Monday, December 26, 2005

biblical conundrums

oh rats, forgot my glasses, apologies in advance for any typos... well so much for that early night, got all tucked up and brain went into overdrive so I pulled on my jeans and came over to try to empty out what is chuntering round and see if that helps, if not it's back to good ol' Julian of Norwich again.

Whilst shepherds washed their socks by night
All watching ITV
The Angel of the Lord came down
And tuned to BBC

Well that is the version we used to sing at infants school, leastways when we could get away with it - our headmistress Miss Lines (no seriously, it really was her name!) wasn't overly impressed altho' you'd think that a bunch of 5-7 year olds having such a grasp of sociological issues should have been encouraged not chastised. For those of you not in the know ITV was (then!) the only commercial television channel in Britain, BBC being the licence fee funded non-commercial channel. My age group in particular is divided into those who were allowed to watch ITV complete with 'sellies' (adverts) and those who weren't. The theory being (from those parents who decided that their children should only see BBC) that the BBC programmes were superior to the 'American rubbish' (no offence intended!) and whatnot shown on ITV and that it was downright immoral to aim sellies at children. At the time I wasn't impressed any more than Miss Lines was with our carol adaptations as I never got to see Rainbow or Tizwaz, nor later in my school life did I see Dallas, Dynasty or Dangermouse. Educationally deprived by this I most certainly wasn't but it didn't half leave you out of things at school when everyone else was acting out Lassie or Champion the Wonder Horse and you didn't have a clue what was going on (at least it spared me from having to decided who was the better looking in Dallas/Dynasty tho'... the right answer apparently was either John James or Michael Praed, depending on which week it was - by 'eck I don't half remember some useless gubbins). So anyway you see, the idea of shepherds (being a low socio-economic group!) watching ITV and the Angel of the Lord preferring they watch the more educational etc BBC says rather a lot about the predominantly middle class, entirely white (as far as I remember) infants school I went to and the social mores of the mid seventies... now maybe I should have written my dissertation on that, it'd've been far less harrowing than the actions taken around the allegations of satanic child abuse on South Ronaldsay and their social policy implications...

But I am digressing... (for a change) what had my head spinning was trying to get it around Matthew 22.41-46. Yes, ok, I'm still on Matthew - give me a break, I've spent most of the last last week working my way through a Gospel study group book in time to pass it on at Summer Gathering (If you're reading this Jonathan I'm nearly done and Llyn has promised to lend us some other stuff I'll bring with me if he gets it to me on Sunday!). But back to Matthew... believe it or not the tangental thinking above wasn't that tangental as it is back to the 'born of David's line' bit which is in one of the original verses of 'Whilst shepherds watched their flocks by night' (that took some concentrating to type... kept wanting to put the socks back in). The bit in Matthew I've just read is about whether Jesus is the Messiah or not and (or?) David's decendant. The same bit appears also in Mark and Luke but the rotten translators have just used the same text for all three so apart from the additional info that it is referring to something in Psalms (which I haven't read since I was about 8 yrs old and therefore can't remember - and 'somewhere in psalms' is far too vague for me to start looking for it!) cross referrencing doesn't add any clarity.

Now maybe I'm just being thick but I've read it several times in two translations and 3 Gospels and I still don't understand it. If there is anyone out there with more of a theological head on (that isn't fuzzied with festive excess!) who can explain what the dickens is meant by it I'd be extremely grateful as this whole decendant of David (but theoretically not Joseph!) and the Messiah/David thing is something that hasn't made sense to me since at school. Maybe Matthew 22 vs 46 'No-one was able to give Jesus any answer, and from that day on no-one dared to ask him any more questions.' sums it up nicely - maybe they were all as flummoxed as I am and decided that if you were going to get answers like that sometimes you were just better off not asking the question in the first place!

I think I need to change my bedtime reading to something less challenging...


flurble said...

my mum says, "she's right and it's symbolic and noone really knows".

I'm so helpful ;-)

oh, then she adds

"there are lots of kingship psalms and she needs the pelican commentary to matthew. Jesus inaugurated 'the new israel' which is everyone who livesw as he did [...] but the pelical one is liberal not that that matters"

so, er, there you go.

Anna Dunford said...

Thanks... I think! At least it is comforting to know it isn't just me being thick =)

Anyone else got any bright ideas?