This week I got to hear Susan- Buck Morss speak (one of my old academic imaginary heroes I never thought I’d see in person). The Lecture and the masterclass was organised by the Social Theory Centre.
In them she presented the introduction and methodology chapter for her upcoming monograph YEAR 1, a short description of the project is ” Thinking the origins of three monotheisms within one temporal arc makes visible a changed structure of history that not only critiques Western-centrism but offers an alternative, the philosophical implications of which escape the cul-de-sac of the post-periods (post-modernism, post-colonialism, post-secularism)”. I confess I copied that!
What I think she was doing, was to read alternative founding texts, from the first century. Texts that do not sit comfortably with our contemporary comfortable divides of religious-secular divides, or christian, Jewish, Islamic seperate discourses (she might not have used the term discourse). She makes an argument for theology, theological texts as a space for philosophy, of ways of worlding perhaps (again putting words in her mouth).
I didn’t understand half of her lecture or seminar I have to confess. Some of the three persons she wants to read I have not encountered. Yet there was so much enthusiasm- on her par- on what she still does not know, what she is discovering when she talks to a musician, when she reads first century texts, how a world of thinking opened up with considering Pythagoreanism, traversing the space between Benjamin and Adorno, and being amazed by Benjamin way of being/thinking, how she is amazed by all the possibilities that would open to her if she could read Arabic for example..and it was just contagious, all the spaciousness of thinking that might open up with shuffling her ur-texts- a spaciousness that make her look younger with every word she spoke (that was after I wrote a personal note on getting old).
Then this morning PhD comics published this article. All this vastness..