Not Yet: Recovering Anagogy
The proto-Enlightenment of the late seventeenth century in England reverses all the central persuasions of illiberal evangelical religion of the early sixteenth century. Free-will, division of powers, non-literalist Biblical reading, aesthetics, theatricality (for example) each reverse the cardinal positions of Lutheran and Calvinist religion. How? By ignoring them? No. By repudiating Protestantism? No. Then how?
Permanent Revolution argues that evangelical religion is not only a culture of revolution, but also of permanent revolution. Sixteenth-century Calvinism provides the model for many later revolutionary movements, on a global scale: unmediated power relations between highly centralized sources of power and atomized subjects; the imposition of punishing revolutionary disciplines on the laity by an elect, literate cadre; literalist reading; iconoclasm; born again self-hood (for example): each of these features of later revolutionary movements is characteristic of early modern Calvinism. But Calvinism is not only a revolutionary culture; more dynamically, it is a culture of permanent revolution, ceaselessly repudiating not only competing religions, but also, much more energetically, forms of itself. Tradition is inherently negative for Calvinism, since it is tradition that obfuscates the Word. Tradition must be repudiated qua tradition. The proto-Enlightenment of the later seventeenth century is a cultural package designed to stabilize and render manageable the punishing disciplines of the permanent evangelical revolution.
Simpson, James (
Under the hammer : iconoclasm in the Anglo-American tradition The Clarendon lectures in English ; 2009
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Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.],
Burning to read : English fundamentalism and its reformation opponents