Saturday, September 16, 2006

UK Muslims praise Pope's apology

It is a relief that Muslim groups in the UK have praised the Pope for apologising following his speech in Germany last Tuesday.

For the first time, earlier today, I visited the Vatican web site and read the text of his speech. (I notice that it is only available on the website in European languages, which might explain a lot).

I am developing the strange hobby of comparing the actual text of speeches with the furore which follows them. It is particularly interesting when the media furore contrasts sharply to the tone of the actual speech. The Pope's speech and its aftermath is a classic of that genre.

I recognise that the Pope's quoting of a 14th Century emperor was a clumsy mistake. His apology is consistent with the fact that the speech was by no means a tirade against Islam. In fact I am surprised anyone stayed awake long enough to take offence at his remarks. To a layman, the speech's text is a barely comprehensible academic tract. This passage is my favourite:

The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity - a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the programme of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives.



  1. But Paul, do you not think that the Gospel of John displays the influence of Greek philosophy?

    How deep could dehellenisation go?

  2. Joe, many congratulations on knowing what dehellenisation was without having to look it up (as I did).