Thursday, May 24, 2012

Number One Hundred and One

Die Sünde kommt immer offen und ist mit den Sinnen gleich zu fassen. Sie geht auf ihren Wurzeln und muß nicht ausgerissen werden.

Sin always comes openly and can at once be grasped by means of the senses. It walks on its roots and does not have to be torn out. [Kaiser/Wilkins]

Sin always comes openly, and in a form apprehensible to the senses. It walks on its roots and doesn't need to be plucked out of the ground. [Hofmann]


So does this mean that sin is not a matter of interpretation? Perhaps virtue is the task of interpretation, and sin is not, or is somehow beneath or unable to achieve that level.

We are not talking about a plant, so the attribution of roots is deliberate. A root is what is fixed, so what does it mean to say something walks on its roots? Wouldn't what you walk with be a foot, not a root? How can you move with a root? How can a root be a root if it moves? Perhaps this is what makes it sin, that its roots move, and yet are roots. It abuses its roots. I think the gesture is what counts here, and not some allegory.

If interpretation is an analogue to uprooting something, then does this suggest something potentially sinful in it? Interpretation doesn't make something walk on its roots, but it does tear up roots, and if that's the case, then isn't it unrooting? Destroying roots? You interpret a thing, and end up with an idea of what something is, but to the thing's cost. And yours, since there is no use you can make of it once it's torn out of the ground. Even if the thing doesn't die, now that it's out of the ground, it might get up and start walking on its roots.

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