Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 31 August 2019

Rachel Mann Church Times We should embrace our oddness

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Traumatising Narcissism, Survivors and Sexual Abuse

Mark Vernon Christian Today William Blake: The Christian prophet determined to open our immortal eyes

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Rod GillisSusannah Clark Recent comment authors
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Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis

Thanks for the article on Blake and, with it, the heads up for author Mark Vernon’s forthcoming book. Whenever I read articles with subject matter like this one, I often end up consulting the works of Northrop Frye. Vernon on Blake brought me to this insight of Frye’s, “One of the tasks of criticism is that of the recovery of function, not of course the restoration of original function, which is out of the question, but the recreation of function in a new context.” (Anatomy of Criticism).

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark

…which, of course, is also hugely apposite when it comes to reading the scriptures with openness to what God may be saying to us in new contexts too. We should not always be trying to recreate the text’s function in its original contexts (where those contexts were socially and culturally so different to ours and ceased to exist 2000 years ago) but trying to understand what lay behind the functional motives of the authors, to see how those motives might be applied in real-life contexts of our own today. What is wonderful, though, is how Blake’s vision and insight still… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis

Regarding your second paragraph, I thought of Ben Meyer: ” …the exegete has worked with an inestimable advantage. While trying to understand [Paul], Paul was trying to be understood. The letters are contoured to answer the question.In history, on the contrary, there is a quantum leap in the unknown….the historian’s questions are simply his own. Paul, never having heard them, cannot be expected to offer a ready made answer to them.” (Meyer. Aims of Jesus). The thing about poets, like Blake, is that they prompt questions one may never have thought of asking, let alone addressing. For instance, Joseph Campbell… Read more »