Monday, 30 September 2013

On being a Christian Fox


"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing" - Achilochus (680-645 BC).


A hedgehog is a systematic thinker with one big idea to which all smaller ideas are related - most great intellectuals have been of this kind - and almost all Christian theologians.

I am of the other kind, a fox - who knows many things, but does not subordinate them to one big thing.

The distinction between hedgehog and fox was clarified and popularized by Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997), in a essay of that title:

But, whatever the advantages of being a hedgehog, I am not one; not intellectually, and not in my life.

Even after becoming a Christian I remain a fox, and have gravitated towards the most fox-like theology I can find. 

Hence the aphoristic style of this blog - a sequence of detachable points, in a sequence of detachable mini-essays.

Combining them into one-big-thing is difficult, and a task for which I personally am unsuited.


It is, indeed, the secret conviction of a fox that important things cannot always be combined, not without significant (maybe deadly) loss and distortion - and so we leave them either detached; or else placed contiguously: stitched edge-to-edge.