Monday, July 27, 2009

One month in, what does this blog do for you?

My aunt Juli once told me there's an old Jewish tradition that says no one should study the scriptures all alone--whenever possible, you should have someone to discuss the text with. There are numerous possible reasons for this advice: it halves the chances that people will interpret the scriptures as asking them to do something terrifying and psychopathic, for example. On a brighter note, the tradition suggests that there's some extra effect of human interaction as part of study, that discussing scripture is somehow far better than simply reading it.

Does this count? I haven't done a great job of actively inviting participation in this blog's first month, so it's not the dialogic study the sages would have suggested for me yet.

What are you getting out of this so far? Please comment.

1 comment:

  1. This blog has helped me think in new ways about the scriptures, which as I recall was a part of the intention. It's also been invaluable in keeping me grounded in the scriptures while I'm on the road, although I'm finding that I have to be careful not to let reading your thoughts replace my own study on days when I'm extra busy.

    I would note that one possible interpretation of the injunction not to study alone is that we should study not only the Word, but also the commentaries which already exist, which is why many of my favorite posts so far have been the ones which refer to explanations of scriptural passages given by prophets and general authorities.

    I wish there were more discussion after posts, because I think a lot of the questions you've raised could provide some really fruitful scriptural discussions, but the lack of comments means you move from question to question instead of addressing any one issue for a length of time.

    If readers don't step up and provide that level of dialogue, I think it might be useful to try and hold dialogue with yourself by really pursuing a question instead of just moving on. As noted above, I think turning toward other commentaries (and not just those given by church leaders) is extremely useful in providing that sort of depth.

    Here's hoping that by working the Word through our heads and mouths, we can keep it always alive in our hearts. After all, that's the place where it does us the most good.



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