Pub Quizzical

Mladen Dolar’s book has helped me to realise the photo in the post below (of a sign bearing a pub’s ‘word of the week’, deliberately mis-spelt and in crucifix form) is expressing the same paradigmatic opposition of Christ (the Word) and John the Baptist (vox clamatis in deserto) as Saint Augustine:

“The voice precedes the Word and it makes possible its understanding… What is the voice, what is the word? Examine what happens in you and form your own questions and answers. This voice which merely resonates and offers no sense, this sound which comes from the mouth of someone screaming, not speaking, we call it the voice, not the word… But the word, if it is to earn its name, has to be endowed with sense and by offering the sound to the ear it offers at the same time something else to the intellect… Now look closely at the meaning of this sentence: “He has to increase, I have to diminish” [John 3, 30]. How, for what reason, with what intent, why could the voice, i.e. John the Baptist, say, given the difference that we just established, “He has to increase, I have to diminish”? Why? Because the voices are being effaced as the Word grows. The voice gradually loses its function as the soul progresses to Christ. So Christ has to increase and John the Baptist has to be obliterated. (Augustine, quoted by Poizat 2001, p130)


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