Stupid Christian Pet Tricks #2: Censoring the Hebrew Prophets

AND WHY THERE IS A NEED FOR ALL CHRISTIANS TO LEARN HEBREW, INCLUDING MYSELF

We like our sanitized versions of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, all under the hegemonizing gaze as either Ancient Near Eastern social justice advocates (liberals) or far-sighted oracles who see the Messiah all around them (conservatives).  Not all prophets were alike, I am sorry, and they were not nice when it came to language.  In fact, one could say they were rather profane in the name of speaking for the sacred.  Ezekiel, for example, from the translations and interpretations I have read, was quite lewd in his depiction of Israel and Judah (especially chapters 16 and 23).  Roland Boer, to put it in the most politically correct way possible, tried to uncover masculine sexual imagery in the prophets. But the oh so diverse and academic elites at the SBL did not approve of his title even though the paper had already been accepted. Talk about critical scholarship!  Fortunately, Boer has made his paper available on Scribd; I would recommend you read it, it is fascinating and even some insight into the story of Samson the judge (judge being basically a prophet with military and political power, in my view).

Boer’s work increases my fanboyism for the book of Ezekiel that much greater. If you are interested in my more experimental and developing post-colonial interpretation of Ezekiel, you can find it on Scribd as well.

0 thoughts on “Stupid Christian Pet Tricks #2: Censoring the Hebrew Prophets

  1. Bobby Grow

    Are you serious, Rod?

    Reader response has no end, but the reader; and Boer, or whatever his name is, can try to deconstruct and re-read scripture through his phallic wet-dreams, but that’s really all that I see demonstrated in his paper . . . it’s dreamy.

    So that’s all bib interp is, an ideological power struggle of who gets to out-narrate who? I thought the “control” was Jesus, I know that’s rather idealic too, but it appears to be the ideal through which He thought. I thought the prophets spoke of and pointed to the Messiah by calling them back and pointing them forward to Yahweh and His covenant; not to give themselves hard-ons by lusting after their own masculine dominance.

    Tripe.

    SBL might be onto something here.

    Reply
    1. stalinsmoustache

      Nice to read your appreciation of my paper, Bobby. But seriously, there’s no deconstruction here, or even wet dreams, just solid textual analysis – and a good bit of humour. But I do find that men get uncomfortable when their cocks are the subject of critical discussion.

      Reply
      1. Bobby Grow

        NOt a problem, Roland.

        I wish your humor was as laissez faire as you imagine, but it’s not. And the fact that you’re willing to be as dogmatic as you are about a hapax leg. contra mundum is telling — but since it’s your work, I would imagine it’s pretty easy to assume that mantle.

        What’s interesting to me, though, is that SBL merely got hung up on your “title,” the paper itself is the stumbling block.

        Reply
      1. Bobby Grow

        Rod,

        I see that he is doing textual analysis, I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions; but I suppose what I’m hung up over is the ‘way’ Roland decided to compose the paper — by way of verbiage. I suppose there aren’t lines anymore; and since the point of the essay is to demonstrate how the sacred in Scripture is actually couched in vulgarity then Roland has carte blanche to engage in the same (right, that’s the satirical ironical twist that is being appealed to . . . Roland is just rhetorically using form along with the content of his analysis to crescendo his point? eh). I don’t buy that approach. Sorry.

        Reply
        1. Rod of Alexandria

          I find Roland’s approach part of a necessary process where churches need to open up and start discussing the very thing dividing denominations left and right: sexuality. Otherwise congregations will just keep being split on the issues simply because the pastor assumes that all the laypersons agrees on sexuality issues, when in reality, they do not.

          Reply
          1. Bobby Grow

            You find using spluttering penises and such as part of a necessary approach to bring ecumenical harmony to the church?

            You think it’s okay to coopt the text with a pretext in order to forward a particular ethical agenda that is foreign to the context? I know, you think what is considered the context today is actually the patriarchal pretext that has been repitisiously conflated with the context that those less “suspicious” are unable to engage in the proper deconstruct in order to actually engage the actual context which is what Roland is innocently trying to expose by his exegesis on a hapax. I would just respond that the burden is to demonstrate that in fact the text has in fact been coopted with said pretext prior to just assuming this to be the case. I don’t think the intent of Scripture trades in such denominations, and that it has something much more christological in mind.

            I suppose all of this revolves around particular approaches to bibliology, and how free one feels to play faster and looser with the text to achieve one’s own ends. It seems to me that understanding scripture, by and large, is largely a theological endeavor.

          2. Rod of Alexandria

            Bobby,

            That is exactly NOT what I am saying.

            What I am saying is that your comments are demonstrating (as the classic example) of Christians being afraid to discuss sexual issues. Roland’s bibliology opens up a space, by actually examining the meaning of the text and not being beholden to tradition, to come up with possible other understandings of Scripture. That’s the risk taken when one goes back to the original language and historical context.

            But you are free to miscontrue my words.

          3. Bobby Grow

            Whatever, Rod.

            I know, I’ve been taken captive by my racist/homophobe/chauvenist/sexist self, and I can’t see through the fog like you.

            I didn’t say anything about your words, I was describing the “kind” of hermeneutic from whence Roland appears to be operating . . . nothing about what you said there.

  2. Bobby Grow

    I haven’t really made my mind up, I’m not sure what you mean by the term “post-colonial,” although I’m about a third of the way through your paper — which is quite intriguing — and it seems like your simply describing the way slaves appropriated the Ezekiel motif and applied it to their situation. I truly have no problem with that kind of interpretation.

    But, and I guess I should finish your paper, do you think this kind of appropriation should be normative for all interpreters of the Ezekiel text, in particular? My problem with this, is that I see this as the kind of “reader response herm” that Vanhoozer describes in his book “Is There a Meaning in this Text?” Or that some sort of “Liberation theology” becomes the norm through which we read this text — which implies a horizontality to the text (by emphasis) w/o attending to its vertical and apocalyptic and proleptic intention (grounded in the Messiah). Let me finish your paper before I continue to presume . . .

    Reply
      1. Bobby Grow

        Yep, I’m a racist. Who has made up their mind? I don’t prefer Edwards, he’s too much of a rationalist for me. I like Athanasius though, Calvin has some good points; I never said anything about enslaved Africans not having anything to say. Who’s jumping to conclusions, now . . . submergent?

        Reply
        1. Rod of Alexandria

          Most persons who claim to be evangelical and calvinist and live in the US do admire the two, no? That’s not jumping to conclusions, more like an estimate.

          And the R word was not even typed up; that was all you.

          And for the record, liberation theology and postcolonial biblical interpretation are two different thing. Postcolonialism rejects LT’s understanding of the bible. Any close reader of both would be well aware of that.

          JE and JC (the one of reformation fame) remain rather ambiguous figures in my book; both good and bad like any other Christian theologians.

          Reply
          1. Bobby Grow

            Rod,

            You’ve presumed upon the language of Evangelical Calvinist, as well. It’s not an addition of Evangelical + Calvinist= Evangelical Calvinist. It’s highlighting a particular development within Calvinism (non-TULIP, non-Westminster, non-Federalist, non-Dualist).

            I don’t usually read in the area of LT or Postcolonialism (although I’m aware of the history of LT, but not Postcolonial). Which is why I’ve asked you to explain the basic premise (which you won’t, apparently — and then you remain surprised at my presumption or wrong conclusions). I’m saying that what I’ve read from Boer’s paper, and what I’ve only initially seen in your paper; that it looks like there is some “reader response” going on.

            I don’t think Calvin Edwards Augustine Frederick Douglas Dubois White people Black people Yellow people or anybody in between has any kind of magesterial mantle. I think the “text” in relation to its ‘witness bearing’ capacity to Christ is determinative. I’m a ‘realist’ (a theological or critical one). I believe that ‘tradition’ can coopt the text — even postcolonial (as soon as you’ll explain the basic premise, or point me to a book that does) tradition — and that we need to constantly need to be spiraling back and forth from the text to make sure that that remains the norming norm and not my tradition.

            There are things on Calvin that I am highly critical of, but I also think that his unio mystica pretty much nails Paul’s ‘in Christ/union with Christ’ theology.

          2. Bobby Grow

            Rod,
            Thank you! I will definitely be picking this up, it looks really interesting!

            Sorry for being a butthead, Boer’s language got me going . . . I still have no love for his paper.

            See you around.

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