Sunday, August 11, 2013

How long can you maintain radio silence?

Or how long can I keep silent when reading?

re Terrien, (Terrien, Samuel. (2003). The Psalms, Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary.)
I remain mystified by his strophic structure. His notes like 3-2 3-2 3-4 etc are not explained or linked to any words in the poems. They are neither stress units nor word counts. Without an intro such as this one it is impossible for the reader to engage with Terrien's book in this aspect of his analysis. Of course it is impossible to do it in English, period, and his book in the edition that I have access to is English only - so I count this major aspect of the book a failure in communication. He may have been good - even very good, but a reasonably informed English reader cannot possibly follow him without something else in hand.

I have not yet critiqued his translations but they are at times without justification - e.g. Psalm 1:6, but the way of the ungodly vanishes in the sands. This is an odd gloss - no sand in the text, and sand would conflict with the metaphor of 'as the sand of the sea', a symbol for abundance. Or does he mean the sands of time - an even worse import into the text, strange in English or French. No other translator has so rendered this verse as far as I can see.

re Caird

His position changes from the 1962 book on Luke (Penguin commentary series). In the lectures, I hear a dependency on Jewish tradition for interpreting the NT. This is very good in my opinion. The book in contrast has uncritical assumptions. It is the assumed old (pre-shoa) rather than new(er) perspective on Paul. I am still looking for both the gifts of Psalm 68 and the discipline required in obedience from a New Testament writer. Assumptions of supercession, old Israel versus new Israel, is not a reading that I can any longer bear with.

re Psalms through the Centuries and  Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Psalms, Conflict and Convergence, (papers from Oxford 2101) I am thoroughly enjoying these. There is an SBL review of Psalms through the Centuries here. I have the paperback edition from 2012. You cannot get the full sense of this book from a review. Nor could you get it without knowing the psalms very well. But this is a comprehensive review of the history of the reception of the psalms - a thorough pleasure for me at this time in my learning.  I do not regret having concentrated my study on this one book of Tanakh.

I recall teachers who knew nothing. And teachers with an axe to grind. None of the above falls into these categories.

I recall teachers who may have known much but who could not communicate it, and teachers who have presented very well the things they learned in their youth but had not yet developed their own real reflections on it.

The teacher is rare who can present clearly and encourage in their students a freedom of response to the data so that we might grow into what is complete, measured into the fullness of the maturity of the gifts that are ours.