Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Book of Mormon as Midrash? -- Deut. 30: 19

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live"

Could you read the whole Book of Mormon productively as if it were a midrash on this single verse?

Peter Spangenberg introduced me to the German word"nachhaltig" while I was living in Eberswalde. I realized years later that there's an English equivalent, "sustainable" but something about having to learn the word made me think more deeply about the underlying concept: "nachhaltig" as I came to understand it, described a way of doing things that didn't break down in and of itself (like most ways of existing do). The point of commandments, I came to believe, was to prepare us to live in a way that was ultimately and eternally nachhaltig, ethically and spiritually sustainable. Thus, perhaps, the saying of Moses that our choice is one of life or death, for us and our posterity. And yes, why not?, a Book as explanatory story, not only proclaiming,"For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence." (2 Ne. 4: 4) but also following cycles of pride, rebellion, excess, and decay across generations, in and out of centuries.

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