TABOR - Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Romanian Orthodox Church
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Quarrel of the wise men with the world. On the conversation between N. Steinhardt and Sergiu Al-George
The manner in which N. Steinhardt relates to Western culture, in this case French and English, and its formative dimension in relation to the subversive profile of the Romanian writer’s personality and texts, confirms not only the impression of a convinced European but also an appetite for the forms of contradiction. However, Steinhardt’s overcoming of these contradictions follows a specific logic, on the “living” line: the reconciliation, the engagement of the contradictions. Reflecting the cultural and ideological dimension of Western Europe is not, in fact, exempt from contradictions: for Steinhardt, the European citizen illustrates the aristotelian concept of the “zoon politikon”, the being endowed with civic, social and active sense. The talks with Sergiu Al-George in the Jilava prison cell reveal Steinhardt as an apologist of the European spirit, not only in relation to the Asian trends, but especially in relation to the communist dictatorship, viewed by Ion Negoiţescu as a form of forced orientalization. On the other hand, Sergiu Al-George reproaches Europeans and, indirectly, Christians, their persistence in dichotomies and bipolarities, moralizing tendencies, fear of death etc. The dialogue of the two is the unwonted debut, under dramatic conditions, of a great friendship between two brilliant Romanian intellectuals of the twentieth century.