Rosenstock grew up in a Europe alive with the quest for the historical Jesus, as exemplified in Albert Schweitzer's own life on the one hand, and the demolition of the historical Jesus by Ernest Renan. Both men represented the triumph of Gnosis, the mind as the creator of real fact, the triumph of re-creating history as it might have been, and believing that it was that way. The nineteenth century preoccupation with biography cut Jesus off from his past, for biography ends with the death of the individual. Christian tradition had always been concerned with thanatography. The empty tomb, and the events which followed, seal antiquity, for as the Word became flesh, Jesus became the center in the history of Speech. Thus we must make the fruit of biographical Christianity of the last century into a seed for our understanding of Speech.
Indeed, the passionate message of 'Fruit of Lips', exemplifying as it does Rosenstock's "Speech-Philosophy," is permeated by the Logos. Our author sees in human language, divinely given, and its grammatical categories, a primordial fundament to all subsequent philosophical and scientific efforts to categorize reality. The moods of grammar he correlates with the interlocking modes of the Four Gospels. Together, they embody the "grammar of the cross": the four cannot be separated from one another.