Wednesday, November 28, 2007

careful, people!

Now, this is not an attack on a holy text. This is a criticism of an interpretation of this text.

I paid $1 for this at a library book sale. Only after did I realize that someone had torn pages out of it. No matter. I bought it because the bad writing was hilarious, and plenty of good examples of that remained.

Here's one:

The contents list says that this is condensed from Matthew 13:1-3a; Mark 4:1-2; Luke 8:4. I did a comparison and, true enough, taken together, these verses are about people crowding around Jesus who then gets on a boat to tell his parable. What would seem more interesting and valuable would be to hear one of the wonderful stories.

In this case, the story that follows these verses is "The Parable of the Sower" (from my copy), which says, in essence, that the success of a seed depends on the quality of the soil. You could go many directions with that. I know that this 400+ page (!!) book is intended for toddlers, but they could absorb much more complexity than what is illustrated here. Never underestimate the power of their noggins.

But, I guess this depends what the goal is. Is it to show what a popular guy and a great storyteller the man was or is it to relay his stories and provide an opportunity to discuss them?
12/17/07, ETA:
It must be said that the sections following this chapter actually do tell some parables, albeit in as high a quality of prose as this introduction.


Leila said...

wow. you can see why buyers and readers of books like these are the same ones who ban books by Robert Munsch. I had a bible story book as a child, which I liked mostly because of the imagistic illustrations. Almost Blakean. I lost it just as my daughter was learning to read. Now none of us will get to heaven.

happy belated birthday ;-)

erin said...

shucks. no heaven. but at least we'll be in good company...elsewhere.

(thanks for the birthday wishes!)