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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

STEFAN  GEORGE  AND   HIS   CIRCLE                143

from his Dantesque frame into the body of a beautiful boy. Gun-
dolf, with a brilliant display of scholastic argument, identifies
George's boy-God with the Greek Eros. To the Greeks, he says,
Eros was not a God of sex but a God of pure spirit (Seekngott}\
and as such he appears as Beauty in Greek sculpture. God is made
body by the ritual of Consecration, which the Roman Catholic
Church has taken over in a transmuted form. But Christianity
differs radically from this Greek religion in that for Eros it substi-
tutes Caritas; and while Eros is the consecration and taking over
into oneself of Thou, Caritas is the sacrifice of I, which passes into
^hou. [This Christian process, moreover, is extended to man's love
of woman, while the (Platonic) love of man for man enhances
itself by absorbing the worshipped male.] And again: in Christian-
ity the body (of Thou as of I) is cast aside and denied, while in the
worship of Eros the (beautiful) body is the very substance of the
cult. Nor does Christianity keep the primitive ideality of its doc-
trine: Caritas becomes Voluptas or sensual desire, and morality
takes the place of holiness. Thus the Christian world is 'de-godded*
(entgottef); except only that pantheism and mysticism use the term
cGod' to denote something supranatural hid in the mists of dis-
tance. The very essence of Greek religion, however, was the actual
presence of the god, that is (in all its implications) Diesseitigkeit, the
doctrine that Heaven is here below, whereas Christianity is the
religion of the Beyond (]enseitigkeit\ that is, the negation of the
divine on earth as of the blessedness which comes from the ador-
ation of the Beauty of this tangible Presence. When, therefore,
Christians speak of paganism as the cult of lusts, as hedonism,
they are blinded by the Christian lies which Nietzsche nailed to
the Cross; deification of the body (Vergotfung des Lezbes) is not the
same as the worship as divine (Vergottemng) of the functions of
the body. Literally, what George does is to restore the non-sensual
worship, in the primitive Greek and Platonic sense, of Eros, Kai-
ros, Consecration, and Beauty. And to George Eros is love which
creates man and world; Kairos is the fruit which grows from their
wisdom; Beauty can be seen by those only who are transformed
(durchbildef) by the purification of their sensorial life (sinnliches Da-
Sem); and these by their very nobility (not by mystic ecstasy or
asceticism) achieve the appearance of God in the body. That is
(one assumes): the elect, and they only, recognize physical beauty
and its divine attributes when they see it. If one asks why this