Mashing Up Text [2] | Sola Scriptura?


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…


8 responses to “Mashing Up Text [2] | Sola Scriptura?”

  1. Talking with my kids last night about reading and reality, they both volunteered that the Bible seems less real to them than other texts. In part, they said, because of the mash-up of literary styles, in part because it’s less “interesting” than other books (Harry still holds powerful sway in their imaginations), in part because the expectations of it are so high. And I’d agree that comfort, as you point out, contributes to our distancing from the text.
    Surprising as their revelations were, I was grateful to engage these ideas with them, and hope that your upcoming posts–and our upcoming dinner conversations–help shed some light on the substance of Scriptures, and our engagement therewith.

  2. The level of expectation is so key. We ramp this text up, that it can surely only lead to disappointment because it is difficult to read in many places. Question is, what do we do – reduce expectations, or try to manage them in other ways? Let’s face it, Harry Potter is more interesting in that it ‘grabs’ you as a plot in a way that most of Deuteronomy can’t.

  3. I have to say I think my brain and heart are currently positioned in between what you think and what peter rollins thinks. You are far more orthodox, he is far more heretic. Guess that makes me a heretorthodox. I like making up words.

  4. heretorthodox. i think that’s a dinosaur from biblical times. hehe.

  5. because it’s so obvious dinosaurs existed in biblical times. st. paul definitely had conversations with t-rex ๐Ÿ™‚ (this is a joke in case you can’t tell through written word).

  6. rodney neill

    I had you stereotyped as a non-theistic Christian in the Sea of Faith mould even though I don’t know you from reading your blog……yet Jessica says that you are more othodox than Pete! I like the term heretorthodox…I think this describes me as well!


  7. Stereotypes. Ha ha. Always dangerous.

    I think Pete is more orthodox than he thinks… So I’d go for heterorthodox rather than heretorthodox. Differently orthodox is pretty much where it’s at ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Jessica Miller

    Dear Mr. K Weaver-
    Yes. Stereotypes are ALWAYS dangerous……as all generalizations are always false. I’m learning to stick to that mantra. And I think Pete thinks so much that what he thinks he thinks isn’t even what he thinks he thinks that he thinks. Because, erm….he thinks he thinks that he thinks, but he doesn’t think. I swear, if I ever leave a comment again, it will apply directly to what you are writing about. Sending sweet thoughts across the pond!