Dionysus, Christ, and the Death of God, Volume 1
The Great Mediations of the Classical World
Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
This magisterial reflection on the history and destiny of the West compares Greco-Roman civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition in order to understand what both unites and divides them. Mediation, understood as a collective, symbolic experience, gives society unity and meaning, putting human beings in contact with a universal object known as the world or reality. But unity has a price: the very force that enables peaceful coexistence also makes us prone to conflict. As a result, in order to find a common point of convergence—of at-one-ment—someone must be sacrificed. Sacrifice, then, is the historical pillar of mediation. It was endorsed in a cosmic-religious sense in antiquity and rejected for ethical reasons in modernity, where the Judeo-Christian tradition plays an intermediate role in condemning sacrificial violence as such, while accepting sacrifice as a voluntary act offered to save other human beings. Today, as we face the collapse of all shared mediations, this intermediating solution offers a way out of our moral and cultural plight.
Fornari’s brilliant analysis of the “mediatory” forces in humanity, covering a wide range of philosophical and classical texts, provides the reader with a key to understanding the way in which human cultures take shape and develop and, at the same time, leads to the “dark” origins of the European crisis. Fornari’s book is unique in today’s academic world—giving powerful insights into the fragile structures of Western civilization and, even more important, illuminating the very essence of these structures arising again and again (in history as well as in the political present), namely the fact that only inhumanity can lead to humanity.~Gilbert Weiss-Lanthaler, Psychotherapist, University of Salzburg, Austria, and coeditor of A Friendship That Lasted a Lifetime: The Correspondence between Alfred Schütz and Eric Voegelin