Throughout history, many beings have changed societies' institutions, practices, and beliefs. Numerous other beings have made clear the existing elements of a society. Many people have worked to learn who these beings are, what exactly they did, and how to classify them.
Hubert Dreyfus agrees with the Heideggerian claim that things that focus, dedicate, and shine in the light in which they are seen are called "gods". This description can also be called a "work of art working". Heidegger claims that what focuses a culture does not need to be a play or a book. It can be the words of a statesman, a sacrifice to a god, or the words of a philosopher. These works of art show something about the understanding of being and what a significant group of people shares, either by showing what was already there or renewing the understanding of being as the Romans did.
Dreyfus claims that there are two kinds of works of art. An articulating work that shows what is already important is one kind of work of art. These works of art make clear and understandable what has become a practice in the foreground. Articulators stop people from viewing certain important practices and disciplines as things in the background that are invisible. Reconfiguration is the second type of work. This type of work of art shows a new understanding of what matters and does not just clarify what is unclear. It opens up a whole new world and gives a brand new understanding of being. The distinction between the two is that an articulation works within an already shared language and institutions and makes clear what is important in the society, while a reconfiguration is not easily understood because of no set language or practices that everyone in the culture is accustomed to. Although they are distinct, both a reconfiguration and an articulation need to be seen as works of art.
Dreyfus also claims that the structure of truth setting itself to work has three parts. First, there must exist initial background practices that are invisible to people who perform them and that are carried on for generations. These practices are considered sacred because they define a culture and what people are. The second part of this structure is a person or being that either makes the first part of the structure clear as an articulation or changes the way of thinking to a new way of making sense and creates a new world as a reconfiguration. Either way, this being is a shining example of the message trying to be conveyed. The third and final part of the structure is people spelling out a new way of being. They define new practices that shine and that act in the light of that shining. The structure is applicable to any setting of the truth.
In considering the definitions of articulation and reconfiguration and the three-fold structure of the truth setting itself to work, Dreyfus claims that Jesus in the Gospel of John is a work of art as a reconfiguration and that the Trinity follows the three-fold structure of the works of art. Jesus is the ultimate reconfiguration and fits as the second part of the three-fold structure.
Dreyfus considers Jesus a radical reconfiguration. One piece of evidence to show Jesus as a reconfiguration is that he does not have the right language to explain himself. In his gospel, John said, "[The] light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it" (1243-4). Jesus had entered into the darkness which was obviously something foreign to the light representing him. John later says, "He who comes from heaven bears witness to the things he has seen and heard, but his testimony is not accepted by anybody" (1246-32). The right language for Jesus to communicate his ideas did not exist when he was trying to explain himself, and many people did not follow. This is a feature of a reconfiguration. Reconfiguration is not supposed to have a set language or practices that everyone is accustomed to.
Jesus was also tough to make sense of because his message was not coherent and was very hard to make coherent to the people of that time. John showed how Jesus was double natured in several ways. He was both a shepherd and a lamb. John said that Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep" (1257-11). Jesus is seen as a shepherd in this instance. John also tells of Jesus being described: "Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world" (1244-29). In these two descriptions, Jesus is portrayed as both humble and an almighty god. Dreyfus claims that Jesus is not subjectively one and objectively the other but is rather always both. Since it is an odd concept to be both of these things metaphorically, we see how Jesus' message could have been easily seen as incoherent to the people of his time. Jesus' message is also not understandable when he is not clear about his equality to God the Father. He first said, "The Father and I are one" (1258-30). Later, Jesus said, "I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I" (1264-28). It is rather odd to first consider them as one and then to consider the Father as greater. This message would also be unclear to the people of the time because of its inconsistency.
The Gospel of John clears up the confusion by filling in the third part of the three-fold structure. He makes sense of what could be thought of as not understandable to the people of Jesus' time. John came about one hundred years after Jesus, once the new practices had taken effect. Dreyfus says that John understands that once the work of art is seen, then the understanding of being can be viewed by seeing the Father through the paradigm because that is the only chance to see the Father. John is spelling out how to live after the reconfiguration has left. John is playing the role of the Holy Ghost in this case which can come only after Jesus has left. Jesus said, "Still, I am telling you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" (1265-7). We see that Jesus must go, and then the Holy Spirit can come. Unless the reconfigurer leaves, there will not be any place for the articulator who will make things intelligible and give guidelines. A reconfigurer must appear as the shining exemplar and create confusion and chaos. John was the articulator who helped people understand Jesus.
Jesus, as the reconfiguring, second part of the structure of truth setting, brings many new, radical ideas to society. Jesus knew that he was bringing new ideas into the world. He said, "It is for judgment that I have come into this world, so that those without sight may see and those with sight may become blind" (1257-39). He was trying to bring a new understanding to the world. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the light of life" (1254-12). He was trying to bring new light to the world and trying to get people to change their way of thinking. Jesus brought a new set of ideas to the society of his time.
Dreyfus claims that Jesus was a reconfigurer because he brought marginal practices to the front. One of these marginal ideas was the importance of desires. Before Jesus, the Ten Commandments were the primary rules to follow. Only one of the Ten Commandments dealt with desire. It stated that thou shall not covet (desire) your neighbor's property or wife. The culture was focused ninety percent on law and ten percent on desire. Jesus flipped this concept around claiming that bad desires made bad people. Controlling desires became a focus of the society rather than a marginal practice. A savior is necessary because of the inability of humans to control desires. People must purify their desires, and only the savior has the power to help people do that. People had to be reborn to rid themselves of their old selves with their old desires and to create a new identity. The movement from law toward control of desires was visible when John said, "Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received- one gift replacing another, for the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ" (1243-16,17). The focus of the society (law) and the marginal practice (desire) have switched places as described. One component of the society was replacing the other. By bringing a marginal practice to the front of a society, Jesus is being a reconfigurer, which is a type of work of art.
Another marginal idea brought up as important was the messiah coming. The messiah was expected to eventually come, but only a few groups of people were expecting the messiah at that time. The idea of a completely transcendent God outside the world was changed. Jesus declared himself as the presence of God on earth and that he was the messiah. Ideas about God's presence on earth had totally changed because of Jesus Christ.
Another marginal practice that was brought up as important by Jesus was loving one's neighbor. Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you" (1263-34). Jesus made loving one another the most important commandment. He got humans to believe in a new type of love called agape which involved charity and overflowing love. The hope was for everyone to love their neighbors and most of all, love god. By making many people place great importance on what had been considered a marginal idea, Jesus can be considered a reconfigurer.
Because Jesus made marginal ideas important for a society, created chaos and confusion, and did not have a clear language to explain himself with, he should be considered as a reconfigurer. This reconfigurer can be considered a work of art working and a god; he fits well as the second part of the structure of truth setting itself to work. John, with his gospel, was an articulator of the ideas of Jesus and can be classified as the third part of the structure. Jesus and the Gospel of John fit within the Dreyfus-Heideggerian ideas of works of art working.