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Responding to happygirl


September 9 - 1:45 p.m.


On this post-football recovery day, I am reflecting on the time I spent with my family yesterday. I was especially happy to see my seven-year-old twin brothers, Vinny and Joe. Even though I have been away from home for the better part of the past three years, I still miss them and always look forward to seeing their smiling (and usually food stained) faces.


How does this relate to the Bible and our wiki postings thus far? Well, it just so happens that happygirl deconstructed the lines in Genesis about Isaac and Rebekah's twins in one of her earlier postings. Reading those lines brings me back to that day in eighth grade when my mom told me she was expecting twins. Watching them grow up has been a joy, and I cannot wait to see what they will do next, what they learn, how they will change.


"Two nations are in your womb;


(E)And two peoples will be separated from your body;


And one people shall be stronger than the other;


And (F)the older shall serve the younger."


Although it seems Vinny and Joe are both about equal in their strength, it really is interesting to see they are constantly helping each other and lookoing out for each other, the way that each seems to know what the other needs without saying a word. Jo is the younger of the two, and I'm sure he would be delighted to read that Genesis calls for him to be served. I'm sure in time, as they too go through the same Catholic schooling I mentioned in an earlier post, they will come across this passage and will look at their presence as twins with new eyes.


What is it about twins, anyway? I have always wished I was a twin, or that I would some day have twins. --Echan


John v. Genesis


September 6 - 3:45 p.m.


Building on our discussion in class today, the importance of language is even further aamplified in the first few lines of John 1, as translated in the King James edition of the Bible. According to this take on the story of creation, the Word comes even before God, showing perhaps that before one can believe in God, he or she must first believe in the power of words to represent such a mythical figure in a more concrete manner. In fact, the words are so powerful, according to John, that God uses them to spawn human life itself "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," (line 14). Makes me feel a whole lot better about wanting to become a writer for a living ...


The verses in John do not seem to have nearly as much of a cadance as the ones in Genesis. And while Gensis uses active verbs to describe God's actions, John uses passive voice throughout. This makes the lines sound redundant, but not necessarily in an effective way; phrases such as "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made," (verse 3) do not pack nearly the punch of the "and it was so" used repeatedly in Genesis 1. The idea of the beginning and how exactly all the elements of our world came to be is stated much more clearly in Genesis, whereas John is, perhaps deliberately so, much more ambigous when describing how exactly God created the Earth.



Genesis Part Two: A Comparison

September 4 - 8:00 p.m.


I will compare Genesis 3:6, which describes Adam and Eve eating from the forbidden fruit tree, as seen in the King James and New American Standard versions of the Bible.


New American Standard text:


"When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate."


King James text:


"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."


As we discussed in class today, the King James version uses the word "and" at the start of nearly every phrase, creating a cadance and building continually upon the start of creation outlined in Genesis 1:1. Another pivotal difference between these two translations is the use of "delight" in the New American Standard and "pleasant" in King James to describe Eve's initial reaction to the tree. The word "delight," in my mind, connotes a much stronger sense of desire than does the word "pleasant." The New American Standard translation gives the impression that Eve has a much stronger desire to taste the fruit of this tree, and one can imagine her eyes lighting up and her mouth salivating just standing there looking at the tree. The word "pleasant" in the King James translation paints the picture of Eve being much more casual about the tree and its contents.


Another difference between the two translations is the italicizing of the word "one" in the New American Standard version. This perhaps implies that Eve thought the tree's fruit could make only her wise, and that it might not have the same effect on her husband. Considering the connotation of "delight" in the phrase before, the italics are perhaps more in line with the passionate and hungry image of Eve created thus far in the verse. In this case, the hunger is not only the physical need for food, but perhaps also the need to distinguish herself from Adam.


On a completely random note, I couldn't help but think of this video. A friend recently turned me onto the early 1990s Canadian sketch comedy show the Kids in the Hall. I can't believe I'm about to compare a Biblical figure to this, but here goes ...



Responding to Genesis Part One: Changing My Thought Process

September 4 - 1:15 p.m.


When I walked into class for the first time last week, I knew it would be radically different than any I had ever taken before, but I did not know until this morning how much my thought process would have to change in order to wrap my mind around the concepts Mobius was trying to get across. As a good little Catholic girl, I had of course read the book of Genesis in my church's religious education classes. But until today, I had never looked at it from a writer's perspective and thought about the rhetorical strategies employed in telling the story of creation. Putting the belief v. disbelief element out of my mind was difficult, but by the end of class, I had started to catch on. If fact, I can still hear Mrs. Wojick's voice in the back of my mind telling me that all things are the way they are because God made them that way. I'm now wondering if she, or anyone else from that church class, has ever attempted to think of the Bible in the way I am doing so now. My guess is probably not, but it would be interesting for some of the people from my church-going past to sit in on one of Mobius' classes, I would love to hear their reaction to our discussion of the text.


I'm glad your thought process is beginning to open up Coalflower. I accept Mobius' point, but I disagree to some extent about the belief vs. disbelief and just "seeing what is there". I think that it is important to see things for what they mean rather than trying to invoke our personal beliefs, fears, insecurities on them – that is why I meditate and participate in the isolation tank – but I question to what extent. I have found through my self exploration that if I don’t “believe” in something I tend to walk around like a gelatinous noodle that is susceptible not only growth and positive change, but manipulation, negative change, and a complete disregard for who I want to be. Therefore, I think it is important to believe in something, but merely be conscious of why one believes in what one does. And don’t let the belief cloud one’s perception of reality.


-- GoNZo


The literary dissection is still slow going at this point getting through the rest of the chapters. More to come as I muddle through and attempt to collect my thoughts over the next few days ...


A brief introduction ...

August 30, 2007 - 11:45 a.m.


My first attempt at using this thing called a wiki ... so far so good! A little about my name - it comes from a photo I took two days before coming to Penn State. I'm from Pottsville, PA, a former coal mining town now undergoing mine reclamation. I was driving home from a friend's house and saw a few stray flowers sticking out of the remnants of a mine, evidence that the reclamation (thankfully and finally) is working. At the time, I had neither my camera nor my cell phone so I unfortunately couldn't take a picture. Hopefully I will have one to post before the weather gets too cold.

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