Fruit Of Lips
or Why Four Gospels
Paperback, 144 pages.
To Rosenstock-Huessy, Christianity is not a religion and Jesus was not a religious figure. Instead, in its fullest sense, Christianity should be recognized as an historical process in which man’s history before Jesus plays as critical a role as his history in the Christian era. Jesus stands at the center of this history, not at its beginning.
These challenging themes lie at the core of Rosenstock-Huessy’s work, and the particular statements of them in this book are indispensable to a full understanding of what he has written elsewhere in The Christian Futureor the second volume of Soziologie. Fruit of Lips was written in English in 1954. However, it did not appear in print until 1964, when Rosenstock-Huessy showed the importance that he himself attached to it by placing a German version of it as the last section of his two-volume Die Sprache des Menschengeschlechts.
This book is neither a commentary on the Gospels nor an analysis of their contents. It seeks instead to lay “the foundation for a history of the human spirit.” It shows that the four Gospels together form a whole; its fourfold-ness having profound meaning. Each evangelist, starting with Matthew, addresses his own audience among the pre-Christian social orders: tribes, empires, the Greeks, and the Jews. Writing did not come easily to such men in their time, and in the process of writing, they themselves were changed: the next one starting where the former left off from Matthew to John.