Fruit of Lips
or Why Four Gospels
Paperback, 144 pages.
To Rosenstock-Huessy, Christianity is not a religion but a historical process in which all history before Jesus plays as critical a role as the church’s ongoing evolution in the Christian era; he proclaims Jesus’ life, teaching, and life of action the center on which all of human history pivots.
Fruit of Lips is neither an analysis of nor a commentary on the Gospels, but seeks instead to lay “the foundation for a history of the human spirit.” It argues that the fourfold character of the Gospels has profound meaning for the indivisible whole they form as Christ’s “lips.” Beginning with Matthew, each Evangelist takes as his audience one of the existing pre-Christian social orders (tribes, empires, the Greeks, and the Jews) and each Evangelist begins at the point to which his predecessor had come at the end. In the process of writing their Gospels, the four men themselves were changed–and it is that process which marks them as Evangelists.
Rosenstock-Huessy’s declaration of faith in this book is the unspoken foundation of much of what he wrote elsewhere, whether in The Christian Future, Das Alter der Kirche, or his Soziologie. Written in English and completed in 1954, Fruit of Lips first appeared in print in German in 1964, when Rosenstock-Huessy made it the capstone of his two-volume Die Sprache des Menschengeschlechts. A new edition will appear soon.