Posts Tagged fundamentalism
Constitutional originalism is the political variation of biblical literalism, it is an attempt to argue that there is one meaning and only meaning to the constitution. It applies a fundamentalist thought process to the Constitution, it treats the US Constitution as a religious document and responds to it in the manner of religion, offering devotion and reverence rather than dialogue and interpretation.
In his book Love’s Body (1966), American scholar and classicist Norman O. Brown offers a fascinating insight on biblical literalism:
Literalism does not get rid of the magical element in scriptural or historical interpretation. The Holy Spirit, instead of a living spirit in the present, becomes the Holy Ghost, a voice from the past enshrined in the book. The restriction of meaning to conscious meaning makes historical understanding a personal relation between the personality of the reader and the personality of the author, now dead. Spiritual understanding (geistiges Verstehen) becomes a ghostly operation, an operating with ghosts (Geisteswissenschaft). The document starts speaking for itself; the reader starts hearing voices. The subjective dimension in historical understanding is to animate the dead letter with the living reader’s blood, his “experience”; and simultaneously let the ghost of the dead author slide into, become one with, the reader’s soul. It is necromancy, or shamanism; magical identification with ancestors; instead of living spirit, to be possessed by the dead.
Literalism combines fetishism of the book with shamanism of the interpreter; science and subjectivity . . . . (page 199)