Damnatio

Posted by MadScientist (Düsseldorf, Germany) on 22 April 2011 in Art & Design.

In a remarkable verse of the Gospel according to John, after Jesus describes himself as witness of truth, Pilatus responds: "What is truth?"

The question remains unanswered; it resonates. It's an imposition that the most important question of philosophy is posed by a politician, and that the Son of God doesn't give him (and us) an answer.

You know how the story continues: the way to truth goes through pain and sorrow. The answer is not a one-liner. But we usually don't like complicated answers.

Thomas von Kempen, the Lower Rhine mystic, once said: "Happy is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is. Our opinions, our senses often deceive us and we discern very little." (Imitation of Christ, 1, III).

"We have eyes and do not see." (Kempen). Pilatus couldn't see it either. We probably have an idea of truth, but we distrust revelation. Thus we are learning, studying, and collecting all that knowledge, but we're still hungry. Truth dissolves, we're questioning it, and in the end a question is everything that remains.

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Beautiful narrative to go with this beautiful painting! Happy Easter!

22 Apr 2011 9:38pm

@Steven: Thanks a lot, Steven! Happy Easter to you, too!

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