procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Jonah and the story that got away

have you ever heard a sermon on Jonah and had someone say, 'put away your scepticism - it could really happen, in fact it did happen to a guy called James Bartley toward the end of the 19th century!'

well, even if you hadn't, i have, and i was thus very thankful for a link to this article by Edward B. Davis. it's a story of his endeavours to get the bottom of the true story so often quoted, but always referring back to an unknown source from the days before providing a bibliography was in vogue!

despite many lectures where i find it hard to concentrate, and feel like i'm just learning things for the sake of being able to regurgitate them come exam time, i've really been enjoying the Jonah lectures: even the power-point show is thoughtful, with some great artwork from the centuries (and yes, Jonah does lend itself to such representations, in contrast to the relative lack of artwork on the themes of Ephesians, for example, but that doesn't take away from the thoughtfulness of the lectures). there has been a constant integration of historical theology, pastoral theology, textual criticism (compare for example 2:5b between the MT and LXX for example - 2:4b in the English), literary style and genre. it's been really refreshing!

but do scroll through the article, it's a fascinating tale, and good to put to rest some shoddy work from many people in quoting with recklessness! i'm pretty sure, however, that people will continue quoting the story of Bartley and the whale for generations to come - why let the truth get in the way of a good story!



Blogger byron smith said...

If you really want a whale of a tale, then make sure you read Moby Dick. Far more than an adventure story, it is the greatest piece of American literature in the 19th or any century. Compulsory reading for understanding whales and whaling and the fascination that these stories have.

12:42 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home