Monday, March 24, 2008

Is there any secret?

As I have considered the interpretations of Christendom, I think I can begin to understand why Neale (Commentary on the Psalms, Neale and Littledale 1860/1874) distinguishes only two forms of interpretation, the literal and the mystical, but multiple meanings within the mystical with respect to typology, metaphor, and so on. And that for him, the mystical is always Christological.

His image of the scripture is not of a table with three or four legs such as I have put forward in the last few posts on subdividing meaning, but of a Man with two legs. The Man's stability is assured by God, not by a third leg - whether it be plain, typological, or hidden.

It always strikes me as odd that people quoting Paul's 'Eye hath not seen nor hath the ear heard...' - even Hans Küng's translator of Eternal Life?, fail to read the rest of the passage.
That eye has not seen, nor ear heard: neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him. But to us God has revealed them by his Spirit.
So from the point of the New Testament, the things that are hidden have been revealed to those who are in Christ by the Spirit. Paul goes on to say that there is no searching this out 'by the flesh' that is possible. The things of the Spirit are communicated only by the Spirit who searches even the depths of God - not to mention the depths of the human. That is not to say that the metaphorical is 'spiritual' or 'mystical'. It too can be 'of the flesh'. In a word, the revelation is of the Bridegroom.

It is not without some fear that anyone should put forward this view, for would it not be possible, even too easy, to lapse into a vague subjectivity and a private interpretation of Scripture?

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