Filed under: “Prose”

Language is not a code that bespeaks the subject, but a covenant that bestows dignity and responsibility on the agent of language. Far from relieving speakers from responsibility, then, the institution of language actually grounds and enables it.

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?

Why is there something—a text, a work of art—rather than nothing? Because a human author at a particular place and time activated the linguistic resources that were to hand, put a socio-linguistic system in motion, and did something in order to make a difference in the social world.

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?

In the beginning, God created language; it is his good gift, designed to be enjoyed by his creatures. Moreover, it is the preeminent instrument for cultivating personal relationships, between one human and another and between humanity and God. As such, language is a kind of semantic sacrament, a means of communicating meaning through verbal signs.

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?

“Stories don’t need to be new to bring you joy. Some stories are like familiar friends. Some are dependable as bread.”

—Kvothe, in Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear

But there is also, I suppose, a real question of taste involved: a judgment that the heroic or tragic story on a strictly human plane is superior. Doom is held less literary than ἁμαρτία [sin]. The proposition seems to have been passed as self-evident. I dissent, even at the risk of being held incorrect or not sober.

—J. R. R. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”

Announcement: The World As It Is

I’m writing a book. The kind that gets published, not just the kind that people talk about and then never finish. I’d better finish it: I have a deadline for the manuscript and a publisher who already has cover art done. You might call that pressure. (I do. But it’s of the very best sort: the kind that makes me buckle down and get things done.)

In which case, you’re guessing about the sort of book it’s going to be. After all, I’m posting it here, on Ars Artis—not on Ardent Fidelity—then it’s going to be about art. You’d be right, of course, though I had to think a little about where to post this.

It’s called The World As It Is: A Theology of Art. Read on, intrepid explorer →

…language is “the most important of all the instruments of civilization.” If there is nothing in what we say to one another, however, we lose the primary means for cultivating humanity.

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?