Neither Rosenstock nor Rosenzweig were moralists. They did not believe that evil could be fought by urging people to do better, as the moralist thinks. Instead, evil is fought by creative, timely speech and action: “St. Francis did not call for others to act 0 he himself acted, and his action demonstrated a type of action that others could do. The saint is not a saint by virtue of having a cleaner moral conscience (pure Kantianism) but by virtue of opening a new way for others to follow” (110).

Cristaudo ( Religion, Redemption and Revolution: The New Speech Thinking Revolution of Franz Rozenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy , 43) quotes a lengthy passage from Out of Revolution in which Rosenstock makes this point: “The moralist and the creator live in different tenses . . . . The idealist who thinks anything can be good outside of time and space only makes a fool of himself. Timeliness of everything. Reality is ‘good’ when it proceeds timely; it is bad when too late or too early. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ themselves in their deepest sense mean ripeness and immaturity . . . . Real life’s only approach to a fuller, better form of existence is through necessity and timeliness. Bring a thing into fashion, create a fresh interest, make it timely, and, as a climax, let it be clear that it is inevitable and necessary - and it will be incorporated into the lists of reality.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart