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Shrek, Mamma Mia! Ian McEwan and the Bible?

This is a working draft of a seminar I'm doing later in July. The idea is to introduce people to the idea that we all have stories, and to the shape of the Christian story. And then to examine the way that narrative works within the overall narrative of the Bible. It's a really fun subject though it's not been easy to figure what to cover...

Comments and feedback very much sought after:
What's Your Story: Introduction to Bible Narrative Seminar
(updated Monday 26th July)


  1. mornin bish, gonna be writing next term's programme for cells leaders this week so was thinking about this a bit more. A question came to mind which im not sure about but want to push on the humour thing: where does this take Leithart on the sufficiency of scripture? reading between the lines? needing stuff not given in the canon to get the joke... with the analogy of shrek, would the equivalent of eg the matrix (another film, after all) be life as we experience it/creation/systematics/apologetics/the triune love?...what you reckon? I initially liked this in the context of christians (thinking of one comic small group experience in particular) getting so caught up in the details of (in that case the beattitudes) that they totally missed the comedy of the gospel. But we'd also want to say that e.g. Jehovah's witnesses dont get the "joke" - but in their case it's almost like they're not even watching the same film...see where I'm going with this (the systematics of sceptics etc)?

  2. rather a rambling question there, apologies. penny for your thoughts...

  3. Leithart argues... this isn't about external stuff it's about internal stuff. It's the stuff we actually do in exegesis, but we often under-read. So he cites Matthew 1:1 and says no-one complains that we consider Jesus in terms of Genesis, David and Abraham. It's argued: that's in the verse. But it isn't. It isn't said. But, we have the wit and knowledge to read what isn't there, and to know what is and isn't relevant.

    Shrek belongs to the canon of nursery rhymes and pop culture... Matthew's gospel belongs to the Canon of Scripture.

    We need to get the joke, and as Leithart says ultimately that needs the Spirit to convert us - but since that happens through the word, then as we consider it people can get in on the joke.. when explaining a joke to someone you don't always have to have explained it all before they laugh.

  4. Is Hebrew Greek knowledge external or internal to the canon?

  5. If we didn't have Bible translation then knowing those languages would be pretty essential for all of us. But we shouldn't need that if our translators pay attention to the connections between texts...

    Where linguistic echoes exist you'd hope that the translation would reflect that, which it often seems to. Such as between Genesis and the start of John's gospel... just as you'd hope other connections would be clear.

    You'd expect that Genesis 12 would tell of Abraham going to "Egypt"... we might not think it matters where he went to get food during a famine, but the parallel between that and the book of Exodus would seem to make that detail fairly significant... given the interactions with the Pharoah, the being driven out, the plundering etc.

    It's not a matter of secret knowledge but just of "getting it".


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