The power of faith was the crux of the argument between Martin Luther and Rome. In this passage and footnotes from Arendt’s The Human Condition, the teacher (didaskalos) Jesus of Nazareth is honored; Arendt compares the insights of Jesus to that of Socrates: Socrates for teaching “the possibilities of thought” and Jesus for teaching that “action is, in fact, the one miracle-working faculty of man.” Arendt highlights scripture, as Luther did, to show that Jesus taught a human power (faculty) “to perform miracles in faith.”
The Human Condition
Section 34: Unpredictability And The Power Of Promise
“In the language of natural science, it is the ‘infinite improbability which occurs regularly.’ Action is, in fact, the one miracle-working faculty of man, as Jesus of Nazareth, whose insights into this faculty can be compared in their originality and unprecedentedness with Socrates’ insights into the possibilities of thought, must have known very well when he likened the power to forgive to the more general power of performing miracles, putting both on the same level and within the reach of man. (footnote #84)”
“Cf. the quotations given in n. 77. Jesus himself saw the human root of this power to perform miracles in faith – which we leave out of our considerations. In our context, the only point that matters is that the power to perform miracles is not considered to be divine – faith will move mountains and faith will forgive, the one is no less a miracle than the other, and the reply of the apostles when Jesus demanded of them to forgive seven times in a day was: ‘Lord, increase our faith.’”
“Matt. 18:35; cf. Mark 11:25; ‘And when ye stand praying, forgive, … that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.’ Or: ‘If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ (Matt. 6:14-15). In all these instances, the power to forgive is primarily a human power: God forgives ‘us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’”
*Next Up: Sunday 26 November and Thereat part IX, Gus Kotka and Johnny Reb On Our Way Now.
Posted by Bryan W. Brickner