Saturday morning paper.
Like the great medieval commentators, Benjamin demonstrated by example that commentary may be an instrument of originality. And in his case, not only of originality, but also of redemption: in Benjamin’s view, interpretation does not so much discover meaning as release it, and loose it upon the world so as to liberate it. Benjamin read messianically. Insight, for him, was a variety of intoxication.
Leon Wieseltier, preface to Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations
Yet take care to avoid the “aspiration to cultural power — a dazzling distraction from the possibility that there may be nothing lasting at the core.”
It seems a great, kind, beautiful gift when Wieseltier says, “Benjamin’s work is evidence of the light that a religious sensibility may shine upon secular existence.”