Old Testament Philosophy – From Erich Fromm on “1984”

I wonder how this strikes you.

The Old Testament philosophy of history assumes that man grows and unfolds in history and eventually becomes what he potentially is.

It assumes that he develops his powers of reason and love fully, and thus is enabled to grasp the world, being one with his fellow man and nature, at the same time preserving his individuality and his integrity.

Universal peace and justice are the goals of man, and the prophets have faith that in spite of all errors and sins, eventually this “end of days” will arrive, symbolized by the figure of the Messiah.

The question is not whether it fits what we commonly hear as New Testament theology. But does it fit what you can actually remember – or reference – of the behavior standards of the Old Testament, of the hopes of the Old Testament?

I personally would say that, though it is very brief, it does capture a big part of the spirit of Old Testament hope and instruction quite well.

[The quote is from an Afterword in a copy of Orwell’s 1984 that we bought during Chelsea’s hospitalization in Omaha; it is by Erich Fromm, c. 1961.]

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