. . . because memes are abounding in the blogosphere again. I’m always ambivalent about them. On the one hand, it’s nice to be recognised by other bloggers as having something worth linking to. On the other, one of my friends once suggested that they’re not far removed from chain letters…
However, I’ve been tagged with two in the last week or so and I want at least to acknowledge the taggers.
The first was Tim Bulkeley from SansBlogue, who tagged me with the noblesse oblige meme. The rules of this meme are very simple – you display the logo on your blog and tag up to 9 other bloggers whose work you think deserves it. The concept, for those who are not familiar with it, is that with nobility comes obligation (in the case of the French aristocracy, the obligation to look after their serfs, in the case of the tagee, to tag others). Tim is a scholar of Hebrew Bible whose blog has recently concerned itself with the ethical dilemma for people from the developed world of spending money on life’s little luxuries when people in developing countries don’t have adequate food, clothing, shelter or education. Malheureusement, so many people have now been tagged, which makes selecting targets challenging. Those whose interest in biblical studies extends to putting the study into practice in worship might find both Cheryl Lawrie’s hold :: this space and Roddy Hamilton’s abbotsford.org.uk sites interesting and thought-provoking, maybe even refreshing and encouraging.
Today, the person who goes by the nom de plume Theophrastus Aristotle and writes over at What I Learned from Aristotle tagged me with the far more work-intensive meme. This one, Books that Influenced My Reading of the Bible, as the name suggests, requires five books that have influenced how you read the Bible. I find this very, very difficult to do, because I actually can’t remember any books that have had a lasting influence, but there have been people:
- Prof Brendan Byrne, sj, who helped me to understand what exegesis is all about and how important it is to read meaning out of rather than into the text
- Prof Nigel Watson, who introduced me to Koine Greek and to the concept that it’s OK to change how you interpret biblical text based on new insights from other scholars
- Prof David Scholer, about whom I’ve written elsewhere, who introduced me to the concept of lenses or grids through which we view the bible
- Dr Morna Hooker, who showed me that a female biblical scholar could have credibility without being ordained or trying to write like a male one and whose “On Using the Wrong Tool” I have also written on elsewhere
- Prof Majella Franzmann, my doctoral supervisor/adviser (does this make her my Doktormutter?) who gently reminds me when I am reading biblical texts wearing my “person of faith” lenses and making assumptions based on church dogma.
- Prof April DeConick, my mentor and friend, of The Forbidden Gospels Blog, who also reminds me about my faith lenses and who helped me to see why having a clear methodology for approaching text is so important.
While it is very tempting to tag Jim West, just because everyone knows how much he hates memes, I am going to resist. Tim Bulkeley has just moved house, but might wish to participate, seeing he tagged me with the other one. Hey, if you read this blog and would like to join in because you have books or people you’d like to mention, consider yourself tagged. Oh, and my daughter has just wandered past and after getting over the shock of discovering that bibliobloggers do memes, suggested that I should mention her personal favourite blog, I can haz Cheezburger, although I can’t really see them getting excited about writing about books that changed how they read the Bible or feeling noblesse-ily obliged to link to other blogs. Anyone got a picture of a cat looking at a Bible that we can caption “O, u mean ai should look at it from dis saide”?
Oh, and just so you know, here in lovely Armidale, NSW, Australia, I am wearing thermal underwear in an attempt to deal with the winter cold in a way that has less negative impact on the environment. Our students started end of semester exams on Tuesday and classes begin again on 28 July.