Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Loving the dead

Justin Taylor quotes from a summary of Beth Barton Schweiger’s argument in “Seeing Things: Knowledge and Love in History.” I liked this very much:
.... This love is not sentimental, nor does this love absolve the subjects of their sins. Loving the dead means we tell the truth about them, as far as it is possible given our limitations and the complexities of the past. And we love the dead for their own sakes, rather than for some utilitarian purpose we might have for them.

The dead are a source of contemplation for us in the present; they offer us perspective, humility, and aid us in our own self-examination as we study their lives. The dead are at our mercy—they cannot come back and offer their explanations, their justifications, their apologies, or their acts of restitution.

As we increase in our knowledge of history, the temptation is to exercise power over those who are gone, render judgment on them, and emerge from the exercise justified, righteous, and pure. ....
Justin Taylor, "Jesus, John Wayne, and the Failure to Love," February 9, 2022.

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