Very good video. Commenting on what the lady mentioned (4:30f), in Catullus 93, the Roman poet expresses his lack of care whether Caesar is black or white. Black in this context seems to mean someone who was accustomed to work outside in the sun. He says he doesn’t care “whether you may be a white or a black man” (utrum sis albus an ater homo). A double meaning possibly (social status and… “preferred position”)! White (pale, passive, inside, high-class — on bottom) and black (rough, laborer — on top). But I suppose this view would be reading into Song of Songs too much if applied to it. I’m thinking out loud. 🙂
Interesting video. I would take exception to the bit about Genesis, Songs, and literal interpretation. It seems to me that the argument is a weak argument for at least three reasons. First, literal interpretation properly practiced takes into account how language works normally (different genres, figurative language, etc.). Second, Genesis is narrative and Songs is poetry. Most recognize that how you handle narrative is different from how you handle poetry. Therefore, and Third, there is no legitimate reason to hold that one cannot read Genesis literally and Songs figuratively. And I say this as one who takes the language in Songs “literally” (i.e. love poetry).
Jeremy: That’s an interesting question – particularly given that Song of Songs does mention the impact of the sun in that context. As you say though, it’s from a very different context, so hard to know whether there was any similarity in the use of that sort of metaphor/idiom
Charles: To be honest, I think there are a few rather over-bold assertions in the videos! I guess perhaps Conor was aiming to critique the view that says we must ALWAYS interpret the Bible “literally”…
I am not against over-the-top assertions per se as long as they are coherent and helpful. If your guess about Conor’s aim is correct then it really does not belong in this video. It belongs in a video as an example of a simplistic hermeneutic. Furthermore, concerning interpreting the Bible literally, I would affirm that we should always do that. But, those who affirm a literal hermeneutic often mean by that, that you read the Bible normally (which is why many advocates of a literal hermeneutic prefer the name normal hermeneutic). That is, a true literal reading takes into account factors such as genre, figures of speech, context, etc. Thus, I read the Bible as I do other things that I read, i.e. with a sensitivity to what I am reading. Suppose I pick up the newspaper and I turn to the obituaries. When I read an obituary I look for certain things. I look for the names of the deceased, birth and death dates, surviving family, maybe a short account of the persons life, etc. I do not look for arguments, evidence, positions, and propositions, etc. But now suppose, I turn to the editorial page. If I read an editorial I do look for positions, evidence, an argument and the like. That is the nature of editorials. I do not look for things like where the funeral is being held or who might be officiating the service. Wrong genre. Nonetheless, I would argue that whether we read an obituary or an editorial, we have read and interpreted both literally, that is, with sensitivity to the peculiarities of the material we are dealing with. By the way, even when have communication in symbols, those symbols represent a literal truth. For example, one would be wise to heed whether a male of female symbol is on a restroom door before walking in! The symbol has a quite literal message.