Since you can't go to Mass today...
"intrinsically alive"

The Minding Scripture Podcast

Here's something for you to do at home if or when you are sick of reading, listening to music, and watching movies and TV. (That's meant as a joke. Personally I don't think I could ever get entirely sick of doing those things; each of them separately, maybe, if I couldn't switch to one of the others.)

"Minding Scripture" is a podcast from Notre Dame (University of, not cathedral) in which a group of scholars drawn from the Big 3 monotheistic traditions look at the various scriptures of each from the point of view of their own faith. There is a core group of four Notre Dame faculty members (see this), of whom Francesca Murphy is one, and who are joined for specific episodes by experts in the topic at hand. 

When I first heard of this I didn't think it would be my cup of tea; scripture scholarship is not high on my list of interests. Much lower on my list of interests, usually down into the realm of active avoidance, is discussion of "the historical Jesus," which I generally take as suggesting that the Jesus of the Church is, to put it bluntly, imaginary. But out of curiosity I decided to give Episode 2: The Historical Jesus a try, and found it quite interesting, though if I heard correctly, the visiting expert--John Meier, author of Jesus: A Marginal Jew--said near the end that there is almost nothing in the Gospels that we can take as being the actual words of Jesus. I emphasize "if I heard correctly," because I was listening while out for a walk and was crossing a busy street at that point. I never went back to see if he really said that, but even if he did, I don't have to (and don't) buy it, and there were a lot of interesting details about the life and language of the times.

I went from there to Episode 4: The Translation of Scripture, in part because David Bentley Hart is one of the visitors (the other is Robert Alter), and I really wanted to hear what he sounded like. Answer: exactly what I expected. That episode was completely fascinating, and I can recommend it without reservation.

I've listened to a couple of others now, and I don't know that I'll listen to all of them (there are currently seven). But the series is certainly worth checking out; the conversations are both engaging and interesting. Here's the link again.


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The one with Nathan Eubank on Biblical historical criticism is good also

I got about halfway through that one while doing some yard work this afternoon. It is good, but I keep getting the sense of the same problem that the "historical Jesus" stuff has: that there is history on the one hand, and faith on the other, and they don't have that much to do with each other.

There was a special episode last week. I have not listened to it as a podcast

The preceding comment was trapped in the spam filter until yesterday, probably because it was only a link.

There are all kinds of things like this, and those Shakespeare plays that I feel I ought to be listening to and watching, but I just can't make myself think that hard at the moment.


Because of the epidemic? Or just general malaise?

Neither. Well, not the epidemic per se, but it's a result of the quarantine. I have been very busy. I walk a lot. I have been talking to people on Zoom--all three of my reading groups met in a 9 day period. I had a lot of reading for Lent. We watch Mass every day. Other than all that, I just want light reading and untroubling TV. Except for missing Mass, and yearning for a beach, and wishing I could go to Seattle, I am perfectly happy.


It's kinda funny, but nothing's really very different for me. The only big difference is that two of my grandchildren are here several days a week, but since they usually are in the summer, it just seems like summer started early.

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