Exegesis is important!!

Suppose you’re traveling to work and you see a stop sign. What do you do?

That depends on how you exegete the stop sign.

  1. A postmodernist deconstructs the sign (knocks it over with his car), ending forever the tyranny of the north-south traffic over the east-west traffic.
  2. Similarly, a Marxist sees a stop sign as an instrument of class conflict. He concludes that the bourgeoisie use the north-south road and obstruct the progress of the workers on the east-west road.
  3. A serious and educated Catholic believes that he cannot understand the stop sign apart from its interpretive community and their tradition. Observing that the interpretive community doesn’t take it too seriously, he doesn’t feel obligated to take it too seriously either.
  4. An average Catholic (or Orthodox or Coptic or Anglican or Methodist or Presbyterian or whatever) doesn’t bother to read the sign but he’ll stop if the car in front of him does.
  5. A fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell him to go.
  6. A preacher might look up “STOP” in his lexicons of English and discover that it can mean: 1) something which prevents motion, such as a plug for a drain, or a block of wood that prevents a door from closing; 2) a location where a train or bus lets off passengers. The main point of his sermon the following Sunday on this text is: when you see a stop sign, it is a place where traffic is naturally clogged, so it is a good place to let off passengers from your car.
  7. An orthodox Jew does one of two things:1) Take another route to work that doesn’t have a stop sign so that he doesn’t run the risk of disobeying the Law.

    2) Stop at the stop sign, say “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast given us thy commandment to stop,” wait 3 seconds according to his watch, and then proceed.

  1. A Pharisee does the same thing as an orthodox Jew, except that he waits 10 seconds instead of 3. He also replaces his brake lights with 1000 watt searchlights and connects his horn so that it is activated whenever he touches the brake pedal.
  2. A scholar from Jesus seminar concludes that the passage “STOP” undoubtedly was never uttered by Jesus himself, but belongs entirely to stage III of the gospel tradition, when the church was first confronted by traffic in its parking lot.
  3. A NT scholar notices that there is no stop sign on Mark street but there is one on Matthew and Luke streets, and concludes that the ones on Luke and Matthew streets are both copied from a sign on a completely hypothetical street called “Q”. There is an excellent 300 page discussion of speculations on the origin of these stop signs and the differences between the stop signs on Matthew and Luke street in the scholar’s commentary on the passage. There is an unfortunately omission in the commentary, however; the author apparently forgot to explain what the text means.

Importance of teaching

Some three years ago Dr. Justin Kalef wrote a beautiful piece about his time at VIU and about me. You can read it here.

One of the people who responded was Laura. She is a valued contributor to the Blog, a good friend, a brilliant student, and an all round cool person!You can read her “Letters from South America” here.

She has been ill for some time now which explains her recent absence from the Blog.

Her words are important:

Justin, to say these are nice words doesn’t do justice to this well deserved accolade. Bob is soooo cool; and you too. And I love when you say I was one of your greatest students. How can someone not be great having a maestro like you, and an inspiration like Bob? But one thing stands out for me within your piece. When you turn tough and talk about mediocrity, complacency, and low standards, even if one doesn’t feel mediocre, it certainly leaves a strong resonance: Am I doing something really innovative in my class? Am I doing something for my institution? Am I doing enough for my students? Can I change things? How can I change things? Am I complaining too much and not acting? Am I being excellent; the best I can be? Am I afraid of performance evaluation? Ay! I feel shaken up.