White radiance

January 22 2014

“Dr Toynbee gives expression to an assemblage of points of view (praejudicia or ‘advance judgements’) which are peculiar to a sensitive mind, and the fruit of its personal experiences, rather than the outcome of a ‘time-spirit’ shared by his age. He is anti-State and (so far as organized religions are concerned) anti-Church: he is for a world-order and a universal religion of all who are earnest ‘seekers’ for truth. True, he is not alone in these feelings: there are other votaries of a political world-order, and others who sigh for a single oecumenical religion: but he is unique in the intensity of his feelings. He combines a passion for impartiality (which leads him, in reaction against Western bias, to exalt the East) with a passion for universalism which makes him the enemy of nationalism and its ‘parochial’ States, and turns him into the apostle of a ‘Catholicism’ transcending not only Catholicism, but also the whole of Christianity, and issuing in an amalgam of all ‘the higher religions’. His desire is for the whole: he is like Shelley: he wants one ‘white radiance’, rather than ‘the many-coloured dome’ which is the actual home of man.”

___

Ernest BarkerDr Toynbee’s Study of History: A ReviewInternational Affairs, Vol 31, No 1, January 1955.

“Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity”

Shelley, Adonaïs.

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