Greater Than Guilt

stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16238
    [title] => An immense purity is what remains in the end
    [alias] => an-immense-sincerity-is-what-remains-in-the-end
    [introtext] => 

Greater Than Guilt/31 - You can be "king" if you don't stop being a son

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 19/08/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 31 rid«Io non vivo in me ma fuori
Io sono manchevole io faccio
continuamente errori
Non so perché forse non più degli altri
Ma a me pare di farne di più…
Oh fuori ci sono gli alberi
Ci sono gli uccelli e i fiori..»

Nicola Gardini, Io non vivo in me ma fuori

“Now these are the last words of David: »...The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; / his word is on my tongue. ... [he] has said to me: When one rules justly over men, / ruling in the fear of God, / he dawns on them like the morning light, / like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, / like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth«” (2 Samuel 23:1-4). Although David will still speak in the Bible (in the First Book of Kings), for the Books of Samuel these are "David's last words"; they are like a testament. Here King David speaks as a prophet, as one who has received a new language to announce (in his case even sing) the word of YHWH - and he will finish the book as a priest. The author knows that we too, having reached the end of his life, can testify that David did speak some different and higher words than his or our own. He spoke them by mixing them up with words that were low, lower and more cowardly than ours; but in David God spoke precisely from the wounds of his ambivalent humanity.

[fulltext] =>

After these last words, the text reports some episodes from David’s life, placed - by their nature and their messages - at the epilogue of his story. The first one is a strange thirst of David for Bethlehem: “And David said longingly, »Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!« Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it” (23:15-16). It’s a complicated episode which tells us something else about kings who are much loved by their people. These people often enjoy such veneration and devotion in their community that their followers do everything possible and even impossible to meet the needs of their "king", trying to anticipate their desires, and not infrequently even their whims. This type of charismatic leader knows very well that they have that kind of spell over their faithful people, and are very tempted to use it and abuse it. This story shows us how different David’s heart is: he too is tempted by his whim and gives in, but he knows how to repent, change his mind and make a gesture of loyalty to his men.

This episode of the water is set within the presentation of the thirty or so warriors around David, his special guards. The most important detail of this list of military and heroic deeds is the last name, the one that closes the list: “Uriah the Hittite” (23:39), the loyal soldier killed by David so as to take his wife Bathsheba (ch. 11). The author is not afraid to seal the military parade of David with the name whose mere pronunciation speaks more to the biblical reader than a treatise on theology. YHWH's mercy and predilection for David, the beloved king, poet and singer of stupendous psalms, was greater than his sin. But the Bible wanted to preserve the name of Uriah until the very end; it did not erase it from the register of David’s life story, from the catalogue of life and death. To remind us that great sins dig scars that mark and change our bodies forever. Every time we read the Bible and pronounce the name of Uriah, David is again made responsible for that sin - forgiven but not irresponsible.

The second episode is about the census. For some mysterious anger of his, YHWH "incited David against them [the people of Israel], saying, »Go, number Israel and Judah«” (24:1). God "incites" David to act badly against his people, he "leads him into temptation" - indeed, the whole of the Bible is there in the prayer of Our Father. David gives in to this push, and Joab completes the census: “in Israel there were 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000” (24:9). But after the census, David felt remorse and said: “I have sinned greatly in what I have done” (24:10). Why was a census a "great evil"? Numbers in that Middle Eastern world had a mysterious and magical meaning. To know the "number" of a reality meant to possess its mystery, to be able to use it and manipulate it, too. Moving from quality (the people) to quantity (their number) reduces the degrees of freedom, leaving all the other dimensions on the roadside except the one contained in that number, almost always the most banal one because it is the simplest. So it is with the census: counting people means manifesting a will to dominate, a spirit of possession of the "things" that you count, to say that you are their master. Yesterday and today. In biblical humanism the king is not the master of his people, and therefore that census had a strong theological value: it denied the sovereignty of YHWH over his people. The sin of idolatry crept into those numbers - in ideal-driven and spiritual communities, counting one's own people always has a theological value, it reveals a will for power, it puts the gratuitousness and chastity of the founders and leaders into crisis.

In response to David's repentance, YHWH sends word to him through Gad (a seer-prophet): “Three things I offer you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you. (…) Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' pestilence in your land? (24:12-13). David asked to avoid fleeing from the enemy, and God sent a plague that killed seventy thousand people. David offers himself to save his flock: “Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me” (24:17). As a response to his offering, Gad conveys God's response to David again: “Go up, raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite” (24:18). That farmyard, the place for threshing, breeding and killing animals, now becomes the altar of David the priest, and later the place where Solomon builds his temple - in my Italian dialect the farmyard (aia) is called the altar (ara), using the Latin word for altar (perhaps because of the same interweaving of death and life in it). Araunah declares himself ready to donate the oxen for the holocaust and the wood for the fire to his king. But David replies: “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (24:24). This dialogue closely recalls Abraham and his contract with the Hittites for the purchase of Sarah's tomb (Genesis 23); but also the name of Uriah the Hittite. For that tomb Abraham paid 400 shekels of silver; now the price is 50. The author (a later and more ideological one) of the First Book of Chronicles (21:25) will not be satisfied with this small figure, he will multiply it by twelve and the silver will become gold ("600 shekels of gold"). Yet that modest figure quoted by that ancient writer is very beautiful, perhaps telling us that no temple is worth a wife, and that the land for a temple that contains the Ark of the Covenant is worth an eighth of the land that contains a spouse.

In this last episode, the great theme of economic faith returns, too. Sacrifices to God are not worthwhile if they do not have a price, if they are free of any cost. This religious vision considers gratuitousness a bad currency and believes that God does not appreciate gifts that cost anything. The idea is rooted very deeply in our social relations, too (which leads us, for example, not to value gifts that are known to be recycled), and people wanted to extend it also to the relationship with the divinity, thus imprisoning God, too, in our commercial logic - when will we release him? But this last chapter tells us, once again, that the Bible loved David for his ability to repent and to start over after making mistakes. David was not wonderful and loved for his moral life, but for his mysterious, almost infantile candour. For that primitive purity of the shepherd boy that the sin of the adult man was not able to erase, and which remained greater than his guilt. To be able to give us the most important message in David's story: that mysterious candour and that childlike innocence resist tenaciously and work in each one of us. We too are greater than our own guilt - and we must remember this especially at a time of great faults, both our own and those of others.

David entered the Bible as a boy, and, in a sense, that boy has never left the scene. He knew how to dialogue with women, he listened to the voice of the prophets and the Spirit, he felt respect for his "father" Saul, he sang, he composed hymns and poetry, he cried. David, the king and the greatest father, was so great because he never stopped being a son. Perhaps that is why he has been and continues to be so loved. According to the biblical tradition, Araunah's farmyard-altar was located on Mount Moriah, where an angel of God saved another innocent son. Because God and we, too, love many things, but above all we love our children.

And this time too, thank God, we have reached the end. On Sunday 2 September we are going to start with a new series about ideal-driven organisations, and the people who generate them and work in them. As always and each time in a different way, I wish to thank those who have tried to follow me during these thirty-one weeks. Thanks to the director, Marco Tarquinio, the first reader of each of my lines, the one who allows this dialogue between an economist and the Bible to continue and, perhaps, mature. Thanks to those who wrote to me, encouraged me, criticised me, sometimes in really splendid words. It was a long commentary, full of encounters. And as it happens in every reading of the Bible, the people we meet along the way do not disappear when we pass them over. They remain alive, speak, introduce and present further encounters, and they join us on our journey, until the last encounter. And so, at the end of the journey, we find ourselves in an area populated by all the men and women we have got to know on the way. Here too lies the beauty of great literature, and, in a special way, of the Bible. In that threshing floor of Araunah, though invisibly, Hannah, Samuel, Eli and his children, Saul, Jonathan, Bathsheba, Abigail, Rizpah, the witch of Endor, the two wise women, Joab, Absalom and Amnon were there, too. Tamar and Uriah were also there, along with many other victims whose tombstones the Bible preserves for us. And it offers us its words to pray when we have exhausted ours; or when, as in these days in Genoa, too much pain is taking our breath away.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-08-19 08:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-08-24 08:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => The conclusion of the Books of Samuel is a synthesis and distillation of many themes. Above all it reminds us of the reasons for the great love the Bible had and still has for David. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1440 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10035 [ordering] => 63 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-08-19 08:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16238:an-immense-sincerity-is-what-remains-in-the-end [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater Than Guilt/31 - You can be "king" if you don't stop being a son

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 19/08/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 31 rid«Io non vivo in me ma fuori
Io sono manchevole io faccio
continuamente errori
Non so perché forse non più degli altri
Ma a me pare di farne di più…
Oh fuori ci sono gli alberi
Ci sono gli uccelli e i fiori..»

Nicola Gardini, Io non vivo in me ma fuori

“Now these are the last words of David: »...The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; / his word is on my tongue. ... [he] has said to me: When one rules justly over men, / ruling in the fear of God, / he dawns on them like the morning light, / like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, / like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth«” (2 Samuel 23:1-4). Although David will still speak in the Bible (in the First Book of Kings), for the Books of Samuel these are "David's last words"; they are like a testament. Here King David speaks as a prophet, as one who has received a new language to announce (in his case even sing) the word of YHWH - and he will finish the book as a priest. The author knows that we too, having reached the end of his life, can testify that David did speak some different and higher words than his or our own. He spoke them by mixing them up with words that were low, lower and more cowardly than ours; but in David God spoke precisely from the wounds of his ambivalent humanity.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

An immense purity is what remains in the end

Greater Than Guilt/31 - You can be "king" if you don't stop being a son by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 19/08/2018 «Io non vivo in me ma fuori Io sono manchevole io faccio continuamente errori Non so perché forse non più degli altri Ma a me pare di farne di più… Oh fuori ci sono gli alberi...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16239
    [title] => He isn’t only the God of the strong
    [alias] => he-isn-t-only-the-god-of-the-strong
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/30 - The last chapter often brings about a different time

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 12/08/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 30 rid“Moses then saw how God wrote the word ‘long-suffering’ in the Torah, and asked: »Does this mean that Thou hast patience with the pious?« But God answered: »Nay, with sinners also am I long-suffering.« »What!« exclaimed Moses, »Let the sinners perish!« God said no more.”

Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (English translation by Paul Radin)

Even in the greatest stories, there comes a last chapter. Sometimes it is the most beautiful one, but it is always the distillate of the whole of life. But while in novels the good reader knows how to identify the moment when the story line suffers the last twist and is about to end, when we try to read the book that we are writing, we are almost never able to grasp the moment of the beginning of decline, and change. That’s because we simply love life and its words too much, and because we love illusions too much. And that’s why the last page often takes us by surprise, because we have been unable to insert it in the last chapter, which would have given it rhythm and meaning. We lose the plot of the story, and sometimes we get lost.

[fulltext] =>

All this is particularly relevant and tragic when we are dealing with kings, leaders, especially charismatic leaders and founders of spiritual and ideal-driven communities and movements, that is, people who have a character of foundation and moral guidance for others. Here it is really crucial that the ‘king’ be able to understand when the time has come to ‘stop going down to the battlefield’, to enter a new dimension of individual and collective life. This is the age of the ‘safeguarding of the lamp’, when the community or the organization must - or should - ask its founder to become a living memory and sign of the charisma and the ideal, to put his person in second place so that the first place is given to the light that emanates from the lantern. The most important experience of a founder and their community is in fact becoming aware of the distinction between the light and the safeguarding of the light - which must be clear and explicit. In the course of life this distinction sometimes fades, and the community confuses enlightened reality (the founder) with the light and its source. So the calmness of the last chapter can be decisive for the future of the community, in order to do in the end what was not done during. However, when this phase does not arrive, or when it arrives too late, the king risks dying in battle and, which is even more serious, the light of the lantern is in danger of extinction with the death of those who originally lit it. Light can continue to illuminate after we are gone if we give ourselves and the community the gift of a last and different time. Because it is precisely in that mild and humble time of the safeguarding of the flame that a "king" says with his own flesh that he was not the light, but only its safe keeper.

“There was war again between the Philistines and Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary. And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants... thought to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, »You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel«” (2 Samuel 21:15-17).

David is tired but goes down to the battlefield all the same. There he puts his life at risk, and it is his generals who make him a solemn oath, a sort of new pact that marks the beginning of David's last phase in life, his progressive withdrawal from government that will open the way to his son Solomon.

Here the "people" see that new and different tiredness and make a promise. In David's story, it is an oath that marks this phase, a promise made on the initiative of his generals. David does not respond in the text; that oath operates unilaterally by the sole force of the word spoken by the representatives of the people. In the life of communities there are some similar pacts, where the community takes the initiative. Kings are almost never in a position to understand that they are "weary", because this kind of charismatic fatigue is seen only by people who are close to the head. It is a relational tiredness, and the members of the community, if they are honest and not adulators, have a duty to take the initiative and let the king enter that last chapter. These are not easy choices, and they are always painful, because the community is used to listening and following its leader, and because the boundary between this promise and conspiracy is not at all easy to spot - behind communities that have not survived their founder there are conspiracies that the king confused with promises and accepted, and promises that he confused with conspiracies and rejected.

Then follows the story of the heroic deeds of some of David's warriors, where we also find a different version of the killing of Goliath at the hands not of David but Elhanan (21:19) - here the Bible is not afraid to show a denial of one of the founding myths of its hero David in the culminating phase of his life. Then we come to the only psalm of David reported in its entirety in the Books of Samuel. It is a long and intense psalm, which occupies the whole of chapter 22. The editor put it at the end of David's life, as a last will and seal. It is the beginning of his last chapter, a time of thanksgiving to God, to life, to his companions. It can also be the time of psalms, for poets like David and for each one in its own language - there are splendid psalms composed with the names of children and grandchildren, with silent fidelity and loyalty, whispering only one Hail Mary because we had forgotten all the other prayers: the last psalm of life cannot be a privilege of the poets.

Here are a few verses: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer / my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge... He sent from on high, he took me; / he drew me out of many waters. / He rescued me from my strong enemy, / from those who hated me, / for they were too mighty for me... The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; / according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. / For I have kept the ways of the Lord / and have not wickedly departed from my God... With the merciful you show yourself merciful; / with the blameless man you show yourself blameless... For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, / and sing praises to your name” (22:2-50). And at the centre of the psalm we find, “For you are my lamp, O Lord, / and my God lightens my darkness” (22:29). David learned that the lamp of Israel was not he himself, and for this reason at the end of his life he can safeguard it (which always requires the otherness of the thing guarded).

Reading this great psalm, there are many feelings intertwining in one’s soul. David was a singer and a player of the lyre, and even in this artistic soul of his there lies the affection with which the entire Bible has filled him. We feel captivated and conquered by this intense poetic prayer of his, too. But when we try to read the contents of the song we must also try to say other words.

There have always been many believers who used God to give a sacral chrism to their victories and riches. The "theology of prosperity" has ancient biblical roots, and this is because the Bible, being so immense, also lends itself to being abused and manipulated (like all truly beautiful and immense things in life). The Bible needed theological geniuses and a lot of time to understand that being on the side of God does not mean being on the side of the victors, and that our God, that of our friends and that of our enemies, is the same God - because if he were not the same God, even YHWH, the true and most diverse God would be an idol. And if the God of the losers is the same God as that of the winners, if the God of the poor is the same God as that of the rich, if the God of the healthy is the same God as that of the sick, if the God of the strong is the same God as that of the weak, then a message that comes to us from the Bible (and from non-idolatrous religions) is God's laicity. Because God should be left out of our businesses and wars, our health and illnesses and those of others, our stock exchanges and financial speculation. We can find him everywhere, in everything and in everyone, but it is not the biblical God if we find him only on our side.

The story of Israel after David will teach the Jewish people that their God will be a defeated God, his elected people a deported people, his invincible temple a pile of rubble, and the strength of YHWH will be symbolized by a baby boy and a faithful "little remnant". But from that exile the songs of the suffering servant of YHWH (Isaiah) and many great prophetic words will flourish. Without the exile and that great defeat we would never have had Job and Qoheleth who offered us some other true faces of the biblical God.

David’s psalm is also a perfect example of a retributive religion (“The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; / according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me”). And when it is the victors, the powerful and the rich to recite the words of David's psalm, the experience of faith is always put at risk. Because it is very easy to pass from thanksgiving for the victory and for the riches to thinking "since I have won and am rich, God is with me", and then perhaps add, “God does not stand with those who don’t win and are poor”. And so faith is ruined; it becomes an instrument of condemnation and cursing of the poor, the losers and those who believe in a different God.
David's psalms of praise to the victorious God must be meditated upon together with the songs of the defeated God, in a synoptic kind of reading. And if and when we sing David's song for our victories and we do not do so with our soul and gaze fixed on the different songs shouted and wailed by the desperate and the discarded, we are speaking to Baal even if we call him God or Jesus. A test for the truth of every prayer is to try and recite it alongside the victims of the earth, without feeling ashamed.

David’s psalm is also the song of young and adolescent faith, when we think that the covenant with the only true God will associate us with his victories, and so we feel omnipotent - the charm and mystery of religion also lies in its ability to make us taste the thrill of omnipotence. Then we grow up, we find ourselves powerless and fragile because we are adults, and we often lose that first faith if right there and then, in exile and without the temple, the gift of a new relationship with a God does not arrive. A God who rises again, standing with us, in silence, on the same pile of manure, and accompanying our cry, as he did with the cry of his son, the most beautiful prayer of all. To finally get to the last chapter and find the same voice from the first page.

download  article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-08-12 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-08-17 02:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => We have entered the last stretch of David’s story, which we will conclude next Sunday. And here too, there are surprises waiting for us and a psalm, too: an occasion to reflect on what faith is and what it is not or what it should not be. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1397 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10301 [ordering] => 64 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-08-12 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16239:he-isn-t-only-the-god-of-the-strong [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/30 - The last chapter often brings about a different time

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 12/08/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 30 rid“Moses then saw how God wrote the word ‘long-suffering’ in the Torah, and asked: »Does this mean that Thou hast patience with the pious?« But God answered: »Nay, with sinners also am I long-suffering.« »What!« exclaimed Moses, »Let the sinners perish!« God said no more.”

Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (English translation by Paul Radin)

Even in the greatest stories, there comes a last chapter. Sometimes it is the most beautiful one, but it is always the distillate of the whole of life. But while in novels the good reader knows how to identify the moment when the story line suffers the last twist and is about to end, when we try to read the book that we are writing, we are almost never able to grasp the moment of the beginning of decline, and change. That’s because we simply love life and its words too much, and because we love illusions too much. And that’s why the last page often takes us by surprise, because we have been unable to insert it in the last chapter, which would have given it rhythm and meaning. We lose the plot of the story, and sometimes we get lost.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )

He isn’t only the God of the strong

Greater than Guilt/30 - The last chapter often brings about a different time by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 12/08/2018 “Moses then saw how God wrote the word ‘long-suffering’ in the Torah, and asked: »Does this mean that Thou hast patience with the pious?« But God answered: »Nay, with sin...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16240
    [title] => The Mother’s Gesture Is Like Leaven
    [alias] => the-mother-s-gesture-is-like-leaven
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/29 - Always reminding us that every son is a son of all

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 05/08/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 29 rid“In Heaven she is sure to find your mother again, and she is also sure to find your other grandmother. Donna Maria Vincenza assured me that if the Eternal Father does not take you directly under his protection, the three of them will raise such protests that Paradise will become a true hell...

Ignazio Silone, Il seme sotto la neve (Seed Beneath the Snow - rough translation)

Many pathologies of the Judeo-Christian religions and of the Western civilization which originated from them are a direct consequence of the marriage created between faith and economy. The understanding of sin as debt is at the origin and heart of biblical humanism, which has determined a mercantile vision of religion and salvation. And when the debit-credit logic extends from earth to heaven, a perhaps more abstract organization of our financial capitalism takes shape.

[fulltext] =>

Sins tend to survive the sinner in heaven and on earth. The debt incurred remains on the "balance sheet" of a person, a community and God, if and until someone cancels it by paying the appropriate price. God is inserted in these trades, as a last resort guarantor of the legal value of the "coins" used and as the main counterpart of this market, whose stock exchange is the Temple. That first act, which had raised credit on the part of the offended, was "renegotiated" and transformed into a new, more complex contract, a sort of derivative title, which generates inter-temporal chains that get extended and amplified through space and time. Today our economic system has eliminated the God hypothesis, but the guilt-debt mechanism continues to operate more and more undisturbed, because it isn’t included or hidden under the fine words of "meritocracy" and "incentive". Also because it is very difficult to free ourselves from the economic idea of faith when we are increasingly surrounded by the economy and its dogmas. We would need a serious theological analysis of capitalism to understand it and perhaps try to change it.

“Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, »There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death«” (2 Samuel 21:1). David has to deal with a long famine, perhaps linked to a drought of extraordinary duration. For us, droughts and natural disasters are only droughts and disasters; for the man of Antiquity they were also divine messages requiring decoding. If YHWH is Israel's ally, such a long famine can only be explained by divine anger caused by a grave sin. So David goes on a pilgrimage to an important temple, there he looks for "the face of the Lord", and receives his answer: what is happening has its cause in a previous murder of King Saul that he committed against the community of the Gibeonites (a Canaanite population, friends of Israel). We do not know what Saul’s blood crime was. We only know that David does not question the oracle he receives (perhaps through a prophet). He summons the Gibeonites for a treaty, and tells them: “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement...?” The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house...” (21:3-4). The Gibeonites set the price, and clarify that they do not want a compensation in money, even if it is provided by the Law of Moses (Exodus 21:30). And here we can find a paradox. That ancient idea of religion, which had taken the symbolic language used in the economy to express the debt-credit relations between human kind and God, does not however consider “real” money an adequate currency to pay off the most important debts. For these, blood was needed.

There is also a key to understanding the nature and vocation of the economy here, if we read it in relation to sacrifices and blood. The development of monetary institutions over the centuries has also been the great alternative to avoid having to pay with blood. This ancient story of blood and debt, in its madness, also suggests another message of life: when it comes to life and death, money is too little. When someone hits and hurts us and/or those we love in the flesh, no amount of money can really restore the original situation. We need another logic, one that is non-monetary and unrelated to the cost-benefit calculation, which is called forgiveness and reconciliation. Only within such cases of total non-monetary reconciliation do the monetary reparations of damage and the judicial punishments perform their function of trying to re-establish the broken equilibrium, even if they never succeed completely in doing so.

At this point, the text develops into its terrible tragedy: “They said to the king, »The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us (...) let seven of his sons be given to us, so that we may hang them before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the Lord«” (21:5-6). David agrees to pay that awful price, without negotiating: “The king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul ... and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before the Lord and the seven of them perished together” (21:8-9).

The absurd pact is concluded, the blood damage is repaid adequately with more blood. But we cannot but interrogate the Bible, asking: how could David accept such a vile business, and believe that YHWH needed that blood to be appeased and to reconcile with the people? We could say that David, in reality, is moving on a mainly political level: by delivering the seven Saulites, he reconciles with the Gibeonites and eliminates the last survivors of the rival house of Saul. This is a possible but partial answer, because in the Bible it is very difficult, if not impossible, to isolate the political component from the religious one. The sacrifice of those victims takes place in a sacred place, the temple of YHWH at Gibeah, with men used as "offerings for YHWH" in a sacrificial context. The first debtor is therefore God.

Therefore, this blood pact reveals to us an important dimension of Israel's faith at the dawn of the monarchy. David, the king according to God's heart, the singer of splendid psalms, Jonathan's sincere friend and the beloved character of the Bible probably really believed that YHWH, the different God of the Covenant could be appeased and satisfied by human blood. But the saddest news is that despite the fact that three thousand years have passed since that wicked offer, despite Christianity and Saint Paul, we too continue to believe in the same God as David and the Gibeonites every time - and unfortunately there are many times - that, more or less consciously, we read the blood of Christ on the cross as the price paid to the Father for our sins, or when we offer our pain or even our life as a sacrifice thinking that up there there is someone who awaits and likes our sacrifice-offering, and who believes that the measure of our genuineness is the "blood" and the pain that we "give freely".

But even in this tremendous tale we suddenly come across the splendid epiphany of another idea of faith, life and religion - the Bible is immense for its continuous self-subversion, too. It is the gesture of Rizpah, a woman who gives us one of the strongest, most dramatic and spiritual discourses in all religious literature without speaking, thus illuminating that archaic sacrifice of a light of paradise: “Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens. And she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night” (21:10).

This verse 21:10 of the Second Book of Samuel should be included in every anthology of the moral excellence of human beings, mothers and women. We had already met her (3:7). She was Saul's concubine that his general Abner had "taken" without asking his permission, to send a political message to his king. Now David "takes" her two sons to make his repairing offer, without asking her permission yet again (which he would never have obtained). She takes her sack for the mourning, and instead of wearing it she stretches it out and turns it into her tent. And there she keeps vigil, day and night, over those lifeless bodies. She stays under those crosses for days, weeks, perhaps months. She is alone, like a stele of living flesh, like a sentinel who stands, together with the prophet, in her lookout position on the walls (Isaiah 21), to tell us other words of YHWH without speaking. To prophesy Golgotha, and to cry out on her Holy Saturday that if there is a true God he cannot and must not like the blood of men, because then he would be less human than her, or us. Mute words like these of Rizpah are the ones that give the entire Bible the taste and fragrance of the word of God. Without the gesture of this mother and the few similar characters who dot the Bible, the bread of the word would be all unleavened and foolish. Rizpah’s gesture allows us to say "the Word of the Lord" at the end of the reading of these tremendous chapters, without being ashamed of human beings, the Bible and its God.

We can imagine Rizpah holding onto those bodies tight, wetting them with her tears, kissing them, drying the wounds with her hair. Shouting against people and, perhaps, against the sky that had wanted the offer of those sons - the mothers, from Rizpah to Mary, have always known that no inhabited sky can accept the blood of crucified children. And then we see her chasing the wild beasts and vultures from the bodies of her sons and also from the bodies of Merab's sons. She watches over those seven victims, she watches over her sons, hers and those of others, to remind us forever that every son is a son of all. Christianity, one day, revealed to us a different love, agape, capable of going beyond blood ties, friendship and desire, and thus able to chase away vultures and wild beasts from the bodies of all children. It was able to offer it to us because it had learned it from the love of mothers and women, which was the one that most resembled it.

Rain fell from the sky again on the esplanade of the temple of Gibeah, wetting the earth and those crucified bodies. That saving rain, however, was not the response to David's sacrifice, but God's tears given in response to those of Rizpah and those of the other mothers of the crucified. Only a God who cries with us for the death and pain of our children can be at the religious heights of Rizpah and her sisters.

download  article in pdf

 

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-08-05 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-08-10 02:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => Religion and faith are two sides of the same coin. This is revealed to us through a tremendous episode in the story of David, too, but it is once again illuminated by a woman, in one of the most beautiful and intense pages of the entire Bible. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1445 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10211 [ordering] => 65 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-08-05 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16240:the-mother-s-gesture-is-like-leaven [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/29 - Always reminding us that every son is a son of all

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 05/08/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 29 rid“In Heaven she is sure to find your mother again, and she is also sure to find your other grandmother. Donna Maria Vincenza assured me that if the Eternal Father does not take you directly under his protection, the three of them will raise such protests that Paradise will become a true hell...

Ignazio Silone, Il seme sotto la neve (Seed Beneath the Snow - rough translation)

Many pathologies of the Judeo-Christian religions and of the Western civilization which originated from them are a direct consequence of the marriage created between faith and economy. The understanding of sin as debt is at the origin and heart of biblical humanism, which has determined a mercantile vision of religion and salvation. And when the debit-credit logic extends from earth to heaven, a perhaps more abstract organization of our financial capitalism takes shape.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

The Mother’s Gesture Is Like Leaven

Greater than Guilt/29 - Always reminding us that every son is a son of all by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 05/08/2018 “In Heaven she is sure to find your mother again, and she is also sure to find your other grandmother. Donna Maria Vincenza assured me that if the Eternal Father does not t...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16241
    [title] => The Word of Peace Is Feminine
    [alias] => the-word-of-peace-is-feminine
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/28 - It would be nice to see history through mothers'eyes

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 29/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 28 ridThe grand-vizir himself was the father of two daughters, of whom the elder was called Scheherazade, and the younger Dinarzade. (...) One day, when the grand-vizir was talking to his eldest daughter, who was his delight and pride, Scheherazade said to him, “Father, ...I am determined to stop this barbarous practice of the Sultan's, and to deliver the girls and mothers from the awful fate that hangs over them.”

The Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights Entertainments, English version by Andrew Lang)

Words can kill, but they can also ward off death. The first enemy of Tanathos is Logos. As long as we still have something to tell, we can postpone death’s arrival by a day, and, perhaps, when she arrives because we've finished our story, we'll find that we still have a story to tell, and it is the one for her.

[fulltext] =>

Women are particularly familiar with death because they have a special intimacy with life. Perhaps because for thousands of years they have kept the house, where they developed one of the primary relationships while men dedicated themselves to the economy of productive and military relationships outside the house. Women have become experts of both life and death. They washed and dressed their children and their dead, they cared for wounds that rarely healed, they made the same bed, often the only big one in the house, for a birth one day and for the funeral chamber of a parent on the next. In relation to death, for them life is like a garden for the blind: they do not see it but touch it, feel it and breathe it. And when, in the end, they finally open their eyes and look death in the face, they discover that they already knew her, as only a woman knows a sister. Death does not seem to be their biggest enemy. To really kill a woman it is not enough to take her life. In the Bible, women’s life generally does not end by dying, but by leaving the scene after being raped and humiliated, telling us, perhaps, that it is these deaths that really make them die.

“Now there happened to be there a worthless man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew the trumpet and said, »We have no portion in David«” (2 Samuel 20:1). With this attempt at insurrection, a man from Saul’s family continues the struggle between the tribes linked to Saul and those loyal to David, and at the same time marks the beginning of the conflict between North (Israel) and South (Judah) which will then lead to the tragic splitting of the Kingdom of David. In these concluding chapters of the Second Book of Samuel, we are seeing that Saul's party, though defeated by David's, had remained alive and strong in Israel, especially in his tribe of Benjamin. The war with his son Absalom, which represented the most serious political crisis in David’s reign, also created theological cracks, where the fringes that had remained faithful to Saul tried to creep in. In fact, the tribe of Benjamin, for its hinge position between North and South, had always been a critical element for Jerusalem: let us not forget that the prophet Jeremiah and Paul-Saul of Tarsus, both of whom were critical of Jerusalem and its tradition, were also Benjaminites.

Meanwhile David, after the temporary abandonment of the city to repress Absalom’s conspiracy, returned to Jerusalem. His first post-crisis political act concerned the ten concubines he had left in the city at the time of his flight (15:16), and of whom Absalom had come into possession (16:21) to tell all the people who was the new king. To make that gesture public, a tent was erected on the terrace of the palace where Absalom entered to the women (16:22). Perhaps it was the same terrace from where his father had watched Bathsheba bathe and then felt desire for her and committed adultery at the origin of the blood that never stopped staining his family afterwards. Here again, women appear being used as the instruments of power, women who live in the palace without being seen or recognized as individual human beings. The harem was part of the king’s riches, a set of things, objects, goods without rights or names. It took the whole Bible, and it was not enough, for the woman to become that ezer kenegdo again that Adam joyfully recognized as "his equal” in Eden, as someone with whom to exchange looks at the same height, in the decisive event that Genesis (2:23) sets at the beginning of creation, as the cornerstone of its anthropology and theology. For millennia, however, the eyes of women have remained lower than those of men, closer to the eyes of animals than to those of their husbands, beautiful eyes that looked ahead without being crossed or recognized as equals.

“And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house and put them in a house under guard and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood” (20:3). To definitively close the political parenthesis of Absalom, David condemned those ten women to life imprisonment, to serve, though innocent, their widowhood of the rebellious son who had consumed them without asking permission. Women, like Tamar, without guilt, who must serve because of the sins and revenge of males, imprisoned in a forced political and social widowhood, used as a message of flesh to be sent to the people (Judges 19). Women, when their words were over or their breath was exhausted, had to speak with their flesh, with their children and with their reclusion, which even when they are a message of life always remain a sacrament of flesh to say words of spirit that are almost never collected and understood.

However, we cannot help but be struck and disturbed by the indifference with which the biblical writer communicates to us this unwanted seclusion of women, as if the pietas he knew how to use for the great men were not necessary for these women, and for many others. If we could, it would be nice to imagine and maybe write some episodes of the story told in Samuel's books as seen from the perspective of women. To ask ourselves: how did Michal, Saul's daughter and David's wife, experience the civil war between her father and her husband, and how did she take the death of Jonathan and her other brothers? And what feelings and, perhaps, what words did Bathsheba have for the death of the nameless child through which YHWH wanted to punish David’s sin? And what did Maacah, the mother of Absalom say, if she said anything when she got to know that her son, the most handsome of all, had been entangled by his hair in a tree and then killed by Joab? How do mothers read and live the history of men's wars and violence? What are their different words?
But it is in this cloistered widowhood and in this sad silence of women that the Bible introduces another woman to us, and thus makes us hear some of the feminine words that are too often silenced. Listening to her words we can try to hear those of the many silent women buried by history and the Bible.

Sheba’s uprising has not been followed up in Israel. So with his few men he finds refuge in a northern city: Abel (Abel of Beth-maacah). Joab, who is chasing him, besieges the city, and begins the construction of an embankment leaning against its walls to conquer it.
After the nameless and wise woman of Tekoa (chap. 14), here, at another decisive moment, another wise nameless woman enters the scene: “Then a wise woman called from the city, »Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’« And he came near her, and the woman said, »Are you Joab?« He answered, »I am.« Then she said to him, »Listen to the words of your servant.« And he answered, »I am listening«” (20:16-17). First of all, it is striking that it is a woman to speak on behalf of the city. In a world of men, in a time of great crisis where the survival of the community is at stake, it is a woman who speaks, and she does so with authority, so much so that Joab listens to her. And the woman tells him: “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?” (20:18-19). In Israel Abel was a mother city of peace, it had a history and a vocation of wisdom and fidelity. The wise woman of Abel uses the genius loci of her land, clinging to its roots to save the tree of life, because the roots are not the past but the present and the future. But roots can be saved if someone knows what to call them because she can see and understand them - this is also the talent of women, because their capability of generating life makes them experts of the bond between generations.

The dialogue between the wise woman and the ruthless general continues: Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not true. (...) ...Sheba... has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city” (20:20-21). The woman has achieved her goal of saving her city and its inhabitants from death with her word; and, here too, she acts immediately: “And the woman said to Joab, »Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall« ... And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab” (20:21-22). Today, perhaps, a mediator capable of saving even the life of a rebel would be called "wise". The Bible has little interest in Sheba’s fate (in that world the death of his type of rebels was certain). In this story that woman is called wise because in a desperate situation she was able to find, quickly, the only possible solution to save her city from destruction, convincing that bloodthirsty commander through dialogue to change his mind, and thus earning peace. In a liminal place between death and life where the Bible often places women, the woman of Abel knew how to save the sons of a "mother city". In that prodigious duel, the words of peace of the wise woman were the ones to prevail.

That woman is left without a name, but not without words. Sometimes, in the Bible, the protagonists of stories with great messages remain intentionally nameless. Their anonymity does not reduce the value of their words but universalizes it: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho”; “A man had two sons...”. We can fill that absence of a name with our own, and then hear it repeated to us: “You go, and do likewise”.

download  article in pdf

 

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-07-29 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-08-03 12:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => Women are able to say different words when men want to wage war. We do not listen to them, but they, thanks to the Bible, too, continue to speak to us. Just like the wise woman of Abel. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1384 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10211 [ordering] => 66 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-07-29 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16241:the-word-of-peace-is-feminine [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/28 - It would be nice to see history through mothers'eyes

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 29/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 28 ridThe grand-vizir himself was the father of two daughters, of whom the elder was called Scheherazade, and the younger Dinarzade. (...) One day, when the grand-vizir was talking to his eldest daughter, who was his delight and pride, Scheherazade said to him, “Father, ...I am determined to stop this barbarous practice of the Sultan's, and to deliver the girls and mothers from the awful fate that hangs over them.”

The Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights Entertainments, English version by Andrew Lang)

Words can kill, but they can also ward off death. The first enemy of Tanathos is Logos. As long as we still have something to tell, we can postpone death’s arrival by a day, and, perhaps, when she arrives because we've finished our story, we'll find that we still have a story to tell, and it is the one for her.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )

The Word of Peace Is Feminine

Greater than Guilt/28 - It would be nice to see history through mothers'eyes by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 29/07/2018 The grand-vizir himself was the father of two daughters, of whom the elder was called Scheherazade, and the younger Dinarzade. (...) One day, when the grand-vizir was tal...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16242
    [title] => God Stands by the Victims
    [alias] => god-stands-by-the-victims
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/27 - Let’s learn to find God where he isn’t supposed to be

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 22/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 27“I will not urge thee, - no nor, if thou yet shouldst have the mind, wouldst thou be welcome as a worker with me. Nay, be what thou wilt; but I will bury him... But if thou wilt, be guilty of dishonouring laws which the gods have stablished in honour.”

Sophocles , Antigone (English translation by R. C. Jebb)

The story that Samuel's books tell us is a succession of murders, fratricides, incest, rapes and brutal violence. YHWH, the protagonist of many biblical pages, here seems to stand away from the fray, observing the spectacle of death offered to him by people. Yet the Bible, in all its books, continues to speak to us about God, containing his words and his Word. But where? And how?

[fulltext] =>

Many readers, yesterday and today, look for it and find it in the few intense prayers of David, in the wise words of women, in the rapid apparitions of prophets, and discard all the other words that are uncomfortable, scandalous, too human to be divine. But if we look well and differently we might find that the biblical God can also - and perhaps above all - be detected in his absence and in his silence. Next to Tamar, the sister raped and then driven away; in the battlefield, crying with David for the death of Jonathan; in the woods, consoling Absalom entangled in the trees; on the way of the cross, along with Simon of Cyrene; under the cross of a son. The Bible speaks to us about its God even when it is silent, when it does not speak about him and when it does not make him speak. As in every love story, where the decisive words are those that we have never said because they had become flesh - and the flesh is mute. The biblical God does not allow himself to be trapped by biblical words, he speaks when he is silent, he is silent when he speaks, he speaks where he seems to be silent, he is silent where he should speak. And so he protects himself from our continuous and tenacious attempts to turn him into an idol, or to idolize the Bible. But if we learn to find God where he should not be - in the Bible just as in life - we will realise that we have many more words to try to pray to God and talk to people.

Absalom died, killed by Joab's spears while he was hanging from the tree. Now Joab must bring the news to David, who had asked him to treat that son "gently”. The choice of the messenger is not simple. Eventually Joab sends a Cushite (18:19), an ambassador by penalty. When the king asks him: “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” (2 Samuel 18:32), the Cushite announces to him the sad news. David’s reaction is strong and full of pathos:

“And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (18:33) David is dear to the Bible for many things, but also and perhaps especially for his heart capable of genuine and true feelings, the ones we can recognize and appreciate because they are too similar to ours. He had to make a civil war to reject Absalom’s conspiracy who proclaimed himself king, but the text tells us that he did not want the death of that young son. David finds himself, once again, in a conflict between two fundamental dimensions of his life. He is torn apart by the tension between the king who must reject an enemy to save his throne and kingdom, and the father who would not want the death of his son, the most beautiful of all the children of the people (for a parent each son is "the most beautiful of all", because without this generous and exaggerated look he would not be beautiful enough for anyone). These identity conflicts that take place within the same person are decisive, and much more concrete and real than interpersonal identity conflicts, which our culture, however, tends to amplify because it cannot recognize nor, much less, take care of conflicts within our souls.

The biblical text tells us that at the beginning the father prevails over the king, and in his words we re-read the many similar words of fathers and mothers in the face of the death of their young one. We find the expression "my son” seven times, a number that expresses infinite pain, because the pain for a child that is no longer there is always infinite. David was an experienced man of arms, he knew the craft of war very well, and so when he left Jerusalem to prepare for battle he knew that the death of Absalom would be the most likely outcome. Yet he had tried to change that destiny, to force the ruthless codes of war, and so he had asked for a special, “gentle” treatment for his young one, even though he knew Joab and the ruthless rules of the game of war very well. That's why the first thing he asks of the messenger is about his son. He was almost certain about what the terrible answer would be, but he still asks that question, clinging to the thread of hope contained in that almost. Like us, when we cling onto the "almost" of a medical report or the "almost" with which we open that final email answering our desperate request to try again a last time. We know, we are almost sure of the bad news, but we do everything to lengthen the duration of that almost, to try to steal a few hours or a few seconds from death. Then, when the time of desperate hope is over, we suddenly realize that we have only been cultivating an illusion, because the conclusion of the story was already inscribed in many facts and actions that we knew about, but we could not help but believe in that almost: “It was told Joab, »Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom«” (19:1).

For millennia, mourning was among the most precious know-how that cultures had accumulated and preserved to prevent wives, husbands, parents and sisters from "dying" together with their deceased one. Mourning is the transformation of unbearable pain into possible pain through the creation of relational goods. It is therefore an exquisite community operation, where my pain truly becomes our pain. Compassion means that the crying of friends and relatives whom we love does not increase our pain but reduces it. Over the course of a couple of generations, the West has forgotten the thousands of years of the community art of mourning, and so we have become infinitely vulnerable to the greatest pain again, which can kill us uncontested in the solitudes of our homes, mobile phones and computers.

David's mourning soon clashes with the interests of the state. His crying for Absalom discourages and depresses the army that had just emerged victorious from the battle: “So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people... And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle” (19:2-3). The pietas of David, who cries for his son as father, came into conflict with the king David who had the duty to honour and not humiliate the troops who had fought for him. And while at the announcement of the messenger the father had prevailed over the king, now the public virtue of the sovereign wins over the private virtue of the father. Virtues are not always aligned with each other, and often come into conflict in the border zones. Another "victory" achieved, thanks to the hand of Joab: “Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, »You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased«” (19:4-6). With enormous strength, Joab shows him another side of reality, a very hard one, reminding him that his first fatherhood is the one towards the people. The king is not a man like everyone else, he is a collective personality, a symbol, his behaviour is always and inevitably an immediate message to the people. He can't have and show feelings like all other human beings. He must put the common good before his private good. We do not know how much Joab was interested in the good of the king and the people, or whether in reality he was interested above all or only in the good of the "commander" Joab. It is certain, however, that his reasoning has its own logic and coherence, which are the only ones present and operating in the world of Joab and in that of the political power of all times.

That’s why Joab can add: “Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now” (19:6-8). Joab speaks to his king with great authority, which David recognizes: “Then the king arose and took his seat in the gate” (19:8). David listens to his general, but that lack of "gentleness" for the young Absalom does not remain unpunished. He appoints Amasa, the defeated commander of Absalom’s troops as the new army chief in place of Joab (19:14). Joab doesn't say anything but, here too, he acts immediately. And so, during the war to quell the attempt of the tribes of the North (Israel) led by Sheba to secede (20,1), Joab commits another one of his crimes. The two generals meet; Joab approaches Amasa and tells him, “»Is it well with you, my brother?« And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab's hand. So Joab struck him with it in the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground” (20:9-10). Joab offers Amasa his unarmed right hand and strikes him in betrayal with the left. Then he leaves him there half dead on the road “wallowing in his blood”. A man from Joab’s army “carried Amasa out of the highway into the field and threw a garment over him” because “anyone who came by, seeing him, stopped” (20:12).

We also stop and look at this other abandoned victim in that field, left unburied. But on that path of war another theophany is accomplished. YHWH returns to the scene in the murder of this man called brother and kissed, then left half dead along the way. We can look at that bloodied man, and then continue the journey together with Joab’s army, and so we add our part to the other twenty-nine. But we can also stop and help YHWH to bury another man betrayed by a kiss.

download  article in pdf

 

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-07-22 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-08-01 02:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => David's mourning for the death of his son makes us reflect on the meaning and value of mourning, in an episode that is again made up of blood and violence. But perhaps it is precisely by stopping by these victims that we can find the most beautiful words in the Bible. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1359 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10204 [ordering] => 67 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-07-22 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16242:god-stands-by-the-victims [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/27 - Let’s learn to find God where he isn’t supposed to be

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 22/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 27“I will not urge thee, - no nor, if thou yet shouldst have the mind, wouldst thou be welcome as a worker with me. Nay, be what thou wilt; but I will bury him... But if thou wilt, be guilty of dishonouring laws which the gods have stablished in honour.”

Sophocles , Antigone (English translation by R. C. Jebb)

The story that Samuel's books tell us is a succession of murders, fratricides, incest, rapes and brutal violence. YHWH, the protagonist of many biblical pages, here seems to stand away from the fray, observing the spectacle of death offered to him by people. Yet the Bible, in all its books, continues to speak to us about God, containing his words and his Word. But where? And how?

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

God Stands by the Victims

Greater than Guilt/27 - Let’s learn to find God where he isn’t supposed to be by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 22/07/2018 “I will not urge thee, - no nor, if thou yet shouldst have the mind, wouldst thou be welcome as a worker with me. Nay, be what thou wilt; but I will bury him... But if t...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16244
    [title] => Let’s Save Every Suspended Son
    [alias] => let-s-save-every-suspended-son
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/26 - The Bible is a moral exercise to become more human

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 15/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 26 rid“Plato would be the one to abolish the cries of famous people and to make them the subject of common men and women, so that those whom we say we train for the defence of the country may disdain behaving in a manner similar to them".

Matteo Nucci, Le lacrime degli eroi (Heroes’ Tears)

We, men and women, love many things, but above all we love our children. That is why true reconciliation between a parent and a child is among the most sublime joys on earth, perhaps the greatest. The parable of the "prodigal son" is among the most beautiful and well-known parables of the Gospels, also because it speaks of a son returning home and of reconciliation. But when we step out of Luke's parable and write the flesh-and-blood parables of our lives, we realize that the children who have returned almost always leave again. They return to the pig sheds, they squander their share of inheritance again, and sometimes they return to take even the rest that is not their "due” part. The joy of families and communities often has to be found and enjoyed in the period of time that passes between a return and a re-departure, in the space that lies between the "kiss of the father" and the "kiss of Judas".

[fulltext] =>

Absalom has returned to Jerusalem, but David, his father, does not want to meet him: “Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence” (2 Samuel 14:24). After two years, with Joab’s mediation, he manages to meet his father: “Then...the king...summoned Absalom. (...) and the king kissed Absalom” (14:33). A kiss, that is, complete rehabilitation. But as soon as he was rehabilitated, Absalom began to prepare his plan to supplant his father (15:1). Absalom had been presented to us with the typical appearance of the warrior hero: “Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. (...) And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels” (14:25-26). He was also the grandson of a king (3:3). A portrait that closely resembles Saul, a real shadow that continues to follow and haunt the unfolding of David's life. With the excuse of wanting to dissolve a vow he had made to YHWH at the time of his exile - it is an ancient vice to wrap political and conspiracy motivations in a religious wrapper - Absalom obtains permission from his father to go to Hebron, where, however, he proclaims himself king. A popular consensus begins to grow around the pretender to the throne. The conspiracy becomes "strong" (15:12), until one day a messenger announces to David, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom” (15:13). Then David said to all his men: “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom” (15:14).

While David prepares to flee, there is a very beautiful dialogue between him and a Gittite, Ittai, a stranger, head of a defeated people, who came with six hundred men to stand by the king's side. David loyally invites him to remain in the city with Absalom (15:19). Ittai does not accept and he remains beside the king, and says words that recall, almost literally, the dialogue between Ruth and his mother-in-law Naomi. They belong among the most beautiful of the entire Bible: “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be” (15:21). Here David offered no words of thanks to Ittai; but later, when the war began, he appointed him captain of a third of his army (18:2). In the decisive reciprocities of life, words that are already great become too small and remain choked in the throat. In these beautiful and tremendous meetings, one speaks without speaking.

David leaves the city with his people and his family: “And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness” (15:23). All the land wept. An exodus in the opposite direction, a new river to wade for a new fight, another cup to drink that you wouldn't want to drink. Another cry for Jerusalem and her children: “But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered” (15:30). David lives that escape as the pilgrimage of a penitent, as mourning, as atonement of his committed sins, which YHWH and he know well. And he cries. The king cries, too, and the Bible is not afraid to tell us about it.

Along the way, a friend named Hushai joins him. David invites him to stay in the city and win Absalom’s trust as his military advisor - Hushai will succeed in his risky and difficult task of secret agent in the enemy camp (17:14), because Absalom will prefer Hushai's council to that of the more authoritative Ahithophel, Bathsheba's grandfather, who after the rejection of his plan will hang himself (17:23).

During his flight to the Jordan, David has another significant encounter with a Benjaminite, a descendant of the house of Saul: Shimei. The man “came out...and as he came he cursed continually. (...) And Shimei said as he cursed [David], »Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood«” (16:5-8). Saul’s ghost takes the floor and works, telling us that his party that was defeated during the first civil war won by David was still alive - it is not enough to eliminate enemies to erase all their words, it would be too easy and too unfair. Shimei reads Absalom’s rebellion with the register of retributive theology: David is suffering the same punishment at the hands of his son as he had inflicted on his "father” Saul. David, too, is absorbed in the same reading, and so he does not reject the curse. He lets Shimei throw his stones and words (that are harder than stones) at him, and lives this encounter as atonement and reparation - we do not understand capitalism if we forget this economic reading of faith that also crosses the Bible. David does not declare himself innocent (Shimei was not the only one who thought he was a usurper), and experiences that curse as a price to pay to hope for a new blessing: “Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to” (16:11).

David’s meekness is beautiful and makes him docile, bending his head under Shimei's stones. He even attributes it to a possible "order by YHWH", and therefore he lets the Saulite touch and hurt him: “Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust” (16:13).

Faced with the curses that we all encounter on our journey and in the deserts, we can try to reject them and eliminate them (as David’s soldiers wanted to; cf. 16:11), we can close our ears and hearts so that we do not hear them. Or we can accept them meekly, let our flesh be touched by them, let them teach us the craft of living, learning humility-humilitas from the humus being flung at us: “And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself” (16:14).

Absalom prepares for war and follows the advice of the cunning Hushai, who sends messengers to David to inform him of the strategy that Absalom will follow, to be able to act accordingly (17:16). The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim, where Absalom’s army was defeated: “and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. (...) the forest devoured more people that day than the sword” (18:7-8). The forest devoured the son of the king, too: “Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on” (18:9).

Another son suspended between heaven and earth, betrayed by his wonderful hair, which had fascinated and seduced so many - it is not uncommon that it is precisely our talent to slow down our race in decisive battles. This image of Absalom hanging from the oak is very tragic, infinitely vulnerable, helpless and defeated. The biblical author tells us where he is in this battle. He is on David's side, because that is where he places YHWH’s heart. Absalom is a rebel who wanted to derail the history of salvation from its course. And so the narrator tells us ex-post, with insufficient pietas, the sad end of this hanging son: “Joab...took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak” (18:14). Another son, lifted up from the ground, pierced through his side. David, however, had told Joab and his generals: “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom” (18:5). But Joab did not treat the young man "gently", and just like he had executed David's order to have Uriah the Hittite killed by the Ammonites (chapter 11), he now kills that son with his own hands - the craft of arms does not know "gentleness" for young people.

But we don't have to stay on the winner's field. We can, we must decide whether to continue reading the chapter "going beyond" and so leave the young man hanging from the oak, or search for the mule that "went on", take the wounded body of Absalom and accompany it to the first hostelry. When we encounter a crucified man, we cannot raise him up, but we can decide to remain under his cross.

After the Hanging onto Wood, we are no longer innocent if we "go on" having seen a son suspended between heaven and earth and pierced through the side, without wondering if he is guilty or innocent. The whole Bible is a parable, it is a moral exercise that is proposed to us in order to become more human. If now, while reading, we do not stop in front of this hanging son that his father had asked us in vain to treat gently, tomorrow we will not stop in front of the people suspended between heaven and earth that are populating our roads, our seas, our forests, and that the Father continues to ask us, in vain, to be gentle with. If we do not try to carry out this painful and difficult exercise, the Bible becomes a text for sacred worship only, and it withers. Instead, the exercise of reading teaches us to stop and take care of the victims we meet, so that we can hope not to transform into, a little at a time and without realizing it, another Joab who will find new good political reasons to pierce another suspended child with three spears.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-07-15 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-07-20 02:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => The war between David and his son Absalom gives us very rich and evocative narrative pictures to reflect on the ruthlessness of the craft of arms, and how to respond when we meet sons hanging from the wood of our forests. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1304 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 9857 [ordering] => 68 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-07-15 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16244:let-s-save-every-suspended-son [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/26 - The Bible is a moral exercise to become more human

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 15/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 26 rid“Plato would be the one to abolish the cries of famous people and to make them the subject of common men and women, so that those whom we say we train for the defence of the country may disdain behaving in a manner similar to them".

Matteo Nucci, Le lacrime degli eroi (Heroes’ Tears)

We, men and women, love many things, but above all we love our children. That is why true reconciliation between a parent and a child is among the most sublime joys on earth, perhaps the greatest. The parable of the "prodigal son" is among the most beautiful and well-known parables of the Gospels, also because it speaks of a son returning home and of reconciliation. But when we step out of Luke's parable and write the flesh-and-blood parables of our lives, we realize that the children who have returned almost always leave again. They return to the pig sheds, they squander their share of inheritance again, and sometimes they return to take even the rest that is not their "due” part. The joy of families and communities often has to be found and enjoyed in the period of time that passes between a return and a re-departure, in the space that lies between the "kiss of the father" and the "kiss of Judas".

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )

Let’s Save Every Suspended Son

Greater than Guilt/26 - The Bible is a moral exercise to become more human by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 15/07/2018 “Plato would be the one to abolish the cries of famous people and to make them the subject of common men and women, so that those whom we say we train for the defence of th...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16245
    [title] => Peace is the Intelligence of Mothers
    [alias] => peace-is-the-intelligence-of-mothers
    [introtext] => 

Greater Than Guilt/25 - Every fratricide story is, unfortunately, real

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 08/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 25 rid“Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, stop this warful strife, or Jove will be angry with you.” Thus spoke Minerva, and Ulysses obeyed her gladly.

Homer, Odyssey; Conclusion (English translation by Samuel Butler)

When we go through deep and complex crises, meeting with someone who shows us another perspective can be a decisive event. Someone who makes us climb a hill to look up from above at our besieged city, and from there discover escape routes that we could not see when we were still immersed in fighting. In the Bible those who offer these different perspectives are mainly prophets and women. There is, in fact, an analogy between prophecy and female genius. Both are concrete, they activate processes, they speak with words and the body and by an invincible instinct they always choose life and believe in it and celebrate it to the last breath. Prophets and mothers host and generate a living word that they do not control; they offer their body to it so that the word-son becomes flesh, without becoming its masters.

[fulltext] =>

Blood and violence continue to flow copiously in David's family history. The actors of violence are males who demonstrate a great malevolence of the head, joining that of the belly. Among all the men who are writing the blood-soaked first pages of the history of the monarchy in Israel, every now and then there are some women that humanize the stories and show the other face of YHWH with their brief appearances. Women come on stage to tell us new words about man and God when males have consumed and squandered their last resources of humanity, and have become beggars of words of life. In these tremendous pages on the fratricidal struggles of the sons of David, it is a woman again to illuminate the dark horizon of men with a very bright light.

David, who learned of the rape of his daughter Tamar, also shows himself to be ambivalent here: “When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, since he was his firstborn” (2 Samuel 13:21; the second sentence is added from the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scroll - the tr.). History is full of crimes, especially against the poor, women and children, that are covered by "fathers" so they don’t have to "punish" their children. Absalom, however, has an opposite reaction. He begins to cultivate the devastating feeling of revenge. And so, two years later, during a feast of the shearing of his flocks, Absalom obtains David's permission for his brother Amnon to go to him. Then he tells his servants: “Mark when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not fear” (13:28). Once again: a brother who invites another brother to "go to the fields": “So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded” (13:29). Amnon, unlike Abel, was guilty, but no brother deserves to die. After the fratricide, Absalom, like Cain, escapes and starts wandering, having become a murderer and therefore being at risk of death. But into the night of this fratricide another woman arrives, this time without a name: the woman from Tekoa.

Joab, David's cunning and ambiguous general whom we already know, wants to rehabilitate Absalom and make him return from exile: (he) “sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman” (14:2). To the Biblical reader the name of Tekoa immediately says something important: it is the village of the prophet Amos. We are therefore in a prophetic environment. The woman is called "wise", a rare adjective that means a lot in the Bible. Here too, as in Abigail's story, the woman presents herself as a narrator, as a weaver of stories, an artisan of the word at the service of life. Women have a very special relationship with storytelling. Maybe because when they were very young they taught us to transform the first sounds and noises into words, because they nourished their children with milk, food and stories, or maybe because for thousands of years while the males were hunting or fighting, they, under the tents, exchanged above all words - women know how to speak differently and better than men. Above all, they can look for, create and invent words that are not yet there, but that absolutely must be there for life to continue. The wise woman of Tekoa did the same.

Joab instructs the woman and sends her to the king: “Pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning garments. Do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. Go to the king and speak thus to him” (14:2-3). She goes to David, saying, “Save me, O king.” And the king said to her, “What is your trouble?” (14:4). She tells him the story invented by and agreed with Joab: “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. And your servant had two sons, and they quarrelled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. And now the whole clan has risen against your servant, and they say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed.’ And so they would destroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal that is left and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth” (14:5-7). This narration shows an extraordinary emotional and relational intelligence.

The woman invites David to see the only vital perspective available, the one capable of a future. She invites him to move away from the destructive logic of past faults and recriminations, and to see the objective, present and future costs and benefits of actions and reactions. That son is dead, and his life doesn't return anymore. To allow that the logic of revenge, all played on the past, should also kill the second child, does not mean repairing the damage but doubling it, turning off the only "coal" that can still light life. A woman here is explaining to us one of the greatest juridical and human truths in history: forgiveness and reconciliation are not only the most human and religious choice we can make in the face of a crime, but they are also the most intelligent choice because they are the only ones capable of not worsening the damage. It is thanks to a discourse similar to the logic of this wise woman that one day we abolished the law of retaliation and the vision of punishment as collective revenge. And we have become more humane and more intelligent.

As with Nathan's parable, here too David perfectly carries out the empathic exercise that the woman proposes to him (David’s greatness shows in how he can listen to men and women): “He said, »As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground«” (14:11). Guided by the narrative of the wise woman, David now understands that the good of that family lies only in violating the law of retaliation and breaking the spiral of revenge. Then the woman continues, leaving the invented story and arriving directly at the real purpose of her visit: “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again” (14:13). Nathan (ch. 12) had concluded his parable with the tremendous phrase: “You are the man”. The wise woman now tells him something very similar: "You convict yourself", because with his own son David is not doing the justice he swore to do with the woman's son.

Then David senses that "the hand of Ioab” is in this whole affair. The woman does not deny it: “It was your servant Joab who commanded me... In order to change the course of things your servant Joab did this” (14:19-20). The king does not seem disturbed by Joab's hand, and by the different perspective he gave him: “Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom” (14:21). Joab's goal is achieved. And the wise woman disappears after this beautiful page. The text and Joab choose a woman to try to put an end to repeated violence. The Bible is aware of the specific virtues of women, it knows that the female gaze can be decisive in conflict resolution. She sees and tells about a world of males who wage wars, kill each other and kill and rape women. She knows that the world she describes has not been able to recognize and respect the talent of women, to call them by name and give them equal rights and dignity - this tale doesn’t reveal the name of the wise woman of Tekoa, either. But the Bible also preserves its own knowledge of women, of their mystery and dignity, of their virtues and special talents. As if to say, “If we had listened more to the wisdom of women we would have sinned and suffered less, we would have been more humane, we would have had less violence and more shalom. But, unfortunately, we haven’t managed to do so”. History, conflicts and wars are seen differently through the eyes of women and mothers. That has always been the case. The Bible is immense also because in a world dominated by men it has also left us some words of women, masterpieces of beauty, of pietas, of humanity, of other magnificats.

The story told by the wise woman is similar to the parable of Nathan's little lamb. In his case it is the status of prophet that legitimises Nathan to "invent" a story and give that parable a force of truth capable of moving and converting David. The woman performs a real staging (she puts on mourning clothes), a theatrical piece, a fiction that acquires the same truth as real life. Artists create stories every day that we know are very true even if they are "invented", because Edmond Dantès and Gregor Samsa are as true as our friends are. The wise woman comes to the king, tells him an untrue story of a killed son, the king realizes that the woman came to him out of Joab’s design. But that untrue story and that staging are not condemned by either the king or the text. Maybe because, simply, that story was all true, it was an embodied, living parable. The wise woman was telling David about one of the many fratricides that mothers on earth have to witness. It was the collective mastery of mothers' pain that made that invented story a true and prophetic one. The story of the wise woman was not the staging of Joab's plot. It was much more. Only a woman could tell such an invented story without telling a lie. Joab had written the part, but the woman performed it with the same freedom and creativity with which a jazz song is performed. Because if Eve, the first woman, was the mother of a fratricidal son, then every time a woman tells a story of fratricide she always tells a true story. But she never tells a story of death only.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-07-08 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-07-13 02:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => A wise woman shows us the logic of peace and forgiveness, which is the only one capable of breaking the death spiral of revenge. And she also reveals to us the ability of women to transform stories into embodied parables. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1285 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10341 [ordering] => 69 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-07-08 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16245:peace-is-the-intelligence-of-mothers [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater Than Guilt/25 - Every fratricide story is, unfortunately, real

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 08/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 25 rid“Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, stop this warful strife, or Jove will be angry with you.” Thus spoke Minerva, and Ulysses obeyed her gladly.

Homer, Odyssey; Conclusion (English translation by Samuel Butler)

When we go through deep and complex crises, meeting with someone who shows us another perspective can be a decisive event. Someone who makes us climb a hill to look up from above at our besieged city, and from there discover escape routes that we could not see when we were still immersed in fighting. In the Bible those who offer these different perspectives are mainly prophets and women. There is, in fact, an analogy between prophecy and female genius. Both are concrete, they activate processes, they speak with words and the body and by an invincible instinct they always choose life and believe in it and celebrate it to the last breath. Prophets and mothers host and generate a living word that they do not control; they offer their body to it so that the word-son becomes flesh, without becoming its masters.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

Peace is the Intelligence of Mothers

Greater Than Guilt/25 - Every fratricide story is, unfortunately, real by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 08/07/2018 “Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, stop this warful strife, or Jove will be angry with you.” Thus spoke Minerva, and Ulysses obeyed her gladly. Homer, Odyssey; Conclusion (Englis...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16246
    [title] => The Infinite Heart of Women
    [alias] => the-infinite-heart-of-women
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/24 - Real love does not resort to violence but stays around

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 01/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 24 crop rid“Verily, a polluted stream is man.  One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.”

Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra (English translation by Thomas Common)

It isn’t only a genetic and then an economic heritage that we leave to our children. Our virtues and sins also become their inheritance. They are transmitted through our children’s eyes, with which they first look at us and then imitate us - a son of smokers is twice as likely to become a smoker than a son of non-smokers. Our relational lifestyle, the virtues and vices of our family, our generosity and avarice form a cultural and moral DNA that we pass on to our children, almost always without the benefit of inventory. And even when they manage to become better than our sins (and, thank God, sometimes they do), our ethical heritage always and very much conditions them. When we decide to give in to the temptations that await us readily at the crossroads of life, we are accumulating the first dowry that we will leave to our children and to the world of tomorrow.

[fulltext] =>

Still disturbed by David's violence towards Bathsheba and Uriah, and seduced by the strength and beauty of Nathan's words, let’s turn the page now - to find ourselves in a similar episode. In a tremendous and wonderful scene, the main characters of which are Amnon, David's first-born son, and Tamar, David's daughter who was, however, born from another wife (Maacah) - if it weren't an ugly word, we'd say that Tamar was Amnon's stepsister. “Now Absalom, David's son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David's son, loved her. And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister” (2 Samuel 13:1-2). Amnon is in love to the point of falling ill. Like his father, he is attracted to a woman who is also "very beautiful" and forbidden. But Amnon knows Tamar very well, and his temptation is towards his younger sister, a person with a name and a story.

Tamar is strongly desired but unattainable for him because she is a virgin and therefore kept away from the males of the family, in a separate house: “for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her” (13:2). Unlike Bathsheba, who was married, the fulfilment of Amnon’s desire is a practical rather than a legal impossibility. The solution is found by his cousin Ionadab, “a very crafty man. And he said to him, »O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?« Amnon said to him, »I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.« Jonadab said to him, »Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand’«” (13:4-5).

The text does not explicitly call into question the prohibition or taboo of incest (it was not yet condemned in Israel at the time: think of the marriage between Abraham and Sarah; Genesis 20:12). Amnon’s crime will be that of a man against a woman, which goes beyond the (already very serious) sin of incest. His deed would not have lost any of its gravity if Tamar had simply been a girl of the house with no blood ties. Amnon behaves in an evil way not so much, and not only as a brother, but as a man and a male - although the fact that Tamar was Absalom's sister will be a decisive element in the political consequences of his action.

David supports his son's desire to receive food from Tamar's hands, and sends to her saying, “Go to your brother Amnon's house and prepare food for him” (13:7). Tamar agrees to go and bring pancakes (his favourite food) to his brother; she trusts him, not knowing that the desired food was herself. Many sisters and girls of the house are evoked by her confident journey, naively and purely entering the rooms of males, and, sometimes, never leaving them again. Tamar goes to his sick brother: “And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. And she took the pan and emptied it out before him” (13:8-9). So far we are in a familiar scene that we see many times in our homes, too. But here's the narrative turn: “but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, »Send out everyone from me.« So everyone went out from him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, »Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.« And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother” (13:9-10). Amnon uses his status of prince to create the right circumstances to achieve his goal.

Once left alone in the room with Tamar, “when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, »Come, lie with me, my sister«” (13:11). Tamar is ambushed. “She answered him, »No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing«” (13:12). This thing is not done in Israel; these things must not be done on earth.

Amnon, David's first son, makes his appearance in the Bible immediately after his father's adultery, and continues his crime. David used his power to take Bathsheba, his son uses the trust between siblings to achieve the same result. All this is to tell us that the intimacy between those who are close to each other, which is among the most beautiful things on earth, creates a space that can be filled by tenderness and respect, but also by violence and abuse. It is not the closeness that makes us neighbours to each other as the Good Samaritan reminds us, and it isn’t enough to open the door to be hospitable. Even in the most intimate spheres there are temptations inscribed in power relationships, and the wisdom of families and communities lies in knowing how to spot these possible temptations and thus protect the weaker part - a wisdom that was lacking in David’s house, and is all too often lacking in ours.

The girl finds herself in a trap, first trying to draw upon compassion ("my brother"), then on reason: “As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you” (13:13). She also reminds him of his condition as prince, and the possibility of asking and having her legitimately from their father ("he will not withhold me from you": another element suggesting that the crime of incest is not central in the story). But Amnon doesn’t listen either to the reasoning of the heart or that of the head, because he is not interested in having a relationship with a person in the ways and times of real life. He wants to eat his different food he was hungry for, and he wants to devour it right away. And so he commits his crime: “being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her” (13:14). Another tombstone that the Bible erects so that we can remember. Another victim, another woman, used as an object to satisfy the misplaced passions of powerful males. Another guest devoured, by another Polyphemus, in another cave.

Then, with a surprising psychological finesse, the text shows a strong narrative twist: “Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” (13:15). Amnon's reaction reveals his true feelings. He was not in love with Tamar, he was only sensually attracted to her body. It was completely and only eros, without philia and especially without agape. And when eros is not accompanied by the other two sisters, it becomes perfect selfishness. Like a beast, he eats the meat of his prey until he is full, and then escapes from the carcass. Amnon behaves like those who after a sexual intercourse escape from a hotel room with their shirt still unbuttoned, or make a half-dressed woman get out of a dark car in a hurry. Because it is not eros, but the intimacy of friendship and tenderness that keep the male close to the woman after the sexual act. We distinguished ourselves from chimpanzees and lions when we learned to stay close to women after satisfying our appetites, and then helped them raise our children - if you don't know how to stay close after eros you won't even know how to stay close to a cradle keeping vigil, and in the end you won't know how to stay there during the last, endless nights. Only the kind of love that is greater than eros can teach us to stay there.

Amnon chases Tamar away because he didn't love her as a woman, as a sister, or as a person: “But she said to him, »No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me«” (13:16). A tremendous and beautiful phrase, which opens our hearts to many raped and expelled women, who, unlike Tamar, cannot speak up and remain in a dumb cry - the Bible continues to give us words when ours are choked by too much pain. In the Bible and in life the second pain of rejection is added to the first pain of violence and it multiplies it - but how great is the heart of women?

“But he would not listen to her. He called the young man who served him and said, »Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her«” (13:16-17). This woman: the executioners never call the victims by name: pronouncing it could create a wound in the soul where a breath of humanity could ooze in. They call them "economic migrants” instead of Mustafa, Joe or Maria - so that they could save them later.

The Bible not only calls Tamar by name, as it had done with Hagar, Dina and Hannah; it also sees her clothes: “Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves” (13:18). A colourful dress, the beautiful dress of the young princesses. A long-sleeved dress, like the one Joseph wore when he was sold as a commodity by other brothers. Joseph came out of his cistern, left the room where he suffered violence, and became first the salvation of his Egyptian hosts and then his brothers, too. Tamar was not saved by anyone. After this violence she leaves the Bible, and will not return there any more: “Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went” (13:19). Tamar rips her long-sleeved robe. She throws ashes on her head, and begins a mourning that will never end. She became a widow without ever being married. Since that day Tamar has not stopped screaming. We can decide not to hear her cry and forget it; but we can also decide to embrace it and never stop hearing it, so that we can recognize it in that of the many sisters of Tamar.

The many beautiful princesses like her, with their torn gown like hers, who continue to scream with her in our streets.

download  article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-07-01 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-07-05 02:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => Intimate relationships can also become the spaces of abuse. With Amnon’s violence against her sister Tamar, the Bible continues to talk to us about victims, awaiting our response. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1159 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10172 [ordering] => 70 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-07-01 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16246:the-infinite-heart-of-women [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/24 - Real love does not resort to violence but stays around

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 01/07/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 24 crop rid“Verily, a polluted stream is man.  One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.”

Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra (English translation by Thomas Common)

It isn’t only a genetic and then an economic heritage that we leave to our children. Our virtues and sins also become their inheritance. They are transmitted through our children’s eyes, with which they first look at us and then imitate us - a son of smokers is twice as likely to become a smoker than a son of non-smokers. Our relational lifestyle, the virtues and vices of our family, our generosity and avarice form a cultural and moral DNA that we pass on to our children, almost always without the benefit of inventory. And even when they manage to become better than our sins (and, thank God, sometimes they do), our ethical heritage always and very much conditions them. When we decide to give in to the temptations that await us readily at the crossroads of life, we are accumulating the first dowry that we will leave to our children and to the world of tomorrow.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )

The Infinite Heart of Women

Greater than Guilt/24 - Real love does not resort to violence but stays around by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 01/07/2018 “Verily, a polluted stream is man.  One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.” Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra (English t...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16247
    [title] => The Register of Invisible Pain
    [alias] => the-register-of-invisible-pain
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/23 - Human History is Not God’s Toy

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 24/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 23 rid“ we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips.”

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

To be innocent it is not enough not to be seen. The great ancient civilizations generated their laws and ethical norms under the gaze of their highest eyes. Today, enchanted by the ethics of the contract, we have given up this gaze "from above", replacing it with millions of eyes that continuously control and spy on us "from below". But when we introduce non-human eyes that are lower than ours into our world, they are either the eyes of idols or those of our artefacts, which do not know how to show us the angels and paradise. That higher and different gaze said, among other things, that the evil and sins we commit do operate even when they remain secret.

[fulltext] =>

That’s how some civilizations, and among them the western one, overcame the archaic ethics of shame, where rewards and punishments were all external to the individual. This high and deep gaze also permeates the entire Bible, filling its landscape and marking the horizon of its humanism. It also tells us that our actions can remain hidden, but they cannot be cancelled, because life is a tremendously serious thing. Without feeling the presence of a gaze that sees us "in secret", every moral is imperfect and exposed to the abuses of the powerful, who have many more secret rooms than the poor.

Uriah the Hittite was killed in the battlefield, because King David hoped to wipe out his adultery by eliminating the husband of the beautiful woman whom he had "taken", adding her to the community of his wives and concubines: “When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house” (2 Samuel 11:26-27). The text of Samuel’s book does not tell us if Bathsheba, Uriah's wife, knew David's plan or if she had at least guessed it - the perverse plans of their men does not escape the talent of women, even if they do not always tell us, perhaps because of too much pain. There is an invisible catalogue on earth that preserves the infinite crimes that have never made it to the history books or the minutes of the courts. Live fragments of this invisible but very real archive are hidden in the hearts of the many women who have been the object or spectators of these secret crimes. When David's crime already seemed archived and forgotten, YHWH reopens the case for us: “And the Lord sent Nathan to David” (12:1). In the prophet's words we get to know a literary genre - the parable - that will be a dominant and beautiful feature of the Gospels: “He came to him and said to him, »There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveller to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him«” (12:1-4).

It is a wonderful parable, full of humanity and pathos, where the moral tension of the story clearly brings out the victim and the executioner, and generates condemnation for the wicked behaviour of the rich man in the listener. David also enters the parable, perfectly performing the empathic exercise that Nathan offers him: “Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, »As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold«” (12:5-6). This is an episode that reveals to us the extraordinary power of the narrative, especially the great and prophetic one. Literature, art, music, fairy tales and films have the ability to form and train our moral muscles through our imagination and empathy. When we actually read a novel or go to the cinema, we somehow repeat the encounter between Nathan and David. Like David, we continue to commit crimes and sins but then, once we are ‘inside’ a book or a film, we condemn the executioners of the stories we relive. We side with the victims, we stigmatise their murderers and we do not identify with the cursed part of history. Perhaps because there is a place deep inside us that neither loves nor accepts the ugly things we do. It wants to forget them, and perhaps, for the duration of a novel or a film, it can really forget them - who knows if art is not also a gift from heaven to get us in tune with the most beautiful soul of our heart, to put us in touch with that "image and likeness of Elohim" that Cain the fratricidal cannot erase. Perhaps the joy of paradise that we can only experience when looking at certain works of art comes from the contact with Adam who lives in our Eden and feeds off the tree of life. Then we eat the forbidden fruit, we kill Abel and a "young man for wounding me" (Lamech), but that call of the inner Adam remains alive and strong, before and after our acts of wickedness which, almost always, are innocent. It's only the perception of this profound innocence that makes us really move while we watch a film about the pain of immigrants and their children, even if before the film we voted for a party that actually feeds that suffering, and we continue to vote for it after the film. It makes us indignant about the adulteries of others, while we continue to repeat ours.

The dialogue between Nathan and David does not end here. At the end of the parable and after David's outrageous sentence, Nathan says one of the most beautiful and tremendous phrases of the entire Bible: “You are the man!” (12:7) And here we should stop, so as not to miss any of its lacerating beauty. And also to feel the pain in our flesh for not having a prophet with us after our films to tell us "you are the man", and in telling that to offer us a chance to rise again. Only a true prophet can say such a phrase to a man of power. Nathan knew well that revealing to the king that he knew of his crime could lead to his elimination. But he did not give up on doing his job, and so he gave David the only good possibility that was left for him: “David said to Nathan, »I have sinned against the Lord«” (12:13). David's salvation in the Bible also depends on his reaction in the face of Nathan's parable. We can hope not to lose our soul until, after our crimes and sins, our heart is still greater than our faults - prisons are full of murderers who have saved this innocence in themselves. Hope dies when we adapt our feelings and our morals to our wicked actions, when we convince ourselves that there is nothing wrong with adultery, lies or violence. Nathan continues: “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (12:13). Forgiveness takes effect on David (he will not die). But not even God's forgiveness can prevent David's criminal action from producing its effects: “the sword shall never depart from your house... the child who is born to you shall die” (12:10, 14).

This tremendous announcement of the death of the child born of adultery incorporates many messages. Among these, there is retributive theology, too, which is very much present in the Old and New Testaments. It reads that innocent death as the "price" that David had to pay to God to obtain his forgiveness. We shall leave these messages to the lovers of the commercial theologies of yesterday and today, and instead work to find meanings measuring up to men, children, and God. Not every page of the Bible can be inscribed in the book of life, but many could be if we read it without the moralistic concern to defend God (who does not need our defence), and instead try to defend men and victims - the Bible has an extreme need of non-adulator readers who are able to free it from the ideology of its editor and from the many other ideologies that have been accumulated on the text over the millennia. The biblical word is an excess to the literary text that contains it, and to remain alive it needs our honest work. Because if it is true that we need God's gaze, his word also needs ours.

With that innocent death and with the prophecy of the sword on David's house, the Bible also tells us the tremendous seriousness and infinite value of our actions and words, which are not vanitas and wind because they are alive and therefore preserve the signs with which we engrave them. There is also the infinite pain of the condemnation to death of this anonymous child within the dignity and truth of human actions that the Bible has kept for us, and has done so at a very high price. If God's forgiveness to David had cancelled all the consequences of his crime, biblical humanism would have lost a degree of freedom, and would have distanced itself from our true life, where the wounds of yesterday continue to condition our life today and tomorrow. One day the biblical word became flesh in a shoot of the same trunk of David because, differently but truly, it had already become flesh many other times, within the pains and loves of the people of Israel - and it continues to become flesh in our pains and loves. One day, when I am older, I will be able to forgive, if I manage to, those who killed my father, but this forgiveness does not cancel the pain and consequences of having grown up without a father, nor can it fill the void in the heart of my mother, which is infinite. I can forgive you, and I really do, because you have betrayed the pact that tied us together in society, but no one can wipe out the pain caused to the workers who lost their jobs because of your betrayal. Nobody - not even God, the Bible tells us. Because if God exercised his omnipotence to erase not only our guilt but also the effects of our actions, we would never come out of films and novels, and confuse them with life. History is not God's toy, it is not a device that he can dismantle and reassemble at will. Only idols can do these operations well, because they do not care about our freedom and dignity. The resurrected body preserves the wounds of the passion, and will preserve them forever, because those wounds were real. Real and living like ours, which remain forever inscribed in our resurrections.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-06-24 12:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-06-29 02:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => ‘You are the man!’ This phrase that the prophet Nathan says to David is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible, revealing to us the mystery of the consequences of our actions, which continue even after our repentance and being forgiven. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1080 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10143 [ordering] => 71 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-06-24 12:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16247:the-register-of-invisible-pain [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/23 - Human History is Not God’s Toy

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 24/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 23 rid“ we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips.”

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

To be innocent it is not enough not to be seen. The great ancient civilizations generated their laws and ethical norms under the gaze of their highest eyes. Today, enchanted by the ethics of the contract, we have given up this gaze "from above", replacing it with millions of eyes that continuously control and spy on us "from below". But when we introduce non-human eyes that are lower than ours into our world, they are either the eyes of idols or those of our artefacts, which do not know how to show us the angels and paradise. That higher and different gaze said, among other things, that the evil and sins we commit do operate even when they remain secret.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

The Register of Invisible Pain

Greater than Guilt/23 - Human History is Not God’s Toy by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 24/06/2018 “ we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips.” Will...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16248
    [title] => The Letter Not to Be Read
    [alias] => the-letter-not-to-be-read
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/22 - Faces to be recognized and providential ignorance

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 17/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 22 rid“Emma let the paper fall. Her first sentiment was indisposition in her stomach and knees; then she felt blind guilt, unreality, cold, fear; then she wanted it to be the next day already. She understood right afterward that this wish was useless because her father’s death was the only thing that had happened in the world and that would keep happening without end.”

J.L. Borges Emma Zunz (English translation by Hadi Deeb)

The name of the other is always a plural and symphonic word. To recognize a person, therefore, we must see and welcome their rich multiplicity. The first injury inflicted on the victim is the denial of at least one face of their personality. We see Myriam arriving from the sea with a veil on her head and we call her "Muslim". We do not see that she has a boyfriend, that she is a nurse, that she is a vegetarian, a pacifist, that she paints in her free time and loves poetry. Thus we begin to dishonour her dignity; we do not get to know her because we do not recognize her. Then we see Giovanna wearing a different veil, and we call her a "nun". We don’t care that she is a Bible scholar and that before entering the convent she was a professor of history, or that she plays the piano very well and is the president of an NGO. And so we only see the nun and stop her from telling us that she is also a woman. Every time a person is reduced to a single dimension we are entering into a story of violence.

[fulltext] =>

“It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful” (2 Samuel 11:2). The beginning of this fascinating story, among the most tremendous in the Bible, is dominated by the adjective beautiful. The woman is noticed by the king for her beauty, which for David becomes the only dimension that counts.

David, who probably already knew that woman - because she was the wife of one of his officers - sees her, looks at her, and does not recognize her: “And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, »Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?«” (11:3) And he decides to consume that beautiful thing. David’s sin - and ours - does not begin when he is struck by that great beauty, not even when he is overwhelmed in his bowels. Sin is committed when he decides to send his servants to bring her to him. A span of time passes between David's feelings and his choice, enough to make that action an intentional and therefore responsible choice. His act is not a sudden outburst of feelings. David decides to succumb to the temptation. The moral problem of temptations (a great word, totally forgotten today) does not lie in their existence or in feeling them in the flesh and in the heart. Ethical responsibility begins when we decide what to do with the "tempting material" we find ourselves in. David decides to eat the forbidden fruit, and that’s where he sins.

The text says nothing about how Bathsheba reacted when she was brought to David. We don't know if she screamed, if she suffered violence or if she consented instead - even if there have been a number of commentators insinuating Bathsheba’s complicity in her bathing where she could be seen: blaming the victims and the women to make them (co-)responsible for their misfortune is an ancient strategy to absolve the executioners.
Davide "takes" the woman as he "takes" any good to be consumed to meet his needs. Knowing that Bathsheba was a married woman had no effect on his behaviour. The real powerful are like this: they immediately transform desires into actions, because they do not see obstacles between wanting and obtaining something. The real temptation of the powerful is to feel omnipotent - but it is also in this delirium of omnipotence that their decline begins. But "prices" come into play when some complications arise after the events: “I am pregnant,” was Bathsheba’s message sent to David (11:5).

Unlike cars and watches, humans are living things. The powerful can abuse and use them, and they often do. But life is a very serious thing, and it has its own mysterious freedom and uncontrollability. Sins touch and hurt living organisms, which are therefore very fragile and at the same time very strong. The powerful, and often we too, when we do harm to someone whom we do not recognize and so humiliate, whom we use as a consumer product, we would like that after the fire of desire has consumed its victims there remain no trace of those desires and wrong actions. But life is greater than the desires of the powerful, even those of kings. And it goes on, it generates its fruits, it has its natural course. This force of life is often the only defence of the poor, who have only their body and their being alive to speak for them. That's why the only words the text puts on Bathsheba's lips in this tremendous scene is "I'm pregnant": the only effective words she can say.

The poor say that they can only feel alive by talking with their bodies, with their wounds, with the children in women’s wombs. Life and the body know a mysterious kind of freedom, which sometimes succeeds in obtaining obedience even from the powerful. Bathsheba's womb made David aware that this "beautiful" thing was a person, and therefore she was alive. And the Bible knows that the great temptation we feel when facing a life that does not obey our will to dominate is to kill it.

Just like many times before when he was in trouble, David proves brilliant again in immediately looking for escape routes. The first is the most obvious and simple, very common in similar stories: “So David sent word to Joab, »Send me Uriah the Hittite.« (...) Then David said to Uriah, »Go down to your house and wash your feet [genitals].«” (11:6-8). David tries to ‘regularise’ Bathsheba's pregnancy with an ex-post conjugal date. But here's a second unexpected turn of events that sends that cover plan into crisis: “But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house ...and did not go down to his house” (11:9). David insists, and so he investigates the reasons for that strange no-return home: “Uriah said to David, »The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths (...) Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing«” (11:11-12).

Uriah's fidelity to David becomes the king's main problem. Genuine fidelity has a mechanism of self-protection against its manipulation. We cannot use the fidelity of the people with whom we live to protect virtues and also to hide sins. This is precisely where the difference lies between true fidelity and adulating false fidelity. True fidelity is not double-faced. A true friend will never cover our conjugal betrayals, and if they do then they are beginning to betray us, becoming a ‘friend’ who protects our vices, no longer our virtues. In this episode Uriah the Hittite, a second-generation immigrant (Uriah is a beautiful Jewish name meaning “YHWH is my light”) who works in the service of a people that is not his own, meets his sad fate for loyal faithfulness to a foreign king. His highest act of loyalty became the cause of his most disloyal death.

In fact, after his double failure of cover (11:13), “David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, »Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die«” (11:14-15). Here David's star goes out, it ceases to shine, and night falls upon Jerusalem. Just like Cain who strikes down his innocent and meek brother "in the fields", David, son of Abraham, kills a descendant of those Hittites who had sold the land to the Patriarch to bury his wife Sarah (Genesis 23) - thereby continuing the civil wars and the fratricides of the Bible, to remind us of our (and others’) vain attempts to cover them up.

Uriah goes to the battlefield with the dispatch of his execution in hand. It is overwhelming and tragic to imagine this soldier, a foreigner and a loyal subject, as he goes unaware of his death, with a message containing his sad destiny, written by the hand of the one to whom he had given loyalty and dedication. Uriah could have thought that the letter contained praise for his fidelity shown to the king - instead, it contained his condemnation. Perhaps she has looked at it with pride and emotion, imagining its content in his heart many times.

Many people, day by day, carry messages like Uriah, and just like him, they do not know the contents. We faithfully spend our lives in an enterprise, and one day there comes the action that we live as the culmination of our loyalty but it produces our dismissal, delivered to us in an envelope that we thought was our promotion. We publicly denounce mafia violence because of our loyalty to ourselves, our children and our institutions, and there begins an ordeal in the deepest vulnerable loneliness, written on the very back of the prize given for civil value. We pronounce an uncomfortable truth because we are loyal to a friend and there we lose them forever, their thank-you card turning into the farewell letter to us. We dedicate the best years of our lives to raising a son honestly, and the day when we finally offer him real freedom he uses it to go astray and get lost… we read the Gospel, we expect him for years to show up on the doorstep, but our son does not return. There are some letters like this that we have never opened, and it was only through this providential ignorance that have we were able to continue on the path from the king's palace to the battlefield. We, too, look at these letters proudly, we even feel moved... and then we continue to walk towards our destiny, almost always unknowingly. And like Uriah, we fight our last battles with the same loyalty as ever, and perhaps with an even greater enthusiasm, encouraged by the letter we have delivered.

The last act of the fidelity of Uriah the Hittite was not to open that letter, not to remove that seal, and fight his last battle proudly. It is not good to open all the letters that life places in our hands. The decisive ones, in particular, are not intended for us. We just have to deliver them, even if many have been written by and addressed to those who did not love us. The Bible has opened the letter carried by Uriah the Hittite, and now it is reading it out for us, to support our paths with the letters in our hands. And above all to tell us that there exists at least one letter written by someone who loves us, and it is the most important one. That letter is us, a living letter that, at the end of our journey, we will lay into good hands, without having read it along the way.

download  article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-06-18 04:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-06-28 05:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => David and Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite form a splendid scene that reveals the morphology of the powerful and tells us about the resilience and the mysterious freedom of the poor. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1149 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 9810 [ordering] => 110 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-06-18 04:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16248:the-letter-not-to-be-read [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/22 - Faces to be recognized and providential ignorance

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 17/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 22 rid“Emma let the paper fall. Her first sentiment was indisposition in her stomach and knees; then she felt blind guilt, unreality, cold, fear; then she wanted it to be the next day already. She understood right afterward that this wish was useless because her father’s death was the only thing that had happened in the world and that would keep happening without end.”

J.L. Borges Emma Zunz (English translation by Hadi Deeb)

The name of the other is always a plural and symphonic word. To recognize a person, therefore, we must see and welcome their rich multiplicity. The first injury inflicted on the victim is the denial of at least one face of their personality. We see Myriam arriving from the sea with a veil on her head and we call her "Muslim". We do not see that she has a boyfriend, that she is a nurse, that she is a vegetarian, a pacifist, that she paints in her free time and loves poetry. Thus we begin to dishonour her dignity; we do not get to know her because we do not recognize her. Then we see Giovanna wearing a different veil, and we call her a "nun". We don’t care that she is a Bible scholar and that before entering the convent she was a professor of history, or that she plays the piano very well and is the president of an NGO. And so we only see the nun and stop her from telling us that she is also a woman. Every time a person is reduced to a single dimension we are entering into a story of violence.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )

The Letter Not to Be Read

Greater than Guilt/22 - Faces to be recognized and providential ignorance by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 17/06/2018 “Emma let the paper fall. Her first sentiment was indisposition in her stomach and knees; then she felt blind guilt, unreality, cold, fear; then she wanted it to be the next...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16249
    [title] => Christians, that is, men and women, brothers and sisters
    [alias] => christians-that-is-men-and-women-brothers-and-sisters
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/21 - No rhetoric stands: every war is fratricide

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 10/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 21 rid“Rabbi Pinhas said: ‘Whoever says that the words of the Torah are one thing and the words of the world another, must be regarded as a man who denies God’”.

Martin Buber Tales of the Hasidim (English translation by Olga Marx)

When I was a boy, in my village to say a human person, we said “cristiano” (actually: cristià in the Ascoli dialect), that is, Christian. For a long time I thought that "Christians" was the name of human beings. I didn't feel it was a religious word, and most of my people used it without knowing that this very common term came from religion. Christians were men, Christians were women.

[fulltext] =>

When a stranger knocked on the door, before talking to us they already knew his name: he was a Christian – or "è nu cristià", as my grandfather used to say. Later I learned that Christians was the name by which the men and women, followers of Jesus were called in Antioch. Christians the good, Christians the bad ("that one’s a bad Christian"), healthy Christians, disabled Christians. Then the Moabites and the Arameans are also Christians, as well as the son of Jonathan "crippled in both of his feet" - "a poor Christian arrives", our ancestors would have said if they had seen the person arrive trudging along the way home: they said this so many times during the wars. It took many centuries of history, love and pain for Christian to become synonymous with man or woman in Europe. By now we have forgotten it; it was mainly the wars between Christians and the lagers that made us and others forget it. But it is also because they only learn again to recognize the victims arriving in our cities and at the gates of our homes and be able to welcome them as Christians if people are called Christians in the Antioch of tomorrow.

“And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went” (2 Samuel 8:14). When a new ruling class reaches power, a very common operation is discrediting the defeated political class through the ideological re-construction of the past - it is common because it is very simple to legitimize ethically. The Bible knows this rhetorical technique very well, and uses it many times, given the importance of reading history from God's perspective in that kind of humanism. David's military and political success is a well-known and relevant example of this narrative technique. These passages are artfully constructed by a very skilled hand to use ancient materials to create the political "myth" of David and Israel. It is the apotheosis of the economic-retributive kind of religion, which reads success as a divine blessing and defeat (of others) as a curse. Today we know that David's ascension to the throne was much more controversial and ambivalent than the author of Samuel's books tells us. David was actually the victor at the end of a long and hard civil war against Saul and his sons. Many of the different and non-aligned materials were eliminated or changed, but some survived, often against the will of the author himself - the really great books were able to resist the manipulations and narcissisms of their authors. But in the Bible, together with the ideologies of its authors - thank God - we are also there, and we must be there.

We know that the peoples conquered and turned into slaves and subjects were free peoples who lost their freedom because of David, and we can and must read those stories from their perspective as well. Seen through their eyes, David appeared exactly as the Assyrians and Babylonians appeared to Israel centuries later: imperialist enemy powers, killing men, women, children and animals, destroying the economy, the temples and national identity, deporting people into exile. However, we are not justified or forgiven if we continue to read those facts with the same ideology as the writer of David’s victories. Instead, we must struggle against the biblical author to help him free himself from his own ideology. And if we try we realize that this struggle is already present in the entire Bible. We also find it in the books of Samuel, which at the beginning prophetically denounce the evils and corruptions of the monarchy that the people strongly want (1 Samuel 8:13), but later theologically praise that monarchy and its hero, David. The Bible remains generative and anti-ideological as long as we are able to read the Song of Songs and Job, Qoheleth and Daniel, Paul and James synoptically - although we can and must express our moral preferences. However, one question (at least) remains open: the final editor of these chapters (written after the Babylonian conquest, the destruction of the temple, after the exile), who, thanks to the prophets, had learned to believe in a true and defeated God, one who had learned that truth does not coincide with success – so why does he still present David’s story marked by the ideology of military victory and power as a blessing? It is not easy to answer this question, which runs through much of the Bible. We will try to do it a little at a time when we tell the story of the failures of David and his descendants. But we can and must immediately use these political and ideological chapters to make a precious moral and spiritual exercise. We read that David “defeated Moab and he measured them with a line, making them lie down on the ground. Two lines he measured to be put to death, and one full line to be spared” (8:2). And then in the same Bible we read that Ruth was a Moabite, and in the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth we find: “Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king (...) Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born” (Mt 1). We then continue reading, and while we discover that "David struck down 22,000 men of the Syrians" (8:5), we return with our heart to the prayer of the wandering Aramean of Moses, to Rachel and Leah, daughters of an Aramean, to that people speaking Aramaic, the language with which Our Father was first said. Then we stop to honour the mourning for these deaths and for these freedoms lost at the hands of David, feeling the pain in our flesh because the Aramean can no longer wander freely.

From all these complicated deeds of David we can learn something very important, which was not the author’s intention but must be ours: all the wars of which the Bible speaks to us are fratricidal wars. Cain continues to operate, and disguised as David he kills his brother again. The Bible, if read from this perspective, tells us that our wars, which in our atheisms we still interpret as sacred wars and divine blessing, are all fratricidal wars, because every murder is a fratricide. With that rope David was measuring the wood of the cross. He could not know, but we do, and for the mysterious but real reciprocity of the Bible we must remind him of this, we must remember it. Remember that when we occupy a country and kill men, women, children, animals, we are killing Benjamin and Joseph, the sons of Rachel the Aramean, the sons of Ruth the Moabite and the son of Mary. Only with these feelings can we make a good and responsible reading of David's enterprises.

“And David said, »Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?« Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba (...) Ziba said to the king, »There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet«” (9:1-3). David has reached the peak of his political ascent. He has defeated all his internal and external enemies, and now reigns over an empire that stretches from the Euphrates to the Nile. But it is precisely at the height of his success that the signs of its decline begin to filter through. David will also be subject to the law of "sunset within midday".

The way his succession is managed is a sign that David's trajectory begins to change sign, taking the form of a parable. The text gives us some hints on the relationship between the king and the only survivor of the house of Saul. It's a very beautiful and humane episode. We do not have enough information to fully understand the reasons that led David to inquire about the existence of his friend’s son, many years after the death of Jonathan (Mephibosheth was five years old at the time, now he is a grown man). What is striking is the similarity between David’s request “that I may show him kindness") and the one by Herod to the three magi, saying that he wanted "to honour the new king". It is the rest of the story that suggests at least ambivalence in David's motivations. Mephibosheth arrived in the royal court and he “fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, »Mephibosheth!« And he answered, »Behold, I am your servant.« And David said to him, »Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always«” (9:6-7).

It’s a very brief description of the scene. However, it is very likely that David had to deal with conflicting feelings. His old pact of friendship with Jonathan would lead to reading the restitution of the lands of Saul to his grandson as an act of sincere generosity and honour for the son of his great friend. However, Mephibosheth’s fear, whose family was exterminated by David and his men, and the answer he gives to David (“What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”; 9:8) offer considerations that are quite different from David’s noble words. But what makes it difficult to sustain David's non-ambivalence is that he says, "and you shall eat at my table always". What is the meaning of this request? It's David's ambivalence and that of power in general: wanting to stay true to the pacts with friends, but also keeping potential enemies (in terms of succession to the throne) under control. Mephibosheth will be forced to stay at David's court, in a golden cage, crippled and away from his only son: “And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. (...) So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king's table. Now he was lame in both his feet” (9:12-13).

David did not know that the Moabites and the Arameans were "Christians", just as he did not know that Mephibosheth, crippled in both of his feet, was also a "Christian”. We, however, do, and we must remind David of this, who "did not love the blind and the lame". As we continue to grow for and with it, we must give back to the Bible its characters enriched by our dowry of humanity. We have to go deeper into the Bible, down to Sarah and reproach her for how she treats Hagar; become indignant about the blessing that Jacob tears away from Esau; stop Abraham's hand before the angel and the ram arrive; fall in despair with Job and Rachel because their "children are no longer", and then get angry at God because he does not answer Job in words equal to his tremendous questions because they are very human. We have to continue crying "why?", with the Son on the cross, and wait for God to respond for two thousand years.

download  article in pdf

 

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-06-11 04:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-06-21 05:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => Political and economic success is often used as a sign of divine blessing for one's enterprises. The Bible tells us about David's victories, but it also says how to free those pages from their own ideologies. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1076 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 11077 [ordering] => 111 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-06-11 04:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16249:christians-that-is-men-and-women-brothers-and-sisters [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/21 - No rhetoric stands: every war is fratricide

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 10/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 21 rid“Rabbi Pinhas said: ‘Whoever says that the words of the Torah are one thing and the words of the world another, must be regarded as a man who denies God’”.

Martin Buber Tales of the Hasidim (English translation by Olga Marx)

When I was a boy, in my village to say a human person, we said “cristiano” (actually: cristià in the Ascoli dialect), that is, Christian. For a long time I thought that "Christians" was the name of human beings. I didn't feel it was a religious word, and most of my people used it without knowing that this very common term came from religion. Christians were men, Christians were women.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

Christians, that is, men and women, brothers and sisters

Greater than Guilt/21 - No rhetoric stands: every war is fratricide by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 10/06/2018 “Rabbi Pinhas said: ‘Whoever says that the words of the Torah are one thing and the words of the world another, must be regarded as a man who denies God’”. Martin Buber Tales of t...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16250
    [title] => The Wonderful Laicity of God
    [alias] => the-wonderful-laicity-of-god
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/20 - Biblical humanism is an endless education for liberty

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 03/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 20 rid“If your heart does not wish to give in If it feels no passion, if it does not want to suffer Without making plans about what will follow My heart can love for the both of us”

Luisa Sobral, Amar pelos dois (English version by Igor Caldeira)

When we try to respond to a vocation, our existence moves between the memory of a great liberation and the waiting for the fulfilment of a great promise, between memory and hope. Everything takes place between these two banks of the river, and the great task of living is to learn to stay in the ford, without succumbing to the temptation of nostalgia for the bank from which we come or to the one telling us that the landing place was only a mirage. You don’t get overwhelmed by the water and dragged away by the current until you cling to the invisible rope that binds the Red Sea to the Jordan. Also because the closer we get to the other shore, the thinner the piece of string we are holding on to becomes in our hand.

[fulltext] =>

David recovered the ark and transported it to Jerusalem, his new city. He thus reconnected his reign to the first Covenant of the Fathers, to the exodus from Egypt, to Sinai, and linked his name to the name of the origins. But a great collective project does not live only by elaborating and redeeming memory, it also has a vital need for a new promise that opens the future while anchoring it to the past, because no dawn is bright if we do not glimpse the arrival of noon. But while our origin is a gift and inheritance, and therefore we can only welcome it and receive it, seeking the legitimization of the future in today always exposes us to the risk of manipulating the past to turn it into an ideological deposit of a future that we want to build instead of waiting for it. David also feels this kind of fear and temptation. “Now when the king lived in his house ... (he) said to Nathan the prophet, »See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent«” (2 Samuel 7:1-2). David’s Jerusalem has no temple. Other cities in Israel did. David wants to give his God a house in his new city. The prophet Nathan, who appears here, responds, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you” (7:3). Nathan is a court prophet, he knew that the Lord was with David, and he advises the king to simply do what he wishes to do without directly asking YHWH about it. This is an ordinary practice in prophecy when the prophet uses the past and his common sense to answer a question about the present and the future. But David's question was not an ordinary one, because it regarded a pillar of his people's identity. Therefore, the professional skills (of the prophet - the tr.) alone could not suffice: an epiphany was needed to understand a deeper truth: “But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, »Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling’«” (7:4-6). But... The word that YHWH addresses to his prophet is introduced by a 'but'. Nathan is the prophet by David’s side; he was probably given his post as prophetic adviser to the king soon after Samuel's death. His function and profession suggested him to follow the King's wish right away.

But Nathan is a real prophet, as the rest of David's life will reveal it to us. And here comes a second dimension of the word. He is told - perhaps in a dream - another truth, a word that is bigger and different from the first one. True prophets are different from false prophets because they know that they carry two different voices, even though both come out of the same mouth. You become false prophets when the two voices end up coinciding - the prophet becomes a god, and often manages to convince others (and himself) that he really has become one.

Nathan, on the other hand, knows how to distinguish the two voices, he orders them hierarchically, and the next day he has the courage to tell David the opposite of what he told him the day before. He is not an adulator kind of prophet, he is not afraid to make a bad impression by being contradicted by YHWH, nor is he afraid to tell David things that are different from what he wanted to hear (that almost sums up the difficulty of practising true prophecy). The new oracle tells David (and us) something fundamental for biblical faith, and for every faith.

YHWH revealed himself as a voice, a free and uncapturable voice. From the beginning he had assured his presence (shekhinah) in the present time of the people. Like manna, his presence satiated only their daily hunger and could not be accumulated unless they wanted to have it rot - that is the sense of biblical hope, and the value of gratuity (charis, gratia) in every faith-trust. We truly trust someone to whom we are bound by a pact until we hope that the next day he will come home again having been given the freedom not to do so, without ever ceasing to surprise us every time we see him return. But the day we build a system of guarantees and controls that prevent the other from not returning, in those non-free returns our relationship starts dying. Biblical humanism is an endless education to this freedom, which will culminate in a crucified one who dies without guarantees of his resurrection for those who were under the cross. There was only one great hope, which continues to make us see crucified ones resurrect if we do not stop frequenting the Golgothas of our land (too many people cannot see the resurrections because they have lost sight of the places where the crucifixions happen and where the stones roll: in the 'fancy living rooms' no gardener will ever call us by the name).  

The construction of a new temple was the most natural and religious act for David, common sense and his devotion pointed him in this direction. But the biblical God is not the god of the common sense of devout kings or religions. The relationship between YHWH and the temple has always been ambivalent and problematic, an expression of the ambivalent and problematic nature of the relationship between the Bible and religion. The Bible has generated several religions, but its primary purpose is not the construction of a religious discourse. What’s at the centre of biblical humanism, instead, is faith, hence a collective and individual relationship with a spiritual God - different from idols. And as a relationship, biblical faith is dynamic, historical, evolutionary, surprising, competitive and contradictory. Religions need temples - the Bible can do without them, and it has managed without them. The Bible is interested in emphasizing the truth of a God who is greater and different from every temple and religion. And so the generation that passes between David's enquiry about a temple and its actual construction by his son Solomon, that void in Israel’s history is the language with which the Bible wished to express the difference between the temple of God and the God of the temple, the gap between faith and religion embodying that faith, the freedom of YHWH with respect to the houses that we build for him to tell him what must be his home and his territory fenced by us. To remind all religions of the book that that different God cannot be monopolized, that he cannot become the private property of a people or any religious community. All religious violence arises when one forgets the existence of this 'middle generation', that time without a temple, the gap between the question about a house and the answer to it. The land of the temple thus comes to coincide with the land of God; the roof of the temple becomes the measure of the freedom of God - and ours. It is in this surplus that the beautiful secularity of the biblical God lies, who prefers to 'move about in a tent' to the robust and stable cedar of the temple. The stabitas loci is not an attribute of the God of the Bible - the wandering of God allows our stability not to become religious prisons.

God, through Nathan, responds to David's request as follows, “the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house” (7:11). What a twist. It is David, us, who need a house and a blessing. David is given a different and special blessing, a new and wonderful promise: “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (7:16). Forever. In this new promise there is no 'if', which was at the centre of the first Covenant with the Patriarchs and with Moses, where the contractual structure committed one part to faithfulness on the condition that the other part was also faithful. What we have here instead is an unconditional covenant on God's side - “When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him” (7:14-15). I will not depart from him.

Many of life's great promises are and must be reciprocal and conditional. Families, businesses and communities live off pacts and 'if-s' that give seriousness and stability to our homes. But, if we look at them well, we discover that beneath the 'if-s' and conditions of our covenants there are promises with no ‘if-s’ or conditions. A marriage is a pact of reciprocity which stays alive if everyone does their part and is faithful. Wedding vows, however, are not a meeting of 'if-s', because if we said to the other 'I will love you forever if you love me forever', we would leave the realm of the wedding pact and precipitate into a commercial contract. That ‘forever’, at the time it is pronounced, does not know ‘if-s’. There is a dimension of unconditional freedom that underpins our conditional reciprocity, because if it weren't there our pacts wouldn't be strong and free enough to last. Human beings are greater than their reciprocity, we are freer than our 'if-s', we know how to love more than the conditions we put for our love. Because of this we (sometimes) manage not to die when we discover that our ‘forever’ did not meet the ‘forever’ of the other, our pacts have gone wrong, but we have tried to resurrect, once again. Or when we continue to walk anchored to one another forever, even if we are convinced that on the other side no one is keeping to that promise made in our youth. And, perhaps, in the end we will discover that the rope was so thin to almost break, but there was a hand to pick us up, because by continuing to walk we reached to just one step from the new land and we did not notice it.

download  article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-06-04 04:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-06-19 05:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => Families, businesses and communities live off pacts and 'if-s' that give seriousness and stability to our homes. But beneath the 'if-s' and conditions of our covenants there are promises with no ‘if-s’ or conditions. That’s what God's response to David who wanted to make him a home reminds us of. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1044 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10010 [ordering] => 128 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-06-04 04:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16250:the-wonderful-laicity-of-god [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/20 - Biblical humanism is an endless education for liberty

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 03/06/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 20 rid“If your heart does not wish to give in If it feels no passion, if it does not want to suffer Without making plans about what will follow My heart can love for the both of us”

Luisa Sobral, Amar pelos dois (English version by Igor Caldeira)

When we try to respond to a vocation, our existence moves between the memory of a great liberation and the waiting for the fulfilment of a great promise, between memory and hope. Everything takes place between these two banks of the river, and the great task of living is to learn to stay in the ford, without succumbing to the temptation of nostalgia for the bank from which we come or to the one telling us that the landing place was only a mirage. You don’t get overwhelmed by the water and dragged away by the current until you cling to the invisible rope that binds the Red Sea to the Jordan. Also because the closer we get to the other shore, the thinner the piece of string we are holding on to becomes in our hand.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )

The Wonderful Laicity of God

Greater than Guilt/20 - Biblical humanism is an endless education for liberty by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 03/06/2018 “If your heart does not wish to give in If it feels no passion, if it does not want to suffer Without making plans about what will follow My heart can love for the both ...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16251
    [title] => The Different Decorum of Women
    [alias] => the-different-decorum-of-women
    [introtext] => 

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 27/05/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 19 rid“It was by the grace of God, not on account of his merits, that Noah found shelter in the ark before the overwhelming force of the waters. Although he was better than his contemporaries, he was yet not worthy of having wonders done for his sake.”

Louis Ginzberg The Legends of the Jews (English translation by Henrietta Szold)

It was religion that invented the homo oeconomicus, long before economy reinvented it. The first trading partner for people was God, because the economy in the markets was an extension of the economy in the religious sphere. The first currency that humanity knew was goats, sheep, lambs, sometimes even children and virgins, with whom men paid their gods, usually to put them in debt or, sometimes, to reduce the original debt they felt were overwhelming their communities.

[fulltext] =>

The Bible, in some of its books (in those of the prophets, Job, Qoheleth and in many texts of the Gospels and Paul) reacted strongly to this economic vision of faith, sacrifice and worship, doing everything to keep God out of our business affairs, to save him from our constant temptation to manipulate him. But even in the Bible, in the Old and New Testament, and then in Christian theology and practice, at times there remain some visible traces of this mercantile idea of religion, where even the death of Christ was read as a "payment" of a price to the Father, and where our suffering and that of others is read as "money" to be paid to a God who is our creditor.

Economic religion has done much harm especially in the area of the social, spiritual and ethical evaluation of the poor. The beggars were poor, but the poor also included the lepers, the blind, the dumb, the lame – all united by the fact that they were the dross of the communities. To defend their idea of the just God, ancient economic religions condemned the poor, who became those discarded by life and by God. The "blind and the lame" were carriers of guilt and sin, and so God could remain perfect in his righteousness because each one received exactly what they had deserved from life (by their own or by their ancestors’ right). Twice blessed wealth, twice cursed poverty – until the day before yesterday, many parents segregated their severely handicapped children in their homes or institutions because they felt the religious and social curse on their families was too strong for those different children. Thousands of years later human civilizations (not all yet) are finally able to say that disability is not a curse, that material and psycho-physical poverty is not a stigma but a question – and the civil and moral quality of a society as well as its justice (most importantly) depend on the answer given to it. It is one of the greatest achievements of humanity, which is always fragile, because that ancient idea of poverty-malediction has changed forms (unemployment, inefficiency, immigration ...). It disguises and camouflages itself (meritocracy), but its ability to convince us that the poverty of others has no relationship with our "deserved" riches is getting stronger and stronger – blaming the victims is the oldest and simplest strategy to deny our responsibility.

“So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel” (2 Samuel 5:3). After being consecrated by Samuel and after the seven and a half years of reign over Judah, David now made a covenant with all the tribes and became king of Israel. He had been chosen and anointed as a young boy, but he really becomes king only now thanks to a pact. Vocations arise from a very personal encounter with a voice that calls you by name, in a space of an internal dialogue within the heart where no one can or should enter at the beginning. That’s where vocations begin and live in the early days, but they only flourish if one day that dialogue generates a pact, an experience of reciprocity, a public commitment made with other men and women; if and when that first intimate dialogue becomes a social discourse, a common project, a social action, and that first voice tells us to build an ark together to save someone. Vocations must become pacts. Many genuine calls are blocked and go wrong because they remain in the "first dialogue" for too long without being able to become a pact, an alliance, a community commitment. They are easily spent because the pact necessarily arises on the death of the first intimate dialogue, and the fear of death prevents the dialogue from resurrecting in a pact. Pacts are meetings of promises of a free common future, not locked down by the present. They are increasingly rare in our world which is overflowing with contracts devouring pacts and alliances, because they deceive us and present themselves as similar "goods", offered at a much lower price than pacts – which is relational dumping. At this point, along with the new kingdom, another wonderful name appears in the story of David and Israel, which alone says many things that are beautiful and tremendous, yesterday and today: Jerusalem, which now becomes the city of David: “And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, »You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off« (...) David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. And David said on that day, »Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David's soul«. Therefore it is said, ‘The blind and the lame shall not come into the house’” (5:6-8). The text is too short to explain and make the nature of this hatred between David and "the blind and the lame” understood. Whether we interpret it as a gesture of pride by the Jebusites, who (perhaps) put disabled people to the defence of the city, or read it as a political act of David who (perhaps) eliminated the blind and the lame from his army, the basic message remains strong and clear: "the blind and the lame" are waste, refuse, they are excluded "from the house" and the temple, they are the unloved: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, »(...) None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. (...) a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. (...) since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God«” (Leviticus 21:16-21). Hard and tremendous words, which we find in the Bible together with those of Isaiah who prophesies: “To the eunuchs (...) / I will give in my house and within my walls / a monument and a name / better than sons and daughters” (Isaiah 56:4-5), and together with the beatitudes and Jesus who heals the blind and the paralytics. The Bible gives us reasons to condemn the poor or to call them blessed - and it waits for our response.

One of King David's first ventures is transporting the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem: “And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart” (6:3). During the transport, Uzzah touches the ark and dies on the spot (6:7) – another episode telling about the tremendum of the sacred. Amidst songs and dances, the procession finally arrives in Jerusalem. And there is a very beautiful and mysterious episode here in terms of narration.

David, driven by the enthusiasm of the entrance with the ark, perhaps also by his poetic and artistic nature, enters into a sort of mystical ecstasy in dance and music, to the point of almost denuding himself in the midst of his people. Michal, his wife, saw the scene from the window “and she despised him in her heart” (6:16). Later, at home she talks to her husband: “How the king of Israel honoured himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” (6:20). David does not accept this scolding from his spouse and responds by returning it: “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house (...) I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes (6:21-22). The official interpretation of this episode and the final editor of the text are clearly on David's side, reading his behaviour as an expression of humility and his true devotion to YHWH.

But, here too, we can read this passage in a different way, and make our own narrative and ethical choice. The lives of common families and those of famous and powerful men are populated by many dialogues similar to the one between David and Michal. There are many wives who watch the decent and indecorous behaviour of their husbands “from the window", wives who often remain silent in public, but then know how to speak inside the house with a different and essential authority. Certain truths are spoken and heard only at home: only when you have a family and someone who sees you differently and likes you so much as to tell you things that your "subjects", your employees, voters, fans can't tell you. And those things are fundamental truths for being able to live well. The decorum of women is not the same as that of men, their eyes see different things that, if heard, contain the salvation of their husbands. Michal saw something that, from her point of view, was neither beautiful nor good; it wasn’t either religious or devout. But neither her husband nor the editor of the Book of Samuel who collected this ancient tradition understood it, and they mercilessly condemned her: “And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death” (6:22). Michal thus ends up in the great community of those rejected by God and people, entering the company of her father Saul and her brothers.

We can leave her there like most of the commentators of this passage, on the existential periphery of the Bible in the company of David’s blind and lame. But we can also decide to redeem her, and with her the many women condemned and discarded by history and life just for telling different words to their husbands and the powerful, words that aren’t adulatory, but much truer, which then became the cause of their condemnation and, not infrequently, their martyrdom.
The Bible or even the Gospel is not enough to redeem the victims and the poor. History tells us so. There is an essential need for our freedom. All too often the ones missing from the stories of the Bible are us, its readers. To be able to step in to Michal's room and tell her, "I understand you", we must want and choose to do so. Otherwise we stop at the threshold, that of the room and the Bible. Biblical reading is fruitful if it becomes a spiritual and moral exercise to see and raise the humble and the humiliated, and therefore to save God, who is too often placed on the side of the strong and the triumphant.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-05-28 04:00:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-06-09 05:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => David finally becomes king of all Israel, thanks to a pact with the tribes. Pacts are not contracts. The Ark arrives in Jerusalem, and a dialogue between David and his wife Michal asks us once again to take a stand and say where we want to be: with the victims or with the powerful. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1547 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10808 [ordering] => 124 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-05-28 04:00:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [tag_id] => 18 [id] => 18 [parent_id] => 1 [lft] => 33 [rgt] => 34 [level] => 1 [path] => luigino-bruni [title] => Luigino Bruni [alias] => luigino-bruni [note] => [description] => [published] => 1 [checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [access] => 1 [params] => {"tag_layout":"","tag_link_class":"label label-info"} [metadesc] => [metakey] => [metadata] => {"author":"","robots":""} [created_user_id] => 611 [created_time] => 2015-11-14 21:22:09 [created_by_alias] => [modified_user_id] => 609 [modified_time] => 2020-08-01 10:35:46 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {} [hits] => 51164 [language] => * [version] => 1 [publish_up] => 2015-11-14 20:22:09 [publish_down] => 2015-11-14 20:22:09 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [tag_id] => 37 [id] => 37 [parent_id] => 1 [lft] => 71 [rgt] => 72 [level] => 1 [path] => piu-grandi-della-colpa [title] => Più grandi della colpa [alias] => piu-grandi-della-colpa [note] => [description] => [published] => 1 [checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [access] => 1 [params] => {} [metadesc] => [metakey] => [metadata] => {} [created_user_id] => 609 [created_time] => 2018-03-31 15:07:53 [created_by_alias] => [modified_user_id] => 0 [modified_time] => 2020-08-10 04:38:16 [images] => {} [urls] => {} [hits] => 4833 [language] => * [version] => 1 [publish_up] => 2018-03-31 15:07:53 [publish_down] => 2018-03-31 15:07:53 ) ) ) [slug] => 16251:the-different-decorum-of-women [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 27/05/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 19 rid“It was by the grace of God, not on account of his merits, that Noah found shelter in the ark before the overwhelming force of the waters. Although he was better than his contemporaries, he was yet not worthy of having wonders done for his sake.”

Louis Ginzberg The Legends of the Jews (English translation by Henrietta Szold)

It was religion that invented the homo oeconomicus, long before economy reinvented it. The first trading partner for people was God, because the economy in the markets was an extension of the economy in the religious sphere. The first currency that humanity knew was goats, sheep, lambs, sometimes even children and virgins, with whom men paid their gods, usually to put them in debt or, sometimes, to reduce the original debt they felt were overwhelming their communities.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

The Different Decorum of Women

by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 27/05/2018 “It was by the grace of God, not on account of his merits, that Noah found shelter in the ark before the overwhelming force of the waters. Although he was better than his contemporaries, he was yet not worthy of having wonders done for his sake.” ...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16252
    [title] => Memorial Stones for the Innocent
    [alias] => memorial-stones-for-the-innocent
    [introtext] => 

Greater than Guilt/18 - The executioners humiliate their victims by denying them the dignity of their name

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 20/05/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 18 rid“This I-Thou relation consists of placing oneself before an outside being, i.e. one who is radically other, and in recognizing that being as such. This recognition of alterity does not consist in forming an idea of alterity. (...) It is not a question of thinking the other person, or of thinking him or her as other - but of addressing that person as a Thou.

Emanuel Lévinas Proper Names (English translation by Michael B. Smith)

Dialogue is the thread that weaves our good and fruitful social relationships. Listening and saying, silence and words, phrases and gestures are the grammar of the reciprocal crossing (dia) of the word (logos). Dialogue is letting ourselves be traversed by the other while asking their permission to be traversed by our word. Crossing is a verb of motion that evokes time and space, places, names, flesh; it is always a creation of something new.

[fulltext] =>

Many possible and necessary dialogues, initiated with commitment and good will, fail to come to life because when the word touches the flesh and begins to make a mark on it, the perception of pain blocks the reciprocal crossing. We almost always stop on the threshold of true dialogue, where its semi-finished products are found - confrontation, gentlemen’s agreement, compromise... At the origin of Western civilization we find a splendid and immense thesis, which is also a declaration of love that man makes to himself: we are beings capable of logos, words, discourse, dialogue, and therefore of relationships. We are dialogical. Biblical humanism then told us that Adam is also capable of dialogue with God, that we can have a relationship with the absolute, we can talk with YHWH. Man is a ‘friend of God’ (Abraham), he speaks to us ‘mouth to mouth’ (Moses), because not only man but also the biblical God is capable of dialogue. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hagar, Hannah and Mary are shown to us as people guided by a voice with whom they enter into dialogue. Dialogue is always mutual learning; it is a con-creation. So if it is true that humanity has learned and is still learning a great deal in the dialogue with God, it must also be true that God has learned and continues to learn something in the dialogue with men and women. He has learned and is learning what the world, pain and love really is, while we improve that world through our work, as we fall in love, suffer, remain faithful or become unfaithful, die and rise again many times. By resurrecting his son God has changed human history forever, and we know that he changes because he cannot remain indifferent when he witnesses our resurrections and those of our children.

David is also a man who dialogues with God: “After this David inquired of the Lord, »Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?« And the Lord said to him, »Go up.« David said, »To which shall I go up?« And he said, »To Hebron.« So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail” (2 Samuel 2:1-2). David asks questions to God, who answers them. We do not know how David dialogued with YHWH. But we would be foolish to allow the literary genre to devour the beauty and truth of those distant dialogues. David is anointed king in Hebron: “And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah” (2:4). David becomes a regional king, and much of Israel is still in the hands of Saul’s family. Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, a person of great charisma and power, had ensured that Ish-bosheth, one of the sons of Saul, became king: “Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David” (2:10).

Then David reaches the people of Jabesh-gilead, who had worthily buried Saul: “David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, »May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing«” (2:5-6).

Gratitude is doubly transitive: those people were once grateful to Saul, now David is grateful to them, and he prays to God that he, too, should recognise it, giving those citizens his “love and faithfulness”. Tomorrow our children will be grateful towards others and towards us if we are grateful towards others and towards our parents, because gratitude is the first inheritance that is transmitted from father to son. This form of horizontal transitivity (between individuals and between generations) is the luminous side of a law of vertical retribution which crosses the Bible (our misfortunes and riches are God's punishments and rewards). Jesus tried to overcome it definitively - without succeeding, if we think that meritocracy is nothing but the secularization of that ancient theology.

These first chapters of the Second Book of Samuel tell us about a real civil and fratricidal war between David’s army and that of Saul’s dynasty. There are brutal murders, betrayals, vendettas, the main purpose of which is telling us that David, the new king, did not ascend to the throne either as a usurper or as a murderer of his enemies. His two main rivals (Ish-bosheth and Abner) are killed by David's men without his knowledge and against his will (chapters 3 and 4). In fact, as had happened with the death of Saul and Jonathan, David cries, fasts and observes mourning for both Ish-bosheth's and Abner’s death. The text describes an escalation of mimetic violence (René Girard), where retaliation and revenge become the new law. The civil war ended with David’s victory and his repeated anointing as king of all Israel, in Jerusalem, his new city and the capital of the kingdom.

Within the story of this civil war, we find some short but splendid narrative scenes that cannot leave us indifferent. The first has to do with Abner, the commander of the army, who had ‘taken’ one of Saul’s concubines for himself. Ish-bosheth, the new king says to him, “Why have you gone in to my father's concubine?” And Abner gives him an answer that makes us immediately enter into a terrible dimension of power of all times: “Am I a dog's head of Judah? To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David. And yet you charge me today with a fault concerning a woman” (3:8). It’s dreadful. Three thousand years have passed, but we find this phrase still alive and present, in all its infinite violence, in the places of male power, where relations with women are too often considered irrelevant ‘issues’, nonsense, negligible ‘things’ when compared to the serious things of politics, economy and power. The Bible, however, looks at that woman, gives her a name, and thus recognizes her. That woman is called Rizpah. It is the Bible to call her by name, not Abner, for whom she is only a ‘thing’ to ‘take’, or the king who calls her ‘a concubine’. In Genesis it is not Sarah who tells us the name of the maidservant and her son that she drove away into the desert: it is the biblical author who tells us that they were called 'Hagar' and 'Ishmael'. The powerful and the executioners begin to humiliate their victims by denying them the dignity of their name, because calling them by name would mean recognising them as people. We will find it again in chapter 21, in one of the most dramatic and human episodes of all ancient literature.

A second scene is set within Abner's offer of alliance/treason to David, promising to hand over all of Israel to him. As a pre-condition for alliance with him, David tells Abner: “Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bridal price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines” (3:14). We don't know why David is asking Michal, his first wife, the daughter of Saul back. We only know that after David's escape, her father gave Michal to another husband: Paltiel. David's request was granted, and the king "sent and took her from her husband Paltiel" (3:15). Her husband's reaction is very impressive: “her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, »Go, return.« And he returned” (3:14-16). The Bible manages to show us this husband who follows, on foot and in tears, his wife's caravan, with the same despair as following the cart carrying a wife's coffin. And with this it wants to tell us something about the pitiful condition of a man, a male, a husband, who, even if only for a moment, lessens the ruthlessness of the actions of the other males in these stories - including David.

Last but not least, we can find a third detail in the chapter describing the death of King Ish-bosheth: “Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth” (4:4). This tells us something more about Jonathan, David's friend, and how great and collective was the pain for his death. A five-year-old crippled child in whom we see the many children crippled by wars that still, after three thousand years, continue to maim especially children, to humiliate women, who even when they manage to escape with their children in their arms are not always able to protect them from the terrible physical effects of the malice of adults.

The writer could not spare us the narration of the violence of that civil war. He could have omitted these small narrative details, he could have avoided talking about Rizpah and Paltiel - as the Books of Chronicles which tell the same episodes, but without Rizpah, Paltiel or Mephibosheth. Instead, that ancient writer wanted to leave them there, gave us their names, and thus erected new steles (memorial stones) in memory of the innocent victims of all violence.

The Bible is a wonderful book for many reasons, but especially because it is a treasure chest that safeguards the tears of the poor and discarded, often hidden in the interstices of the great stories, almost always absent from the readings in our liturgies. And perhaps they should remain hidden, too, because the pain of victims and children is too precious and must remain secret, so as to protect it.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 847 [created] => 2018-05-19 19:25:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 18:41:25 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-05-28 09:25:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => David dialogues with God, and reminds us of the importance of dialogue in civil life, which is a rare and increasingly precious art. Inside the story of the war between David and Saul’s dynasty, we find some of the real gems that the Bible dedicates to the victims and the poor. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1526 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 9904 [ordering] => 112 [category_title] => EN - Greater Than Guilt [category_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche/piu-grandi-della-colpa [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-greater-than-guilt [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 123 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => IT - Serie bibliche [parent_id] => 773 [parent_route] => commenti-biblici/serie-bibliche [parent_alias] => serie-bibliche [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_title_alt] => Più grandi della colpa [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Commenti Biblici [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Greater Than Guilt [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-05-19 19:25:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [tag_id] => 18 [id] => 18 [parent_id] => 1 [lft] => 33 [rgt] => 34 [level] => 1 [path] => luigino-bruni [title] => Luigino Bruni [alias] => luigino-bruni [note] => [description] => [published] => 1 [checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [access] => 1 [params] => {"tag_layout":"","tag_link_class":"label label-info"} [metadesc] => [metakey] => [metadata] => {"author":"","robots":""} [created_user_id] => 611 [created_time] => 2015-11-14 21:22:09 [created_by_alias] => [modified_user_id] => 609 [modified_time] => 2020-08-01 10:35:46 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {} [hits] => 51164 [language] => * [version] => 1 [publish_up] => 2015-11-14 20:22:09 [publish_down] => 2015-11-14 20:22:09 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [tag_id] => 37 [id] => 37 [parent_id] => 1 [lft] => 71 [rgt] => 72 [level] => 1 [path] => piu-grandi-della-colpa [title] => Più grandi della colpa [alias] => piu-grandi-della-colpa [note] => [description] => [published] => 1 [checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [access] => 1 [params] => {} [metadesc] => [metakey] => [metadata] => {} [created_user_id] => 609 [created_time] => 2018-03-31 15:07:53 [created_by_alias] => [modified_user_id] => 0 [modified_time] => 2020-08-10 04:38:16 [images] => {} [urls] => {} [hits] => 4833 [language] => * [version] => 1 [publish_up] => 2018-03-31 15:07:53 [publish_down] => 2018-03-31 15:07:53 ) ) ) [slug] => 16252:memorial-stones-for-the-innocent [parent_slug] => 773:serie-bibliche [catslug] => 847:en-greater-than-guilt [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Greater than Guilt/18 - The executioners humiliate their victims by denying them the dignity of their name

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 20/05/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 18 rid“This I-Thou relation consists of placing oneself before an outside being, i.e. one who is radically other, and in recognizing that being as such. This recognition of alterity does not consist in forming an idea of alterity. (...) It is not a question of thinking the other person, or of thinking him or her as other - but of addressing that person as a Thou.

Emanuel Lévinas Proper Names (English translation by Michael B. Smith)

Dialogue is the thread that weaves our good and fruitful social relationships. Listening and saying, silence and words, phrases and gestures are the grammar of the reciprocal crossing (dia) of the word (logos). Dialogue is letting ourselves be traversed by the other while asking their permission to be traversed by our word. Crossing is a verb of motion that evokes time and space, places, names, flesh; it is always a creation of something new.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )

Memorial Stones for the Innocent

Greater than Guilt/18 - The executioners humiliate their victims by denying them the dignity of their name by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 20/05/2018 “This I-Thou relation consists of placing oneself before an outside being, i.e. one who is radically other, and in recognizing that being as...