Monday, April 4, 2011

At play at PE

My favorite book is a little text written,and now out of print,by Hugo Rahner.MAN AT PLAY or Did You Ever Practice Eutrapelia?.Published in German in 1949.The ed. I own is an English translation by Brian Battershaw and Edward Quinn published by Burns&Oates of London in 1965.Rahner treats the subject of the virtue of Eutrapelia,practiced by one who "has the wit and wisdom to be the mean between the boor(the "agorikos")and the bufoon(the "bomolochos")".A way to understand the "eutrapelos"is that such a person is well-turned between the seriousness and the absurdity of life.The subject is treated in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics,and for Rahner,viewed through the lens of the Scholasticism of Aquinas.Rahner also acknowledges Aquinas'debt to the,"spiritual wisdom of the Fathers and monks of the primitive church".In a nutshell,in Ancient Greece,the bufoons would dance and act the fools before the sacrificial altar with the hope of securing a scrap or two of discarded meat.The boor stands aloof,without joy,but with dismissive judgement.The well-turned person stands out from both extremes,able to appreciate both the seriousness and the frivolity of it all.In the book,Rahner looks at God's play and our own(Theologia ludens):"(A)ll play has somewhere deep within it an element of the dance;it is a kind of dance round the truth.Sacred play has always taken the form of a dance;for in the rhythm of body and music are conjoined all the possibilities of embodying and expressing in visible form the strivings and aspirations of the mind-and also,of chastely veiling and protecting them(p.66)".This blog,PE for short,shall be the celebration of the dance first and hopefully serious enough to share and offer to you the scraps of the altar as we dance with God in the public square.....

1 comment:

  1. Well, okay -- game on! Shall we follow God's lead?