So, this post might get extended later in the week, if the US election results are worth commenting about in some kind of Anglicanly way ... we can otherwise expect lots and lots of commentary, whatever happens.
Meanwhile, in Anglicanland, Ian Paul at Psephizo continues to post always-worth-reading material and a recent post (mostly a book review by Philip Seddon) alerts us to an excellent looking commentary on Genesis - actually, to a set of commentaries on the Torah called Covenant and Conversation - by Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks.
The blurb from the Genesis volume says:
"In this first volume of a five-volume collection of parashat hashavua commentaries, Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks explores these intersections as they relate to universal concerns of freedom, love, responsibility, identity, and destiny. He fuses Jewish tradition, Western philosophy, and literature to present a highly developed understanding of the human condition under Gods sovereignty. Erudite and eloquent, Covenant & Conversation allows us to experience Chief Rabbi Sacks’ sophisticated approach to life lived in an ongoing dialogue with the Torah."
Naturally I encourage you to read the whole of Philip Seddon's review, and even better, obtain the commentary or the whole series for yourself (as I am now aiming to do). But for today, and as a follow up to last week's post, here is one observation Seddon makes, about an distinctive feature of Sacks' writing which impressed him:
" of what we could call ‘Rabbinic scriptural reasoning’, the single story of interpretation, by contrast with the divided and hardened competing histories of interpretation in Eastern Orthodoxy, Western Catholicism and Western Reformation Christianity. Unlike a former generation’s mockery of endless conflicting rabbinic authorities, there is deep respect for the prayer and thought of generations of ’the wise’. In a Christian context, this would be the approach of a Christopher Seitz, Brevard Childs, Ephraim Radner or Hans Boersma, of Ressourcement—returning to the original sources and foundations with a grasp of the full tradition."
That last sentence in large part is a point I was trying to make last week. That if to be "evangelical" is to read Scripture and then to re-read Scripture and then to re-re-read Scripture to find its meaning for today (as, indeed, rabbis have done through the centuries), then one way to do such reading and re-reading is to do so with an eye on how the "full tradition" of reading has taken place.
And noting Sacks' point, that the way to understand "conflicting ... authorities" (rabbinic and/or Christian), is not to mock the contradictions, let alone the authorities, but to dig deeper for the wisdom that may be found beyond the contradictions.
Which may be something for Anglicans to ponder, when so often in our history we have wanted to resolve all contradictions rather than live with (into?) them.