“When we defend pathos we tend to make pity and suffering ontologically ultimate. Endless continued pity is an insult to the pitied, offers them no good gift and pretends to rob them of their own suffering. Likewise the prospect of endlessly continued suffering tends to make us construe virtue reactively, and to imagine a restricting response to a preceding evil as the highest virtue. This dethrones Charity, which presupposes nothing, much less evil, before its gratuitous giving (or at most the recipients of gifts with and as a primordial giving, as in the case of the Trinity). In contrast with aspects of later Christianity, there is little that could be construed as a cult of weakness in Gregory, and he roundly declares that it is no more praiseworthy to be fearful than to be foolhardy, or to suffer than to enjoy merely temporary pleasure. This robustly objective sense of sin is perhaps now more noticeable and appreciable for an intellectual climate informed by Spinoza and Nietzsche than it was for a certain sickly version of Christian Hegelianism, exalting pathos and dialectical negativity, which has passed from the nineteenth century into the late twentieth.”

~ The Word Made Strange, 208.

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