Monday, May 30, 2022

Something I Posted on Facebook Last Night

Listening to a homily this morning I found myself thinking of the uniqueness of the Bible and of Biblical exegesis compared to any other sort of literary criticism or analysis.

I am afflicted more than most people, I believe, by a deep sense of pathos in the transience of all things. This applies to stories and literature, too. It's always seemed sad to me that all stories come to an end. The hero riding into the sunset is the most famous symbol of this, but it's there in all literature, narrative or otherwise. An end comes to the journey together of the writer and the reader. Books go out favour, out of print, out of memory.

This pathos is alleviated somewhat by the timelessness of any given literary (or cinematic) classic. Such works seem to live outside time to some degree.

But nothing lives outside time like the Bible. Not only does the text return to itself over and over, so that the book of Apocalypse is like a reprise of the entire story. Not only does the whole Bible have an eschatological or soteriological dimension so that every scene in it (some more so than others) seem to contain the seed of eternity.

But, in a more worldly or lived sense, I'm aware that the Bible is perpetually alive in human consciousness in a unique way. Today's sermon on the Ascension in this particular church is one of tens of thousands all over the world today, millions through time. The texts of the Bible are constantly being read, analysed, moralized, meditated upon, filtered through different historical perspectives, etc. The text is "open" in the sense of a 24/7 shop being open. For me, this heals the pathos and loneliness that hovers over other texts in a unique way.

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