The Charism of Being Friends, or How a Celebration Can Turn Into a Festival


Through an interpretation of Friedrich Hölderlin’s hymn, Friedensfeier, firstly, the essay formulates the hypothesis that it is the spirit of friendship that transforms a celebration, which one can deliberately plan and stage, into a festival, for which friends can hope but whose splendor and happiness they cannot produce. Secondly, the essay clarifies the semantic profiles and the modern variation in the relation between ritual ceremonies, which are often instrumentalized by social interests, and festivals, whose emergence is intermingled for example with affective excitement. Thirdly, the essay criticizes definitions of the “essence” of festivals (for example, excess vs. reflection) and religious-utopian attempts at merging festivals and everydayness. Fourthly, even phenomenological definitions of festivals as “the other of everydayness” do not get to the cultural difference between celebrations and festivals. Such a distinction becomes however describable in an ideal-typical manner if one analyzes the charismatic genesis of non-everyday cultural practices. Fifthly, the essay identifies the charismatic moment of friendship and justifies the thesis that friends respect the difference between feasible ceremonies and contingent festivity transcending ceremonial style – friends are as well willing to open up to this creative transformation. Finally, the essay reflects on some implications of the thesis in terms of philosophy of religion and theology. Against Christian suspicions of festive exuberance, the essay highlights the eschatological legitimacy of Hölderlin’s entanglement of festivals and friendship. A happy festival among friends is the promise of an epiphany of the divine, a performative sign of God’s kingdom, which in fact is a kingdom of friendship.

The Charism of Being Friends, or How a Celebration Can Turn Into a Festival

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Numero 15 FESTIVAL II October, 2015 - Autore:  Condividi


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