Be the river

Gregory the Great again: “he that treats of sacred writ should follow the way of a river, for if a river, as it flows along its channel, meets with open valleys on its side, into these it immediately turns the course of its current, and when they are copiously supplised, presently it pours . . . . Continue Reading »

Jesus’ flesh

Ephesians 5 of course draws an analogy between marriage and Christ’s relation to His church: Husband:wife::Christ:Church Verse 29, though, puts it differently. With Genesis 2’s phrase “one flesh” in view, Paul says that “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes . . . . Continue Reading »

Interpretive communities

In his homilies on Ezekiel, Gregory the Great admitted that he frequently learned as he taught: “I know that very often I understand things in the sacred writings when I am with my brethren, which, when alone, I could not understand . . . .Clearly, as this understanding is given me in their . . . . Continue Reading »

Notes on Psalm 118

More or less random notes on Psalm 118. 1) The Psalm has an interesting, clumpy, arrangement. It begins and ends with the identical exhortation to “give thanks to Yahweh, for He is good, for everlasting his lovingkindness” (vv. 1, 29). The opening four verses are linked with the . . . . Continue Reading »

Communal Judgment, Communal Argument

William Deresiewicz of Columbia wrote a 1997 article in an issue of English Literary History that illuminates the issues in Pride and Prejudice very nicely. He starts at the beginning: Unlike other novels, Austen opens Pride and Prejudice not with the name and circumstances of the heroine, but with . . . . Continue Reading »

Austen and Prejudice

Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is often interpreted by linking the principal characters with the two flaws of the title. Darcy is “pride” and Elizabeth “prejudice.” This way of reading the book gets at some important themes, but it doesn’t quite get at the crux of . . . . Continue Reading »

Keeping us reading

An old essay by Edd Winfield Parks explores the question of how Austen gets us to move on to the next chapter. She doesn’t, he points out, use cliff-hanger chapter endings, like a John Grisham novel. What keeps us reading? The question becomes more pointed when we notice that Austen often . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon notes, Palm Sunday

INTRODUCTION On Palm Sunday, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem as the King, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9-10 (Matthew 21:5; John 12:15). But the gospel writers mention Psalm 118 in this connection as well (Matthew 21:9, 42; Mark 11:9; 12:10; Luke 19:38; 20:17; John 12:13). On Palm Sunday, Jesus . . . . Continue Reading »