“Religious discord depends upon nothing except ignorance of grammar.”
Joseph Justus Scalager wrote that pronouncement after stating, “I want to be a good grammarian.” He was a 15th Century “erudite” – a person who has or shows profound knowledge – perhaps the greatest erudite, in the opinion of Nassem Nicholas Taleb.
Looking around at all of the religions of the world, it appears that Scalager was, and remains, correct! The endless history of religious intrigue, warfare, schisms, sects, cults, and denominations continues to show this in the current day. Theologians argue over punctuation, tenses, translational nuances, and return year after year to the same ceaseless battle for truth as they see it in the umlaut or lack thereof. The differences in meaning are immense and potentially fatal now and forever!
These grammatical battles are, of course, also based upon human-centeredness. Each “erudite” just has to be correct, has to personally have the better – the only correct insight – into the meaning of, well, anything! They would have us (require us) to acknowledge that their exegesis reveals to them the mind of God! And, if they all agreed, then they believe we would all know what the All Knowing knows.
Well, perhaps Scalager’s insight and the thousands – legions – of different “interpretations” hermeneutics, translations, etc., etc., that have occurred are intended to keep such a unanimity of man from occurring! Such has happened before:
The Tower of Babel
Genesis Chapter 11 in The Bible tells the story. A people of one language whose leaders wanted to built a tower to the heights of Heaven, to be nearer to (equal to?) God! A confusion of languages was granted to the people, ability to communicate and work together was lost, and they dispersed. Work on that Tower was abandoned far short of Heaven.
What is different now? The confusion of languages still reigns in the world, not only in a tribes and nations linguistic sense, but within virtually all nations in their government, politics, leadership, labor forces and institutions of every kind.
And, back to Scalager, the confusion reigns to the extreme in religion. Human inward-curving hubris wants to take power and control and harvests the paradigm of chaos. Mankind is clearly incapable on its own of having faith in ultimate Truths that have been given to it. Be still and Know!
Are you building that new Tower of Babel? Beware!