It would have been a humorous parody were it not so wicked: the spectacle of the theorists and victors of the French Revolution creating and instituting new festivals and holidays (e.g. the ''Festival of the Supreme Being,'' or the ''Festival of Reason,'' or the ''translation of the relics of St. Voltaire'') in place of the Mass or the other festivals of the Christian year, or the creation of a ''rational'' ten-day week to replace the seven-day one, with all its divine associations. The only sacrilege more wicked would be modern nihilism, the removal of festival altogether. For the human being is truly homo adorans, the one who adores, and the removal of the object of adoration and the source of festivity can only lead to dehumanization. Pieper here focuses his analytical clarity on the nature of the Feast, of sacred rest, of the nature of joy itself, and in so doing opens our eyes to rhythms and realities we take for granted -- praise, thanksgiving, Sunday, Easter -- that lie at the hidden center of art, culture, and meaningful leisure. 104 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
In this stimulating and still-timely study, Josef Pieper takes up a theme of paramount importance to his thinking -- that festivals belong by rights among the great topics of philosophical discussion.
As he develops his theory of festivity, the modern age comes under close and painful scrutiny. It is obvious that we no longer know what festivity is, namely, the celebration of existence under various symbols.
Pieper exposes the pseudo-festivals, in their harmless and their sinister forms: traditional feasts contaminated by commercialism; artificial holidays created in the interest of merchandisers; holidays by coercion, decreed by dictators the world over; festivals as military demonstrations; holidays empty of significance. And lastly we are given the apocalyptic vision of a nihilistic world which would seek its release not in festivities but in destruction.
Formulated with Pieper's customary clarity and elegance, enhanced by brilliantly chosen quotations, this is an illuminating contribution to the understanding of traditional and contemporary experience.