Sunday, February 10, 2013

Eisejesus (Slight Return)

Andrew Sullivan links to this for our consideration:

In authoring scripture, Origen argues, God has deliberately planted all sorts of interpretive obstacles: problems, difficulties, mistakes, morally objectionable stories, and so forth. These manifold obstacles lead us to press beneath the surface of the text and to search more deeply for its spiritual meaning. Such spiritual exegesis isn’t just a scholarly technique. It requires ascetic purification, the spiritual transformation of the reader. So the problems in scripture…are planted there by God to lead us into the depths of spiritual life, just as a wise teacher might plant mistakes in a class discussion in order to lead the class, gently and unobtrusively, towards the truth.

He doesn't say whether he cites it approvingly, but knowing him, it's probably a safe bet. So Origen anticipated the dinosaur-fossils-as-test-of-faith rationale that long ago, huh? That's impressive. But I mostly enjoyed the use of the term "exegesis" in this context. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, I think you mean a different word.