« AnteriorContinua »
17) to cease to do evil, to learn to do well. The only hope that Zion has is redemption through a righteous remnant (1:27).
The terrible slaughter of the worshipers of Baal by Jehu after he had tricked them by fraud is the result of the survival of the old type of solidarity which rested on relationship by blood (II Kings 10:1528). The introduction of the will as a conscious factor in the experience of solidarity was the epoch-making work of the eighth century prophets. The solidarity resting on blood and national tradition is no longer sufficient. A nation's unity must rest on a conscious will to righteousness. A solidarity which rests on murder and deceit shall perish. "But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses nor by horsemen" (Hosea 1:4, 7).
When Sennacherib, king of Assyria, demanded of Hezekiah, king of Judah, the surrender of Jerusalem, he counselled with Isaiah, the prophet. Isaiah's answer was: Zion is Jehovah's dwelling place and is therefore inviolable: "so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for Mount Zion and for the holy hill thereof" (Isaiah 31:4. II Kings. ch. 19). It never occurred to Isaiah to suppose that the destruction of Zion might make more real the indestructible character of a truly moral and religious will. It would have been impossible for Isaiah to think that a righteous moral life was possible apart from a politically organized state. Here Isaiah is in strict accord with the older tradition. He believes, as did Jephthah and
Samson and Jehu, that the individual can survive only when supported by the power and unity of solidarity. But there is a note in Isaiah and Hosea and Amos and Micah which did not exist before the eighth century. There is a clear-cut emphasis on the idea that doing good and being just are the most essential thing in life. Mount Zion as the symbol of solidarity remains in Isaiah and Amos and Hosea and Micah, and it is a solidarity which rests on blood and tradition, but there is added the idea that the solidarity of blood and custom and ritual, unless it be permeated with goodness and righteousness, differs not at all from the solidarity of blood and custom and ritual of Egypt or Assyria or any other nation (Amos 3:2;9:7). "Woe to them that . . stay on horses and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel" (Isa. 31:1).
Most tenderly does Hosea describe the transition from the ideal of the Canaanitish Baal-worship to the ideal of the prophets. There was more mirth, more joy, more emotion, in the older ritual (2:11). But while the prophetic ideal was lacking in emotional drive and power, there was achieved by the prophets a higher level of morality, the level of the higher volitional attitudes. The earlier era emphasized a blood unity between nature and man, and between man and man: "for the blood is the life" (Deut. 12:23). On the other hand, the prophets emphasize the will. The solidarity which they teach does not already exist in nature; it is to be achieved by the will. Israel, says Hosea, shall no longer call Yahweh Baal
or Lord; she shall call him Husband (2:16). The Yahweh of the eighth century is not an animistic presence that dwells in an ark or an altar (Num. 10:3336); nor is he the creative life of a green tree or a sacred bull (II Kings 17:16). He is the intellectual projection of a higher volitional consciousness in the Hebrew people. This new voluntary relationship is expressed by Hosea under the symbol of husband and wife: "I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness and in judgment and in loving-kindness" (2:19). The youthful joy of the Canaanitish nature-worship is viewed with suspicion (Amos 5:21-24, Isa. 22:1213, Hosea 2:11). In the old days, the presence of Yahweh through emotional possession and group ritual was a sufficient standard of conduct. "Is not Yahweh among us? No evil can come upon us," exclaimed the traditionalists (Micah 3:11). Such a blind, instinctive consciousness of solidarity stood in the way of the prophetic ideal.
The prophets of the eighth century broke away from the earlier animistic tendency. Amos declares that he is not a prophet. By this, he means that he is not subject to the "possessions" and seizures and "inspirations" which characterized earlier prophecy. Religion in these prophets centers not in first fruits, in the first born, not in wild, emotional, inspired ecstasies which express themselves in the dance, lyric psalms, ritual, and music. Religion had come to center in the idea of social righteousness. Not in emotional seizures, but in a vision of a plumb-line as the symbol of justice does Amos find the source of his inspiration. Not in the old, tribal gregariousness which leads to war, which
seizes the land of other peoples; not in a blind solidarity of blood which leads to blood-revenge, but in a devotion and loyalty to the social good is the new center of gravity.
GREEK SOLIDARITY BECOMES REFLECTIVE
The older, conservative ideal of the city-state, the ideal which is coming to be known as the pre-Socratic ideal, pulsates with living vitality throughout the pages of Eschylus (525-456). Every page of Eschylus is flooded with the clear light of Greek intelligence; but knowledge and reflection in Eschylus serve to interpret and to idealize the traditional view of the city-state. Æschylus is a realist; there is nothing in him of subjectivism and romanticism. The solidarity of the family, the sacred duty of blood-revenge, the doctrine of group-responsibility, is the central theme of Eschylus' dramas:
In children's children recurrent appears
(Eumenides, Blackie's Trans.)
But in spite of the overwhelming power of emotion and sentiment in Eschylus, he is represented as saying in the Frogs of Aristophanes (Frere's Trans.):
Indeed, I should doubt if my drama throughout
And the reason is perfectly plain. In Japan or in China, it is immoral to love one's wife overmuch. Such sentimentalism is dangerous to the solidarity of