Thursday, September 10, 2009

My passion for you inflames my arse ropes

T-Rex makes it seem like Wycliffe's Bible was generally pretty silly. Exactly how silly, I cannot say, but my Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says that his translation was consulted when compiling the King James Bible.

I definitely see the merits in making things like this accessible to everyone everywhere, especially since I grew up a WASP. If the scholars can make an interpretation of the Bible that gives them more power, there is potential for them to cleave to that interpretation regardless of how true it might be. They are also more likely to have interpretations that maintain the status quo of their church, since reformist interpretations can be career suicide (and Wycliffe himself was thrown out of Oxford for doing just this).

The problem with populism, though, is that it brings Biblical interpretation to a lower level. It's no longer about coming up with an interpretation that has a scholarly defense, or is in any way inspirational, but instead becomes about whether your interpretation and your silver tongue can persuade people into following you and giving you money.

With that in mind, there is something to be said for keeping Biblical interpretation in the hands of the educated. Each book of the Bible has a specific context, audience, and genre. There are scholars who spend their entire lives trying to determine how to interpret the Bible, and converse with other scholars on the subject. They are closer to the truth than the people who pick up the Bible and want to read it without any context whatever, and then pick and choose passages to mean what they want it to mean.

But then, I'm just a pointy-headed, ivory tower intellectual.

On another note here, T-Rex speaks often of "evidence we are not living in the best of all possible worlds." Leibniz claimed that we are living in the best of all possible worlds, because God, being perfectly wise, powerful, and good, has a moral obligation to choose the best among possibles if he decides to admit any possibles to existence. Because it is possible for our world not to exist (not just the planet Earth, but everything in the universe), then that makes it something possible God admitted to existence.

Is it a convincing argument, even if one believes in God? I can't say. If I've ever read something he wrote, it was back in my intro philosophy class. Maybe I'll save it for another post, on another day. I will say this, though: what T-Rex thinks would be the best possible world might not really be possible. I can see "arse-ropes" being a colloquial dysphemism, but it is unlikely it could be legitimate medical jargon.

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