Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The use of the Psalms in the Sermons of Jesus

How does one really know what one believes? Is that even important or should one just get on with it?  Well - perhaps we do both things. But somehow, we have to mature ... and if you're like me, there's also the business of subverting others, especially those who are certain concerning their confessional propositions.

I said, "we're going to search deeply beyond what can be written" and "what must be known in the heart cannot necessarily he expressed."  This is an article of faith for me. I distrust the word's ability to explain, but I do not distrust the word's ability to create. Words, words, words...

I attempted to write this essay based on the You-Tube automated transcription of my 4th video in the course on the Psalms that I wrote in the past two weeks (see links below).  Sometimes the transcription is a hoot - and shows me how unclear my speaking voice is. But then, perhaps the software was not expecting interspersed Latin, Greek and Hebrew words. (I wonder if you pod-casters out there have ever read the transcriptions produced by You-Tube?)

The session is entitled "discovery" and I put it in big letters. I did this, as I say, "so that you know even as we have known in the first three sessions" that "the work is a mystery within us, not our own doing". This too is what I believe - yet I do not fail to engage.

The session tries to deal with too much, too briefly
  • the characters in the Psalms
  • the Psalms in the NT
  • and the use of the psalms by Jesus
so I tried to transcribe and edit only the bit that I dictated on the use of the Psalms by Jesus in the Beatitudes, but the transcription is so bad in places and the pace of a conversation is so completely different from the pace of writing, that I have determined it is useless to work this way.

"I have, I think, a quite challenging exercise on looking at the use of the psalms by Jesus [geez is] in the sermon on the mount [mound]." - and these are the least of the problems!

When I said - "what is a Beatitude? That word comes from the Latin beatus", the software heard "what is the attitude, that word comes from the Latin Bay office".  Enough!

I created the session before I read anything in commentaries on the sermon. This is important - what I did was influenced by what I have studied in the psalms these past 7 years. What I do in the lecture is to use Salkinson-Ginsberg's translation of the Greek to the Hebrew and look for the words of the Psalms from their choices. The results are very revealing, or so I think. Certainly I have been influenced and I am scarcely aware of which experiences and lectures that I draw on, but first I draw. When one speaks, all sorts of things come out. Do these reveal the inner person? Who am I?

"It really matters what the internal pattern of our own thinking is when we read another text. How our thinking is formed determines how we read and hear what is being said to us."  This is another article of my belief. Let it not be, O Lord, that we are ruled by lies, by deceptions already deeply formed within us.

But I am now reading Herbert Basser, The MIND behind the GOSPELS, henceforward, HB (Helpful Bear in Winnie the Poo language).  [HB, it seems, is a colleague of my friends Dan Fraiken and Bill Morrow - that's a good start.] I found HB's book by scanning the shelves yesterday at the UVic library. He has of course done much more than what I did. He argues throughout his book
that in many instances where we have such close literary matches between Gospel and Talmud we cannot easily escape the conclusion [that] we deal with more than a shared mind, we deal with an articulated tradition that predates both our Gospel and Talmudic sources (p.13). 
So I am proceeding in a direction HB might not disapprove of. I looked at a half-dozen or more commentaries on Matthew and this was the only one that I could bear reading, the only one that I would allow myself to carry home, whose weight justified the effort. So now I will go away and design a text using my method and also use HB and his understanding of Matthew's text from the point of view of Rabbinic teaching.

My sessions are available here - if you want to start at number 1. I also added a seventh video to illustrate the workshop process and output.