Consider, friends, the final days of Socrates as Plato relates them in the Crito. He refuses to flee Athens precisely because any protest he could articulate would happen in the language of Athenian law, and he can only name the injustice against him because Athens herself gave him the vocabulary. Or consider Jesus: en route to his own violent death, Jesus weeps for a Jerusalem that knows not the ways of peace, and his tears tell a tale of his situation as a faithful Jew even as his lament reminds us of the prophet’s freedom and responsibility to speak truth. Perhaps what makes these memorable moments so fascinating is the tension between each one’s particularity pulling against an impulse to levy something like a universal critique against the corruption of the provincial, all for the love of the local. That tension animates the long traditions of philosophical and theological thinking, and Marcia Pally’s recent book Commonwealth and Covenant, from Eeerdmans, explores the questions that open up when we pay attention to both poles rather than ignoring one in favor of the other. Christian Humanist Profiles is glad to welcome her to talk with us today about that book.
Dr. Pally also shared with us a collection of YouTube videos of seminar sessions based on the book and invited listeners to check out her blog. Please view and comment both places!