procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

punny hebrew

i think the consensus is to not talk about Hebrew in talks. which is sad. there's three really cool puns in Genesis 3.14-24 that i'd love to mention. but i think those i've talked to are probably right, it's better not to.

but my faithful reader can surely handle them!

the crafty עָרוּם (arum) serpent is cursed עָרוּר (arur) by God.

from the tree עֵץ (aitz) comes trauma עֶצֶב (etzev) in childbirth.

he ate from the tree עֵץ (aitz) but will now eat from his tears זֵע (zai - sweat).

i think they're all pretty cool. but maybe i can mention the first one? it's probably the clearest and maybe the least nerdy. but i'll probably not mention any. that's probably best.

(apologies - not sure why the Hebrew unicode looks so weird - all the vowels should be under the letter to the right.)

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

the story of Genesis 2-3

there's a pretty clear chiasm, which Blocher (In the Beginning, 1984) and Walsh (JBL, 1977) both explain:
A 2.4-17 God made man and put him in the garden
    B 2.18-25 God made the animals and the woman
        C 3.1-5 Dialogue 1: between the snake and the woman
            D 3.6-8 The Sin
        C’ 3.9-13 Dialogue 2: between God and his disobedient creatures
    B’ 3.14-21 God declares his verdict on the animal and the humans
A’ 3.22-24 God kicks the man out of the garden
(with my adapted titles).

the thinking i was doing a couple of years ago on this topic led me to think this story is best read as a story, explaining the way things are. that is, in order to explain the existence of a tree lying on the ground, you can talk about a wind having blown it over. now there's a big disanalogy here, in that you can accurately hypothesise with a fallen tree in a way you can't with the universal sinfulness of humanity.

the difficulty comes when within the story itself there are various aetiologies - childbirth hurts because of sin; snakes don't have legs because of sin; work is hard because of sin - but how do i then talk about the relevance of the story to the state of affairs now? that is, can i say more than that it teaches us that the way things are isn't right, and that they will one day be made right (particularly now we know Jesus was raised bodily)?

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mark 5 Chiasm

after an extended break - what else but a chiasm!

i may be doing a talk on this next week
so i needed to check if there was a chiasm
i think that's my general rule these days - no chiasm, no talk

A out of the boat
B     demoniac runs to Jesus
C         demoniac doesn’t want Jesus around
D             the people are afraid of the demoniac
D’             the people are afraid of Jesus
C’         demoniac wants to be around Jesus
B’     demoniac goes from Jesus
A’ into the boat

a theme i particularly noticed doing a talk on Mark 16 a while ago was the movement from fear to faith. Mark keeps showing us (and particularly in the narrative around the sea) that Jesus wants people to 'not fear, only believe' (5.36). each time we see fear (for example at Mark 16.8), the point is: how are you going to react to Jesus - are you going to fear, or have faith?

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