Fleshing out one-verse characters — how does Gina do it? Social sciences, resisting the narrator (picking up clues that the narrator doesn’t want us to notice), literary-critical cues (Claudia notes that here, she isn’t resisting). If anything, it manifests a resistance to conventional readings, but doing so in the name of sound insights.
David notes that the minor character whom Gina picked is a very rich one. The servant of Naaman “brought him to the prophet” — in many respects not a minor character at all. What if she chose a really minor character? Sandra points out that anonymity plays a large role in Gina’s definition, but John’s Gospel uses anonymity deliberately to highlight people.
David P. proposes that biblical interpretations should meet the criterion of justice. Can “concern for justice” be a corrupting influence? Classical theologians would affirm the priority of “love,” which then necessarily motivates unwavering commitment to justice, but more recent generations might argue that “love” has been sentimentalized, privatized, rendered abstract, so that “love” can no longer provide a criterion of truthful interpretation. Might “justice” some day lose its critical edge? How would we know? Wouldn’t that time come when our invocations of “justice” no longer engaged us in action-for-justice (and who determines what is just?), but simply serve as wallpaper that authenticates our credentials as the right kind of people (people who value “justice,” as though people who don’t invoke “justice” with great regularity instead necessarily favor injustice)? I don’t so much disagree with David’s proposal as I take great interest in the cultural signification of David’s alteration of the criterion Augustine advances.
Mary Margaret said, “It’s in our genes as Dominicans” — which delights me since the last mens by which Dominican identity can be transmitted is genetic. . . .
1 comment / Add your comment below
My problems with replacing “love” by “justice” are twofold:
i. the imperative towards justice in the Bible seems derivative, with love (God’s love for us) as the motivator
ii. mere “justice” is often cruel or at least less than kind…