addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcredit-cardcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobe--smallglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1launch-new-window--smalllight-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

DC Great Books Reading Group Message Board › Info from Patrick about the images of God in Moby Dick

Info from Patrick about the images of God in Moby Dick

Kathy M.
user 13392044
Washington, DC
Post #: 23


Patrick Wamsley



4:21 PM (6 hours ago)














to dc-great-books

















>Melville’s Epilogue
>September 14, 2012 By Daniel A. Siedel

>In 1857 an exhausted and depressed Herman Melville travelled to Jerusalem in an effort to recover his Christian faith. He returned bitterly disappointed with what he apparently didn’t find. Unfortunately, Melville’s life-long struggle with faith is not the exception in the history of modern art and literature. This history is characterized by loss, brokenness, and failure, and faith is often one of the consequences . . . .

>Melville’s description of his recently completed novel, "Moby-Dick," also describes most of the great artistic and literary achievements in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. “It is of the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of shipscables & hausers. A Polar wind blows through it, & birds of prey hover over it.Published in 1851, "Moby-Dick" was ridiculed by critics and reviewers, in no small measure because his Victorian readers took offense at his impiety and latent atheism . . . .

>In his famous chapter 42, “The Whiteness of the Whale," Melville’s Ishmael implies that God might even be responsible for evil: Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright. Melville was haunted by God’s inscrutable sovereignty, a power and majesty that terrified him because he was hidden . . . . Perhaps more than any American writer, Melville felt deep in his bones the terror of a God who kills and makes alive, a God of wrath, eternal decrees, and unapproachable holiness. Melville’s God is . . . a silent God whose will is immutable and who stands on high mountains, like Zeus on Olympus, hurling thunderbolts called fate,
judgment, and death . . . . Or, in Melville’s world, this silent God is a colossal white whale that terrorizes from the unseen depths of the seas, striking all who dare pursue him.

>Ahab, the lunatic captain, bears the visible marks, not unlike Jacob, of having wrestled with the Divine . . . . In "Moby-Dick," God remains forever unpreached, and therefore, arbitrary, monstrous, and terrifying–retreating further and further away until it strikes . . . . The biblical Ishmael is the one who is rejected by his father Abraham in favor of Isaac, the child of promise. However, like his biblical namesake, who is nevertheless cared for and blessed by God, Ishmael is blessed by Melville, his creator, who put the words of Job in
his mouth (“And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.") ”

Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy