Wednesday, May 03, 2006

WOW

WOW... I really cannot believe this is the end of blogging. I half imagine myself jerking awake at 2 am and yelling "HOLY CRAP I FORGOT TO BLOG! THATS A WHOLE POINT OFF MY GRADE!"

I might come back and visit you, oh dear Blog, just because we have been together for a whole semester. It's hard to forget that.

You were a good blog. I shall let your name live on!

(I'm not entirely sure what I'm saying at this moment. I found out 10 minutes ago that I don't have to blog anymore so I'm still on a bit of a high).

change in project paper

didn't like one of the paragraphs I made, so I scraped it and replaced it with this:

Not only the form but the function is an incredibly important facet to Jesus' parables. One primary function of the parables most scholars can agree on is its relation to the Kingdom of God. The parallelism in the parables to the Kingdom of God is to be understood as power and as mighty deeds (23). There are also three main types of parables: parables of advent, parables of reversal, and parables of action. Crossan believes that a parable of advent can clearly be seen in the story of the sower. The question of the yield (thirtyfold, sixtyfold, one hundredfold) refers not to the whole sowing, but to the seed sown in the good soil. The seeds that grow perhaps relate to the common individual and the soil is the true faith. One cannot grow without true faith, this parable of the sower suggests. Crossan connects the theme of advent to parables through the idea of some seeds growing and others not.
The second function according to this book of Jesus' parables is to provide the theme of reversal. This theme immediately provokes the thought of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Its metaphorical point is the reversal of expectation and situation, of value and judgment. When Jesus refused to attend to the wishes of the rich man first and instead tended to Lazarus, he illustrated a direct reversal in traditional value. Many people in the society of that time would have assumed Jesus would attend the man with more money first and foremost. However, Jesus did not fulfill these expectations, revealing that in the kingdom of God, or perhaps on the way to it, there is often a reversal in expectation.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

project paper revision

The quest for the historical Jesus has founded research in studies of the Old Testament, New Testament, miracle stories, and most importantly parables. The parable stories give foundation to the wisdom of Jesus' words and his true meaning. While an individual can debate each parable story and its ethics, the final parallel to the kingdom of God and the law of loving neighbor, self, God is evident. The parables of Jesus have one essential purpose: they seek to draw one into the Kingdom, and they challenge us as individuals to act and to live from the gift which is experienced therein (82). John Dominic Crossan studies the parables in relation to three primary themes: advent, reversal, and action.
The form of Jesus' parables correlates to three primary categories: allegory, metaphor, and expression. Allegory remains one of the strongest parallels to Jesus' parables. An allegory usually interprets the parable as a story in figurative language whose several points refer to some other event which is both concealed and revealed in the narration (8). The parables also exist as literature that place special emphases to the world of poetic metaphor (10). Metaphor in poetry may appear confusing at times, but in the world of Jesus' parables, they need not be. Metaphors exist as a prime form of illustration. A metaphor can articulate a topic so new or so alien that this topic can only be grasped within the metaphor itself (13). Metaphors are often used in parables because they seek to express what is permanently and not just temporarily inexpressible. Expression in Jesus' parables is an area that readers should look for. For example, is the parable a simple narrative or is it didactic?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Research Paper

The quest for the historical Jesus has founded research in studies of the Old Testament, New Testament, miracle stories, and most importantly parables. The parable stories give foundation to the wisdom of Jesus' words and his true meaning. While an individual can debate each parable story and its ethics, the final parallel to the kingdom of God and the law of loving neighbor, self, God is evident.
The form of Jesus' parables correlates to three primary categories: allegory, metaphor, and expression. Allegory remains one of the strongest parallels to Jesus' parables. An allegory usually interprets the parable as a story in figurative language whose several points refer to some other event which is both concealed and revealed in the narration (8). The parables also exist as literature that place special emphases to the world of poetic metaphor (10). Metaphor in poetry may appear confusing at times, but in the world of Jesus' parables, they need not be. Metaphors exist as a prime form of illustration. A metaphor can articulate a referent so new or so alien to consciousness that this referent can only be grasped within the metaphor itself (13). Metaphors are often used in parables because they seek to express what is permanently and not just temporarily inexpressible. Expression in Jesus' parables is an area that readers should look for. Is the parable a simple narrative or is it didactic?
Not only the form, but the function is an incredibly important facet to Jesus' parables. One primary function of the parables most scholars can agree on is its relation to the Kingdom of God. The parallelism in the parables to the Kingdom of God is to be understood as power and as mighty deeds (23). There are also three main types of parables: parables of advent, parables of reversal, and parables of action. The author writes that one example of a parable of advent is the story of the sower. The question of the yield (thirtyfold, sixtyfold, one hundredfold) refer not to the whole sowing, but to the seed sown in the good soil. The seeds the grow perhaps relate to the common individual and the soil is the true faith. One cannot grow without true faith, this parable of the sower suggests.
While this parable of the sower is very powerful and has been debated generations later, as a reader I am left unclear as to how this is a parable of advent. Advent generally refers to the beginning, the start, or the arrival of something. The advent in this parable could relate to the beginning of growth and an individuals faith. However, this parallel between parable and advent to me seems like a stretch. I would compare the parable instead to a more clear or concise theme such as the meaning of faith or the true value of a person's trust in God.
The second function according to this book of Jesus' parables is to provide the theme of reversal. This theme immediately provokes the thought of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Its metaphorical point was the reversal of expectation and situation, of value and judgment. When Jesus refused to attend to the wishes of the rich man first, and instead tended to Lazarus, he illustrated a direct reversal in traditional value. Many would assume Jesus would attend the man with more money first and foremost. However, Jesus did not fulfill these expectations, revealing that in the kingdom of God there is often a reversal in expectation.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Style Lesson 10

Style Lesson 10: The Ethics of Style

There is an ethic of style involved in writing. One way to establish bad ethics is through unintended obscurity. Those who write in ways that seem dense and convoluted rarely think they do, much less intend to. The ethics of writing are clearer when a writer knowingly uses language in self-interested ways. If the writer intended to deflect responsibility, then we can reasonably charge him with breaching the First Rule of Ethical Writing, for surely, he would not want that same kind of writing directed to him, systematically hiding who is doing what in a matter close to his interests. Writers owe readers an ethical duty to write precise and nuanced prose, but we ought not to assume that we owe us indefinite amount of their time to unpack it. If we choose to write in ways that we know will make readers struggle, it is allowed, but unethical, the authors suggest. Some people may wonder why they should struggle to learn to write clearly when bad writing seems so common and has no cost. What experienced readers know is that clear and graceful writers are so few that when we find them, we are desperately grateful for them. They do not go unrewarded.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I went home with my roommate this weekend for moral support; she is putting her cat down. It is incredibly sad and when her dad started crying it really got to me. But more than making me reflect on the times I've had to put animals down, it made me reflect on the differences in sharing emotion.

My roommate wanted me to come home with her so if she cried someone would be there. I, on the other hand, would wait to cry until I'm completely alone. I wouldn't want anyone to come home with me. The situation also made me remember this poem:

IF I SHOULD GROW FRAIL

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
for this - the last battle -can't be won.

You will be sad I understand
But don't let grief then stay your hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.

Don't grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We've been so close - we two -these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

(author unknown)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Reflection

Reflection:
The topic of eucharist is one that always interests me. However, I didn't really understand the title "Jesus as the Founder of a Cult". Even in reciting the Lord's prayer, some people consciously leave parts they aren't certain about out. Other than that I was interested in the chapter and could follow it as well as could be expected in this book. I disagreed with Eichorn's depiction that the Last Supper story was so influenced by the dogma and the cult that what really happened remains unclear. I don't think we really need to fully understand the accurate details. We know he broke the bread and blessed the wine and announced someone would betray him. The exact details of how Jesus went about this don't need to be clear. One thing that I found missing in this topic of the eucharist, despite the plentiful Pauline/Synoptic information, was the denominational part of the eucharist. While it might not have been a factor in that time, it would have been interesting to read on whether the denominational attributes of the eucharist existed during that time. For instance, only Catholics can take part in the eucharist at Mass, where the Methodists allow all denominations to take part.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Summary Paper

Summary:
This chapter depicts the last supper and the topic of the Christian eucharist. Apart from the Reformed Churches, the theological tradition always understood Jesus' words of inspiration in the sense of a real presence of Christ. However, Strauss found symbolic interpretation of Jesus' last supper with a historical foundation. Strauss's interpretation suggests it is not the death of Jesus but entry into the imminent kingdom of God which now becomes the central meaning of the eucharist. Eichorn suggests that the report of the Last Supper is so influenced by the 'dogma and the cult' of the community that the historical course of events remains unclear. The Pauline and the primitive Christian view that the body and blood of Christ were eaten in the supper is to be explained in terms of the history of religion: the supper is a variant of the universally widespread "theophagy", the primitive belief that one could appropriate the powers of a deity by eating and drinking. The Jewish analogies offer a separate explanation of the Lord's supper. For instance, most accept that Jesus' last meal was a Passover meal at which Jesus interpreted two parabolic actions by parabolic words: he interrupted the torn loaf of bred in terms of his death, and the juice of the grape in terms of his blood. Essentially, the fact is that the eucharist was celebrated in many forms in primitive Christianity and interpreted in different ways.