Thursday, October 20, 2011

Confucius vs Homer

A fundamental aspect of our approach to reading and understanding Scripture is the assumption that the entire Bible has a larger, coherent meta-narrative.  In other-words all the parts are understood in the light of a coherent linear whole.

However I've discovered during church ministry in parish-land, many people approach the Bible either consciously or, as is more-often the case, unconsciously, in a episodic fashion. They read it as though it were a whole collection of sayings and stories all coincidently contained in a single book. A classic example of this approach is represented by that chart purporting to show all the contradictions in the Bible.

As Christians we approach the bible in much the same way most people approach the Odyssey by Homer, the adventures of a man returning from war. We read all the sub-plots in the light of that one overarching journey. This core Christian presupposition is not like way many in the west treat the work of Confucius, a chocolate-box full of sayings, where we pick and choose between proverbs.