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[HJMatMeth] Story - right in art is right in practice (Sayers)

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  • Bob MacDonald
    Dear Dr Crossan In your overall statement of method (BoC p93), you imply that source and redaction criticism might be wrong . If it is wrong, any historical
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 13, 2000
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      Dear Dr Crossan

      In your overall statement of method (BoC p93), you imply that source and
      redaction criticism might be 'wrong'. "If it is wrong, any historical
      reconstruction of Jesus built upon it is methodologically invalid."

      I first heard The twelve radio plays of Dorothy Sayers, The Man Born to be
      King, (BoC p 91) some 28 years ago (circa '72 Easter Saturday on CBC, 12
      hours in a row). As I have thought about this experience, it has struck me
      that the point of good drama about the Life of Jesus is not to uncover
      historical 'fact' but to reveal present experience. Sayers uses her
      detective skills along with the populist reconstruction of "Who Moved the
      Stone?" (F. Morrison) to arrive at a set of plays that _moved her audience_
      such that the un-critical would ask from week to week, 'Eh mate, is that
      really in the Bible? - show me where.' (May I say that I also am moved by
      BoC with gratitude to its author - I particularly love the rejected title
      'Life after Jesus' and the invitation to justice.).

      It seems to me that your contrast between Sayers story-telling and the three
      '-criticisms' is not so much one of conflict of 'common sense against the
      eccentricity of scholarship' as one of differing audiences. What is
      'methodologically invalid' may still be moving - As Sayers puts it in the
      mouth of one of her characters: "Right in art is right in practice".

      {In one of the surprising turns of my own life, I find myself cast in the
      role of story teller. I would wish that others much better trained in
      languages, culture, history, and text than I would also write more (eg as
      Gerd Thiesen has attempted)).

      Granted that Sayers and Morrison come from a different time in the history
      of criticism, what advice do you have for story tellers today who, while
      recognizing the (potential) peril of a literalist view of 'history', still
      want together with others to rejoice in the Presence of the Holy One of
      Israel, incarnate through the Spirit in our own time as in 1943 CE or for
      that matter the first year of Domitian or the eighth of Claudius, and
      incarnate in the flesh from about the time of Caesar Augustus when Quirinius
      was governor of Syria till about the 17th year of Tiberius.

      Thanks for your good story written for us.

      Bob

      BobMacDonald@...
      + + + Victoria, B.C., Canada + + +
      Catch the foxes for us,
      the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards,
      for our vineyards are in flower. (Song 2.15)

      http://members.home.net/bobmacdonald/homepage.htm
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