Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Exegesis and performance

When I used to do theatre type things, one of the things you learnt quickly was that you couldn't just memorise a script. As you rehearsed and wrested with a text, and shaped the meaning of a performance, you did have to know the text. But as you approached a performance, memorising the text wasn't so important. If you had done your job well, you understood the characters, the situation and the plot so well, that the words of the text were simply what HAD to be said at that point in time. You would remember the text because so much meaning was caught up in them.

Doing exegesis for an exegetical exam feels the same.

At first, you are confronted by a text, trying to remember whether the text form is an infinitive, or middle, or what ever. But as the message and internal logic gets drilled into you, as you think about the background, about what the writer is getting across, memorising the language or details becomes irrelevant.
In the end, I don't have to remember what a niphal passive participle looks like, because I know that the content and whole thrust of Ezekiels message demands one at this moment.
It's a nice feeling. (when it all comes together, of course when it doesn't it is like dying on stage)

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