A sketch for an idea about Jean Francois Lyotard and the figure of St Paul
If this is so, then the mystery of parousia, initially kept secret to thwart heathens and heretics, becomes the secret of history. It is the orienting principle of the notion of historical progress and human fulfilment. Further than this, Christian eschatology becomes the base of Modernity’s historicity. Modernity is not, then, an epoch or a period which can be demarcated as coinciding with the Enlightenment or colonialism, or the industrial revolution. Rather Modernity is an attitude to historical time that has co-existed with Catholic hegemony, with the Reformation, with the Enlightenment and so on. This attitude, that is Modernity, that orients historical time to a future point of reconciliation, indivisibility, full signification is what provides the other models of historical and political organisation with their power. Whatever the contingent, material, economic and political differences that separate these models, they all share the requirement of the fulfilment of the project, whatever that project might be. With the project’s fulfilment, historical time ceases because history is precisely that time during which the project exists. At its completion, the project is no more: history is fulfilled because reconciliation has occurred.