Monday, June 11, 2007

John Hobbins is Thinking About Canon

John, in his Ancient Hebrew Poetry blog, has begun a series of posts on the meaning and problem of canon. So far, I have read his first one (click here). The first thing that surprises me is that he wants to speak of canonical religious writings far beyond the sphere of Scripture (such as the Mishnah and the Talmud). That's fine of course. I once heard a lecture in college on the canonical corpus of Botticelli within the world of art history. However, my own personal interests are mostly in the canonical process that produced the Hebrew Bible itself. I'll be reading more of John's posts to see if addresses that topic.

I really like the following quote from John's post:

The truth [that canon] contains, more often than not, is simply ignored, but it is also understood that said truth cannot be evaded forever. An example may illustrate. The Wirkungsgeschichte (history of effects) of the message of Isaiah as the eponymous book understands it is described by Martin Buber in the following terms: “The message will be misunderstood, misinterpreted, misused, it will even confirm and harden the people in their faithlessness. But its sting will rankle within them for all time.”


Blogger John Hobbins said...

The Martin Buber quote is from a lecture he gave at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1938. It is entitled "Plato and Isaiah" and is a minor masterpiece.

Tue Jun 12, 09:38:00 AM GMT-5  

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