Saturday, October 9, 2010

Brueggemann on the Hebrew Text of Scripture

I think i've come across this quote or one like it a few times before, but just found it again and thought it well worth sharing.
The text, in its very utterance, in its ways of putting things together, is completely unfamiliar to us.  The utterance of the primitive God of scripture is an utterance that is in unfamiliar mode.  Let me say what I mean.

Hebrew, even for those who know it much better than I do, is endlessly imprecise and unclear.  It lacks the connecting words; it denotes rather than connnotes; it points and opens and suggests, but it does not conclude or define.  This means it is a wondrous vehicle for what is suggested but hidden, what is filled with imprecision and inference and inuendo, a vehicle for contradiction, hyperbole, incongruity, disputation.  Now the reason this may be important is that in a society of technological control and precision, we are seduced into thinking that if we know the codes, we can pin down all meaning, get all mysteries right and have our own way, without surprise, without deception, without amazement . . . without anything that signals mystery or risk.
from Walter Brueggemann, Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope, 2000, p3

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