My Thoughts About Wilson’s Insults Way Back When
Here’s a comment of mine back in October, 2005, which was long before the birth of Pooh’s Think and the expulsion of my family from Wilson’s turf. This was about the time Doug Wilson decided to pastorally shun me without warning or explanation, as he later admitted to in writing. Here I just write what I thought was obvious after I was finally willing to have my own voice:
“And in giving no explanation, He therefore does not give an explanation that tries to parse the difference between strong language that (happens to) insult and insulting language.”
I agreed fully with the entire post, partiuclarly the fact that Christians are woefully unbiblical in their hope to distinguish between objectively offensive language and merely bold language that only offends subjectively in the wrong listener. However, I really don’t think the contemporary connotations of the English word ‘insult’ do a very good job at accurately and wholistically capturing the edge of Jesus’ words. As for this particular exegetically argument, note two things: First, a ‘fine translation’ does not mean a one-to-one correspondent translation. There will always be semantic import from the word used to translate the original. I would suspect that this becomes an issue here with ‘insult.’ The one distinction I made previous regarding a dignified rebuke and a smug, domineering rebuke is precisely the sort of thing that can be masked over with an argument from a ‘what word best translates’ argument such as this. Secondly, even if we assume a perfect translation, and are willing to accept all the connotation of the English word ‘insult,’ there is still a problem. We can imagine a man of position easily ‘feeling insulted’ by simply being mildly disrepected or challenged by his ‘underlings.’ It would be very natural for us to read “you insult us Jesus,” as an interpretive commentary on Jesus’ words: look at what you are doing Jesus, and look at how you cause the people to look at us. It is not hard to imagine similar social contexts that would make “you insult us” a legitmate interpretation without committing us to the fact that the language referenced was in itself objectively and fully “insulting” language. Mere “insulting language” would appear to be a category that includes smug, flippant, and unconcerned rhetoric; but I don’t this kind of language is justified by an analysis of the serrated edge of Jesus. In sum, a good argument against blatant sentimentalism, but a bit dull in getting at the finer points of our discussion (including any sort of sympathetic reading of Mr. Barry’s concern).
pooh – 10/28/2005 8:01:36 PM | Report Comment
On the other hand: He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
RFB – 10/28/2005 9:28:36 PM | Report Comment
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