Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Allegory: A Recipe

When baked in a brick oven with some melted thought, given a few splashes of intertextual reading, this pizza makes a delicious and tantalizing meal. The Philo, which has a complex neo-platonic flavor to it, accentuates the Augustine and Aquinas nicely. The Augustine is pleasantly existential and retains its characteristically fresh, clean literalism. The important point in working with Aquinas, as with all medieval flavors, is to let the flavors enliven one another through varied forms of taste; otherwise it will burn and the beautiful flavor will be spoiled. You will need:

1 Creation of the World by Philo of Alexandria
1 Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
1 Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo
1 Additional Creation Story (preferably the revised standard version of the Holy
3 Medium sized attributes of Allegory:

1.) An abstraction in the guise of concrete image. An attempt to evok
a dual interest, one in
the events, characters, and settings presented, and the
other in the ideas they are intended
to convey or the significance they bear.

2.) Its abstract correlatives are clearly discernible and are consisten in their relationships
with the personifications or symbols which represent them in
the surface plot
3.) The philosophical thesis thus acted out is of wide applicability to human experience

In the beginning, thoroughly wash your Philo of any Greek contaminants and place it along side your story of creation. Take the first day to sketch out in your mind nearly all the ingredients from the creation story separating ‘heaven’, ‘earth’, ‘darkness’, ‘the deep’, ‘spirit’, ‘waters’ and ‘light’ from Genesis 1:1-3. This framework is important as we begin to turn these incorporeal ideas into corporeal substance for our sauce.[1] Since one cannot create a good imitation without a good model, do not skimp on this portion of the recipe. The creation story can be served cold from the literal sense of the words, but the flavors most fully emerge when its contents are abstracted in such a way that the ingredients rise above the subtlety of the literal text.

Once this step is accomplished, we will use the next five days to create the cosmological sauce for our pizza. Note: pay close attention to the number of ingredients used as your final prodcut may become disordered, and there is no beauty in disorder. For the sake of harmony, let’s use four different ingredients: neo-platonic, philosophical allegorical, symbolic, and mathematical. Mix these four ingredients together into a bowl and heat under the light of intellect for approximately six minutes. To ensure quality of the sauce, periodically verify the sauce with your external senses; it follows by necessity that if the sauce is visible then it must have been created properly.[2] Once the sauce is heated if there is an excessive amount of indiscernible allegory in the dish, not just a rich creation story, carefully pour it into an abstraction of numerical hermeneutics, bring to a boil, and reduce until a richer allegory is formed. A superior Philo sauce is slightly bland upon first taste but gradually builds flavor upon successive tasting, and should be palatable to those served.

Next take 1 cup Augustine and ½ cup creation story and mix together in a medium sauce pan. Once the dough is in a ball, begin kneading it with your hands. Allow the dough to stick to your hands and let it shape you insomuch as you shape the dough. Roll the dough into a roughly 10" round, like stretching out the firmament of the Book as a skin. Use a pie pin to pound or stretch the dough into an unformed spiritual entity.[3] Take into consideration that an unformed spiritual entity is more excellent than a formed corporeal entity.[4]

As you place the dough onto a baking stone, let the dough form itself into place by its own gravity. It you have implanted the proper amount of goodwill and love into the dough it should transform from unordered restlessness into a rested order. Please note that everyone’s dough will look different. Take ¼ cup of allegorical analysis and drizzle it over the dough. A ¼ cup will retain a thicker crust and make the dough more autobiographical. If you wish to have a thinner, less applicable dough of human experience use ½ cup of allegorical analysis. A good Augustine dough will have a hint of neo-Platonism, the zest of spiritual allegory, and a tang of literal existential.

With the dough in place take the prepared Philo sauce, which should be still be warm from the light of intellect, and spread it over the Augustine dough. The sauce should lie just above the surface of the dough and create dual interest in the sauce as well as the dough.

Finally, take some blocks of finely selected Aquinas cheese (literal, spiritual, allegorical, moral, and anagogical sense) and begin shredding them for application. At first you may object to use so many cheeses but once applied they will fit logically into the pizza. First, stuff the literal cheese into the crust of the pizza and softly pinch down the edges to tuck it into the dough. Once you have soundly placed the literal cheese into the dough, sprinkle 1/3 cup spiritual cheese over the top of the sauce covering the remaining pizza. Again, taking the spiritual cheese, (note: the spiritual cheese has a threefold flavor and each one is distinct) top off the rest of the pizza with thin shavings of allegorical, moral, and anagogical cheese.[5]

Next put the pizza in the oven and let the light of the All-Mighty’s intellect melt the cheeses into one seemingly gelatinous form. Although the layers of cheese you see before your eyes is of one substance, upon the first bite an explosion of flavor will burst forth.

When removing the hot pizza stone from the oven, be careful not to set it on a cold surface, or the stone will crack. While you devour the pizza with unfettered delight realize that all commentary is allegorical interpretation, an attaching of ideas to the structure of poetic or religious imagery. The instant that any critic (or student of hermeneutics) permits him/herself to make a genuine comment about a poem he/she has begun to allegorize. Commentary thus looks at literature or religious texts as, in its formal phase, a potential allegory of events and ideas.[6]

[1] Philo of Alexandria, A Creation of the World. Pg. 5

[2] Ibid. pg. 3

[3] St. Augustine of Hippo. The Confessions. pg. 309

[4] Ibid pg. 309

[5] St. Thomas Aquinas. The Summa Theologica. Pg. 16

[6] Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton University Press: Princeton. 1971 pg. 139


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