A blog about Greek mythology, classical studies, and the Kosmos Society sponsored by Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies. Comments welcome in the comments block below
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
TFBT Close Readings in the Bible and the Iliad
A while back the Gospel reading at Petersburg Lutheran Church was John 15:9-13.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Alan, my friend from church, stopped by Monday morning.There is a lot of talk among Christians about who their “neighbor” is.(Mark 12:31 … Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.)My buddy wondered who his “friends” were.He followed up his question by quoting Webster’s definition of “friend”.
I interrupted, “Wait, wait!I know the answer to this one.”As I pulled my Bible from the shelf, I hesitated and then explained “Professor Nagy calls it a close reading, where you don’t read stuff into it, but get something out of it.Read the next line.”
John 15:14 “You are my friend, if you do what I tell you.”
The point of the story is not finding an opportunity to quote my favorite Bible verse nor to brag about my knowledge of the Bible.Rather I wish to point out gratefully how studying “The Iliad” under the tutelage of The Ancient Greek Hero, improves my appreciation of Holy Scripture.
Any day of the week, I think of “wisdom literature” as Isaiah, Psalms and such.But, occasionally I remember that God’s word is everywhere for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.Nagy and Alan help me remember that more often.