Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tonight's Prayer

In our family vespers tonight's collect was this:

Most merciful and loving God, Your blessed Son suffered and died for us.  Grant us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time, to overcome all that seeks to overwhelm us, and to be confident of the glory that shall be revealed in us.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

This is a prayerful speaking of much of Romans 8.  Maybe, thinking of the previous post, this sort of thing would be a good way to ressource the liturgical nature of the Scriptures?

Liturgical Exegesis

The historical situation of a Biblical text is often regarded as being of key importance in ascertaining meaning in the text: the context of geography, of time, of politics, and a whole host of others.  One aspect that I've not seen is how early Christian liturgics helped to shape and develop the New Testament writings.  Certainly, as Paul wrote the Romans (whom he was not, at that point, personally acquainted), he understood that they had already been participating in the rich symbolism, praxis, and routine of Christian worship and piety.  While there was certainly local variation (as attested to by the very different liturgical traditions in, say, the Didache and the Apostolic Traditions), there would also be much commonality (as attested to by the very compatible liturgical traditions in, say, the Didache and the Apostolic Traditions).  Should this factor in to how we understand the New Testament?  (I think that it is near to impossible to understand the Old Testament without the Tabernacle/Temple complex forming the, at least, background matrix).  Might Paul's reflections on, say, justification be influenced by his participation and celebration of the Eucharist?

Maybe all these lines of inquiry have been well-trod before me.  Much of my own background seems to me to assume that the Apostles (or whoever) wrote things down, sort of as an intellectualist exercise, without regards to the rich liturgical tradition that was already in place before any of the New Testament documents were written.  The Bible, though, is the Church's book, so the life of the Church holds at least some interpretive say in exegetical and theological matter.

Lex orandi, lex credendi

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Cruciform Existence

Much of my thinking lately, guided by the ecumenical confession of the hypostatic union, has revolved around how we participate in Christ.  Whatever we read of Christ, we read of ourselves: we are to share in Him.  That means, at base, an understanding of our "ecclesial existence" (a term I take from Met. John Zizioulas' book Being as Communion) must be a recapitulation, a reliving, of Christ's hypostatic existence.  In other words, when we share in Christ through faith and baptism, and continue to share in Him through the fulness of the Eucharist, we are living out -- in intensely practical ways -- His incarnation, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension (and in that order).  Most of the time, I suppose, we are sharing in the first three -- our experience of His resurrection in a physical, corporeal way is a future (to us) experience; something tasted only in sacramental terms, but which shall be revealed as the true reality.  So, when Christ tells us to "daily take up our cross," He means it.  We must, everyday -- in our unceasing prayer (God give us strength) -- die to self, die to our old allegiances, die to the world.  These things are already dead in the death of Christ: the Life of the world has died, so they have no hold on us.  Rather, being raised (provisionally and sacramentally) in Christ, we can live anew -- but this new life is cruciform, it is lived no longer for self, but for others.  Christ is always directed outwards; His Church is to be as well.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

A New Look and a New Title

As I've been teaching Bible and Humanities for half a decade now, I figured it was finally time to get professional about blogging.  Certainly there is a lot of clean-up work that needs to be done, but I think a layout change and a Twitter feed (@QereKetiv) is a good start.

A name change is also necessary.  When I started the "Withdrawals of a Theological Junkie" the point was to express how I wanted to stop a rather nasty habit (theologizing) and just couldn't seem to.  It was a dark point in my experience, which has been somewhat chronicled here.  I have no plan to delete any posts that have documented it, but I may clean some of them up (some contain errors too juvenile to allow).  Now, I find that the metaphor of "Qere Ketiv," which comes from the Hebrew Scriptures is apt.  The qere is "what is spoken" in the public worship, whereas the ketiv is what is written -- that is, the literal word on the page of the Masoretic Text.  The ketiv is the text, but sometimes it doesn't quite make sense.  So, the reading is maintained, but a scribal note is made to read something slightly different in the public worship.  A beautiful text critical system that is over 1,000 years old.  Better than our clunky critical apparatuses that are in the modern eclectic texts.  The metaphor of the Qere Ketiv speaks to the nature of theology: sometimes we must go beyond a prima facie reading of the text using a regula fidei, a rule of faith that guides interpretation.  That regula is none other than Jesus Christ who has come, has died, has been raised, has been ascended, and will come again.

I'd appreciate comments on what you'd like to see here and what you think of the new layout.

Thanks to Dr. Byron Curtis for helping me to further clarify my explanation of the qere and the ketiv.