a Bosch quote on tragedy and hope

September 24, 2008

“Tragedy, however – so Steiner reminds us – is by definition irreparable. We remain pawns, turned over to the capriciousness of a malevolent God, to blind fate, the solicitations of hell, or to the brute fury of our own animal blood, which is waiting for us in ambush at the crossroads, mocking us and destroying us. But Steiner also points out that we encounter tragedy in Greek antiquity and in Shakespeare, not, however, in the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures and tradition.

But I stand in this latter tradition. This means that I am an anti-tragedy person. I am in the hope business. I know of judgement, which is no the same as tragedy. I also know of repentance and forgiveness, of reparation and restitution, of a new life beyond the grave, of a kingdom that is coming. And, of course, I am not alone in this. There are also the Desmond Tutus, the Beyers Naudés and tens of thousands of others; there is still a silver-haired Alan Paton who first aroused our consciences when he wrote Cry, the Beloved Country, forty years ago, and who, just a month ago, opened out National Initiative for Reconciliation with a reading from Psalm 130. The night is dark, indeen, but there have always been and there still are the watchmen crying out their messages of hope, reminding us that when the night is at its darkest, dawn has drawn near.

From as article by David Bosch titled Afrikaner Civil Religion, in The Best of Theology Volume 1. This was written in 1985, although published in 1987.


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