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(p.331) Nicaea
University of Chicago Press

Although the different categories of being carry different aliases in different contexts, they all stem from two families only: “mind” and “matter.” These concepts are thoroughly intertwined, the one impossible without the other, the other impossible without the one. At issue is the question of what it means to be a semiotic, hence a rhetorical, animal, an ironic creature steeped in the Sisyphean spirit of trying to express the inexpressible. This chapter is about Jesus Christ, history's most remarkable attempt to negotiate lasting peace between the humans and the utterly different. Jesus Christ of Nicaea must be treated as one of the most revolutionary inventions ever made. In and through him the question of what it means to be human is pushed to its limits. Picture and story are intimately interwoven in the border-line figure of Jesus Christ, the practice of proper names, and definite descriptions long before Bertrand Russell imagined the theory. This chapter also examines the attempt by John of Damascus (c.665–c.749) to formulate a valid theory of human action.

Keywords:   Jesus Christ, Nicaea, mind, matter, proper names, definite descriptions, John of Damascus, human action

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