In the previous post I raised the issue of reality in our reading of texts. David Shields’ latest book Reality Hunger forces the reader to think carefully about what is true, what is original and what is stolen by virtue (or otherwise, depending on your point of view) of it’s lack of referencing of other works.
This same issue of reality has to be faced by us as ‘people of the Book’ – or one of the peoples of the Book. Why? Because we are too comfortable with the text. And in this comfort – the same comfort that comes from a too-easy reading of any familiar work – we no longer actually read the text as if it impinged on our reality.
Instead, we read it almost as a fantasy. It’s this possibility of fantasy and unreality within our reading of texts that interests me, as the claims that are being made of these texts are so great. Whatever our viewpoint, the Bible is not simply ‘another novel’ – the claims made over the course of history don’t leave us that option, even if we might personally reject any greater claims of the text.
I’ll be reflecting on this further in the next post, in which I’ll be unpacking the following lines from the Psalms:
I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
Glory be to him and exalted be he in high exaltation.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’”
The seven heavens declare his glory and the earth, and those who are in them; and there is not a single thing but glorifies him with his praise.
I think these lines may have something important to offer as we think further about text and our relationship to it. I’ll discuss that in the next post…