ST. PAUL, Minn — Reclaiming member John Slade, who was seeking a party endorsement to run for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, fell short in his bid in three rounds of voting on March 10. Slade was seeking to replace retiring incumbent Sheldon Johnson as representative of the east side of the city. The decision was made at a convention of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, the local affiliate of the Democrats who have selected winning candidates in the district for decades. Had no candidate reached a 60 percent majority in the voting, a primary would have been called pursuant to the complex election system in place in Minnesota.
Two bloggers at The American Conservative mull over a recent article in Free Inquiry (not available online) by Canadian academic Shadia Drury. In “Against Grand Narratives”, Drury, according to TAC blogger Leon Hadar, argues for a rejection of linear monotheist grand narratives and a return to a “pagan” worldview. …she [Drury] argues that “Since the triumph of Christianity over the pagan civilizations of Greece and Rome, the West has suffered from the inability to affirm life in the world without an overarching purpose to give it meaning and make it worthwhile.” The Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim provided such grand narratives as part of an effort to “destroy the pagan view of life as an endless cycle” and replacing it with “the cyclical view of history with a linear view that has a magical beginning, an arduous middle, and a very splendid finale.” … Drury promises to explain in her next piece “why grand narratives must be transcended in favor of a return to pagan sobriety.” While this argument fascinates Hadar, a noted critic of the neoconservative grand narrative, Jack Ross at TAC’s Post Right blog begs to differ that Judiac monotheism should be lumped in with Drury’s criticisms.
“As a practicing Jew following the examples of Isaac Mayer Wise and Will Herberg, I have to take exception to cavalierly lumping Judaism into this mix. As Philip Rieff argued, against the cant of both “Athens and Jerusalem” and “Judeo-Christian values”, the greatness of Hebraic civilization was that it placed man squarely under the authority of death, the most powerful reproach imaginable to immanentizing the eschaton.