Volume 5, 2005

Vid Snoj
Pages 108-123

Deed in the Beginning

The first part of the text is a reading of the Biblical narrative of creation. It deals with the God’s speech “in the beginning” requiring a unique narrative position, a mystical communion with God, from which the narrative as testimony ensues. In the narrative, a thing comes into being from nothing through the God’s word of creation; only when it is called upon, in its own name, it is suddenly in being and time. But this is not the case with man who, on the other hand, aquires an ability of naming. So, man’s naming is a translation from God’s names, a translation of the language of things, its voicing in the language of man. The second part of the text discusses the implications of this particular narrative in the European intelectual tradition. It starts with the traditional conjecture that created things have in essence a structure of logos, i.e. their own language, and it attempts to show that this conjecture was given a new twist with the emergence of modern science, which fought to obtain the right to read the language of the book of the world, namely the language of things, without the authority of the Book of Revelation. But it was the same narrative, which also gave rise to an analogy between the Maker and the poet as a “second Maker”. The poet’s battle with God for the precedence of creation, however, sharpened in different modernist counter-poetics and, apart from man, also included the world and language.