View Full Version : Supercessionism

08-26-2015, 08:34 PM
Richard Suggested I put supercession in its own thread. As a person who approves of most of the Unitarian Universalist project, the occasional UU hints of supercessionism is something I find slightly disturbing. Anyway here is what I know about Supercessionism. Note that the UU idea of supercession includes a lot of religious situations prior to the late 18th century and is to some degree a product of the Enlightenment's tendency to favor the civilized and rational over the passions and ritual -- which the Romantic movements would find unconvincing. Hence the possibly inexplicable need to say something like (note this is a fictive simplification): "real spirituality has nothing to do with basic human drives and the rituals that allow those to sublimate" (which is ironic since supercession represents itself as a kind of sublimation).

Here's the paradigm of supercession: Christianity (in some form) superceded
Judaism (in some form):


The way this seems to have worked for late 18th century-19th century Unitarians is that just as some form of Greco-latin Christianity superceded Judaism,
so basic Protestantism superceded Greco-Latin Christianity and Radical Protestantism superceded basic Protestantism and Unitarianism
superceded Radical Protestantism. The hidden term in all this is a progressive reduction in ritual elaboration, which is apparently not properly spiritual, so the Second Temple was very ritually elaborate and was superceded by progressively less ritually elaborate things. I don't think I need to elaborate about how poorly such a model of "Religious Progress" works in its details. One might ask what form of early Christianity superceded what form of Judaism? for example. Or what isn't spiritual (whatever that means) about ritual (which at least has something you can indicate)?