Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Reading the Bible: My New Journey

Here I am, a Quaker, a philosopher -- and I've never read the entire Bible! Earlier this month, I suddenly felt moved to start reading it, cover to cover. What I am discovering is so fascinating that I've decided to start another blog, "Bible Wonderings," to share my observations and questions as I read.

I'm currently most of the way through Exodus, but I'll backtrack a bit as I get the new blog going to note my observations of what I have read so far. Even though I'm not very far into the Bible yet, I already notice profound changes in my consciousness. Even though I was already familiar with the stories, reading them for myself, in sequence, is like entering into the world of those stories in a real and vivid way.

The change I already notice in my consciousness is that I am more aware of how much Biblical images are at play in our everyday ways of speaking and thinking. I already knew this because my very perceptive 6th grade teacher told us this (isn't it amazing that I remember that?) -- he told us that everyone should read the Bible because literature makes use of Biblical images and phrases all the time and we should be able to recognize these references and know where they come from. As an earnest young 6th grader, I took this to heart and patiently waited for some literature teacher in the future to assign the Bible for that very excellent reason -- but it never happened. When it finally dawned on me that the serious student doesn't wait for books to be assigned before reading them, I promptly wrote "Bible" on my reading list, and never quite got to it. But now, finally, I am doing it. And I see how right my 6th grade teacher was.

But it goes beyond literature -- many historical events are also shaped by Biblical stories -- either replaying versions of those stories, or consciously attempting to extend those stories. And many current events can be understood better as well by understanding how Biblical ways of thinking shape current interpretations of events.

So, this should be an interesting journey! Again, see the new blog for details of that journey. I will continue to keep up this blog as well, for my other continuing musings about life, the universe, and everything.

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