Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [XTalk] Fwd: Re: [GTh] Skinner's Interview with Davies

Expand Messages
  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi Bob, With this conversation going on another list and what you have listed here presenting all manner of issues, I m just going to make a few points for
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 13, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Bob,

      With this conversation going on another list and what you have listed
      here presenting all manner of issues, I'm just going to make a few
      points for conversation on the Xtalk list:

      1. wisdom orality and the move to literature.

      At the level of the spoken word each and every identifiable aphorism
      and/ or parable stands on its own. Wisdom speech is not didactic
      speech, it is rather speech that seeks to arouse, in one word,
      "wondering." With repeated use and in a secondary use wisdom language
      may become fodder for lessons, morals, belief affirmations, but that
      is entirely secondary to the very present tense nature of wisdom
      speech in living interactions. Wisdom language is about, in common
      parlance, "making sense" and "responding sensibly (wisely)." So, the
      real power of this kind of speech is always very present tense... for
      making sense and responding to what is going on wisely is "living
      stuff."
      If your grandchild is in the yard by the road and the ball rolls
      across the street and she's after it, yelling "look both ways before
      you cross the street" (a very important proverbial form of wisdom
      communication in the age of automated vehicles!), the aim of the
      speech is not first educational, but rather to get her to pay
      attention to the world around her so she can safely navigate that
      world and in this situation return to her play.

      Regarding Jesus' aphorisms and parables, whatever kind of literature
      we find them in: the few in Paul's letters, in sayings gospels, in
      narrative gospels, in the Didache, in other forms of writings, the
      real power of the speech is found not in terms of the later recorders
      various uses of the language, but in each saying.

      2. earliest collections of such speech.

      We obviously do not have tape recordings of Jesus spouting an
      aphorism or telling a parabolic story. Extant Thomas and Q give us
      access to forms of writings that list out aphorisms and parables.
      Both "extant" works suggest layers of writing and show forms of
      editing and elaboration of the aphorisms/ parables they contain.
      Looking at these works in relationship to our other sources we can
      find different early forms of gathering the speech to effectively
      communicate it onward. For instance, the Q Sermon is morphed and
      expanded by Matthew into the famed Sermon on the Mount and Luke's
      Sermon on the Plain. Likewise at the level of Q1 we can find a
      collection of sayings (Q1/ Luke 6:27-31) that provides the base for
      the Didache's opening "Way of Life." Work to form this kind literary
      gathering is based in "listing" (whether memory or written listing)
      and so is prior to the act of the creation of "sermon" and
      "teaching." This intellectual work is now cognitive in nature and
      the forms of communication produced are now intellectual in focus.
      Proclaimed sermon and core ethical (ethos) espousal change the nature
      of the present tense oral communication to the purposes of thinking
      and believing and behaving. Looking across all the sources we have
      we can see both the multiple ways this language came to be employed
      and find the different sorts of literary roots that were used. For
      example the Q Sermon very much owes to the story of Moses declaring
      the Law of God to the people of Israel and thus this takes us to
      Torah and the figure of Moses. Likewise the employ of "Two Ways"
      takes us to both Moses and Joshua and so folded into the creation of
      these literary forms is the treasure trove of Israelite Scripture.
      Something new is thus created and a new layer of the usage of the
      original spoken language comes into play.

      3. Thomas' "disorganization?"

      I find the idea that the assertion that Thomas' creators art leads to
      the conclusion that:
      >>
      >>> ...What we appear to have in Thomas is a collection of stuff of
      >>> diverse sorts that lacks a fully coherent ideology that was compiled
      >>> by people who themselves probably didn't think they fully understood
      >>> it (saying 1). ...

      This suggests that Thomas should have "a fully coherent ideology."
      Why? Says who? Why push that conclusion? Such a statement looks at
      the creation of this work from the vantage point of ideology...
      ideas... cognition. But as I have pointed out, wisdom speech is not
      first aimed at cognition, but at wondering, musing, paying attention,
      trying to point out sense, make sense, evoke sense making. That
      there are thematic links to the kinds of sense making issues very
      much suggests that the collector understood the sayings! Further,
      the pattern of "work" done to frame, edit, guide the reader's/
      hearer's response to the sayings is itself poetical in nature. To
      say the very least, not all literary creations are about "ideology"
      promulgation! The book of Psalms, for example, is a work that
      invites one to sing and pray. Thomas in its extant form is a
      meditative work. The supposed lack of coherence is an intellectual
      judgment that really doesn't fit what the work presents. "Free
      association," of course, is an important aspect to imaginative works
      of this sort. Likewise "guided association" is another aspect.
      Thomas allows for and makes for both. So ***far*** from concluding
      that the apparent randomness of the work suggests the creator "didn't
      get it," I will insist that such a literary form indeed "got" a very
      important use of the primary wisdom language. To force upon all
      human creative communicative produce the idea of "coherent ideology"
      is an extremely limited view of human creativity and the kinds of
      communication we produce.

      In closing... important to pay heed to the core nature of the kinds
      of human communication we find. Important to trace the different
      kinds of "play" that were introduced. All of this literature we have
      and the different kinds of communications that are in them are richly
      creative kinds of communication. I'd suggest that some real thought
      needs to be given to such as artistry and not just ideology when such
      literature as this is considered.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Crosstalk Cc: WSW, GPG In Response To: Gordon Raynal On: Wisdom Literature From: Bruce GORDON: If your grandchild is in the yard by the road and the ball
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 13, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        To: Crosstalk
        Cc: WSW, GPG
        In Response To: Gordon Raynal
        On: Wisdom Literature
        From: Bruce

        GORDON: If your grandchild is in the yard by the road and the ball rolls
        across the street and she's after it, yelling "look both ways before
        you cross the street" (a very important proverbial form of wisdom
        communication in the age of automated vehicles!), the aim of the
        speech is not first educational, but rather to get her to pay
        attention to the world around her so she can safely navigate that
        world and in this situation return to her play.

        BRUCE: Not in a million years. You either grab her (the classic Mencius
        response), or if she's too far to reach, you scream "stop!"

        Proverbial sayings of the kind quoted are quite different: they amount to
        advice in advance, delivered in calm situations and in anticipation of events;
        they are not correctives applied in the middle of events.

        I would further distinguish gnomic sayings (another and perhaps distinct branch
        of "wisdom" literature), which are meant, not as immediate corrections, nor yet
        as prospective counsel on the ways of the world, but as what the Zen people
        call a kôan: a bit of language meant to be pondered, turned over and explored
        in the mind, until its implications have been thoroughly worked out. (Or, in
        extreme cases, until the mind recognizes the impossibility of doing so, and
        abandons its rational predilections altogether). This is how Confucius taught,
        and you can see him doing so(and praising students who respond as he intends)
        in the early chapters of the Analects, say LY 5 and 6, written by people who
        still remembered him. (His own maxims, written down after his death, and
        without any added narrative settings, are to be found in the core layer of that
        text, occupying much but not all of LY 4; see our book, The Original Analects,
        ad loc).

        There are also paradoxical sayings, which openly and not covertly present a
        contradiction or a conundrum. In short, it seems to me that "wisdom" alone is
        not an operatively effective category for analysis, and that a finer-grained
        typology might help the discussion.

        How many different genres of statement are represented in Greek Thomas? Are any
        additional types added if we consider Coptic Thomas? What is the range of
        statement types in Mencius 4? Is the roster enlarged if we add in Mencius 6? Is
        the range of statements in the Dau/Dv Jing wider after the Gwodyen cutoff point
        than before? Is it narrower? If narrower, to what types is this tail of the
        text reduced? Why might that have been?

        That sort of thing. I suggested something of the sort in the discussion of
        Klyne Snodgrass's book on the Parables, an SBL or two ago, and perhaps there is
        something in it.

        Respectfully recommended,

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Gordon Raynal
        Hi Bruce, ... Those would be wisdom responses, as well! ... Your note provides an understanding of wisdom that is centrally cognitively focused in nature, both
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 13, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Bruce,

          On Nov 13, 2009, at 4:28 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:

          > To: Crosstalk
          > Cc: WSW, GPG
          > In Response To: Gordon Raynal
          > On: Wisdom Literature
          > From: Bruce
          >
          > GORDON: If your grandchild is in the yard by the road and the ball
          > rolls
          > across the street and she's after it, yelling "look both ways before
          > you cross the street" (a very important proverbial form of wisdom
          > communication in the age of automated vehicles!), the aim of the
          > speech is not first educational, but rather to get her to pay
          > attention to the world around her so she can safely navigate that
          > world and in this situation return to her play.
          >
          > BRUCE: Not in a million years. You either grab her (the classic
          > Mencius
          > response), or if she's too far to reach, you scream "stop!"

          Those would be wisdom responses, as well!
          >
          > Proverbial sayings of the kind quoted are quite different: they
          > amount to
          > advice in advance, delivered in calm situations and in anticipation
          > of events;
          > they are not correctives applied in the middle of events.

          Your note provides an understanding of wisdom that is centrally
          cognitively focused in nature, both in terms of common and parabolic
          wisdom. Another route to understand this form of communication is
          not in terms of advice or intellectual fodder, but in terms of sense
          arousing communication that evokes a whole self response... arousing
          attention to what the senses are taking in, the emotional responses,
          the cognition that arouses from the former and the bodily and
          behavioral responses. Common forms of wisdom communication, in such
          an understanding, point out some of the ordinary and usual aspects of
          "happenings" and such as aphorisms and some parables point out the
          extra-ordinary/ non-ordinary qualities of "happenings." In this
          understanding of wisdom, when one is with company, then a form of
          bantering can arise that involves the participants in "making
          sense" (to use the common parlance) of the circumstances that are
          going on. Likewise, within oneself one can "go a-musing" by such
          language, which yes can include evaluations and problem solving
          reflections, but may also simply lead to poetical/ artistic kinds of
          responses. This is not to deny cognitive evaluative and problem
          solving uses of this sort of speech. Those, too, are uses of the
          speech. Often the "present tense primacy" of what speech can evoke
          gets overlooked and hence my focus in this way.

          Gordon Raynal
          Inman, SC
          >
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.