Sunday, October 02, 2005

Dear Diary,

As usual, yesterday I woke up way too early, around 4:30, and dozed or generally waited for it to be a reasonable hour.

I got up, put on workout clothes, and went down to the studio across the driveway to put in my 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer. Zed got this machine as part of his Make a Wish wish, along with a tv and a dvd player. I'm currently watching the Scorsese Bob Dylan special - its footage of Leadbelly singing about his "mojo" and of Joan Baez as a magical young woman enchanted me.

Then I went to torah study at the temple. We only get through about three or four sentences in any given 90 minute session, and we only meet once a month, so we will never finish in our lifetimes; we are almost up to the Ten Commandments, though, so that's pretty exciting. I learned a really important word:

Eisegesis: "Personal interpretation of a text (especially of the Bible) using your own ideas"

I was thrilled by this because Zed is writing his first paper at college on the way people dip into the Bible and fish out passages which support their own views, and I never knew there was a word for it. It strikes me that eisegesis is one of the engines driving the religious right.

I therefore smiled a bitter, twisted smile when I googled "eisegesis" and the Very First Result was this passage from!!! Emphasis added by me:

Eisegesis is the approach to Bible interpretation where the interpreter tries to "force" the Bible to mean something that fits their existing belief or understanding of a particular issue or doctrine. People who interpret the Bible this way are usually not willing to let the Bible speak for itself and let the chips fall where they may. They set off with the up-front goal of trying to prove a point they already believe in, and everything they read and interpret is filtered through that paradigm. Stated another way, they engage in what the Bible refers to as "private interpretation".

In the case of creation, if someone is already convinced that the pseudoscience of the religion of evolutionism has proven evolution to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, such persons typically will not approach Bible study on this issue with an open mind and let it speak for itself. Instead, they will engage in highly creative Bible interpretation to make all the irreconcilable conflicts between creation and evolution somehow fit with each other. For example, God went out of his way to define the creation "days" of Genesis as literal 24-hour days (see how long is a "day"). But in spite of this fact many well meaning but misguided Christians engaged in what can only be described as tortured Bible interpretation to try to somehow "make" those days into billions of years each.

In the end, eisegesis is an exercise that in most cases leads to wrong interpretation, and therefore improper applications of those verses in the person's life.

Sigh. Well then I made a batch of chocolate chip and walnut cookies and waited for my friend the neuropsychiatrist to arrive. Each Saturday I give him a singing lesson, I feed him dessert, and then he gives me a welding lesson. Yesterday we finished the table we've been working on and then welded a lot of coat-hanger wire to tin cans. And then discovered that when you turn a welding torch on an aluminum can, it evaporates/explodes - reminding me of a marshmallow in the microwave. Very satisfying. If we keep this up we will have a lot of excellent projects to dispose of. Macrame would take up less space but be more weeny.

Lastly, I trucked over to Raleigh to play, with my bandmate Jim, for our customer's mother's 94th birthday. His mother, and his wife's mother, were each about 4' 9" tall and were native Yiddish speakers. He had told me: "mother can't walk much any more but she can still dance" and it proved to be true. I haven't been singing much, lately, so belting out 3+ hours of Yiddish songs one after another was quite the workout. We also played Israeli dances and klezmer tunes and people sang along, danced, clapped, played drums (and a home-made digeridoo), and treated us like royalty.

the day finally ends
I dragged myself home, was happy to find one email in my inbox which was not spam, finished re-reading "The Lives of Christopher Chant" in preparation for trying to get my mentee to read it, and fell asleep.

Technorati Tags: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Find me on Google+