Rhythm as Hierarchy
In contrast to the previous two chapters, which theologically engage rhythm in continental philosophy, this chapter examines Augustine’s explicitly theological approach to rhythm and its various receptions. The chapter uses Przywara’s scheme of intra-creaturely and theological analogies to frame Augustine’s treatment of rhythm in chapter six of De Musica. While Agamben represents an intra-creaturely perspective, Augustine represents a theological perspective. The degree to which this synchronic, theological view, which envisions rhythm as that which binds metaphysical layers of reality together allowing for communication between them, is problematic depends on the degree to which it is uncoupled from an intra-creaturely perspective like that of Agamben. Proponents of Radical Orthodoxy who propose an Augustinian musical ontology represent such an uncoupling, leading to a total order that betrays creatureliness. Erich Przywara’s interpretation, in contrast, retains the tension in Augustine between both the theological perspective on reality as harmonious and the intra-creaturely experience of interruption.
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