Friday, April 08, 2011


"Cauvin is known not only for the doctrine of predestination but also the doctrine of 'total depravity,' a phrase so forbidding one hesitates to ponder it. In Genevan French dépraver is clearly still near its Latin root, which means 'to warp' or 'to distort'. The word does not have the lurid overtones it has for us. Jérôme Bolsec was banished for, among other things, having déprave plusieurs passages de l'Éscriture pour sosutenir ceste faulse et perverse doctrine - the doctrine that predestination would make God a tyrant like Jupiter. This is Cauvin's characteristic use of the word, to refer to distortion of the meaning of a text. Corruption, in the French of the period, can mean 'exhaustion' or 'brokenness', or it can be used just as we use it now when we speak of the corruption of a text. In Cauvin's mind, the mirror is by far the dominant metaphor for perception and also for Creation, do distortion would be a natural extension of the metaphor..." - Marilynne Robinson , The Death of Adam

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