Ein säkulärer Pilger über den Jakobsweg: „Backpackers, fops and dandies“


Dürfen säkuläre Reisende sich einfach so unter die frommen Pilgerer mischen, um etwas zu erleben, das fragt ein Blog der New York Times den Autor Gideon Lewis-Kraus zu seinem neuen Buch „A Sense of Direction„. In dem Buch berichtet er über seine Pilgerreisen nach Santiago de Compostella, in die Ukraine und auf die japanische Tempelinsel Shikoku.

Was also können atheistische Pilger auf einer religiösen Pilgerreise überhaupt erleben, fragt da Blog:

Lewis-Kraus:  „One of the points of the book is ultimately to reject these distinctions, but it takes me a few trips over a few hundred pages to make the case. When my friend Tom and I started out on the Camino, we got really swept up in feeling as though we were pilgrims and not mere tourists, but once you begin to press this distinction it just falls apart. Some of the people on the Camino, and some armchair commenters, love to talk about how this used to be this Serious Religious Thing, and now it’s just for “dissipated” study-abroad students or backpackers or a whole cast of frivolous fops and dandies. But, as I said, this was always just a pretext to leave home, even when the understanding was that it was semi-obligatory. And now, even if you’re inclined to look at some of the pilgrims as “dissipated” for whatever reason, it’s still an inescapably ascetic, and often unpleasant, practice. It’s not like your blisters hurt any less because you’re studying abroad.“

Auch zur Motivation klassischer prämoderner Pilgerreisen hat er eine eigene Theorie: als Auszeit von der überwältigenden Autorität und Enge.Die Dynamik und Freiheit der Pilgerreise wirke dadurch stabilisierend, die Auszeit Autorität versöhne mit ihr:

„These might have been people in crisis, but … they suffered from a surfeit of authority, not a lack of one. These were pilgrims who had a perfectly good idea what their lives looked like at home; their hours were micromanaged by scriptural obligation from sunrise to sleep. In fact, one of the things about ultra-observant Jews is that there is no gray area: unless you are explicitly commanded to do something, you are actually prohibited from doing it. They were here to go beyond the fields for three days a year, to take a short and uniquely authorized break from the responsibilities of home, such that they might return to their seamlessly circumscribed lives with renewed vigor in compliance.“

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