Monday, June 25, 2007

A rose by any other name...

The Truth smells sweet to those who are being saved.
As I read a RZIM Slice Devotional called The Side of Truth the other day, I couldn't help thinking of my senior Shakespeare semester and how we were learning to interpret him through a postmodern worldview. (side track: If you're interested in a little satire on this very common phenomenon, click here for Unconventional Director Sets Shakespeare Play in Time, Place Shakespeare Intended.)

In the devotional, the author discusses a postmodern view of truth based on language similar to that which I was introduced while working on my BA in English literature studies. The argument asserts that language is a human invention and that the material world cannot speak or form meaning; therefore language is made by man, rather than found. The point of the argument is to reason that truth does not exist independent of our own conceptions.

I first encountered this view in my Shakespeare semester. There is much more to it, and I'd have to dig out some books, class notes and my essays to put it all together. However, I do remember bringing up the immortal lines spoken by Juliet of her true love as a counterpoint:
"What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title."

Besides bringing back some great memories of philosophical sparring with my secular professors, the devotional also made me think of two scriptures:

2 Cor 2:14 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?"

and Song of Songs 2:1 "I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys."

(... a rose by any other name...)

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