T. S. Eliot on religion and history

T. S. Eliot is one of my great heroes and has deeply influenced my own understanding of religion, civilization, history and more.

I really liked this passage from an essay by Roger Scruton titled 'T S Eliot as Conservative Mentor':
For Eliot, however, religion in general, and the Christian religion in particular, should not be seen merely in Platonic terms as an attitude towards what is eternal and unchanging. The truth of our condition is that we are historical beings who find whatever consolation and knowledge is vouchsafed to us in time. The consolations of religion come to us in temporal costume, through institutions that are alive with the spirit of history. To rediscover our religion is not to rise free from the temporal order; it is not to deny history and corruption, in order to contemplate the timeless truths. On the contrary, it is to enter more deeply into history, so as to find in the merely transitory the mark and the sign of that which never passes: it is to discover the "point of intersection of the timeless with time," which is, according to Four Quartets, the occupation of the saint.
Read it all here.

Comments

JackOfClubs said…
I managed to get through all of my schooling without ever being told either that Eliot was a conservative or that he was a Christian. The state schools left me with the general impression that he was a bit of a postmodern iconoclast, which may be true in a sense, but not the sense they would approve of. I assume you already know of it, but if not, get a copy of Russell Kirk's Eliot and his Age.
Abu Daoud said…
Thanks Jack. I read through Prufrock in HS and also was not taught he was a Christian. I was so mesmerized by Prufrock that I got his collected poems and after reading Choruses from the Rock it was pretty clear. Anyway, he is one of those authors that everyone finds something in, but his conservatism is very real and true and, I think, compelling.

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