Daily Archives: October 29, 2009

Anagogy and Kerygma


Michael Happy asks if anagogy and kerygma are the same thing, a question that’s difficult to answer in a word because both words are used in numerous contexts. They are certainly related terms. “Interpenetration” is another of those key words, especially in Frye’s late work. It appears in different contexts: historical (in relation to Spengler), philosophical (in relation to Whitehead) scientific (in relation to David Bohm), social (in relation to Frye’s liberal politics and his utopian vision of a classless society). But its primary context is religious. In this context Frye associates interpenetration with anagogy, kerygma, apocalypse, spiritual intercourse, the vision of plenitude, the everlasting gospel, the union of Word and Spirit, the new Jerusalem, atonement and the Incarnation––which are also religious terms. So just as a number of religious concepts tend to cluster around “interpenetration,” so they do around “anagogy” and “kerygma.”

Other of Frye’s key terms are not primarily religious, though are often used in a religious context––“identity,” “imaginative literalism,” “revelation,” “vision,” “recognition,” “consciousness,” “dialectic,” “Aufhebung,” “imagination,” “vortex,” “love.” All of these terms are multivalent, and they constitute part of the effort, which Frye speaks of repeatedly, to find the right verbal formula.