- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Let Us Now Praise Famous Pigs
"I like pigs," said Churchill. "Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals." Pondering James Taylor's Quintessential Porcine History, one realizes the deep religious resonance of man with sow, of Sus and Susan.
Take, for instance, the Apollonian Pig—nestled among his tomes, studiously content in the day's small hour. To what do that lowered eyebrow and partial smile advert? Admiration of a well-wrought argument? Perhaps, though I doubt it. He daydreams of the Dionysian bacchanal with his fetching gilt. Who among us has not thrilled to Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity as the Puseyite porker in these pages? Does not the heart of even the most willowy supermodel beat to Feuerbach's rhythm? You bet your trough it does.
Time and again this artist demonstrates a perspicacity rare among theologians. With the subtlest adjustment of line, he captures the surprising sympathy of Pelagian with Augustinian, of Arminian with Calvinist, of the Liberationist and the Evangelical with the Postmodernist. For every swine, much on which to dine.
Admittedly, there are missed opportunities. The most conspicuous omission: Abbot Anthony of the Desert, patron of swineherds, venerated for his miraculous poultice of ham fat. One yearns for Taylor's depiction of that dramatic moment when, during a Kirk session, the wife of Geneva's mayor addressed Calvin as a lying hog. Absent also is the episode recounted in Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of Malachy of Armagh (4.8): "When the saint put his finger into each of [a deaf person's] ears, he felt two little things like piglets come out of them. For these and other such deeds, ... Scots and Irish converged on [Malachy], and he was revered by all as father of both." Would that Taylor's pen had been applied to this wonder, which tells all of Angus and Paddy you'll ever need to know.
These, however, are mild grunts. "It is better," J. S. Mill claimed, "to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied." Poor Johnny Stu could not have been more confused, as a glance at the slumbering Kantian pig will verify. Luther knew better: "In the street or on its dung-heap, the pig imagines itself on a soft bed: it rests peacefully, snores delicately, sleeps deliciously." The serenity of the Missouri Synod suid, the anguish of the Bergsonian boar, the shoat afloat Kierkegaard's leap of faith—no illustrator could better Mr. Taylor's witty line. Celebrate the return of all these porcine prodigals, and find yourself among them. You're in here, somewhere. I'm the suckling sucking a Granny Smith at the Methodist luau.
C. CLIFTON BLACK Princeton, New Jersey
Excerpted from The Quintessential Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion by James Taylor. Copyright © 2012 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Foreword: Let Us Now Praise Famous Pigs VII
I Classic Greek Pigs 1
II Pigs of the Ancient and Medieval Church 15
III Protestant Pigs 25
IV Modern Philosophical Pigs 37
V Twentieth- and Twenty-first Century Pigs 51