October 02, 2006

Biblical Interpretation

In an old post Forestt wrote "I think the people in the one synagogue I attended briefly were typical in treating the reading for each week as an event which was still occuring. Moses was still leading them out of Egypt, bringing the Torah down from Sinai, etc."

I've never attended a synagogue, but that's the only way I find scripture meaningful nowadays. These are eternal (timeless) metaphors pointing to spiritual realities that cannot be properly described in material terms, only poetically described.

I guess it was Blake who taught me to do that, emancipating me from any need to consider the literal meaning; the poetic meaning is what matters.

Those O.T. stories describe things that are happening in our lives day by day. Expressed differently we are invited to 'live into' the scenes we read about, and the way each of us lives into it will be unique to each of us.

2 Comments:

At 5:41 PM, Blogger crystal said...

we are invited to 'live into' the scenes we read about

I like that idea, Larry.

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger forrest said...

Yeah, Blake seems to have been on to something. Anne has done a couple paintings of The Death of William Blake, painted over her first attempt and isn't ready to try a third time yet. (We liked that story!)

My approach starts from the belief that none of this is accidental, so Synchronici-Daddy will (say) draw my attention to the right bug in the garden, or to the right passage of scripture, or to the needed clue for interpretation, when I'm ready for it.

So a meaning that comes to me in "this" moment is as much God's intention as anything else in the world. I may still misunderstand, but I'll get a meaning that feeds me, in the condition I'm in now.

God is too bright to confine himself to literal meanings. So yes, we need to consider poetic interpretations, but shouldn't dismiss the fact that things which seem highly unlikely to us do sometimes happen literally. And sometimes what we get is neither literal nor poetic, but legendary. (I doubt I've covered all the possibilities!)

So how do we "live into" this trip to the Ptolemic Heavens?

 

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