11 February 2007
On a Sun's day morning, dear Teacher-
When you get a chance, I am curious about the narrative of the dream that caused your recent contact. Also, any thoughts on my attempts at unlearning by means of this modern bile smearing bloggering - the "fool" in the "where angels fear to tread" - as Jesus Himself warned - "pray only in your closet" (Matthew 6.6) and stay off the street corners and infohighways.
I will ponder to dying day the proper direction and misdirection allowed to teachers by his/her conscience. I read today in his biography that even Julius Wellhausen had pedagogical misgivings- "Wellhausen received a professorship at Greifswald, [but] resigned in 1882 because he believed that his teachings were having a dire effect on theological students destined for the ministry, and because he had become a figure of controversy over his published views on the Old Testament."
By the late 1960s, not only had Wellhausen's now well developed "Documentary Hypothesis" (P-E-J-D sources) called into question the fundamentalists' understanding of authorship of Hebrew scripture, but Wellhausen's approaches to "biblical history" (1878) had also set off the largely failed attempts at "proving" Hebrew scripture through "biblical archaeology" - showing that any actual reality afforded Scripture before 1000bce was fanciful ethnocentric myth, at best, equal to Homer's stories - no Abram, no Issac, no Moses, no falling Walls of Jericho, no David, no Solomon, no Israel, not even a camel - and of all this, from my religious teachers, not one word.
Add to this, the wider body of huge mythological works produced between 1900 and 1960s- such as Fraser's 12 volume "Golden Bough"(1906-15); Briffault's 1800 page "Mother's"(1927); Graves'"White Goddess"(1948); and the early efforts of Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade. Again not one word. Perhaps to the odd high school bible student off to conduct a storefront evangelical series - a headsup might have been in order - a "look out for the truck!" or similar.
As a seven year old child, my father would pay me $10 to read small condensed volumes of a children's encyclopedia. His admonition was to "Skip over the mythologies, because they might cause one not to believe in Bible stories." Being an obedient child and seeing the shorter path to the $10s, I skipped the mythologies.
Now, as my own wandering muse, I am beginning to puzzle over the dynamics of "forbidden knowledge" and its dangers- "when to hold them...when to walk away". Silent knowledge surrounds us, as do severe reprisals for speaking. As a present example of the unspeakable, the last thing any of us in the United States are allowed to even ponder, during the Bushes' αρμαγεδδων, is the earlier question, "What Jewish homeland?" (above).
(And the mundane - even to suggest that wrapping evergreen roping around a bridge railing is an ancient vulvic/phallic exercise - this too is forbidden knowing - and never, ever suggest that a baseball cap, a pickup truck and the SuperBowl are the same compensatory symbols - be prepared for a bloody nose.)
Listen to today's NPR "Children of Abraham"
Further link to "what did the biblical writers know and when did they know it?" which in fairness to the "1960s" comment above, speaks of an ongoing controversy at present.
Image credit: Wm. Blake's Woman Clothed in the Sun