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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Day 98 (Misc.)

[reaction to OYB's Oct. 29 - Nov. 1 readings]

I have finished the Pauline Epistles and the Book of Lamentations today. I also started Hebrews and Ezekiel. I will be with these two books for at least a few days, which will be nice since I've been passing through the shorter letters so quickly. After these two, its short letters and short prophets and, ug, Revelation.

I'm not sure why Philemon is included in the Canon. Not that it is offensive, its implicit acceptance of slavery notwithstanding, but I don't know what it adds.

Lamentations is generally completes the arch started by Jeremiah, which leads right up to exile. This work gives a window into the suffering of exile. Also, and this is probably way less significant than I'm making it, we have two more references to familial cannibalism:
Look, LORD, and consider:
Whom have you ever treated like this?
Should women eat their offspring,
the children they have cared for?
Should priest and prophet be killed
in the sanctuary of the Lord?
* * *
With their own hands compassionate women
have cooked their own children,
who became their food
when my people were destroyed.
2:20; 4:10. So, did this actually happen!?

Starting Hebrews and Ezekiel is also nice because it is a fresh voice. Ezekiel starts our Revelation style trippy. I remember watching a TV show that suggested that Ezekiel had actually seen a space craft land. Read for yourself (Ezekiel 1); its not a completely insane notion--although, obviously mostly silly.

Hebrews is also much tighter and less pragmatic than Paul's letters. I tried to quickly find the best theories on who wrote Hebrews and unfortunately, I once again learned who dominates the internet on biblical questions. Spoiler alert, it ain't theologians. Even fundamentalists sites actually acknowledge that some people think Hebrews wasn't written by Paul. Uh, reading it on the bus without a commentary makes it pretty clear it isn't Paul, particularly after reading one letter after another for several days. Anti-intellectuals are annoying.

3 comments:

Matt Dick said...

All of the concern about cannibalism makes me wonder if some travelers had reported practices of cannibalism and there was just kind of a general, legendary horror about it, floating in the zeitgeist.

I always wonder why Revelation leads to so much of the apocalyptic language of fundamentalists and why Ezekiel does not. It's possible that because part ot are even less grounded in something tangible (like all the specific suffering), that no one even knows how to start putting it in context.

suptatho

JimII said...

Ezekiel 5:10, "Therefore in your midst, fathers will eat their children and children will eat their fathers." So weird. Coming to it without scholarly assitance, I think you make a lot of sense. If cannibalism was actually practiced in the region as a result of extreme conditions, I would expect there to be a little more, how shall I say it, flesh on the bones of these stories.

Ezekiel's imagery is way better than Jeremiah's, although I think their points are the same. BTW, I've decided that it is shameful for anyone to read Revelation and not realize that Babylon = Rome. I didn't post on it much, but Babylon burned down the First Temple. Rome destroyed the Second Temple, except for the East Wall.

JimII said...

Oh, and a million other things too.