'AS A SIX-YEAR-OLD, I SENSED HORROR IN THE ROCK-SOLID ORDER OF THE WORLD': PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL CONTEXTS OF CZESLAW MILOSZ'S 'THEOLOGICAL TREATISE'
Selected contents from this journal
Languages of publication
This article attempts to identify the philosophical and theological contexts of Czeslaw Milosz's (1911-2004) 'Theological Treatise' and examine its Gnostic themes. Gnostic cosmogony can be found in the Treatise chiefly in passages which refer to events preceding the Biblical account and Milosz's thoughts on axiological divisions that manifested themselves at that primeval stage. His theosophical speculations are heavily influenced by Jacob Böhme (1575-1624), the seventeenth-century German mystic, who was also a one of the spiritual guides of Adam Mickiewicz. Three poems included in the Treatise ('According to Mickiewicz', 'So It's Eve', and 'No wonder') look almost like a hermeneutical commentary to Böhme's 'Regeneration'. It seems that Milosz finds Böhme's anthropocentrism so appealing because of its rationality. The speculations of 'De Regeneratione' throw light on the dogmatic mystery of the Fall and Original Sin by linking them to man's lust for power and his Prometean pride, which sought to rid Creation of death. Milosz tries to combine the heterodox, paragnostical ideas with the Christian doctrine: old Adam's sin will be redeemed by the death of Christ, the new Adam. It seems that Milosz, having considered the depressing state of the world, wants to deflect the charge of cruelty by absolving God from the responsibility of creation, while at the same time he wants to believe in the Incarnation, Resurrection and Redemption. On the whole, however, the Treatise seems to be the work of a skeptic who 'is a believer one day, an unbeliever the next'.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier