Jerome Walsh wrote:
> Yes and no. The distinction between signs and wonders involves a
> further distinction between the order of being and the order of
> knowing (or, if you prefer traditional philosophical categories,
> between ontology and epistemology). To call something a "sign"
> implies that it is, as an event, notable (perhaps miraculous, perhaps
> spectacular, but certainly not a banal and everyday occurrence); but
> the term "sign" further denotes that it can communicate meaning. To
> call something a "wonder" is to denote its noteworthy quality, but to
> connote nothing about a signifying function. So the hendiadys "signs
> and wonders" points to something that is both impressive and
> meaningful, whereas to claim that someone has seen the wonder but
> missed the sign says that they have witnessed the spectacle of an
> event but not discerned its significance.
> At least that's how I understand the terms in biblical usage.
I think I follow your explanation OK, but for me my previous (and now
long in the tooth) preoccupation with Tillich's Systematic Theology and
Peirce's use of signs as interpreted by Walker Percy is a bit
distracting. For Percy, signs are dyadic vs triadic, the latter
composing symbolist thought. R G Collingwood does a similar thing with
"three-cornered thinking." (in a book on art that TSE reviewed and spoke
approvingly of). All of these take up "signs" with a quite different
meaning than what you have assigned to the term; which I am not
contesting in the least, just pointing out the possibility of confusing
influences. Josiah Royce, too, distinguished between percept, concept,
and interpretation and "interpretation" was a focus for Eliot at Harvard
where he studied under Royce, who again was familiar with Peirce.