are always in perpetual exchange. Everything is capable of been sacralized, and actually, if all religions are considered, there are few profane things that have not been sacralized. However, each religion selects a few to make them sacred. And because of this there is a veritable dialectic of the sacred. The object, when made sacred, in a certain way becomes distant to itself, and passes into a different world. The objects, in addition, acquire, lose, and can recover their sacred character. This dialectic is the dynamic coincidence of the sacred and the profane in every hierophany. As an example Eliade presents the encounter of Yahweh with Moses in the burning bush (cf. Ex 3), or the episode that appears in the first book of Kings in the Old Testament about the struggle of the prophet Elijah with the prophets of Ba‘al {23} (cf. 1 Kgs 18:20-40). Elijah, tired of remonstrating with the prophets of Ba‘al, challenges them to a test: they proceed to Mt. Carmel, prepares the victims for the holocaust, and asks the prophets of Ba‘al to call on Ba‘al to see if fire comes down from heaven to burn the sacrifice, and make it a holocaust. Three times they make their invocation, but the fire does not descend from heaven. Ironically Elijah says: “Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened” (1 Kgs 18:27). But it is now his turn. And, of course, the fire comes down from heaven and consumes the sacrifice. Eliade says: “The ‘divine form’ of Yahweh prevailed over the divine form of Ba‘al; it revealed sacredness in a more complete form..., it allowed for a more direct communication, which at the same time was purer and more complete. In the end, that is how the Yahwist hierophany triumphed... it became a religious value to the whole world”5. The history of religions, in the end, concerns these hierophanies and this dialectic of the hierophanies. Of course, there are acts in the history of religions, for example, the rites. But in a poignant phrase he tells us: “The hierophanies sacralize the cosmos; the rites sacralize life”6. Finally, for Mircea Eliade the history of religions ultimately consists in the drama produced by the loss and discovery of religious values7. The result of this attempt has been splendid. Through it the authenticity of the sacred in the history of religions against all sociological and evolutionary conceptions has been recovered, at least in a phenomenological sense —no small accomplishment. The good fortune of this idea reached {24} philosophy itself; in Heidegger’s words, “Only from the essence of the sacred can one think about the essence of the deity”8. It even entered into theology, not only Protestant —Otto was a pietist Protestant theologian—, but Catholic as well. Every religion, it is stated, is certainly a relationship with God, but the differential and specific note of the relationship with God is sacredness. “Perhaps” —again quoting Heidegger— “what characterizes our times is its obdurateness towards the dimension of the sacred (das Heil). Maybe this is the only Unheil”9, the only and radical misfortune of our times. Nonetheless, one must make a few philosophical reflections about this conception. Let us begin with the history of religions itself just as Mircea Eliade describes it. Certainly, it is perfectly legitimate for each historian to choose the perspective from which he is going to contemplate the objects of study. This is essential to all historians. The perspective that Eliade has chosen is absolutely valid, and besides, it has produced, as I said, splendid results. It is true that Eliade, in addition to talking about religious values, i.e., of hierophanies, does not exclude from them those things, which are really subjects or, at least, accompany those hierophanies. For example, speaking about the sacralization of life he tells us: “Strength and life are nothing but epiphanies of the ultimate reality” (his own emphasis)10. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Eliade does accentuate the sacred as a value. And although a historian is certainly allowed to talk in non-formal terms, {25} simply employing the usual ones, it is no less certain that a philosopher has to formulate on his own, rigorously and with total precision, the problem of the precise formal concept of the religious. From that point of view we must say, in the first place, that all this exchange from the sacred to the profane is certainly an absolutely true historical observation. There is not the smallest doubt about it. Now, the philosopher may ask: Why? Why is it that everything profane can be sacralized? In the second place, it is said that the whole history of religions is a dialectic of hierophanies. That in the history of religions there may be a dialectic of hierophanies is unquestionable, and is a conclusion of enormous consequences. However, Is the description, which Eliade presents of the dialectic of hierophanies in the example of Elijah, and in the encounter of Yahweh with Moses in the burning bush correct? Starting with the last hierophany, we read in the Exodus text: “Yahweh said, ‘Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,’ he continued, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.’ Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” (Ex 3:5-6). “But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” (Ex 3:13). God replied: hayah ‘amar hayah, “I am who am” (Ex 3:14). I put aside the translation and meaning of this phrase for the time being; will return to it later. Clearly, we do not have a simple hierophany here, we have a theophany. It is true that the place is sacred, but it is sacred because Yahweh is there. It is not the case of a direct sacredness at all. It is a hierophany —Yahweh himself tells him the place he is standing on is sacred—, but it is so because He is there, i.e., because there is a theophany. In the Ba‘al episode the text says “Yahweh’s fire came down and consumed the holocaust, wood, stones, and dust, and it lapped up the water in the trench. Seeing this, all the people fell {26} prostrate and said, ‘Yahweh is God, Yahweh is God’ ” (1 Kgs 18:38-39). Indeed, Who will deny that this is not the triumph of a hierophany, but of a theophany? It is the triumph of the truth of a living God against a dead god who neither sees, nor hears, nor understands, nor comes to one’s aid. What takes place there is not the triumph of a sacredness, but the triumph of a God, the triumph of Yahweh. The fact is that any hierophany is either the immediate manifestation of a theophany, or a kind of a mediated theophany; for example, in the case of Ba‘al, a fire sent by God. Or it is a hidden theophany, or even a theophany relegated to the oblivion and anonymity of the god from whom it proceeds. This is why Eliade is correct when he tells us that for the ancients “everything unusual, singular, new, perfect or monstrous becomes the recipient of magic-religious forces, and depending on the circumstances, an object of veneration or fear, by virtue of that ambivalent feeling which the sacred always evokes”11. But the Greeks never called it hierón, sacred, they called it theión, divine. Because, ultimately —we shall later see why— the profane is not formally opposed to the sacred, rather it is opposed to the religious. In other words: the sacred is certainly something, which belongs to the religious, but it belongs to it consequentially, because it is religious. The sacred is not that which constitutes the formal characteristic of the religious as such. The history of religions is not a history of sacred values, but a history of the relationships of man with God. Unless it were to be said that this God who functions in the theophanies is the sacred itself. This is the second thesis, the thesis of Heidegger. It is true that the gods are sacred: {27} there is no doubt about it. That sacredness is a value of the gods: that also cannot be doubted. But no reality has a value unless it is a function of the properties it possesses. It would be sheer fantasy to think that reality is an external support of values, making them extraneous to the real properties it has. Just the reverse, things have values because of the properties they have. The gods are sacred because they are gods, they are not gods because they are sacred. Once again, the sacred is consequent, but not constitutive of the divinity as such. One might say that, the specific difference of the religious falls, with respect to the divinity, upon the sacred dimension, and that there is a religious relationship with the divinity only insofar as it rests upon the sacredness of the gods. But this is totally untenable. In the first place, the ratio cognoscendi is being confused with the ratio essendi, i.e., the reason by which a phenomenon is distinguished from another is being confused with the reason by which the phenomenon is, positively, what it is. It amounts to saying that colors are distinguished from heat in that the first are perceived by sight, and the second by touch. Yes, this is evident. But it says nothing to us about color or heat. Every relationship with the gods, in fact, is purely and simply religious. There is just no other relationship with the gods, because God is that reality which is not only majestic, but the one to whom we address, for example, our supplications, which are not necessarily addressed to a majestic reality. Ultimately, there is no other relationship with God —I repeat— than the religious relationship. And consequently, to try to find the religious in the sacred is again to follow a false path. The sacred, to be sure, fulfills its function in the relationship with the gods, but it is a quality of the religious relationship. The religious relationship is not such because it is sacred. {28} Finally, these brief considerations bring us to the idea that the sacred is not that which is primary about religion. Out of this whole discussion, the problem of the religious as such has been preserved perfectly intact, especially if we keep in mind what Otto decidedly favors, according to which the act in which the sacred is presented to us, and consequently the specifically religious act, is an act of sentiment. But this is an abstraction. Does the sacred intervene only as a form of sentiment? Indubitably, there are religious acts of volition, and intellectual religious acts. It is true that other acts could be proposed in opposition to sentiment, but these oppositions would be equally false. Because the truth is that the religious as such is something that belongs to the whole man, and not simply to one of his dimensions. It is not a question of some acts being either sentimental, volitive, or intellectual; it is a relationship involving the whole man. And, in second place, neither is it a state in which the whole man finds himself, but is something completely different: it is an attitude. From this it follows that we must embark on a third way, which will make us see in what the religious attitude consists. _________________ 1 The Introduction and the beginning of chapter one (§1 and §2) stem from the 1965 Madrid seminar concerning “The philosophical problem of the history of religions”. 2 Cf. E. Durkheim, Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse, Paris, 1912. 3 Cf. R. Otto, Das Heilige. Über Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und sein Verhältnis zum Rationalem, Breslau, 1917. 4 Cf. M. Eliade, Traité d’histoire des religions, Paris, 1949. Zubiri quotes from the Spanish translation by A. Medinaveitia, cf. Tratado de historia de las religiones, Madrid, 1954. 5 M. Eliade, Tratado de historia de las religiones, op. cit., p. 18. 6 Ibid., p. 436. 7 Ibid., p. 440. 8 M. Heidegger, “Brief über den humanismus” in Platons Lehre von der Warheit, Berlin, 1947, p. 102. 9 Ibid., p. 103. 10 M. Eliade, ibid. p. 43. 11 M. Eliade, ibid., p. 27. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri ---------- Chapter 1 (29-41) {29} § 3 THE RADICAL ATTITUDE OF MAN1 In order to find out in what the religious attitude consists, it will be necessary that we ask four things in succession: In the first place, What is a personal attitude? Second, Which is the radical personal attitude? Third, What is the object and structure of this attitude? And in fourth place, How do all things appear, man himself among them, from the point of view of this attitude? I. What is a personal attitude? Man is a personal reality. And the personal reality of man is constituted by something, which essentially differs from the reality of an animal, which does not act, nor responds to things, nor senses himself except as stimulus. Quite differently from this, man possesses that essential ingredient of {30} his intelligence, which viewed from my perspective, is the organ with which man formally confronts things, and himself qua reality. Unlike stimulus, which specifies animal life, the formal characteristic of reality specifies the strictest dimensions of man. Intelligence is, therefore, a capacity which man has for handling everything as reality, and, of course, also himself as reality. One might think that any dog, which has a stimulus, is also dealing with a reality. Yes, and no. There is no doubt he is dealing with something which is quite materially a reality, but it is not present to him qua reality. On the other hand, because of his intelligence, to man, at least on the level of a conscience somewhat more labored, even his own stimulations are present to himself as real stimulations. The characteristic of reality is specifically inscribed in the intelligence of man, and excluded from the animal. That is why it is incorrect to say the animal “himself” feels (Sp. “se” siente) hungry: the animal has hunger, which is something different, because he lacks the moment of the self (Sp. se). And lacks that moment of self precisely because he has no intelligence. In the intelligence, on the other hand, man has to deal not only with all the things that surround him, and with other men, but also with himself insofar as reality. That is why he has a self (Sp. se). Man as a reality certainly has a set of properties that belong to him de suyo (literally “from its own self” —Tr. note), just like all things: stones, animals, vegetables, stars... But, inasmuch as man has an intelligence, he behaves towards himself not only through the properties he actually possesses, but behaves towards himself qua reality, precisely by the bare and simple characteristic of reality. With {31} this, man appears to himself not only as a reality comprised of certain properties which belong to him de suyo, but appears as belonging to himself, i.e., to his own reality. And this characteristic of belonging to himself as a reality, and qua reality, is precisely what is called person. I shall immediately explain why I call this characteristic personhood. It follows that man encounters himself among other things in a peculiar situation: he finds himself among things not only as a stone is among other stones. Not only finds himself as a man in what he naturally has among other men, or among other things, but rather finds himself in an absolutely unique manner. Because if it is true that man is among things, which for example, surround me in this room, the more profound truth is that, together with these things, that in which man is, is in reality as such. Things are but the pillars by which man is actually supported in reality, which only offers itself to him through things, and it is to their characteristic of reality that intelligence is formally inscribed. Man, consequently, possesses this personhood, and has it a nativitate, by the mere fact of being man. For this reason I call it personhood. Personhood is not something to be acquired. One begins to be a man by having personhood. And personhood perdures throughout the whole human existence. Because of it man —I repeat— finds himself placed among other real things. Precisely because this placement is something absolutely unique, I prefer to use a term, which has a noticeably different shading. Man, surrounded by things and finding himself among them is, however, installed, implanted in reality as such, not independently {32} of things, but rather in the characteristic of reality which things offer to him. How is he implanted among these things? That is the essential question. Man is not implanted among things quiescently2. He is not simply there. Man is among things with a characteristic, which is appropriately and specifically human. He finds himself restless among things. In what does this restlessness consist, this restless and non-quiescent implantation of man among things? Man, while performing his personal acts, his acts upon other things surrounding him —sees them, feels them, avoids them, is pleased with them, greets a friend, strolls, writes— is doing something quite subtle in all these acts which we must point out carefully. On the one hand, with all these acts man is tracing the way of his life. A life constructed with the things that surround one, with other men and in addition with his own reality. This with used by man to make his own life belongs formally to the very structure of human life. It is not the case that we have life, and in addition that we have the things to which life refers, but indeed that life formally and by itself, constructively involves, the characteristic of with. This is life with things, with other men, with oneself. Since living is, ultimately, to possess oneself, the entire course of life is nothing but the transcurrence of the way man actually possesses himself. Yet, this is not the most radical thing. Man possesses himself in life not only in the sense that with his own life he activates himself in the properties emerging from his nature. In personal life —the term appears here in its specific determination— man {33} does not perform simply as a person, but realizes himself as person. Let us take, to better understand what this means, any kind of act; for example, I am writing at this moment. This simple act “I write” can be enunciated in two different ways. One, saying what it is that I am doing now —I write, I do not sleep or walk. But I can enunciate the phrase in another way: I can say that “it is I who writes”. In this case it seems clear to me that in every personal act which man performs, besides that which he is doing, there is this subtle dimension of the I 3 performing that action. What is this I? Certainly, the I is not my own substantive reality. From the moment of my conception I have my substantive reality, as germinal as one may possibly consider it, but with all the ingredients that are going to constitute my whole reality throughout the extent of my life. In the I, therefore, we are not dealing with my substantive reality. We are dealing with something different. Actually when I say “I”, I am adding a small adjective “I-myself”, wherein lies the specific difference, which separates the “I” from substantive reality. When I say “I”, I am not referring simply to my substantive reality, but rather to the fact that my substantive reality somehow reactualizes itself in this act, which is I. And this reaffirmation of my own substantive reality is that in which the I consists. The I is not the substantive reality of man, but that posterior act in which this substantive reality reaffirms itself and constitutes what we call being (Sp. ser). The I is not my substantive reality, but rather my substantive being4. {34} This distinction, which may appear somewhat subtle when applied to cosmic realities, acquires the fullness of meaning when applied to human reality. What this I is doing (that is the origin of the adjective “self”), and consequently this being, does not add any notes to my substantive reality, but simply reactualizes it. By identity it reverts this second act to the substantive reality from which this second act emerges. And in that reversion by way of identity is in what intimacy consists metaphysically. Intimacy is not something hidden. It can be, but it is not intimate because it is hidden. The color of my face is perfectly intimate, purely and simply because it is mine. This moment of being “mine” is that in which my intimacy formally consists. The I, which constitutes the substantive being of man, as it reverts through intimacy it identifies itself with the substantive reality. The I is not the person, but the substantive being. And that is why I can say I am “myself”, i.e., the reaffirmation of my substantive reality in this second act of being in which the I consists. Let us now take it through the other dimension, as when I write: “I write”. Certainly, to write is one of the many things I do. I put on or remove my eyeglasses, I move, etc. What I do is enormously variable throughout my life. On the other hand, my substantive reality as personhood is always the same, I am always the same (“el” mismo). And thanks to the variability of my acts, I am never that same (“lo” mismo). In what does it consist that I may not be that same? {35} It consists in the fact that both dimensions, the I as the being of man, and the acts he performs —for example to write— are not unconnected dimensions. Farthest from the truth. It is an ingrained error in many philosophical conceptions to believe that the I is the subject of attribution and execution of concrete acts: for example, “I write, I think, I understand”. The truth is that the predicate in these cases essentially modulates and refines the I itself. It is not only an I who talks, but an I who is exercising the form of talking. Each one of my acts modulates, strictly speaking, the internal characteristic of the I. That modulation does not refer only to this trivial example I have suggested. From the moment of his conception man is not yet I, but evidently all his organic vicissitudes are modulating the form and figure of that which I am. No one knows —only God— in what the form and figure, which the I is acquiring will ultimately consist. Since the I is not the substantive reality of man, but rather his being, it means that each one of the actions, which man performs is configuring the figure of his being. Quite really, man throughout his life is never that same (“lo” mismo) because in reality his being is in the process of being configured by all the acts he performs. From this stems, of course, the dreadful problem posed to each one of us by our own substantive being. While a man is always the same as personhood, he never has that same form and figure of being. And this form and figure of being is precisely what has to be called “personality”. Personality is not primarily a psychological concept; it is above all an entitative concept. It is the form and figure of being, which in second act is acquiring substantive reality in the performance of its acts. The gravity and importance of personal life is quite evident. The I affirms itself confronting all possible reality. It is {36} I myself that confronts everything else, including God, yet not in a vacuum, but performing a series of acts in which the figure of my being is being configured unremittingly and without any possible loss. Unremittingly because even though man may perform —for example in the field of moral acts— certain acts about which perhaps and in good time he will repent himself, that does not mean the acts are erased. They are preserved —under that mysterious form, which repentance is— in the figure of being. Therefore, man finds himself laboring at the ongoing configuration of his being, sometimes not being aware of it, and sometimes being aware. The result is that man, from the point of view of the figure of his being, is a living question for himself: mihi questio factus sum, St. Augustine said5. And precisely this question of the figure, which my substantive being is acquiring in the production of the acts that my reality goes on performing, is what formally constitutes the constant and constitutive restlessness of the life of man. Language expresses it with total accuracy by employing just that perfect distinction between substantive reality and being: “What will become of me?”, i.e., “What kind of being is my being going to be?”. This is the radical and fundamental restlessness of the human being. Man is not restless about things. Ultimately and radically what keeps him restless is his own reality, confronting which and from which man goes forward acquiring painfully and at length, the figure of his being. Nevertheless, this phenomenon can be seen from two perspectives. One, from the very I who is going to acquire a certain figure or configuration. [As seen from the I, that which it does —knowingly or not, in a hidden way or explicitly, at the {37} bottom of every personal action— constitutes in the I a kind of turning (Sp. versión) towards whatever is being done, in view of the being that is being acquired]6. Still, this version is not a new act, but also it is not my own substantive reality. It is neither act nor substantive reality. This is just what an attitude is. It is the turning of the I, which is going to acquire a certain form in the acts to be performed: that is what attitude is. From the point of view of life itself, i.e., of the acts, it is evident that each act is ordered essentially, not by a finality, but velis nolis by a physical characteristic of its own, to configure my own being. That is the reason why the entire life of man incorporates the characteristic of mission. Here “mission” does not mean a mission that man has in life —that is a problematic question internal to life— here it means something more radical. It is not the case that life may have a mission, but that it is constitutively mission. It is by this characteristic of mission that the course of life is always configuring the substantive being of the I. That is why life is not just a simple factum: it is the factic mission of being. II. Which is the radical personal attitude? By radical personal attitude I do not mean one more attitude, the first of the attitudes, but the attitude, which lies underneath all the rest of them, and thanks to which in the end all are attitude7. Man —I was saying— finds himself among things, with himself, and with other men. But that with which man builds his life is not simply and {38} formally that in which he is. What he is in, is in reality. And in this reality and through that which he has of reality, is how man is going to configure the being of his own substantive reality from things. Man, therefore, lives from the reality of the real, does not live purely and simply from things. There is a phenomenon —a sad one—, which exemplifies this perfectly; it is the case of the one who commits suicide. In the formal act of suicide what man does is to dispose of his life because it is his, i.e., because it is his own reality. It is not precisely things, but the characteristic of reality what the one committing suicide would pretend to abolish with his suicide. And if the one who commits suicide were to have the possibility of radically preserving the “my” of his own reality, he would not commit suicide. Man, therefore, lives and constructs his being from reality. And it is reality itself, which impels him to do it, and to do it in a particular way. Furthermore, that characteristic of reality of real things is that in which man supports himself ultimately in order to acquire the figure of his being. Of course, it is not a material support, but still a support strictly speaking. We could say, that man supports himself upon things, but not precisely because of what they are particularly, but simply because they are real. He supports himself in reality itself. And yet, this support comprises three moments. 1) In the first place, reality is an ultimate support. For no transcendent reason. We are not talking here about anything transcendent, or that the ultimate might be God. We are merely pointing out that reality is an ultimate support in view of a very elemental consideration. To say that something is real is the ultimate and most elemental thing we can say about it. Reality is an ultimateness. 2) Reality is not only an ultimateness, but in addition it is that, which possibilitates that man may be acquiring {39} the figure of his being. If things were the ones making, simply because of their content, the figure of the being of man, man would be like a dog, or the dog would be like a man. This conception of an animal as a small man has sadly burdened the whole of psychology and psychological anthropology. But let us leave this question aside. The support on reality is not simply support upon the ultimate, on ultimateness. Reality is that, which is ultimate, ultimateness, but also that, which on last resort makes possible for man the configuration of his substantive being. 3) Reality is not only the ultimate, and the possibilitating, but in addition impels man to realize himself. Man realizes himself in reality, and by reality. Consequently, man cannot ignore reality. Reality imposes itself upon him8. This imposition of reality does not have the characteristic of an attachment to life —the question of suicide appears again here. The attachment to life is a phenomenon more or less physical, and basically also animals do have it. It is not a question of having an attachment to life because life tends to preserve itself. It is a question of man considering life as “mine”, and precisely that subtle dimension of being mine is the one the suicidal man is toying with, which the man that does not commit suicide tries to resolve in some fashion. Therefore, it is not a question of physical support or a mere natural attachment to life, it is precisely a question of this inalienable characteristic —of “mine”—, which man possesses in his life, purely and simply by virtue of being a personal life. The three moments of ultimateness, possibilitation, and imposition characterize reality as something, which is not {40} I, my I. As such, despite not being I and being the most other than ourselves, since it makes us be, it constitutes paradoxically what is most ours. Simply because it is what makes us to be in the figure of our very own substantive being. And so, taking these three characteristics at one and the same time, according to which man goes forward configuring his substantive being, they precisely define the radical attitude, and that radical attitude I call religation. Religation is not something, which may accompany any of those three terms taken in isolation. Not only with respect to the point we are making here, but not even with any other. It is said, for example, that God is something ultimate; but the Theós, of Aristotle has no religious significance whatever. He lacks, precisely, the other two moments. No one can address a prayer to the one unmoved mover, at least unless you add a few other things. It is necessary to take these three characteristics of ultimateness, possibilitation, and imposition at one and the same time in order that they may precisely define that attitude we call “religation”. Religation is the ligature to reality qua reality in order to be. It is neither a physical bond nor a social pressure, since physical bonds and social pressures refer to that, which things and persons are. Here it is a question, simply and purely, of facing the characteristic of reality of everything. It is also not an obligation because an obligation is something internal to the person, and presupposes it already constituted: obligation always gravitates on a form of being, but is not what constitutes it. Reality as ultimate, possibilitating, and imposing is that which constitutes religation. In religation, therefore, the fundamentality that occurs purely and simply, is not that of the substantive reality of man, but of his substantive being9. {41} Of course, after indicating what religation is not, it will be necessary to face the third question: the structure of religation, and the terminus to which man is religated. __________________ 1 In the two seminars of 1965 (Madrid and Barcelona) Zubiri explained religation in very similar terms. Here we follow the version of the Barcelona seminar on “The problem of God in the history of religions”, which by being posterior, includes the corrections Zubiri made on the typed text of the Madrid seminar on “The philosophical problem of the history of religions”. Of course, the most complete exposition of religation is the one found in Xavier Zubiri’s, El hombre y Dios, Madrid, 1984, especially pp. 75-112. 2 In the Madrid seminar of 1965, Zubiri had said “is not implanted in reality quiescently”. 3 (Tr. note: Zubiri here introduces something new in the Spanish language, a Spanish Yo capitalized; in this case with cursive letters for emphasis, to distinguish it from the ordinary yo he has just written. Since English already capitalizes the “I” we shall use the cursive I for this Yo, and leave “I” for the usual yo, to keep the distinction alive in the English text, with or without emphasis. With the Spanish (Yo)-(yo) distinction Zubiri points to the difference between the I as its posterior act of being and the “I” of the substantive reality) 4 This refers to the distinction Zubiri had established in Sobre la esencia [“On Essence”] (Madrid, 1962, pp. 403-412, 434-435). Later Zubiri will clarify that substantive being “would be an incorrect denomination, because it is not the case for being to be the substantive, or for substantivity to be being, but that the substantivity of the real “is”. It is not a substantive being, but rather the being of the substantive. This is the radical form of “being”, not because substantive reality may be a mode of being, but rather because the being of the substantive is the being of that which is the most radical in a real thing, the being of its own substantivity. Therefore, let us not confuse “being of the substantive” with “substantive being”. If I sometimes say “substantive being” let it be understood that I am always referring to the “being of the substantive” (Inteligencia y logos [“Intelligence and Logos“], Madrid, 1982, p. 352; cf. also Inteligencia sentiente. Inteligencia y realidad [“Sentient Intelligence. Intelligence and Reality“], Madrid, 1984, 3rd ed., p. 222, and El hombre y Dios [“Man and God“], op. cit., p. 54). 5 Confessionum, bk. X, ch. XXXIII, n. 50, in Patrologiæ cursus completus, series latina, vol. 32, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris, 1845, c. 800. 6 This sentence comes from the 1965 Madrid seminar. 7 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri had said: “This attitude is determined precisely by that which is most radical in man and in the person, such as the moment of reality of himself and things”. 8 In the 1968 seminary Zubiri already refers to impellence and not to imposition; cf. the texts in this book originating in later seminars; also in El hombre y Dios ["Man and God"], op. cit., pp. 83-84, 108-109. 9 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri added: “It is religio or religion in its primary sense”. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri ---------- Chapter 1 (41-55) {41} (cont’d) III. The structure of religation and its terminus I was saying above that in religation the fundamentality of the substantive being of man occurs, the actuality of what religatingly makes him to be. This fundamentality has two venues. On the one hand, it is fundament of my personal being, there is no doubt about that. But, in second place, it is a real fundament, not simply a subjective thing. A) I shall begin with the second point. It is a real fundament. In what measure and in what way is the terminus of religation —reality insofar as ultimate, possibilitating, and impelling— something, which affects reality itself? It would be an error to think that this characteristic of reality —in this problem as well as in others of metaphysics— is an empty abstract concept. Nothing of the kind. The characteristic of reality has an intrinsic respectivity, by virtue of which all things constitute the world. World is the connection of everything real qua real1. And so, world or reality, not considering that it may formally be cosmos (let us not distinguish between world and cosmos for the moment)2, in its triple {42} dimension of ultimateness, possibilitation, and impellence, precisely by keeping us religated in the manner I have just suggested, is something, which dominates us, it is something dominating. And precisely to this dominating characteristic is what I call power. Power is not a force. Fortunately German has two words: the word Kraft or Ursache (force or cause), and the word Macht (power). It is necessary to rehabilitate in metaphysics the place that power has in the system of conceptiveness of reality. Let us take the idea of an elementary causality: fire burns; or I pull from a rope, and a bell rings. I leave aside whether this is a factual causality: let us assume it is. However, there are two moments in every causality: the moment by which a certain particular effect actually appears; and the moment more or less hidden, but inexorable (and in addition inevitable), by which the cause, inasmuch as it is a cause, predominates over the effect, has a predominance or a prepotency over it. It is possible that power may coincide in its ambit with causality, but this coincidence does not mean a formal identity. Much less, if we leave material realities and consider the realities of the spirit. In the spirit there are many powers, which cannot be reduced purely and simply to the causes, which Greek metaphysics enumerates. It is an authentic Macht, a power. Consequently, we now ask ourselves, In what measure does this power pertain to reality? Reality, by the mere fact of being real, has a capacity to dominate us in the manner I just described. That is an incontrovertible fact, and not a theory. Hence, at no level is this capacity —by virtue of which a reality (not the reality, but any ordinary reality) makes sense to man— independent of the properties, which reality {43} possesses. Obviously: if I wish to fabricate a door, I cannot make it out of liquid water, which has no capacity to be a door. The capacity, which a real thing has to be constituted into any meaning, is precisely what in this context, not in others, I call condition3 . And thus, reality qua reality comprises that condition, which affects it, and only by virtue of which it can be dominant in the form I have just described. If causality strictly speaking is the functionality of the real qua real, condition is the capacity of the real to have meaning, and consequently belongs to the real thing. Power is the dominating condition of the real qua real, in contradistinction to causality, which is the functionality of the real qua real. And precisely because it pertains and belongs to reality in itself qua real, it is something, which affects not only the attitude of man, but the very structure of things qua real. And so, to this ultimate, possibilitating, impelling power I give the name deity. Deity is not God4. I call it “deity” for two reasons; because it will be the way, which will take us to God, and also because in the end man has always sensed as a power of deity that {44} universal and dominating characteristic that reality qua reality has over him, and over all real things. Deity is not something different from the world, and real things. It is rather that condition, which real things have, by the mere fact of being real, of some of them having dominion over others, and all of them over man, and man over the rest of them: this is reality in its condition as power. This is not a theory, but an incontrovertible fact. An atheist may not use the word “deity”, but it is indifferent to me. Because what I am describing is not a theory about God, or a conceptual fundamentation; it is purely and simply the bare presentation —an incontrovertible fact— that in man there occurs, in this form of power, the power of reality, the deity. It is an undeniable fact. Nevertheless, this power of deity is not something, which floats by itself above things. It is not one more characteristic. What we call “deity” is inscribed in things, precisely by that which makes them real. And nothing is a reality in the abstract, and in a vacuum, but indeed is a reality while being white, being black, being a man, being a dog, being an oak tree, being a star. Which means that to the characteristic of reality it is not extraneous what real things are, and inversely, what real things are in one form or another, shades and modulates their characteristic of reality. That is why we must distinguish, in the historical unfolding of our problem, two dimensions which, to my way of thinking, have been interpolated without sufficient discernment. On the one hand, the history of the problem of God, insofar as enrichment of deity, of the power of reality. On the other, the history of the problem of God insofar as the discovery of God. As we can see, they are two different dimensions. Because, indeed, although each one of the new insights {45} as to the power of deity (each of the discoveries with which history constantly provides for the enrichment of the presence of deity confronting man) has actually been ascribed to one or several divinities, still, this is accidental to the problem. In the case of polytheism, and a fortiori in the case of monotheism, deity has been ascribed to gods. In the case of polytheism there is even a pantheon of gods. But this is something else, because the “pantheonality” —sit venia verbo— of the gods essentially depends, and is founded upon the complexity of the system, which constitutes deity. That is the reason why the history of religions has not been simply a deviation, or a disturbance, or a turbidity of the idea of deity, but precisely the contrary: it has been the slow and progressive way through which man has been actualizing in his mind those complex dimensions, which deity comprises5. Since this dissociation has not been carried out, please allow me to make allusion to gods while leaving aside their consideration; even though I mention gods, I only do so to avoid giving the impression that all this is empty speculation. 1) In the first place, the power of deity appears to man as something transcendent. Not transcendent in the sense of a transcendent entity —that would be God—, but transcendent {46} in the sense that it transcends all singular things, and precisely encompases the totum of reality. Man has been acquiring in an elementary manner this intellection of the power of deity as something transcendent, for example, raising his eyes to heaven. To heaven, not simply to the celestial vault (Uranus) —as R. Pettazzoni (1883-1959) suggests with his “celestialisms”. I do not refer to that, but quite simply that man has expressed in a very elemental strict way the idea of transcendence through the idea of the high. This is the Most High. Deity is like a most high principle, which has been usually ascribed to heaven. That transcendent power is a power not only most high, but in addition, grandiose. It is true that numerous times —the majority of them in polytheism— man has been ascribing that grandiosity to meteors, thunder, or lightning. The details are not important. The grandiosity of the transcendence of the power of deity is an inexorable conquest, unforgettable, of the power of the human mind. And that transcendence is not only something high and something grandiose, but in addition has a certain identity. Almost all the cults of the Sun have chosen it precisely because the Sun always appears to them as identical to himself. 2) The power of deity is not only a transcendent power, but also a power, which in a certain way is alive, at least because it intervenes in a somewhat active way in the life of man. This is the living time in the sense that the power of deity is the one regulating the “chronic” course —temporal in the sense of chrónos, measure of time— in which things are being configured. This is deity itself in the depth of things. That is why it is not by chance that polytheist religions have thought in the divinity of the Moon, which after all is the one, which commands and regulates the cycles of the seasons, physiological cycles, etc. {47} The idea of the eternal return began with this, the cyclic characteristic of time. The power of deity appears to us in a certain way as something cyclic floating over all events, which constitutes the birth and death of things. 3) It is not only transcendent, and chronic measure of reality, but is also the fountain of all things, especially living things. As such, in the power of deity all forms are initially abolished. Only because of the very special interplay of some things with respect to others, forms are being born, and become separated. This led the ancient polytheist religions to think of the divinity of waters, the water where all forms are abolished by dissolution. 4) It is, in addition, a power of solidary fundament of real things. The power of deity is in a certain way ascribed to that from which, by separation, precisely all forms are born, one from another. Ancient religions thought about Mother Earth in this sense. 5) Life, especially with respect to the rest of the universe, is not there just as a mere sum of things, but as an organism, as an organization of things. From this stems, mainly in the case of living reality, that the power of deity is a power, which constitutes the fundament of the organization of the real. The religion of trees, precisely in its plastic form, has expressed this idea of deity. 6) It is the power of success. In the end the power of deity is the power of the future. From this we have the origin of agrarian divinities, who always involve the uncertainty of the harvest. 7) That which we call the power of deity, by virtue of being a power of deity, which affects man personally, {48} appears to him as a power most ours, the most intimate to each one. From this we obtain that in the different conceptions by “each one” the power of deity has been modulating and shaping itself. In ancient civilizations, each one is united to others by blood ties. Then gods have appeared in the relationships of family and tribe. It is a well known fact. If the theophoric names are analyzed in ancient religions, for example in the Semitic religions, this becomes clear: ’Abiyah means “God is my father”; ’Ammiel, “God is my uncle”; ’Ajiyah, “God is my brother”, etc. At other times the power of deity appears as a power of reality in which men find themselves incorporated, not to a family, but to a tribe or clan. The eponyms of the different tribes and clans appear. In Israel the God Yahweh appears precisely as God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, i.e., as a God with a private tribal characteristic. In Phoenicia the ba’als appear, who have this same characteristic more or less. There are also ties of sovereignty. Then the power of deity appears incarnated in a divinity who, as Ba’al in the Phoenician and Canaanite worlds, can be king: ’Elimelek, “my God is king”. At other times it appears as sovereign judge of contracts, like the god Varuña in the Veda. It also appears with a tie to cosmic sovereignty: that is the ’Elohim of the Old Testament. In all these cases, of course, it is never a matter of totemism. But it is also never the case, as some famous historian of the history of Israel says6, of that pure sentiment of familiarity, which man feels for God. Yes. It is a question of something resembling the latter, but a sentiment of familiarity, which is structured {49} precisely by the social scheme from which man discovers the structure of the power of deity. The stepping from family to tribe, to clan, and to nation —independently from ethnological, and ethnographic considerations, which do not concern me here directly— has been a progressive enrichment of the power of deity as such. 8) The power of deity is a power, which dominates the two polar facts of every existence, of every reality, and especially of living beings: birth and death. Because of this, confronting birth, which the ancients considered was subject to the vagaries of conception, there has been an invocation to deities like Ištar in Babylon, or Venus in Greece, and the Roman world. On the other hand there is the god of death. 9) The power of the real is the power, which directs the human collective. Not only constitutes it, as I indicated above, but in a certain way directs it. And directs it above all as warrior gods: Indra in the Vedic religion, or even as the “God of hosts”, that vision under a certain aspect, which Israel had of Yahweh as God of war. Also gods of peace. For example, in the religion of Israel, Yahweh, is characterized by the firmness and fidelity of his covenant. 10) The power of deity, the power of reality as such, is the power of destiny. Móira, the Greeks called him; Nabû the Babylonians. 11) The power of deity governs what we call the oneness of the cosmos. Not only a physical oneness, but also moral. Men do belong to this cosmos. And that physical-moral oneness is what the Greeks called Díche, which was called Rta in the Vedas. It has often been translated as “justice” (Sp. justicia), but this appears to me entirely incorrect. It should be translated as “fairness” (Sp. justeza). Because fairness is what comprises {50} all aspects, those of moral justice inasmuch as those of the cosmic or physical adjustment. 12) It is the power, which does everything, and precisely because of this it is sacred. There is nothing more sacred, actually, than the reality and the configuration of the being, which man acquires precisely in the respectivity of the world. That is why in some religions the power of deity as a sacred doing —sacrum facere— has been converted into a subsistent sacrifice. It is, for example, the Brahmanic religion. 13) In the Greco-Roman world, towards its later years, this power of deity absorbed precisely the moral virtues. There appeared the divinities of Fidelity, Strength, Opportunity, etc. 14) The power of deity fills everything. And precisely because it fills everything, somehow in some religions it puts on the characteristic of space, not simply in the sense of physical space, but in a more profound way, of filling everything. Christianity pointedly talks about the immensity of God. The Iranians called it Zwaša, which is precisely “space”. We should remember that, although without this special characteristic I mention here, there are still echoes of this conception in no less than Newton himself, who called space the “divine sensorium”. 15) It is a power, which lasts forever with perfect perenniality. This is indefinite time, substantivated as a divinity in Iran: Zrvan akarana, the ápeiros chrónos, of the Greeks, which of course has its homologue in what the Hebrews called ‘el ‘olam, the eternal God. In all this history we must dissociate the pure and simple characteristic of deity —that man is painfully discovering throughout history, which he is constantly enriching, and that we are never sure he has exhausted discovering {51} in all its dimensions— from the substantivation of some of those characteristics of deity into the same number of divinities, or the adscription of all of them to a transcendent God. For the moment, what concerns me now is simply to approach history, and to exemplify in it the unfolding of what we call the power of reality as such, i.e., purely and simply deity. The historians of religion have often provided descriptions similar to the ones I have just presented, but keeping themselves in the order of divinity. It was necessary to point out carefully to the structure of deity, which underlies all of them. The power of deity is a transcendent power; it is a power of time as living measure of reality; it is a power of separation of forms; it is a power for the germination of reality; it is a power above all for the organization of life; it is a power of the future of reality, not only material, but also intellective, of man; it is the power of the personal intimacy, which ties all men into families, tribes, and nations; it is the power, which fills everything and embraces all times; it is the power, which extends over life and death; the power, which directs social life; the power called destiny; the power, which rules the fairness, and the cosmic-moral structure of the universe; the sacralizing and moral power; the enduring power7. {52} Thus, deity constitutes a functional whole. And only in the measure in which this functional whole has the characteristic of a complex system, the adscription of each one of its dimensions to the same number of divinities may lead (not necessarily) to the formation of a pantheon. But it is evident that the only thing the pantheon does is to “pantheonally” organize this structure of the complex system of deity qua deity. And does it independently of the different conceptions one may have about the divinity, with which I am not concerned at present. Therefore, the question is purely and simply to actualize before our mind what the power of deity is —the power of reality as such— in its dominating condition, as ultimate, possibilitating, and imposing. And as such, it is not a question of a theory, but of an incontrovertible fact. Regardless of the terms one may use, as such, it is an incontrovertible fact: man finds himself in that situation in reality, and referred to reality. And as such, because that concerns a condition of reality, it is not something merely subjective —an attitude that I take, which would not exist in the universe were I not to take it—, but precisely something, which affects reality as such, independently of the fact that man may find or describe it. This is the object and terminus of religation. B) Religation in itself as a human attitude is the actualization of the fundamentality of the human being; it is the actualization of the powerfulness of the real qua deity. And since the attitude of religation underlies all the attitudes of man, because under all of them there lies that configuration {53} of the substantive being in which the I consists, one can and must say that every personal act, even the most modest, as inconsequent or trivial as it may seem, in the measure it is configuring more or less fundamentally —but always strictly— the figure of my personal being, in the end, it constitutes the experience of deity. Man does not have experience of deity, but rather is the very experience of deity in his own substantive being8. Religation is the actualization of that which fundamentally and religatingly makes me be: it is the actualization of the powerfulness of the real, i.e., of deity. And since the attitude confronting reality as such underlies every personal act, one must say that in every personal act, even the most insignificant, there underlies precisely that obscure liveliness, hidden, generally unknown, anonymously dead, but real, which is precisely the experience of deity. The personal act of religation is purely and simply the experience of deity. I repeat it once more: here it is not a question of God, but simply of deity. Also, it is not a question of a positive religion. It is, if one desires, religiosity, the religious as such. In this sense religiosity, in the first place, is not something that one may or may not have, but is something that constitutively, and formally belongs to the structure of the very personal reality of the substantive I of man. And in second place, this religation is not a positive religion, but without it there would be no positive religion. It is what constitutes the schematic primordium of every positive religion. 1) The first affirmation may appear shocking. Certainly, confronting the religious dimension of man, even considered {54} in all this amplitude, one will point to the attitude of the atheist, as perfectly sincere as any other. True, but atheism has two degrees or aspects. First, the atheism professed as such. It is still a position of religation. Because for the one who professes atheism, precisely in his profession is the religation to that which he turns to by being an atheist, to be an atheist, and being atheist. But there is another attitude, the one expressed by saying: “I am not an atheist, I neither believe, nor stop believing. I am satisfied with the facticity of living. I have no other life but this one. If I discuss these problems it is because I have been asked. These are problems about which I should be thinking, but they do not arise from inside me. I am merely the pure facticity of living. I have enough living problems”. Can we talk about religation here? Undoubtedly yes, and even more clearly than in the previous atheism. Because the person who has that attitude —perfectly respectable— holds it sincerely in his conscience, and has a conscience, which for example, dictates some duties to him, has a morality —even totally individual— etc. This man listens to the voice of his conscience. Of course, the obligation consists in whatever his conscience tells him. But the fact that the voice of conscience sounds at all, and that he has to abide by it or at least listen to it, is not an obligation, but religation: this is religation to his own conscience. To think that to have a moral conscience is at the same time to make an act of morality, is the same error all German idealists made when they believed that to know oneself is to emit a second judgement on a first judgement, and so on to infinity. The relationship between man and his intellective conscience is not logical, but physical. And so, the connection of that man with his conscience is not a moral obligation; it is a religation. The primary connection of man to his {55} moral conscience is a religation, and for that reason this attitude of apparent pure facticity of life is something different: it is the religation to conscience, perfectly respectable, but strictly speaking a religation. _________________ 1 The 1965 Madrid seminar added: “It then follows, of course, that this is not the case of a vague philosophical abstraction, but of a oneness founded in a characteristic of reality, which each thing has in its own way, but is essentially respective, and therefore, essentially unitary”. 2 This distinction is already established by Zubiri in Sobre la esencia, op. cit., pp. 199--200. 3 Zubiri makes reference to the sense, which the term “condition” receives in Sobre la esencia, op. cit., pp. 196-210. 4 In the 1965 Madrid seminar concerning the term “deity” Zubiri stated: “It is somewhat vague if we think about religions, which have gods. But, What if we think of Buddhism? What if we think of Taoism? What if we think about the many pantheist religions in which there are no gods, or what are called gods are things, which have no divine function, but are simply supernatural entities, quite a different thing; religions where the only oneness of the world is its intrinsic cosmic-moral law? What if we think about the Brahman who only sees in the syllable om the expression of the sacrificial characteristic of the entire cosmos? Can we deny to this the characteristic of deity?”. 5 In the 1965 Madrid conferences Zubiri said: “In the course of history man has become richer as a human type; which has inexorably allowed the richer actualization of the very power of deity: deity is something more complex than a simple unnamed power. As reality becomes richer before human eyes, and man continues to enrich himself facing reality, or in it, the power of deity appears as an enormous complex power. The history of religions is not simply the history of the depredations, which man has inflicted on religion, but has been an authentic history in which man has acquired progressively growing forms, and never totally erroneous, of what deity is precisely”. 6 Zubiri refers to E. Dhorme, L’évolution religieuse d’Israël, vol. I: La religion des hébreux nomades [“The religious evolution of Israel”, vol. I: “The religion of the nomad Hebrews”], Brussels, 1937, pp. 313-332. 7 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “While human life thus enriches itself progressively, man has had actualized before himself the intrinsic complexity of the power of the real. And this complexity must be appreciated as a real and actual achievement in the history of the religions of mankind. Still, this complexity is not merely additive, but rather this increment continues to reveal that each one of the aspects of this power represents a functionality, and that all these powers are functionally united constituting in a certain way the functional organism of deity, the power of deity. All these aspects constitute an organic whole, a functional totality. They form, therefore, the functional complex of what we might call the richness of the power of deity. And this is absolutely independent of the concept men may have developed about the divinities I have been mentioning en passant. 8 Here ends section III (B) of the Barcelona seminar. The corresponding section in the 1965 Madrid seminar was longer, and we offer it as follows, given the importance it has for the rest of the book. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri ---------- Chapter 1 (55-68) {55} (cont’d) 2) In second place, I said that religation is the primordium of any positive religion despite not being a positive religion. And it is necessary to take this power of deity at one and the same time in its three moments, and not only one. If we were to take, for example, only the moment of ultimateness, it would be impossible to establish the base for any positive religion. The famous Theós, of Aristotle, unmoved mover and pure act, was never useful to found a religion. Because to the God of Aristotle no one can address supplications, or ask for help; he moves without being moved as the object of love and desire. It is necessary, therefore, to take the three moments at one and the same time: ultimateness, possibility, and imposition. Taken at one and the same time these three characteristics constitute the power of deity, and encompass the primordium of any positive religion. Inasmuch as the power of deity is ultimate, it is a power that rests upon itself. This is in the very structure of religation. And that is why, whenever man elaborates a positive religion, the first act he will perform before a god or whatever the ultimate reality may be, is precisely the acquiescence to adoration confronting something that rests upon itself. In second place, as possibilitating power, powerfulness is a fountain of different possibilities, which man has to realize himself. The course of his life is not outlined univocally, and therefore this also affects the contour, which the figure of his substantive being will have. Whenever man may elaborate a positive religion he will have to take account not only of the fact that there are gods, which are ultimate realities, but that they are fountains that can really dispense possibilities {56} in life. These are precisely the dispensing gods, the gods to whom one can address a supplication, ask for help, or implore that an obstacle or a misfortune be avoided. As possibilitating, ultimate reality is what I have called a “meaning-thing”1. And in third place, inasmuch as the power of deity is an imposing power, man can do nothing but acquiesce to it, and in that acquiescence precisely consists what has been called —there is no other term— religious morality. But religious morality does not resemble at all the morality of pure duties. Because while the morality of pure duties only moves within the range of what should be done, religious morality is quite a different thing: it is the acquiescence to that which deity imposingly compels us or gives us. For that reason, something that from the moral point of view is nothing but a fault, from the point of view of deity is a peccatum, and that is a different matter. Therefore, in religation there is the primordium of the essential moments of a religion. Furthermore, since religation still does not take us directly to any particular god, but simply to the powerfulness of deity, to the power of reality as deity, it illuminates the field of that with which man has to build his life under the light of the religating fundamentality. Man is constitutively turned towards things, towards other men, and towards himself. Taken at one and the same time, these three dimensions, which belong in a radical (non extrinsic or additive) way to the oneness of religation, provide us with an illumination of deity that will conduct to a vision of things within deity, and clearly to a “theo-cosmology”. It is going to conduct, in addition, to a vision of the totality of men from the point of {57} view of deity; this is the beginning of an institutionalization, if you will, of an ecclesia. It is also, insofar as imposing, something in which there is going to be an incidence of that characteristic that will determine which one will be the ultimate figure each individual will take, i.e., an eschatology2. Theo-cosmology, ecclesiology, and eschatology are moments of every religion, not by chance or by human reflection, but because they are a primordial efflorescence3 of the radical oneness in which religation consists. This religation is not what has been called “natural religion”, because while employing this expression we are not told what is understood by “natural”, or at best it is understood that “natural” is a tendency that springs naturally from human nature. However, religation is not a natural tendency of human nature, but a formally constitutive moment of personal being as such. IV. How do things appear in religation?4 If it is true that this power of deity —the power of the real qua real— is precisely in things because they are real, and appears modulated by the reality of these things. That means that things appear, from a certain point of view, as seen from the perspective of the reality they are qua reality, as something in which deity occurs precisely in its characteristic of reality. This is the fourth {58} point, which I will cover briefly: How do things appear in religation? In the first place, deity, i.e., the characteristic of reality as such qua dominating, as power, is not an extra note or a property, which things have, but something that formally constitutes them in their characteristic of real qua real. This means that deity is not separate from things, as if on the one hand there were things, and on the other deity: that is totally incorrect. Deity is found nowhere but in things. And things, conversely, are the only ones in which the mind of man is continuously actualizing their characteristic of reality qua dominating. Hence, this means that among things seen from the perspective of deity, and things seen as naked reality there is a certain difference, but a difference that is never a separation. It is not the case of two kinds of things, but of two dimensions —so to speak— in all things. In the measure they are naked reality, it is precisely what we call “profane”. In the measure they are precisely an internal moment of deity, which consists and occurs in them, they are precisely what we call “religious”, in the sense of religation, not in the sense of a positive religion. I regret to differ with the historians of religions who seem to think —and the fashion is acquiring oceanic characteristics— that the fundamental difference, which must appear at the very beginning of the science of religions is the difference between the sacred and the profane. I consider this as something simply incorrect. The fundamental difference lies in the difference between the profane and the religious. Certainly, the religious can be sacred. But it is sacred {59} because it is religious, not religious because it is sacred. And precisely by this reason all objects, even the most profane, have this dimension of deity. They are never extraneous to an attitude of discovery of the religious when approached with the elementary sense of religation. This may seem somewhat subtle. But, Who does not remember the famous phrase of St. Teresa of Avila who said that the Lord was among the pots and pans? Actually, the mystic finds God not as one more thing among the others, but as something that reflects in all of them what we call the characteristic of deity5. It is not a question of two kinds of objects, or a dissociation between the sacred and the profane, but of two dimensions —the profane and the religious—, which every reality has and can have, down to the most elemental and trivial. One may ask then, In what does the articulation of these two dimensions consist? It is not as simple as it may seem. This difference between deity and naked reality is not a mere conceptual subtlety. Deity, actually, is present in things in two different ways. One, so to speak, “completive”: things, in their reality, are positively the seat of deity, and therefore religate “attractively”. But there are things whose reality is “defective”, which therefore manifest the power of deity defectively. These things religate man “aversively”: they are the forbidden, the taboo. But the forbidden and the taboo are sacred aspects precisely because the reality of these things is the defective and aversive presence of deity. The internal articulation of naked reality and dominance, i.e., the articulation between real things and deity is therefore a serious problem. That articulation is precisely {60} what the Greek language calls áinigma, enigma: the vision of a thing through its refulgence, in that light from another thing, which is seen directly. It is a mirror-like vision of deity in all things. Deity is not identified with things, but it is also not outside or extraneous to them. One might say this is somewhat confusing. Let us employ a more precise term and say that this is enigmatic. It is precisely an enigma, which considers in what measure the reality as such of things founds (funda) the power of deity in one sense or another, as creator, announcer, or resplendent. This is precisely an enigma to which we must reply. And the answer to that question is precisely the way of the history of God in the history of religions. Because that enigma is not simply a static and quiescent obscurity, but is rather dynamic. We do not know what it is, but it takes us inexorably to clarify it. It is not just something obscure. There are millions of obscurities in the universe. A professor of mine in Paris used to say: “If I only knew what a ray of light is!”. And this was someone no less than De Broglie. It is not a question of these obscurities. The question is that things qua real are constitutively enigmatic. The characteristic of reality has that dimension of being the power of deity, without us accurately seeing exactly how this is so: What is the basis in reality for this characteristic we call “deity”? The answer to that question is precisely the problem of God. {61} APPENDIX DIVINITY AND REVELATION6 As I have pointed out, the problem of God is located in an attitude of the personal being of man, which in the case of man as in the case of any other reality, has the characteristic of a second act with respect to the primary reality. In the case of man this being is the I, his substantive being. And in this personal attitude there is actualized in man what I have called the “fundamentality” of his own being, i.e., reality insofar as ultimate, possibilitating, imposing. These three dimensions at one and the same time qualify the radical attitude of man as a religation to reality as such, insofar as a characteristic of things, ultimate, possibilitating, imposing. These three characteristics taken at one and the same time are what characterizes the capacity of reality by virtue of which it is ultimate, possibilitating, and also imposing with respect to man. This is what I called “condition”. Condition is the capacity, which the real has to be constituted in the sense of something. And so, this condition is what in a thematic, and purely nominal manner, I have called “power”: it is the power of deity. Power is the condition of the real qua real by being dominating, contradistinguished from mere causality, which is the functionality of the real qua real. {62} A) Deity and divinity. This power of deity has unfolded historically into a progressive enrichment. Viewed from the power of deity, things, in which reality inheres, appear as surrounded by a peculiar form, because it is they themselves in their reality that are the ones possessing that condition of being a power, which however, has appeared as something confusedly inscribed in reality. To this confusion I gave the more precise name of “enigma”. Enigma is not metaphor, or any kind of expression, which may designate something constitutively obscure; enigma signifies thematically the condition, which things have inasmuch as there inheres in them that characteristic of reality as power: the power of deity. This enigma poses, therefore, the problem of the fundament: By virtue of what does reality have that condition, which makes us say it is deity, that it is the power of deity? This fundament has to be found in reality itself, since reality is the one, which comprises that condition. Nevertheless, in one way or another, it needs to be founded, because it is not clear why and to what extent deity is inscribed in reality as such. To that fundament, which undoubtedly belongs to reality without being deity, but is precisely the fundament of the deity of things, I shall nominally call God or divinity. We should not think at this time of any special type of God, that is not the point. Even in the extreme case of atheism this concept is perfectly applicable. It is not a question, indeed, of any particular type of God —I shall refer to those types further on—, but rather what I am now designating here as God is precisely that moment of reality —a moment in one form or another (we shall have to investigate it)— by virtue of which reality as such comprises that condition, which transpires and actualizes itself in religation as power of deity. It is to this {63} fundament that the historical unfolding of the idea of God refers. The enigma, I said, does not signify anything static, i.e., it is not a problem that is just there and can be left aside. No. This enigma has an essentially dynamic characteristic. Just as deity is something not only ultimate, but possibilitating and also impelling, this enigma —the enigma of divinity— is not something just there, but actually drags man, precisely because deity itself as present in reality drags him with its form of power. The enigma takes us inexorably to an inquiry about the fundament in reality, to the fundament of deity, i.e., to the problem of God. We therefore ask, How is it that man, from this point of view I call “dynamic” (with no other qualifications), finds himself dragged to inquire as to what is the fundament of deity in things, i.e., divinity. How does this occur? We can begin with the affirmation that deity is in reality, since reality comprises that condition. Consequently, its fundament, one way or the other, is in that very reality. But then, among real things there is one, which is precisely myself, since I am also a reality. By virtue of this, I share precisely that condition of being susceptible to be considered as a reality as such. Man not only makes his life with things, and with other men; he builds it also with himself, with his own substantive reality, which shares that dimension of power, and must be considered as a moment of reality as such. As reality qua reality, I have a substantive being, I am myself. As a substantive being, it is my own reality, I myself, who actualizes itself precisely in that I, who expresses in one form or another my outset into reality {64} as such. It is in my I, and not only in things other than I, where reality qua reality also manifests itself, and consequently, the power of deity. It might be said that this would be to start from an anthropocentric conception. Yes and no. The reason for this is the fact that we are overly habituated, under the pressure of modern philosophy from Descartes on, to believe that everything that occurs in man is subjective, and the objective is where everything surrounding him starts. This is completely erroneous. Man is a reality, and as a reality, many of the things he encounters concerning reality qua reality he encounters in his own reality, not insofar as subjective, but qua real. That is the decisive point in the problem. Now, if we pay attention to the substantive being of man, we find that in his conscience (using the term in an absolutely trivial sense, without going into further elucidations) the power of deity (regardless of the term used for it) has been actualized religatingly. As a consequence, man realizes that his conscience tells him, in one form or another, the multiple things he can do, the many possibilities he has for acting, and even the duty he has to act in one way or another. All that is true, but it is not ultimate or radical. It is not so because what is essential is not that, which conscience tells me I can or must do, but the fact that this conscience tells me. Moreover, it tells it to me in a concrete form as a dictation, it dictates. The point is not what it dictates, but the very fact that it dictates. In what does the incoercible force of that dictating consist, which I can actually disobey, but as phenomenon is unquestionable? That dictating is what we call “the voice of conscience”, in the most trivial sense of the word “conscience”. So far the term voice has a sense, which is not well defined. I will now {65} proceed to indicate why, and in what sense it is a voice. We are dealing, then, with a dictating, and not simply with the content of what is dictated. Consequently, this very dictating is nothing but reality qua reality, to which I belong by the mere fact of being a reality. A reality that imposes on us qua reality, and in one form or another issues forth out of reality —or appears through it— that which as an incontrovertible fact we call “the power of deity” without any theorizing at all. From this follows that the voice of conscience has —from the point of view of content— the characteristic of a dictation, since it springs from reality itself as fundament of deity. To be sure, the activity of the voice of conscience does not manifest to us the fundament in which she might consist. Conscience does not show us in what it consists. But conscience consists in the resonance of that fundament, which is agitating in the depths of the human spirit. I said that this should strictly be called voice for a very simple reason. We have been accustomed to think, mainly because of the influence of the Greek tradition, that intelligence has no other characteristic but the visual. This is a very narrow limitation. Not all forms of intelligence have to be formally visual. Take the phenomenon of sound. One can listen to a melody, and in that melody sounds are present to my conscience as colors to sight. There is no doubt about that. Except there is a difference with respect to sight. In sight, things themselves with their colors are present to the eyes, while in the case of sound we encounter a peculiar situation. Sound remits constitutively to the instruments of orchestration that compose the melody, which however, as instruments, are not present to the ear, but rather the melody is. That is an auditive type of intellection of reality: sound remits constitutively {66} to the instrument, which is active under it, still, that instrument is not evident except in its auditive resonance. That is the reason why, strictly speaking, it is an auditive intellection. Intellection, because it knows reality intellectively in some form; merely auditive, because reality is not present except in a particular way, only in the resonance it has. Thus, in our problem we find ourselves in a strictly identical situation. In the voice of conscience we do not have the fundament in front of our eyes, by virtue of which reality resonates before us in the form of deity: we simply have its resonance, which as a resonance remits physically to that fundament, which resonates in it. That is undeniable. And this resonance is what formally constitutes the voice of conscience. The voice of conscience is nothing but the sonorous palpitation of the fundament, i.e., of the very divinity, in the depths of our conscience, in that pure and simple form of that dictating whose content escapes us for the moment. The enigma acquires then the characteristic of a voice, which remits constitutively to the fundament of deity, to God. Which, in other words, means purely and simply that in what we call the voice of conscience we do not have God himself present, but we do have the palpitation and pulsation of the divinity in the depths of the human spirit. Sometimes the mystics have appealed to a kind of intellection, which is not visual, and have referred to tactile intellection. For example, when John of St. Thomas describes the presence of God in the soul of the mystic, he appeals to the tactile metaphor: someone knocks at the door, but does not make himself present7. {67} Freud thought he had made a great discovery when he suggested this was the mechanism of certain tendencies of conscience. However, it had already been noted centuries ago. Furthermore, I consider not only tactile intellection, but also auditive intellection to play an essential part in our problem. This is the palpitation or pulsation of divinity in the depths of the human spirit, which as a reality and qua reality, makes the characteristic of fundament resonate in the form of deity, to which deity indeed remits as melody remits to the instruments of orchestration. That is the reason why the voice of conscience is not a mere moral phenomenon, but a strictly metaphysical characteristic of the first order, which actualizes itself precisely in the form of an auditive resonance in the religated I as such. Yet, this does not mean —I was saying— that my reality puts me on the road towards God independently from other things. Here makes its appearance for the second time, the error of thinking that man is the subjective, and the other things are the objective and the real. This is completely false. Man starts by being a reality, and in the voice of conscience, that which speaks or resonates, is reality qua reality in its fundament. Precisely because of that, this reality qua reality is the formal characteristic of everything there is in the universe. In the voice of conscience we find that the resonance of this fundament is not an exclusively human fundament, but the fundament of reality qua reality, i.e., in it are involved all other things, any reality at all. Because of this, {68} man, through that palpitation and pulsation of divinity in the depths of his spirit, sees all realities surrounding him involved in a direction towards God —himself plus all other things— purely and simply by the fact of being realities. Each reality is thus apprehended in a direction to its fundament, towards God. Deity constitutively remits to its fundament, and that remission, actualized in man in the form of the voice of conscience, precisely involves the whole of reality. There is no difference between the human way, and the metaphysical way to reach God. Eo ipso, there is but only one way, the strictly metaphysical, which in the case of man is activated by the voice of conscience, and comprises in its totality all realities surrounding us. From this point of view God is a real fundament in reality, a fundament of the power of deity of the real, which palpitates in the depths of the human spirit, and inexorably calls for reality, calls for its fundament as seat of deity. Several things are now quite clear: in the first place, that this fundament is in reality. In the second place, that it palpitates in the depths of man in the form of voice of conscience. And in third place, that it hurls man to search for this fundament of reality qua reality, regardless of the type of things upon which this search may be supported. Since this fundament is not given to us in its content, we must search for it. What kind of steps are involved in this search? Men and religions have undertaken several diverse ways. _________________ 1 Cf. Sobre la esencia, op. cit., pp. 104-109, 230-231, 290-292. 2 As we shall see in the next chapter, this classification of the moments of religion was modified by Zubiri in the 1971 seminar about “The theological problem of man: God, religion, Christianity”. 3 The term “molding” is not used systematically in the 1965 seminars. 4 This last section also belongs to the 1965 Barcelona seminar. 5 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri added: “Yes, it looks like an abstraction. But, What would the Buddhist say for whom there is no other deity than the cosmic-moral Law, which constitutes and regulates the world?”. 6 This appendix offers two texts, which although they exceed the framework of the analysis of the religious fact as such, are useful towards the understanding of the rest of the book. Of course, for a complete treatment of the problem of God, and the access of man to Him one must refer to El hombre y Dios (“Man and God“). The first text is taken from the 1965 Barcelona seminar. 7 “Exinde vero originatur affectus, et fruitio Dei, qua anima habet aliam experientiam de Deo affectivam quasi per modum tactus, quo tangitur anima in interiori potentia voluntatis, fruendo ipsa præsentia Spiritus, et plenitudine divinitatis tangentis, et inflammantis voluntatem, sicut dicitur Cantic. V: Dilectus meus misit manum suam per foramen, et venter meus intremuit ad tactum ejus; anima mea liquefacta est ut locutus est”, in John of St. Thomas, Cursus theologicus in Summam theologicam D. Thomæ, Paris, 1886, vol. VI, q. LXX, no. LXXXIII, p. 632. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri ---------- Chapter 1 (68-77) {68} (cont’d) B) The accessibility of God1 . Throughout history God has not always been presented as accessible. We should recall the {69} dii otiosi of the primitive religions, without cult, without supplications (except for some exceptional situations). In a certain way, the God of Judaism, by dint of affirming His transcendence, tended to become inaccessible. Still, we pose the question whether God is accessible. I shall expound the accessibility of divine reality using three concepts, each founded upon the preceding. 1) God is the ground of every reality in an absolutely strict and fontanal manner. Not only of the human spirit, but of all things. He is a reality, which constitutes the ground of each and every one of them, because the founding act of God with respect to the world does not consist in having produced the world, and then letting the world run by itself. It consists in the fact that, without identifying Himself with the world, He is still in it, but transcending it in the form of ground. The whole reality of the world is nothing but the terminal moment of the radical act in which God consists as a radically existing reality2. A separation between the world and God is inconceivable. For this reason, when it is said that the ground of reality is a personal ground, we must keep in mind precisely this characteristic of the presence of the transcendent, where the characteristic of person then appears with a purely analogical hue. It is not a question of conceiving God as a kind of great lord or great person who has in his hands the dice-cup of the world He has created. The concept of person is merely analogical. God is a reality, which fully possesses Himself, and therefore has a personal characteristic, but it is never meant that He is a person like any other. The ground wherein God exists in every reality is a {70} live and personal ground. Consequently, His presence in reality is an intellective and volitional presence. The accessibility of God expresses itself above all in the personal characteristic of the divine fontanality3. 2) That God is a personally fontanal reality underlying transcendentally all things in such a way that all of them are nothing but the terminal moment —sit venia verbo— of the very reality of God, does not mean that the real and actual way God is present in all things is always the same. Because, of course, the way depends essentially on the kind of reality to which He is present. Indeed, some things are closed essences and others are open essences. And the type of presence and personal fontanality of the essential reality in which God consists is not the same in the case of closed or open essences. These are two different forms of presence. The type of presence in open essences is different, because man is not only gifted with some particular properties, but by virtue of one of these properties, namely intelligence, he is open to his own reality. And he not only possesses real properties, but is his own reality, it is his. Man is truly a person. Consequently, the way God is present to man is precisely, in a way I have called analogically, the personal characteristic of divine reality. He is present to man in the form of person. This is the second concept, which manifests the accessibility of man to God. The radical and ultimate presence of divinity in the depths of the human spirit, in the ground of man, is a presence, {71} which can be called a relationship from person to person, it is an interpersonal presence. Certainly, to mention here the concept of relationship appears quite trivial, very external. Because it is not the case (even though it is fashionable to say it) of a “dialog” from I to You. The concept of “You” applied to God is completely analogous, needless to say. What can a man do but to invoke God as a You? But it has to be well understood that this “You” in which God consists is not “another I”. That would be an absolutely intolerable anthropomorphism. However, with this exception noted, it will be necessary to say that it is a question of a connection, of a person to person presence. The ability to be present, the presentiality (Sp. presencialidad), in which the essentially existent reality that God is in the depths of the human spirit consists, is the presence to a personal reality. We can conceive and understand it appropriately and directly because that is what man is. The reality of God in the depths of creation is not only a personal reality, but in the case of man, is a connection or a personal or interpersonal presence. 3) God, as an essentially existent reality, is the fundament of the power of the real. Thus, precisely by being so, and by virtue of the interpersonal connection of presence that exists between man and God, it means that this personal relationship is being expressed through the personal characteristics in which man consists. The personal characteristic in which man consists, and by which he is a person, is his intelligence. That is why the interpersonal presence of God to man is primarily a manifestation to the intelligence of man qua person. Not only is God the personal depth of every reality, and is present to the human person in the form of an interpersonal presence, but in third place, that interpersonal presence has a concrete {72} and radical form, the manifestation. But then, the manifested being is precisely what must be understood as revelation. Here revelation does not mean any sort of external and solemn dictation, it means purely and simply —and must continue to mean throughout the whole history of religions, including the Christian religion— a manifestation of the reality of God. Therefore, it is not a question of a set of enunciated propositions, confronting which man may perform an act of admission, but it concerns something more. It concerns a manifestation, whose manifesting and manifest characteristic consist in nothing but the real and actual presence of God as personal reality in the depths of every human person. It is that which in a fundamental and grounding way fundaments what we have called the voice of conscience as the power of the real. Revelation is essentially anchored and directed to the voice of conscience. And it is precisely this concept, which really conflates the two previous concepts. The characteristic of personal fontanal presence of God in all of creation, and the interpersonal presence of God with respect to man, are found conflated in their conclusion, which is the manifesting presence. And the manifesting characteristic is not something added accidentally to the first two characteristics. The fact is that the divine reality in the depths of the human spirit could not but have this manifesting characteristic. This affirms —speaking in very general terms— that, if the real, concrete, and actual presence of God in the depths of the human spirit is manifestation or revelation, then God is always revealed to every man, in all moments of history, and in all the historical forms. In every religion —I shall return to this idea presently— God is always revealed or manifest in one form or another. {73} Nothing in this world is absolutely erroneous. God is manifest in the depths of every man, whether he knows it or not, even in that most vague form, but so clear and perceptible, that the absolute voice of conscience is. God always appears revealed. And precisely because He is always revealed we have encountered something else beyond what we searched for. We had asked if God is accessible. And we have found that God is acceded, velis nolis, by every man in all the circumstances of history. God is not only accessible, but rather man is a real and actual access to God, to the personal reality, which underlies the ground of the whole world, and most specially the depths of man, in that triple form: personality, interpersonal presence, revealing manifestation. Since this idea of access through manifestation conflates the two previous concepts, I shall take the liberty to refer only to this manifesting characteristic. And I must then say that this manifestation by which God is present in the depths of every man, in all the moments and forms of his history, may present however very profound differences. a) In the first place, those differences by reason of man himself. The Cro-Magnon man is not the same as a man of our age. A man from the time of Abraham is not the same as a man from the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. There are profound differences because it is a question of the access to God by the concrete man, and not simply an abstract man. And thus, in his intimate and ultimate concretion, man obtains the manifestation of God in different ways, not because God manifests Himself in different forms, but because man contemplates that manifestation in very different ways depending on his personal {74} concretion. Quite different ways and even aberrant ones. That God may reveal Himself in any aberrant form may seem strange, but then we can think about that most typical case, which the religion of Israel presents: How many aberrant forms appear in the religion of Israel from the point of view of Christianity! However, Who will deny that the religion of Israel contained in the Old Testament forms part of the Christian revelation? There is nothing that is an absolute error, even in the most crass form of polytheism. It will be an error to say that there are many gods. But then, perhaps the polytheist has discovered richer facets of God than the one who is not a polytheist. They will have to be integrated, in one way or another into monotheism. Nothing is absolutely false. b) In the second place, this manifestation of God not only can offer different characteristics, but can offer and does in fact offer an historical characteristic. It is not the case that the manifestation or revelation of God is simply in time, but that it is formally historical insofar as the very manifestation of God. His presence in the depths of the human spirit, and His manifesting presence is not an event by chance, which happens to God, but is precisely the very structure of His fundamental, and founding characteristic of human reality, which is intrinsically and formally historical. What this historicity may be is a complex matter. I have explained many times4 that, to my way of thinking, historicity consists in man continually illuminating as he confronts reality —or reality continually offering the man who is in front of it— a set of possibilities from which {75} man selects some, rejects others, and brings to fruition a series of possibilities. This is what constitutes the formal reason of history qua history. The rest would be the dynamic nature of man, but formally speaking it is not history. This historicity is in a certain way unitary, but not from the part of men. After all, the idea of a universal history is very recent. It is being developed practically during our own time. Who would have said in the XVI century that history was universal? What did anything happening then in China have to do —except for the few missionaries, which strangely arrived there— with what was happening in Cadiz? However, humanity is unifying itself, is acquiring a unitary characteristic. Yet, the manifestation of God is not necessarily bound to this unitary characteristic of history. There is a historical pluralism, from this point of view. But there is a oneness from the side of God. Because in fact it is He, unique reality, who manifests Himself in the depth of all humanity, regardless of whether this humanity may formally constitute one historical set or not in all the moments of its existence. There is, indeed, a certain unitariness. Not only this, but precisely the manifestation of God in the depth of every human spirit is capable of becoming in its own time and way one of the factors leading to the historical unification of man. Perhaps it may not be the first and most decisive. One thinks immediately, and properly so, about technology and communications. This is obvious, but there are deeper factors, which have contributed and contribute in no small amount to this unification of the human species. For example, without discriminating against any languages, there is no doubt that the supremacy of the Indo-European languages is now imposing a certain uniformity upon all men, {76} who need to learn relatively few languages to be able to understand each other. Undoubtedly, one of those factors is monotheism. For this reason, the history of that in which the monism of the mónos Theós consists is not depleted in the historical past. It is precisely this mónos Theós, that will have to face a series of questions about its concept, which we must keep in mind in order to continue enriching the idea of what the one unique God is. What the one unique God may be, through the different forms of history is what constitutes, in one way or another, the history of religions. The history of religions is a unitary history, not because religions constitute a historic, unitary, internal dialectic. That is absurd: What does the religion of Confucius have to do with what may have happened in Patagonia thirty centuries ago? Yet, it does so from the point of view of the very manifestation of God, as I shall point out. c) This manifestation in a multiple, and historical form, naturally constitutes a variety or range of manifesting apprehensions of God within the human spirit. However, to this we must add that, from the side of God Himself, there is another scope of possibilities different from the one we have been considering up to now. Precisely because it is the case of a personal relationship, and of a personal presence of God as essential reality to what human persons are, it does not seem appropriate to affirm that what we have called the manifestation of God has to be necessarily and formally limited to what any creature by reason of being one cannot lack. The human creature is of a personal characteristic, and is inscribed manifestatively within the personal reality of God, which means precisely that God can have manifesting initiatives. With this, revelation, manifestation, without losing their oneness from the side of God, would acquire a different characteristic when viewed from the side of men. {77} This triple form of fontanal personal reality, interpersonal presence in the depth of the human spirit, and interpersonal presence, which climaxes precisely in its manifesting or revealing characteristic, clearly leaves well established that divine reality is for man a constitutively accessible reality. Furthermore, de facto, inexorably and because of a strict necessity, it is acceded in one form or another. Naturally, this does not mean that all men accede God in the same way. That is what we must study next. _________________ 1 From this point onwards we follow a text of the 1968 seminar. On the problem of the accessibility of divine reality please refer to El hombre y Dios (“Man and God“), op. cit., pp. 185-193. 2 In the 1971 seminar Zubiri no longer speaks of an “essentially or radically existent” reality, but of an “absolutely absolute” reality. 3 Concerning “fontanal transcendence” please refer to El hombre y Dios (“Man and God“), op. cit., pp. 177-178. For His “personal characteristic”, ibid., pp. 168-170. 4 Regarding the historicity of man please refer to the paper by Zubiri on “The Historical Dimension of the Human Being”, Realitas-I, Madrid, 1974, pp. 11-64. About the historicity of reason please refer to Inteligencia y razón (“Intelligence and Reason“), op. cit. pp. 297-316. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri ---------- Chapter 2 (79-94) {79} SECOND PART THE FACT OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS1 {81} Our intelligence, in the steps it takes towards God, leads us to the inexorable admission of the existence of an absolutely absolute reality. By being such, it entails the characteristic of being personal, and is fontanally present in the depth of every reality, most specially in the depth of the human person as it constitutes its I, i.e., his own relatively absolute being, his substantive being. The problem of the access to God can be put simply as follows: the access to God consists in the personal surrender to that absolute person, which as absolute, is at the depth of every reality, and most specially and formally at the depth of the human spirit precisely qua person. The surrender to a personal reality as true, is what thematically constitutes faith2. Naturally, this faith is a manifestative faith, and consequently experiential with respect to what the power of the absolute and personal reality of God is in the depths of the human spirit. And this surrender is an internal and dynamic tension by virtue of which God and man are not an I and a You, as if the You were another I. The divine person is an absolute person, and therefore His relationship, although personal, is not of the I-You kind. That is the reason why it is often difficult to demarcate the boundary {82} between the I and God. On the one hand, sometimes the I seems to be like God; on the other, God seems to be like the I. It is precisely the reality of God and His personal presence, which makes the I to be an I. Therefore, their oneness is the oneness of an internal and dynamic tension in which the surrender occurs. To be sure, in this surrender man gives himself with everything he is: with his individual conditions, with his mental, social, historical, etc., conditions. And naturally, that experience is essentially and constitutively shaded by the ingredients, which constitute the very reality of man. Because of this, many things, which man assigns to God, i.e., the way that man in that inner experience fills the area of the absolute reality of God with a particular concretion, depend in good measure on the type of experience that man actualizes. Of course, that experience cannot be limited to what man gives, since in every interpersonal relationship there is also what man receives. Therefore, it is not excluded a priori that, in this internal experience of the relatively absolute person, which I am, with the absolutely absolute person (subjacent in the depth of my person, and making me a person), the divine reality may have manifesting characteristics, which may exceed3 what pure intelligence could say about God. And this is what in a more thematic sense can and should be called revelation. Revelation does not consist in a dictation of truths to the ear of a spirit, but simply consists in a kind of internal manifestative experience through which God makes that the {83} person, in its surrender to the divinity, have some ideas and a higher light about this divinity than the one, which the movement of his own intelligence could provide. And in this sense it is quite clear that any revelation, regardless of how transcendent it may be, presupposes religation metaphysically and theologically. Faith is a dynamic surrender and consequently, at the same time it is individual, it is also historical. And since it exceeds the area of what pure intelligence gives, there might appear, and in fact do appear, different possible ideas about God. Therefore, faith —that surrender— comprises an essentially optative characteristic. Man chooses from within that area, which the continuous marching steps of intelligence open up for him. Faith has an essentially optative characteristic, quite present in both the positive and negative choices, because atheism, as autosufficiency of life, is just as much an option as believing in the one and triune God. And so, the surrender of man to God is a surrender of his whole being. It is not merely a stepping progress of his intelligence. Because of this it is necessary that we confront a new aspect of the question. The fact that the complete surrender of man to God is not just religation, since religation, in its absolute surrender to God, acquires a certain concrete form called religion. {85} CHAPTER II RELIGION AND RELIGATION When dealing with the problem of God I showed4 , from the analysis of the man building his own personality, how one ultimately arrives at facing the inexorable reality of God. Confronting this reality, through a process that is not purely intellective, but of faith, the existence of certain characteristics pertaining to this God are admitted. Man is constitutively religated to the power of the real, and is taken religatingly to the intellection of the absolutely absolute reality, which as I mentioned then, comprised three characteristics: it is personal, it is one, and it is transcendent. To this personal reality, which appears in the depth of every reality, and even more perceptibly, in the depth of the human person, man surrenders. And the surrender to a personal reality insofar as true is precisely what thematically, and formally we call “faith”. Faith occurs in surrender. But then, faith is not the complete surrender. Faith is purely and simply the radical dimension of the surrender of man. But the surrender as such affects the totality of the human being. Consequently, the problem, {86} which began by being a religation starting from the power of the real, and finishing in an access to God, now translates itself into the dimension of totality (the wholeness or the complete total being) of the man who surrenders to God. And this is not simply religation: the surrender thus understood, in its totality, is precisely what in a formal and thematic way, can and should be called religion. Religation is molded constitutively and formally into religion. Needless to say, that religation is the fundament of religion. If religion were to be nothing more than a code of laws, it would be as disputable as the rest of all the codes on Earth. That is not the question. The question is that religation is the fundament, in the sense that without religation there would not be any religion, and in addition, in the sense —as I will proceed to show next— that it is religation itself, which takes us to religion. If we can say now, in a neutral manner, that religation molds itself into religion, the first thing we have to do is to indicate more concretely in what does this molding of religation into religion consist. And in second place, to show in what does religion itself consist, i.e., that into which it molds itself. {87} §1 THE MOLDING IN ITSELF The question involves the molding of religation. And religation, as I have shown previously, is a constitutive and formal dimension of the human person qua person. Therefore, the first thing we must say about this molding is, that it is constituted as a personal act of man. Thus, we need to begin with this first clarification, In what does this first aspect of the molding of religation consist, as the molding of a personal act of man? I. Molding as a personal act of man Indubitably, molding is not an arbitrary act. It is an act to which man is led by religation. And in that generic sense, it can be said that the molding of religation into religion is just something natural. However, this is a term full of ambiguities. Let us be more precise. What do we mean by “natural”? At the outset “natural” does not mean that religion can be natural in the sense that a thing called “natural religion” may exist. Nothing of the kind. This was one of the infamous inventions of the XVII century, which became the era of natural religion, natural law, natural knowledge, natural theology, natural psychology... without ever being told what “natural” is. But that is not the question. Natural religion has no existence whatsoever, and the same can be said for {88} natural law. They are, regardless of how many times we turn this around, mental constructs. Here “natural” means that religion is purely and simply something, which is natural from the point of view of the prolongation (sit venia verbo) of religation as such. In this sense, religion is natural without there being a natural religion, whose concept, if it were to exist, would be entirely false. Because religation, and consequently also the religion into which religation molds itself, is not, not even remotely, a constitutive dimension of human nature, but rather a constitutive dimension of the human person. There is no such thing as natural religion, but only personal religion, just as there is no natural religation, but only personal religation. Obviously, having thus demarcated the ambit of the meaning that it is natural for religion to exist, the problem of what happens with the one that does not have any religion immediately comes to mind. Those without religion, far from being a marginal minority of blind men, are becoming more numerous today, and without doubt constitute a significant block of humanity. Although it may lead to repetitions, it will be useful to say something here about this “not-having-religion”. In the first place, I have mentioned that the molding of religation into religion is something natural. With respect to the one without religion, it concerns, for example, the voice of conscience, which in each case not only says what has to be done, but represents a dictate for absolutely abiding by reality. Although expressed with another name, there is no doubt that the voice of conscience is nothing less but the authentic voice and presence of God, just as much as one of the toráh of the patriarchal, and Yahwist religion5. Consequently, not to have any religion, in this {89} sense, can signify a certain interpretation of this presence, justified from other points of view, and not simply a natural privative fact like having or not having something else. To admit the existence of an ultimate reality —call it what you will— is not a question of option. The option consists in the unfolding of its intellection. In second place, it could be understood that not to have a religion means not to have a certain type of positive religion, but this is not “not-having-religion”. I have not said, not even remotely, that the molding of religation into religion lands on a positive religion. As we shall see, that is a different question. Then, Does this mean that one can actually admit in a factual, intellective way the reality of a God, and, however, have nothing to do with Him? This is radically inadmissible. Obviously all that about not having a religion must be taken cum grano salis: there are atheisms, which are presented clearly festooned with all the predicates, which traditional theology has precisely attributed to God. The fact of the matter is that the one who has no religion nevertheless lives from an option of faith. Because not to have a religion is clearly not a natural state: it is an option. As much an option as believing in the one triune God. Let us not create fantasies. Not to have a religion is not like having a poor ear or not having good eyesight. It is a real and positive option just as much as being a Buddhist or a Catholic or a Muslim can be. In this sense the molding means, so far, a personal act, which prolongs in a more or less inexorable way that which we call religation. {90} II. Molding and socialization6 The term “molding” is somewhat vague. It will be necessary to explain what the very molding consists of. There is an answer that, without the name of molding, but answering to what we evoke at this moment, has been given mainly at the beginning of this century. It consists in saying that religion is a social fact. Religion would be the molding of some tendencies —whatever they might be— into a social institution called religion. That was the thesis of Durkheim. Religion as a social fact is, in the first place, something that is there, just like the State, the economic institutions, etc. And, as an institution it is a system of beliefs, a system of practices, a system of obligations, etc., which man encounters when he is born, exactly the same as he encounters a political organization, or social institutions of any other kind. In the second place, religion is not only an institution, but an institution, which forces itself like any other institution, precisely by that specific characteristic with which every real and radical social fact forces itself upon every individual: through by imposition. For Durkheim imposition has a precise name, namely pressure. The real and actual pressure, which the social —that certainly is not outside individuals, but rather is in them without identifying itself with them— exerts in the depth of each individual. And this pressure is a characteristic of every social institution with respect to the individuals to which it is applied. However, Is it true that the molding of religation {91} into religion is a socialization? It cannot be denied that from a certain aspect, and from a certain point of view it can be true, without making this any sort of discovery by Durkheim. But from the point of view of the specific conception of Durkheim there are serious omissions. In the first place, What does Durkheim do with the individual acts of religious life? Have they no reality at all? In the second place, besides that hypertrophy of the social characteristic of religion, to which all of us are sad heirs nowadays, Durkheim has clearly confused two aspects, something he was very prone to do in all things. He has confused the form of religion with religion itself. Regardless of the institutional characteristic that a religion may have like any other institution of a moral or intellectual character (including science itself), one thing is the institutional form it has, and another the spirit with which it lives. They are two different things. Let us not confuse religion with a social form. This is what Durkheim plainly does, and the title of his book The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (“Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse”) denounces that confusion. What if religion were to be something more than a form? In third place, Durkheim tells us it is a question of social pressure. Leaving aside the general theme of sociology, which does not concern me at this moment, Is it true that the form religion imposes upon its faithful is one of pressure? It might be thought that in reality it is a question of something less forceful: of a series of obligations, which one could even break. Fine, in that case I would join Durkheim: the strength with which religion imposes itself upon each one of its faithful is more than an obligation. Quite conversely: the alleged obligatoryness of religious obligations stems precisely from the strength with which religion imposes itself upon the individuals who believe in it, and have become the faithful. However, this strength {92} is not a pressure or an obligation. It is a different subtle thing, which is precisely what I have been trying to express from the beginning of these pages with the term “religation”. Man is religated. And the molding of this religation continues to be religating for man. But religation is not obligation, or pressure. It is much more than obligation, and is present at an infinitely much more subtle level, but more apprehensible than the so-called “social pressure”. The principle and the arché of every religion, from this point of view, is religation. It certainly cannot fit in the category of social facts, which Durkheim describes. Up to now we have been referring to the institution itself. However, Durkheim would say that religion, in addition to being an institution has an object, and to that object sociological conditions are also applied, like the ones he has applied to the religious attitude itself. In fact, if one asks Durkheim what is the object of religion, his answer is unambiguous: it is definitely the sacred. The great divide in the world, much more radical and profound —Durkheim says— than the division between good and evil, is the divide between the sacred and the profane. The sacred and the profane comprise two isolated worlds. There may be —according to Durkheim— acts, for example initiation rites, which are acts of this world, by virtue of which the inductee can pass to the world of the sacred. But in themselves and from themselves the world of the sacred, and the world of the profane are radically separated. And strictly speaking every transition is a metamorphosis. Consequently, what becomes essential for religion, according to Durkheim, is the sacred; understanding as sacred that which is untouchable. Therefore, the radical and elemental form of the object of religious life for Durkheim is the taboo. Religion would then be a social institution, which is concerned {93} with the sacred, where the difference between the sacred and the profane is precisely the very product of socialization, because the difference is established by the social bonds. Nevertheless, Is this object of religion acceptable? In the first place, Is it true that the sacred is the untouchable? It might be possible that here Durkheim is confusing two subtly, but absolutely different dimensions, just as he missed the distinction between pressure and religation before. Because indeed, the sacred is venerable, but not untouchable. They are absolutely different things. It is said that this sacred, which is venerable, is a product of society. However, What do we understand by a product of society? Society, and each one of the religions of the world can definitely circumscribe the area of the sacred. Words and objects sacred in one religion may not be sacred for another. All this is true, but concerns sacred things. And the sacred as such? In what does its sacredness consist? Certainly sacredness does not rest upon itself. There is no doubt that the sacred is present in every religion. But it is present in every religion because it is religious, because it is the molding of religation. It is not religious because it is sacred, but rather it is sacred because it is religious. For this reason the sacred is not opposed to the profane; to what the profane is thematically and formally opposed is the religious. Still, this opposition is not the opposition of two worlds, but two slopes of the same reality, and that is what life taken religiously is, the religious reality7. The molding, therefore, is not and cannot in any way signify {94} a socialization. The molding is something entirely different. I have pointed out that religion, at the very least in a radical and primary way, is the surrender of the whole being of man, within the channel of faith, to the reality of God. In each surrender faith plays a primary role. Without it there would be no possibility of a total surrender of man to God. But neither can the totality of that surrender be identified with its dimension of faith. Which allows us to say, on the one hand, that the molding is the configuration of the surrender of the whole being of man by faith. But, since faith emerges at the same time, and is an act of surrender of the being of man, it can be said that this surrender in turn is molding the faith. Taking both dimensions unitarily, it can definitely be said that the molding is the configuration of faith into the whole being of man. They are two equivalent formulations. Having said all this, we now have arrived to the exact terminus I had proposed to examine. What kind of religion is it into which religation molds itself? This question must be answered in three parts, and in this chapter I will only consider the first: In the first place: What is religion precisely? In the second place: What is one of the characteristics, which religion has, and the one in which we are most interested in this study, namely, its diversity? And in third place: In what does the intrinsic historicity of religion consist? _________________ 1 From this point on we follow the text of the end of the first part (“Man and God”), and above all of the second part (“Religion and Religions”) of the 1971 seminar. The present text comprises the whole first part of that seminar, corresponding in its fundamental contents to what was published in Man and God. 2 The justification of the reality of God is offered by Zubiri in El hombre y Dios ("Man and God"), op. cit. pp. 134-164. About faith as the formal root of the access of man to God can be seen ibid., pp. 209-222. 3 On the text of the 1971 seminar Zubiri wrote on the margin: “Attention: eliminate the idea and name of excess”. 4 Again, this is a reference to the first part of the seminar. About the characteristics of the reality of God please refer to El hombre y Dios ("Man and God"), op. cit., pp. 165-178. 5 Toráh in Hebrew primarily means “instruction”. Probably, in the beginning the toráh were instructions or divine norms communicated by the levites by means of the instruments for oracles, the urim and tummim (cf. Dt 33: 8-10). 6 Some repetions of what was said in the first chapter are here inevitable. 7 Zubiri here repeats the example of the confrontation of the prophet Elijah with the Canaanite prophets, mentioned in the first chapter. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri --------- Chapter 2 (95-106) {95} § 2 WHAT IS RELIGION SPECIFICALLY? On the previous pages, concerning the Durkheim critique, I was pointing out that we must distinguish in a radical way what religion comprises as a religious institution —not in the sense of Durkheim, but in the most inoffensive sense of the word— and what it comprises as a personal life. As an institution, that which is called “religion” is in reality the body of religion. On the other hand, personal religious life is that which quite properly and rigorously must constitute the very spirit of religion. I. The body of religion In the first place: What is religion as a body? And, in second place: What is the structure of that body? A) Religion as a body. Why is religion a body? As an institution religion falls within the domain of those facts that since Hegel have been called “moments of the objective spirit”. That is an ill-fitting name because the objective spirit is not, strictly speaking an objective spirit, but an objectivized spirit, which is a totally different thing1. Basically, what the statement wishes to express is that the objectivized spirit does not identify itself with the spirit of each one. {96} However, it is neither outside the spirit of each one. What is happening here is something similar to the famous distinction of Rousseau between the volonté générale and the volonté de tous. The objective spirit does not in any way identify itself with the spirit of each individual, or with the coincidence of all individuals. The thesis that it is an objectivized spirit does not mean that it is the terminus of a process of objectivation. There is no process, but it concerns something quite different: a structure into which every individual is immersed from birth. And that structure consists in the fact that each individual, by the mere fact of being an individual human being, and for no other reason, finds himself affected by the other individual human beings that exist around him. Every person, by the mere fact of living with other persons, and coexisting with them, finds himself in one measure or another affected precisely by these other persons in his very own way of dealing with things. This way of being affected impresses a way of being in the spirit of each, in each person. It is the case of a way of dealing with things determined by the other persons surrounding him. This way of dealing with things is what the Latins called habitudo, and the Greeks héxis: a way of dealing with things, and even including a way of being determined by these other things. Inasmuch as it is a héxis, it is different from the individuals; but inasmuch as it is a héxis, it is not outside them. Hence, this héxis, this otherness, this habitude one has of being affected by the other, can be realized in different directions. In the first place, it is possible that the other person is affecting me precisely qua person. That is a dimension which does not concern us here. It could be, in the second place, that I may be affected not as much for what the other has as person, but by the qualities that other person has, {97} independently that it may be a person. By person I understand here the substantive reality whose properties are formally his. If we ignore the fact that they may be his, this whole system of properties is affecting me in an héxis, in which the other person intervenes as depersonalized. And precisely that depersonalized characteristic of the person is what is called “depersonalization”. When it is often said in present-day philosophy that man is reified, we are never given the explanation in what this alleged reification consists, and one always thinks about the idea of substance. That is not the case. From my point of view the objectivation consists purely and simply in depersonalization. And thus, when that habitude, that héxis, is not determined by someone in particular, but by anyone, and in addition by all those “anyone” taken as a set, it is then that we can really say we have an objective spirit. One can have a friend, but that alone is not a form of the objective spirit. It must be anyone, and in addition taken as a set. We have been accustomed since Hegel to conceptualize that the set of men forming the objective spirit is formed by all the individuals of the human species. That is totally inexact, and also insufficient. That set is much more limited. For example, the citizens of Athens of the time of Pericles felt themselves under the protection of Pallas Athena. There that set of citizens is circumscribed by a periphery, by a circle which determines it —regardless of the form— that all be precisely the polítai of the city of Athens. It is not the case of a set within the human species, but the concrete historical profile which some particular groups of individuals have. And so, taking the objective spirit in that way, religation religates to the objective spirit. With this I do not intend to say that religation religates to the totality of the objective spirit, and much {98} less to support the absurd thesis that the State is the supreme personification of the objective spirit. What happens is that religation religates the whole man, including the objective dimension of his spirit. In this dimension, religion is the molding of religation into objective spirit. And this molding constitutes a body precisely because it objectively defines and circumscribes the ambit of religious life. By virtue of depersonalization, the other is not just his own, but rather is a more or less objectivized reality which delimits in a definitive and even a circumscribing way the system of possibilities with which each one has to accomplish his own life. It is in this sense that objectivized spirit is, and formally must be called “body”, social body. The objective spirit is objectivized spirit, and objectivized spirit is the social body. Religion, in its first dimension, as institution, belongs to a social body. After all, from the vital point of view, not the structural, sóma circumscribes and defines all the possibilities of every human life2. B) The structure of that body. In what does religion consist as an objective body, as a social body? 1) In the surrender of man towards divinity, he is continually elaborating an idea about that divinity. Every religion, as an objective body, involves a concept, a series of ideas about the divinity, a theology. Religion {99} actually has a god. I shall deal further on with those religions about which it is said they have no god. This is true in the sense given by the phrase, but not in the sense I am giving it here. Every religion has its god. And, naturally, the god of a religion is not identified with the God to which pure intellection accedes, because it clearly has many more characteristics. Precisely those which man continually discovers and deposits on the god to whom he appeals from the concrete reality of his life. That god is a supreme reality, which does not mean there are no other subordinate entities. However, the supremacy confronting those other entities is not a mere supremacy of organization. As seen from the outside, of course, every pantheon is an organization, but that is not the essential point. Let us take the case of a pantheon which has had a great historical influence: the Phoenician pantheon, and in general the one belonging to all Semitic religions. In these religions, the generic name “god” is indeed ’el: it appears in the term “Alláh” of the Arabs, ’ilu of the Babylonians, and ’elohim of the Hebrews. It is a generic name which means the divinity of all those realities which are gods. But in this pantheon there is a single god in whom everything is concentrated of what in a plenary and exhaustive way constitutes divinity. In that case, he is the pre-eminent ’El. And then “God” is a proper name. He appears as such, for example, at the head of the Phoenician pantheon of Ras Shamra, or in the ’Elohim of the Old Testament. It is not a question, then, of an organization: it is always about the apprehension of a supreme reality which in its absolutely absolute characteristic concentrates on itself all the characteristics which man in a particular society assigns to divinity. The very name of ’El probably means “the powerful”, “the most powerful”. {100} Powerful, naturally, in the triple dimension of being the ultimate reality, the ultimate possibility of man, and also an impelling reality. 2) In addition, every religion sees the world essentially from that divinity. It is a theology and also a mundology3 . This mundology is not arbitrary. God has appeared as the ultimate, possibilitating, and impelling fundament of the whole of human life. But then, this human life is made with things, with the rest of men, and with one’s own reality. Hence, theological mundology —the vision of the world from God— implies, in the first place, a vision of the radical and fundamental origin of all things with which man elaborates his life in God: this is a cosmogony. In the second place, a vision of the oneness of men with respect to God: this is an ecclesiology in the sense I describe below. In the third place, a vision of the reality of each in the future development of his own life: this is an eschatology, if I may be permitted the expression. These three moments, which taken at one and the same time, constitute the body of religion, have a certain stability. The man that is born finds himself with something already established, namely, the religion into which he was born. And that establishment is precisely what the term and concept of “tradition” expresses. Mundology therefore comprises a cosmogony, an eschatology, and a tradition. What are these four things? a) In the first place, in every religion there is a cosmogony. Any religion answers the question as to how the world has been formed, and how it has been made. Here the theme of the gods as makers of the world appears. It is not {101} mentioned anywhere that the absolutely supreme reality is a maker. That this reality may be so is another question, but it is not necessary that this reality be the one that makes the world without mediation. In the case of at least all ancient religions, the making of the world is a subordinate function of a demiurge. Clearly the demiurge is a demiurge by virtue of the supreme reality, which does not detract from the radical supremacy of divine reality. But this divine reality has subordinate beings who make the world. This is not the most primitive conception. It is not metaphysically impossible for creation ex nihilo to be the terminus of a being previously created by God. It might be the case, and it is true, that because of their nature no created being is a creator. However, this does not mean that a created being cannot have a rigorously creating function ex nihilo sui et subjecti. In the case of the maker gods, the term “maker” leaves a sufficient margin that allows us to speak about them without delving into distinctions that do not belong to the essence of religion, but to certain religions. Not only do we have maker gods, but we also have in the vision of the world from God that this world has several zones. God not only shows Himself as maker of the world, but also as owner, as its lord. The Semitic term used for the god Ba‘al means precisely that: owner or lord in the sense of domination. Because of this, one could say that, as we shall see in more detail when we discuss religious diversity, each people has a religion of their own, where to have their own religion means primarily that it has the god who protects the territory of the population in question. In the case of nomads, of course, this refers to the god who accompanies them in their migrations. There is always their-god. {102} Besides zones within the world there is the great double zone of the worldly and the transworldly. Often the term “supernatural” has been applied in a hasty and precipitous manner to this zone of beings that would be different from the world. I think it is preferable to call them “transworldly” in the sense that they form part of another world. These beings have led to an internal dialectic within religions. And I take the example of the religion of Israel, to avoid the appearance of this being questionable. ‘Elohim is the name of God, but it also signifies that whole array of transworldly beings to which also the soul of the dead properly belongs. When Saul wishes to know the will of God he appeals to a female necromancer, who conjures the presence of the spirit of Samuel. And the text recounts that the woman saw an ‘elohim ascending from the earth; it was precisely the spirit of Samuel (1 Sam 28:13). In the Hebrew text of Psalm 82, for example, Yahweh confronts the other ‘elohim, reproaching their injustice. The Septuagint found this a bit harsh and translated it as dáimones, demons. But the Hebrew text writes ‘elohim. They may be evil, that is a separate question, but indubitably they belong to that transworld. It is in both worlds, that other transworld and this world divided into zones, that the action of God occurs. b) In the second place, God is not only fundament of the world —cosmogony— but also of the oneness of those who believe in Him. It is the case, in one form or another, of an ecclesiology: it is a vision of the faithful from God. Nonetheless, this concept of ecclesía is confusing and ambivalent. What I am trying to say is that it is not essential for a religion to have what we call a church, an association, etc. There are many religions which lack or have lacked that. The Greeks never had an ecclesía in the sense of community, and much less of organization. What is {103} essential to every religion, from my point of view, is something different. Each individual, by the mere fact of having faith in his God, participates in one way or another in the faith that other individuals have with respect to the same God. This participation is the only thing that really, thematically, and radically —for any religion— must be called ecclesía. It is a question of participating in the same faith, not of having an organization or a reunion in the form of an assembly. Persons are the ones who have the same religious attitude towards the same God. And it is a religious attitude which not only in fact everyone has, but in addition each one knows the others have it, that it is shared. The Athenians of the time of Pericles did not have an ecclesía in the sense of organizations and assemblies, but there is no doubt everyone knew they were protected by Pallas Athena, and were indebted to her. This is the only sense I give to the word ecclesía at this moment: the participation in a common faith. The existence of a religious community is a different matter. It is an essential distinction in the problem. From it will come the clarification to the questions I had previously addressed to the Durkheim conception. Facing this conception I had asked before, What does Durkheim do with individual religious acts or with persons who only have an individual religion? I understand by individual religion the opposite to what Durkheim pretends: a community or a body of faithful. Still, a body of faithful is not something universal, as I have just indicated. What then is that alleged individual religion? The term is quite confusing. It could mean the religion of someone who does not belong to the community, who is at the margin of the same. To be at the margin, if not of the community, of the gods of the State, is in what kategórema consisted, the accusation of the judges against Socrates. But individual religion {104} may simply mean the fact that religion is practiced individually, and personally. Consequently, it has nothing to do with the fact that it may or may not be shared with other persons. It is the case, with respect to them, of participation in the very same faith, and not belonging to the same community. It is not essential for any religion to have a community, but it is essential for religion and faith that it may be —or at least have the capability to be— shared. From this follows that every religion, in an initial and radical way, does have an ecclesial dimension in the sense I have just described. Of course, when the community exists as such, then it is performing certain activities, which are the ones that should be called cultic. These are activities more or less symbolic which are performed by the community when facing the gods. Many religions, although not even all remotely, have specialized personnel to perform these functions, which is what the priesthood is, in its double function of being the performer of the acts of cult, and the mediator in the access to the divinity. These activities of the community —or even the activities of the individual in the sense mentioned above— are ecclesial actions in the radical sense of the word, actions which are inspired in the participation of all individuals or of a group of individuals in one same faith, and they have three essential dimensions: aa) In the first place, these activities refer to the gods, but not in the same manner as we refer to the stars which simply are there. The gods have made the world or, as in the old traditions, have built the cities. Some peoples, like the Greeks, had the experience that this was not completely accurate: the cities of the Greek colonies were not made by the gods, but by themselves. Leaving the cities aside, any religion, including the Greek religion, has incorporated {105} the idea that in one way or another, God or the gods have made the world. And then to address God as maker is not simply to address —as Aristotle would say— a first cause, which is right there in front of your eyes. We are dealing with something that existed at the beginning of the world, something that happened in illo tempore. This is the dimension of anámnesis, proper to every cultic action. Let us remember, for example, that in the New Year festivities, in the bit akitu the Babylonians would reread the Enuma Eliš, the Creation Poem. In reality, the first dimension of the cultic activity is remembrance. This remembrance does not consist solely in remembering, but indeed has a strictly religious aspect. It is not only the case of remembering what took place in illo tempore, but that what happened in illo tempore is now reactualized in one form or another in the cultic activity now taking place. The beginning of time in the New Year is in a certain way the reactualization of what was in illo tempore the origin of the world and of all time. Insofar as reactualizing, the cultic activities have an anamnesic dimension. bb) In the second place, cultic activities not only remember and reactualize what happened: man also enters into an actual communication with a god or with some gods that are there. For example, many of the rites performed during springtime, the harvest, and the planting have the characteristic of entering into communication with the mother goddess, with the fertility itself of the earth. It is not just the fact of remembering that in illo tempore somehow the fertility of the earth began, but that one enters into a communication with the gods that in one form or another can provide that fertility or, on the contrary, disable it. cc) In the third place, the cult not only commemorates and communicates with the gods, but precisely in that {106} reactualization and this communication —two dimensions that cannot be separated— a third dimension is simultaneously carried. That communication with the gods, reactualizing what they were as makers of the world, is also in one way or another the trusting surrender which man offers to them. And this surrender in some way includes the promise or the guarantee that their land, their world, and their life are not going to end there, but are going to continue. In this sense the reference to the gods is not simply the reactualization of what happened at the beginning of time, not simply the communication with the gods which are being faced, but it is also a pledge that supplicates and guarantees the continuation of the future. The cult has the ability to reach for the three moments of time simultaneously: the past as reactualization, the present as communication, and the future as a guarantee for what is going to come. These three dimensions, at one and the same time, is what constitutes the religious unity of time. In it one of the most radical and profound dimensions of ecclesiology is manifested. _________________ 1 Concerning this dialog with Hegel at the level of 1968 please refer to Xavir Zubiri, Estructura dinámica de la realidad (“The Dynamic Structure of Reality“), Madrid, 1989, p. 271. Years later Zubiri will discard the very term of “objectivation”. 2 In the Madrid 1965 seminar, Zubiri writes on the margin that what body defines and circumscribes is “the objective characteristic of the three dimensions of religious life”, referring to ultimateness, possibilitation, and impellence. He also adds, “these possibilities constitute an organic, systematic structure; religion is not only body because it circumscribes and defines the possibilities of religious life, but because in addition it forms an organic structure. And that is so because religion is nothing but the objectivation of religation”. 3 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri talked unitarily, as we saw in the first chapter, about “theo-cosmology”. [Tr. note: Zubiri writes mundología, literally “world-logy”. The neologism mundology is taken from the Latin mundus, world. The term “cosmology” would not have reflected the distinction Zubiri makes between “world” and “cosmos”. The term “world” refers to all real things qua real, and would include our cosmos and all other kósmoi] THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 2 (106-113) {106} c) In the first place I have considered a cosmogony. In the second place an ecclesiology. But there is also an eschatology. Eschatology —from éschaton, which means the ultimate— is, from the point of view of the occurrence of human life, the homologous of what has been the primordial beginning of time. There is an éschaton, which is the end of time for man, which covers not only his future more or less proximate —this already happens in the cult—, but the totality of human reality, what we call its destiny. All religions have estimated that this éschaton is the beyond, another world. Eschatology is primarily and fundamentally the idea of another world. Naturally this other world is a world, but it is also another one, regardless of its characteristics. {107} The fact that it may be a beyond constitutive of another world evidently supposes that man is going to survive into it, that he is going to be able to live in that other world. The idea of immortality is precisely a terminus of faith. There is no reason whatsoever —not even in Catholic thought— to suppose that the idea of immortality may be a truth of pure reason: I subscribe myself to the opinion of many theologians who consider that immortality is a truth of faith. The frontier between this world and the other is precisely death. All religions have had to take a position before the problem of death. Because of this there has been talk of the “cult of the dead”. Terrible and equivocating expression. What is meant by “cult of the dead”? Not everything that is done with the dead has a religious and cultic characteristic. There are many things in the ancient religions which are simply magic, in addition to other practices more or less superstitious and aberrant which still perdure even in the bosom of our Christian civilizations. But even eliminating all these superstitious practices, the expression “cult of the dead” continues to be enormously equivocal. The expression, on the one hand, may mean that the dead are treated in a certain way because we consider that from the other world, from the beyond, they have some connection, favorable or adverse, with those who are in this world here. However, this is not necessarily a cult of the dead. More than a cult of the dead it is a condition —so to speak— of the ecclesial solidarity extended to the other world and to the spirits in it. The expression “cult of the dead” may mean, on the other hand, that one venerates, in one form or another, the spirits of the dead. But in this case, in order for the expression to be exact and extensible to all religions, it is necessary that we add an important correction. One can venerate the {108} spirits of the dead, provided that veneration means that these spirits are included inside the cult; but not that they may be the terminus of a special cult, different from the one offered to God. That would be an aberrant form. Of course, no one has ever experienced the liveliness of that survival. But neither has anyone lived the non-survival. Faith qua faith, is just as much faith in one case as it is in the other, either positive or negative. It cannot be said that the conditio possidentis belongs to the one who does not believe in the survival. It is not a question of conditio possidentis, but of an option. The option to believe that one is not immortal is just as much an option as to believe one is immortal. The reasons are a different question, but since they are not so impelling as a mathematical theorem, it means that the margin of option is equally optative in one side as it is in the other. It is no less real faith the faith of the one who declares that with death everything ends, than the faith of the one who says the everything begins there. This is, in broad strokes, the structure of the body of a religion. It has a cosmogony, it has an ecclesiology, and has an eschatology. And this body is a body into which everyone born in our city finds himself incorporated. It is the constituted body of the religion he has received. d) To this statutory characteristic is what the term tradition corresponds. Someone may believe that tradition is simply the very old. There is no doubt that there is a reason why words have acquired the meaning they have today. Yet, if we wish to be more precise and rigorous about the meaning of tradition we find that what really corresponds to it is the concept of something which has been established for all time. And this tradition has moments. aa) In the first place there is an initial moment. It must be admitted at the very least that there has been a moment in which {109} a certain religious structure has commenced. That is the moment for the fixation of the tradition, what we might call the constituting moment of the tradition or the constituting tradition. To this moment belong, for example, the few known founders of religions: Abraham or Moses, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Zarathustra in the Avesta, Lao Tse or Confucius. There are only a few founders of religions whose names are known today, and therefore, there are only very few religions whose constitutive moment appears evident today. Nevertheless, every tradition has this initial or constituting moment. bb) In the second place, tradition is always there, it comes to us from always. And in this sense tradition has a continuating dimension. The traditional is in this sense that which is continuating in the objective spirit. It is usually said, and it is true, that this continuating tradition may adopt diverse forms. For example, there is an oral tradition. The Vedas have been transmitted orally. Surely the hymns of joy of the Avesta have also been transmitted orally. That is why it is so difficult to translate them, as those of us who have been trying to translate them for years well know. Together with that great function of the oral tradition there are religions that have fixed their traditions in writing, not precisely at the moment of their being constituted, but in some continuating phase of its own. The Vedas were put into writing, the Avesta was put into writing, the Yahwist and Elohist traditions were put into writing, etc. It is precisely the case of those religions to whose tradition belongs the existence of a Sacred Book. These are the “religions of the Book”. Christianity has the Bible, the Mohammedans the Al-Koran, the Ginza for the Mandean, the Avesta for the Zoroastrian, many religious books in Egypt, the Pali canon of Buddhism, etc. {110} It is usually thought that there are no other forms of tradition besides these. However, with all due respect for the truth, although both are important and truthful, they are actually the most superficial. Continuating tradition is something much more serious. It is precisely the inner and lived experience with which each one of the individuals of a particular historical moment continues to actually receive, in a vital and internal way, the religious fecundity of those who have formed him, while at the same time he continues to form those who come after him. This lived and direct experience is the radical form of the continuating tradition. On top of it the whole scaffolding of the oral and written traditions ride. In the written traditions, and in the case of the Bible, it would be wise not to forget this at the time of making literary criticisms. And this radical form of tradition, which is prior to being oral, and prior to being written, is precisely to live it, to be a living tradition. cc) But tradition not only has a constituting moment, and a continuating moment. It also has a moment that looks clearly to the future. Let us call it progradient tradition. It is the tradition that looks to the future with what it has received, and with what it is taking from the present situation, for anything that may be useful in illuminating the steps it will be taking in the future. It is here where the possibility appears for something, which is essential in almost all religions, and is precisely the beginning of theology: to disentangle tradition. It is the beginning, for example, of the theology of Memphis and Thebes, of the theology of the “Brahmanas” and the “Upanishads”, of the Iranian Zoroastrianism, etc. It is the starting of a theology inasmuch as the received tradition is forming and prefiguring the course of the body of its own religion, the religious body1. {111} In its triple aspect as constitutive, continuative, and progradient, tradition expresses the statutory characteristic of the body of religion as theology and as mundology. II. Personal religious life Besides religion as an institution we have the religious life that each individual actualizes precisely in that religious body or institution. It is within that body where each one of those belonging to it lives his own religious life, and this is what precisely constitutes the essential and fundamental terminus of religion. Religion is essentially the spirit with which that body is lived. The personal religious attitude of each one is not an attitude numerically added to other attitudes in life, and different from them. This would be a somewhat Platonic conception of religion, dominated by a chorismós, a separation. The religious attitude is not just one more attitude in life, rather it is the radical and fundamental attitude with which one can live all of the doings and eventualities of life. Only in this sense it can be said that every religation molds itself into religion. Religion consists in living all the activities of life within the dimension of the surrender to the divinity, in one faith. Nevertheless, there are in this life a few acts that are not just attitude, and can be essential to religion: for example, rites of initiation to the body of faith, formulas for the profession of faith. The formula for the Moslems is well known: la ilah illa Allah wa Muhammad rasul Allah, “there is no other God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”. The Israelites have a formula for the profession of faith in the synagogue: {112} shama’ Yisra’el Yahweh ‘elohim Yahweh ’echad, “listen Israel, Yahweh our God is one” (Dt 6:4). And there are also the supplications and the prayers. But the supplications and the prayers only have sense within a certain conception of the divinity. It is not primarily a question of elevated sentiments. Many religions, within a certain historical level, have the same list of high sentiments more or less. It would suffice to note that some Psalms inscribed in the canon of the Old Testament are literally copied from extra-Biblical texts. And conversely we should not forget that not every sentiment found in the Psalms is worth imitating. There are many texts worthy of admiration, but not precisely worth of imitation, and are not proposed for imitation. A supplication is not primarily and fundamentally composed by a series of sentiments, but by something much more radical: by the conception of the divinity which one addresses in the faith, by the meaning of that faith. Certainly, man in his own life not only performs these acts, but precisely because he performs or may perform all the activities of his life with a religious attitude, finds himself located in front of his actions, and in front of things not only in the sense that he does what he should, but in the sense that, apparently at least, when he does what he should not, he commits a peccatum. I say apparently not because this may not be real, but because the peccatum is something much more than just doing something you should not do. Any moral conscience, regardless of the type it may be, has knowledge of what should be done, and what should not be done. And is also aware that what is done when one commits an infraction against what should be done is not yet a peccatum. The peccatum is that deficit in the moral action when it is formally referred to the divinity. Only then we have a peccatum. Anything else is purely and {113} simply a moral fault. The difference and the connection that exists between the fault and the peccatum is one of the subjects which are beyond the scope of our present endeavors. Thus, religion, lived personally by each one of the members of a social body, has a theology and is essentially included in a mundology in its triple dimension of cosmogeny, ecclesiology, and eschatology. Certainly, in that social body, this religion lived in a particular way presents a curious characteristic: it is an inexorable and necessary molding of religation. Religion in this sense is a molding which by reason of its own characteristics is the terminus of religation. However, religion takes on many innumerable forms, and all of them with a historical characteristic. In what does their diversity consist? In what does their history consist? _________________ 1 Zubiri notes on the margin: “religious reformer”. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 3 (115-129) {115} CHAPTER III THE DIVERSITY OF RELIGIONS The question here is not to describe, not even summarily, in what this diversity consists. That would be the subject matter for an entire course on the history of religions. It is a question of purely and simply arriving at a concept of diversity qua diversity. For this it is necessary, in the first place, to quickly recall some dimensions of the fact of diversity itself. In the second place, we must ask in what does the structure of this diversity of religions consist, but in a more formal manner. In the third place, even in a deeper way, beyond structure, we must investigate in what does the essential difference of religions consist. Finally, in the fourth place, we must find out in what do the characteristics of this essential diversity itself consist. {116} § 1 THE FACT OF DIVERSITY The fact of diversity is quite well known. However, we must refine some characteristics in order that this diversity may acquire a certain sense. Truly, religions are diverse, but they do not appear at random on Earth. Religions exist on Earth in a concrete manner. It seems prehistoric men had some form of religion: we notice the early appearance of amulets, figurines, rock paintings, burials, etc., which makes us think that those men had some idea of the powers superior to man, and of the existence of a beyond. Well into the historic phase, the ethnologists classify the different civilizations into several stages or strata, which although not yet strata rigorously speaking, they may be called as such in order not to complicate the exposition. A) In the first place we have the stratum of the primitive civilizations, which only live by gathering the products of the fields, generally in charge of the women, and from the stalking hunt of animals, both large and small, in charge of the men. This type of primitive civilization, based simply on collecting, exists fundamentally in four different cultural cycles: the Equatorial cycle, the Southern cycle, the Arctic cycle, and the Boomerang cycle. These primitive civilizations appear to have in some way the idea of a supreme being, and in this sense they have a true monotheism, which certainly is not incompatible with the existence of many superior {117} transmundane beings, but among them there seems to be one superior being. Many of these primitive peoples believed that this divinity lived among men for a while, taught them the fundamental things of life and death, and afterwards left them, according to some for the heavens, according to others for the Orient, etc. B) In the second place there are primary civilizations. These civilizations do not live by gathering, but by production1. This production outlines three different types of civilization and cultural cycle. In the first place, the patriarchal hunters, creators of the urban civilization in which totemism and the cult of the Sun were born. Therefore, totemism (the idea of some blood ties between members of this civilization with certain animals, the idea of a sacred animal, etc.) is not, as Durkheim naively proposed, the elemental form of religious life. This thesis today is no more than a memory. In addition to the patriarchal hunters, we have the agricultural civilizations, which are matriarchal. They are not urban civilizations, but agrarian. And in this agrarian civilization something different from totemism has appeared, animism. Animism is not a religion, but a mentality, a way of interpreting things, not only of the other world, but also of this one. Animism can incorporate many religions, and the same religion can be lived through different mentalities, one of which is the animist. In these civilizations of matriarchal farmers there are two fundamental cults: one is to the fertility of Mother Earth, {118} and the other is the cult of the Moon, which rules the cycles of the seasons, etc. There is a third group, different from the urban and agrarian civilizations, the one of the nomadic shepherds, which has at least three different cultural cycles. One is the Ural-Altaic group. Another, the primitive Indo-European. And another, the primitive Hamito-Semitic. These nomadic shepherds ambulate through the steppes, more or less in the open, and live under the sky. It is natural for them to have a completely different type of religion. They live under the open sky, which serves as the seat of the only divinity they have, and who is accompanying them in their nomadic movements. Through the contact with certain urban civilizations they have an association with Mother Earth, and then some complex figures may appear, such as the Zeus páter2 associated to Deméter, Mother Earth, as it happens in the primitive sediments of the Indo-European civilization in the Mediterranean basin. C) There are, in the third place, the secondary cultures, constituted by a free matriarchy or by a free patriarchy, wherein are born, by further elaboration, things as different as fetishism or the cult of the manes, primarily. D) Finally there are some tertiary civilizations, which are called —without entering into ethnological complexities— superior civilizations. Mentioning them in their order of antiquity as verified historically, we have in first place the civilization of the Semites. Later on, in the Far {119} East, towards the XVII or XVI century B.C., the civilizations of China and Japan appear. Afterwards, coming from the Indo-Europeans, the more or less sedentary Europeans appear, as well as the Hindus from the Indus valley, the Iranians on their way to India, the Greeks and Romans, etc. After this, the first manifestations of the religion of Israel appear, which is going to resonate in Christianity. Towards the VI century B.C., when during the time of Isaiah the great reform of Israel takes place, two very important events occur: on the one hand the appearance of Buddhism in India, and on the other, the appearance, not of the first Iranians, but rather the reform of Zarathustra. And finally, around the VI and VII centuries A.D., Islam appears. Here we have, in broad strokes, the great diversity of religions or, if you will, the main titles under which we would have to place the great diversity of religions. Then, we ask ourselves, In what does the formal structure of this diversity consist? {120} § 2 THE FORMAL STRUCTURE OF THIS DIVERSITY This diversity is inscribed in a religious situation perfectly particularized. Anything else would be sheer fantasy. Men do not surrender to God in the abstract, by virtue of their prime matter and substantial form, but as absolutely concrete entities, as individuals, and also as individuals that live in a group, immersed in a religious situation. The fact of diversity occurs there. Each religion is inscribed in its religious situation, which is essential not to loose from sight. Therefore, In what does the diversity of these situations consist, and consequently, what determines each situation formally? On the one hand there is the diversity of social bodies, the relevance of which is undeniable. I understand social bodies as things that are absolutely concrete. The social body of an urban civilization is not the same as the social body of an agrarian civilization, or the social body of the nomads, etc. They are absolutely different social bodies, and it is natural, at least at first sight, that they should lead to different religions. I say at first sight, because in the fact of the diversity of religions the social bodies are not the only ones that intervene, but also what I have called the cycles, i.e., the type of life they lead. Therefore, it is not just a flaunting of erudition to distinguish among the various types of life, which ethnology recognizes. The style of life is just as essential for the constitution of a religion as the social body may be. This is confirmed by the fact that totally {121} incommunicated social bodies such as the Arctic cycle, or the one belonging to the Tasmanians in Australia have the same type of life and with it a religion, which basically could be recognized as being the same. The different nomads, be they Ural-Altaic, the primitive Indo-Europeans or the primitive Semites who ambulated through the steppes, have a certain type of oneness in their religion. It is something similar to what occurs with languages, apparently very different, but disclosing a certain oneness or a structural similarity. At any rate, even though it may be rather complex to say what makes one religion different from another, it is indubitable that one must take into account not only the social body, but the type of life as well. The difficulty precisely rests on the fact that both things do not coincide: absolutely incommunicated social bodies may have the same type of life, and with it a very similar type of religion. Conversely, the same type of social body may have different types of life, and consequently a succession of different religions. For this reason it was necessary to insist, as all ethnologist do, in the existence of the cycles, since not only the social body, but also the type of life is essential to understand the formal structural difference of the different religions. The result, if both these aspects of the problem are taken at the same time, is that a religion is always essentially and formally our religion. The religion of a people, and of someone. This is essential. Religion as something hanging from heaven has no existence whatsoever. Religion is always our religion: the religion of the nomadic pastors, the religion of the hunters, in the urban civilizations, etc. By “ours” is understood that first and above all it belongs to this people. That is what constitutes its difference, its formal structure. No religion makes exception to this in history. Not even {122} the religion of Israel. The religion of Israel is universal only at the end, shortly before Christ. No Israelite from the time of Jeremiah or from the time of the previous prophets would have thought that Yahwism is a religion to which the whole world must access. To the contrary: it is their religion, of Israel. Only towards the end there appears a certain universalism, and in a very precise form: the case of a universalism whose center is precisely Israel itself. Even Christianity, as we shall see, makes no exception to this. The life of Christ upon Earth was not a “comedy”. Christ wanted to convince the Israelites of his function and his person. If they had believed in Him, the function of the religion of Israel would have been essentially different from the one it has been afterwards. No religion makes exception to this characteristic of being our religion. From this follows that it is extremely difficult to say where the difference in religions resides. The difference is not in the social body if different social bodies have the same type of life. Also, it is not in the type of life, since in turn it can be incarnated in different social bodies, or the same social body can have different types of life. It is extremely difficult to proceed from this point of being our religion, to say what the essential difference in religions is. This is the third issue we must investigate. {123} § 3 THE ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE OF RELIGIONS The reader will now understand why I insist in the adjective “essential”. If all religions are taken with all the characteristics they can have historically when they are our religion, religions can undoubtedly be very different. Needless to say, without any doubt, the Phoenician religion of the Semites of the West is very different from the religion of the Semites of the East. As a historical phenomenon it is indubitable: enough to remember that Hammurabi conquers Babylon, and enthrones the god Marduk who comes from the West. But, Can one say the Phoenician religion, and the Assyro-Babylonian are two essentially different religions? I would reply in the negative. Unquestionably there are important differences. For example, for an Amorite the supreme divinity is Marduk, for another it may be Assur, etc. And there are serious differences, such as the fact that the Phoenician religion incorporates human sacrifices, but the Assyro-Babilonian and the Israelite do not. The episode of Abraham and Isaac is there precisely to remind us that the possibility for human sacrifice is abolished a radice in the religion of Israel. While in Greece, and among the Assyro-Babilonians, there is sacred prostitution, we find none in Rome, etc. Yet, When are these differences truly essential? If it were only a question of taking these differences as social institutions, they would be important, but they would not resolve our question. The important point is that these differences, when they are essential, they are so precisely because {124} they are not arbitrary, but are somehow associated to the idea describing the divinity, which in these particular religions exists. The matter is clear now. The essential difference between religions is based on the gods they have. Here is where the problem resides, in the divinity. Anyone who has a religion —our religion— understands that his religion is true3. In one form or another, every religion encompasses this intrinsic moment of truth, the truth of religation in the deity, insofar as it is molded precisely in a divinity. Here is where the question begins: What is it that makes a religion true? Every religion has three moments: a conception about the gods, a cultic community, and an eschatology. But then, the cultic community is a commemoration. Of what? Of certain acts of the gods. It is a communication. With what? With those powerful realities called gods. It is an eschatology. In what sense? In drafting the precise way to that destiny, which the gods have chosen for man. Regardless of the point of view with which we approach the question, the whole oneness of the objective issue depends essentially on the gods to which it refers, whether it is in the form of ascribing a reality to the divinity, or in the form of a cult in its triple dimension of commemoration, communication, and eschatology, or in the form of personal prosecution of a certain destiny. The fundamental element, which makes a religion true or not is precisely the divinity, God or the gods. Therefore, the diversity of religions is a diversity, which in the last resort, must rest on a diverse conception of the gods. One might say that this is infinite. Not quite. It is difficult, for example, to determine the essential difference between {125} the Phoenician religion and the Assyrian religion. The cultic forms can be very different. Phoenician religion admitted human sacrifices; the Assyrian would not. But this is not the essential. The essential concerned the gods. Phoenician religion had a pantheon that is nominally quite different from the Babylonian pantheon, but in the end is more or less of the same type and has the same nature. Which means that differences among religions grow pale before an essential difference, such as the type of divinity, the kind of gods that men venerate in that divinity, those with whom they communicate in it, and the destiny they have inscribed in it4. By true religion it is meant that, in one form or another, the god that serves as the pivot for the whole of that religion is a true one; to him man surrenders in faith; from him he determines his theology and his mundology (mundología), and in him each one lives his own religious life. The god is precisely what makes a religion true. Our religion is characterized precisely by having its god. This god is not only an absolute reality, but also a god essentially religious, i.e., a god in whom the life of each one of the individuals is founded as an ultimate, possibilitating, impelling fundament, and in addition a god religator of the whole social body to which the entire particular civilization belongs. It is a god essentially and formally religious. And this religious god is conceived from a perspective we could call, without further implications, religious thinking. Men belonging to a particular civilization, in a particular social body, with a particular type of life, have a way of thinking, which allows them to think, truthfully, what divinity is. However, in order to explain this we must answer three questions. {126} In the first place: In what does religious thinking consist? In the second place: What is the religious idea of God? And, in third place: In what does the alleged truth of this religious thinking consist? I. What is religious thinking? Above all, it is a thinking, which is immersed, buried, in a religious situation. It is not the case of a thinking about a religious situation, but from a religious situation. Consequently, it is a thinking determined by and for a religious situation. And because this is a religious situation in the fullest sense of the term, man has in it the lived experience of his religion, to which his thought immersed in this experience is going to provide a profile for the idea of God. But yet, In what does the character of religious thinking consist? From the beginning we must insist that it is a matter of thinking. I have always maintained the idea that thinking is precisely to think of the possibilities with which something can and should be understood, both in itself and as a function of the living situation in which one finds oneself immersed. From this point of view to think is not univocal: Are we going to compare the thinking of prehistoric men or primary civilizations —for example, the pigmies— with what our thinking is? Levy-Bruhl initiated the thesis that it is a question of two types of thinking: one, the logical, which is ours; and the other pre-logical, which is the one these early people would have in their heads, arranged in a different way5. Now, I have always thought that this is simply absurd. Thinking is always the same. What {127} happens is that all differences are placed under another perspective. In order not to lose ourselves with vague speculations let us take one example only: the idea of cause. It is said that it is the case of a concept inside the head of all the Greeks, of all the Europeans. etc.; and that it would be senseless to talk about causes to a pigmy. Quite true. But we should examine this carefully. Every concept, even the most abstract, has its base in something I would call scheme. We are dealing with a scheme of this concept, which does not coincide with the concept itself. Kant, for example, was right in thinking that —at least from the point of view of science— the scheme of causality is succession. I must suppose that Kant knew what he was going to say in his Critique of Practical Reason, i.e., that not all causality belongs to the succession type, for example, in the case of what a free will determines. At any rate, independently of what Kant may have thought, succession and determinism are precisely the scheme of causality, but they are not causality. From this follows the profound error of those who think freedom is the derogation of causality. No: it is the derogation of one scheme of causality, which is what determinism is; something toto cælo different. Every concept has a formal scheme. Now then, I have always thought that radically, and at the base of every concept there are not only formal schemes, but, in addition, more or less subterranean schemes, which I would call material. Let us return to the idea of cause. We say that the cause tends to produce an effect. Production is already a scheme. Even ignoring that this may be so, Who is unable to see that the material and basic scheme with which the ancient and rustic man thinks causality is precisely generation? The generative scheme is precisely {128} the material and schematic base of the thought we call the thinking of causes. That is why, for example, when in ancient civilizations we find androgynous gods, we cannot eliminate this detail so quickly. If one takes the idea of generation as base and schematic substratum of the idea of causality, there is no doubt that a god who produces everything by himself is at the same time man and woman, is androgynous. There is no conception about the gods, which may be rigorously generative in the literal sense of the term, but it is also quite difficult that there be a conception of causality that in one way or another may not allude to these generative dimensions of the problem. There is a precise and concrete case: in the beginnings of the history of the Church this confusion between generation and production had its radical expression with Arius, culminating in the Council of Nicea. Today we still pray in the Credo of the Mass genitum non factum; generated, but not made, not produced. It is absolutely impossible to eliminate the schemes I would call “phantasmic”. This phantasmic way of thinking is at the base of not only mythologies, but also in all the elemental theologies. Next to it is the other type of reasonable thinking done within a logical framework, belonging to the one that thinks he is thinking only with abstract thoughts, when in reality the phantasmic thought and the reasoning thought are purely and simply two slopes of the selfsame reality, which human thinking is. A type of thinking perhaps more accentuated in primitive men, the other more accentuated in our modern civilizations. At all events, religious thinking transcends these, and other possible modes of thinking. Religious thinking qua religious may adopt all these diverse forms without in the end resting upon any one of them exclusively. The movement of religious thinking {129} as a thinking towards the divinity is essentially transcendent, not only by reason of its terminus, but also by its own structure, because it is not ascribed to any of the concrete forms of thinking. Ultimately that is what we express when we say: “that is what they wanted to say, what they wanted to think”. That moment of the wanted expresses the transcendence of thinking with respect to the concrete forms, which that selfsame thinking may possess. _________________ 1 In the 1965 (Madrid) seminar Zubiri added: “naturally, this production, necessary for their livelyhood, implies essentially a turning towards ultimateness, towards the ultimate things that are decisive for their existence”. 2 From the Indo-European dyeu-pater (“father heaven”), as in the case of the Roman Iupiter, of the Vedic Dyaus-Pitr, the Illiric Dai-patures, the Scythian Zeus-Papaios, etc. 3 From this point on we follow the text of the 1965 seminar in Madrid. 4 From this point on we again follow the 1971 seminar. 5 Cf. L. Levy-Bruhl, La mentalité primitive, Paris, 1922. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 3 (129-142) {129} (cont’d) II. What is the religious idea of God? The thinking I have described is —if I may be permitted the expression— religational thinking. It is religational thinking because it consists in a thinking that proceeds from the power of the real, which is a formal part and formal terminus of religation, to a different term, such as the absolutely absolute reality upon which this power is fundamented. And this transition is what makes that the thinking may formally be a religious thinking. It is not the case of something arbitrary. Because the discovery of the different dimensions of the power of the real qua real throughout the whole of history is something quite complex, but it is neither fortuitous nor arbitrary. The multiple dimensions of the power of the real in a certain way form an organic whole, constitute its internal functionality —not in the sense of causality—, its internal structure. Therefore, religious thinking has to advance from this functionality of the power of the real to the absolute reality of God. And precisely here is where throughout history the different divinities appear1. {130} 1) It is a question, in the first place, of a transcendent power. The power of the real is a transcendent power, and as such it is what we still call “the Most High”. The primary form as to how religious thinking has thought the reality of a transcendent power is precisely the heavens, not only as a vault, but in addition with everything there is in it: the heavenly bodies, at least as they show their differences, and everything that proceeds from heaven: thunder, lightning, etc. Among the heavenly bodies the one most specially noted is the Sun, which not only has the property that it gives warmth and life, but in addition sees everything. 2) In the second place, the power of the real is vivifying in the sense that it presides over the cycles in which life is producing itself. Therefore it is not an arbitrariness that civilizations, primarily matriarchal, may have rested this vivifying power of the real precisely in the Moon. It is that which in a religious way regulates the seasons, the fertility cycles, etc. 3) In the third place, the power of the real is a power separating the forms of things. Things distinguish themselves because some are more or less separated from the others. This means that they proceed from a certain lack of differentiation within which the force of the real gives them a separated reality. In water things appear to be somewhat confused, but from it they spring with their distinct form. The divinization of the waters has its roots in this point. The idea of living waters, of sacred rivers, and the ocean itself as divinity, emerges in history precisely in this moment of religious thinking: the step from the power of the real as separation of things to the subsisting entity, which produces them. {131} 4) The power of the real is, in the fourth place, a power of germination. We always think of reality as a composite of atoms. In history it has been thought of more from the perspective of living beings, and with good reason. Then the power of the real is a power of germination. Forms not only separate, but afterwards some generate others. From this comes the idea of Mother Earth, goddess Earth. 5) We have in the fifth place the power of the real as a power of organization of the living beings. These are not born chaotically. They are born attributed to some parents, to a certain genealogy. From this appeared the cult to the tree, insofar as this idea of genealogy was ascribed to the tree. 6) In the sixth place, the power of the success of the harvest, especially in the matriarchal civilizations. There we have the agrarian divinities that preside over the harvest, and above all the divinities that intervene from the moment of planting, before the collection of the harvest. 7) The power of the real bonds men among themselves. And then, as man is being carried to God this way, he encounters some divinities that have blood bonds with men with whom they have established a family connection. The god of the family, and the god of the tribe appear. This is clear, for example, in the theophoric names of the Semites: ’Abiyah, “my father is God”; ’Ammiel, “my uncle is God”; ’Ajiyah, “my brother is God”, etc. And also the names in which God appears as an eponym from which the tribe descends. Not in the sense of the tribe itself, but of an origination, as reflected in the expression “the God of the fathers”, which appears in the Old Testament. It is not the case of a totemism, because as it is well known the Semites did not have any totemism, nor is it a mere sentimentality, but is the expression of a {132} transcendent bond. Phantasmic thinking is thinking of superior things, but taking the starting point from schemes that belong to the Earth, such as the blood affinity. Besides the blood bonds, divinity ties men through bonds of sovereignty. Let us think at least about the texts in which God appears as King of Israel, or as “Lord of Heaven”, Ba‘al Shamen, to whom the Jews of Elephantine still invoked, as it appears from their papyri2. The gods appear also as binding men through contract. Varuna in India is not only a god of heaven, he is also a god that sees everything, who knows everything, and then is the guardian of all contracts. 8) The power of the real is the power of birth and death. This has been personified in one form or another in divinities like Ištar in Babylon or Astarté in Phoenicia, which are precisely the goddesses of birth. 9) The power of the real not only bonds men, but also defends them. Then the warrior gods appear. For example, Indra in the Vedic religion, or also Yahweh tseba’ot —the “Yahweh of hosts”— in the religion of Israel. 10) The power of the real is a power that fixes destiny, personified in many religions, for example in the Móira of the Greeks. 11) It is also the power that constitutes the cosmic oneness. {133} The goddess Rta of the Vedas, the Díche of the Greek religion. 12) The power of the real is the sacralized power. Where “sacralized” does not mean a value, but that the complete reality is something destined and surrendered to God. It is the case of a sacrum facere. It is the personification of sacrifice as supreme entity, for example with the identity of the Atman with the Brahman in Brahmanic speculation. 13) It is a power, which fills everything, not in the sense of space, but in the concrete sense of the atmosphere. For example the Iranians made of Zwaša, the atmosphere, an important divinity. 14) It is the power of indefinite time, the eternal God, as the Hebrews used to say, and who appears as Zrvan in the Iranian religion, etc. It would be quite lengthy to extend this list, accessible to anyone interested in the history of religions. At any rate, we see that religious thinking has ascended from the power of the real to the gods, to the divinities. And it has ascended by a totally concrete line: observing where the supremacy rests. The problem then is to find what determines the line on which supremacy rests. That is the decisive question: What is the line in which this supremacy must be established? The answer to this question in the different religions is not a question of abstract dialectics, but of experience lived absolutely. For example, it would make no sense for a nomad to place the line of supremacy on the idea of a king. The line of supremacy is determined by absolutely precise and concrete situations of man. Be that as it may, in the line of supremacy religious thinking not only has elaborated an idea of God, but it is there that this thinking pretends {134} to have its alleged truth. What do we understand by a religious truth? III. In what does its alleged truth consist? Religious truth is the truth of a faith. This must not be forgotten: it is the truth of a surrender. The truth is not only the conformity of thought with things. That would be the truth of logic. But the radical and primary truth is something different, it is what I have called real truth. And this truth has three dimensions. In the first place it is a patent truth, in the second place a firm truth, and in third place an active truth. As an example of a patent reality, we know that primitive man, at least in the primary civilizations, believes that thunder is the voice of God. They have there in one form or another the patency of the divinity. Reality is firm. For example, Israel is full of exclamations calling God “my rock”, “my support”, etc. And it is a reality, which is always effectively present. All we have to do is refer to the Horeb theophany, where Yahweh says to Moses: “I am who am”, and “I will be with you” (Ex 3:12-14), he is not referring, of course, to an aseity in the sense of an identity between essence and existence, but to being constantly with the people of Israel. Therefore, taking all these three dimensions at one and the same time, they are the ones, which constitute the reality-truth. And this reality-truth is precisely the type of truth that a faith alleges to have within a social body with a particular type of life. Of course, since no one on Earth has been able to control the object of this faith, the {135} meaning of religious truth is not one belonging to a conformation or to an adequation. It is the case of a different meaning: it is the sense of a way. The one that is convinced of the truth of his faith believes that if this line were to be extended, and were he to arrive face to face before the God in whom he has faith, this God without doubt might be very different from the one he had imagined, but would confirm the path taken in order to reach Him. This is the only thing that religious truth can pretend. Religious truth consists in this “toward” in which man directs his thought towards a divinity, conceived by religious thinking on a line of supremacy. If it is here where the essential difference of religions is inscribed, we must then lastly ask ourselves, In what does the difference in gods consists? That is the most important question of all. {136} § 4 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ESSENTIAL DIVERSITY Above all it will be necessary to repeat that it is the case of a diversity, which is situated in a particular direction, in a “towards”. It is not the case of a place, but of a direction, of a “towards”. It is neither the case of ignorance nor of knowledge of things. Sometimes it is thought that, once a trip has been made to the Moon, it is no longer possible to believe that it may be a goddess. However, much before the trip to the Moon was accomplished the Earth was known, and during millennia it has been thought that the Earth was a mother goddess. It is not a question of objects, but of the direction “towards”. In this line of the “towards” is where religious thinking is formally inscribed. Therefore, in this “towards” religious thinking encompasses a diversity, due mainly and above all to the progressive enrichment of the idea of divinity and of the power of the real. It is an enrichment of the power of the real. In the long and weighty enumeration of the dimensions of the power of the real it has been observed that each dimension, in a certain way, enriches the previous one, or at least the group of the previous ones. Nothing strange then that man in his way towards the divinity may find himself embarked on different ways. Then we must ask: In the first place, Which are those ways? In the second place, if these ways are equivalent. In the third place, if they are not, In what does the internal essence of the difference of the religious ideas about God consist, and consequently of the religions? {137} I. Which are those ways? Historically, these ways have been essentially three. A) Polytheism. In the first place, we have the richness of the power of the real that, as we have just seen, has taken to the substantivation of many divinities in the course of the different social bodies: the divinity if the Earth, the divinity of Heaven, the divinity of the Sun, of the Moon, etc. This is called a polytheism. Polytheism is the way of the “towards” in the sense of dispersion. Projects different aspects of the power of the real over different real entities. That does not mean, obviously, that all of the gods in polytheism may hold the same rank. There is always a supreme god in the assembly of gods3. And this is not an arbitrariness, because it responds to the very characteristic of religious thinking, which consists in {138} making the transit from the power of the real to system of divinities. And the power of the real is an organic complex: prescinding from the allusion to causality, it must be said that functionality integrates the power of the real. Molded this power by the religious thinking into different divinities, it is obvious that they cannot be a loose lot, but constitute the substantive system that makes the power of the real possible, i.e., they constitute a pantheon. This “pantheonality” —sit venia verbo— of the gods is founded in the complex functionality of the power of the real. For this reason polytheism has much to say in the history of religious thinking. If the divinities constitute a system, this means that each one of the gods in some way reflects the whole pantheon. For this reason when man addresses not only one god, but my god, he does this not because he denies all the other gods, but because in that god he is particularly addressing, the references to all the other gods are implied. However, he invokes him as if he were the only one. And this as if is precisely what has been called henotheism. This henotheism is something characteristic of the Vedic religion, as it has been pointed out repeatedly since the time of Max Müller, but it is not exclusive to it. Thus, for example, Babylonian texts have been found where ’Ilu is simply invoked, which is the generic for “god”, used here as a proper name. This is henotheism on the march. It is not easy sometimes to distinguish henotheism from monotheism. In many points the difference between henotheism and monotheism is oscillating. As we shall see further on, when Abraham or the patriarchs think of their ’Elohim they do not pretend to take a stand concerning the gods of other religions. {139} B) Pantheism. However, man can take a different way, which consists in thinking that the power of the real as a functional organism resides, if not in one reality, at least in something that belongs to the whole of reality. This is the way, not of dispersion, as polytheism, but of immanence. The supremacy would then be the patrimony of one Law. In the end it is what in a more of less erudite manner can be called pantheism. Of course, this way has taken many diverse forms. Thus, for example, Tantrism, Jainism, and Buddhism do not deny the gods. The gods exist for a Buddhist, what happens is that they are not supreme beings, but are subject to the supreme Law of the cosmos just as the rest of the universe. Further still: the Buddhist that reaches blessedness is happier than the supreme one among the gods. The latter are not supreme realities. The same occurs with Tantrism and Jainism. That is why they are called religions without gods, and correctly, if we understand by gods the type of gods I have just described. Now then, in these religions there exists the divinization of the Law of the cosmos itself. In China this Law has two principles; a luminous principle, Yang, and a dark principle, Yin. In Buddhism the Law appears as a dharma, as a conduct, which means at the same time, law and doctrine. In the non-Buddhist, but Brahmanic India there appears, as I have mentioned, the deification of sacrifice, and the identity between the Âtman and the Brahman. In the West the cosmic religion of the Stoics appears followed later by all the pantheisms a la European. As I shall soon indicate, this way, similar to the one from polytheism is not so absurd or nonsensical, indeed it also has a lot to say in the history of religions. C) Monotheism. There is a third way, which without denying any of the dimensions of the power of the real, and without also denying {140} that each of these dimensions may be the terminus of a divinity, considers, nevertheless, that this divinity is always the same. Of course, through this way the idea of divinity is constantly being enriched. It is the typical case of the shock between the religion of the Israelite nomads who penetrate Canaan with its sedentary Canaanite civilization, and the ba’als. That Ba’al may be the dispenser of thunder and rain did not mean that there was an imposition on the Israelites to admit the divinity of Ba’al. Many thought that the unique and supreme divinity of Yahweh could be admitted next to entities that inhabit the other world, who, without being gods, have a direct relationship with the Earth. In this way a Ba’al dependent of Yahweh could be admitted. The reaction of Yahwism was absolute: the only dispenser of thunder and rain is Yahweh. It is the way of monotheism, the way of transcendence, different from the idea of dispersion, and from the way of immanence. This monotheism admits degrees and types. Thus, for example, the way of several demiurges is not impossible metaphysically, although religion is not the same as metaphysics. The idea of several demiurges, which is no obstacle for monotheism, has been, however, a serious corroder of the idea of monotheism. There are also other complex forms of monotheism. In the early preachings of Zarathustra, as it is preserved in the only Zarathustran texts we possess, such as the Gâthâs of the Avesta and some of the Yasnas —certainly not easy to translate from any point of view—, there appears no other god but Ahura Mazda, which the Greeks, vocalizing poorly, translated as Oromásdes or also Oromázes, and means wise Lord. Yet, in the Gathic predication two spirits appear, the Spenta Mainyu or good spirit, and the Angra Mainyu or evil spirit. It is the case of two spirits, but not two gods. {141} It did not take long for the good spirit to be identified with Ahura Mazda. Then the evil spirit remained substantivated as an anti-god. This was the beginning of the Persian dualism. However, without having to reach this level, and keeping in touch with the strict idea of Ahura Mazda in the predication of Zarathustra, in the Gathic texts we come across some entities, called precisely Amesha Spentas. Amesha means “immortal”. Spenta is difficult to translate. I think that those who base it on an approximation to the Lithuanian szweñtas, and translate it as “beneficent”4 are correct. At any rate, the “beneficent immortals” are six for Zarathustra: Vohu Manah, the Good Thought; Aša Vahišta, the Best Truth; Xšathra Vairya, the Good Law; Spenta Armaiti; Wisdom; Haurvatat, Wealth; and Ameretat, Immortality. What do these six entities represent? It is curious that in the Gathic texts these entities appear in a case that is grammatically the instrumental. For some it would be something similar to what occurs in Sanskrit, Vedic or Latin, when the subject of sentences in the infinitive is in the accusative. Christian Bartholomae said we must resign ourselves to think that it is the case of true subjects in an instrumental case, and that they, therefore, represent subjects of a sentence: they would be six different entities of Ahura Mazda, each one of which exerts its own action5. It is not the only possible interpretation. J. Markwart, whom no one paid attention to in the beginning, maintained that {142} they are strict instrumentals6. To me the current translation seems excessive, following Markwart, which says, for example, Ahura Mazda “insofar as wisdom”. This is to convert the instrumental into the nominative of Ahura Mazda. But also, we should not interpret these entities as some kind of Platonic forms, as was done many years ago by the great translator of the Avesta, J. Darmesteter7. Whenever I have been engaged in the translation of these difficult texts I have tended to think that we are dealing neither with hypostatic entities nor mere aspects purely instrumental of Ahura Mazda. It would be something intermediate, similar to the close example we have in the sapiential books of the Old Testament. Wisdom is not an entity distinct from God, but also it is not a mere aspect of Him. This would be too little for Sirach. The Ameša Spentas are rather qualities or hypostatized dimensions within the divinity itself. Prescinding from the question whether this is the correct interpretation, the important point is to be aware that monotheism admits different forms. _________________ 1 Even though it is inevitable here to make certain repetitions of what was said in the first chapter, please note the difference in perspective: it is not a question of analyzing the power of the real, but of enumerating different types of divinities. 2 In these papyri the Jews of Elephantine (Egypt) called Yahweh (written as vhY), mare’ shamayim (“Lord of Heaven”), wherein resonates the name of baal shamayim, the “Lord of Heaven” of the Semitic pantheon, cf. A. Ungnad, Aramäische Papyri aus Elephantine, Leipzig, 1911, p.3 (P. 13495). There is also a baal kadosh probably associated with celestial wisdom, cf. ibid., p.71 (P. 13446e). 3 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “In almost all primitive civilizations there are some supreme beings omniscient and creators, like the god of heaven, particularly his solar form. And there are some inferior gods, the gods of thunder, the gods of rain, etc. that are inferior because they are not omniscient and cannot do everything, but they can and know what to do, and on these things the ultimate possibilities of man on Earth depend. What happens is that as civilization becomes more complex and the list of ultimate things becomes larger —or of things that man estimates his existence ultimately depends— the number of gods becomes larger, even though in the beginning they only had an inferior status. With this the supreme beings do not recede into oblivion, but draw back to a transcendence in which they have no direct involvement with men, except —and that is why they continue being gods— when men address prayers to them, and —at least in some tribes— when they complain about their lot on this Earth. However, the supreme beings, even when distanced and almost converted into dii otiosi, into otiose gods without anything to do, do not loose that dimension of possibilitators and compellers, precisely because prayers are still addressed to them or at least men complain about the destiny imposed on them. 4 Cf. Christian Bartholomae, Altiranishes Wörterbuch, Strasburg, 1904, c. 1621. 5 Christian Bartholomae explains his interpretation of the instrumental as a subject of sentences in the infinitive in his Studien zur indogermanishen Sprachgeshichte, vol. II, Halle, 1891, p. 124. from this stems his interpretation of the Ameša Spentas as divinities, cf. his Die Gatha’s des Avesta. Zarathustra’s Verspredigten, Stuttgart, 1905, p. VII. 6 Cf. his translation and commentary of the Yasna 43, in J. Markwart, Das erste Kapitel der Gâthâ uštavati, Roma,1930. Also A. Meillet denies that in a text with such an archaic form like the Gâthâs the subject may be expressed in the instrumental, cf. Trois conférences sur le Gâthâ de l’Avesta, Paris, 1925, pp. 45-46. 7 Cf. J. Darmesteter, Le Zend-Avesta, Paris, 1892-1893, specially in vol. III, pp. LIII-LIV. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 3 (142-150) {142} (cont’d) II. Are they equivalent ways? Therefore, we have three ways: the way of dispersion, the way of immanence, and the way of transcendence. Yet, Are {143} these three ways purely optative and equivalent? That is the second point of the question. I cannot repeat here what was covered in another place, when I tried, with or without success, to justify monotheism1. The diversity depends essentially on the line upon which the way to supremacy has been placed. In the end, this way is the one that proceeds from a relatively absolute reality, which man is, to the absolutely absolute reality we have called God. In this line there is only room for one divine reality, personal and transcendent. Therefore, the other two ways are simply something impossible as far as full conceptions of the divinity. [Faith, I was saying, is optative. Yet, in that option there are moments and characteristics of the idea of God that appear in the history of religions, which are excluded by pure intelligence. Thus, for example, radical polytheism. The reality of God qua absolutely absolute reality, is unique. And this, not because it may consist in fundamenting the cosmos —then it could be plural—, but because it consists in fundamenting reality insofar as reality, and reality is unitary. Consequently, absolutely absolute reality, not as fundament of the cosmos, but as fundament of the whole world, is unique. Similarly, this absolutely absolute reality, precisely by being such, cannot be converted into a moment or a property of the relative realities, which constitute everything else, and much less of the relatively absolute reality, which the I constitutes. In other words, from sheer reason also the pure pantheisms are eliminated, understanding by pure pantheism the pantheism, which attributes to the {144} world the properties of God or to God the properties of the world. It is a metaphysical impossibility. Nevertheless, even after having made these eliminations, there is a wide margin, within the idea of God, for the one God. Obviously, a wide margin from the theoretical point of view, because the truth is that all the monotheisms, which history registers are the same. Neither the monotheism of Islam, nor the Israelite monotheism, nor the Christian monotheism, as monotheisms, have a substantial difference. This is a fact, which must be taken into consideration. However, at least on principle, different hues of monotheism are not excluded. For example, monotheism is not incompatible with the existence of lower demiurges that might have as their mission to make the world, etc. However, from the point of view of the radical existence of an absolutely absolute reality, monotheism only has one form in history.]2 It must be remembered that I am not dealing here with monotheism from this point of view, but with a deeper monotheism such as the religious monotheism. It is a different thing, even though not independent from the above. And so, from this religious point of view I would have to affirm: 1) In the first place, as absolutely absolute reality there can only be one God. That is to say, the line of supremacy is concretely the line, which goes from the relatively absolute reality, which man is, to the absolutely absolute reality, which God is. That fact made this route quite difficult to travel. However, Why did it exist? Further down I expect to deal with this problem. {145} 2) This absolute reality, insofar as founding, has an essential connection with this world. This is not pantheism, precisely because that absolutely founding divinity belongs in creation, not in the sense that it forms part of it or may be its legal quality, but in the sense that God in the depths of this creation is making it be what it is, precisely as natura naturans. [It is important to be cautious when the term pantheism is used. We are used to the pantheism I have called of the European type, in which actually it is understood that the totality of the real has a divine character. It finds its supreme expression in the metaphysics of Spinoza. There are other pantheisms. Primarily in Asia. For example, the brahminic pantheism, in which the identity between God and the world does not refer to the identity between what God is, and what the world is, but refers to a different moment: to the characteristic of subsistential sameness —sit venia verbo— that the world has. Certainly the world is not God through its extension, or through its colors or through its vicissitudes. Yet, the reality of the world has an itself, and this itself is precisely identical to the itself we call God, to the absolute itself. This is not metaphysically impossible. For a believer it is the reality of Christ. And it is a commonplace in theology to say that the Word could have been Incarnated in the entire creation. What happens is that, in order for this to occur, God has to begin by being God. Whatever relationship this God may have afterwards with the world, it will not actually be a relationship of identity. The world and God are not two, but neither are they one. It is a difference, which is beyond the concept of number, and therefore, cannot be expressed with the number two or the number one. The oneness of these two dimensions (they are not identical, however, they are also not two) is what {146} one term expresses: transcendence. God is transcendent to the world. However, transcendence does not mean that God is beyond the world, but that He is in the very depths of the world, as a fundamenting reality]3. This has expressed what there is of possible truth or error in every unitary and pantheist conception of the divinity. 3) In the third place, it is a question that this truth about God is a religious truth, a religious monotheism. Insofar as they affirm the absolutely absolute reality of God, the three great monotheisms of history —of Israel, Christianity, and Islam— are identical. But, as religious monotheisms the matter is different. Confronting them one can only appeal to an internal option of faith. It is not a matter of conceptual dialectics, but of an internal option by the faith. The only thing we can do facing this possibility of option with respect to religious monotheism is to ask, from the point of view of one that admits the existence of an absolutely absolute reality like God, In what does the internal essence of that radical and fundamental diversity of the ideas of God we have found, and described all along history and human societies, ultimately consist? III. In what does the essence of diversity consist? To this question I will only respond here with a first approximation. We shall soon see why. And as a first approximation the reply is as follows: the diversity of the ideas about God is ultimately the diversity of a {147} “towards” with respect to God. To this “towards” man is hurled by the presence itself of the divinity at the bottom of the human spirit, as I have maintained above. It is the palpitation of a personal God, unique, and transcendent in the depths of each human spirit. But, naturally, this God is not an internal event of consciousness, not even an object. However, the presence —if I may be permitted the expression— is in an auditive form: we take notice of Him. We also have a certain groping, a certain probing. Because of this we are hurled towards divinity itself. In this “towards” is inscribed, not in a fortuitous way, but intrinsically and essentially, the possibility of multiple ways. This possibility is absolutely essential. Any pluralism, regardless of its kind, religious or theologic, formally consists in the essential possibility, which religious thinking and the human spirit has, when placed in a religious situation, of arriving to God by different ways. The plurality of concepts about God, to which the human spirit accesses through these different ways of the human spirit, is not a mere projection of man on God. It is quite easy and even legitimate to talk about anthropomorphism. But it is not the case of a projection, indeed precisely the reverse: more or less clumsily, with a thinking more or less phantasmic or conceptual, through lived experiences, that line is progressively determined upon which the supremacy has to be placed, for one to be hurled necessarily to find God. Actually, this is a difficult task because the situations through which the human spirit passes, in different social bodies and different types of life, are absolutely dissimilar. For this reason homogeneity is difficult. Besides, there is the intrinsic and fundamental difficulty of distinguishing with precision the things, which constitute its reality. Due to this, of course, the line of supremacy {148} placed on the line of the absolutely absolute reality has been difficult to find. Be that as it may, it is the case of a conceptiveness on this line. But, a conceptiveness of what? One might think of a certain primary idea that afterwards became too complicated and was lost in history. That is not the case. It is also not the case of believing there is a primitive religion from which all the other religions would be but broken pieces and complications. In order to find it in its purity we would have to appeal precisely to the marginal elements of mankind, such as the pigmies. This was the thesis of Wilhelm Schmidt. But this is absolutely irrelevant. It is not a question of a primary idea or an originary religion. It is a question of a personal reality. With different ideas, but concerning the same personal reality. It is precisely what I would call the diffraction of the personal presence of God in the depths of the human spirit, through the modes of the human spirit. Diffraction is a physical phenomenon. We are all familiar with the case of a ray of light coming through the slit in a door. The smaller the width of the slit the straighter the ray of light becomes. But when the width is so small that it has the same wavelength of the light ray, then the light does not pass in a straight line, but diffuses itself like a fan. To explain this, the idea of a ray of light is no longer useful, and it has to be substituted by the idea of a field of waves or a field of photons. This is the phenomenon of diffraction. The human spirit and the divine Spirit, in their radical diversity, coincide in one same order of quality: in being absolute. God is absolutely absolute, and the human spirit is relatively absolute. On this point concerning the absolute is where diffraction occurs formally and explicitly. It is not the diffraction of one idea of God, but the {149} diffraction of the very reality of God. And of this reality of God we already know through another avenue that it is the only one that can be accepted as an absolutely absolute reality, one, personal, and transcendent. This diffraction means, in the first place, that this personal reality is one, that it is the same. And this personal reality who is always the same is de facto accessed through all the ways, through all the polytheisms, and through anything at all. As I said above, man accesses to this unique God really and actually, whether he knows it or not, whether he believes it or not. In the second place, man accesses from different situations by virtue of a convergent truth. It is the convergence of a way with its object. And, in the third place, if this is so, if there is no other reality that hurls us through different experiences towards a God who is de facto accessed, and who diffuses itself into different ideas, it means that none of these ideas is absolutely false. Not only because of the supreme reason —and in the end quite banal— that there is never anything in the human mind that may be absolutely false. That is rather evident, but it is not my point. I am referring to something completely different, i.e., that the strict and formal content of the non-monotheistic ideas about God is anchored in the reality of the monotheistic God. In this sense there is no idea that can be absolutely false because all, in diffraction, belong to the same luminous phenomenon. It is easy to talk about crass polytheism, but, What would have become of religious humanity if polytheism had not progressively enriched the idea of God? On the other hand, it is easy to say that one is not a pantheist, but, What would become of a monotheism that considered God to be separated from creation? The fact is that all these ideas of God are true in what they affirm, are assertive. In fact, {150} only monotheism is true as exclusive. That God may be on the Moon is something completely acceptable. What is not acceptable, of course, is the affirmation that he is nowhere, but in the Moon. The fact that there is a multitude of religious ideas is the negative dimension of that which positively constitutes what I have called the diffraction. The diffraction of the unique divine reality, personal and transcendent, in the depths of the human spirit, and the entire universe. It appears then under multiple forms; and this multiplicity is essential as a possibility of the stepping march of religious thinking. With this I have responded to the question with nothing but a first approximation. Because in fact religions are not only diverse, but also intrinsically historical. _________________ 1 He is referring to the first part of the 1971 seminar. The justification of monotheism by Zubiri can be found in El hombre y Dios, pp. 115-164. 2 The text inside square brackets is taken from the first part of the same seminar of 1971. 3 The text inside square brackets comes from the 1968 seminar. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 3 (151-164) {151} APPENDIX RELIGIOUS TRUTH1 The radical moment of the truth of religion, I have indicated, is in its conception of the gods. Displayed in the course of history as a growing experience about the complex power of the deity, this movement takes us to three types of answers to the mystery2 of the deity, to three conceptions of those things in which ultimately the deity resides. These three types are, in the first place, the distribution or dispersion of the power of the deity in various things: polytheism. In the second place, the type of transcendence, by which the power of the deity keeps concentrating as His attributes, all the richness and complexity of the power of the deity. In the third place, the power of the deity ascribed to the structure of the whole cosmos: immanence. These three types of conception —distribution, transcendence, and immanence— are the three types of ways with which man accesses definitely and essentially, from the power of the deity, which is actualizing him in his constitutive religation, to what divine things are, i.e., to divinity, to the gods. Now we must ask two questions: In the first place, what is religious truth as such? And, in second place, what is the act in which this religious truth occurs? {152} Only afterwards we shall be able to enter directly into the strict historicity of religions. A) What is religious truth? Surely, we are not going to discuss here which one may be the religious truth. That is a question for theology. Our interest here is to find out in what does religious truth consist insofar as religious. That is a strictly philosophical problem. A question, which is far from otiose. Because, one might think that truths distinguish themselves purely and simply by the object to which they refer. We may have mathematical truths, physical truths, biological truths, moral truths, historical truths, etc., which would be called this way simply by the object to which they refer. The different truths would only be “classes” of truths, classified by their object. That this may be partially so is undeniable. However, is this the whole diversity of truths? Because the object of a truth is not limited to being an extrinsic object to it, but affects the truth itself in its own mode of being true, it intrinsically modulates the veritative moment as such. From this follows that, using our terminology with full rigor, it is not completely exact to say that we only have classes of truths; we must also say there are different “types” of truth, because at least the great specific differences of the objects modulate the very manner of being a truth as truth occurs in the human mind. In this sense we talk about religious truth not simply because it refers to the gods. Then we ask, in what does the intrinsically religious character of religious truth consist? To answer this question it is necessary to reflect on what is understood by truth as such, independently from the fact that it may be {153} religious, scientific or philosophical3. Truth is the simple actuality of the real on the intelligence. This truth does not refer simply to what the thing is, but in addition refers primarily and formally to the characteristic of reality, which things have. If an animal were able to think it could also say “this notepad is yellow”. But the fact is that we also think of something further, we think that the notepad is “really” yellow. The moment of reality is what characterizes the real truth as such specifically, or at least radically. Therefore, this characteristic of reality transcends each of the real things. Actually, all things coincide in being real, each one in its own way —it does not matter in this case—, and not only through a conceptive coincidence, but in their internal moment of respectivity by reason of reality as such. This is what constitutes the world. It follows that when a real thing is actualized in human intelligence in the form of that, which I have called real truth, this intelligence that apprehends truth, or apprehends the thing as true, has two dimensions. On the one hand, to know intellectively means to know intellectively what one has directly in front. On the other hand, to know a thing intellectively encompasses a different dimension. The fact is, that since the moment of reality of a thing transcends all its other dimensions, when knowing a thing intellectually as real, we are forcefully turned by the reality of the thing itself in the direction of other things, which are not present in front of us: to know intellectively has this second moment of “towards”, of directionality. The tyranny of the presentiality of intellection is what has led to the conception of knowledge {154} as a re-presentation. Knowledge, besides its presentative or re-presentative dimension, has essentially and structurally a directional dimension: goes towards what is not present, but is going to discover. Furthermore, we are forced by things themselves to discover it on another point. The truth reached in the “towards” is a consequential truth, not a real truth: it is the subsequent intellection of what the characteristic of being real actually is, or consists of, in the thing we have in front of us, or in the other things towards which this reality turns us. Hence, we say that truth is the conformity or adequation of thinking with what we know intellectively, with things. Which obviously is something absolutely certain. That is the way truth is. However, these two terms of conformity, and adequation are radically different. In order to have truth, there has to be a conformity, no doubt at all. It is necessary that what I think be actually realized in reality; then, we can and should talk about conformity. Yet, does this mean it is adequation? Adequation not only entails a conformity. It entails for thought to think in a manner perfectly adequate (adæquare) to what the thing is in reality. But, while it is certain that every truth entails a moment of conformity, it is equally true that this moment of conformity possesses very different degrees of adequation. That is why the two dimensions of truth, while being radically congeneric, however, they are not equivalent. When we talk of conformity we cannot talk purely and simply of adequation, but shall have to examine the degree of adequation, which a truth has. With this clearly established, let us think about religious truth qua religious. Evidently, this truth, to start with, concerns {155} something it has present. Indeed, the power of the deity is something constitutively patent to it by the mere fact of its personal religation. But this power of the deity resides in things. And just as the mere transcendental characteristic of a reality takes us to the naked intellection of others, the form of this power of the deity being present in each thing receives a precise name: mystery. And the mystery is something not only obscure, but dynamic. Precisely by being dynamic, it takes us inexorably towards (here is included the other dimension of truth) something which is not immediately patent in the first real truth of the deity. Precisely this moment of the mystery is what constitutes the specific “towards” in which religious truth is going to move. Then we ask, what does a conformity mean under these conditions, and what does an adequation mean? Let us begin with the second point under question: no religious truth is or can be totally adequate. And this, not only concerning religions, which one might think are imperfect. Let us take as an example the dogmatic definitions of the Church. Although believers may accept them as unquestionable truths in the sense of conformity, does this mean that a dogmatic definition is perfectly adequate, and does not admit degrees of adequation? That would be completely false. And this is not theory, it is a mere corroboration. For example, the basic truth of the New Testament revelation is that Jesus Christ is God. The divinity of Christ is clearly a religious truth. Still, how are we to think this divinity from the point of view of adequation? One might conceive that Christ is God in the sense that in this man, son of Mary, the divinity resides in a special, and exclusive way. He might be God, therefore, in the sense of temple of God, a moral oneness between God, {156} and Christ the man. Against this —correcting Nestorius— the Council of Ephesus reacted: the reality of Christ, is a physically divine reality, not just morally divine. It is a step in the adequation. But the problem did not end there. Because one might then ask, what does physical mean? Does this express adequately what the reality of Christ is? Not really, because physical may mean that He has the same nature; but it may mean —something quite different— that He is a divine person. The Church needed to convene the Council of Chalcedon after the Council of Ephesus in order to precisely express this distinction, which is one more step in the adequation: to be physically divine does not mean having the same nature, or a kind of emulsion of two natures, divine and human —that indeed was the Monophysite error and schism—, but is purely divine by reason of the person. It might have appeared that adequation had been achieved. Did the history end there? It appears that Christological problems have surfaced massively around this concept of the personality of Christ. No dogmatic formula, while all are in conformity, is adequate; none drains exhaustively that, which it wishes to express. In the “towards” of the mystery there is purely and simply a parceled out adequation, despite having a conformity. Hence, one asks, what is the conformity upon which religious truth consists? First of all, it is not the conformity of something I have in front of me. No one has in front of his own eyes the divinity as such. Therefore, it is necessarily a conformity established purely and simply in a “towards”, in a something towards which man finds himself impelled by the mystery he has in front, the mystery of the divinity inherent in things. The conformity means purely and simply that if we were to prolong the {157} “towards” right to the very point where the divinity is, and were capable to contemplate it, we would find in this divine reality that which precisely justifies our attitude of affirmation in conformity. But then, how would I justify it? That is precisely what we do not know adequately, that is the point. So far, therefore, this type of truth, which we call religious truth, is purely and simply the rectitude of the way of conformity in the mystery of the deity towards the divinity, not the perfect adequation. Evidently, one may then ask, are all religions true? This question must be answered gradually, because it has two different aspects. The simplest questions sometimes are, in the end, quite complex. For the moment let us take one of the aspects of the question. The types of answers, actually, are multiple in their details; but essentially they are three: the answer through transcendence, the answer through immanence or immersion, and the answer through dispersion. Then, the question whether all religions are true consists in asking whether we actually reach the divinity with these answers in such wise that there is conformity. However, it needs to be said —and I will explain it in what follows— that in any of the three answers man really and actually accedes to the divinity. Let us take, for example, the truly paradoxical case at first sight of the Lunar divinity: the polytheist who admits the cult of the Moon, and believes he has reached the divinity there, in the sense of conformity. This is undeniable. Someone might say that he is doing nothing but believing. But what the polytheist who admits the cult of the Lunar divinity believes is a thing which oscillates among three dimensions, indiscernible sometimes, but always existing at the bottom of these naturist conceptions. {158} The Lunar divinity can mean god in the Moon, the god of the Moon, or the god Moon. Three dimensions which are always present in one form or another —at least in any mind somewhat enlightened— in the cult of the Moon. With this in mind, let us consider the case of any monotheist religion, the religion of Israel, the Christian religion or Islam. Can it be said that it may reach God in the Moon? Clearly, God is in the Moon, He is everywhere, and consequently He is also in the Moon. The pantheist finds himself with an easier situation. How can it be denied that the Moon is a moment of the cosmos? And if the entire regulation of the cosmos is an intrinsic divine characteristic, how can we avoid saying that, actually, the divinity of the Law that constitutes the order of the cosmos is in the Moon? In any of the three answers, man really accesses the divinity. It might be remarked that he believes he accesses. But believing is not all there is because, evidently, the divinity has to be in some place, and therefore, the power of the deity is in the Moon. Since there are only three possible answers, by any of the three —that is, by the three at one and the same time— man really and actually accesses to the divinity in the Moon. [Of course, there is no need to access the deity. Man is constitutively turned to the deity by religation. But the deity is precisely something mysteriously present in each thing. And through that mystery, man continues accessing the divinity by many different avenues, because the power of the deity is not outside of things. Which of them may be the divine things will be a problem. But there are some, since the power of deity is in things. From this follows that man is not only open to the deity, but constitutively reaches the divinity.]4 {159} Let us shift our attention to the other extreme, to the one that has no religion, and only has that form of religation or personal religion provided by the voice of his conscience. How could we possibly say that he does not reach the divinity? How can the monotheist deny that in the voice of conscience the divinity is present? Saint Paul, referring to the pagans, said that they have the Law of God inscribed in their hearts (cf. Rm 2:15). If we consider a Brahmin or any pantheist, how is he going to deny that the conscience actually reflects the cosmic order? From every point of view we may take, man, in any of the three answers, with or without religion, really and actually accesses the divinity. What happens is that this, which constitutes the conformity of the religious truth does not guarantee the adequation at all; adequation is excluded from any religious conception. But then, is it the case that in the end all religions are the same, since they all have “conformity”, and none is “adequate”? Not quite, because the error of the polytheist, who admits the Lunar cult, is not in saying that God is in the Moon, but in saying that God is nowhere but in the Moon. This is the second question. As long as conformity remains an assertive conformity, man actually reaches the divinity. But then, inasmuch as it is exclusive, in whatever it denies lies the essential difference between religions. Since these two dimensions are actually inseparable, and constitute a single unique texture in the answer through which man accesses the divinity, these three answers are essentially different without affecting the fact that in the three, man may really and positively reach the divinity. And for this reason the truth of any religion, religious truth qua religious, is purely and simply the truth that {160} through the mystery, man, hurled mysteriously towards the divinity, reaches it in a constitutively inadequate manner. Starts from the deity, to which there is no arrival, because it is patent in the constitutive religation of the human being, and proceeds towards the divinity, to which he arrives inexorably. Between these two polarities are precisely inscribed the different answers by which man accesses from deity towards the divinity. The truth of religion, the religious truth qua religious, is purely and simply the access to the divinity through the mystery of deity. Religious truth is constitutively an itinerant truth: the inadequate conformity in the sheer “towards” of the mystery. B) The occurrence of this truth. Having established the above, we may now ask in what does it consist, or rather, in which act of the human spirit does this truth occur. This act is —we all recognize it— the faith. Thus, we are necessarily led to think for a moment about faith. From the point of view we are going to take here4, faith does not rest directly on the divinity. We must reach the divinity, but man has reached, and reaches it through any of the ways he may take. Faith, therefore, rests upon the types of ways, which are going to lead man from deity to divinity. I will soon justify why I call “ways” to the types of answers to the mystery of deity. Faith is the actuality of a way towards the divinity. Of course, at this point I am not going to consider faith from the aspect of act of faith; that would be a different matter, a problem of religious psychology. I am going to consider faith purely and {161} simply insofar as it is present, i.e., as a state of the subject in which the religious truth occurs. And it is from this point of view that we shall ask what faith is. We have all been taught that faith is believing what we do not see. But this is not, properly speaking, a definition, a definition of faith. First, because it is a negative definition: it does not say what it is, but what it is not. And, in second place, even in this is not we again begin to experience the tyranny of presentation and representation: “what we do not see”. Yes, we do not see because we do not have it in front of us. But, do we totally lack intellection? Is faith something “blind”? No, we have an intellection “towards”. We will not understand it in adequation, but we have an intellection “towards”. Faith is not purely and simply to believe what we do not see: it is necessary to give a positive conception of the act of faith. However, the fact of the matter is that the act of faith —which is not pure intellection in the sense that it is not rational— is an act that for the subject who is in the state of faith, moves in the ambit of the reasonable6. Reasonable does not mean that we can give congruous posthumous reasons for the faith one has. It means something more integral, which affects the entire reality of man in his personal, intellectual, affective, moral, and communitarian (of religious community, and therefore social) dimension. It is the reasonable in the sense that it is reasonable that a man placed in these particular circumstances, internal and external, may have faith in the way he has embarked. Then we ask, what is faith positively? Obviously, since faith ascribes itself to different ways, one might think that faith is the opinion that one has about {162} a way or about the other ways. Yet, faith is not an opinion at all. Faith is not an opinion because pure opinion, precisely because it is pure opinion, lacks an essential dimension of faith, assurance. The one that has faith is sure of that in which he believes. One might then say that faith is not opinion, but at least it is a conviction. In this case faith would be a certainty. It is undeniably true that faith is a certainty. However, this is not sufficient. Because the one who has faith in any religion is not only certain, but precisely by his state of faith, that about which he is certain, and retroverts into the character of his own certainty, is the unbreakable reality of that in which he believes. For the one who has faith, that in which he believes is a reality that has to be taken into account, and is as firmly set on itself as the Guadarrama sierra near Madrid might be. It is different from certainty. It is more than a certainty: faith is a radical option of man. An option of the whole of man, not just intellectually considered. It is an option by the whole man for the way by which he is going to accede to the divinity. Nevertheless, this needs some clarification, because when one thinks about option, it is always presumed that the one making a choice is always choosing from a variety of differing ways. This is false. In the first place, because few know about the three ways. Actually, before the VI century B.C., what man on Earth thought about the third way, the way of immanence? In the second place, even with the existence in history of two or three ways, how many men are believers because they have chosen among three ways? This is a minuscule minority in the history of religious humanity. Option is not choosing. Option is not necessarily the result of a search. The one that believes in a religion is not necessarily a searcher {163} for truth; it is formally someone who is unbreakably opting for a way. Therefore, the option is not an option among ways, but the option for a way: for the one through which man actually accedes to the divinity. For this reason, normally, faith is not an option as result of a search which leads to a belief, but rather faith, ordinarily and normally, rests directly and without search upon what “is” believed (Sp. “se” cree), and in addition upon that which “has to be” believed. And this is and this has to be are not given to me as a list of possibilities among which man chooses, but rather man finds himself embarked in one of these ways, through an option that velis nolis man accepts. Not by an intrinsic force —let this be quite understood—, but because it is reasonable and normal that man may proceed through that way, which he has precisely in front of his eyes, the one on which he travels, and the one, which must be traveled. This option, therefore, is the option for a way, not an option among ways. And this option for a way means, in the first place, submissive abandon. Man really submits himself to the way, which is believed, and has to be believed. Not only abandons himself, but in second place, surrenders himself personally to that way, perhaps the only one he has in front of his eyes. But, in third place, in this option of the faith an unbreakable moment still beats: faith is not only submissive abandon, and surrender, but is also unbreakable. Indeed, this unbreakable moment comes to it precisely from what is not part of the question about religious truth, but which is really in every religious truth: the divinity accessed in every religion. Really and actually, the act of faith, more than an act one performs —of course one performs it, that goes without saying it—, is an act in which the one who performs it is taken up by the divinity towards which {164} he is opting, through a way he has in front of his eyes. In other words, we are taken up by the divinity. Faith, strictly speaking, for any believer, stems more from the divinity than from oneself. This is true for every religion. And this being taken up, which is the option for a way —not necessarily the option among several ways— is what precisely constitutes the act or state in which religious truth lives unhindered. Faith is the truth of a way. And that way is given in this option of abandon, and unbreakable surrender which constitutively faith is. We have seen that those things in which religious truth consists, is the truth of a stepping march in the mystery by which we access, in one form or another, to the divinity. And the act in which this truth occurs in man, is not purely and simply the constitutive religation to the deity, but to the option to which religation leads us, under certain historical conditions. It leads us through a way in which man, abandoned and unbreakably surrendered to the divinity, finds himself taken up and dragged by it. Now we ask, in what does the intrinsic historicity of every religion consist? ________________ 1 This appendix comes from the 1965 Madrid seminar. 2 While in the seminar of 1965 in Madrid Zubiri still referred to “mystery”, from the seminar of Barcelona in the same year onwards he preferred to use the term “enigma”, just as it appeared in our first chapter. 3 Of course, these considerations have to be read taking into account what Zubiri presents in his study on intelligence, cf. Inteligencia Sentiente. Inteligencia y Realidad, op. cit., pp. 229-246; Inteligencia y logos, op. cit., pp. 213-336; Inteligencia y razón, Madrid, 1983, pp. 258-320. [“Sentient Intelligence“, tr. Dr. Thomas B. Fowler, Jr., 1997] 4 The text inside the square brackets is taken from another place of the same 1965 Madrid seminar, and has been inserted here to complete the explanation. 5 Differing from the point of view under which faith has been considered in the previous pages. 6 Cf. the considerations of Zubiri in El hombre y Dios (“Man and God“), op. cit., pp. 263-264. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 4 (165-179) {165} CHAPTER IV THE HISTORICITY OF RELIGIONS In the previous chapter I addressed the diversity of religions. It was not a question of making an exposition of this diversity —that would be a course in the history of religions—, but simply of conceptualizing the very characteristics of this diversity. And I showed how to determine the point where in a formal manner the essential difference of religions exists. This point, as we saw, are the ideas, which different religions have about God. These different ideas about God are the terminus, and product of religious thinking. The case of a thinking formally inscribed in a religious situation, which is able to adopt different forms. There is, for example, a phantasmic thinking, and a more logical and conceptual thinking. At any rate, religious thinking transcends these and other possible ways of thinking, because beyond what it formally says there is what it formally wishes to say. This religious thinking, in its religious dimension, is inscribed on the line, which goes from the power of the real to the divinity itself as something supreme. The problem is on which line is this supremacy to be established. In the {166} sense of faith, there can be, of course, a convergence between the divinity to whom one has accorded one’s personal faith, and the way or line of supremacy through which he wishes to find, by means of his thinking, that supreme divinity. As such, history registers three types of ideas about God. In the first place, a polytheist idea, which in the end consists in the dispersion of the divinity. In the second place, a divinity understood as immanent and constitutive Law, cosmic-moral, of the whole of reality. And, in the third place, the way of monotheism, which is the way of transcendence. It is not the case of a merely metaphysical monotheism, but of a monotheism strictly and formally religious. Then, I asked, In what does the formal characteristic of these ideas consist? I mentioned that the three ideas, the three avenues, are not absolutely false, which then brought the issue of whether they are equivalent. And they are not, because this diversity depends essentially on the line in which one has placed the way towards the supreme, towards the supremacy. That way is the one that goes from a relatively absolute reality, which is man, to the absolutely absolute reality, which is precisely what we call God. In that line there is no room for any other divine reality except one, personal and transcendent. And that brings the problem of what is the meaning of these other ideas about God with respect to the idea of the mónos theós, of the monotheist idea. In the end this constitutes what I have called the diffraction of God in the human spirit, as I pointed out in the previous chapter. Nevertheless, this explanation is a first approximation, because the diversity of religions has, as we have been observing throughout its exposition, an intrinsically and essentially historical characteristic. Then, the problem of polytheism, monotheism, and pantheism acquires a characteristic, if not different, at least complementary on the line of this {167} historicity. We address that issue in this chapter. The problem covers several points, which sometimes overlap. In the first place, this historicity must be verified as a fact, just as we did with diversity. It is a question of taking into consideration the historical occurrence of religions. In the second place, we must face the problem of what the intrinsic historicity of a religion is. Finally, in the third place, we must ask what the fundament of this intrinsic historicity is. {168} § 1 THE HISTORICAL OCCURRENCE OF RELIGIONS All religions have been born, all have developed, and some have died. Let us examine these aspects separately. I. How are religions born? Actually, we know practically nothing about the birth of religions. The only thing we know is the existence of seven or eight founders of religion. Abraham and Moses, founders of the religion of Israel; Christ, founder of Christianity; Buddha, of Buddhism; Muhammad, of Islam; Confucius, of Confucianism; Zarathustra, of the Gathic religion; Manes, of the Manichaean religion, etc. Regardless how important these founders be, they are so few that we barely know how religions are born. The question is, of course, to know how religions are born in their diversity. The case that the human spirit may have religion is not a matter of historical birth, but rather it is something constitutive: the molding of religation into religion. However, about the birth of religions in their diversity we know almost nothing1. The only thing that can be affirmed, on the basis of these founders I have mentioned is, in the first {169} place, that historically the founding of a religion, regardless of its character, is always properly and rigorously speaking a reform. Regardless of the greater or lesser novelty of the religion called “new”, its appearance never starts from zero. That would be absolutely false. The same applies to Christianity. The “New” Testament does not start from zero. It starts from everything the Old Testament knew. And in turn the Old Testament also did not start from zero. If we recall the era of the Patriarchs, the biblical text itself (Gn 11:31) connects Abraham with Ur and Haran, main sanctuaries of the Babylonian lunar cult. How could anyone affirm that with Abraham —supposing that he and not Moses is the founder— the founding of his religion begins from zero? The same occurs in other religions. For example, there is no doubt that Confucianism and Buddhism are reforms of a previous religious posture. The case of Zarathustra is quite clear: he did not introduce the cult of Ahura Mazda, and in all probability reformed a cult of Ahura Mazda, which already existed in Iran with a form and details difficult to evaluate. The beginning of a religion is always a reform. A reform, which does not begin at zero. That is the essential point. And precisely because it does not begin at zero, the establishment of a new religion is something essentially historical and progressive. Then, this not starting at zero means, in the second place, that the reform consists formally and positively in a rectification. The founder and reformer of a religion pretends to rectify things, which to his judgment were erroneous or twisted in the previous stage of that religion. This is all we can know about the birth of religions. The great majority of religions we find on Earth are there without knowing exactly how they were born. {170} II. Development of religions Religions develop by virtue of many factors. Here we now find ourselves on firmer ground. We can gather these multiple factors and group them into two. A) In the first place, the contact, which a religion has with other religions. Of course, it is not a matter of a mere external contact, as it might occur between social or political forms when one knows the other and suffers its influence. Here it is something much more radical and profound. Any contact is possible in a particular dimension. And here the formal dimension in which this contact is possible is precisely the power of the real. Because it is precisely the case of an ascension from the power of the real to the divinity it is possible to have that which we call a contact between religions. Yet, this contact of religions may have different characteristics. In the first place, a more external and sad one, but which evidently exists at the base of almost all religions: the case of a defensive deployment. The new religion wishes to know nothing about the other. The first religion in turn wishes to ignore the new one except by adopting a defensive position. Defensive attitudes are catastrophic in history at all levels, including the religious one. Besides a defensive deployment there can be a series of factors, which produce what we might call the internal development of the first religion, which is what we are concerned with here. This development has been called, generically and imprecisely with a term, which we shall have to render more precise, a syncretism. When a second religion {171} influences the first this phenomenon has been called a religious syncretism. This syncretism may have different characteristics. Sometimes it has a great volume, great historical importance, but it is just a politico-administrative syncretism with no relevance for the subject we are discussing. Let us consider, for example, the famous inscription of the first century B.C. by Antiochus I Commagene. This fine Greek, with his whole Greek cultural background, encounters gods in Iran that have no similarity at all with the Greek ones: Mithras, Verethragna, Ahura Mazda, etc. Then, in his well known inscription, he formulates what has been called the Greco-Iranian syncretism. But it is not a strict syncretism, it is a mere administrative device, which does no more but to homologize certain gods. Thus, Ahura Mazda, with the Greek name Oromásdes, is homologized with Zeus. With the god Mithras of Iran the homologizing is more difficult, because according to the inscription itself there are three Greek gods that share different characteristics of Mithras, such as Apollo, Helios, and Hermes. Antiochus I takes the convolute of the three gods, and homologizes it to the god Mithras. Similarly, the warrior god Verethragna has characteristics of Heracles and Ares, to which he is homologized, just as the Iranian Anahita is more or less homologized to the Greek Artemis. This inscription has great importance from the point of view of general history. But from the point of view of the history of religions its importance is almost nil, because it is the case of a purely external, politico-administrative homologation. Another typical case was the Roman attempt: to compound Christianity with the religion of the Empire, placing Christ at the head of the Roman pantheon. Naturally, Christianity did not admit it, and this attempt failed. {172} Yet, next to this politico-administrative syncretism there is a strict syncretism, properly religious. This syncretism has different aspects. There is, in the first place, a form of religious syncretism, but purely external. It is not a question here of defining, but simply remembering some trivial examples. It is well known that the feast of Christmas is the Christian equivalent of the feast of the winter solstice of the astral religion, which determined the existence of the Christian feast. Similarly, the Epiphany was placed as a feast on the sixth of January to homologize, and displace the rite of religiously drawing out the waters of the Nile. The cult of the seasons of the year was transformed into the cult of the Ember Days, which is still celebrated today. The feast of renewal and harvest was converted into the feast of St. John, etc. It is obviously a case of mere external syncretism. The really important one is the internal syncretism, the one that aims to that which constitutes the internal characteristic of a religion. Internal syncretism would not be one that proceeds from an alien religion to the religion under question, but to the reaction of the religion eliminated by a reform, on the religion that has been reformed. There are some typical examples in the history of religions. One of them in the religion of Iran itself. Zarathustra in the Gâthâs, by his hate to all forms of Indo-Iranian polytheism, takes the Iranian name daiva, which in the Indo-European languages means “god” (that is the meaning of the devas in the Vedas), and applies it to the demons. The name asura, which was used to designate the demons, he applies it to Ahura Mazda. The religion of the Gâthâs is at bottom monotheist, although, as I mentioned, quickly degenerates into a dualism. However, the new religion completely eliminates all the divinities of the Indo-Iranian cult. Yet, not before long all these divinities, {173} through their own devices, in a certain way revenge themselves and gain entry into the Iranian canon, into the canon of Zarathustra, where they occupy the greater portion, receiving the name of recent Avesta. In the recent Avesta we encounter the cults of these divinities, which Zarathustra had eliminated: Tištria, Anahita, Mithras, etc. This is a case of what I call internal syncretism, in which the religion eliminated by the reform invades the jurisdiction of the reformed religion. An attempt at this type of internal syncretism is exemplified by the Christian community of Jerusalem. Christianity presents itself as a different religion or, at least, as an essential reform of the religion of Israel. But this did not prevent the appearance of the problem whether one should pass first through Judaism by being circumcised. The positive solution had many followers. It was the beginning of Judeo-Christianity. It is not just a matter of merely external speculation to the Church: the Apostle St. James seems to have been some sort of head of this movement. Saint Paul, naturally, reacted strongly against him, and with him the so called Council of Jerusalem. It was an attempt at internal syncretism. All things considered, syncretism, neither in its external form nor in its internal one is, strictly speaking, a syncretism, because it is not at all a question of a krásis, that is, of a mixture of religions. If it were so it would be a phenomenon of degeneration, and would be of no interest at all. It is a case of something different. What the second religion provides to the first are not material elements, like the date in which a festivity is celebrated. Internally it contributes something quite different, namely, that element, which forces a religion under its influence to develop internally the inventory of its own possibilities. This is quite a different matter. The important fact is not that on the twenty fourth of June the {174} feast of St. John may be celebrated, more or less the seasonal heir of the renewal of spring, but the deep and radical change of meaning. While in the pagan religion that rite had the characteristics of a cult to Mother Earth as goddess, here it is a completely different thing, it is a symbol of the palingenesía, the baptismal regeneration. This clearly demonstrates that syncretism is not really a syncretism, but a revealer and dilator of the internal possibilities that constitute a religion. It is an enlargement of its list of possibilities. B) Furthermore, not only is there this group of factors called the contact of religions, but something even more important for the development of a religion. There is a second group of factors, which affects the positive internal development taken in itself. It consists of an enlightenment, an obturation, and at least a modification of the internal possibilities that a god or gods offer. This modification may occur through different ways. In the first place, by way of specialization. Thus, for example, the god of heaven, in the primitive religions, is the one that sends everything that comes from heaven. But if lightning and thunder have great importance, then that god is converted into a god of thunder and lightning. With this the heavenly vault remains as a second divinity. By specialization two divinities have been born where there was only one before. Specialization phenomena are numerous in Christianity, even though from the theological point of view they may be qualified as distortions. Take the distinction between the devotion to one Virgin or another. Or in the grace one asks from the Christ of Limpias2, and not from the {175} Christ of Ayala3. Specializations are unfortunately a very spontaneous tendency in the human spirit, even extending to a kind of pluralization of the divinity. Hence, the saints are converted into small gods specializing in particular illnesses, like Saint Blaise for throat illnesses, etc. A simple fact of a natural and constitutive tendency in all religions. b) There can be a reverse process: not a specialization, but an amplification4. This is the case, for example, of Varuna in the Vedic religion. Originally he was a god of the heavens, who afterwards assumes the function of god of the sovereignty, which maintains the order and unity of the universe. c) There is, in the third place, a different phenomenon, the appropriation of the gods by social groups. Thus, for example, what is called in the time of the patriarchs “the religion and God of the fathers”, by the time of Moses it converts into something different: the religion of the people of Israel, and not simply of the fathers. It is now the religion of Israel. And only by the internal development of these possibilities, the religion of Israel converts into a religion somewhat universalized. In general, the Semites have always associated themselves around their gods. For this reason all the social conflicts not only have resonated in the religious order, but have been covered or have incorporated attempts to show them justified by religious motives5. This is the case of the Amorites who conquer {176} Babylon and enthrone Marduk, as I mentioned above. Conversely, when the Amorites are defeated, the Assyrians carry Marduk away tied with a rope through the deserts and the steppes. d) Besides specialization, amplification, and appropriation by social groups there is, in the fourth place, the social extension. The social extension consists in an amplification of the religious community. It is what must be formally called propagation. This propagation may obtain very different characteristics. In the first place, we have the propagation, which the religion of Israel had with the Diaspora. Proselitism began with it, and has been ever present making the people of Israel a people without a land for centuries, but with a religion. In the second place, there is propagation, not for proselitism, but for a mission. Not all religions, by far, are missionary. Only some, like Manicheism, Buddhism, and Christianity, etc. In the third place, there is another vehicle for propagation, which is neither proselitism nor mission: the political and social imposition. This is the case, for example, of Islam. e) There is a fifth factor in the evolution of religions, which is essential. The case of the articulation or disarticulation between what man asks from a religion, and what the religion in question can give him, and actually gives him. This is a crucial moment in the history of the development of a religion. Taken both at the same time both factors constitute what we might call the attraction: the fundament by which man surrenders his personal being to a personal reality qua true. This factor, like the others, constitutes a {177} spontaneous tendency in the human spirit. For example, there is no doubt that Buddhism in its pure and canonical form does not admit of a personal divinity. The cosmic-moral Law, the dharma, constitutes the very structure of heaven, inside which there are several gods, who are not, however, supreme beings: men who comply with the dharma can be happier and more blessed than any god. Nevertheless, this has not been an obstacle for the popular conscience, if not theologic, at least theological, to end up divinizing Buddha. I will soon return to this6. III. Death of religions Religions not only develop, but also, at least in some cases, die. And they die because of different factors. 1) Every religion, I was saying above, appears as our religion. Of course, when the social body to which the religion belongs disappears, the religion also disappears. Of the Assyro-Babylonian civilization and its religion there were no traces except a few mounds of sand until the first excavations at Nineveh. But this is not as trivial as it may appear. Even though hypothetically the social body and the religion might have subsisted, that religion ceases to be our religion. It loses its reason for existing for those people in question. That is the important point. With the extinction of a people, the extinction of {178} that which constituted the essential reason for there being a religion in the first place is also extinguished, it is not just a simple exhaustion of the fact of existence. 2) In the second place, of course, a religion may disappear because of oppression. 3) In the third place, there can be disappearance of religions by reason of internal consumption. A typical case is Manichaeism, which extended itself throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, from Cadiz to the Chinese Turkistan, and from south Africa to central Europe. Reading their texts of profound religious inspiration, one can understand how they may have conquered the world. However, from my point of view, it disappeared through consumption, and only a few remnants were left, which vaguely remind us of what Manichaeism had been: the Bogomils in Bulgaria, and the Albigensian in the south of France. 4) The problem of the articulation between what man asks for and what religion provides was already mentioned above. As a factor in the death of religions we have the possible dissociation between religion as a social body and religion as a personal life. This is the decisive point for a religion and a religious life to disappear from the Earth. A religion disappears from a social body when it becomes inoperative or useless for that body. A great historian of religions wrote not too many years ago that the cult of the gods in Rome was a civic duty, while the cult of the gods of foreign mysteries was an expression of personal faith; this is what allowed the Empire to open their doors to forms of religion different from the purely civic, causing the easy victory of the Greek and oriental gods during the later centuries of the republic7. The social and political organization may give the impression that it is reinforcing a religion; generally it perforates it. {179} And what happened in Rome also happened in the religion of Israel. Suffice it to read the famous text of the prophet Hosea, which the Vulgate, following the Greek text of the Septuagint, translated as misericordiam volui et non sacrificium (Hos 6:6). But the Hebrew text says khésed. In Hebrew khésed does not mean compassion or mercy, but something quite different: the good internal disposition, which when dealing with God with respect to man the new Testament will translate as cháris, grace. And concerning man with respect to God is the internal piety, his internal religion. The text means “I want interior religion, and no sacrifices”. In other words, He wishes to break the dissociation between religion as institutional body, and religion as internal personal life. ________________ 1 Cf. the following appendix on the hypothesis of “primitive religion”. 2 [Tr. note: a much venerated sculpture of the crucified Christ in a church located in the town of Limpias, a few kilometers south of the port of Laredo on the northern coast of Spain facing the Cantabrian Sea] 3 [Tr. note: another venerated sculpture of the crucified Christ in a church on Ayala Street, Madrid, located in a downtown residential section popularly known as “Salamanca”] 4 Zubiri added in the 1965 Madrid seminar: “because there has been an increment in the normal ambit of the possibilities of a divinity”. 5 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “Evidently, Christianity does not nationalize any God, but there is no doubt that there exists an imminent risk in Christianity, not to ascribe the Christian God to a people or a nation, but rather to a form of civilization, for example, to Western civilization, which was constituted by the internal acceptance of Greek metaphysics, Roman law, and the religion of Israel, as if Christianity were actually one thing with Western civilization or at least essentially ascribed to it”. 6 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri added: “Religion is not just a matter for theologians and clerics; it is a thing lived by the people, and these processes are not exclusively speculative ones, but can be and are, to a large extent, processes occurring throughout the entire social structure. 7 “Le culte de dieux de Rome était un devoir civique, celui des dieux étrangers est l’expression d’une foi personelle”, F. Cumont, Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain, Paris, 1929, pp. 40-41. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 4 (181-195) {181} APPENDIX “PRIMITIVE RELIGION” The foremost idea about how religions are born, quite inveterate in many minds, consists in saying that all religions come from a single religion, which has diversified itself. Let us be clear, this is totally a priori with no fundament at all. It is the idea of a “primitive religion”, which has found its latest support in the ethnologist, W. Schmidt, who is simply brilliant as an ethnologist. Father Schmidt, studying the ethnology of the present primitive peoples, some living in a phase of Neolithic civilization, and others Paleolithic, has been able to detect a trace of what might have been mankind as a primitive man. From these would proceed the first revelation of a religion which afterwards became diversified, and more complicated during the course of history. Needless to say no Catholic is obliged to accept Schmidt’s conception. Besides, it is quite problematic. In the first place, ethnologically, there is no doubt there is an enormous gap between the present primitive men, and the original primitive man. Even placing primitive man at the beginning of the Cro-Magnon civilization —about fifty thousand years ago—, What has been happening all this time up to the present pigmies? It cannot be denied that in any form of conception, and in any hypothesis, many of the present primitive peoples represent a collateral branch of mankind. Clearly, {182} human history has not issued from it. The richness of history just could not start from a branch, which actually has been living in a corner at the margin of history. The least one can say about it is that it has become grounded, and while in this grounding, it has modified. In the second place, there is the appeal to “primitive revelation”. However, primitive revelation is not accessible to history. In fact, the historian does not encounter primitive revelation. At any rate, let us suppose that someone approaches primitive revelation from the perspective of a theologian. One may ask, then, what that primitive revelation was. Certainly, it was a theological elevation of man, which consisted in the fact that man was actually invited, and destined to an intimacy with God through what the New Testament and theology have later called “grace”. However, Did this involve a revelation, which may transcend the limits of what I have just pointed out? Not at all. The content of that revelation escapes the mind of the best theologians. There are few theologians that would dare to say that Adam received a revelation of the Trinity. We do not know what was the precise extent of that primitive revelation. Furthermore, not only do we not know its content, but also we cannot say purely and {183} simply —as Schmidt does when presenting the matter— that the content of religion was revealed in the sense of a teaching from God. That would constitute an enormous historical extrinsicalism even including Adam. The elevation to the theological order is the elevation of something, which man constitutively is. How can we possibly say that it has been purely and simply an extrinsic dictation to the conscience of Adam? Lastly, we also do not know what became of it. There is no record anywhere showing what became of that minuscule, but real, primitive revelation. It is not mentioned in any part of the Biblical text —and reasonably so— that polytheism may represent a corruption of monotheism; this is a thesis many historians have developed. Because the truth is that neither polytheism has issued from monotheism nor monotheism has issued from polytheism, but rather they are ways —as I will immediately explain— congeneric and radical in the natural tendencies of man. The appeal to primitive religion —or primitive revelation— as a germinal origin of all religions in history is, regardless of the perspective taken on the matter, scientific or theologic, a complete fantasy. It might well be thought, then, that at least, this is a case of what has been called the “natural religion” belonging to man. It is the same story repeatedly told with respect to natural rights and many other naturalities attributed to man. However, this involves an important equivocation: What do we understand by “natural religion”? Is it a set of conceptions and beliefs, which man has? Where is that set? Actually, in the best of the hypotheses, an attempt has been made to find this set through a comparative study of religions. With this, of course, what has been obtained is not a natural religion, but, as someone remarked with excellent acumen, an Esperanto of religions. What can be understood by natural religion is not a minuscule natural religion —sit venia verbo—, but something completely different: that it is natural for man to have religion. And on this point, as long as we are not told in what naturality consists, nothing has been said at all. Still, religion does not belong to human nature, but to the personal being of man, because religation is not natural religion, but a formally constitutive moment of the personal being as such. Consequently, religation does not enlighten us in any way about the origin of the different religions. {184} Finally, therefore, from the point of view of religions, history encounters the original fact, beyond which one cannot go. The fact that religion presents itself as multiple right from the start. At least, from the time and from the sphere to which man’s historical investigation can access. {185} § 2 THE INTRINSIC HISTORICITY OF A RELIGION Up to this point I have described in a summary way the historical occurrence of religions. Now a second question arises: In what does their intrinsic historicity formally consist? This is a more delicate matter. Up to now I have indicated that religions are in history, and share the vicissitudes and changes of the same. But the question is to know if religion is historical simply because it occurs in history or if religion, rather, occurs in history because it is intrinsically historical. From my perspective, religion belongs to history because it is intrinsically historical. In order to justify that assertion it will be necessary to consider the following. In the first place, What is historicity? And, in second place, In what does that historicity of religion consist? I. What is historicity? Historicity consists, from my perspective, in the realization of a possibility. And that realization is precisely what we call an event, in contradistinction to fact, which consists purely and simply in the actuation of some potencies or faculties, which realities have. In the case of man, something is at the same time a fact and an event. If I eat, if I take a {186} certain type of food, it may be because a doctor has prescribed it for me; in that sense it is a historical fact; it is an event. But evidently I take that food through a series of anatomical and physiological actions that as such do not have the characteristics of events, but of biological facts. Now then, the truth is that the same act, which is “to eat”, is at the same time fact and event. What happens is that it is not event by the same reason it is fact. It is event if it is the result of a diet that the doctor has prescribed; it is a fact if it is the result purely and simply of the activity of biological potencies. Historicity, therefore, consists in the realization of possibilities. 1) Therefore, reality is actualized in the intelligence as something, which is de suyo in a primary truth we call “real truth”. 2) But the characteristic of reality transcends from a thing, and takes us inexorably to others beyond the first. And this “beyond” is what makes a problem out of truth. Real truth is not formally problematic in itself: it is so exclusively in the measure it remits us to something beyond itself. And that something to which it remits us, the other reality to which it remits us, is constitutively something, which is “towards”, and is problematic. 3) Furthermore, this taking us beyond, for example, has two dimensions. It can take us beyond, for example, to select a diet among others. One can take certain foods and not take others because a selection of diets lies within the existing possibilities for our health to be recovered or normalized. This is absolutely true. But not all possibilities, which reality offers man in its turning towards a “beyond” have this characteristic. There are some possibilities —and these are the ones, which are decisive in our problem— in which reality remits beyond, but not beyond {187} outside itself, but towards a more profound stratum of itself. In other words, possibilities are opened for an intellection of the internal structure of the real, which I have in front of me, but in a deeper and more profound way. And these possibilities are the ones we are dealing with in this case. They are possibilities in order to understand the internal intellection of reality. 4) These possibilities, like all possibilities, come to light in the situation in which man finds himself with things. But a situation, which is not constituted purely by intellectual dimensions, but by the integral reality of the whole man in all his dimensions. I will return to this idea presently2. 5) This taking us beyond —which is problematic— offers different possibilities of intellection, different possibilities to perforate to the ultimate reality of a thing. And these differing possibilities, seen now from the point of view of the thing, which offers them, and insofar as they take us towards an interior “beyond”, and more profound of the thing itself, signify that truth is not only constituted by what the thing formally presents to us. If this were not so, we would not go beyond. The truth is also present, inchoatively, in each of the different possibilities. Each possibility actualizes the real inchoatively. Reality suggests different possibilities of intellection. Until a decision is made about them, they inchoatively represent a thing, i.e., one or another mode of being, among which man has to choose. The inchoative dimension of thinking is anchored precisely in the transcendental dimension of real truth, and manifests itself in the offer of different possibilities of intellection, which man encounters from his situation. {188} 6) When we choose one of these possibilities, and see that things are not going well, we discard it. But there is another possibility or perhaps several, which actually fit in the thing. Then we say that intellection, which initially was an inchoative intellection, changes now into a truthful formal intellection. Truth, from this point of view, is the fulfillment in the thing of a possibility inchoatively offered by it in a situation3. 7) Still, any realization of a possibility is precisely an event. An event is something intrinsically historical; this is what the intrinsic historicity is, precisely. Therefore, the discovery of the most internal structure of the real is, from this point of view, strictly an event. This is what the truth is as event, as fulfillment of some possibilities. The truth that follows the first real truth is, therefore, intrinsically and formally historical. 8) Nevertheless, this does not impede, but radically demands that truth be founded logically. “Logic” here not only means a deductive reasoning; it can be factual proofs, a new inspection of reality. We shall continue to call it logical to have some indication of the organic structure of scientific knowledge. To be an event does not impede, but —just the opposite— demands that this truth be founded logically in reality. And, actually, reasoning —in the wide sense I have just indicated— is precisely the way of arriving to see that a possibility is actually fulfilled in reality. The moment of fulfillment of a possibility is given by a reasoning or by a direct appeal to reality, either way. {189} 9) From this follows that between logic and history there is no opposition. Truth always has these two dimensions from which it can be considered. First, as realization of some possibilities for the intellection of reality, and then truth is the fulfillment of a possibility, it is event. Second, as something, which is absolutely or relatively founded —depending on the certainty of the truth— in the logical architecture, which decides its fulfillment. By the first, truth is event. By the second, it is logical. And I refer to this, as I might refer to human actions, that the same truth is not event through that by which it is reasoning. And this has application not only to very complicated truths, but also simply to the very structure of mathematical thinking. For example, in order to understand certain properties of fractional numbers, man has approached this mathematical being with a certain possibility: to understand it from the point of view of the fraction of a oneness. But mathematics has reached out for other different possibilities. For example, to understand rational numbers as reasons or as proportions. This was also not enough; a different conception of the rational number was needed. At any rate, a range of possibilities has been opened within which a rigorous reasoning is inscribed. Once the problem of this possibility is set up, only reasoning will be able to decide; the appeal to the origin of possibilities will never do. Yet, this presents no obstacle for the conclusion of this reasoning (which is the only one that exclusively decides about a truth) to be logical, and at the same time historical. It is logical because it has the necessary fundament; it is historical because of what it has of realization and fulfillment of a possibility. While by the first moment of reasoning truth is a logical “conclusion”, by the {190} other aspect it is the “fulfillment” of some possibilities, which emerge from the real thing itself on the life of man, and constitute precisely the dynamism of his intellectual life. Logical conclusion is not the same as intellectual life. In the intellectual life possibilities for the intellection of things are being enlightened and obturated, which only reasoning can decide. Of course, this is valid only for founded truths. Because the first truth, which is the real one, is unquestionable: it is neither logical nor historical; it is purely and simply the real truth as a block. Therefore, the truth in history is purely and simply the intrinsic historicity of the truth4. Due to this, our thinking continues to enlighten and obturate possibilities. Even up to the point where, including in that obturation, man has never completely eliminated (perhaps not knowing it), those possibilities to which he inchoatively aimed at the starting point, and afterwards left behind. How many times the history of thought —in some occasions genial— has consisted in returning to that inchoative point to accept possibilities, which were discarded originally, and this way put new possibilities in motion. The return to the origins and foundations with this purpose in mind is not archeology, it is simply and purely the internal recuperation of the system of possibilities, which constitutes the stepping march of thought. Finally, every comprehension has an intrinsic and formally historical characteristic. Comprehension is truth founded on a founding truth, which is the immediate actualization of the real facing the mind. Every founded truth, every comprehension, is intrinsically and essentially historical. Then we ask: In what does the historicity of religion consist? That is the second point. {191} II. The historicity of religion Religion, above all, is historical because religion is the molding of religation. The molding is, as I said, the information of the surrender of man to the divine reality through faith, or the characteristic of faith to become concrete in the surrender of man to the divine reality. It is the molding of a religation, which constitutively and formally the human person has, through the power of the real, in order to constitute his substantive I, his relative absolute being. Still, this is nothing but the realization of some possibilities. The power of the real appears as ultimate possibility, and possibilitating. Therefore, its accomplishment is essentially, intrinsically, and formally something historical. It is historicity. I have mentioned somewhere else that it is not that man may have a problem of God, but that man formally consists in the problem of God itself5, i.e., the stepping march towards the fundamentality of his own substantive being. To be I is precisely the radical historicity. In addition it is not only radical historicity, but also formal. Because religion has something more than just personal life, even though this may be what is essential to it. Religion is a personal life activated in a social body given to it. Indeed, this body is a body because precisely because it constitutes a system of particular possibilities, which defines and circumscribes the religious life of each of its persons. As a system of possibilities it is formally inscribed in what historicity is. For this reason religion is not historical because it occurs in it, but rather it is the occurrence {192} of the very being of man, of the absolute being, insofar as it is made by him. Religion is formally historicity, and in a way much more radical than any other human event. Thus, religion, as any historical fact, is made appropriating some possibilities and discarding others. By appropriation of possibilities ways are constructed. And this is the central question. A way is the appropriation of some possibilities geared towards the intellection and encounter of a reality. A way is, in this case, the appropriation of the possibilities that starting from the power of the real lead to God in order for me to be what I am. These ways are the way of dispersion, the way of immanence, and the way of transcendence. In the previous chapter the ways were important not inasmuch as ways, but inasmuch as they lead to three ideas: the polytheist idea, the pantheist, and the monotheist. Now the problem is different. We are trying to articulate what these ways may consist of insofar as ways. If a way is an appropriation of a possibility in order to comprehend a reality, and in this case to be able to step from the immediate power of reality to the supremacy in which the divinity consists, this would mean that real and empirical things, in one form or another involve the enigma of the ultimate fundament of the power of the real. I reject here the term “mystery”, so much abused by saying everything is mysterious, etc. Because not even the mysteries of Christianity are mysteries, in the sense of incomprehensible, but are decisions of the arcana of the will of God, something quite different. In this sense, I will say that the way consists in the appropriation of a possibility offered by the enigma —or by the mystery, in the colloquial sense of the expression— in the operation of the surrender to God. The way consists in that. Taking these three ways —dispersion, immanence, and {193} transcendence— as ways, I consider the three congeneric and contemporaneous. Many times in the XIX, and XX century an attempt has been made to show, motivated by useless pro-Catholic or anti-Catholic polemics, that they are not congeneric, for example, that polytheism has proceeded from a degeneration of monotheism. The religion of Adam has been put forth as an example, something quite problematic from every point of view. It is said that the religion of Adam stems from faith. But faith tells us nothing about what kind of faith Adam had. To think that polytheism is a degeneration of monotheism has been the easy way out for apologists, who are quite numerous on this planet, but who have never been useful in advancing one iota the subjects under apology. On the other hand, that has been the position in our time of the ethnological school of W. Schmidt, for whom the comparative study of religions leads to accept a primitive monotheism. It would be a reflection of the primitive religion of Adam, as if from Adam to the pigmies there was only a four-hour span. Polytheism does not stem from monotheism. There has been an attempt to prove, towards the end of the last century and well into the present one, above all in the English philosophy of religion, that monotheism proceeds from an internal evolution of polytheism. A society would begin by substantivating only certain large forces of nature. Afterwards, it would conceive these forces of nature as if they were spirits: this is animism. Later these spirits would turn into devils: the polydemonism. These would again change into personal entities, thus constituting polytheism. This polytheism would continue to be honed taking the form of a henotheism, which continues to adopt a certain scheme until reaching a supreme God who in the end is the only one that matters, and this would constitute monotheism. This is sheer fantasy. It has absolutely no sociological reality and no historical reality at all. {194} The truth is that polytheism does not proceed from monotheism and monotheism does not proceed from polytheism: they are really two dimensions, two possibilities inchoatively congeneric in the initial radical act of molding religation into a surrender to a divinity. The same must be said of the third way, the way of immanence. There, the difficulty seems to be different, because it is quite clear that this way of immanence has existed only relatively late in the history of religions. In Greece, it is the case of Stoicism, and there is no need to mention the types of European pantheism. Buddhism belongs to the VI century BC; prior to it the polytheist religion of Brahmanism existed. Confucianism, inasmuch as it shares this condition has a long history as a polytheist religion. However, no religion, neither monotheist nor polytheist, has dismissed this dimension, which relates to the cosmic-moral order, proper to the way of immanence. The idea of one or several gods as organizers of the universe and supporting a morality is something inchoatively congeneric to every religion. These three ways, therefore, are congeneric, and additionally they are such in an inchoative manner: we must take note of this carefully. How many times has there been a desire to defend the historical monotheism of the Patriarchs saying that the presumed monotheistic tendencies of the religions surrounding them are pure fantasies. On the contrary: every polytheist religion intrinsically and essentially has monotheist tendencies. Just as every monotheist religion has a tendency towards a certain pluralism of one form or another. For the moment we shall put aside what type of order this might be. The monotheist and polytheist tendencies belong inchoatively to the very moment in which man is going to choose for a way, among others, in his stepping march towards the divinity. Nevertheless, How are we to understand the choice for one and not for another? The question has {195} two senses. One is the antecedent question: How has man been moved to make such a choice? For that there is no answer, neither in this case or any other. For example, tons of paper have been written on the origin of Greek thought and Greek philosophy. All the social, historical, etc., factors have to be accounted for. But the moment arrives when we have to recognize that other nations were in similar conditions, and, yet, Thales of Miletus and Parmenides were not born there. Obviously, the option, which leads in an antecedent way is not clarifiable. However, once it has been chosen, it is a different matter: it can be understood a posteriori. Now the historical and philosophical effort can be formulated to see how that possibility had actually been chosen. From this point of view, the history of religions is essentially, by that intrinsic historicity of religion, the inchoative actualization, afterwards appropriated in the form of a way, of the three possibilities, which are open to religation in its ascension towards the divinity6. For this reason, in the history of religion it is not the case that religion has history, but rather that history is precisely religion in act. However, these three ways are not equivalent. And that is the third point of the question: the fundament of this historicity. _________________ 1 This appendix comes from the 1965 Madrid seminar. 2 Cf. the appendix that follows entitled “Situation and Mentality”. 3 Zubiri notes on the margin: “truth as encounter”. 4 From this point on we follow the text of the 1971 seminar. 5 Zubiri refers here to the first part of the seminar. Cf. El hombre y Dios (“Man and God”), op. cit., pp. 12-13. Also, in the first chapter there appeared a similar affirmation concerning the experience of deity. 6 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri added “and, which are fulfilled in the objective field of religion”. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 4 (197-203) {197} APPENDIX SITUATION AND MENTALITY1 In a certain situation, I was pointing out above, different possibilities are adumbrated by man. But in a situation, which is not merely intellectual. That the adumbrated possibilities may refer to an internal situation —and, therefore, intellectual— of a reality, is one thing, but it is quite another that these possibilities be adumbrated only as an intellectual consideration. This is completely false, not only in religion, but in all the sciences. How many times a mathematical problem has suddenly appeared from things that have nothing to do with Mathematics itself or Physics. Man enlightens the religious possibilities in a full religious situation. Because divinities are not only things, which are there by themselves, but also have the dimension of ultimateness, of possibilitating, and of imposing destinies. To this unity is precisely what the religious situation of man refers, who does not limit himself to a few gods that are just there, but gods who can be requested for the dispensation of certain benefits or to whom he can appeal to decide his destiny. This is the integral religious situation. And the situation is the one that adumbrates the possibilities. Possibilities, which in many cases will have to be decided by purely intellectual ways. But it is not necessary that this decision be always through a purely intellectual way. In this conception of the situation there is a factor, which cannot {198} be rejected, but also cannot be confused with religion. For it so happens that man is not only within certain particular religious situations, but in addition, by the fact of belonging to an objective body, has something, which is not essentially religious, but obviously cannot be alien to it: his mentality, his forma mentis. Indeed, mentality does not identify with religion at all. Animism, against what was promoted in early ethnology, is not a religion; it is purely and simply a mentality. One same mentality can accommodate very different gods and religions. There can be, and in these cases there is, a great analogy among the gods of the different religions. An analogy that, however, cannot erase the essential difference that perhaps separates them. Thus, for example, between the ’Elohim of the Patriarchs, and the gods of Babylon there is undeniably a great analogy, which is derived purely and simply from the common mentality of all the Semites. However, it would be absurd to attempt to erase the essential differences between the religion of the Patriarchs, and the Assyro-Babylonian religion. Not only this, but different mentalities may accommodate the same gods and the same religions. Then we might fall into the opposite error: to believe that it is the case of gods essentially different. Nevertheless, this is completely incorrect. If in the first case the difference of the gods may perish at the bottom of an analogy, here there is a different process, namely, homology, which may lead us to think the gods are different. That is not true: the Yahweh of Moses is the same as the ’Elohim of the priestly code. The same god can be conceived homologically in very different mentalities. {199} § 3 THE FUNDAMENT OF HISTORICITY Shall now start from the truth of monotheism, established already in reference to a purely philosophical intellection. But this does not dispense from the question, just the opposite, it aggravates it. When dealing with the diverse ideas about God the problem is, if there is only one God, What does it mean to have diverse ideas about Him? Here the problem is different, but intimately connected with the problem of diversity, i.e., if there is only one God, In what does the characteristic of being a way that leads to Him consist? Putting it differently, In what does the viability of these three ways consist? Here is where the problem resides: not the diversity of content, but the viability itself of the ways. The way becomes a problem of viability. And the accomplishment in which the religious truth consists is precisely an accomplishment in viability: the viability of the ideas of God. In order to understand what viability is, it will be necessary to start from the supposition that there is actually a unique one God, personal, and transcendent who is not only real, but in addition is really and actually accessed by man in every hypothesis, and in every situation: that divinity is not only present in reality, but is accessed by man. Therefore, the problem of the ways is not the problem of the ways to reach God, but the problem of how God has been reached, supposing that man has actually acceded to Him. If reaching God is terminus of a surrender by man to the personal reality, insofar as {200} true and real, the problem of the ways is purely and simply the how of this surrender, the mode of the same. And here is where the viability of the ways resides: in the mode of that surrender of faith. Then it is clear right from the start that the one God, personal, and transcendent is the possibility that there be several ways to reach Him. And I mention the one God, not monotheism. Monotheism does not oppose polytheism: we have already said that neither monotheism proceeds from polytheism, nor polytheism from monotheism. What I hold is that the reality of the one God, personal, and transcendent is the fundament of all the ways. And, therefore, kat’exochén (Tr. note: Gk., the prominent one), of the way of monotheism. Hence, assuming that monotheism moves towards that absolutely absolute reality —that personal, unique, absolute, and transcendent God—, What, then, do the other ways represent? Since they are ideas, this means that in the sense that none of them is absolutely false each one of them does not fail to reflect some aspect of the divinity. However, we are here in a different dimension: it is not a problem of ideas, but of ways. What are then the other ways, the way of immanence and the way of dispersion? Granted, they are ways that reach God. This is inexorable. And they reach that unique God. Not an idea of God, but a real and actual God. Then, What do they represent with respect to the way of monotheism? Indeed, none of these two ways —and also monotheism— is exempt from an intrinsic historicity. In what refers to the other two ways, this historicity means what etymologically I would call ab-erration. It is not the case of aberrations in the colloquial sense of absurdities. I use that word in the sense of the astronomers: aberration is the apparent position a star has as a result of the combination of two movements, one from the light that comes from the star towards {201} the Earth, and the other the movement of the Earth on its orbit. With this movement, the star can appear displaced, and it is difficult to determine what its real position is. However, there is no doubt that with all of the aberration of the planet, man has reached the luminous source, which the star is. Still, it is the case of an aberration. Polytheism and immanence are in this etymological sense “ab-errations”: not in the sense of absurdities, but in the sense of circumjacent ways to reach God. From this follows that, when facing a polytheist, or a pantheist, the operation, which monotheism has to perform is very similar to the one that an astronomer has to perform, when he calculates the position of the stars: the correction of the aberration. This correction does not consist in ignoring the movement of the Earth, but in making the necessary correction taking into account the movement of the Earth, in order to determine the actual position instead of the apparent one of the star. It should be well understood that both the apparent position, and the actual position are based on the same stellar source. This is what occurs with the ways. It is all a question of making a correction to the aberration. This aberration is what makes possible the internal and external syncretism we have examined in the history of some religions. Needless to say, this syncretism is neither a mixture nor a krásis (Tr. note: Gk. for combination). Just the opposite. It is precisely the apparent position, the apparent type of the ways and of the positions of the divine reality, which appear precisely by the appropriations, which man makes by virtue of his own mentality, and of his own conditions. The history of monotheism is not exempt from this. Certainly, history not only consists of aberrations in the etymological sense of the word. There are also histories, which consist in enlightenment, obturation, or deformation {202} of the perspective of a general direction. Man not only can get lost taking a way that leads to a final point through a longer course; it can also happen that he may travel on a direction apparently straight, but having ups-and-downs. Monotheism is not exempt from this condition: it has an intrinsic historicity in this latter dimension. If polytheism and pantheism are the historicity of religion from the ab-errant point of view, monotheism has an intrinsic historicity as a progradient historicity. If we take at the same time the dimension of diffraction already examined previously, and the dimension of aberration, it will be readily understood that they constitute two aspects of one single phenomenon. The diversity of ideas and ways to God is not only the terminus of an individual or collective mentality, it is not also purely and simply a question of aberrant and progradient tracks, but that all constitute the real and positive surrender of man with all his conditions, and with all his ingredients to the personal reality of God. Because, when seen from the theologic point of view —and I will cover that in the Third Part—, the first will of God is not that man may have a religion, not even a true religion. The truth is that God has desired that man be humanly religious: not only that he may be the one to have a religion, but that he have it, and attain it humanly. And precisely in this “humanly” are the two ingredients of diffraction and aberration, which constitute the intrinsic historicity of each religion. Because of this not even monotheism is exempt from historicity. It is now necessary to examine this intrinsic historicity of monotheism, which at least if one prescinds from the {203} primitive religions and the most rudimentary peoples, is incarnated in three religions: in the religion of Israel, in the Christian religion, and in Islam. It is all one same internal history, and it is necessary to conceptivize the fundamental steps of that history. ________________ 1 This appendix comes from the 1965 Madrid seminar. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 5 (205-218) {205} CHAPTER V THE WAY OF MONOTHEISM1 We have just considered the intrinsically historical characteristics of the diversity of religions. And I was saying that the diversity of religions is the diversity of three ways. We understand by ways the appropriation of one of the various possibilities which man discovers of being able to understand, and being able to know a reality intellectually, in this case the reality of religion and of God. Such ways are historical for three reasons. In the first place, because the different possibilities of the three ways are given congenerically and contemporaneously in every situation in an inchoative manner. In the second place, because out of these possibilities man selects and appropriates one. Finally, in the third place, because that appropriation provides a change to the scheme of possibilities with which one counts in a particular situation, and therefore, when the operation is repeated a course is being traced, which is precisely the systematic course of history as system {206} of possibilities. The first two reasons are actually articulated in the third. The three ways —of dispersion, immanence, and transcendence— are ways which access, really and effectively a one, personal, and transcendent God. However, of these three ways only one is true: the way of transcendence. Then, one can ask, In what does the historicity of the other ways consist, on the one hand, and of the way of transcendence on the other? The historicity of the other ways does not consist in the fact that they may not reach God, but that they reach Him in an ab-errant way in the etymological sense of that word, i.e., through a circuitous route which indefectibly leads to God, but is still circuitous. The way of transcendence is not a circuitous way. It is a way which in and of itself actually leads to God. However, it does not lead us in a straight line, but with ups-and-downs. It is not the case of the development of an abstract idea, but of the real and positive encounter with divine reality insofar as it is the fundament of a religion. Calling this a religious monotheism, it must be remarked that it has had a long history. And this history is not extrinsic to religious monotheism, because the way is not something chosen at a certain moment, but has an intrinsic viability. Nevertheless, the viability of historical facts is enormously complex. It depends, in the first place, on what the way may be in itself. But, in the second place, it depends on another condition which it shares with every reality, historical or not. The fact is that every reality, by the mere fact of being one, is active by itself, and the activity of this viability consists in “giving of itself”. The chosen way is not only the chosen content, but one has to be aware about the course of history to see what it gives of itself. And what it gives of itself is something that refluxes {207} on the initial point, on the content. And this refluxing constitutes in a positive way the intrinsic viability of the way in question. In the case of monotheism, viewing the question from this point of view, we find on the one hand that monotheism is not the patrimony of only one religion, for example the religion of Israel. I have already pointed out that in primitive civilizations there is a certain amount of monotheism. But all of them constitute, from this point of view of viability, a set of collateral branches. This does not mean they may be false: even though their monotheism may appear elementary and rudimentary, it does not have to be false because of this. All monotheisms in this sense are true. The fact is that historically they are a kind of dead-end street, just like the very peoples who have them. On the other hand, there is a positive trunk which has had historical fertility, and viability. And this historical viability refluxes upon the truth in question. In that case, not only is there a conformity of the idea with the reality it tries to apprehend, but in addition there is something different, the real and actual encounter. Through this way, at least in a presumptive manner and with faith, man proceeds finding the divinity painfully and slowly. It is the way of the ups-and-downs. This living trunk is the one that matters for us here. It is the only one that with historical fecundity has determined and constituted religious monotheism in history. Then we have to ask: In the first place: How has monotheism entered history? In the second place: How does it unfold in it? {208} § 1 THE ENTRY OF MONOTHEISM IN HISTORY It is already known that monotheism has come from primary cultures, above all from the cycle of the pastoral and nomadic culture. Here I shall limit myself to dealing with the Semite nomads, because from among them is where a way has been traced, which has the historical fecundity that leads to the stable religious monotheism in history. For a nomadic shepherd, the divinity is something, which is in heaven; directs their wanderings through the steppes where these shepherds are traveling. The nomadic shepherd has always had a vague idea of the oneness of a god; of a god considered as powerful. It is probable that the root ’el, which gives the name of God in all Semitic languages, may signify “the powerful” etymologically. This god is a friend and protector of the tribe which has deposited its trust in him. For a Semite, “god” is always the god of someone. This someone is the family or the nomadic tribe in this case. And he is its god because they deposit in him the fountain of the ultimate possibilities for their life and existence. When these tribes travel their gods accompany them. And in their resting moments, at places consecrated by the inveterate history of the Semites, the gods manifest themselves. They manifest themselves in sacred trees, wells and oases, and above all at places even more qualified: at the mountaintops. There the theophanies occur. There the nomadic pastors assemble from different locations, and with a different god. They all cross at these places and sanctuaries where {209} the traditions accumulated throughout the centuries are preserved. There can be a special moment in which this family or tribe does not limit itself to perform their regular function of nomadic shepherd, but may find themselves in a precarious situation, in dire need and lack of food through drought or some other cause. We have an actual example from a tribe, which is not Semitic, but rather Iranian: the Bactrian, from whom a few years ago even a film has been obtained about what happens in these occasions. The chief of the caravan retires and waits for a divine inspiration. At a certain moment, he finds it in himself and says, “Let us go to the country, which the divinity has shown to me”. And they undertake a long trip crossing mountains, losing many animals, many men, and in the end they possibly find the place with precisely the thing they are looking for: abundant grazing fields for their cattle. We find that approximately between the XIX and XVIII centuries B.C., there are some families of Arameans camping around the city of Ur in Mesopotamia, where the lunar cult is centered. Among these families is the family of Abraham. They are polytheists, they profess a lunar cult, and emigrate, as so many nomads, from the area of Ur to their land of origin at Haran, in the north of Mesopotamia. At Haran, another metropolis of the lunar cult, is where the family of Abraham is. In the Biblical text we find exactly the same situation which I have described with respect to the Bactrian: “Yahweh said to Abraham: Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you” (Gn 12:1). If this happens to all nomads, What is so extraordinary that it happened to Abraham? After all, it is {210} a commonplace. Because to have a kind of inner vision —which does not have to be a revelation— of the oneness of a God, and to immerse in oneself to do God’s will is not something exclusive to Abraham. It has happened to numerous men on Earth, and is possible it happened to the chiefs of the Bactrian. Revelation is not a dictation or a great inner illumination, but a kind of inner judgment. What happens is that these things have to be judged by what they give of themselves to history. That is the issue. Taken in themselves, the case of the Bactrian, and the case of Abraham are more or less equivalent. But it is possible that the Bactrian may have entered their history through dead-end alleys. On the other hand, the case of Abraham has had an historical viability which has endured for centuries. This is what we must study in the second part of this chapter: In what does the unfolding of this monotheism consist, which entered history so modestly? {211} § 2 THE HISTORICAL UNFOLDING OF MONOTHEISM This monotheism has several stages. I shall have to recall them, not with the intention to describe their content, which is well known, but to interpret it from the point of view of the ideas I have explained concerning the ways and the possibilities. I. Abraham and the Patriarchs: the solitary God The first stage is the one of Abraham and the Patriarchs. Monotheism enters history with Abraham. The famous phrase of Genesis does not say “you can go”, but says to him with a reduplicative imperative: “Go forth to a land I will show you!” (Gn 12:1). And Abraham departs. Clearly, this is an inner experience of Abraham. Surely Abraham has retired and reflected for a more or less lengthy period about what he has to do. And has awaited for what anyone would expect. One retreats to reflect and think humanly, not to receive a flash coming from heaven. On the other hand, there is no obstacle for human reflection to be a reflection in which one requests and thinks he receives a divine illumination. It does not necessarily consist in something coming from the outside, but in activating a reflection with the desire to be correct. This experience of the oneness is the experience of a God who, as the god of any Semite, is formally only the God {212} of someone. “God” in the abstract does not exist for a Semite. Are the Semites the only ones at this? At any rate, He is the God of someone. In addition, He is a single God, albeit a rudimentary one. Rudimentary, i.e., in the Semitic way, which sees in God a concrete uniqueness: He is their only God. Their God is rudimentarily the only one. He is a solitary God. Solitary because He does not have a goddess, and also because He does not have a pantheon. And in this characteristic of solitude is the germ of all the viability with which the monotheist idea is going to develop in history2. With respect to the other gods, probably Abraham encounters them like the rest of the Semites. When Jacob makes a contract with his father-in-law Laban, Jacob invokes the God of Abraham, and Laban invokes the god of Nahor (Gn 31:53). The Patriarchs encounter the other gods at least as social forces. However, they are not their God. And precisely in being theirs, and in His characteristic of being solitary is the radical uniqueness of the God of Abraham. In addition, this God is a moral and demanding God3. Nevertheless, what Abraham asks of this God is the same as any other nomad: descendants and their own land (cf. Gn 15:2 ff.). The fact that Deuteronomy and the priestly code, describing the vocation of Abraham, may say that God has promised the entire country of Canaan, with more sons than stars in heaven, is due to a later reflection. No migrating nomad would ever ask for something like this. He would ask for descendants {213} and his own piece of land, so that he would not be a stranger in that land. In that kind of inner dialog, which the personal religion of Abraham consists, he wishes to settle in Canaan after having found the land to which he had been sent upon leaving Haran. The Biblical text (cf. Gn 15:9 ff.) tells us that Abraham then offers a sacrifice, which consists in placing a series of animals atop a mound of stones, which —except for the birds— he breaks into two pieces. He wishes to make a sacrifice of surrender to God. To make a Covenant, an alliance or a contract is said in the Semitic languages “cutting the Covenant”, precisely because the animals are cut. Abraham falls into a deep stupor, and in his dream he sees the smoke pass between the two pieces of the victims. The passing of smoke meant to seal the contract. Abraham interprets this smoke as God, which means that God makes a Covenant with him. In this dream his God is the one who has passed, and the one that really and actually constitutes a Covenant with him. That this is told as a dream is nothing but the literary genre of a historical mentality. The fact is that he felt this as a kind of providential help from the divinity. And then, from this moment on, something else is created. Not only is the God of the family of Abraham created, but also an objective body of religion, composed at least by two elements. In the first place, the alliance with ’Elohim, which is —as we shall see— the proper name of God. And, in the second place, a cult, which is not a sacrifice, as it will be afterwards, but a cult resembling what we might call a common meal of men with the gods. This God to whom Abraham offers this sacrifice, with whom he feels related through a Covenant, and to whom he has asked for land and descendants, first of all, gives him a son. And afterwards gives him the possibility of buying from some Hittites a few {214} feet of ground to bury his wife Sarah. With this he no longer is a zar-áh, a stranger in Canaan: he now has descendancy and land4. The family of Abraham and his descendants, Isaac, Jacob, etc., are going to emigrate from one place to another, and pass through Bethel, Shechem, the terebinth of Mamre, the well of Beersheba, etc. And there, his ’Elohim, his God, is called with different names in different places: ’El-Ra’i (Gn 16:13), “The God of Vision”; ’El-‘Elyon (Gn 14:18), “God Most High”; ‘El-‘olam (Gn 21:33), “God Eternal”; ‘El-Šadday (Gn 17:1, etc.) probably “God of the Mountains”, etc. Until finally, the name of ’Elohim begins to signify the personal divinity to which all the life of the Patriarchs refers. Everything a Semite understands by divine begins to be concentrated in one personality only. When seen retrospectively, the history that begins here is going to be the historical experience of the alliance of Abraham. Not a Covenant, but indeed an alliance. It is the historical experience of understanding that ’Elohim is the God of this group. This brings us to the second stage. II. Moses and Yahwism: the jealous God Later, these Semites, because of conditions similar to the ones I was referring to, add themselves to the large migration of Hyksos, probably all of them Semites. Part of them, not all —and this is important—, install themselves in Egypt: “Israel resided in {215} Egypt, in the land of Goshen, and settled there”, the Biblical text says (Gn 47:27). They are to remain there for centuries subject to hard work, from which Moses will try to liberate them. Moses then has an idea superior to the one Abraham had. In the latter it was the case of a family having a God. Moses wants something more: he wants to have a people. And as a people, that they have a God of these people, not merely the God of a family. Moses had a double possibility. In the first place, it would be possible to arrange for each of the different tribes, when leaving Egypt, to keep their own ’Elohim, and to be the only one. That way, when meeting the Semites that had remained, adorers of ’Elohim, all would have good neighbor relationships. But the road Moses is going to follow is a different possibility. He chooses a unique one God for the whole people, a God whose name —Yahweh— has provoked many discussions about its origin. Probably that name existed already among the Kenites of the desert4. This is told to us by three traditions, in three different sources: the Elohist, the Yahwist, and the priestly. It is the famous theophany at Horeb. The Elohist account tells us that at least the voice of Yahweh appeared to him there, and that in reply to the question of Moses for his name, he is told hayáh ‘ashér hayáh (Ex 3:14), which the Seventy translated as egó éimi o ón, and the Vulgate as ego sum qui sum, “I am the one who am”. But this is not what the Hebrew text says, which in all probability wishes to leave an incognita about the proper name of that God. And this for one reason: for a Semite —and in general for the ancients— to know the proper name is equivalent to {216} handle the very essence of the being who has that name. The text actually says: “I am who am, this is unimportant, the fact is that I will be with you, will be the God of your people”6. The Yahwist account takes one more step. A different step by saying: “Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex 3:15), even though he was not known by that name. Here, a step backward is taken to the God of the Patriarchs. Finally the priestly source tells us: “I am Yahweh, I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as ’El-Šhadday (probably “the God of the mountains”); but my name, Yahweh, I did not make known to them” (Ex 6:2-3). Be that as it may, after the Exodus, Moses undertakes a unification of the tribes or clans, which have left Egypt, with the Semite clans, which had remained in the neighborhood of Canaan. Then he founds a people, which is not only a family, but strictly a people. Yahweh is the God of His people, and not only the God of a family. This Yahweh has the characteristics of ultimateness. And in these characteristics of ultimateness the objective body of the new religion is going to be constituted. Above all, the great task he has to accomplish, in order to provide a God that will be the only God of all the people, is to identify Yahweh with ’Elohim. This identification is {217} the one that both the Yahwist and the priestly code point out. In the text of Deuteronomy, much later, when this fact is mentioned we are given a very characteristic phrase: “Understand that Yahweh, your ’Elohim, is precisely the ’Elohim, the faithful God...” (Dt 7:9). The identification of Yahweh with ’Elohim and the invocation of fidelity is an essential element. The Hebrew text uses the verb e-man. For a Semite fidelity is not simply a moral virtue. It is the formal constitutive characteristic of truth. Truth is that with which one can rely, it is assured. That is why calling God “faithful” is exactly the same as calling him “true”. The tribes, thus unified under one name for God make a pact: this is the pact of Shechem, of which there is still an important account in the book of Joshua (Jos 24:25-28). Now it is not simply an alliance, as in the case of Abraham, but a real and positive Covenant, a berît. By virtue of this Covenant these tribes are established and unified when facing a common enemy: this is the entry into Canaan. At this entry into Canaan there was a double possibility. On the one hand, the possibility of simply maintaining the idea of a solitary God. This was difficult, because now it was not just the case of only one family. After having stayed in Egypt, it was difficult to maintain the idea of one solitary God. There was a different possibility: to admit only one God, Yahweh, who does not tolerate other alien gods near Him. Actually, the first commandment mentions this negatively: “You shall not have other gods before my face” (Ex 20:3). And, it is said, of course, by “I Yahweh”, “your God, who brought you out of Egypt” (Ex 20:2). The solitary God has changed into something different, has taken another step: He is now a jealous God, not tolerating others before His face. Monotheism {218} has begun its upwards stepping march into history. From the solitary God we now step to the jealous God. What happens is that now, instead of beginning the way of mere friendship, a more complex way is started: the way of fidelity7. These tribes, upon entering the land of Canaan no longer ask, as Abraham surely did, for a piece of land and descendants. No, they ask for the whole country to settle themselves, which is a different matter. This is the third stage; the entry into Canaan. ________________ 1 In Zubiri’s index of the 1965 Madrid seminar monotheism is studied in the chapter dedicated to “Christianity in the History of Religions”. In the 1971 seminar the study of the three great monotheisms has acquired greater independence with respect to the conferences dedicated to “Christianity in the History of Religions”, and for this reason we offer it here as an independent chapter. 2 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “it is not a metaphysical transcendence and uniqueness, but a historical transcendence and uniqueness”. 3 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “Finally, He is a God who is not a simple personification of nature —is not a mere God of this world—, but is a moral God, since He demands a trusting, faithful, and full surrender to Him. He demanded it precisely when submitting him to the test of the sacrifice of his first-born Isaac”. 4 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “this monotheism —precisely because it is religious— had to adopt the form of an objective body. This objective body was quite clear: it is the body of the tribal family”. 5 On the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri wrote: “do not unify all the gods of the different tribes, but quite the opposite: uphold the one God, but in a necessarily new form”. 6 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “It is just one more step in transcendence: hiding what is only the patrimony of God, His own name. However, He needed a name; (...) and then is given a name, not expressing His essence, but to express at least the way in which the people is going to invoke Him. And this name is Yahweh. Whatever its origin and etymology, the people of Israel sensed it in relationship to the verb hayah, to be, but in the sense of occurrence. Actually he is, a God who is with them (...) in the founding, and the vicissitudes of a people”. 7 On the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri had written: “The historical experience of Israel will now be the historical experience of this ‘jealousy’. But this will enlighten new possibilities for understanding God”. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 5 (218-231) {218} III. The crisis of Yahwism: the excluding God The possession of Canaan initiates problems that these tribes perhaps did not suspect at the beginning. The fact is that while the shepherds —both the ones that remained in Palestine, and the ones that traveled to Egypt emigrating during forty years through the desert— were nomads, Canaan is an urban and sedentary civilization. This changes the aspect of the question. The sedentary also have their religious vision. For them God is also the God of someone, but is the God of some cities, of some organizations; is a God of the cosmos. This is the idea of an organized cosmos, completely alien to the mentality of a nomadic pastor. It is the case of a cosmic God, which in some measure has the characteristics of those who command in the cities. ’El, which is the generic name of God as supreme personality of the Phoenician pantheon, is precisely a king. And a king not to be found on the mountaintops, but in a particular place, the temple. In that temple a sacrifice is offered to him, which is not a {219} meal of fraternity between men and gods, but something different: a holocaust. Besides, this religion of the sedentary groups was essentially polytheistic; had a pantheon with ’El at its head. Confronting this, the entering tribes have two possibilities. One of them is to admit that these gods exist subordinate to Yahweh, as subsidiary entities in charge of dispensing order in the cities, care of the fields, of gracing areas, fertility of the soil, etc. This is the posture adopted by syncretist Yahwism. Also, there is another completely different possibility, which is precisely to translate all these characteristics into an enrichment of the figure of Yahweh, who will continue to be the only one God. This is the possibility that pure Yahwism chooses: not to tolerate other gods, not even subordinate ba‘als, and in turn establish the idea of the oneness of Yahweh as the only God dispenser of all the necessities for an agrarian civilization, and in addition an urban one. This is the era of the judges upon which nabiism or prophetism (from nabî’, prophet, where the expression does not mean someone predicting the future, but a preacher of the word of God) is based. In such fashion, God is not only jealous, as in the case of Moses, or solitary as in the case of Abraham, but something different: now He is someone that excludes. Excludes other ba‘als not only as God of the nation, but also as God of the cosmos1. {220} IV. The monarchy and the only God The people of Israel settle more or less in Canaan. Then, a double common enemy appears: on one side, the Philistines —which are going to give the name to Palestine— and on the other side, the Arameans to the north, the great empires of the Euphrates, and Egypt on the south. The Canaanite cities, facing this common enemy, become more or less integrated in the life of Israel. In the great empires, the Israelites encounter, not the ba‘als, but other gods: the Babylonian Ištar, the Phoenician Astarté, the Hadad of the Arameans, without forgetting the influence of the divinities characterized by a more or less administrative monotheism, like the one of Amenophis IV (Akhenaton), etc. It is no longer a conflict with the ba‘als, it is a conflict with great gods. One of the first things the people of Israel do is to build a temple to the divinity. Prophetism, right from the beginning proscribes the cult at the mountaintops because in some way it would be a return to the ba‘als. This is a rather curious thing, because at a later time the great prophetism will remember just the opposite with nostalgia: the era of the spousal in the desert, asking for interior religion, and not sacrifices in the temple. Together with the temple an essential element is introduced, the monarchy. In this political situation, facing empires, Israel introduces a monarchy. Now, Yahweh is not only God of the cosmos and the nation, but a king. At this {221} moment, also, is when the Yahwist and Elohist traditions begin to be put down in writing2. Facing the situation described above, there were two possibilities: one was to maintain the uniqueness of Yahweh in the temple, while being permissive about other temples and other divinities, which may be located around Him. That was, in the end, the great historical prevarication into which Solomon fell, regardless of the reasons. The great prophetism, which is born at this moment, essentially attacks that position. It wishes to maintain the idea of Yahweh by means of a personal reflection about what this Yahweh, which appeared with Moses, has been, but is actually identical to the ’Elohim of Abraham. It is the case of an interior light, which one receives, but in the process, and in the heart of a reflection. At this juncture the idea of God takes a decisive step. He is no longer the solitary God, He is not simply the jealous God or the exclusive God. He is —in the fourth place— something different: a God that when facing the rest of the gods, for the first time in the history of Israel, these gods are given a precise qualifier. They are ’ælilim3. Of course, it is a word play between ’Elohim and ’ælilim. ’Elohim means God, and ’ælilim means “nothing” (Sp. “nada”) or —if you will— “insignificant” (Sp. “nadería”). The other gods do not exist. Monotheism has reached its culminating point in Israel to admit for the first time purely and exclusively the existence of Yahweh4. The other gods {222} do not exist, but only by reason of their number. Because this Yahweh is the God of the universe; He has made it, He is its maker (cf. Ps 96:5). This God, primarily in Isaiah and Jeremiah, appears festooned with the great moral and theological characteristics: He is kadósh, holy, and tsodék, just. Monotheism thus acquires the objective characteristic of a religion in the temple, in the cult, and in the priesthood. The reflection of the prophets exerts a great influence on historians, and this makes them take a retrospective look to the past, starting from the time of Abraham. They begin to see these diverse stages of the people of Israel as so many interventions of God, and therefore, a kind of history of the interventions of God in Israel. The theology of the history of Israel appears, then, in four stages: in the first one, Yahweh offers the Covenant; in the second, we have the infidelity of Israel; in the third, the punishment by Yahweh; and finally, with repentance, the forgiveness and the renewal of the Covenant. This way the whole cycle called Deuteronomic is constituted, which sinks with the deportation to Babylon. That will become the fifth stage. {223} V. Restoration and national religion: God and His Messiah The deportation to Babylon means the collapse of the Covenant. The defeated people now asks, Who is Yahweh? If Yahweh is the God of someone, Who is that someone in the Babylonian captivity, when there is no people? The intervention of the great prophetism at this moment, especially from the mouth of Ezekiel, issues from the consciousness of a great historical prevarication: Israel has not been faithful to Yahweh. Has introduced —against the first precept of the Decalog— strange cults, has admitted them in the lateral chapels of the Temple from the times of Solomon, etc. Facing that enormous historical prevarication there is a religious consciousness, activated by Ezekiel, following in the footsteps of the last preaching of Jeremiah, the prophet who has felt the most the inanities of religious preaching: no one paid attention to him; everything turned out poorly. However, he never lost hope. That hope is taken up by Ezekiel in his famous oracle to Israel, right there in Babylon: “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts... you shall be my people, and I will be your God (Ez 36:26-28). This is the new sense of the Covenant, which does not break the previous Covenant, but purifies it and accurately discovers new possibilities for the intellection of Yahweh. At this point Israel becomes aware there will be a restoration, to which it will return as the carrier or as the terminus of reference of that God. They will be the faithful remnant to the prophetic preaching, the so-called “Remnant of Israel”. Then, after their return to Jerusalem, the Israelites had two possibilities. One possibility was the difficult task of rebuilding the Temple, and restore in some way the great religious traditions of Israel. Another, to abandon that way, and leave for {224} the desert to practice the Law scrupulously. It was the way made known to us by the texts of Qumran near the Dead Sea. Still, the new Covenant had never been understood as unconnected with the Temple. For this reason Israel is going to refer to God not only as a nation, but as something special, which is neither nation nor pure religious community, actually, as a national church. As a national church not only is there a restoration, but in addition there is a historical reflection, much longer in this case, over all the things that have taken place. This is the origin of the priestly code —the P source— and of the establishment, for the first time, of the Biblical canon of the Old Testament with Ezra and Nehemiah. In the priestly code we receive an interpretation of what God is as creator of the world. Up to now God has appeared to us simply as creator of the world, nothing more. We are now told something else: that He created the world by only His word: “Then God said, let there be light, and there was light” (Gn 1:3)5. At this time there also appears, from the mouth of a woman of the people, the phrase that God has made things óuk ex ónton, “out of nothing” (2 Mc 7:28). God is not simply the creator of the world, but is something more profound: is creator out of nothing. And as creator from nothing He is formally a God of the cosmos. Of course, Israel has been facing several possibilities. On the one hand the possibility of the Iranian dualism between light and darkness. They could easily have said: on one side there is God, and facing Him the evil power, the darkness. Energetically the Deutero-Isaiah tells us: “I am Yahweh, there is no other, {225} I form the light, and create the darkness” (Is 45:6-7). Facing the Iranian dualism, what Israel accepts is precisely this complication into their idea of God, something that is not going to be a trifling matter: that God is also the creator of darkness, not only of light. In the second place, this light and darkness does not refer to the cosmos only. There is something much more important. Until now God had been the director of the history of Israel in this four-phase process we observed in the previous stage. Now He is something different. God appears not only as God of the cosmos, and God of the history of Israel, but as God of the whole of history6. It is the apocalyptic literature, which gives us precisely the vision of a theology concerning the whole of history. This theology of history culminates actually in Daniel, around the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163 BC). Upon seeing the profanation of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes —the “abomination of the desolation” (Dn 9:27)— he writes those magnificent chapters, which constitute the vision of what the empires on Earth are (cf. Dn 7-12). And this vision of the empires is not a chronological, and progressive history, but the concatenation of some figures in a time present to the divine mind, which is not the course of time, but a non-temporal (Sp. intemporal) time. God is not only the director of a history, which occurs, but the designer of an internal history. And His time is not a time of succession, but an {226} apocalyptic time anterior to the one of succession. It is there where the idea of a bar naša’, of a “son of man” is elaborated (Dn 7:13). With it there is going to be injected in Israel an idea, which it did not have before, and which retrospectively is going to enter in the final definite redaction of almost all the books of the Old Testament: the idea of a mašîah, of a Messiah, an anointed one. It is the surfacing of Messianism. Thus, facing this God who has all of history in his hands —in its design— and is the creator of the whole world from nothing, the Israelite clearly feels the adoration and the profound insignificance of which man consists. Still, two possibilities are locked here. One of them is to consider God so remote from man, that He is lost at a distance with a problematic access. Then, it is believed that this God is accessed only by the sacrificial rites of the objective body of the religion. It is a possibility7. The other possibility is different. It is not the transcendence by remoteness, but a transcendence by proximity. Then, this transcendent ’Elohim, Yahweh, is absolutely transcendent and personal, but does not limit Himself to being a friend, He is something more, He is precisely the Father of all men. This is the sixth stage: the arrival of Christianity. VI. Christianity Above all, Christ has proclaimed the idea of God the Father, removing all the sentimental aspect from this expression. And this God the Father in His proximity to men establishes or, at {227} least, wishes to establish the malkut shamáyeem, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of the Father. And then, in order to enter this Kingdom, and belong to it certain conditions must be met, which are not precisely the conditions of the cult of the objective body of the religion. The letter of introduction for the entry into this Kingdom is precisely the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 5:3), etc. The Beatitudes are the letter of introduction to enter by this new way, the way of paternity, and filiation. With this now appears, not only the God of a family, of a people, of a monarchy, of a remnant of Israel, of a national church, but something different: a God of the whole of mankind. The universalism, the universalist monotheism. Christ presents Himself as agent of this Kingdom. First, because He preaches in the name of God. But something else: Christ not only preaches in the name of God, but in addition (in a more or less perceptible manner, but quite unsettling) He had an identity with that word of God He preached. In one way or another He was God, not only the word of God. He was God, and because of this Christ can say “I am the way”, i.e., that which leads to God. And even more: “I am the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Hence, for Israel, and even Christ, two possibilities open up. Christ is not exempt from the human condition: He wanted to share our condition, and therefore, to move in that heavy game of possibilities, which the trajectory of history constitutes. It is the case of two possibilities, which are found incorporated in a radical and unique situation. Christ has in front of Him a national church. He wishes to convert the Israelites, and make them believe in Him, in such a way that proceeding from the national church of Israel the universality of the religion that Christ {228} preached might be established. Perhaps this might not have appeared totally unacceptable to Israel. But for this there were also two possibilities: one, to believe that the national church is first nation, and then church. The other, to believe the opposite, that it is church first, and nation second. In the end, it is the case of a dualism, which has perforated in good measure even the great historical vicissitudes of Christianity in Europe. Not the Sanhedrin, but a group within —there is always a group, which virtually commands— considered that what was needed was an éthnos, a nation, with a church, and not a national church as patrimony of an éthnos. Nevertheless, Christ preached just the opposite. He preached a community with God, a surrender of love —through His Beatitudes, etc.— so that a good Israelite would be one who would enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The confrontation was violent. So violent that it became the motive, at least an external cause, for the crucifixion of Christ. And thus, by Christ appropriating this possibility, He opened a different way: the way of death and resurrection. It should be noted that a complement was needed: once more there appears in history this necessity of an interior illumination, which may give us a historical reflection over everything that has happened in the past. This is precisely the existence of the Holy Spirit. Faith in the Paschal mystery, the experience of the Holy Spirit, and the hope in a second coming of Christ constitute precisely the interior driving force of all Christianity in history. An internal reflection looking towards the past now appears. This task of reflection is not opposed to internal illumination, but is essential to it. Revelation is not a dictation, even though it may appear as a dictation. Dictation is a literary genre, which is not at all exclusive to Christianity. {229} This reflection has retrospective steps. It is an interior reflection from the situation of the coming of the Holy Spirit back to Christ, and another second reflection from Christ to the past, towards the Prophets. The result of both reflections is the written constitution of the New Testament. The great reflection of the New Testament is not a biographic history, but a theological history: the theological history as to how the truth of the Holy Spirit illuminates the life of Christ, which in its turn is clarifying the Prophets. The history does not end there, because there is also a way of reflecting from the Prophets to further back, at least from the point of view of ideas, to the reflections of the priestly code, and of the Deuteronomists. Yahweh, who intervenes there, is the same Yahweh, which was preached by the Prophets, and is the Father of Christ, and one of the moments of the spiration (Sp. espiración) of the Holy Spirit. And the reflection does not end there, but proceeds still further back: from the Deuteronomic texts, and the Yahwist and Elohist traditions it reaches back to the starting point: Abraham. And there finally appears in nineteen centuries of history that oneness, which is what constitutes the intrinsic viability of the religious monotheism of Israel and Christianity. A viability, which has taken centuries of history in order to be able to travel from the simple God as friend of the family of Abraham to the God of all men, in the hands of Christianity. VII. Islam Nevertheless, six centuries later there is a moment of regression, characterized by Islam. I call it regression not because I may wish to qualify this as an inferior religion. It is a different matter altogether. Christ had presented Himself to the people of Israel not only {230} as a prophet who follows the line of the prophets, but being Himself, personally, a revelation of God. However, Islam is going to amputate from Christ precisely this characteristic of divine person, and is going to limit itself to see Christ as just one more prophet, in the uninterrupted line of prophets. For them the last one is Mohammed. This way Islamic monotheism is a kind of remoteness from the revelation. The Koran as a juridical and religious writing is a revealed text, but God himself is beyond His own Koran in a kind of remoteness. It is, undeniably, from this point of view, a regression from what has been the stepping march of Christ, and Christianity. Thus, three monotheisms have been constituted in history: the monotheism of Israel, the Christian monotheism, and the Islamic monotheism. With respect to the monotheism of Israel, it is evident Christian monotheism does nothing but accept it. The monotheism of Israel does not accept the point of view of Christianity. The monotheism of Islam, in what it has of monotheism, has nothing contrary to Christianity. How could it have any, since the first metaphysical systematization of theology in medieval Europe, has been due precisely to the Islamic? What happens is that the monotheism of Islam, from the religious point of view, is a regression. The figure of a God incorporated to history disappears to limit itself again to a God who has simply spoken to men in history, and whose last words are contained in the Koran. And so, facing these three monotheisms, evidently, there is no speculative reason at all to choose from. It is simply an option of faith. It is the heartbeat of the real and effective ways by which monotheism has been viable throughout history. Still, if we center our consideration on {231} Christianity, a serious problem appears. If Christianity presents itself as true, as the only truth about God, then it is necessary to ask: What is the situation with respect to the other religions? What happens with the people of other religions? What are the other religions? Here lies the problem of the historical and theological position of Christianity within the history of religions. _____________________________ 1 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “This pure Yahwism was presented as something, which accused the rest of the Israelites —the great majority of them. Thus, Israel acquired the conscience of a great national sin: a sin of infidelity, and therefore, a sin against fidelity, i.e., against the truth of Yahweh. Then, the cult at the mountaintops was attacked; they attempted to erase all traces of this cult of the Patriarchs. It is an enrichment of the idea of God. The uniqueness of Yahweh is an exclusivity (...), but not only of other gods; it also excludes the ba‘als. The only Ba‘al, the only Lord is Yahweh (...). Yahweh is Lord of the land. And precisely because He excludes the ba‘als, then the God of the Fathers is manifested not only as the God of a people, but also as God of the world, God of the cosmos or, even better, of nature”. 2 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri added: “the identification of Yahweh with ’Elohim survives in two lines of the tradition. One, the Yahwist (the J source), which believes that the God of Israel has never been other than Yahweh. The other, the Elohist (E source), which insists that Yahweh has not been the God of Israel until the moment of the revelation at Horeb”. 3 Cf. Lv 26:1; Is 10:11; Ezk 30:13; Hb 2:18; Ps 96:5; 1 Cro 16:26. 4 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri explained: “However, the thing was not so simple. Psalm 96, which the Vulgate translated saying omnes dii gentium daemonia (‘all gods of the gentiles are demons’, Ps 96:5), takes its inspiration from the version of the Greek Septuagint, which says daimónia. The idea should have been maintained here that they were ’Elohim in the sense that these non-terrestrial beings, while not being gods, still existed. The Hebrew text that has been preserved says ’ælilim, which is “insignificant”. Probably that is the text we should accept. Perhaps the translation sometimes proposed —‘idols’— might be the one that best transmits these shades of meaning: facing Yahwism, the religions of the Orient would be ‘idolatry’. At any rate, the oscilations of the translators reveals it was not such a simple step or one quickly taken”. 5 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri added: “It is precisely at this moment when the intellection of ’Elohim is enlarged to understand him as creator simply by the dynamic power of His word”. 6 On the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri wrote: “The conception of God as physically one and unique, creator of the world, and of history, was not a point of departure in Abraham, but a point of arrival, painfully achieved through a lengthy historical way, where each one of its moments has been the enlightenment —in the different historical situations of the life of Israel— of the different possibilities of understanding the same God, the God of Abraham. 7 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri distinguished here two further possibilities: of an inaccessible “remoteness” (Rabbinism), and of an accessible “remoteness” (Hassidism). THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 6 (233-250) {233} THIRD PART CHRISTIANITY IN THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS {235} In the previous chapters1 I have dealt with the problem of the intrinsic historicity of the fact of religion. And I was saying that this historicity has two aspects, depending on whether they are non-monotheist religions or monotheist religions. In the former, historicity reveals itself in the “ab-erration” (in the sense given above), and in the circuitous route with which man reaches God. Monotheist religions have a different historicity, what I call the ups-and-downs: the difficulties that with great efforts are surmounted in order to reach God through a perfectly clear way, and the only true one. I was saying in the previous chapter that monotheism has this type of history, not only in the sense that it is true, but also in the sense that it is a viable truth. This truth, really and actually, has been able to establish itself in a permanent and fruitful way throughout history. This monotheism is the one introduced by the people of Israel, which later flows into the religion of Christ. It begins with Abraham, who was quite simply the one that had ’Elohim as his friend, and finishes in Christ, who preaches God the Father of all men. {236} The historicity concerning us here is precisely the historicity of this Theós mónos, of this one only God, insofar as a religion is founded on Him. The problem of the intrinsic historicity of religions ultimately depends in also considering monotheism from this point of view. Then we ask: What is the position of the monotheist religions, and concretely Christianity, in the history of religions? {237} CHAPTER VI CHRISTIANITY AS AN INTRINSICALLY HISTORICAL RELIGION2 From within the area, which intelligence opens to us, and in which as an extra, by an internal and manifestative experience in the surrender of faith that constitutes the access of man to God, Christianity presents a terminus of that option: the God of Christianity. Christianity makes no exception to anything I have said up to this point. The presentation of Christ and His preaching are inscribed in an historical experience: in the historical experience of Israel with respect to God, to the mónos Theós, which Yahweh is. However, let us not think that the monotheism of Israel —the idea of Yahweh as it unfolded in its historical experience— identifies itself with a type of continuous experience in which, successively, Israel goes on perceiving moments of different interventions of Yahweh. The truth, {238} if it is not the opposite, needs of a complementary contrary. Israel has perceived in many crucial moments of its historical existence a special intervention of Yahweh, and only afterwards, those who have reflected about these different moments, apparently unconnected, have been able to discover that at the bottom of everything there is a continuity. This continuity, then, is the result of a theological reflection of the hagiographers. No doubt it is founded in re, and written by inspiration, but with no impediment to see that it is the case of a reflection on very dissimilar facts, and very heterogeneously realized in the course of history. After all, the books, such as we have them in the Bible, acquired their final form during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (VI-V centuries B.C.), not at the time of Moses, and the crossing of the Red Sea. {239} § 1 THE PREACHING AND WORK OF CHRIST At a certain moment of this historical experience, Christ appears on the scene in the world of Israel. He appears in a somewhat innocuous way, as just one more inhabitant of Israel, and within a lived religious history. Christ, who appears that way, acts as a revealer of God. This does not constitute any kind of great catastrophe in the life of Israel. Throughout its centuries-old history Israel has been accustomed to the appearance of some individuals who talk to them about a God who reveals Himself. All the prophets have done so. Just one more did not constitute a radical exception in the world of Israel. Christ clearly assumes this function of revealer. One may pose the question: If in Christ the issue is the access of the whole of mankind to God, why and how is it possible that this access may take such an anonymous form, and one so poorly figured? Advancing some ideas, I will answer that the reason is because Christ does not address mankind, but men in their historical oneness. Then, it would follow that His appearance is also intrinsically historical, as we shall presently see. Christ, then, acts as revealer, and in the first place as revealer of a God who is real, and in the second place of a God who is accessible. This option of faith, offered to the Israelites we are dealing with here, and all men insofar as they follow Israel, is articulated in an internal manner with the pure intellection that the rational provides for us. This articulation between option and rational has a precise name: the reasonable. By virtue of such articulation, {240} the overflow of faith, which is in the idea of God, is credible. What happens is that the credibility of God varies enormously throughout history. It depends on the amount possible to be accepted by the one receiving it. It is very easy to say that prophecies and miracles are the unquestionable motives for credibility. Neither for the ones who saw miracles and did not believe, nor for those who have not seen them are these considered unquestionable motives. Credibility necessarily has to posit its concrete characteristic at each moment of history. Shall only pay attention to the first moment, i.e., to the intrinsic characteristic of credibility that existed during the life of Christ. St. Paul gives us the next one in the first epistle to the Corinthians (cf. 1 Co 1:23-24). However, that would be too lengthy for us at this moment, and shall leave it for the time when I discuss the internal content of Christianity3. Thus, the question will be to consider Christ as revealer of a God actually real, and actually accessible. But then, we must be told how man can have access to Christ, and in Christ, to God. For this we must necessarily address three points: In the first place: What is the God revealed by Christ? In the second place: What is Christ as revealer of God? And, in the third place: the access of man to Christ. As the reader may guess, I do not propose to tackle the whole content of Christianity now, that shall be the object of another study. Here, the task is purely and simply to enter into this great cycle, which Christianity is, through the way I have outlined when dealing on another occasion about the reality of God, of an accessible God, and how man accesses God4. In the end this was —as we shall soon see— the way followed by Christ himself. {241} I. The God revealed by Christ Actually, Jesus Christ does not say anything about God, which was not already known to all Israelites. The whole multisecular tradition accumulated in the Old Testament coincides with the idea that Jesus Christ had about God. Christ insists on those characteristics belonging to the God in which all Israelites believe, although adding something new, which is precisely what is going to constitute the exordium of the action of Christ in history. But, above all, Christ retakes the classical themes, the classical ideas with which Israel conceives God. It is the case, in the first place, of a non-representable God, as had been said since the times of the Covenant. In addition, He is a God who has a certain characteristic of royalty, empire and dominion of men. Christ is going to preach the malkut shamáyeem, in Aramaic, the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God. This God, of course, is Lord. The New Testament has translated using kýrios (as the Old Testament did in the version of the Septuagint) for the expression Yahweh that Hebrew did not wish to pronounce because of religious reasons, calling Him Adonai, “Lord”. Indeed, to call Him “Lord” is just to call Him “God”. The theological reflection of the authors of the priestly code discovers also that this is the case of a God that has had special interventions in favor of Israel, which indicates that God is someone for whom Israel is a friendly and amiable reality. God actually has a berît, a Covenant, which turns Israel into the favorite people of Yahweh, into “the apple of his eyes” (cf. Dt 32:10; Zc 2:12). For Israel this God long with mercy and forgiveness is a God creator out of nothing. This idea of creator out of nothing is not too old in Israel. Actually, it does not appear in writing until the middle of the II {242} century B.C., at the time of the Maccabees. Certainly, this expression is placed in the mouth of an ordinary woman of the people, and indicates the belief was by then well spread out. Nevertheless, until that moment there has been no explicit and formal testimony that God has produced things out of what is not, ex nihilo sui: hóti ouk ex ónton epóinsen autá o Theós (2 Mc 7:28). In the second place, parallel to this idea is the idea of an omnipotent God. The God as friend, whom I have just mentioned, is their God —the God of Israel—, and His friendship consists in just being that. This friendship has a jealous and exclusive characteristic from the side of Israel, which is going to constitute one of the serious points for interrogation of the Israelite religion. “Yahweh, the God of Israel”: Does this mean that a Yahwist is each and everyone who is an Israelite or inasmuch as one is an Israelite? Or does it mean, on the contrary, that an Israelite is each and everyone who believes in Yahweh? The first is an ethnic and political interpretation of the religion of Yahweh. The second is the Yahwist religious interpretation of the ethnós of Israel. When asked on this question at the supreme moment of his trial, Christ affirmed being the Son of the living God (cf. Mt 26:63-64 & parallel). With this, as a process of the history of religions, the ethnic interpretation of the religion of Yahweh collapsed. However, before reaching this point, Christ assumes and preaches the reality of the God of Israel, which undoubtedly exceeds5 the limits of reason. Reason cannot (or, at least, not necessarily) think the omnipotence of God, His providence over each and everyone of all things. However, this was a property of Yahweh, which appears in the Gospel: “even all the hairs on your head are {243} counted” (Mt 10:30; Lk 12:7). It is a providence covering all details. Now, to this God of Israel Christ adds a new aspect, with not a small relevance. In order to understand this let us think that the attitude of surrender of man to God, just as I have been explaining it up to now, involves precisely a religation to God as ultimate reality, as possibilitating reality, and as impelling reality. And in this triple dimension, the act of surrender also has a triple characteristic: insofar as it refers to God as ultimate reality, it is what we might call the acquiescence, with whatever is founded upon acquiescence, for example the obedience to the Torah, etc. In the second place, insofar as it refers to God as radical possibilitating, the surrender is an act of adoration and supplication. In the third place, the act by which man refers to God as impelling radical power, and makes one be, is his strength6. It is proper in all of the Old Testament to call God “my rock”, “my strength”, etc. (Ps 18:2-3). Hence, these three dimensions are going to be bound by Christ into one single word, which also did not shock the Israelites too much, revealing that marvelous activity of Christ: to apparently say things, which any others might say, but however, transcending them. We are referring precisely to the fact that Christ called God “Father”, Aba. That is the question. Certainly, it is not alien to the Israelite world to call God “Father”. The expression “Father” appears throughout the Old Testament, but with respect to the people of Israel, which is the one chosen by God, the apple of his eye. It is not merely a juridical paternity, as some exegetes have said with excessive ease. What {244} happens is that actually it is nothing but a national paternity. It appears that each of the Israelites is a friend of God because he is an Israelite. In Christ, however, the paternity does not mean something founded only on the berît, on the Covenant. It means something more. It means precisely that the paternity is a characteristic with respect to every human spirit. It is a universal paternity, something that did not occur with the God of Israel: Yahweh had not advanced acquiring universal characteristics except quite slowly, and in a limited form towards the end of the prophetic era, just before Christ. On the other hand, in Christ, the paternity of God is absolutely universal: He is Father of all mankind. This is the strict universality. Furthermore, this paternity does not mean something merely sentimental, but first and above all it is a theological concept. A father is one who gives of what he is to another reality, to the reality of his son. From this stems the fact that the inexorable correlate of this paternity of God is the radical characteristic of the relationship of man with God, which the filiation is. And the filiation, as well as the paternity, is not a sentimentality. Just the opposite: it is the characteristic of a personal surrender in religation. And a personal surrender, which moves within an option directed towards a reality, which is respected and complied with. Towards a reality, which one supplicates, and towards a reality one asks for strength to be radically what one is. It is a trusting surrender, and inasmuch as it is trusting it constitutes a filiation from the side of man, homologous to the paternity of God. Of course, both the concept of paternity, and the concept of filiation still remain in the shadows, and it will be the very reality of Christ, which will have to explain to us what this paternity is, and what this filiation is. Finally, with His predication, and revelation of this God, Christ has done no more than to affirm the Yahwist faith once more, within Israel. The faith in that God, which Jesus Christ is {245} not going to leave behind. Just the opposite: moments before dying, from the cross, Jesus Christ is precisely going to invoke Yahweh, present in the Temple of Jerusalem. It is going to be the last act as a pious Israelite that Christ will perform, when He says to Him Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, “My God, my God, Why have thou forsaken me?” (Ps 22:2; cf. Mk 15:34; Mt 27:46). Then, Psalm 22 continues: “yet you are enthroned in the holy place,” —which He had three hundred meters away— “Oh glory of Israel” (v. 4). This is the radical invocation of that Yahweh from whom Christ never felt dispossessed. And this because of two reasons, one negative, and the other positive. Negative, insofar as Christ never consented in being addressed as Lord, because this was the translation of Yahweh. However, all the New Testament writings after His death call Him precisely kýrios, Lord. Positive, insofar as Christ is going to present this God as accessible. This is the second question we shall have to deal with: the access to God just as Christ presents it. II. Christ as revealer of God Inasmuch as Christ has done what I have just described, He is a revealer of the word of God. This had been done by all the prophets, from the classical prophetism of Amos to the time of Zachariah or Malachi. In this sense, Christ is like them a revealer of God, and the word of Christ is the word of God. However, this word of God in Christ has a special characteristic. Because Christ did not limit Himself to transmit the word of God, talking in His name as all the other prophets had already done. Christ asserts something more. He asserts that in this word of His there is {246) involved precisely the very access to God. This brings about a series of important problems. Simply, because if this is so, two questions must be clarified: In the first place, How is God in Christ? And, in second place, How does one go to God through Christ? A) How is God in Christ? We usually say —and it is true— that Christ is God. Yes, but Christ did not present Himself as such to the Israelites. No one would have understood Him, and besides, all would have considered this absurd. Christ presented Himself —I shall point to this next— in another form, which certainly involved this affirmation, but one that did not explicitly exist in the mouth of Christ or in the ears of those listening to Him. How did Christ present Himself to His disciples and listeners? Certainly, I cannot take up a complete exegetical exposition of the figure of Christ in the New Testament, but rather I am going to concentrate here on three of the most remarkable points, which the exegesis, obviously, has recognized. 1) In the first place, Christ appears as a great thaumaturge7. He performs miracles. Our idea of a thaumaturge is quite embroidered in medieval legends, a thing, which did not happen —fortunately— with the Israelites. For an Israelite, to perform prodigies was clearly an extraordinary thing, but the history of Israel was dotted to a lesser or greater extent with these extraordinary facts. Elijah and Elisha had resurrected the dead, etc. To be a thaumaturge did not constitute an irruption on the life of Israel. And this is what is important to underline: Christ {247} began by not making a break with anything, and just doing what others did, but —and that is the issue— transcending it. Transcending what others did. Christ performed miracles; that is the testimony of the Gospel. But we must agree about what a miracle is. Christ was asked to come down from the cross in order to believe in Him, and He did not do it. Christ never pretended with His miracles to impose Himself in a brutal manner, as in a sort of great theophany facing humanity, near or remote. In the passage of the temptations in the desert we have precisely the typical Messianic temptation: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. Scripture has it: ‘He will bid his angels take care of you; with their hands they will support you’.” (Mt 4:6). Christ discarded this as a temptation. Yet, Is it not the case that Christ performed miracles? Yes, but, What were the miracles in Christ? Certainly they were prodigious feats, but these feats did not have the aspect, in the conscience of the Israelite, of being interruptions of the laws of nature. This is a degraded conception of what a miracle is. How can we pretend that a miracle is the interruption of the laws of nature? The interruption or not of the laws of nature is not what constitutes a miracle. The proof of this will appear when we consider one of the most typical miracles in the life of Christ, the cure of the paralytic man (cf. Mt 9:1-8 & parallel), where we find that the first thing Christ says —a scandal to the listeners— to the paralytic is: “son, your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2). To forgive sins is an attribute that no one had except Yahweh. This is aiming towards something more than the prophets. One thinks that those present would be astonished by the cure of the paralysis. However, the text does not say that, but says “and they praised God for giving such authority to men” {248) (Mt 9:8). Not by the power of God, but by the power given to men. Certainly, the miracles of Christ were extraordinary things, but were done as testimony of the power He had. A power, which He also had personally. This is the difference with all the other thaumaturges of the history of Israel: they all surely did what Christ had done, but they did not do it with a personal power. 2) In the second place, Christ presents Himself as Messiah. Surely, He did this in a very limited fashion. To His disciples, mainly according to St. Mark, He asks them to keep the Messianic secret in a firm and resolute way. He did not allow to be called “Christ” during His lifetime. In reality the Israelites did not have a univocal idea of the Messiah. For some He was the descendant of David, and therefore, a pretender to the throne of Israel. For others it was the case of someone transcendent, the Son of Man who would descend from the clouds full of power (cf. Dn 7:13). For a few others, it was the case of the Servant of the Deutero-Isaiah who would die and expiate all sins (cf. Is 52:13, 53:12). At any rate, there was no definite and clear figure of what the Messiah might be. And Christ did not concern himself at all with defining its figure. But He did what I have just indicated: He forgave sins, which was an exclusive prerogative of Yahweh. Without mentioning what His Messianic relationship with God was, He acted precisely by virtue of a personal power to forgive sins8. He did not say God forgives them, but that He forgave them. {249} 3) In the third place Christ called himself Son of God. It is also an expression that would have not shocked Israelite ears. In the Old Testament the title of “son of God” was given to the just who obey the will of God, to the pious kings, or Israel itself insofar as obeying the will of God. The expression indicates a certain intimacy with God, and in this Christ is not different from the other Israelites. But —and here surfaces another “but”— He is careful to say that the Father is known only by Him, who is the Son. And the Son is only known by the Father (cf. Mt 11:25-27). It is the case of an intimacy, which others do not have. To the extent that when He teaches His disciples to pray He says to them: “This is how you are to pray: Our Father...” (cf. Mt 6:9). He never includes himself in the “our”, but rather speaks of “your Father” (Mt 5:16; 5:45; 5:48; etc.), without placing on the same level His reality and the reality of other men. Finally, Christ takes the current predicates in the world of Israel to speak about a great prophet, thaumaturge, Messiah9, adding a “but” to them, and also a limitation, which properly constitute an indication that there is something else here beyond what had existed before. Actually, these “buts” point to the fact that in Christ there is a transcendent reality with respect to what the thaumaturge, the idea of the Messiah, and every son of God have been. Nevertheless, if we now wish to visualize what this point of transcendence is, let us remember what I have said before: the oneness {250} of the human person with God is a oneness with an internal dynamic tension10. A tension by virtue of which sometimes the person appears divine, while at others it seems God is human, that He is a human person. This internal and dynamic tension, however, supports a certain duality, without which everything in the ordinary man would disappear. Let us imagine, indeed, that this tension through intimacy is elevated towards the infinite: in a certain way we will have an identity. In such case Christ not only transmits the word of God, but He is in His own reality the very Word of God. This does not mean that Christ, with His stomach, with His brain, with His soul or psychism, may be God. However, there is a moment of identity according to which all the human reality of Christ would consist in being identically the very Word of God. The primitive community did not go beyond this affirmation, but it was enough. The point of transcendence is that internal, theological, and metaphysical identity, which only occurs in the person of Christ. And to that person Christ asked for a personal adherence, a personal adherence to His person. This is the second essential point of the problem: How does one go to God through Christ, who not only transmitted the word of God, but was in reality the very Word of God, the very moment of identity? ________________ 1 In Zubiri’s index of the 1965 Madrid seminar the third part included an initial study on “Christianity in the monotheist tradition”. Since in the 1971 seminar this chapter became independent, the third part, “Christianity in the history of religions” was left with two chapters: “Christianity as an intrinsically historical religion”, and “Christianity and the history of religions”. 2 From this point on we reproduce a text coming from the first part of the 1971 seminar. In this seminar, just as in the one from 1968 on El hombre y el problema de Dios (“Man and the problem of God”), Zubiri concluded the analysis of the “access of man to God” with one or several conferences dedicated to the God of Christianity. In them he gathered and elaborated on what is presented with repect to the preaching and the work of Christ in the third part of the 1965 Madrid seminar. 3 In a volume of unpublished texts still in preparation. (Tr. note: this refers to the already published The Theological Problem of Man: Christianity, Madrid, 1997) 4 Zubiri refers to the first part of the 1971 seminar, corresponding to what was published in El hombre y Dios (“Man and God”). 5 The reservations of Zubiri concerning the idea and the term “excess” should be remembered. 6 Cf. what Zubiri says in El hombre y Dios (“Man and God”) op. cit., p. 199-200. 7 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri had crossed out the expression “as a thaumaturge”, and written on the margin: “benefactor filled with charity and commiseration towards the needs and human misfortunes. ‘Went about doing good works’ (Acts 10:38). And this, above all, because of the miracles. Christ appears as a thaumaturgic charity.” 8 On the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri noted: “as Messiah, Christ was above Moses and Abraham. However, I repeat, the figure of the Messiah was dark and confused. An any rate, in the same manner with which he had outranged the classical thaumaturge with His personal power to forgive sins, He also outranged the traditional image of the Messiah by making sovereign dispositions about the Torah, the Law. He pointed —merely pointed— to the idea that the Messiah would be the Servant of Yahweh, who would suffer death. He did not go beyond this. 9 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri considered, in addition, a fourth predicate, the “Son of man”. 10 Concerning “theological tension”, cf. El hombre y Dios (“Man and God”), op. cit., p. 355-365. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 6 (250-262) {250} (cont’d) B) How does one go to God through Christ? First of all —as I have just said— through a personal adherence. It is the case of a surrender to Him in the totality of His reality, even when poorly understood. And who has understood it well? Actually, not even Christ could understand it, since evidently His {251} human intelligence was not capable of having an understanding intuition of His own divine filiation. How much less for us who are not Christ. Nevertheless, what Christ requests is a personal adherence. When there appeared a loyal follower of the Torah, who felt certain difficulties towards the personal adherence, Christ showed sadness (cf. Lk 18:18-23)1. On the other hand, He was not sad when any beggar would say to Him “Have mercy on me” (cf. Mt 9:27; 15:22; 17:15). Whether cured or not, they offered their personal adherence: “I have never found this much faith in Israel” (cf. Mt 8:10). This is what Christ wanted, and not a discussion about theological subjects. Consequently, in this personal adherence the one who believes in Christ has accessed God. And in this access there are two things to be considered. 1) In the first place, each one of us accedes to Christ and this access has the characteristics of a filiation. This is the moment to further advance the conceptual clarification in what paternity and filiation consist. Let us begin by being aware that man is a constitutively open essence, and that aperture is constitutively religated. And in this religation intelligence opens the area of divinity, and the area of a real and radical surrender to God from what man himself is. Therefore, if Christ is God, to reach God through Christ means that in this surrender man is going to conform himself the way Christ is. Indeed, Christ is God. And quite because of this, the deiformity2 of man is precisely the positive terminus through which divine paternity is theologically and metaphysically justified, and not just by a mere sentiment. And, analogically, the filiation is not a mere filial sentiment, but an absolutely theological concept. Man is {252} like God, but he is so by virtue of a gift from God consequent on a surrender to it. This is what St. Paul calls adoption (cf. Gal 4:5-7). But it is more than adoption, because this merely is a juridical term, and here it is not a question of a juridical adoption. It is the case of an adoption in the sense that no man is Son of God in the same sense Christ is. And, however, it is the case of a real filiation, because it is really and actually the deiformity of the I of man in God, through Christ. 2) With this we have already entered into the second point. Actually, there is not only a filiation with God, but it consists of being like God in a certain way, in the same way Christ was. I shall say —anticipating some ideas3 — that by virtue of the adherence and the personal surrender to Christ, man acquires his same corporeity. Corporeity here does not have a physical meaning in the sense of “flesh”. All the ancients distinguished perfectly between sóma and sarx, between “body”, and “flesh”. Sarx translates in the majority of cases the Hebrew basár, the carnal body. The sóma as such has two characteristics, which we must underline here. In the first place, the physical presence of something; and, in the second place, its own internal consistency. Hence, by his personal surrender to God, everyone who believes in Christ has a corporeity in the sense of presence, and consistency. Man remains in God, with the very corporeity of Christ, and remains incorporated to God by incorporation to the Son of God. In this sense, Christ is, insofar as mediator, insofar as access to God, the head —kephalé— of that body. This body of believers is not a social organization. This perspective {253} has corrupted a great topic of classical theology. It is not the case of a social organization or a society. The body of believers is not a societas. It has been one of the good fortunes of the Vatican II Council to have erased this identification between the body of the faithful with Christ, and the juridical organization. It is essential for the Church to have a juridical organization, but that is not primary and derives from its characteristic of corporeity. This is not the case of a metaphor, but of a very real aspect. Certainly, I do not form a body with Christ because of my stomach, my brain, or the qualities of my soul, or simply by my psychism. I become part and body with Christ through that, which I am, by the I, which I fabricate with my option and my decision. The corporeity with Christ, the consistency in His real presence, is the corporeity, and the real consistency of my substantive being. My relative person acquires its internal consistency precisely in that incorporation to the absolutely absolute person, which God is. Now, we must indicate how man incorporates himself to Christ. This is the third point. III. The access of man to Christ Dealing with persons, any problem of incorporation has an essential characteristic, which stems from what persons are as open essences. In the first place, man is an open essence. So are God, and also Christ. In man the aperture consists of religation, while in God, as I have mentioned in another place, it consists of donation4. Yet, this aperture has a certain structure: {254} it is the going out of oneself towards another. It is ecstasy. It is the same whether it is God, a friend or a loved one. It is a going out from the self towards the other, towards another person. In the second place, it is a going out towards another person purely and simply because of liberality, i.e., without being forced to it, because then it would not be agápe —the love St. John speaks about (cf. 1 Jn 4:8)—, but éros, a desire. That is not the case. It is the case of an ecstasy of pure volition, in which fruition is placed on what is willed. And, in the third place, fruition is not only placed on what is willed, but because of what is willed. In the case of creation, it is the ecstasy of pure volition with which God wills the reality of things and persons insofar as realities. Hence, the ecstasy of pure volition is what metaphysically constitutes love. Only God has absolute ecstasy of pure volition. Only He is absolute love. In the case of a personified substantive reality, which man is, it is a love which really and actually opens itself in its relativity to the absolute love, in an agápe in which really and actually is going to constitute his own substantive being. The internal form of how man becomes a body with Christ in his own substantive being is precisely this form of love. Man gives himself in that internal experience to Christ as fundament of his being. It is the case of an ultimate experience. The Hebrews and Arameans called this yadá, to know. But, of course, it is not knowing in the sense of theoretical knowing, but in the sense of an intimate and experiential knowing, similar to when we say: “I know the illness” or “I know what a misfortune is”. It is an ultimate and radical knowing. Man surrenders, in addition, to a possibilitating reality. When surrendering, man acquires his consistency of possiblitation in Christ. The same Christ, a few hours before {255} dying, said: charís emón oú dýnasthe poiéin oudén, “apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Finally, as impelling reality, this agápe or love takes man to conform to that, which is usually translated as “commandment”, entolé. Without ceasing to be a commandment it is something more profound and much smoother than any ordinary precept. It is precisely what we might call a commandment of love. And by that metaphysical characteristic of love, in its triple dimension of going towards God as ultimate reality, as possibilitating, and as impelling, is the reason why the union with Christ constitutes precisely the radical profile, and the consistency of my substantive being. It is nothing but living as He lives, or how He makes me live; to be like the way Christ is in His own I. Nevertheless, this is not all. The entire history of mankind constitutes in one form or another an experience of access to God through Christ. It is not an idea foreign to the New Testament. In the first versicle of the letter to the Hebrews, its author —probably not St. Paul— tells us: “In times past, God spoke in fragmentary and varied ways to our fathers through the prophets; in this, the final age, he has spoken to us through his Son” (Hb 1:1-2). He recognizes, therefore, that the revelation of God is multiple, and also historical: it has occurred in previous times, and occurs today. What this is trying to tell us is that the access of man to God through Christ is not only an individual access by each person, but is a historical access. Why and how? History is not a merely genetic oneness. The genetic oneness of the human species is one thing, more or less problematic in itself, which must be distinguished from the similarly problematic originating historical oneness of the human species. Be that as it may, humanity in its history has been unifying itself, has been constituting an experience {256) about God. Therefore, this historical oneness is precisely the one Christ is interested in. At the beginning I was saying: Christ appears in the world of Israel in a rather unclear fashion, because he has not intended to provide a body of theology or constitute a genetic starting point for mankind. Not at all. Christ has begun by being like anyone else, precisely because He aims towards the historical oneness of the human species. Which means that Christ, the action of Christ, is historical in two senses. In the first place, it is historical because it belongs to history. In addition, however, it is historical because it belongs to history historically, i.e., because it occurs in it. Consequently, history is revelation in act from the part of God. Indeed, as access to God, Christ is God made history. And He is thus precisely by incorporation. In this incorporation, history acquires its consistency. It is a subject worth meditating upon philosophically. It is not enough to see things occurring loosely, because history needs an internal consistency. From the point of view of Christianity, its incorporation to Christ provides history with its internal consistency. History is, in this sense, the occurrence of the historical incorporation of humanity to Christ. And by this incorporation to Christ, who is God, Christ immerses us in the very reality of the Father. The Father is, then, in the fullness of the sense our Father, and we are His children. Man accesses God through his incorporation to Christ. Man —I was saying— surrenders to God. And in this surrender he moves in an option within the ambit opened by intelligence. And this option is, as I pointed out previously, a {257} reasonable option. Reasonable does not mean that it may be a set of more or less harmonious ideas among themselves, and non-contradictory. Reasonable means something more profound, namely, the internal cohesion and coherence of the realities among themselves: of the reality of man and the reality of God as foundation of reality itself. And this foundation is a terminus of the natural intelligence. In this reasonableness, man surrenders to truth, to the personal reality of God insofar as true. And this is just what faith is. Therefore, now, at the terminus of our exposition of Christ, we can say quite clearly: it is the case of faith in a humanized God for a deiformed man. For Christianity, in a concrete and precise way, this is what constitutes the characteristic of tensive oneness, and radical distinction between man —each one of them— and God. God is accessible and acceded precisely in an act of love, in an ecstasy, which constitutes the aperture of the relatively absolute person to the absolutely absolute person that God is. And in this aperture occurs the incorporation of the individual and history to God. At the beginning of these pages I was saying that man makes his relatively absolute substantive being, religated to the power of the real as ultimate, possibilitating, and impelling. A religation, which does not constitute for man a support for acting, but a fundament for being. To be precisely what he is as relatively absolute person. This power is founded on a moment of reality. On which one? That is problematic. It is the problem of God qua problem. And insofar as problem of the power of the real —which constitutes a radical and formal dimension of the human person, of the human I— the problem of God, formally, is part and moment of the step by step elaboration and construction of the I, {258} that occurs in each of the acts of living. Because of this, man does not have a problem of God, but rather the life of man in the constitution of his I is precisely the very problem of God. With his intelligence man reaches, through this way, an absolutely absolute reality that is personal. And as personal it is ultimate, possibilitating, and also impelling. And insofar as personal and ultimate in this triple dimension, at one and the same time, it is what we formally call God. This God is fontanally present in the depths of everything, and in the depth of every human spirit, precisely insofar as person. In other words, it is a presence of person to person, and not simply a mere causal presence, in the sense of the classical proofs of medieval theology. To this person, in this fontanal form insofar as person, man surrenders in faith. Faith is a surrender to a personal reality as true, and is an optative act of personal adherence. And in his option for Christ, man discovers that God is right there in front of him. Discovers the God that Christ is, even though man can only begin to be barely aware of this moment of transcendent identity constituted by the reality of Christ. And he accedes God precisely by incorporating himself to Christ as head through which God is present to the substantive being of man and confers consistency to him. For this reason Christ is the theological consistency of the relative absolute being of man. Indeed, the surrender of man to God is a surrender of his whole being. It is not simply a stepping march of his intelligence. What has been said up to this point illustrates this clearly. As a total surrender of man to God it is not only a case of religation, but that religation, in its absolute surrender to God acquires a concrete form called religion5. {259} Actually Christ institutes a religion as the molding of religation through the way of transcendence. As a religion, Christianity is a foundation made by Christ. And Christ constitutes, in the first place, the body and the theological consistency of the being of man. In the second place, this body (in which objectively and personally the characteristic of not only the monotheist idea, but of the religion with Christ consists) entails that all its faithful, by the fact of being the faithful, are incorporated in Him. In the third place, this incorporation is intrinsically and rigorously historical. Constitutes one body, but not confusedly. A body that I would call historical, a sóma istorichón, the objective body of religion. This objective body is started, actually, by something Christ offered His Apostles: the Spirit of truth. The fact is that the Apostles, not even after the Resurrection had a clear intellection of what was happening. Just before the Ascension they still asked Him: ei en to chróno toúto apochathistáneis ten basileían to Israel, “are you going to restore the rule to Israel now?” (Acts 1:6). You could not find a greater lack of comprehension about what had happened. Then, Christ promises, and sends a Spirit of truth to be in the objective body of the Church. And precisely this Spirit of truth is the one who in its intrinsically historical unfolding constitutes the internal historicity, not only of the monotheist idea, but also of the religion of Christ. {260} § 2 THE APOSTOLIC PREACHING6 In Christ, certainly, the whole of the Old Testament has been fulfilled, especially its prophetic activity. However, the first Christian generations had the surprising impression that it had been accomplished, but in a different way from the one expected. That it had been accomplished through transcendence, through elevation. The work of Christ was intrinsically historical, because it was the accomplishment through elevation of a possibility offered to Him by the historical situation in which Israel found itself. Because of this the life and the institution of the Church are purely and simply the revelation of Christ in act. Indeed, this revealing act, which the work of Christ is, expands into a revealing act comprising five stages, where further possibilities are illumined for the internal intellection of the work of Christ as a function of five perfectly delineated historical situations. Sometimes, mainly in the first two, more than chronological stages, they are aspects of the same stage, precisely because the different possibilities of internal intellection of Christianity had already been outlined inchoatively; only their express apprehension is what constitutes the unfolding of the five stages. I. The Apostles and Judaism In the first place, we have the situation of the Apostolic preaching. Starting from the illumination by the Holy Spirit onwards, without which {261} the Apostles would never have understood that Christ is the Son of God, the Apostles find themselves in a new situation for preaching the good news, the evangélion, the Gospel. Basically, the dynamics of this preaching centers on three points. First, on the experience of the Holy Spirit. Second, on the faith in the Paschal mystery, which is going to retrospectively enlighten the meaning of the life of Christ. And finally, on the hope —in a more or less clear fashion— of a second coming of Christ. This preaching occurs historically in three settings: the liturgical setting, the catechetical setting, and the missionary setting. Precisely in these different settings loose portions of the life of Christ were written, which would fit the purposes sought in each case. Great portions in reference to the instructions for baptism would be read at the baptismal liturgies; others, at the Eucharistic liturgies; others, at the different forms of preaching, etc. Actually, it was probably a production of a great number of portions of the life of Christ, which served as a base for the composition of the Gospels. Each Gospel, of course, has its own and particular perspective. The elements of each of the three settings are found dispersed in each Gospel with different forms and perspectives. In St. John we have the testimony of the person of Christ, as he is illumined by the Holy Spirit to understand what He was. In St. Luke we have the Gospel written as how the spirit of union is going to disseminate throughout history. This is the Gospel as God’s plan. In St. Mark the Paschal mystery takes a prominent place, towards which the whole life of Christ is going to converge. And in St. Matthew we have the witness of His Church, insofar as the Old Testament has been fulfilled in Christ. For this reason the Gospels are not rigorously {262} speaking a biography, and are not apologetics. They are purely and simply, as has been said, the witness of a theologic history. I would prefer to call it a theological history. In the end, these beliefs, which the primitive community preaches can be reduced, in the first place, to present God the Father as a creative principle and terminus of a spiritual type: God is to be adored “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:23), and not only in the rites of the Temple. In the second place, to present Jesus Christ as Son of God, eternally existent, Incarnated and Redeemer in a real human body, and not only preexistent (against the incipient Docetism). And, in the third place, to present a Sanctifying Spirit, giving light to men. A Spirit who in the preaching of St. Paul appears giving us a strict —albeit adoptive— divine filiation, by which we can call God “Father”, and not only Lord and Master. In addition, this Apostolic preaching develops and lays the foundation of what is the internal organization of the Church. And with this I do not refer only or in the first place to the hierarchical organization, but to what essentially constituted the objective body of the Church, founded on Baptism, which was administered in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that it was administered saying: “...of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, just the opposite. For a long time —not only during the time of the Apostles, but even afterwards— Baptism had been administered invoking only the name of Christ. Finally, an eschatological idea was preached. An eschatology, which consists precisely in the transit from this world to an eternal life, and in a hope of the second coming of Christ, the Parousía. As St. Paul forcefully says: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (eís kýrios, mía pístis, hen báptisma, Eph 4:5). ________________ 1 Actually the rich man showed sadness, cf. Lk 18:23. 2 Cf. El hombre y Dios (Man and God), op. cit., p. 381. 3 This is something studied more closely by Zubiri in the third part of his 1971 seminar, still unpublished [Tr. note: true for 1993, but it was incorporated into Cristianismo (Christianity), published in 1997]. 4 Zubiri refers to the first part of the 1971 seminar, cf. El hombre y Dios (Man and God), op. cit., p. 315-324. 5 Here ends the text of the conference about the access to God in Christ, and the subject of the conference on Christianity continues, also from 1971. 6 From this point on we follow the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 6 (263-273) {263} II. The Apostles and the Empire Obviously, the Gospel preached initially in this manner is going to find itself in new historical situations. The first encounter was with the situation of the Greek-Latin spirit. A) The Apostles and the gentiles. Among the gentiles St. Paul preaches the universality of Christianity. But there were two possibilities. In the first place, a direct universality without circumcision. In the second place, a universality passing through Judaism: that was Judeo-Christianity1. St. Paul takes a strong stance against this second possibility: Judaism with its initiation rite does not belong to Christianity. Certainly, Christianity follows after the God of the synagogue, Yahweh. St. Paul mentions this frequently: “Are they Israelites? So am I!” (2 Cor 11:22), and he repeats it before the Roman procurator (cf. Acts 24:15). However, what Judaism has of religion is not a previous state for the initiation into Christianity. St. Paul opts for this possibility of de-Judaization. With this, Christianity as religion becomes a strictly universal religion into which each one is incorporated directly to the body of Christ by reason of his individuality, but is incorporated directly without passing through the body of Judaism. This is a rigorous historical universality2. {264} On the other hand, St. Paul has, of course, a disputable, disputed, and still under disputation influence of the religions of the gentiles, at least in their conceptivation. There is no doubt that much of the terminology of St. Paul proceeds from the mystery religions. For example, the palingenesía, the regeneration, or the idea of putting on Christ (endúein Christón), are unquestionably concepts taken from the mystery religions. St. Paul makes these lógoi his own, common theological sayings of his time, often taken for his genial creations, when in reality they are only repetitions. Also, when St. Luke puts in his lips phrases like “we too are His offspring”, he himself says it is a quotation “from one of your poets” (Acts 17:28-29)3. Similarly, the famous text “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) is modeled on one of Epimenides of Knossos (Tr. note: VI cent. B.C., cf. Beginnings). This is not, as has often been said, a syncretism. It is precisely the opposite as I mentioned above: it is the case of a utilization of alien concepts in order to actualize and develop internal possibilities existing in Christianity. Quite the opposite of any syncretism4. Other influences come from Roman law. In this case, the influence of the example I am going to quote has had enormous influence {265} in the course of history, namely, the use of the term huiothesía, adoption. St. Paul says that by the work of Christ we are adoptive sons of God, exapésteilen ho theós ton huión autóu ... hína ten huiothesían apolábomen (Gal 4:4-5). The adoption, clearly, does not mean here a purely juridical relationship, but something real. What is meant is that one is not a son the way Christ is. I shall return to this immediately. At any rate, the Apostolic preaching chooses, among the several existing possibilities, for one way, and for a very clear possibility: the strict and rigorous universalization, without setting out from Israel. And, in the second place, chooses for the enrichment, and unfolding of the internal possibilities of the preaching of Christ to enlarge the range of the intellection of revelation. B) The Apostles and Greek wisdom. In a second phase, already from the time of St. Paul himself, Christianity not only encounters the gentile peoples, but the mystery religions, and even Judeo-Christianity, which actually had a short life and practically disappeared during the life of the Apostle. In Greece it encounters something different, Greek wisdom, sophía. This is something different. The encounter with Greek wisdom also brings with it different possibilities. According to one of them, one continues to have a progressive illumination, and continues to know more things about God and Christ. This is the source of all illuminisms. At that time, of illuminism and Montanism. On the other hand, the gnosis had appeared5. As a consequence there starts a kind of {266} Christianity for aristocrats of the intelligence, which is more or less everything that in general terms was called “Gnosticism”6. However, there was another possibility different from these wisdoms; an illumination not by new revelations under the light of gnosis, but by a simple intellection of the revelation. This was the labor of the apostolic Fathers, particularly of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who, although not an apostolic Father, was the direct disciple of one of them —of St. Polycarp of Smyrna, disciple in turn of St. John. Revelation is not a fountain of illumination, and new revelations. Revelation is not purely and simply something placed among men for them to obtain all the lights they may wish with respect to revelation, but something else altogether: it is not a positum, but a de-positum7. Certainly, the term “deposit” can be found in the Pauline writings (cf. 1 Tm 6:20; 2 Tim 1:14). But there it does not have the specific sense it is going to have in St. Irenaeus, among other things because revelation had not concluded yet. Consequently, revelation is a deposit. And to this deposit belongs not only the work of Christ, and the Apostolic preaching, but also the entire revelation of the religion of Israel, as St. Irenaeus —together with the rest of the Church— energetically proclaims. He had to rise against the first brutal act of theological anti-Semitism in history: the work of Marcion, and of the {267} Marcionites. For Marcion, the Old Testament is the revelation of a just God, actually severe and austere, different from the loving God of the New Testament. Hence, for him all the portions of the New Testament, which underline or mention the presence of the Old Testament in the New are apocryphal. The Church forcefully rose against this Marcionist position, and claimed for itself the whole of the Old Testament as an intrinsic moment of its own reality, and its own revelation. It is an integral deposit. Facing gnosticism, St. Irenaeus emphatically affirms the characteristic of mere deposit this revelation possesses in both Testaments. Still, the deposit is not only integral, but in addition affirms against every illuminism that it is a deposit, which concluded with the death of the last Apostle. There are no more possible revelations. This is the reason why revelation as a deposit is integral and has concluded, and it is also transcendent and kept as a deposit by tradition. The transmitted revelation is parádosis, tradition. This concluded deposit is what St. Irenaeus, with a splendid expression calls, sóma tes alethéias, the body of truth. A concept that should have had a better fortune in the history of theology than the one it has had. It is a body not only in the sense that there is a “logical” implication between dogmas, but that it forms an organic body, where the darkening or illumination of some point of that body has inexorable repercussions on all the other points. The principal question is not the analogia fidei, but its fundament. The somatic, organic characteristic of revelation is the fundament of the analogia fidei. Hence, this concluded body, this revealed deposit, does not have the characteristic of an exposition, which is transmitted mechanically {268} from some men to others. It has an intrinsically historical characteristic. I would venture to say that the “sóma of truth” is an intrinsically historical sóma, a sóma historikón. And precisely because it is an intrinsically historical body, it is going to illustrate us about God and about Christ, but not separately. Christ did not reveal God by saying what God was, but did so in a more modest, but radical way. He did not reveal God by saying it, but by being Him. From this stems the internal “somatic” implication between the idea of God, which is going to develop in Christianity, and the idea of the very reality of Christ. III. Christianity and Greek reason Several religious situations are born here, which bring us to the third stage. The fact is that in addition to defending the characteristic of the revealed against Greek wisdom, Christianity is going to find itself in a third stage with something much more rigorous and stricter than the gentiles or wisdom. It is going to face reason strictly as such: Greek reason. And this Greek reason will have to grapple simultaneously with the two slopes of Christ. On one side, insofar as He really is the Son of God. On the other, as the very revelation of God in act in the reality of Christ. The clarification of the truth of God is founded upon the clarification of Christ as Son of God. Because indeed Christ reveals God by Himself being God. This is why the Trinitarian dogma is founded upon the Christological dogma. Here, several possibilities were being opened, which were still undiscerned in the deposit, but were brought to light by this strictly new situation. The inquiry by Greek reason. Putting aside the details, this inquiry proceeds along three essential phases. {269} A) First phase: What is it to be Son of God? On the one hand, it could be thought that Son here means purely, and simply that he has a grace, which in a certain way is complete, and perfect. The very text of St. Paul tells us that Christ is the “pléroma (fullness) of divinity” (Eph 3:19). But the Gospel tells us that He was growing in “grace before God and men” (Lk 2:52). Divine filiation would be the plenitude of grace, which was granted to Him at the Baptism on the Jordan, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. In this sense, Son of God would mean to be “adoptive” Son of God. Christ would be God katá cháris, by grace, full of grace and truth, or, as the early Adoptionists said, katá dýnamin. This carries along a certain conception of what God is8. The Gospel tells us that God is a Father creator of the world, and of men, to whom He wishes to save for their defection or sin; for this reason He sent His Son, and He in turn sent us the Spirit of His Father to enlighten us, sanctify us, and console us. Here we are presented with the primacy of the “missive” characteristic of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is not superficial to begin here, because the form through which God has been revealed to us is the “mission”. Therefore, we must always begin with the missions. But only begin. Because these missions manifest to us what God is in Himself. What are these missions with respect to God Himself, and not only with respect to men? That is the question. Thus, if the Son is nothing but a Son by adoption, his filiation consists in a relationship ad extra between God and creatures. Then, analogously, the Father and the Holy Spirit are nothing but ad extra relationships: creation, and sanctification. If so, these ad extra {270} relationships, these missions, would be what is formally constitutive of each one of the three terms, and ad extra manifestation of what God is in Himself: one single, and unitary God, monás. Paternity, filiation, and sanctification would only be the three modes of His relationship ad extra, of His mission in the world. That was Modalism: one possibility to understand God through the missions. However, it was an erroneous possibility. There existed a second possibility to understand filiation, namely, to consider that the Son of God is a Son not katá chárin, but by real filiation. The Son is a Son independently of His external relationship of Incarnation, and prior to it. One thing is the Word by Himself, and quite another the Word as Incarnated. And the Word is Son by Himself, and not through the Incarnation. The same must be said of the Holy Spirit. As St. Gregory of Nyssa will later say, if the Holy Spirit is sanctifying, it is so because He is sanctifying by Himself; if He is deifying, it is so because He is God by Himself, prior to, and with independence of the sanctification of creatures, and of Christ Himself insofar as man. Facing adoptive filiation, the Church defined the other possibility: real filiation. With this, not only God Himself had been understood as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were understood, each one in and by itself as God. God is not monás, monad, but triás, triad, as Theophilus of Antioch put it towards the end of the II cent. A.D., apparently the first one to use this term9. This is the first phase of the clarification of the possibilities of the internal intellection of Christ and God: the {271} real, not adoptive, divine filiation of Christ, and therefore, God Himself as a triad, not a monad. What Christ is has provided us with an understanding of what God is. Christ is the truth in act of what God is. Of course, one might ask: What did the Apostles, and the early Christian generations believe? That Christ was an adopted Son or a real Son? One must reply that they had not posed the question. They simply believed in a direct and assertive way, but undiscerned, that Christ was the Son of God. The only thing we can say with certainty is that if we had explained the matter to them, they would have answered the way the Church answered when proclaiming the real filiation. I would call this inchoative intellection. In them the question was not formally, and expressly posited, but rather they believed in the filiation undiscerningly. B) Second phase: What is it to be the real Son of God? It was not only the case of understanding what it is to be the Son of God, but to understand what it is to be the real Son of God: In what does the reality of this filiation consist? The question now had two aspects. Christ is the Word of God. However, since the Word by himself is the Son of God, as we have just seen, it turns out that to ask for the reality of the filiation is to ask about two different things. One is the reality of the filiation of the Word qua Word before the Incarnation. And the other is the reality of the filiation of the Word qua Incarnated, i.e., the reality of the divine filiation of Christ. Further possibilities of internal intellection continue to be enlightened. 1) Above all, What is the reality of the filiation of the Word qua Word? This is a question, which concerns God himself, prior to any Incarnation, and independently from it. {272} Greek reason had several different possibilities to understand this prior filiation. One, the priority is the priority of cosmic time (of chrónos), of the eons (of aiónon). It was the way Arius understood it, in the IV century A.D., influenced by the Aristotelianism of Antioch. Revelation tells us that the Word was engendered by God. But “engendered” was understood by Arius as “made”. Yet, this “made”, when referring to God creator, means “created” out of nothing by His will. The Word is His first creature. He was created, not in time, but prior to any time, in the duration, so to speak. This Word is with God, but is not properly God. It was this Word that Incarnated in Christ, and the one that received from God all the plenitude of grace. Thus, Arius accepts Adoptionism. The Church vigorously rejected this way of understanding the filiation of the Word qua Word of God. The Word is prior to creation, not only prior to time, but coeternal with God the Father. Generation is not creation. Therefore, the real filiation of the Word consists in the Word and the Father being of the same substance, consubstantial (homoúsios). The Word would be of His same ousía, substance. This was the definition of the Council of Nicea with St. Athanasius. The same would be said about the Holy Spirit in the First Council of Constantinople. In the previous phase, Greek reason had enlightened the truth that the Word and the Holy Spirit are God like the Father. In this second phase, to be God is understood as being consubstantial. 2) Yet, the other question remains: the real filiation of Christ as Incarnate Word. What does it mean to be really Son of God in reference to Christ? Starting from the understanding that the Word is the same substance ousía or substance of the Father, two possibilities of understanding this filiation opened up. Possibilities enlightened by Greek reason when encountering the revealed deposit. One was the possibility of understanding that in the humanity of Christ {273} the very substance of the divinity of the Word inhabited. The unity of Christ would be a simple oneness of inhabitation. It would be the case of a real oneness, but merely moral: Christ would be the temple of the Word. Christ then is a union, not a oneness. This is the position adopted by Nestorius, probably influenced, like Arius, by the Aristotelianism of Antioch. However, there was still another possibility: to understand that Christ was the very Son of God, i.e., the Word itself. In that case the divine oneness of Christ would not be moral, but physical. Real means “natural”, physical, and not moral. Christ is not a union of the Word and man, but a physical oneness of the Word and the humanity. This was the truth proclaimed as dogmatic truth by the Council of Ephesus, with St. Cyril, against Nestorius. Against Adoptionism it was affirmed that the three are persons, and against the mere union of two substances, now a further step is taken: the real filiation is physical, natural filiation. The Council of Ephesus, and St. Cyril say no more. But, on the supposition of the truth of its definition, new questions arise in the Greek reason, which again enlightens new possibilities for internal intellection, both for the divine Triad, and for the divine reality of Christ. ________________ 1 From this point on we follow the text of the 1971 seminar. 2 In the Madrid 1965 seminar Zubiri noted on the margin: “For God there is no distinction between the Jew and the gentiles: he expressly tells us this when addressing the inhabitants of Corinth: 'The Jews demand signs, and the Greeks look for wisdom (sophía), but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews, and an absurdity to Gentiles; but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power (dýnamis) of God and the wisdom (sophía) of God' (1 Cor 22:24). And St. Paul develops a Christology, an anthropology, and a soteriology with an expressly universal characteristic. The encounter with the gentiles has given him the possibility of more directly illuminating this universality”. 3 Actually, from the Phaenomena of Aratus. (Tr. note: Aratus of Soli, III cent. B.C., Cilician poet). 4 On the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri notes: “It is not a syncretism, but the adoption of terminology and concepts in order to provide them with a new meaning. It was the possibility offered by the teaching of Christ of being internally known intellectually according to these concepts, in the new situation with the gentile peoples. These concepts have been useful to expressly and formally actualize possibilities of internal intellection, which Christianity already possessed”. 5 In a note to the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri distinguishes between gnosticism as “a religious wisdom, a sophía with a speculative characteristic”, “a knowledge superior to the faith”, and illuminism as “a rather charismatic sophía: we are facing new illuminations and revelations”. 6 From this point on we follow the 1965 Madrid seminar. 7 Zubiri notes at the margin of the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar: “Here: to begin with, because there are charisms (St. Paul): prophecy, etc. two possibilities: a) Illumination: fountain of new revelation. b) Revelation: fountain of illumination to understand revelation as a completed deposit. The first was rejected.” 8 From this point on we follow some manuscript pages written by Zubiri himself to be introduced at this point on the 1965 Madrid seminar. 9 Cf. Theophilus of Antioch, Libri tres ad Autolycum, lib. II, no. 15, in Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, vol. 6, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris, 1857, c. 1077. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 6 (273-285) {273} (cont’d) C) Third phase: What is the physical reality of the Word, and of Christ? Until now we have ascended, from the affirmation that the Word is God, and that Christ is His real Son, to the truth that the Word is consubstantial to God, and that Christ is physically the Word of God. Let us affirm all these truths in just one as primary: the Word is God, and Christ is the Word “physically”. Then, What does “physically” mean? New possibilities of internal intellection are enlightened by Greek reason in the revealed deposit, and in the dogmatic definitions mentioned above. {274} If physical reality means “substance” (ousía), then the physical divinity of Christ means that in Christ there is only one substance or nature, a kind of annulment of the divine and the human nature. That was the Monophysite interpretation, unisubstantial. From this follows a conception of God himself. If the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are consubstantial, How are they distinguished? Either they are only one entity —this is Modalism— or they are three substantial realities —this is Tritheism. The Trinity would be a triplicity. However, there is still a different possibility with which to understand physical reality. At that time Greek reason had two concepts at its disposal to conceive the physical reality of man: the concept of persona (Tertullian) or prósopon, and the concept of res, substance or ousía. They express the difference that exists in every man between saying of him “what” he is (including here all the characteristics even the substantial), and saying “who” he is (or I, or you). Both moments are physically real, but are not identical. 1) In the case of Christ, this distinction enlightens one new possibility of understanding His real and physical divine filiation. Christ is Son of God insofar as Word, and the very Word is Son of the Father. Then, if the Son or Word, and the Father are consubstantial (the same ousía), however, they are different insofar as persons. Here we have a new possibility for the internal intellection of the revealed deposit. In that case, the real, and physical filiation of Christ means that the who of Christ is the Word of God, but this does not mean that what Christ is, would be the divine substance of the Word. The Word Incarnated qua person only. Of course, since the person and the substance are not separable, it follows that in Christ the substance of the Word is present, without fusing into a single substance with His own human substance. To the question of what Christ is we must reply that He is two {275} things: God, and son of Mary. But to the question of who is Christ we must reply: he is only the Word, the Son of God qua divine person. It was the definition of the Council of Chalcedon: only the possibility to understand Christ as divine person fulfills —and is consequently true— what the revealed deposit tells us about the filiation of Christ. The other possibility, of understanding this filiation with only the idea of substance, is false. 2) This conception reflects back upon the very conception of the divine Triad. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are consubstantially God; God as ousía is a monad. But each one of them is person or hypóstasis, as the Cappadocians said (St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Gregory of Nyssa). As person, God is three. But only as person: the three persons do not differ numerically in their what (the three are the same: only one God), but in their who. Because of this the Triad is not triplicity, but a Trinity: one what in three who’s. Certainly, St. Augustine tells us clearly: “when we are asked what these three are, we have to recognize the extreme poverty of our language. We say three persons in order not to remain silent, not as if we pretended to define the Trinity”1. One might ask: And why not be silent? Simply because it was not possible, because revelation is intrinsically historical. Finally, Greek reason enlightened possibilities for a richer internal intellection of the revealed deposit. Christ revealed God being God. The intellection of the divinity of Christ was, at one and the same time, the intellection of the reality of God. This intellection developed in three phases. With respect to Christ {276} the following were defined: a) His real, and not adoptive filiation; b) His real, physical, and not moral filiation; c) His real physical filiation as personal, and not substantial. With respect to God the definitions were: a) that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are God ad intra, and not only ad extra; b) that they are God consubstantially; c) that they are personally different. Christ as Son of God is the very person of the Word insofar as person, but assumes a subsisting integral humanity in the person of the Word. God is a living God; He was designated as such in the Old Testament, as Yahweh. But now He acquires a concrete figure through the New Testament revelation. He is a living God whose life insofar as personal consists in generation and spiration. These processions concern the persons as such. The three persons of the Trinity are not three persons who are there as three branches from a common trunk. Each person has no reality of its own without reference to the other persons, but is relative to them, as theology points out. I would prefer to say that each person is respective to the others: there is no Father without Son, and no Son without Father, and the Father and the Son cannot but produce the Holy Spirit, etc. Each person is hypostatic, but respective. In other words, there is a oneness among the persons, certainly not numerical (that would deny the Trinitarian dogma), but rather a oneness of respectivity in which the personal life of God consists insofar as personal. Because insofar as merely essential, life is common to the three persons, i.e., it is a personal life in generation and spiration. Each one of these persons confers to the terminus of the procession the integrity of the divinity in a numerical identity. It is like saying that someone in love sees through the eyes of the loved one. Among humans it is metaphor and aspiration. But the infinitude of the essence of God makes this a sheer reality: the Father, {277} the Son, and the Holy Spirit have the same “eyes”. The vision they communicate to each other as different is their I-Father, and I-Son. The persons find themselves, therefore, in what the Greek called perichóresis, an internal circulation, intimate, of divine life. For Greek theology this perichóresis in the Trinitarian processions produces the consubstantiality of the persons. This is the problem of how three persons consist in only one substance through generation and spiration. For Latin theology, since St. Augustine, consubstantiality is not the result, but the supposition of the processions. There is no doubt that Greek theology remains closer to what is said in the evangelical text. However, outside this theological difference, the dogma has fixed the oneness of the subsistent God in three really different persons. The intellection of the reality of Christ as Son of God has been, at one and the same time, the intellection of what God is as a living God. God made Himself available through an hypostatic Incarnation, but His inaccessible transcendence remains in the mystery of His personal reality2. We would be able to notice that the same thing that occurred with the conception of Christ and God also occurred with theological anthropology, and the sacraments. However, since this is not a course on the history of dogma, please allow me not to enter into this question. After all, what concerns us now is the idea of God throughout Christianity, i.e., Christology and the Trinitarian dogma. Greek reason has enlightened the possibilities for the intellection of Christ and God. But later Christianity is going to find itself in a new situation, when it encounters Modern reason. That is the fourth stage. {278} IV. Christianity and Modern reason Until now, Christianity had been able to elucidate what the revealed deposit is when facing a reason that certainly had not been born in the bosom of the Church, but was not totally alien to it or was —at most— simply alien. Now the encounter is with a new reason, which at least in a global manner, feels not only alien, but in many instances is quite hostile towards revelation. I say in a global manner, because in the expression “Modern reason” different dimensions are involved, which in its own historical reality, as much from the side of reason as from the side of the Church, were not sufficiently discerned, at least in their beginnings. A) Scientific reason. One form of Modern reason is what we might call the scientific reason, whose novelty proceeds from the distinction between Modern mentality and the ancient one. The lamentable episode of Galileo is the conflict between two mentalities, not a conflict of revelation with science. That would be absurd. The Medieval mentality collided with the Modern mentality and condemned it; but it was not a dogmatic condemnation, it was curial. Scientific reason is not religious, but it is also not irreligious. It is simply non-religious3. The collision between the mentality of Medieval science with the mentality of Galileo —a painful and brutal collision on the part of non-understanding cardinals— does not affect the essential truth of the problem. In the end, facing scientific truth —even though fragmentary and unilateral, but with some definite things established— Christianity can only take one posture. {279} There is certainly the possibility of dissociating the scientific from the theological conception, and say that while science proceeds in one direction theology proceeds in another. The believer has both options, and the unbeliever only has one. From the point of view of Christianity this is completely false, because of an intrinsic reason, which derives —at least— from the time of St. Athanasius. The second person of the Trinity, the Word, is the subsistent Truth of God, and nothing that is true is alien to the Word4. From this stems the principle that must regulate the presence of the Church facing Modern science: the believer not only has the possibility of doing science, i.e., to show that in fact they are not incompatible, but in addition has the strict, and formal obligation of continuing to discover scientific truths, which by the mere fact of being truths are a reflection, and an image of the subsistent Truth of God in the person of the Word. B) Philosophical reason. Next to scientific reason we have philosophical reason. Although this is less spectacular, it is more serious5. Modern philosophical reason is based primarily and formally upon the I6: the I is the one who decides, through its {280} own internal reasons, about the whole universe of reality accessible to that I. Because “accessible” means “to be-true”, and what counts as reality is only that, which previously has the characteristic of true. However, truth concerns the very structure of reason. That is why, when inscribing the problem of reality inside the problem of truth, the reality accessible to the I is left pending on the very structure of reason, and founded upon it: the conception of reality depends essentially on the previous conception of reason as such. In the Greek-Latin, and mediaeval world the revealed deposit was confronted in its concrete content with a system of concepts about what reality is, and these concepts enlightened new possibilities of internal intellection of the revealed deposit. But now the revealed deposit is confronted with the very structure of reason. With this, not only the content of the deposit (this or that dogma), but also its formal characteristic of revealed is now debatable. What needs to be intellectually known internally is not only “what” is revealed, but the very fact that it is revealed, the “to be-revealed” as such: this is the problem of “reason-revelation”. Not all “the” Modern philosophy, as it is commonly stated with evident historical ignorance and superficiality, is hostile to revelation. But a great portion of this philosophy undoubtedly rejects, in the name of reason, the whole block of revelation qua revelation. It is, therefore, a new situation, which enlightens new possibilities of intellection concerning revelation as such. These possibilities are highlighted under three concepts of reason in Modern philosophy: {281} empirical reason, rational reason7, and historical reason8. 1) For a great segment of Modern philosophy, reason cannot exceed the limits of experience: only the empirical is knowable; the trans-empirical is unknowable. Then there exists the possibility of understanding revelation as the irrational correlate of a blind sentiment of faith. Knowledge and faith are separated. The Church rejected this possibility because there is another. Revelation and faith certainly do not address reason only, but they do address reason also, although in a form different from scientific knowledge: they “enlighten” reason although this illumination is not empirical science in the modern sense of the term, it is not something achieved through the way of the empirical as such. 2) However, In what does this enlightenment consist? For another segment of Modern philosophy this enlightenment is the very light of reason, i.e., a rational light: this is the concept of rational reason. Reason reaches the whole of reality, and reaches it rationally. The revealed is then terminus of a rational knowing, and revelation qua revelation is nothing but rational rationality, it is intrinsic rationality. There is an admission of “what is revealed”, but a rejection of its “being revealed”. The Church rejected this possibility of understanding the revealed deposit as mere and supreme rationality. Against any fideism, reason has the naked capacity to reach a knowledge of the existence of God with certainty, but not revelation: revelation is essential mysteriosity. It is not only mysteriosity {282} with respect to the state of reason at one moment in history, but is essential mysteriosity, i.e., with respect to the essential, not merely historical structure of reason. Consequently, there is another possibility of intellectually knowing the enlightenment of faith and revelation, namely, the function of reason in faith and revelation. Without enlightenment by reason neither faith nor revelation would be possible. But this enlightenment consists in the fact that revelation offers reason “signs”, which make it “credible” to reason. Thus, the function of reason does not consist in reaching the truth of a revealed mystery, but in reaching its credibility: reason is the organ for credibility. Even though it is “supra-rational”, revelation is not merely an external dictation. How could it possibly be if not even the revelation of Christ to His most intimate disciples was this way? Putting together both concepts, the enlightenment of reason, and the credibility of revelation, theology has spoken of reason as a “preamble” to faith. Personally I think that this term is ambiguous, and hides the radical depth of this question. Because preamble can mean the set of truths, which reason can rationally reach before assenting to the revealed mystery. This sense is correct, but it is not the radical one. What is radical is not the truth or truths, which reason may attain to make the revealed mystery acceptable, but the very structure of reason that is capable of “preambulating” faith and revelation; not the preamble, but the “preambularyness” as such of reason. That is what needs to be investigated. a) Certainly, revelation is only “credible”, and for reason these motives are only motives for credibility. Yet, this does not mean that all motives in turn are rational. There are others, which reason recognizes as motives {283} without they in themselves being rational; for example, affective or moral motives, etc. This already indicates to us that in reason itself we must distinguish what is rationally accessible, and that, which is only reasonably accessible. What is primary is that all motives, rational or not, make revelation reasonable. Only because reason has in itself the dimension of the reasonable it is possible to have “rational” motives for credibility. The credibility is inserted primarily, and formally not in rational reason, but in reasonable reason. And so, this double dimension of reason —the rational and the reasonable— is prior to faith, independent from it; it concerns the essential structure of reason as such, in itself. Rational, and reasonable are essential modes of reason. Reason in itself is always search, and only search; the search for a fundament of the truth of something, which has been apprehended. Reason is going from one reality towards the fundament of its truth. This “questing” (Sp. "qüerente") stepping march can be undertaken through different ways, one of which (but only one) is the “logical” necessity in the widest sense of the term. Therefore, the fundament found in this manner must be confronted with the thing of which it is the presumed fundament, because the real thing is the one that ultimately “gives” us the reason. When that, which has been found by way of logical necessity coincides exactly with the thing, we say that the fundament is rational. When that, which has been found, either by this way of logical necessity or through other different ways, does not coincide exactly with the thing, but converges towards it by congruence, we say the fundament is reasonable. The reasonable is always, and only, the congruent reason with reality. And congruence itself acquires the characteristic of sign or signal for truth in reason. In the great majority of cases, not only {284} in life, but also in science, reason leads only to congruence. The reasonable is the real exceeding reason. Furthermore, depending on the degree of this excess, congruence is greater or lesser, the fundament is more or less reasonable. This uncovers for us two essential moments of reason. aa) Strictly speaking, reason depends on the fact that the terminus towards which it moves, the real, may or may not give us the reason. In itself, reason is always an open reason, and this aperture is just what confers to reason its characteristic of a way or search. Indeed, this search has a most precise positive characteristic. It is not mere expectation, or mere fortuitousness, because reason, by the fact of being a “questing” (Sp. "qüerente"), sketches from itself (only sketches), in one form or another, the characteristics of that for which it is searching. Reason, from this aspect, is “method”, in almost the etymological sense of the term. Because of this, truth, i.e., the fact that things may give us the reason, is an “encounter” between a reason, which goes towards things by sketching them, and these things that come towards us giving us reason of themselves in a rational or simply reasonable way. Because reason, when it goes towards things, in a certain way forces them to give themselves to us. The oneness of these two movements is the encounter; and in the encounter things give or do not give to us the reason for the sketch. Reason is constitutively, and formally a reason open to an encounter as sketch. bb) We say that reason is open to an encounter as sketch, as search. Still, reason not only searches, but has to search. Therefore, this second moment —second in the order of exposition, but first by itself— does not come to reason from reason itself. Which means that reason in all its forms is something, which never depends on itself, but depends on something prior to reason, but intrinsic to itself: on intelligence. It is the intelligence itself {285} what forces the search. Consequently, in the end, reason is nothing but the “questing” (Sp. "qüerente") aspect of intelligence. And here is the essence of the matter: What is this intelligence, which intrinsically turns itself into search? In other words, What is this intelligence, which necessarily has to be reason? ________________ 1 De Trinitate, book V, ch. 9, no. 10, in Patrologiae cursus completus, series latina, vol. 42, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris, 1845, c. 918. 2 Here ends the manuscript text, and the transcript of the 1965 Madrid seminar continues. 3 From this point on we follow the text of the 1965 Barcelona seminar. 4 According to Athanasius ei de lógo kai sofía kai epistéme sunésteke, kai pantí kósmo diakekósmetai, anágke ton epikeímenon kai diakosmésanta toúton oúk ánlon tiná e Lógon eínai toú Theoú, in his Oratio contra gentes, no. 40, Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, vol. 25, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris, 1857, Chs. 80-81. 5 From this point on we follow some typewritten pages by Zubiri himself on the basis of the 1965 Madrid seminar, and destined to be inserted at this point. 6 In the 1971 seminar Zubiri remembers his thesis that this idea of reason, differing from the Greek one, is founded upon the idea of creation from nothing. On this topic see the papers of Zubiri “Sobre el problema de la filosofía” [On the problem of philosophy], which appeared in the journal Revista de Occidente, No. 115 (1933), pp. 51-80, and No. 118 (1933), pp. 83-117; and also the article about “Hegel y el problema metafísico” [“Hegel and the metaphysical problem”], included in Naturaleza, Historia, Dios [“Nature, History, God“], 9th ed., Madrid, 1987, pp. 267-287. 7 In the 1965 Barcelona seminar Zubiri will say “dialectical reason”. 8 Although Zubiri sometimes includes historical reason under philosophical reason, the index, and the numeration he creates for the 1965 Madrid text consider it as a third form of Modern reason together with scientific reason, and philosophical reason. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 6 (285-297) {285} (cont’d) b) Intelligence is the capability of apprehending things as real. Yet, these things are “sensed”, and they indeed are, not only by what refers to their content, but also, and principally, by what refers to their very characteristic of reality. Reality is sensed in its own formality of reality. Because of this fact, I have called our intelligence a “sentient intelligence”. Its act is primarily an intellective sensing. Each sense, besides providing us with its own quality, senses the characteristic of reality in its own particular way. And this is essential. We are not going to enter here into all the details of the question1. In order to simplify and provide an understanding of what I mean, I will put aside the question of internal sensing. For this reason when I refer to “things”, although the example may only refer to external things, what is said is relevant to anything real, either external things or those other things such as mental states of any type. Therefore, I refer to “things” in the widest and most innocuous extent of the term. But even from the point of view of external senses, I limit myself to only a few of them, those, which relate to our problem more directly. Sight senses the reality of things as present in its eídos or figure. But there are other ways of sensing reality. Through the ear sound is actually present, just as figure is present through sight. This sound is the sound of a sonorous thing. But {286} differently from what happens in sight, the sonorous thing is not included presentially in its sonority; it is absent from it. However, not absent simpliciter, because sound remits us to the thing in a special way: by manifesting the real thing to us, but guarding its own reality beyond the sound. This is manifestation or notification. Here reality is sensed as “notice”. Through touch, we obtain the naked presence of reality, but without figure or notice. With other senses (kinesthesia, orientation, muscular sense) we sense reality as something, which is not present or notified, but reality as a “towards” to which we advance or can proceed in a dynamic “tension” from another something. Let me repeat, these are not ways of sensing what real things are, but diverse ways of sensing their very reality: naked presence, figure, notice, tensive direction. Because of this, in turn, intellection itself has at one and the same time all these different ways of knowing intellectually: it is a sentient intellection. Consequently, it has become imperative to point this out emphatically. On this point philosophical tradition has been growing more and more unilateral. It has molded intellection exclusively upon vision, and as a consequence, all other ways of apprehending reality have been disqualified as a non-intellection. This is the source of the idea that to know intellectively is to re-present, and what is not representable is simply unintelligible. But this is radically false, even dealing with the intellection of what is present. Not everything that is present is representable in its reality. Thus, through tact, naked reality is present to us, but in a very special way, through groping. To grope is not only groping things in reality, but through groping reality itself is present to us “gropingly”. Groping is a way of intellection of what is present in a non-represented form, but insofar as groped. Yet, not every intellection is based on presence, because reality {287} is not just presentiality, neither in a representable nor a groping form. By intellection through the auditive form, we only know intellectively in a manifestative way; this is not direct presentiality. The content of notification is known intellectively as effectively as the figure we see through sight. But we are not limited to this, because we sense and in addition we know the reality of the content of notice intellectively as reality notifying. Notice does not manifest the real thing, but manifests it through the way reality is sensed in sound. The reality of the sonorous is intrinsically (and not just extrinsically) manifestative. Because of this, mere manifestation is a mode of strict intellection. Further still, there is another mode of non-representational intellection, which is not even manifestative: the intellection in a “towards”. It is not the case that we proceed towards reality, but that reality itself is given to us in a “reality as towards”. Consequently, to know intellectively is to proceed from something towards something else supported on the first something. The terminus of the “towards” is strictly intelligible, even though it may be completely unrepresentable. Representation, groping, manifestation, turning from one thing towards another, are many ways of knowing reality intellectively. They certainly do not have the same rank or the same richness, however, they are strict intellection. Furthermore, all these modes have to be taken as a oneness. The oneness of all the senses, for all men, resides ultimately in the intelligence. In its turn, intelligence consists in apprehending reality in all its modes. Finally, reality is, at one and the same time, the oneness of its modes of reality. This oneness is not only radical, but also intrinsic and formal. In other words, it is not only that each of the modes locates itself in the intelligence, but that each mode is formally overreaching the others, because although the senses may be different, and may sense reality in its different modes, however, all of them {288} sense one selfsame thing: reality. That is the reason why all these modes overreach each other in the very oneness of reality. Consequently, intelligence intellectively knows reality unitarily in this overreaching of its different modes. And thus, the “towards”, overreaching the figure, the manifestation, and the support of the “towards” in a formal oneness, confers upon intellection a special characteristic. This overreaching, actually, forces us to proceed from the figure of a thing towards the inside of what the thing is in its very self; forces us to proceed through manifestation towards the manifested thing; forces us to proceed from one firm thing towards others beyond that thing. The overreaching or formal unity of the “towards” with these three modes of reality (figure, manifestation, and support) fundaments the necessity of things in their triple dimension of the “inside”, the “through”, the “beyond”. An intellection thus constituted is inexorably a “going” towards something. Furthermore, the overreaching of the oneness of the “towards” with the other modes, qualifies the character of this “going”. It is, above all, a going through groping, and what the groping provides to the going is a particular direction: it is a “going groping towards”. The going, therefore, is not an indeterminate going, more or less random, but the outline of a “way”; it is a going making its way among things, among their aspects, and among their manifestations. Furthermore, it is going on a way imbued with a dynamic tension: it is an effort towards a greater and better intellective knowing. Of course, the characteristic of things known first somehow determines the characteristic of the groping. To grope among stones is not the same as to grope among humans or sentiments or moral motives. But the fact that stones, humans, and mental states have to be known intellectively precisely through groping proceeds from the sentient structure of intelligence. Therefore, the oneness of the going as a “going towards, which struggles to find a way by groping” is that particular mode of knowing {289} intellectively we call search. Search, therefore, is not a search for reality, but a search in the reality. What we search for are real things forced by the very characteristic of the reality: the reality “as towards”. This is precisely where the first step of reason occurs. Reason is not intelligence, but rides on it, not as a mere discursive or inquiring use of the intelligence, but as an inexorable necessity due to the very structure of intelligence as such, as sentient apprehension of things as real. Supported on the apprehended reality in a first intellection, we find ourselves hurled to the search, to reason, by the very reality “as towards”. It is not enough to have said, as we all know, that reason “and” intelligence are one faculty, but it is necessary to state what is the characteristic of this “and”, i.e., to state in what does the intrinsic oneness of reason, and intelligence consist, What is the characteristic of their intrinsic sameness? Reason is not founded on the fact that the first intellection may be complex, confused or insufficient, but on the fact that intellection is an intellection of reality in its mode as “towards”; and it is so because it is a sentient intellection. The question is not resolved by saying that reason moves by itself in the plenitude of being, in such a way that the things that “are” would be a mere finite “contraction” of being in all its fullness. If that were the case, reason would search for being beyond these finite things because none of them “is” in the whole plenitude of being. This is not acceptable due to several reasons, especially three. First, because this we call “being” is, constitutively, according to my point of view, a secondary actuality of the real qua real: it is the actuality of the already real in the respectivity of reality. Being is not this respectivity, which is a moment of reality, but rather the actuality of the real in this respectivity. I cannot embark on this problem here, which I have {290} expounded elsewhere2. Therefore, intelligence, and reason are not primarily, and radically the faculty of being, but the faculty of reality. In the second place, because even if being is that, which is searched for in things, it is not due to the fact that being in its whole fullness is contracted in the things that “are”, but precisely the opposite, it is due to the fact that real things, by having that secondary actuality, which is their “being”, force an “expansion” —so to speak— of reality into being. Reason searches for the fullness of being not because it contains inscribed in its very self, as a kind of intrinsic final purpose, being in all its fullness —or at least the movement towards that plenitude—, but just the opposite, because it is impelled to this by real things, which “are” because they begin by first being “real”. Therefore, the being, which reason would search for in things is not something contractively limited to them, but rather contrariwise, it is things themselves, which as real, are opening the ambit of being. In the third place, even if it were true that being in its fullness is something intrinsic to reason, this, however, would leave the essential question intact: Why do we have to search? In other words, Why is there reason? The moment of search itself would remain unexplained in this conception. The mere finitude of the being of real things within the transcendental order —in this conception that order would be constituted by being in its whole plenitude—, when contrasted with plenary being, would not lead but to a mere affirmation, to the affirmation of an inadequacy; but this affirmation alone by itself is not a searching movement. We have to search, i.e., there must be a reason, precisely because intelligence presents to us {291} reality “as towards”. The transcendental order is not only what it is constitutively by itself, but is present to us in a certain way, in accordance with the type of our intelligence. We must pay attention, therefore, not only to what transcendentality is in itself, but to its mode of presence. Hence, the transcendental order is not the order of being as such, but the order of reality as such. And this reality is not present to us just as something, which “is there”, but also at one and the same time as something, which is there “as towards”; the transcendental order is present to us in the intrinsic, and formal unity of all its modes in the sentient intellection. Only because intelligence knows the transcendental order intellectively in this manner as a primum cognitum, and only because of this, is intelligence already going “towards”, and therefore, has to search inexorably. There is, and there has to be a reason, let us repeat it, because reality itself “as towards” is already present in the intelligence. From this flows an essential characteristic of reason: reason is always, and constitutively an open reason. It does not know what it is going to encounter, not even if it is going to encounter anything; but it is constitutively open to the terminus of its search. This aperture —I repeat— is not a kind of intrinsic finality of reason, or the aperture of the human being towards something beyond, but it actually is the dynamic expansion of the formal structure of sentient intelligence into the “towards” of the reality apprehended by sentient intelligence. This, and only this, is what keeps us open. But, open towards what? Towards what things may give us of themselves in our stepping march towards them; they are the ones that give us the reason. But they provide it to us because we are already going towards them from our first apprehension of reality as such. Open reason is reason constitutively pending on things giving themselves to us. Reason is not {292} rational construction or reconstruction. What reason builds is its own way to reach the fundament of the truth of things, but it does not build the things themselves rationally, and not even reconstructs them rationally, because to know intellectually is not necessarily to represent. On the contrary, things are the ones that give us or do not give us reason in reality. And this “giving” —as I said before— is not a mere passive, and fortuitous reception of what things are giving to us, but a positive encounter with things in the stepping march we already sketch while going towards them in reality. Without this previous sketch there would be no stepping march, and no encounter; there would only be simple intellection, but no reason. Consequently, things, it must be emphatically underlined, can give us reason in many different ways. I am not only referring to the difference mentioned above between the rational and the reasonable, because that particular difference concerns the type of coincidence between what reason searches for and what reason finds. Here, on the other hand, I refer to the way how things give themselves to our open reason at the terminus of the search. This way or mode does not coincide in general with the way things presented themselves to us in the first intellection, which initiated the stepping march of reason. Just the opposite. For example, it is very possible that reason may find visually, and representatively what it is looking for through an intellectively known manifestation or notice. It is also possible that a thing known intellectively visually and representatively may initiate a searching stepping march of reason, which may find at its terminus nothing but a notice. It is altogether possible that a notice or manifestation may only take us in the search to nothing else but to another notice or manifestation. But the encounter is in all these ways the fundament (rational or reasonable, no matter) of the truth of reason. The truth accessible to reason is not {293} ascribed to any particular way or to any particular type of encounter. Philosophy has been increasingly propounding the idea that reason is a representative and rational encounter with things. This is radically false. The encounter can be quite varied in its modality, and the same occurs with its type. But, once we have an encounter, there is always in all its modes a fundament of the truth or falsity of reason. Similarly to how we deal with intelligence, we must conceptivize reason (as actual inquiring expansion of the intelligence) in all its complex real unity. This is essential. c) With this point settled, let us continue with our problem. Man, in the constitutive religation of his personal being, intellectively knows the power of the deity in “things”, in the widest sense of the term. The power of the deity is not something that floats over itself, but something inhering in things themselves simply by the fact of being real, i.e., inheres in the very reality of things. From this follows, that inhering in real things, nevertheless, it constitutively remits to these selfsame things as fundament of the deity, which inheres in them. Deity is thus “manifestation” or “notice” of this fundament, which is hidden in them. And in this, precisely, is what the “mystery” consists. Things as fundament of the deity inhering in them acquire the characteristic of mystery. This fundament is what constitutes, by definition, the divinity, God. God is, thus far, simply the name of the fundament of the deity: this is what is manifested in deity. There is no allusion here to anything transcendent. It could possibly simply be the totality of the cosmos. But in its totality; and because of it, even in this case, this “total” characteristic would be precisely the fundament of the deity of the cosmos, and would manifest itself in the deity. The deity, therefore, is the mere manifestation of the divinity, of God. And, because of this, the intellection of the deity is intellection of a manifestation {294} in a “towards through” it, i.e., towards the divinity through deity. Therefore, the intellection of deity is already the putting in motion of reason on its search for the divinity; it is a search through the manifesting mystery of deity towards the manifested divinity. To understand the characteristic of this stepping march of reason we need to indicate precisely: What does it search for? How does it search for it? What does it find? aa) What does it search for? The search is not for deity, because deity is already present in the constitutive religation of the personal being of man. What is searched for, and has to be searched for, is the fundament of the deity in the reality of things, i.e., the divinity. The divinity is always the terminus of a search; the only thing not searched for is the deity. But it is not the case of a divinity, so to speak, solely metaphysical, for example in the sense of a first cause. It is the case of a fundament, which may extend to all the dimensions of deity. Consequently, deity is not only an ultimate power, but a possibilitating, and impelling power. This is the reason why the divinity searched for is that something, which man will addresses for support, on the ultimate possibilities to be personally what he is going to be, and impels him to realize himself as a person. God is not only a first being, but the fundament of deity in its three dimensions of ultimateness, possibility, and imposition. This is what man searches for in reality through the mystery, which deity is. bb) How does it search for it? Man searches for God through His manifestation in deity, going through this manifestation towards what is manifested in it. The way or mode of this search depends in its last instance on the mode itself of the manifestation, i.e., on the very structure of deity. Deity is reality qua reality in its condition of dominating insofar as dominating. And this condition is actualized {295} for man in the constitutive religation of his personal being. And what is actualized in it, at one and the same time with the power, is the fundamentality of the human personal being, because fundamentality is nothing but the actualization of that, which is fundamenting, that is to say, the deity. Therefore, this fundamentality is the one that constitutes, above all, the manifestation of deity, and because of this, makes us search for God in reality qua reality, i.e., “at one and the same time” (“a una”) in oneself, and in all other things3. Consequently, this fundamentality determines the characteristic of the search. Man searches for God in and with his whole being, in the integral religated attitude of his personal being. It would be a mistake to think that the search for God is a simple dialectic of the reasoning reason; the search for God involves intrinsically and formally the moral, affective, individual, and social dimensions of the human personal being. But it would be a mistake of the opposite sign to think that this search excludes reason. That is totally false. First, because intelligence is an essential moment of the human personal being. And second, because this intelligence is where the rest of the dimensions of the personal being flourish; it is here where the rest of the dimensions play their indispensable function. Morality, hopes, the social world, are something specific and in addition not reducible to any kind of theoretical concepts. Nevertheless the moral, the affective, and the social move intelligence internally to clarify what is desired, what is obligatory, and the structure of the social world. This is the function of reason. In its turn reason does not clarify the terminus in a purely rational way, but only reasonably, i.e., reason itself is modulated in its intellection by the moral, affective, individual, and social dimensions of the personal being. The fact is that {296} reason, just like intelligence, is not merely a pure conceptual representation; reason is a going towards the fundament of the truth of deity. Therefore, this going is to proceed with the clarification of the stepping march to which the entire being of man hurls him through the manifestation of deity. Precisely because this manifestation concerns the whole of man, the stepping march of clarification is that peculiar mode of intellection by reason we call groping. Reason proceeds by groping among all dimensions of his personal being. And since these dimensions insofar as religated are under the power of reality as such, the groping is eo ipso a groping of the reality of all things as manifestation of deity. Reason gropes within the mystery of deity because it is carried along by the fundamentality of his own personal being. Our own personal being, actually, insofar as reality is also present to us “as towards”. Therefore, this groping fundamentality is the groping towards an ultimate God, possibilitating, and impelling, i.e., in the groping itself we already carry the sketch of what we search for: the sketch of a God as ultimate, possibilitating, and impelling. Without this sketch man would never find that, which we call God. Fundamentality, groping, and sketch are the three characteristics of the search for God by reason, three characteristics, which reason has, not by itself, but because in intelligence the entire being of man “as towards” is actualized. The unity of the three characteristics of the search is imposed and conferred on reason by the sentient intelligence in which the whole personal being of man flourishes. Nevertheless, because it is a groping, reason keeps making its way through the mystery of deity4. And while {297} making its way reason is offered several different possibilities or ways to proceed towards God; namely, the way of searching for God among the things on which the life of man depends, the way of searching for God beyond all real things, the way of searching for God in the totality of real things insofar as such totality, i.e., in the cosmos. This search, I was saying, involves the entire being of man, and also indeed, his dimension or social structure. Consequently, the stepping march of reason following a certain way does not mean that every man individually considered is searching for divinity. That would be completely false. In general, each individual is already installed on the way, which his social world, the objective spirit, has sketched. Reason is above all “installed reason” on the way that is offered “to him” (Sp. “se” le ofrece) in the objective spirit. Man accepts, therefore, the God that “is reached” (Sp. “se” llega) by this way, the God admitted by his world. Still, an installed reason is not an “obturate reason”. Regardless of the strength of its installation on the objective spirit, individual reason always preserves the capacity to open its own way (either to understand and even confirm the way on which it is installed, or to undertake a new way), because reason is constitutively an “open reason”. After all, it is the work of some —not all— the great founders of religions, and of the meditations of great individual thinkers. They consolidate a way or may open new tracks in the objective spirit to reach God. From this perspective, the search for God as groping is a strict historical experience. This is how human reason has searched for God, groping among these three ways. It is the stepping march through the mystery of deity in things towards an ultimate reality, possibilitating, and impelling. ________________ 1 See Inteligencia sentiente, Inteligencia y realidad [“Sentient Intelligence, Intelligence and Reality“], op. cit., pp. 99-113. 2 Cf. Sobre la esencia [“On Essence“], op. cit., p. 417-454 (X. Zubiri note). 3 Zubiri notes at the margin: “Explain why it is ‘at one and the same time’ (‘a una’)”. 4 Zubiri notes on the margin: “First: in fundamentality resides the root of the three ways”. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 6 (297-311) {297} (cont’d) cc) What does it find? Deity, let me repeat, is reality as such in its condition of power. It inheres, therefore, in reality {298} as the fundament of that condition of power1. And to this condition of reality is what we call divinity. Two points follow. First, that in contradistinction to deity, which has already been found immediately, divinity is always and only the terminus of a clarifying search by reason. Second, that since deity, regardless of the characteristic of its fundament, resides in reality, it follows that this fundament is necessarily in reality itself; put in simpler terms, divinity necessarily must be somewhere. Therefore, as long as simple divinity is searched for, reason has already found it inexorably, regardless of the way pursued. This must be considered in greater detail. As I have indicated, in the search for the fundament of deity, reason may undertake one of these three ways: the search for ultimate things, the search for a transcendent reality, the search for the structure of the totality of the cosmos. These three ways are not equivalent; they lead to three radically different types of fundament of deity in reality, i.e., to three radically different types of divinity as an ultimate, possibilitating, and impelling reality. With its sketch for an ultimate divinity, possibilitating, and impelling, reason approaches things, makes the effort to question them through groping; and these things give it their answer, quite different in accordance to the way followed. This is not the place to begin a discussion to decide, which of the three answers is the true one, or which is the adequate way to attain the truth about God. The only thing that concerns us here for this problem is another aspect of the question: to determine with precision the very characteristic of the {299} difference or diversity of the divinity reached by each one of the ways. At first sight, the difference might seem to consist that one way leads to the real God, while the God the other ways seem to reach is not, i.e., is not God. And since any diversity is inscribed within a common line, it follows that in this interpretation what is common to the three ways, i.e., the divinity, is at best an abstract concept of the divinity. But this is not exact, because the three ways actually reach the real divinity. Let us remember the extreme case of the Lunar god. The polytheist adores the Lunar divinity. But the expression “Lunar divinity” has three aspects: it may signify and at the same time signifies the “god in the Moon”, “god of the Moon”, and “Moon god”. It is true that in practice they may be entangled, or not expressly distinguished. The one who adores the Moon adores this heavenly object while seeing the divinity in it in an undiscerned way, without considering its different aspects. However, from itself (de suyo), in the Lunar divinity, besides the Moon itself as a heavenly object, the other two aspects are also included undiscernedly. Indeed, in this sense, also the monotheist reaches God in the Moon, because the monotheist God, since He is everywhere is also in the Moon. The same occurs with the one who adores the cosmos in its totality; the Moon is a moment of this totality, is immersed in divinity, and the totality itself is manifested in the Moon; thus, he reaches the divinity in the Moon. Therefore, the three ways reach, not an abstract concept of divinity, but the physical reality of a single divinity. What is common to the three ways is not a mere concept, but a physical reality. Because of this, the three ways are not only opposed to being “disjoined” ways (one God is real, the other two are not), but they converge as “conjoined”. The three physically reach one {300} divinity. Of course, one selfsame divinity, but through different aspects. And here is the margin of irreducibility of the three gods. As long as it is said assertively that the three ways lead to the same divine reality, one is enunciating an unassailable truth. For one way, the error of the other two is not in this assertive moment, but in the affirmation that the other two exclude the idea of God. For the monotheist it is not an error to affirm that God is in the Moon, or is in the entire cosmos, but it would be an error if he were to affirm that God is only in the Moon, or only in the entire cosmos. And in this exclusionary aspect, and only in it, one of the three gods is true, and the other two are not. Assertively, however, the three are true. With that point clear, we shall continue. The divinity is in reality fundamenting the deity. Consequently, there are only three ways to reach this fundament, i.e., these are the only three possible types of fundament. Therefore, reason inexorably attains the real divinity. Unless one were to say that reason does not find God through any of these three ways at all, that they lead nowhere, or at least, that it is not clear no other unknown ways exist. This is the position of atheism in the first case or agnosticism in the second. Both coincide in affirming that reason leads nowhere with respect to the divinity2. Nevertheless, this affirmation is nothing but the negative moment of a positive attitude, which we must discover and analyze. Notwithstanding that reason may or may not reach the divinity, the unquestionable fact remains that man configures his own personal being by his turning to reality qua reality, as ultimate, possibilitating, and impelling. Every human being, whether reaching divinity or not is religated to {301} deity, and conversely, actualizes the deity in his religation as fundamentality of his personal being. What the atheist and the agnostic do not find is the fundament of deity. Therefore, that to which they appeal as possibilitating ultimateness and in addition impelling, is purely and simply the dictate of their conscience in each case. This dictate is what constitutes the voice of conscience. The voice is the one that dictates what man must do or not do in each case. This voice is the positive attitude of both the agnostic and the atheist, whose negative moment is the negative appeal to any viable divinity. The ultimate, possibilitating, impelling invocation is the dictate of the voice of conscience. It is in it where the power of deity is actualized, a deity without God or without gods. This is the positive attitude we were interested in discovering. And, as such, it is an essential moment in the conscious elaboration of the being of the human person, notwithstanding his reference to divinity. However, it is necessary we investigate this attitude. It is the philosophical problem of the voice of conscience. The voice of conscience has two dimensions we must not confuse. On the one hand, the voice of conscience is that which conscience dictates; it is the dictate of what man must do or can do. The formal characteristic of this dictate is expressed in one sole concept: obligation. By this I do not mean that everything conscience dictates may be obligatory; often they are mere possibilities, but possibilities of realizing what I am going to be, and must be, i.e., they are inscribed in a fundamental obligation. Still, in the voice of conscience there is a different dimension. There is not only that which is dictated by conscience, but the dictation itself as such. And this no longer has the characteristic of obligation. That I may have to follow the dictate of my conscience is not an obligation, but a compulsion. I can certainly reverse it, but in this case the compulsion of the voice of {302} conscience is expressed in what is positive about the reversion. And this is what is essential about the voice of conscience: not what it dictates, but the dictation itself. Putting it in other words: given that what conscience dictates is an obligation, something intentional, the compulsion of the dictate itself is not intentional, but physical. To think that the “relation” of someone to his own conscience is in turn an obligation —the first obligation, if you will— is to fall into the same error as when one says that intelligence not only knows, but knows itself, and therefore, that the relationship of conscience with itself is self-knowledge. That is absolutely impossible. It is true there is self-knowledge, but because there is an autós capable of re-acting (Sp. reobrar) on itself. And this capacity is prior to the knowledge it finds in that turning upon itself. That is what reflexivity is. Reflexive knowledge presupposes the reflexivity of conscience. And this reflexivity is pre-cognitive. It is a physical moment of the reality we call intelligence. Therefore, having to follow the voice of conscience is not in turn a dictate of conscience, but something prior to this dictate. It is a physical moment of conscience. The “relationship” of man to his conscience is not one more obligation, but a voice, and therefore, something physical: it is a force. Something as sui generis as anyone may propose, but a force nevertheless. Only because man has a voice of conscience that dictates can there be an obligation towards oneself. The philosophical problem of the voice of conscience centers on the physical dimension of a voice that dictates, i.e., on the dictate as such. What is this voice? As a voice, it is above all a voice that dictates to me. I shall call it a “voice-to”. It is a physical moment, which forces me —as I said above, in its sui generis way. Now we can say with greater precision: it is the physical moment we call {303} power. The physical power of the “voice-to” is precisely that to which the agnostic and the atheist appeal. And not what it dictates, but that it is dictating to me is what constitutes the ultimate power, possibilitating, and impelling. Because of that, it keeps us religated. Religation essentially has that dimension as a “voice-to” me from conscience (although it may not exhaust itself in it, which is an entirely different matter). Because of that the agnostic and the atheist are religated to an ultimate power, possibilitating and impelling, which is the voce that dictates to me in my conscience. This voice is, therefore, a moment of the deity, and every man is religated to it, regardless of the fact that he may or may not be an atheist or an agnostic. Yet, the voice of conscience has a second aspect: it is not only a voice dictating to oneself, but a voice that dictates from the very conscience; this is the source of its singular strength and power. Now it is not only “voice-to”, but also “voice-from”. This is the accurate aim of the expression: the voice of conscience3. As I have said, the voice, the audition, is a strict intellection: an auditive intellection. Indeed, the voice of conscience is an auditive intellection. The power with which the voice of conscience makes me abide by reality —and which expresses the restlessness for the absolute being to which I am referring in my attitudes— is immediately present in the voice of conscience. It will be sufficient to analyze any moment and phenomenon in which the voice of conscience is involved in a thematic way and —if you will— somewhat loudly and clear in me, to understand that in this abiding by reality, the power of reality is actualized in an immediate way. Yes, but the real thing itself remains hidden behind the power of reality. And this thing suffers the same fate as the sonorous object: the thing that has a sound is not the {304} sound, but that, which sounds, it is the “fundament” of the sound. In this case it is a question of the hidden reality behind the auditive intellection, which constitutes the voice of conscience, and presents to me the power of the real. The voice of conscience is, in this sense, the sonorous palpitation of the power of the real in me. And this sonorous palpitation physically remits to that same reality, as its fundament. It might then be said that, in the best of cases, if it remits to a reality it would be mine, but not the one belonging to other things. Here is precisely where the error resides. Because insofar as real, I am not any different than the other things4. That to which I am made to abide by the voice of conscience and the power of the real is the real qua real. And, therefore, regardless of the kind of things among which man finds himself, which he contacts and encounters, that in which he is, is in reality. That applies equally to this reality I am. Certainly, it is the voice of “my” conscience, but what it dictates to me is to abide by reality, whichever it may be. Consequently, that voice of conscience, though emergent from “my” substantive reality, and though dictating to me to abide by reality, is a dictate of reality qua reality. Indeed, in it all other things are incorporated. There is no difference at all between a human way and a metaphysical way in the voice of conscience and in its remittance to the fundament. Because of this, the voice of conscience is not a mere moral phenomenon, but is the voice of reality that remits to its fundament, and palpitates sonorously in the depth of this reality I am, of my absolute reality. Religated to ultimate reality, possibilitating, and impelling, its power {305} makes us absolute, makes us radically restless, and calls us in the voice of conscience, by which every act down to the smallest, is remitted physically to the real fundament of that power. [Anyone who locks himself within the dictate of his own conscience not only locks himself with what his conscience tells him, but also with the very saying of his conscience, with the dictate. In the dictate, actually, the divinity, which constitutes the root of that dictate, is palpitating. Atheism is a confinement of conscience in the palpitation of God in the depth of the spirit. In its own way it reaches God.]5 Finally, the preambulary characteristic of reason consists in being an open reason. From the point of view of reason, it is an inconceivable tyranny to believe that it simply consists in understanding what we have in front of us. Reason and intelligence, even in their most modest strata, besides this presentative dimension, do have a directive dimension, they have a “towards”. In that case truth does not consist exclusively in a conformity with what reason understands presentatively, but rather, if we follow the way of this “towards”, we reach a point where actually, reality, through this way, realizes by elevation what inside this way has lead us to the point. This is the idea of open reason. C) Historical reason. All of the above is not quite final. The Church, primarily in the XIX cent. has an encounter with a third dimension of reason: historical reason. Now the Church finds herself in the necessity of dealing not just with this or that dogma, but with the totality of her own historical development. And that is a radically important question. Because up to this point {306} the Church had limited herself to unfolding revelation throughout the whole of history. But a moment is reached when it is inexorable that she becomes aware of herself, and asks, In what does this development consist? That was the problem of the evolution of dogma6. It is a new vision of Biblical exegesis and theology. Facing this problem new possibilities appear. 1) One possibility —the most elemental, the first one that comes to mind and the one most false— is to think that revelation is an “impulse”. An impulse that, although it has had its beginning in Abraham, for that, which concerns Christianity it has begun with Christ. It is similar to a great wave, which continues to propagate throughout history. Throughout its length it continues to receive different forms, and different conceptualizations. All of them are, actually, extrinsic to its impulse. These are the symbols in which she expresses herself, and by which she maintains herself. But the only thing that really matters is this impulse that, although transforming itself through many formulations not affecting the intrinsic truth, preserves itself purely and simply as an impulse stemming from Christ. This external symbolism was defended at the beginning of the century by what was called, with the probably unfortunate name of modernism. Indeed, the Church rejected this point of view as impossible from inside the essence of what Christianity is. Because revelation is not an “impulse”, but a “deposit” of truth. Containing any amount of the historic, but a deposit of truth nevertheless. 2) This created the necessity of putting in motion a second possibility: to interpret the history of revelation as a “declaration” of the deposit. Dogma is, actually, the {307} “definition” of the deposit. This problem had not been alien to the theologians now for several centuries. Rightly so, for there is a historical distinction between revelation and a dogma. A dogma is a truth not formally enunciated in revelation. Obviously, there are numerous formally enunciated truths in revelation. But there are others, which are not formally enunciated in revelation, which the labor of the Church in understanding it (for the moment let us say it simply this way) has been defining as truths, afterwards. And this is what in all propriety is called dogma. In this sense, not all the reality of revelation is dogma: it is more than a dogma. For example, the naked fact that Christ is the Son of God is not the object of a dogma; it is formally in the deposit of revelation. What will be the object of a dogma is to affirm, for example, in what His filiation consists, or to affirm that Christ is God in the sense of an eternal and personal Word, or that He is God insofar as Incarnate Word, etc. Therefore, there is a formal difference between what the simple revealed deposit is, and a dogmatic definition. Thus, a dogmatic definition is not simply the declaration of a truth. It is something more. A dogmatic definition is the declaration of a truth, which is defined as already contained in the revealed deposit. That is the important question. Because regardless of the reasons or the motives, which lead the human spirit (including the collective spirit of the Church or the individual spirit of the Pontiff 7) to that definition, those reasons never form a part —unless the contrary is expressly stated— of the dogmatic definition. The dogmatic definition is not in the consideranda, but in the sentence. All the rest is very important, it may have great authority, but is not {308} what formally constitutes the dogma. The dogma enunciates the truth of a proposition as contained in the revealed deposit. To do this the Church calls upon the infallible assistance of the Holy Spirit. However, this is not an obstacle for theology wishing to ask, in the first place, how these truths were pre-contained in the revealed deposit. Furthermore, although the reasons may not form part of the dogma, without them there would not have been a way to reach the definition. Then, a second question has to be asked, about how these truths were extracted from the revealed deposit7. These two questions are essentially connected. Because depending on the reply as to how they are extracted, the idea about how they were pre-included in the first place is going to be greatly influenced. Theologians in general have pondered primarily and above all on what they call the theological conclusion, deduced from the premises of a reasoning process. Both can be dogmatic, which will then result in a third dogma, as a consequence of the previous ones. But it may happen —and this is the most difficult part of the problem— that the major premise is already a revealed dogma or is formally in the deposit of revelation, and the second premise is a truth from natural reason or philosophy. What is the value of the conclusion then? Many theologians (I prescind now from all the great differences that exist in the conceptualization of what a theological conclusion is) {309} agree that the theological conclusion, as a conclusion, leads to a definable truth. Of course, not all dogmas, at least apparently, are in this situation. First, because there are theological conclusions, which can have an enormous weight, without being dogmas of faith. For example, that Christ while on Earth had a Beatific Vision. It may seem strange that no one denies this; but it is not a truth of faith, it is not a dogma of the Church. However, there are other dogmas, which are dogmas just as much as the very divinity of Christ, and as a theological conclusion are somewhat or completely fragile. For example, the Immaculate Conception. It serves no purpose to wield the argument of Duns Scotus: potuit, decuit, ergo fecit. Of course, the difficulty resides in the second premise: “it was convenient to do it”. Here is where the theologians disagreed. Not even considering the fact that it is not true that Scotus formulated his defense of the Immaculate Conception through this reasoning8, the Immaculate Conception is something completely incidental and marginal in his theology. After the dogmatic definition it has received an aura that Scotus himself never gave to it. Scotus believed, like so many others, in the Immaculate Conception simply through piety for the Holy Virgin Mary, and the performance of his religious life. Not all dogmatic truths are, at least strictly, conclusions. It is certain that after being defined a dogma can be given the form of a conclusion. But they are always a posteriori arrangements. Nevertheless, there are two ways that no theologian would reject out of hand, regardless of the form he chooses to articulates them: the way of conclusion, and the way of religious living. On the one hand, the dogmatic truth as a conclusion. And, on the {310} other, as a discovery of some truths in revelation through sensibility, through internal religious living, through the spiritual life. However, these two solutions in one form or another benefit from the solution given to the issue of how dogmas are contained in revelation. On the one hand, every conclusion is implicitly contained in the premises. And if it were because of religious living, this life would illuminate what is implicitly contained in revelation. In this case the dogma would also be pre-contained in the deposit of revelation as the explicit is contained in the implicit. It is an initial implicitness. Certainly, one cannot avoid making a few observations about this conception. a) In the first place, here we have two ways of reaching a dogma. They may be articulated in one form or another, but it is difficult to deny a real autonomy either to theological conclusions, which lead to the condemnations of Arius or Nestorius, or to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, or the recently defined dogma of the Assumption of Mary. These are two different ways resting on implicitness. But then, are they really two different ways? Why? Are there any others? b) In the second place we are told that the dogma defined this way is implicitly contained in the deposit of revelation. Yes, but here we have another equivocation, subtle, but with some importance. Because to be implicit is not the same as being implicated. Everything implicated is not implicit in the sense of a conclusion. c) Even more, since that which is implicated is not only the set of some defined dogmatic propositions, but something different. Let us not forget that from its very origin revelation is a sóma, a body, where consequently implication does not only mean {311) that some dogmas combined with others lead to a third, but that the formulation, the doubt, or the obscurity about a point has repercussions upon the integrity of the whole body of revelation. This is true, regardless of the type of dogmas proposed. It goes without saying what it could do to the Trinitarian dogma: What would happen to the ultimate sense of the life of grace, and the possession of eternal life if Christ, for example, were only an adoptive Son of God, or if the Holy Spirit were not God? Even in dogmas, which apparently do not enunciate anything but facts, the repercussion is immediate. Take the case of the Immaculate Conception. Certainly, as a privilege of Mary it can be of great usefulness to all of us. Without doubt the dogma enunciates a personal privilege of the Virgin Mary. However, it also involves a conception of eschatology, i.e., it reinforces down to its ultimate consequences the idea of original sin, what it is, and what the exemption from original sin means. With it the entire body of revelation vibrates. Analogously with the Assumption of Mary. It is a personal privilege. But this personal privilege precisely clarifies an eschatological dimension inhering in revelation as such: the difference between death and corruption. It is not of faith that the Blessed Mother has not died. What was defined is that she suffered no corruption. Evidently, where dogmas are implicated is not just on their relation to each other, but to the entire body of revelation, to its characteristic of sóma. ________________ 1 Originally the phrase, corrected by Zubiri’s hand, said: “Inheres, therefore, in reality, but in its condition of power”. 2 Here ends the typewritten text by Zubiri, and is followed by two manuscript pages. 3 Zubiri refers to the 1968 seminar, where he has undertaken the problem of the voice of conscience. From this point on we follow part of that exposition. 4 Zubiri notes at the margin: ““careful with this” (Sp. “ojo”) [Tr. note: literally “eye”, idiomatic expression meaning “watch this carefully”]. 5 The text in square brackets comes from the 1965 Barcelona seminar. From here on the typewritten transcription continues, corrected by Zubiri, of the 1965 Madrid seminar. 6 A Zubiri work on the problem of the evolution of dogma, dating from 1967, and the study of this problem during the 1971 seminar will be published in a future book about Christianity [Tr. note: This book was published in 1997 under the title El problema teologal del hombre: Cristianismo (“The Theological Problem of Man: Christianity”). It is the third one of the trilogy about God]. 7 Zubiri writes a question mark on the margin. 8 On a file card Zubiri writes: “The dogmas: 1st. How were they contained a) As conclusion b) As living organism (Newman) 2nd. How are they extracted a) Through reasoning b) Through religious sensibility” 8 Zubiri notes at the margin: “it was Eadmer”. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 6 (311-325) {311} (cont’d) 3) These observations do not invalidate the work of theologians in reaching for conclusions. They do invite to make —at least modestly— some reflections to pay stricter attention to what the history of revelation is. The history of dogmas is, from the point of view of the history of some truths, something that is inscribed in what truth {312} really is when it is being discovered by men regardless of the order with which it is accomplished. Truth can be conceived as a conformity of thought with things. There is no doubt about that. But what is also true is that man does not discover those propositions, in conformity with reality, simply by just looking with our eyes. The real object that man faces, in addition to the real properties it possesses, offers some possibilities founded on it. Offered not only for truth, but in general for the whole structure of man. For example —this is a problem of Physics— the air has a certain number of properties such as density, weight, volume, etc. But man adumbrates a possibility, such as the possibility of utilizing air as a means of travel. This is something different. Possibilities are not formally properties of air. One possibility —for example, building airplanes— does not necessarily add or discover a new property of reality. However, it is quite clear that without certain real properties these possibilities would never exist. Yet, among the possibilities that reality envisages for man, there are some, which do not refer exclusively to what man is going to do with things, but have reference to an internal intellection of the very reality man has in front of him: they are possibilities directed to its internal intellection. And these possibilities do not lead to a utilization of reality as in the case of other possibilities (which we might call external possibilities), but lead to a further intellection, and a deeper one, of reality itself. These possibilities are adumbrated from —and in— a perfectly delineated mental situation. For example, in the XV cent. there were two possibilities to understand nature: one as an organism, the other as a mechanism. Galileo opted for the second, and created Mathematical Physics. {313} Possibilities are envisaged from a perfectly concrete situation. And in this situation from the side of the intellect, the different possibilities are inchoatively directed by reality itself. And, while taking each as a way to reach the interior of reality, they present themselves to us as internal possibilities of intellection. Of these possibilities, some are fulfilled in the real object; others are not. And the fulfillment of one of these possibilities in the real object is precisely what we call the truth of this possibility. Reality, therefore, is not only that, which formally and expressly is present in front of our eyes, but also that, which in an inchoative way directs us towards the interior of things, to the place where this inchoative possibility finds its exact fulfillment. The truth of a possibility is its fulfillment. Consequently, the way to reach a discernment of the fulfillment of a possibility in a reality can be quite varied. Of course, it can be through a reasoning. The Poisson equation can be applied to calculate the distribution of gravitation in a continuous mass. There is no doubt in this; it is mathematical reasoning. But also it cannot be denied that this is a “possibility” (perhaps one in many) to understand the internal reality of a fluid. It follows that there might be a different way: the return to a new inspection of reality; not to perform a new reasoning, but to pay attention to it, for example, in the form of a new experiment. Be that as it may, in both cases the truth of the possibility resides precisely in its fulfillment in reality. Indeed, in the case of a conclusion —including the most strict and rigorous sense of the term— this dimension of possibility is present. The most logical conclusion in the world (A is B, B is C, therefore A is C) has two aspects. {314} One, the logical rigor of a conclusion. From this aspect the conclusion still has purely and simply the logical rigor, which it derives from the premises. There is no doubt at all of this, and, therefore, only logic —in the formal or real sense of the term— has the last word in order to know if that is true or not. Here truth is “conformity”. Quite so, but nothing prevents that the enunciation of the premises may have been more or less accepted as a possibility to understand reality from the point of view of man. And, in such case, the same conclusion is presented to us not only as a rigorous and logical conclusion from some premises, but as the fulfillment of a possibility. Truth is “fulfillment”. If under the first aspect this reasoning is a logical conclusion, under the second aspect it is an event in the strict sense I give to this term. In other words, it is purely and simply the true fulfillment of a possibility. In that case truth is something intrinsically historical. Therefore, the same truth is at the same time the one and the other. Yet, that by which it is historical is not that by which it is logical. They are two different dimensions of the same conclusion. Logic is not opposed to history and neither is history to logic. That by which the conclusion is rigorously logic is not the same than that by which it is an event in the strict sense I have just defined. This new reality is certainly in reality. Yes, but how? Certainly not as an implicit property in other properties (it might be the case, but it is not necessarily so), it is rather the case of possibilities founded in reality, in order to know them intellectually. Possibility is not in things implicitly, as an implicit property among others, but as a possibility. For example, the capacity to be a means of transportation is in the {315} physical reality of that to which it is a possibility. It is there foundationally or fundamentally, in the sense of fundament. Man, in his diverse historical situations, keeps illuminating and obturating different internal possibilities for the intellection of reality. There is no doubt that, for example, the mathematical Physics of Galileo has illuminated fabulous possibilities for the intellection of reality. But, Who is actually sure that the predominance of the mathematical vision of the universe has not left behind in the dark other dimensions, which nature offers to us? We shall never know it, or at least we shall need a lot of time before we know it. Before the illumination, truths were there undiscernedly, which does not mean they were there confusedly. The fact is that the question had not been posed yet, and, therefore, the possibilities had not appeared to the human mind. This is the essential point. The history of truth is a stepping march towards the deeper reality of the object. Having clarified the basic issue, let us now deal with dogma. a) In a first stage we have the integral revealed deposit. It has some expressed truths, and in addition some inchoated truths in the form I have just described. b) Facing this inchoateness in a perfectly concrete situation, man is enlightened by certain possibilities. Nevertheless, this situation is an integral situation, the integral religious situation of man. It does not exclude reasoning or intelligence, but there is no reason why it should be limited to them. In addition there are the many other dimensions of the religious situation, like piety, morality, etc. What defines the oneness of the situation in which man illuminates his possibilities facing the deposit of revelation is precisely the integral religious situation. Not even the most intransigent religious heretic, such as Arius and Nestorius were, would have refused {316} to say that his situation was religious. Even the theological conclusion is not a speculation, which operates in a vacuum, but is illuminated in and from an integral religious situation. c) Among these possibilities one is the true one. The others are not true. The one that is true is precisely the one that is fulfilled, and is the terminus of a dogmatic definition. Therefore, dogma is fundamentally located in the revealed deposit. Dogma does not depend at all on the reasons, which may have led to its discovery as a definable truth. Even the consideranda, which may appear in a definitory Bull or in a conciliar Decree with respect to interpretations of passages in the Sacred Scriptures, etc., unless they are expressly defined, do not constitute part of the definition. It is also possible that errors may be involved. The dogmatic affirmation is the affirmation —through the infallible assistance of the Holy Spirit— for the fulfillment of a possibility in the revealed deposit. The truth of dogma is located fundamentally in the revealed deposit. It follows that dogma, which a parte rei is fundamentally in the revealed deposit, from the side of the human intellect —inscribed in a religious situation—, is only there inchoatively. It is not the case that it is there confusedly. It is not even the case that it is there implicitly, because this would affect the content of the revealed deposit. It means purely and simply that it is there fundamentally in the sense of a “foundationality”. The definition defines the fulfillment of a possibility of intellection in the revealed deposit. The dogma is foundationally and foundedly located in the revealed deposit. And precisely because each dogmatic definition is the fulfillment of a possibility, revelation, in its dogmatic definitions, is intrinsically and formally historical. Dogma is located {317} in the inchoative and historical fundamentality of revelation. The value of the dogmatic definition and fountain of its truth resides on the infallible assistance of the Holy Spirit. One may think that this infallible assistance is something external that floats, so to speak, above the vicissitudes of history. How could we possibly admit this? It is just the opposite. What the infallible ecclesiastical illumination does is precisely to realize by the very organ of the Church the intrinsic historicity of revelation. It is not a light extrinsically added to it. Infallibility is the órganon of the intrinsic historicity of revelation. It is not something meta-historical. Dogma, through an assistance of the Holy Spirit (leaving aside the question whether this assistance is merely negative or involves a special illumination —even though it may not be a revealing one— for the act of definition), defines in this intrinsic manner, which is not extrinsic to history. Dogma is the expression of the intrinsic historicity of revelation. Consequently, in the first place, it is not true that there is an evolution of dogma, if by evolution we understand a transformation. That would be the modernist thesis, which is totally unacceptable. In the second place, strictly speaking, there is no development of dogma. “Development” is a biological concept, by virtue of which it is thought that the history of revelation is like a germ that undergoes development. An appeal was made —although that had not been the intention of Christ— to the evangelical parable of the mustard seed, reinforced with the idea of yeast, which ferments bread. Of course, all this concerned the properties, i.e., the material content of the revealed deposit. However, I believe that this is not the case at all. The situation points to the fact that dogmatic truths are fundamentally located in the revealed deposit, and are {318} defined as possibilities, which are fulfilled in it. Therefore, there is no evolution, no development of dogma, but purely and simply, history of dogma. History of revelation. The history of dogma, therefore, depends on a divine will —positive and formal— for an intrinsically historical revelation. The revealed deposit not only has a history in the sense of vicissitudes, but is intrinsically historical. History is revelation in act. This expression not only means that in each moment of history there is the presence of what is actually revealed and proposed to the faith of the faithful. It also means that a parte Dei God himself has made His revelation in a historical way. The act of revelation is intrinsically, formally, and theologically historical. It must have history because of the way God himself has wished to make the revelation. The Church cannot safely maintain the revealed deposit except by declaring herself, i.e., illuminating and elucidating what are the possibilities that are fulfilled. That is the history of dogma, the history of the possibilities of revelation, which gather a greater enlightenment throughout history. To clarify this we must point out three essential things. a) No dogma is established in solidarity to the situation, which has illuminated the concepts formulated in it. Every dogma, once defined, is not only true for all time, but also for everyone. Consequently the Church, when defining a dogma, never establishes a solidarity with the philosophical sense of the words employed, even though these words may proceed from a particular philosophy. That would be completely chimerical. The Church utilizes these terms purely and simply in a common sense. When she has referred to the difference between nature and person —leaving aside the metaphysical speculation about the difference between substance and subsistence— the Church {319} has appealed purely and simply to something that without these discussions would not have been clarified, but belongs to common usage: the difference between the what, and the who. What Christ is, God and man. But then, Who is Christ? The Incarnate Word, identically. The same occurs with the Trinity. And the same occurs with any other dogma. Even the famous Council of Vienne, which said that the soul is the substantial form of the human body, did not have the least intention to dogmatically define Aristotelian hylomorphism. What it wished to define was, against those who admitted three souls, that there is only one soul1. Since it was usually admitted then that the soul was the substantial form of the body, the definition of the Council of Vienne (1311-1312) defended the oneness of the human spirit, but it never referred to the hylomorphic characteristic with which it informs a body. b) In the second place, if no dogma is in solidarity with certain particular philosophical concepts, then we will ask, In what does simple faith consist? This expression “simple faith” is equivocal. It is equivocal because there can be no denying that throughout history further truths about revelation have been illuminated. What has not been increasing is the content of revelation. That is absolutely certain. Therefore, this expression “simple faith” may have an assertive sense: actually one believes just what the Creed says and no more. This is a strict and rigorous faith, of course. Nevertheless, if someone were to tell me: I believe this, and in addition I formally exclude everything the Church may say or has said with respect to the dogmas, clearly that man would place himself outside the Church. Simple faith is a purely assertive faith, and not {320} exclusive. And in this assertive form, from the Gospels to the Cappadocian Fathers, and to the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, divine filiation was admitted, the characteristic of Son of God. However, that this characteristic is regarded as a person, and that this person is in Trinitarian circumincession with others, is a dogma that, unless it is formally excluded from simple faith, does not invalidate it. c) In the third place, the history of dogma is radically incomplete. First, How can we pretend that the enunciated dogmas are absolutely adequate to what they wish to define? No dogma enjoys this privilege. Even in the case of dogmas so elementary as the definition that there are only seven sacraments. The definition seems to be quite adequate. But one may ask, What does it mean that they are seven? Does it mean they are different signs and each one efficiently produces its own specific grace? That is quite true. But then, Does this mean that the mode of producing grace by each one of these symbols is incompatible with those of the other sacraments, and does not produce the grace of other sacraments? That would be false theologically. Any sacrament can produce per accidens —as a theologian says— the grace of other sacraments2. Even in this very simple case it is not so easy to find the moment of adequation. And, second, because with or without adequation, How can we say that the possibilities for an internal intellection of the revealed deposit are exhausted? That would be absurd. To appreciate this let us recall the last dogmatic constitution of Vatican II, with reference to {321} episcopal collegiality. That it is in conformity with reality, is clearly unquestionable. Nevertheless, Does it adequately and exhaustively express everything that episcopal collegiality is? No bishop would admit it. This stage, therefore, has been the encounter of Christianity with modern reason in its scientific, philosophical, and historical forms3. Indeed, confronting this world there were two distinct possibilities. One, the attitude of defending itself. Unfortunately, it has been the attitude, which for centuries Christianity and the Church have taken. By virtue of this attitude, the development of the modern world has been accomplished completely outside the doors of the Church. The other possibility was different, to have done again with modern reason precisely what previously had been done with Greek reason, to have used it internally and intimately, in order to develop with it new and different possibilities for Christianity. These possibilities, in turn, may open different ways. On one hand, for example, opening the way of salvation, to consider Christianity as a religion of salvation. But next to this there are other different and possible ways, which are not indeed the way of salvation. Be that as it may, if we now consider not only scientific and philosophical reason, but in addition historical reason, then the universality of Christianity appears with a different characteristic than the one it had within mediaeval theology. Mediaeval theology understood by universality that all men, by the mere fact they are members of the human species, are called to Christ. On the other hand, here it is a matter of something different, of a perfectly historical oneness. All men, in their internal historical unity, in {322} their historical activities, and in their historical connections, develop a universality, and that universality is precisely the one about which St. Paul talks to us (cf. Rom 1:1-3, 21; 5:12-21; Eph 2:11-22). V. Christianity and religions Now a fifth stage is entered, the present one. In it Christianity has to deal not only with modern reason, but with something different: with modern history, i.e., with other peoples and other mentalities. Until now theology had moved evenly within the ambit of the concepts, which Greek thought had provided to it, definitely within the ambit of European thought. But then, what about the other types of thought? What about other peoples with other mentalities, and different religions? Needless to say that facing different mentalities Christianity can adopt different attitudes. On the one hand, it has been able to consider that other mentalities are not adequate for a real and exact apprehension of what Christianity pretends. Of course, no one has put it just like that, but de facto it has been practiced by almost everyone. This aura of a strange and alien religion, which Christianity has when it has been preached in Asia, Is there any doubt that it comes from this attitude? The other possibility is precisely the opposite: to consider that everything to which historical Christianity has been most attached and connected, i.e., Greek reason and the whole of speculative theology, is nothing but a mentality like any other. It is nowhere indicated that different mentalities belonging to other peoples may not be at some time the adequate órganon {323} to discover and actualize new aspects of revelation, completely inadverted by Greek reason, by European reason. Just as an example of this, we may point to the fact that Greek reason in European theology has had to speculate enormously concerning the idea in what the divinity of Christ consists, as a complete exception within humanity. For a Brahman the problem is entirely the opposite. For them this is something commonplace. Brahmanic pantheism, which is not a European style pantheism, consists precisely in the idea that everything has a divine subsistence. For Catholic theology, that God could have become Incarnate in the entire creation, and in addition not only one person, but the three, has not been anything more than a kind of dialectical occurrence. However, it is a living situation for Brahmanic thought. The idea of Incarnation would appear quite differently, when assimilated by Indian mentality, than the way it has been assimilated by European mentality. This is so because a finished revelation does not mean an exhausted revelation. Unfortunately, the routine of European thought has lead men to believe that revelation is not only finished, but in addition finished in the way it has occurred in time. But that will depend on the will of God, and certainly that is not what He wishes. Furthermore, Christianity not only has to face other mentalities, which will eventually impress a different history to the idea of the Christian God —definitely within the finished revelation—, but in addition has to face the entire body of the religions of other peoples. It is interesting to note here that the first critical history of religious ideas has come {324} from Islam, from ’Ibn Hazm of Córdoba4 (994-1064). At any rate, the situation of facing other religions, insofar as non-Christian religions, has to be taken up by Christianity from its own point of view5. Now Christianity faces a problem, which is not similar to the ones it has been facing in the past (such as conceptual thinking, a meditation on its own history, the history of dogma and revelation, etc.), but in some respects a more basic problem. What is Christianity from the point of view of the history of religions, and what is the phenomenon of religious history? It is an examination of conscience, not through what affects the history of Christian revelation, but through what affects the theology of history insofar as it is a history in which God manifests Himself. This is the Christian theology —just starting and learning to talk— of the history of religions. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Finally, the history of Christianity, as history of the Church, is not a history of revelation, but precisely the revelation itself in act. Because of this it is constituted with an intrinsic historicity. In other words, history is not only the vehicle of revelation, but is also the very actuality of revelation in all its manifestations. In the first place, from the point of view of its revealed moment, each moment incorporates the previous one. Our profession of faith incorporates what the preaching of Christ and the Apostles was. And that preaching incorporates the whole development {325} of the religious idea in the Old Testament, in the whole of Israel. In the second place, as revelation it brings to history the very actuality of God, to be able to communicate with God really and truly. In the third place, it opens up the horizon towards the consummation of time. In addition, this revelation as act has two aspects. On the one hand, undeniably, it possesses the characteristic of act, like any other historical act. An act in which actually new forms are being discovered by virtue of more or less complicated procedures and processes. But for the believer there is a second aspect, because this act, as a purely historical reality, is precisely revelation in act, i.e., a manifestation of something that in a historical and real way, lies beneath the merely historical concatenation. In other words, this is the way of historical transcendence to access God, to the strict revelation. The oneness of these two dimensions of the act is precisely what constitutes the mystery of history. And the mystery as act in the first sense (as historical occurrence in act, but an act purely internal to history), is strictly the sign of the act in the second sense. A sign of what occurs in the depth of it, namely, the revelation of Revelation in an intrinsic historicity. Consequently this sign of history incorporates the past, actualizes revelation, and opens towards the future. It is, in a radical and strict sense, a sacramentum. This is precisely what every sacrament has. Therefore, for Christianity, the mystery of its own history is purely and simply revelation in act, i.e., historical time as sacrament of eternity. ________________ 1 It concerns the condemnation of some theses by Franciscan theologian Petrus Johannis Olivi (+1298), according to whom the spiritual soul could not immediately be united to the body, but needed a prior sensitive and vegetative soul. 2 Zubiri refers to A. Tanquerey, Synopsis theologiæ dogmaticæ, t. III: De Deo sanctificante et remunaratore seu de Gratia, de sacramentis, et de novissimis, Roma, 1919 (16th ed.), pp. 220-221. 3 From this point on, we follow the 1971 seminar. 4 Cf. his work Kitab al-fasl fi ’l-milal wa’l-ahwa wa’l-nihal, translated into Spanish by M. Asín Palacios, Abenházam de Córdoba y su historia crítica de las ideas religiosas (’Ibn Hazm of Córdoba and his critical history of religious ideas), 5 vols., Madrid, 1927-1932. 5 From this point on we follow the text of the 1965 Madrid seminar. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 7 (327-339) {327} CHAPTER VII CHRISTIANITY AND THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS In the previous chapter I have shown that Christianity, in a fifth stage, now faces other mentalities. Not one of them has the special privilege to illumine new possibilities for the intellection of the revealed deposit. Indeed the history of revelation is not finished at all. Furthermore, these mentalities have many religions. They are not simply the paganism, which St. Paul encountered, but the very religious fact in its whole complexity and magnitude. Christianity, in its fourth stage, i.e., in the encounter with modern reason, had to take into account its own internal history. Now, with this other type of encounter, it has to take into account its own historical reality within the history of religions. The first issue lead to a theology of the history of revelation. The second cannot fail but to culminate in a theology of the history of religions. It is still a theology just now taking its first uncertain steps. I am going to dedicate this last chapter to it. What is theologically for Christianity the history of religions? Christianity presents itself as true. Fine. But then, from {328} the point of view of the history of religions, three inexorable questions do arise. First: What is Christianity as a true religion, not only in itself, but in history? Second: What are the other religions? And, third: What is Christianity in its unity with the rest of the religions of history? {329} § 1 CHRISTIANITY AS TRUE RELIGION It is not only the case that Christianity may be true. Of course, Christianity already presupposes this. That is not the question. The question is to know what it is that this truth represents with respect to the fact of the religious history of mankind. That is the question, namely, the problem of Christianity as the way of access to God1. We have said that Christ preaches God the Father of all men, mercy, and the Beatitudes as identification badges for membership to the kingdom of Heaven, etc. One will immediately think this is true. However, even though no small matter, this is not what is most essential and crucial. Because what is most essential and crucial is not the fact that Christ may have preached a divine truth, but that He, really and physically, is the very divine truth. And that is an entirely different matter. Here He not only functions as a prophet and educator, but at the same time functions as a physically existent reality on Earth. He is the very God, and with that the access to God is not simply the acceptance of some truths via the way of transcendence. It is now something more profound. Indeed, He is the very way of transcendence. God is reached, yes, the Christian God, but in a Christian and divine way. In this sense Christianity represents, as religion, the deification of the way of transcendence. Not only is God accessed, but {330} God is accessed divinely, in a divine way. That was precisely the attitude of Christ2. When we say that the Christian religion is the true one, we mean that it is a definitive truth, where definitive means that it is precisely the divine access to God. For that reason it is the religion, the definitive truth, the only way that actually leads to the reality of God. That is what we mean when we say that Christianity is true religion, i.e., not only that what Christianity says is true, correctly understood, but that in addition Christianity is precisely the deification of the way of transcendence. Christ is not only the one who preaches about God, but is actually God himself leading all men to the most profound reality of God. Having said this, we now take up the second question. What are the other religions in themselves? {331} § 2 THE OTHER RELIGIONS IN THEMSELVES This is an issue, which becomes progressively sharper, as greater energy is displayed when affirming that Christianity is a definitive truth. What happens then to the other religions? A) Let us first take the other religions in themselves. Undeniably, we must affirm that all religions intrinsically and formally involve —we shall see in what sense— an access to the God of Christianity. There are two possibilities to interpret this access. One is the most obvious possibility, which consists in saying that it is the case of an individual access. All men, taken individually, can have access to Christ. If they have another religion, they have access to Christ despite having another religion. This is precisely the idea of good faith. A Buddhist in good faith, a Mohammedan in good faith, a pantheist in good faith, they all reach the Christian God. And they reach Him precisely because they have good faith, i.e., notwithstanding the religion they have. However, Is this the only possible interpretation? One might think there is a different possibility, which consists in considering that the Buddhist or the Brahman do not reach the Christian God despite being Buddhists or Brahmans, but do so in the measure they are good Buddhists and good Brahmans, and precisely by being so. In this case the objective body of religion has an intrinsic value for the access to the God of Christianity, and not just individuals because of their good faith. {332} Precisely because he is a good Buddhist he can reach the reality of Christ. This may seem somewhat paradoxical. Not quite. Not everything in the religion of Israel can be transplanted into Christianity. The attitude, which the whole ancient world and Israel adopt towards their enemies is not tolerable inside Christianity. With respect to some precepts Christ himself said: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now” (Jn 16:12). Be that as it may, the objective body of religion can actually lead to the Christian God without being intrinsically and formally the one of Christianity. There is, therefore, a universality of all religions with respect to the God of Christianity. A universality that is not simply individual, but an objective universality. B) In the second place, every religion is not only universal, but in addition none is false simpliciter. That would be quite absurd. Other religions, as we have seen, utilize ways different than the way of monotheism. They are ways, in the etymological sense of the term, “ab-errant”, i.e., they roam about, but through roaming they reach the God of Christianity. There is no doubt about that. Therefore, this means that the objective body in which this “ab-erration” exists —insofar as it actually reaches the Christian God in its own “circumlocutory” way— is precisely a Christianity, but "de-form"3 (Sp. “de-forme”). Every non-Christian religion is intrinsically and formally a “de-form” Christianity. The deformity of the objective body of a religion is just the inexorable consequence of the “ab-errant” characteristic of the way that was taken. And this applies absolutely to {333} irreligion as well. It makes no exception because the voice of conscience is —as I mentioned above— a real, and actual access to the God of Christianity. No doubt about it. When Christianity investigated the problem of martyrdom of the non-baptized it has not eliminated this way as a supreme access to the possession of God, and to belong to the body of the Church. If a monotheist —for example, a Moslem— is sacrificed purely and simply because of his monotheist idea, he will not be a martyr coram ecclesiam —as theologians say with subtle distinctions—, but he will undoubtedly be one before God, before the Christian God. Furthermore, if a polytheist were to be sacrificed precisely for having a religion in a society that has none, he would undoubtedly be a martyr before God. There is no doubt whatsoever that the cases do not end here. As I have mentioned numerous times5, those who die in absolute fidelity to a position of their conscience unquestionably shared and maintained, are martyrs before God, regardless of the particular confession, which has sacrificed him. Undoubtedly, due to the particular characteristic belonging to the condition of any objective body of religion —an existing social body, or the pure voice of conscience— every religion, and every religious attitude has a dimension of universality, {334} and a dimension of truth by virtue of which all these positions are “de-formed” Christianities. All of this means that other religions are not only religions because there is a surrender of man to the reality of God, but in addition because that surrender is absolutely human. In other words, man surrenders to God humanly, with his whole mentality —the diversity of religions— and through all the different historical ways. This is what St. Paul expressed so graphically in the Areopagus with his phrase: pselaphán ton Theón, “grope for Him” (Acts 17:27). The attitude, which St. Paul assumes with respect to the ágnotos Theós, the “Unknown God” (Acts 17:23) is classical on this point: humanity groping for God, but precisely for the Christian God, and unquestionably accessing Him. Certainly, if the other religions constitute real and actual accesses to the possession of the Christian God, and they obviously represent a “de-form” Christianity —but a Christianity nevertheless— then the question surfaces: Are all religions equivalent? That is the third question: Christianity and the other religions. {335} § 3 CHRISTIANITY AND THE OTHER RELIGIONS Christianity cannot deny, or will ever deny, that it is the definitive truth in the sense I have explained above: it is the definitive truth, because it is the divine way of access to the Christian God. Now we face three questions. In the first place: What is the Christian truth with respect to the other religions? Second: What are the other religions with respect to Christianity? And third: when we say “Christianity and the other religions”, In what does the copulative “and” consist? On this will depend, ultimately, what we may consider what the history of the other religions is. A) The truth of Christianity with respect to the other religions. Of course, one can compare the Christian religion to the other religions, and say, for example, that Christianity is superior to them. This is something difficult. It may clearly be so in many ways, but on the other hand, Where can we find the univocal criteria to judge on the superiority of a religion? Obviously, these criteria do depend, for the most part, on the conception of religiosity made by the one making the comparison. However, the fact that all other religions may be in one way or another a “de-form” (Sp. “deforme”) Christianity indicates that, independently of the criteria one may formulate to make a historical comparison, there is something unquestionable, which is not a syncretism {336} —as if all other religions had pieces of Christianity—, but something quite different indeed, namely, the historical transcendence of Christianity. However, the historical transcendence of Christianity is not what constitutes the Christian truth. The Christian truth, with all its transcendence, is in the same situation the miracles of Christ were with respect to the Jews. They were nothing but semeía, signs. Many saw these signs and did not believe. A miracle is not some kind of great mechanical catastrophe. God has not performed a miracle to destroy and rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. “Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mk 15:32). He did not come down. Miracles were nothing but signs. The historical transcendence of Christianity, with all the labor one may bring to support the concept of transcendence, still remains a sign, a semeíon, facing which man will have to choose6. Obviously, what is important is to know the reference point for this sign. Indeed, it points to a transcendence, to something, which is in all religions, but above each particular religion. This means that the Christian truth is not only not fragmented in the other religions, but also in one form or another —different according to each religion— is precisely inside the other religions. Therefore, Christian truth not only shares its life with the other religions, but is also something more: that in which the positive truth of all of them consists. Christian truth {337} is the very outline of the truth of the other religions. Consequently, it is the very outline of the history of religions7. From a theological point of view, the other religions have only been willed by God insofar as they are, in a “de-form” and “ab-errant” way, the very realization of Christianity. If the truth of Christianity consists in being the truth of the other religions, one may then ask what the other religions are with respect to Christianity. B) The other religions with respect to Christianity. With respect to Christianity the other religions have a position, which from my own point of view can be enunciated with three concepts. 1) In the first place, the other religions carry in themselves, as a formal constitutive element of their own truth —what scholastic terminology would call— an intrinsic Christianity. Of course, this would appear in different forms. The form Christianity has inside Islam is not the same it might have in a Polynesian polytheism. Nevertheless, Christianity is always in some measure, precisely the intrinsic dimension immanent to every religion. Every religion is a “de-form” Christianity, and therefore, carries with it an intrinsic “form-ness” (Sp. “formidad”) —sit venia verbo— of a formally Christian character. The other religions with respect to Christianity are a Christianity intrinsic to all of them. 2) In the second place, the other religions are a “de-form” Christianity. However, What do we mean by deformity? It is not the case of a deformed {338} Christianity; that would be grotesque. “De-form” is not the same as “deformed”. To be deformed is the result of an act of deformation; to pretend that the other religions have been produced by a deformation of Christianity would be an historical absurdity, something to be denied absolutely. However, this does not stop them from being “de-form”, which is a different matter altogether. What happens to this characteristic of “form-ness”, which religions have, happens also with the word “form”. All things have form, which is no impediment for the use of the word “form” to express a particular characteristic of some of them: that they are “beautiful” (Tr. note: old Sp. “form-osas”, beautiful). This is what happens with Christianity: all religions have a “form-ness”, but the formal and full “form-ness” is precisely the very Christianity. This can easily be seen in the case of martyrdom. There is no doubt whatever that Christianity recognizes many different types of martyrs before God, as I detailed above. “De-form” is precisely the result of an “ab-errant” way, but it leads to the Christian God in an “ab-errant” way, and therefore, intrinsically carries the Christian truth in its deformity. 3) In the third place, the other religions are an ignored Christianity. There has been a lot of talk about an anonymous Christianity, but we have to start from the initial point of departure, and consider the question theologically and historically, to confirm that actually the truth of Christianity is the outline of the intrinsic truth of all the other religions. Then it will be possible to make final statements about the anonymous characteristic of Christianity in the other religions. Intrinsic, “de-form”, ignored, this presence of Christianity in the depth of the other religions is what precisely brings about the historical transcendence of Christianity. If we take these three moments at one and the same time, {339} intrinsic Christianity, “de-form” Christianity, and ignored Christianity, it means purely and simply that Christianity is the truth incorporated into all the other religions. Just as it has incorporated all the other individuals in the objective body of Christ, analogously, by this dimension of its own, Christianity has incorporated in its depth, at least inchoatively, all the other religions. The body incorporates, and in addition it incorporates historically. ________________ 1 From this point on we follow the text of the 1971 seminar. 2 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “Consequently, the Christian religion is not only a religion in which the Christian feels himself dragged by God, but it is the case of God himself becoming a historical moment of religion, an intrinsic moment of human history. God himself takes us to God”. 3 Zubiri will soon explain this term in the pages that follow. 4 Ireneus had already given the name of “martyrs” to the innocent boys murdered by Herod in Bethlehem (cf. Adversus haereses, lib. III, ch. XVI, no. 4, in Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, vol. VII, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris, 1844, c. 924). Tertullian mentions baptism of blood as secundum lavacrum (cf. his Liber de Baptismo, ch. XVI, in Patrologiae cursus completus, series latina, vol. 1, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris, 1844, c. 1217). Ciprian even affirms the baptism of blood of the catechumens substitutes for the regular baptism (cf. Epistola ad Jubaianum de haereticis baptizandis, ep. LXXIII, no. XXII, in Patrologiae cursus completus, series latina, vol. 3, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris, 1844, cc. 1124-1125). 5 For example, in the two 1965 seminars on religion. 6 Zubiri said in the 1965 Madrid seminar: “the alleged comparative proof for the historical transcendence of its superiority is not a proof for the truth of Christianity. Christianity in history suffers from the same vicissitudes Christ suffered when He performed miracles in Israel.” 7 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri said: “Christianity is not only the true religion in history. It is even more: it is the very truth of the history of religions. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 7 (339-347) {339} (cont’d) C) The oneness of Christianity “and” the other religions. All of this is not some type of juggling to make the characteristic of “and” disappear, which clearly involves a distinction between Christianity, and the other religions. From the particular sense of this “and” the ultimate sense of the history of religions depends. What is this “and”? Negatively considered, the “and” is not an “and” of mere coexistence. That is completely false. It is not the case that there is Buddhism, and Brahmanism, and Islam, and Judaism, and Christianity. It is not an “and” of mere coexistence, but an “and” of presence1. Christianity is not juxtaposed on the other religions. It is different from them, but while different from them, it is present in all of them. It is an “and” of presence in all the other religions. This does not become an impediment for the existence of a difference between all the other religions and Christianity, but the difference is not that of a copula. That would be as absurd as to pretend —if we return to the old Platonic dialectic concerning {340} the idea of man— that given the unquestionable fact that humanity is not to be confused with Socrates or Aristides, it is not something juxtaposed to Socrates and Aristides. Christianity is a different religion, but it is not added to the other religions. At least not in that form. The “and” is not an “and” of coexistence, but an “and” of interjacency. And this interjacency is a strictly and formally historical interjacency. Precisely because it is the case of a presence in the depth of every religion, there is always the radical possibility that each religion, in its own way, and in its own time may be able to receive a greater illumination from Christianity. Then, What does Christianity as Christianity do when facing the other religions?2. If what I have just said is true, one thing becomes clear: the attitude of Christianity when facing the other religions can never be that of an excluding affirmation. Absolutely not. That would be chimerical, and in addition without fundament. It may have happened several times in the course of history, but always in an irregular manner and contrary to the very essence of Christianity. Let us remember that while Europe was sending crusades to expel Moslems from the Holy Places, the Christian theologians were taking from Islamic writers3 the conceptual framework with which to elaborate their own theology. The index of El justo medio en la creencia (“The Precise Balance in Faith”) of Al-Gazzali (Algazel,1058-1111), translated by my admired professor and dear friend Miguel Asín Palacios, is an index that can be found in any manual of Dogmatic Theology4. The attitude of Christianity cannot be {341} an attitude of excluding affirmation, but —quite the opposite— an attitude of positive turning towards them. This turning attitude is what thematically and formally should be called mission. What do we understand here by mission? Two possibilities —in history we always find the interplay of possibilities. One possibility is to believe that the mission consists in converting everyone else. Saint Paul and Christ himself speak of metánoia, of conversion. But it is a conversion to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; an interior conversion, individual. It is not enough to fulfill the Law if there is no heartfelt conversion. We are dealing here with something else. We are dealing, for example, with making Christians out of Buddhists. This attitude of conversion is something that Christianity certainly has to attempt, but knowing full well it will never happen. It is an attitude, which cannot succeed. Experience, on the one hand, and in addition the intrinsic problematics of the case, make of this attitude that Christianity has to incorporate, something intrinsically fallible. Nevertheless, the attitude of Christianity before the other religions cannot be a fallible and defeatable attitude. It has to be an intrinsically unbeatable one. The attitude, which constitutes the mission of Christianity does not consist primarily in obtaining the conversion, as if not obtaining it were a sign of failure. It consists of something else, of the attitude, which Christ manifested before Pilate when He said: “My kingdom does not belong to this world... Anyone committed to the truth hears my voice”. “Truth!” said Pilate, {342} “What does that mean?” (Jn 18:36-38). Probably the other religions will shrug their shoulders, just as Pilate did, which did not deter Christ from saying: “The reason I was born, the reason why I came into the world: hína martyréso te aletheía, is to testify to the truth” (Jn 18:37). This is the unbeatable attitude of the Church: to be precisely the one to testify to the truth, not only before all the other religions, but in the depth of all of them. That is to say, it is an attitude of salvation towards all of them. How is this possible? Everything depends on what is understood by to testify. The Greek term for “to testify” is martýrion, which is the origin of our word “martyr”5. However, even this term has had problems. It is commonly assumed that a martyr is one who has given his life for a certain truth, in this case, for a religious truth. Quite so. But this is not the radical sense of martyrdom at all. Let us remember the protomartyr St. Stephen. There is no doubt he was stoned to death. Still, he was not a martyr because of that fact. Just the opposite: he was killed because he was a martyr, because he testified to the truth. The loss of his life followed his testimony of the truth, and was not formally a constituent of the martyrdom. The supreme case is the cross of Christ. Christ is the martyr par excellance not because He was nailed to a cross, but because nailed to a cross He gives testimony to all men of His own Redeeming Divinity, which is quite a different thing. This {343} attitude of giving testimony before all the other religions is, if you prefer, an attitude of conversion, but through elevation. Without repudiation. It is an attitude for the salvation of all the other religions. 1) This attitude involves, in the first place, what I call a historical presentiality (Sp. presencialidad histórica) of the truth. Precisely because Christ not only preaches truth, but is personally the truth, Christianity will never give testimony of the truth to all the other religions only with what it says, but also with what it is, i.e., it is a historical presentiality. The theological or doctrinal presentiality is not enough. Indeed, the theological presentiality is first and above all the presentiality of something, which occurs, and not simply of something that is enunciated6. 2) In the second place, it is a presentiality not just historical, but a presentiality as freedom of option. To the testimonial presence of Christianity in history there corresponds from the side of the one receiving —and in this case all the other religions on Earth— an attitude of intrinsic freedom. Saint Paul said that faith is a rationale obsequium7, a reasonable acquiescence. Christianity prefers the reasonable rather than remaining solitary, and chooses not to remain aloof. Facing the other religions by expelling them from its own body; it would experience the pain of seeing they do not believe in it. This way, Christianity will continue to be together with the other religions as the truth intrinsically immanent to all of them8. {344} 3) In the third place, it is not just a historical presentiality, and a historical presentiality of freedom of option, but in addition it is a dynamic presentiality. As St. Paul says: “Yes, Jews demand “signs” and Greeks look for “wisdom”, but we preach Christ crucified... Theoú dýnamis kai Theoú sofía, the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1Cor 1:22-24). The dýnamis of God. What does dýnamis mean there? Dýnamis does not simply and purely mean a potency, in the Greek sense of the term. Not at all. It does not mean it has a dynamism, as we say today. Dýnamis has a different sense, which can be questioned. From my point of view it means precisely the idea of power. Not the idea of a force, but the idea of power. This is precisely the power, which Christian truth has when facing other religions. And the dýnamis toú Theoú, in this sense, is precisely the power of God. It is the case of a characteristic of power and not simply of potency. Power is closer to history than potency, which is usually understood —in the Greek sense— as a metaphysical attribute of divinity, as if metaphysics has to place history beyond its margin. Therefore, it is a dynamic presentiality. And this dynamic presentiality incorporates three concrete characteristics. a) In the first place, it is a dynamic presentiality whose power is manifested precisely by making kadósh, hágios, holy, the one who has it. Quite true, the dynamic presentiality of Christian truth is not the presentiality of a knowledge. The verb yada’, in Hebrew and Aramaic, means to know, but to know in the sense of being intimate with something, for example, with an illness, with a sorrow or with a woman who is loved. That is to know in reality, and not simply having a theoretic and merely speculative knowledge. As the Semite understood it, truth makes man truthful. {345} It is a sanctifying presentiality. After all, it is the very prayer, which Christ uttered over His Apostles, moments before His capture in Gethsemani, and, which must be applied to the entire history of religions: hagíason aútoús en te aletheía, “sanctify them in the truth” (Jn 17:17). To sanctify them is to put in operation the dynamic power of truth insofar as it is that, which forms the spirit of man. The truth of Christ is not a purely metaphysical truth, but is the metaphysical reality of the truth of God. b) The power of this testimony is not only a sanctifying power, it is also a power of perenniality. At one time sanctity was proposed as a note of the Church without affirming that the Church is holy because its members are holy. This misses the mark entirely. That is not the point at all. The actual case is a more modest reality, although more mysterious and profound: there shall never be a lack of someone upon Earth that is in the state of sanctifying grace. Then, we shall have to say —conversely— that the presence of just one soul in the state of sanctifying grace brings upon Earth more goodness than all the accumulated evils the whole history of mankind may have accumulated. We are dealing with a perennial presentiality. Christ promised it: “And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). Christian truth will always continue to conquer souls. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the world will become progressively Christian. Just the opposite. Probably St. John’s Apocalypse opens the door to us for a different way: it is not the case of a triumphal stepping march of Christianity, perhaps long and arduous, but definitely accomplished, at the end of which the world will have become formally Christian qua world9. This is not promised anywhere. {346} Probably the deepest vision of the Apocalypse is precisely the opposite: the world will not become Christian; there will be many Christians, but just at the margin of the world, which as such will not be Christian. What will happen to the world is what happened to Christ: He died on the cross. A world, which will not be Christian. There will be many Christians, but only at the margin of their world. That is the way Christ will be with us until the end of the world (Mt 28:20). Christianity does not act on our spirits only through the triumphal existence of an objective body within a society politically organized. Quite the reverse: Christianity acts through depth. c) In the third place, it is a presence, not only sanctifying and perennial, but also an expectant presentiality. In an éschaton, in an ultimateness, is how Christianity is present in all of the other religions. Christian truth is present in all the other religions as the expectation of something, which aims towards a trans-historical moment. This is the expectation for the moment in which the truth of God and Christianity is established, not upon Earth, but before all mankind, in a trans-historical way10. Consequently, with this triple presentiality, with that attitude of sanctifying, perennial, and expectant presence, the history of {347} religions acquires a most concrete characteristic. As I mentioned in the previous chapters, the history of religions is essentially the inchoative actualization, and later appropriated, of one of the three ways, which are open to religion in its ascent towards the divinity. History is, in religion, religion in act. Therefore, since Christianity is revealed, we find on the one hand that, in the history of revelation, history is for Christianity the very revelation in act11. And the history of religions, which is our concern here, is the historical diversity of the possibilities, which humanity has had of objectively being really and actually Christian12. In the end, it comes down to what I have expressed many times by saying that the history of religions is the real and actual heartbeat of divinity in the depths of the human spirit. It is a buried presence of the divinity, but truly a dynamic, real and actual presence in the depths of the human spirit. It is the root, structure, and destiny of the history of religions. To understand that this history is the pure and formal heartbeat of the divinity in the depths of the human spirit, independently of what this heartbeat may be for Christianity —namely, a revelation— is, from my point of view, in what the philosophical problem of the history of religions consists. ________________ 1 Zubiri attaches a card with a note that reads: “Here: the theology of history; about the historical oneness of religions: the unitary theology of religion, from the point of view of God: 1) Variety of religions —towards monotheism. 2) Monotheism —towards Christ. 3) Christ towards the éschaton. 2 Zubiri said in the 1965 Madrid seminar: “This mode of presence is not simply the act with which Christianity really exists upon Earth, but is something more subtle, and even more profound in a certain way. It is the transfusion of its intrinsic truth as act; it is an attitude. It is a problem of attitude.” 3 [Tr. note: Medieval Islamic writers from Persia (Alfarabi, Avicenna, Algazel) and Spain (Avempace, Abubacer, Averroes) were using neo-Platonic and Aristotelian Greek philosophy from texts not yet known in Europe] 4 This refers to his book al-Iqtisad fi ’l-i ’tiqad, translated into Spanish by M. Asín Palacios, El justo medio en la creencia. Compendio de teología dogmática de Algacel (“The Even Balance of Faith. Manual of Dogmatic Theology by Al-Ghazzali”), Madrid, 1929. 5 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri pointed out that the Greek term “exactly translates the Hebrew term ’ed. This term has two semantic dimensions. On the one hand it signifies a witness by presence. On the other, it means the personal testimony of a conviction. These two aspects of the question were fused initially and radically in the very person of Christ, who was not only witness to the presence of the divinity —since He was God—, but in addition, in His own revelation, testified about the truth of His divine filiation and the truth of God.” 6 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri concluded that the testimony of Christianity as presential on Earth consists in “being the historical testimony of truth. Not only saying it, but being it (‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life’, cf. Jn 14:6). Hence the dialog.” 7 According to the Latin Vulgate translation in Rom 12:1. 8 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri added: “The testimonial presence of Christianity is a testimonial presence in freedom”. 9 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri points to his concept of world as “The set of current principles in which society exists. Current, not in a pejorative sense, but in the sense of the principles that are found there, thought about, believed, and constituting the force moving that world”. 10 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri pointed out: “Testimony is the historical presence of truth in the history of religions. And this presence testifying to a dýnamis is the force of the final manifestation of Christian truth. It will be a presence of the very truth in a super-testimonial way: a manifestation of the truth of the history of religions (...) And, actually, this presence is what the Greeks called parousía. This is precisely what Christianity always expected since the preaching of Christ. No longer martýrion, but parousía”. 11 Zubiri writes on the margin “careful”. In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri had said: “Theologically, the history of religions is for Christianity the revelation in act of Christianity”. 12 The next paragraph is taken from the 1965 Madrid seminar. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri -------- Chapter 7 (349-359) {349} APPENDIX THE WILL TO HISTORICAL RELIGION1 What are the other religions by themselves? In order to formulate this problem theologically it will be necessary to start from the universality with which Christianity, and consequently the God revealed in it, calls all men to the supernatural life, without exceptions (cf. 1 Tm 2:4). It is a universality of destination, and a universality of grace in order to eventually obtain the possession of the Christian God. Therefore, it is within this universality that we find where the problem of the diversity of religions is framed formally and theologically. What are the other religions within this vocational universality? 1) Let us recall that by the use of any of the three ways undertaken in the history of religions (the way of dispersion, the way of transcendence, and the way of immanence) man really and actually reaches the divine. Occasionally I have presented the example of the Moon: a polytheist can believe in the divinity of the Moon, granted. Yet, the divinity of the Moon has several aspects: it may signify “god in the Moon”, it may signify “god of the Moon” or also “the Moon god”. Indeed, these three moments are discerned to a lesser or greater degree in the belief of the divinity of the Moon. Nevertheless, in any monotheist religion the first two points (the god of the Moon, and god in the Moon) continue {350} to be true. Is there any doubt that God is actually present in the Moon? Whoever addresses the Moon, one way or the other, really and actually reaches the same divinity as the one proposed by monotheism. The same happens if one takes the way of immanence, and considers the entire cosmos as ruled by an intrinsic cosmic-moral Law, which confers a divine characteristic to the entire universe. There is no doubt the Moon is part of that cosmos, and consequently, for the pantheist, the polytheist also accesses the divinity really and actually. The fact is that actually the power of the deity is in things. Therefore, in one form or another, hurled through the mystery of the deity, we really and actually access things, which have this power, and in one form or another are divine. Regardless how we take up the question, man really and actually accesses the divinity by any of the ways. Hence, if this is so, it means none of the ways can be false simpliciter. 2) Naturally, one may ask, Are we specifically accessing the One Christian God, the Triune God? Unquestionably, the Christian God is reached qua Christian through all the ways. Simply because the God of Christianity, within monotheism, is not a God apart from the one of all monotheisms. Indeed, there only have been two on Earth, the Israelite monotheism, and the Islamic one. The Christian God is not numerically distinct from Yahweh or Allah. Any one of these three ways reaches, from the theological point of view, the Christian God really and actually. 3) In fact, man reaches the Christian God in a different form depending on the ways he may follow. Therefore, the problem now centers on what this diversity of forms may be with which to reach, really and actually, the Christian God. {351} That is the crucial question. The diversity of forms and ways different from the way of transcendence does not mean they are not ways leading to the real, actual, and true God; the fact is they are ways, which on their own, are “de-form” (Sp. “de-formes”)2. Insofar as they lead to God, they have a conformity, i.e., they really and actually reach God (I say God in order not to repeat continuously Christian God, to whom I am referring exclusively in what follows), but reach Him in a tortuous “de-form” way. In their conformity an intrinsic deformity is inscribed. However, God wishes, without exception that every man may reach Him. With this, the difference between conformity and deformity present in the religions turns into a much greater and serious problem: In what does the very structure of the will of God consist, who really and actually wishes that men have access to Him? Theologians have usually distinguished two different types of volition in God. In the first place a volition they call to approval, referred to the thing God wishes because in itself it is a good thing. In the second place, a will purely permissive, referred to things, which are not good, but permitted by God to exist. In our case, the will to approval would be a will to conformity, and the permissive will would be the will with which He permits deformity. However, the problem does not end here because this difference only concerns the terminus. It refers to the kind of thing, which occurs in reality. However, from the point of view of God it is just one selfsame will. It may have two different terminal formalities, but it is intrinsically one. The permissive will and the will to approval are not two {352} different wills, it is one single will, intrinsically one3. Then, one asks, In what does the intrinsic oneness of the will to approval, and the permissible will consist? a) From the point of view of God himself, His permissive will is in one form or another anchored in a will to approval. God not only has a will to approval for some things, but in a certain way —quite real and strict— has the approval of permission. He wishes, with the approving will, to have a permissible will. Permissible will, from the part of God is in His one single will, is anchored in a superior will to approval. b) Then, one may ask, In what does this superior will to approval consist, which is terminally regarded as approval for some things considered good, and as permission for others considered bad. This intrinsic will is what I would call will to historical reality. And precisely because it is a will to historical reality, it inexorably involves a dimension of approval and a dimension of permissiveness. However, in our problem it is not only a will to mere historical reality, in genere, but specifically a will to historical religion. The will {353} to permissiveness and the will to approval are anchored, and constitute two aspects —sit venia verbo— of one single volition: the volition and will to historical religion. The will that men may reach God historically. 4) At this point, we should now formulate the question: Upon what does the will to historical religion fall upon? Obviously it falls upon the One and Triune God, through the grace given to reach Him. As I have just said, approval and permission, are two moments of a single will such as the will to historical religion. It follows that when we refer to permissive will the object permitted is not “another” religion, but the “moment of deformity” existing in another religion. But not the other religion simpliciter and nothing else. It is a will to historical religion in which there is a dimension of approval and a dimension of conformity, but inside each religion. It is not the case other religions are permitted by God, but that what is permitted is precisely what we have called the deformity that may exist in religions. The volition to historical religion is not formally permissive volition to approval and conformity, or permissive volition to deformity, it is —sit venia verbo— will to “form-ness”. And precisely, the “form-ness” of each form is the historical body of each religion. Every form of non-Christian religion, every historical body involves, at one and the same time, a conformity and a deformity in the supernatural vocation. Certainly, this vocation falls squarely upon the objective body of religion, and therefore, every religion, qua religion, and as objective body really and actually leads to the One and Triune God, and involves the graces necessary to reach Him. The will to historical religion is will to form-ness; will to form {354} an objective body. Hence, in this sense, the will to historical religion is above all a will to incorporation, which involves, I repeat, a moment of approval and a moment of permission, in such a way that in the body, despite its deformities, possessing a conformity, the One and Triune God is really and actually reached. The universality of the will to historical religion is not then only individual, but rather God has deposited in the objective body of each religion the necessary and sufficient graces to be able to access Him really and actually, as the One and Triune God. God is always revealed in his positive universality towards Christ. For this reason, all historical forms are universal towards Christ, and all have salvific graces anchored in Christ4. Therefore, the objective body of religion of all existing religions really and actually leads to the One and Triune God, and contains the grace to reach Him. From this follows that the individual does not save himself notwithstanding the religion he has, but in and by the religion he professes, whichever it may be. This is the intrinsic oneness —I repeat once more— between the will to approval and the will to permission in the will to historical religion, i.e., in the will to form-ness. In this sense, as a contemporary theologian says, every religion is legitimate5. However, it was necessary to have arrived at this conclusion through a strictly theological and metaphysical consideration. Supernatural religion {355} is, in the end, something, which is deposited in the objective body of religions, regardless of all the deformities it may contain. 5) Obviously, to say that all religions are legitimate does not mean that everything in them assumes the approval. I have just pointed this out: there are also deformities. The concept of legitimacy is not even remotely identified with the concept of truth and conformity. Deformity is not alien to the religions outside Christianity, not even to the religion of Israel. How can we doubt —considering the evangelical testimony— that many moments of the religion of Israel have simply been permitted by God, but not desired by Him with the will to approval? The Gospel abolished the Law of Talion, abolished concubinage, etc. Christ abolished a great number of things exercising His sovereignty over the Torah. In no form whatsoever does the Gospel make its own the sentiments reflected by no less a person than David in a Psalm where he understands God is going to place his enemies as a footstool (cf. Ps 110:1). This was not a metaphor for humiliation, it was the historical reality of the Semitic world: the prisoners were tied — often even mutilated— and over them was placed the throne of the king who placed his feet on the defeated (cf. Jos 10:24). This has never been condoned by Christianity in a positive way, and therefore, by God himself. However, Could we say that the religion of Israel was not legitimate? There is no doubt many religious practices in religions are deformations, which one feels are depraved. However, with respect to this situation, it is necessary to make two observations. In the first place, the depravation depends in a greater part on the moral precepts held. In the second place, and above all, it is quite easy to charge a religion with a {356} multitude of practices their adherents can actually perform. We must not confuse religion with religious folklore. They are different things. How can one charge a religion for the numerous practices of magic, which may exist among its adherents? This is not meant as a criticism against the historians of religion. The reason is simple: outside Christianity —and perhaps Islam, and in a certain measure Buddhism— there is no rule, which may permit to discern between what is properly religious, and a deformation. Hence, it is excusable that we may find such a mass of religious facts encountered by the historians of religion in their sociology of religion. But this always leaves the question whether these religious practices belong strictly and formally to the content of a religion. A religion cannot be blamed —not even a polytheist one— saying it has magical practices: Does this proceed from the religion as such or from a completely natural mentality, which man has in that religion? The Israelites also employed soothsayers and consulted oracles. Because of this, Are we going to say that the religion of Israel was not legitimate? The totality of religion as a historical body —each one of the historical bodies— is willed by God in a will to historical religion. The moment of approval and the moment of permission fall upon two moments of a religion, and not upon the objective body of religions, as if God in the will to approval had only willed Christianity, and simply permitted the other religions. God permits whatever there is of deformity in each religion. Nevertheless, He has had the positive will, that since religions are conformed in different historical bodies, man may really and actually access to the One and Triune God by means of graces deposited in the depths of that very religion. There is no {357} exception to this, not even the fact, to be recognized eventually in the history of religions, of an era in which the state of personal conscience of one having no religion at all is not an isolated phenomenon, but acquires the characteristics of a collective phenomenon. Consequently, it must be recognized that in the ordering of personal conscience, from the point of view of Christianity, despite any amount of deformity, there is inscribed a movement of real and actual access to the One and Triune God, in the graces deposited in the very rectitude with which man obeys his own conscience. 6) Then, one asks the question, Why must there be, in that will to historical religion, different objective bodies in history? Above all, we must not forget that as diverse as the objective bodies of religion may be, all of them are inscribed in three ways: the way of dispersion, the way of immanence, and the way of transcendence. Therefore, these three ways, strictly speaking, are just ways, i.e., options, which man puts into effect among the possibilities, which God offers for being understood in a manner more or less confused. Because they are possibilities accepted and appropriated by each people, men turn these possibilities into as many ways. Hence, the three ways are intrinsically historical. That the three may be historical means they are not only three ways consisting in the appropriation of possibilities, which in a more or less turbid way the divine reality offers, but that these three possibilities are congeneric and co-radical. In the end, this is the human condition: God has willed that man be a historical reality. However, granted this volition, it is undeniable that this historical structure of man must inexorably lead to objectively different formulas, to {358} different religions. Therefore, the will to religion adopts, from the side of God, a strictly historical form. It is a will to incorporation of graces and the supernatural destiny into distinct forms objectively different. The will to historical religion is, at one and the same time, permissive will, and will to conformity because deep down and formally it is a will to form-ness. The different objective bodies, the different religions, are objective conformations of an historical process, which really and actually leads to the Christian God, who has deposited in the depths of these different objective bodies sufficient and necessary graces. It does lead, not despite religion, but —on the contrary— because of it, and despite the deformities found in it. The way of access to the Christian God is intrinsically historical. It would have been so under any hypothesis, even in the case the “religion of Adam” had remained standing upon Earth. There would have been no different religions; no history of the multiple religions, but there would have been a history of the single religion. Because that religion to which man would have remained attached would have been really, actually, and in addition inexorably historical. Is not that what Christianity itself has been, and still is in history? The will to historical religion is, from the part of God, at one and the same time, will to historical form-ness, and will to historical way. In the oneness of these two moments is the internal structure of the divine will to historical religion. Since this will is a will to access the Christian God, and the collation of graces inside each objective body is real and actual, the consequence is that man throughout history finds himself historically situated inside a diversity. Yet, it is the diversity of ways, which lead to God, which has a {359} completely defined expression in the term used by St. Paul: pselapháo, search groping (cf. Acts 17:27). “Search groping” is not simply a natural moment of the human spirit who does not know what God is, in such a fashion that the one who finds Him or has the grace to find Him, is the one who has the religion, which leads to truth, while the others are nothing but permitted. Not at all: that search is in itself the result of a “craving” grace, which has desired to be really and actually historical, through which man, in his search, is realizing an essentially supernatural search: as supernatural as the terminus towards which he is advancing, and as supernatural as the grace he has to access it. Man does not receive graces despite his religions, but rather in and because of the religions. Moreover, God rests permissively on the deformities existing in the historical form-ness of each of the religions, in order to take them to Him. The history of religions is not the history of human aberrations. It is just the opposite: it is, in its own way, a revelation in act. ________________ 1 In the 1965 Madrid seminar Zubiri included in this last part some reflections on the will of God with respect to religions. These considerations did not appear in the 1971 seminar, which we now offer as an appendix. 2 On the margin Zubiri writes: “ab-errant > deform” (Sp. “ab-errantes > deformes”). 3 In the 1965 Barcelona seminar Zubiri pointed out: “By repeatedly distinguishing the will to approval from the permissive will, one eventually dissociates them and they end up being considered as two wills. However, they are only one. I am not referring to the fact that both are physically one: in God as an infinitely simple being, everything —the two wills, and the entire will, and the intelligence— is one reality, infinitely simple, and in addition identical. I do not refer to this. I refer —sit venia verbo— to the intentional dimension of the divine will. Does God have two intentions or only one, which involves an approval dimension, and a permissive dimension? That is the question”. 4 Zubiri refers to a note, which reads: “God is always revealed in all men and in all religions. This revelation is a manifestation. It is not a simple unveiling, but a dynamic manifestation: it is a going towards Christ. As a consequence, all religions and all men have graces in their religion, and in their conscience to save themselves in Christ”. 5 Cf. K. Rahner, “Das Christentum und die nichtchristlichen Religionen”, in Schriften zur Theologie, vol. IV, Einsiedeln, 1962, pp. 136-158, specially p. 147ff. THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri ------ Conclusion (361-365) {361} CONCLUSION1 In these pages I have shown that religion is the molding of religation, the surrender of our whole being to God in a faith: it is the way of stepping from my relatively absolute I to the absolutely absolute reality, which God is. This religion has two aspects. On the one hand, the aspect of an objective body, which involves a conception of God —a theology— and afterwards a mundology (Tr. note: Sp. mundología, Zubirian neologism, literally “world-logy”), a conception of the world. This mundology consists of four points. In the first place, a vision about the origin of things. In the second place, a vision of the participation of others in the faith, which —abusing the term— I called ecclesiology. In the third place, an eschatology, a vision of the beyond after our death. And all of it, —as a fourth moment— in a tradition, which is what provides stability to the objective body of religion. On the other hand, within this body, each one carries his own personal life. Above all, this religion presents itself with a characteristic of diversity. A diversity, which essentially depends on the different ideas one has about God. These ideas are contained in three groups, characterized by a polytheist idea, a pantheist idea, and a monotheist idea. The three are {362} true in their own way. They are only undertaken by man because man —velis nolis — is really and actually accessing the reality of God. Due to this, the diversity of these ways, and the diversity of these ideas about God manifest the diffraction of the reality of God in the depths of the human spirit, through the characteristics of this human spirit. These religions are not only diverse, but also historical. They are historical because each one involves diverse internal possibilities for the intellection of that divinity to which they inexorably accede. Such possibilities are always present in every situation. Within this inchoative situation, man appropriates or chooses one of those possibilities, and then that particular possibility is converted into a way. From that way the outlook for different possibilities begins to appear, and as a consequence, the systematic network of history is progressively constituted. History is not constituted —in this case or in any other— by a system of realities, but by a system of possibilities. Indeed, these three ideas of God are the result of three ways: the way of dispersion, which leads to polytheism; the way of immanence, which leads to pantheism; and the way of transcendence, which leads to the reality of one God. If the diversity of ideas was the result of a diffraction of the presence of God in the depths of the human spirit, here the diversity of the ways precisely consists in a detour. A detour, which the human spirit takes to reach the real and actual God starting from the divine depth he carries within himself. Monotheism, in this sense, has a type of historicity, which is not of “ab-erration”, but of ups and downs. These ups and downs in turn constitute a series of appropriations of possibilities inchoatively given in every situation. Of course, taking an isolated point one might say: What is it that distinguishes one situation from another? For example, How can we distinguish the situation of Abraham from {363} the situation of those Bactrians I described further above. Probably we cannot, but history is not only constituted by things like this. History consists not only of ways, but also of viabilities, of what the different ways provide in the course of history. What the enterprise of Abraham provided is completely different from what several other isolated monotheisms that have existed in the world produced. These rather arrange themselves as collateral branches, and blind alleys without exit on the trunk of truth, central and prolific, which is the one that has the historical future. In the case of monotheism, this historical future is the attribute of the monotheism of Israel. Israel is a Semite people, for whom to be God is always to be the God of someone. In a first stage, with the patriarchs, God is a God who is the friend of a family, the family of Abraham. In it, his characteristic of oneness, the monós characteristic of its monotheism, is something quite modest and simple: their only God, the solitary God. In the second place, with Moses, God is God of a people, of the people of Israel, and not just of a family. But now this God is not only solitary, but also something more: He is jealous, wishes no other gods next to Him. In the third stage, at the time of the Judges, the people that settle in Canaan in a certain way appropriate characteristics, which belong to the God of urban civilizations. God appears then not simply as a jealous God, but as an exclusive God precisely excluding all other gods. Yahweh is not only the God of a people, but of a nation, and the entire cosmos. In a fourth stage, in the Israelite monarchy, God is king. Here He is not simply exclusive, but has a more radical characteristic: He is only one, because He is the maker of the world. In a fifth stage, in the phase of restoration, Israel, converted into national church, finds or conceives {364} a God who is not only maker —one can be a maker in many ways—, but is creator oúk ex ónton, “out of nothing” (2 Mc 7:28). Hence, He is not only creator of the world, but in addition provides the configuration —is not only rector— of the history of Israel. In a sixth stage, during the first century, we have the work of Christ. There were still two possibilities: the possibility that this God might be relegated to a distant transcendence, and the possibility that this God might be accessible. Christ pointedly preaches God as Father of all men. Christianity lives from the Spirit of truth and becomes an objective body. This is the seventh stage. This Spirit of truth unfolds into five successive stages. In the first stage, facing the gentiles, it affirms and discovers its true characteristic of being absolutely universal, and of being so directly, without passing through the national church of Israel. In the second stage, facing the sophía —the Greek wisdom— facing the gnosis and illuminism, Christianity affirms the finished characteristic of revelation as such, so that gnosis can only be but a better knowledge of what has already been revealed. In the third stage, facing Greek reason, this knowledge is going to be interpreted through Greek concepts. With them there is going to be a conception of the One Triune God in the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople, and of Christ as person in Ephesus and Chalcedon. In a fourth stage, Christianity encounters modern reason. Now Christianity sees its God as a God accessible to human reason, and in addition accessible through historicity. Finally, at the present moment, Christianity finds itself facing all other religions, and before them what I think should be done, in all modesty, is the theological elaboration of the idea of the historical incorporation of the other religions into Christianity. Christianity as definitive truth {365} is interior to every religion. It is the truth of every religion. Because of this, the attitude of Christianity before the other religions is purely and simply to be the presential, sanctifying, perennial and expectant testimony of the truth. Because of this the history of religion is a groping, an enormous groping of the human spirit. It concerns not only the human spirit taken as a specific characteristic of man, but of a search and a groping by which religation, in a historical fashion, continues to mold itself into religion. In a religion, which leads to the only God through a variety of ways, by the possibilities inchoatively given in every situation, as appropriated and elaborated by man in a systematic way2. As such, the history of religions is for Christianity the historical groping for the Christian truth. A groping, which is a revelation of God in the depths of the human spirit. Every religion —I said at the beginning— is religion in the objective form of religation. Because of this, every religion is the objective expression of the heartbeat of the divinity of God in the depths of the human spirit. Christianity sees a revelation in this heartbeat. That is its theological truth. Nevertheless, the philosophical truth is in the heartbeat as such. To understand it this way is —from my point of view— in what “the philosophical problem of the history of religions” consists. _________________ 1 This conclusion comes from the 1971 seminar. 2 From this point on we follow the conclusion to the 1965 Madrid seminar. ---- THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS by Xavier Zubiri --------- Contents Expanded ---- CONTENTS EXPANDED (Tr.: Have added further secondary alpha-numeric divisions present in the text that were not included in the "Contents" page of the book. Some have an italicized first sentence and these have been incorporated. For those without an explicit title I have provided one in square brackets "[ ]" abstracted from the corresponding section) Outside back cover ---{ 0 } Translator’s Introduction ---{ // } Editor’s Introduction ---{ i } THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS INTRODUCTION ---{11} FIRST PART THE RELIGIOUS FACT ---{13} CHAPTER 1 THE RELIGIOUS FACT AS SUCH ---{15} § 1 Religion as an institution ---{16} § 2 Religion as domain of the sacred ---{18} A) [The sacred according to Durkheim] ---{18} B) [The sacred according to Rudolf Otto] ---{20} § 3 The radical attitude of man ---{29} I. What is a personal attitude? ---{29} II. Which is the radical personal attitude? ---{37} 1) [Reality as ultimate] ---{38} 2) [Reality as possibilitating] ---{38} 3) [Reality as imposition] ---{39} III. The structure of religation and its terminus ---{41} A) [Religation as a real fundament] ---{41} ---1) [The power of deity as transcendent] ---{45} ---2) [The living power of deity] ---{46} ---3) [Power of deity as fountain of all things] --- {47} ---4) [Power of deity as solidary with separation of things] ---{47} ---5) [Power of organization of things] ---{47} ---6) [Power of success] ---{47} ---7) [Deity as power over human relationships] ---{47} ---8) [Power over birth and death] ---{49} ---9) [The power that directs humans collectively] ---{49} ---10) [The power of reality, of deity, is the power of destiny] ---{49} ---11) [It is the power of the unity of the cosmos, physical and moral] ---{49} ---12) [The power that does everything] ---{50} ---13) [In the Greek-Roman world, the power over moral virtues] ---{50} ---14) [The power of deity fills everything] ---{50} ---15) [The power that perdures always, indefinite time] ---{50} B) [Religation is the very experience of deity in man's ------own substantive being] ---{52} ---1) [Religation to conscience] ---{53} ---2) [Religation is the primordium of all positive religion] ---{55} IV. How do things appear in religation? ---{57} APPENDIX DIVINITY AND REVELATION ---{61} A) Deity and divinity ---{62} B) The accessibility of God ---{68} ---1) [God is the ground of every reality in ---------an absolutely strict and fontanal way] ---{69} ---2) [Personal and inter-personal presence of the divinity in man] ---{70} ---3) [God is the fundament of the power of the real] ---{71} ------a) [Differences according to man himself] ---{73} ------b) [Historic manifestation of God] ---{74} ------c) [Manifesting initiatives of God] ---{76} SECOND PART THE FACT OF THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS ---{79} CHAPTER 2 RELIGION AND RELIGATION ---{85} § 1 The molding itself ---{87} I. Molding as a personal act of man ---{87} II. Molding and socialization ---{90} § 2 What is religion specifically? ---{95} I. The body of religion ---{95} ---A) Religion as body ---{95} ---B) The structure of that body ---{98} ------1) [Every religion involves a theology] ---{98} ------2) [It also involves a mundology] ---{100} ---------a) [It involves a cosmogony] ---{100} ---------b) [It involves an ecclesiology] ---{102} ------------aa) Actions of cult, remembering the gods ---{104} ------------bb) [Cults as communication] ---{105} ---------c) [Cults as surrender to gods] ---{106} ---------d) [Tradition] ---{108} ------------aa) [Initial or constitutive moment] ---{108} ------------bb) [Continuating moment of tradition] ---{109} ------------cc) [Moment of progressing tradition] ---{110} II. Personal religious life ---{111} CHAPTER 3 THE DIVERSITY OF RELIGIONS ---{115} § 1 The fact of diversity ---{116} A) [Primitive civilizations] ---{116} B) [Primary civilizations] ---{117} C) [Secondary cultures] ---{118} D) [Tertiary civilizations] ---{118} § 2 The formal structure of this diversity ---{120} § 3 The essential difference of religions ---{123} I. What is religious thinking? ---{126} II. What is the religious idea of God? ---{129} 1) [Transcendent power] ---{130} 2) [Vivifying power] ---{130} 3) [Power separating the forms of things] ---{130} 4) [Power of germination] ---{131} 5) [Power of organization of living beings] ---{131} 6) [Power of the success of the harvest] ---{131} 7) [Power of tying men among themselves] ---{131} 8) [Power of birth and death] ---{132} 9) [Power that defends men] ---{132} 10) [Power that fixes destiny] ---{132} 11) [Power that constitutes the cosmic unity] ---{132} 12) [Sacralized power] ---{133} 13) [Power that fills everything as atmosphere] ---{133} 14) [Power of indefinite time] ---{133} III. In what does its presumed truth consist? ---{134} § 4 The characteristics of the essential diversity ---{136} I. Which are these ways? ---{137} A) Polytheism ---{137} B) Pantheism ---{139} C) Monotheism ---{139} II. Are they equivalent ways? ---{142} 1) [As absolutely absolute reality there can only be one God] ---{144} 2) [The absolute reality as fundamenting has an essential ---connection with this world] ---{145} 3) [The religious monotheisms] ---{146} III. In what does the essence of diversity consist? ---{146} APPENDIX RELIGIOUS TRUTH ---{151} A) What is religious truth? ---{152} B) The occurrence of this truth ---{160} CHAPTER 4 THE HISTORICITY OF RELIGIONS ---{165} § 1 The historical occurrence of religions ---{168} I. How are religions born? ---{168} II. Development of religions ---{170} ---A) [Contacts between religions ------through the power of the real] ---{170} ---B) [Internal development of religions] ---{174} ------a) [Through specialization] {174} ------b) [Through amplification] ---{175{ ------c) [Appropriation of the gods by social groups] ---{175} ------d) [The social extension] ---{176} ------e) [The attraction] ---{176} III. Death of religions ---{177} 1) [Religion as ours] ---{177} 2) [Through opression] ---{178} 3) [Through internal consumption] ---{178} 4) [Dissociation between religion as social ---body and religion as personal life] ---{178} APPENDIX “PRIMITIVE RELIGION” ---{181} § 2 The intrinsic historicity of a religion ---{185} I. What is historicity? ---{185} 1) [Reality actualized in the intelligence as something ---"de suyo", as real truth] ---{186} 2) [Reality transcends from one thing and remits us ---problematically "towards" another] ---{186} 3) [Possibilities "towards" intellection of deeper ---strata of the same reality] ---{186} 4) [Possibilities constituted by the integral reality of man] ---{187} 5) [The "towards" offers different possibilities] ---{187} 6) [Some possibilities do fit the thing] ---{188} 7) [Realization of a possibility is an event] ---{188} 8) [This demands the truth to be founded logically on ---reality, deductively or as event] ---{188} 9) [Between logic and history there is no opposition] ---{189} II. The historicity of religion ---{191} APPENDIX SITUATION AND MENTALITY ---{197} § 3 The fundament of historicity ---{199} CHAPTER 5 THE WAY OF MONOTHEISM ---{205} § 1 The entry of monotheism in history ---{208} § 2 The historical unfolding of monotheism ---{211} I. Abraham and the Patriarchs: the solitary God ---{211} II. Moses and Yahwism: the jealous God ---{214} III. The crisis of Yahwism: the excluding God ---{218} IV. The monarchy and the only God ---{220} V. Restoration and the national religion: God and his Messiah ---{223} VI. Christianity ---{226} VII. Islam ---{229} THIRD PART CHRISTIANITY IN THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS ---{233} CHAPTER 6 CHRISTIANITY AS AN INTRINSIC HISTORICAL RELIGION ---{237} § 1 The preaching and work of Christ ---{239} I. The God revealed by Christ ---{241} II. Christ as revealer of God ---{245} A) How is God in Christ? ---{246} ---1) [First, Christ presents himself as a thaumaturge] ---{246} ---2) [Second, Christ presents himself as Messiah] ---{248} ---3) [Christ called himself Son of God] ---{249} B) How does one go to God through Christ? ---{250} ---1) [First, the access to Christ has the characteristic ------of a filiation] ---{251} ---2) [Second, a filiation which consists in some way of being ------like God, the same way Christ was] ---{252} III. The access of man to Christ ---{253} § 2 The apostolic preaching ---{260} I. The Apostles and Judaism ---{260} II. The Apostles and the Empire ---{263} A) The Apostles and the gentiles ---{263} B) The Apostles and Greek wisdom ---{265} III. Christianity and Greek reasoning ---{268} A) First phase: What is it to be Son of God? ---{269} B) Second phase: What is it to be the real Son of God? ---{271} C) Third phase: What is the physical reality of the ------Word, and of Christ? ---{273} ---1) [What is Christ and who is Christ] ---{274} ---2) [The Trinity, one "what" and three "who"] ---{275} IV. Christianity and modern reasoning ---{278} A) Scientific reason ---{278} B) Philosophical reason ---{279} ---1) [Revelation and faith illuminate reason] ---{281} ---2) [Revelation as essential mysteriosity] ---{281} ------a) [The reasonable is the real exceeding reason] ---{282} ---------aa) [Reason is constitutively and formally an open reason ------------to an encounter as sketch] ---{284} ---------bb) [Reason has to search] ---{284} ------b) [Reality is sensed in its own formality of reality, ------------this is intellective sensing] ---{285} ------c) [Deity is mere manifestation of the divinity] ---{293} ---------aa) [What is being searched for?] ---{294} ---------bb) [How is it searched for?] ---{294} ---------cc) [What is being found?] ---{297} C) Historical reason ---{305} ---1) [Development of revelation is not an "impulse"] ---{306} ---2) [History of revelation as a "declaration" of the deposit] ---{306} ------a) [Two ways to reach the dogma] ---{310} ------b) [Dogma implicit in the entire deposit] ---{310} ---3) [Undiscernible truths] ---{315} ------a) [First stage, the integral revealed deposit] ---{315} ------b) [Concrete possibilities] ---{315} ------c) [Dogma is fundamentally in the revealed deposit] ---{316} ---------a) [No dogma is solidary with the situation that has ------------illuminated the concepts formulated] ---{318} ---------b) [What is simple faith?] ---{319} ---------c) [The history of dogma is radically not concluded] ---{320} V. Christianity and religions ---{322} CHAPTER 7 CHRISTIANITY AND THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS ---{327} § 1 Christianity as true religion ---{329} § 2 The other religions in themselves ---{331} A) [All religions involve intrinsically and formally ---an access to the God of Christianity] ---{331} B) [No religion is false simpliciter] ---{332} § 3 Christianity and the other religions ---{335} A) The truth of Christianity with respect to the other religions ---{335} B) The other religions with respect to Christianity ---{337} ---1) [The other religions carry in themselves, as formal constitutive ------of their own truth, an intrinsic Christianity] ---{337} ---2) [The other religions are a de-form Christianity] ---{337} ---3) [The other religions are an ignored Christianity] ---{338} C) The unity of Christianity “and” the other religions ---{339} ---1) [The attitude of Christ of saving the other religions involves, ------in the first place, a factual historical presence of the truth] ---{243} ---2) [Second, it is also a factual historical ------presence of freedom of option] ---{243} ---3) [Third, it is also a factual historical dynamic presence] ---{344} ------a) [First, it is a factual historical dynamic presence whose power ---------is manifested precisely by sanctifying the one that has it] ---{344} ------b) [Second, it is also a power of endurance] ---{345} ------c) [Third, an expectant factual historical presence] ---{346} APPENDIX THE WILL TO HISTORICAL RELIGION ---{349} 1) [In any of the three ways (dispersion, transcendence and immanence) ---man really and actually reaches the divine] ---{349} 2) [The Christian God is reached qua Christian by all the ways] ---{350} 3) [But those ways different from the way of transcendence are ------tortuous "de-form" ways] ---{350} ---a) [God's permissive will anchored in a will to approval] ---{352} ---b) [God's superior will to historical religion, to reach ------God historically] ---{352} 4) [The "form-ness" of each non-Christian religion, a conformity ------and a deformity, is the historical body of each religion] ---{353} 5) [There is a movement of access to God in the graces deposited ------on the rectitude with which man obeys his conscience] ---{357} 6) [The history of religions is in its own way a revelation in act] ---{359} CONCLUSION ---{361}