Saturday, June 14, 2014

Creon and Antigone Reference in "After Auschwitz"

It's interesting to me to note and collect references to ancient Greek literature in modern religious works.  Whie reading Richard Rubenstein's After Auschwitz I came across the following reference to Sophocles' Antigone:

"Tragic encounters can lead either to murder or to moral modesty and mutual enrichment.  The problem has ultimately little to do with the question of Jewish safety.  Creon was hardly better off with Antigone dead than confronted with the terribly annoying presence of Antigone alive.  The murderer does something to himself as well as to his victim.  In some respects, his is the greater problem, for, unlike his victim, he must live with himself after the deed.  Creon and Antigone were driven by forces of which they were in no sense the masters.  The forces and loyalties constituent of Jewish and Christian identities respectively can be little altered by either Jew or Christian.  There is the possibility that, with awareness into the explosive potentialities of our religious ideologies, we will be able to moderate their destructiveness.  Above all, I want to emphasize that at this point in history the conflict is beyond blame.  Neither Christian nor Jew can avoid or deny the religious traditions out of which he has come.  In some very important respects, we are heirs to conflicts we did not create but which we cannot with dignity or honor entirely avoid."
(Richard L. Rubenstein, After Auschwitz: Radical Theology and Contemporary Judaism [1966], 63-64).

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