Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blogging From New Brunswick MAR-SBL

The conference is turning out to be a great success. The sessions I went to today had people overflowing out into the hall ways. I spent the morning staffing registration, then had a wonderful lunch with our plenary speaker, Dr. Choon-Leong Seow, along with Judy Fentress-Williams, and Jeremy Schipper. After lunch, went to two great sessions, and then we had our plenary, a lecture in slides by Dr. Seow on "Job's Wife in the History of Consequences." What a model plenary talk: lots of great humor and it sure showed how stubborn scholarly persistence pays off in striking results. One of the best aspects of the talk was Seow's demonstration that interpreter's have often misread art to depict Job's wife negatively. Take this painting from the 1630s by La Tour for example:

La Tour

Before interpreters discovered its true subject matter was Job's wife, they saw the woman as a beautiful and comforting angel. When it was revealed that she was actually Job's wife, the woman was seen as a harsh antagonist of Job!

So too, in the case of Job's wife by Durer, all the world-class scholars of art that Dr. Seow contacted described the painting to depict the woman in negative terms. Isn't she clearly pouring water on Job to comfort him, cleansing him of puss and worms? Dr. Seow gave several strong arguments for a positive interpretation of Durer's painting of the wife, but I can't steal his thunder here. You'll have to buy the book when it comes out!

A. Durer 1505


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give my love to everyone you see and get home safe. We love you always and are going to Tiny Tots. Love, Catherine Honeysuckle and Rebecca (turning 2 this weekend)

Fri Mar 28, 07:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger King of Peace said...

These are great illustrations of how what we bring to the text can so color our thinking. In this case the text is a painting, but the point still holds well. If you think you know what the painting shows, you are going to tend to find that. It's eisegesis in art. And that shows how much more we might do the same to the biblical text if we are not critical in our thinking.

Thanks for this and the art depicting Canticles as well. I'm glad that the conference is such a success.

The Rev. Frank Logue

Mon Mar 31, 08:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Frank, exactly! Thanks. ---S.

Mon Mar 31, 08:39:00 AM GMT-5  

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