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HUMANITIES 95 tions can be beautiful and affordable (witness Barry Callaghan's Treatiseon White and Tincture) but they must first of all be competently written and carefully edited. All this means that, having waited over thirty years for this second approach to Roy's meaning, we must already begin to hope for a third. Caveat emptor! Humanities Northrop Frye. Creation and Recreation The Larkin-Stuart Lectures. University of Toronto Press. vi, 76. $3.95 As the author tells us in his preface, these lectures, given under the auspices of Trinity College and 5t Thomas Anglican Church, Toronto, 'draw on earlier material". some of it now out of print". they are also connected with an ongoing project of greater length, a study of the narrative and imagery of the Bible and its influence on secular literature: Frye reads the Bible as William Blake read it, in its 'infernal or diabolical sense: and he uses a typological strategy to arrive at configurations which would have dismayed the Fathers of the church. At the centre of his thesis is the contention that human creativity is quite at odds with what is 'supposed' to be 'the original divine act of making the world: More explicitly, 'the humanly creative is whatever divinely disturbs our sense of "the" creation, a reversing or neutralizing of it ... What seems one of the few admirable forms of human achievement, the creationof the arts, turns out to be a kind of decreation: The biblical myth of the 'sky-father: of the artificer god 'who starts everything off by making all things in more or less their present form, is not very encouraging for the human artist: Consequently, in much traditional Christian art, man 'has no real initiative; liberty, for example, in Milton is nothing that man naturally wants but is something God is determined he shall have: And orthodox Christian dogma, we are told, has served to inhibit human creativity: Everything that raises man from his fallen level to his originally designed one involves some degree ofreturning to his original creation. It is recreation only in the sense that man is included in it: the actual process is God's redemption of man, man doing very little for himself that is ofany real use. The whole process of human response, in Christian doctrine, is contained within the Holy Spirit, so thatman's redemption is adrama within the persons ofthe Trinity in which man has avery limitedactor's role. As the HolySpiritguides the church, the doctrine 01 the Trinity, which is so central to Christian dogma in both Catholic and Protestant contexts, seems to have been, in its historical setting, a doctrine designed primarily to prevent man from slipping out of the grip of the church. The Fathers of the church (and many of her children) would seem to stand accused here of a cunning conspiracy. Nevertheless, the crude secularism of our own time has done nothing to deliver us from the inhibitions contrived and imposed by the church. 'The older construct wore out because it repressed the sense of human autonomy ... But a purely secular construct whether it be humanist or communist may be expressing complementary things.' It is in opposition to all repressive ideologies or myths, whether they be sacred or secular, that Frye proposes his own visionary theorem. His approach to the mystery of creation 'starts with the vision that man has a nature recreated in humanized form, the vision recorded in various forms of the arts ... It culminates in a vision of recreation in which man himself participates, and which appears to be in fact the total goal and aim of human effort.' In this new vision God 'the sky-father,' the artificer, the designer, is dead. God, 'the noun' (the God 'who belongs to the category of things and objects'), is replaced in this higher vision by God as 'verb,' and as 'verb' expresses 'a process fulfilling itself.' One supposes that Person is a noun, too, and not an 'object' or a 'thing.' But this noun is avoided. Similarly the nouns 'Word' and 'Spirit,' once thought of as divine Persons, are, we are told, better understood as 'qualities of selftranscendence .' These two nouns, if not 'extended...


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pp. 95-97
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