Arhivele lunare: noiembrie 2009

My (wild) wish list

Don’t know exactly why I’m posting this here. Who knows, maybe some generous readers may pick up on some of the (wild) wishes. If not, I guess I’ll just continue to wait until the wishes either fade away,  turn from wild to tame, or… materialize (wouldn’t that be great?) Having just listened to the magnificent Magnificent piece by U2, from their latest album, I wanna go to a U2 concert, here in Belfast. Although Dublin is just as fine.


Then, let’s see…

– a DLSR. Canon or Nikon. Preferably Nikon. Anything above D40.. D60 and even D90 (wildly wild wish!)

– an iPhone (white is class, but too vulnerable to scratches)

– an iMac (the new one, of course, 21.5 inch is just fine)

– a 500GB internal laptop HDD to swap with my current 200 one

– the ultimate chinese and japanese cookbooks

– a monthly allowance for books, only for books. (I will need to build my library, here in Belfast, in the following 4 years, won’t I?)

– a drum set!!! Pearl, Tama, DW, Sonor models will do.

– Julia Child – “Mastering the art of french cooking” 😛


Funny how I started off thinking this was going to be long. Apparently it isn’t (so far). But don’t try to add up the prices. You’ll be as scared as I was. Yeah, I admit i am tech savvy, very savvy. I love devices. All sorts of devices. The clever the better.

But for now this remains an (editable, and wild) wish list. Do feel free to contribute. No, not with more wishes. I’ll take care of that… 😉


Job – the drama and its questions

Notes and comments based on Declan Hurley’s presentation entitled “Reading the drama of Job through its questions”, paper presented at the Institute of Theology’s Biblical Studies Seminar, Queen’s University of Belfast, 4th November 2009.

What is Job’ message? What is the book about? On a first look, everyone feels they can answer these questions straightforwardly. But on a closer look, the answers given are often a summary of the book’s narrative line, where the speeches lose their importance.

Why was it written?  What are the historical conditions which made place for the book. A nation  in crisis? Hurley concludes that 2 centuries of historical criticism have left us no wiser. Job is entirely devoid of even the most vague historical allusions.

What is the message of the book? A hermeneutical approach identifies main themes like: the problem of innocent suffering, divine justice, theodicy etc. Some of the dominant features of the  book are revolt, lament, debate.

Hurley asserts that these approaches are less than successful because they tend to focus too much on one aspect, ignoring the form of the book.

He proposes a two-fold literary approach, focusing on the interrogatives as a means of reading the drama, where drama is not understood in an existential way or in terms of classical notions of genre (poetry, prose, drama), but as a textuality inherently theatrical, predisposed to stage production. In this regard he argued that along with the Song of Songs, Job is the most suited to be immediately transposed into theatric performance due to its inherent theatrical qualities, of which the interrogatives are a significant part.

One of the main presuppositions he employs is that the book should be read as is, in the form that it exists in the Hebrew text, resisting any fragmentary readings as prompted by historical critical investigation.

Job is impressive, at a formal level, through its countless interrogatives. Based on word count, approx 22% of the book is in the form of questions. All characters ask questions. Predictably, Job, more than any other human speaker. However, the most interrogative character in the book is none other than Yahweh! 50% of what he is recorded to say is in the form of interrogatives!

A grammatical analysis reveals a rich variety of interrogative forms. The semantic analysis reveals the dominant form, namely the rhetorical question. Rhetorical study allows the form to be shown in all of its complexity. Is a rhetorical question a question in the first place? Inquires Hurley. Some say it isn’t since it does not really ask for an information not known beforehand. Information acquisition is not its objective. Rather, rhetorical questions communicate what is known to both speakers in order to perform a variety of pragmatic functions.  In Job, the pragmatic function of rhetorical questions is, among others:

–       interjecting in a debate. A character begins with a question to attract the attention of the interlocutor. Ch. 8. 2 Bildad to Job: How long will you say these things…

–       impact on the topic of dispute. E.g. Ch.7.1 Job: “Do not human beings have a hard service on earth…”

–       LAMENT. Job expresses sadness, anguish,the  tonality is one of incomprehension and despair. Job’s search for consolation and comfort e.g. 11.3: Why did I not die at birth.. – Job does not say that he wants to die now, but that he regrets he did not die then. It is quite a peculiar interrogative-expressive,  which is more of an affirmation of life as misery and suffering. It is thus a multiple speech act, in John Searle’s terminology. The interrogative performs several illocutions: expresses anguish, but also declares, in covert form, that the essence of life, as he perceived it, is misery and suffering.

Job invests many of his questions with the pragmatic form of revolt, accusation. Many of his questions are addressed to God in the second person. God is presented as an unjust ruler (for Job) e.g. 7.2

–       THE CHALLENGE FUNCTION. Yahweh performs most of them, challenging Job to asses his standing before Himself and reach the natural conclusions.

With regards to the hermeneutical function of questions, Hurley points out that they are good indicators of the genre of literary sub-structures. They can also aid in character study – temper and personality.

It’s remarkable to observe how Job’s first speeches contain much revolt, anger. The tone is high pitched. But as the book progresses, the lament form becomes dominant in the latter part. A change in character. Job moves from revolt to lament.

Intermission: What is the book of Job and what does it do to you if you read it?

The book of Job as drama

The dramatic hypothesis of the book of Job: A dramatic reading of Job is both coherent and justified. How is Job a drama if drama did not exist of the time, particularly end of 5th century, beginning of 4th? Answer, as previously noted: the theatricality of the text. It can be staged immediately.

What is the intrigue of Job: Human piety is suspected as being self-serving.

The wife’s interrogative and imperative (2.9: Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!) ushers in a heavy dramatic weigh which announces a possible resolution of the drama. It is fascinating to observe how wife’s interrogative recalls God’s conviction concerning Job (2.3: Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who gears God and  turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity…,), while the imperative recalls Satan’s challenge (1.12/2.5…and he will curse you to your face).

Yahweh’s WHO Questions. These reflect on the one who is at work in the universe. Only Yahweh can accomplish the things he describes and presents to Job in interrogative, highly provocative form. They all revert back to Him and his sovereignty.

Job – WHY me?

Yahweh – WHO?

In the final section of the book we have a dialogue between Job’s WHY and Yahweh’s WHO?

Yahweh presents himself as misterium fascinans, but more surprisingly, as misterium interogans – He is the mystery that questions job. He challenges Job to make an existential shift and acknowledge the privilege of being addressed by the sovereign God and to trust in Him unswervingly. Consequntly, overwhelmed by the unexpected avalanche of WHO Questions, Job shifts from his WHY to God’s WHO. He  thus finds a new space where he can find a new perspective on his misery.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.(Job 42.2-6)

O invitaţie la… recesiune

Scriu post-ul acesta aici, fiindcă nevasta nu îmi dă voie să mă exprimez pe site-ul cu pricina 🙂 Cenzura cred că îmi face totuşi bine. OK, Despre ce e vorba? Am fost invitat de curând pe o reţea de socializare, nu şpui care, să mă alătur unui grup ce caută să găsească x (un nr. mare) de evanghelici români pe respectiva reţea de socializare, deşi nu e foarte clar de ce a pornit în căutarea lor şi ce are de gând să facă odată ce i-au găsit.

În zelul de a aduna membrii, bine intenţionat, nu mă îndoiesc, au lăsat să se strecoare o hazlie inadvertenţă care sună cam aşa: “Fii parte la această recesiune”

Nu comentez construcţia nenaturală limbii române “fii parte la…” care pare calchiat după “be a part of”, dar la ’recesiune’ chiar nu pot să nu comentez. Sincer, nu îmi imaginam că putem fi afectaţi chiar la nivelul limbii de recesiunea economică. Bănuiesc că administratorii vroiau să spună insurecţie, resurgenţă, referindu-se probabil la o mişcare contraculturală/emulaţie pro-valori evanghelice. Nu sunt tocmai sigur. Probabil că s-au inspirat din site-ul organizaţiei lui Mark Driscoll, care se numeşte Resurgence, dar recesiunea n-are nici în clin, nici în mânecă de a face cu ce vrea grupul bine intenţionat de pe respectiva reţea de socializare. Păcat e faptul că, prin asemenea inadvertenţe, se ajunge la echivalenţe de genul evanghelic=necunoscători ai limbii române.

Mai multă trezvie, evanghelici români!

Continental despre muzica creştină

Muzica crestina nu este cea care foloseste un text crestin, ci a carei desfasurare genereaza un act de inchinare in Duh si Adevar, dar si raspunde nevoilor de inchinare ale congregatiei, nu starneste doar emotii. – CONTINENTAL, fragment din interviul acordat site-ului Crestin Total

Nu că nu aş fi ştiut deja de seriozitatea cu care CONTINENTAL abordează muzica creştină, fapt ilustrat în textele bine închegate, traducerile reuşite (poate niţel cam ’creative’, in sens traductologic, pentru gusturile mele) şi prestanţa plină de modestie, bun simţ în închinare (citeşte mai multe aici), dar citatul acesta mi-a atras din nou atenţia asupra uneia dintre cele mai reuşite formaţii muzicale creştine din România.

Îmi place enorm înţelegerea organică şi dinamică a muzicii creştine pe care o ilustrează citatul de sus. Ce e muzica creştină, ne întrebăm şi ne tot întrebăm? Aceeaşi mărie seculară (melodie, stil) cu pălărie pocăită (text aşa-zis ’creştin’ – şi aici rămâne mult de zis)? CONTINENTAL răspunde exemplar, NU. Muzica creştină trece dincolo de prezenţa unor termeni cheie din vocabularul doctrinar (caz fericit!) în linia textului, cuprinzând actul de închinare pe care îl generează. O înţelegere holistică ce sper să îi responsabilizeze pe liderii trupelor de muzică creştină şi să îi motiveze în a produce o muzică generatoare de închinare. Nu spun nimic despre genuri şi instrumente muzicale folosite în închinare. Departe de mine de a mă alătura celor care au întocmit cu acribie lega-listă lista “instrumentelor interzise în închinare”. Tot ce e instrument inteligent, inspirat şi frumos făurit are loc în închinarea pe care i-o aducem Dumnezeului Prea Înalt. Cred în schimb că anumite genuri şi sub-genuri muzica, privite cu discernământ spiritual, vor fi imposibil de integrat în actul de închinare. Exemple nu dau. Mă alătur lui Pavel şi spun, şi în problema asta, ’fiecare să se cerceteze dar pe sine însuşi’ şi să îşi răspundă onest care genuri muzicale îl invită la închinare şi care nu; care genuri generează un climat favorabil închinării, şi care generează climate chiar potrivnice închinării.

Ca punct de pornire într-o eventuală discuţie, ce spuneţi de definiţia asta (foarte generoasă, ar spune unii) a muzicii creştine: muzica creştină este orice fel de muzică, cu text, explicit creştin (la nivel semantic), sau fără text, ce invită/îmbie/generează/favorizează închinarea în duh şi adevăr, atât la nivel individual, cât şi la nivel corporativ.

Ce ziceţi de o îneţelegere “reader-response” (recepţia cititorului/auditoriului) a ’muzicii creştine’? Care sunt avantajele, care sunt neajunsurile? Surprinde bine, oprtun zic eu, dimensiunea subiectivă, adică de reacţie, participare a mea ca închinător, dar ce omite? Există anumite constante în ’muzica creştină’ sau sensul ei e dat de subiectivitatea fiecăruia? Poate, de pildă, Requiem-ul lui Karl Jenkins să fie muzică creştină pentru mine şi poate să nu fie muzică creştină pentru tine? Dacă, da, de ce da, dacă nu de ce, nu? Dacă, da, în ce condiţii, dacă nu, din ce cauze?

P.S. – tocmai am aflat de pe site-ul oficial CONTINENTAL, ca astăzi, 5 noiembrie cântă tocmai în Dublin, Irlanda,  la Biserica Baptista Finglas şi Biserica Baptista Grace, cam la o ora şi jumătate de Belfast… dac-am avea maşină probabil c-am fi tentaţi să dăm o tură  “down south”, cum zic nord irlandezii noştri cu faţa uşor încruntată.

Umberto Eco’s take on the endless quarrel between Mac and PC

Surprisingly enough, I was directed to this humorous little excerpt in pure ecosian (or ecoish, if you like) style while listening to a brilliant lecture on how to read the drama of Job through its questions (by Declan Hurley of Dublin) at the Biblical Studies Seminar (QUB, Institute of Theology).

The seemingly endless quarrel between Mac and PC doesn’t need to be rehearsed here. However, I will point to one tiny peculiar thing that often gets overlooked, namely how fond and appreciative, often sentimental, are Mac users when it comes to their computers. Have you seen the explosive smile on their face when they point to it? Have you noticed how overjoyed, dignified and categorical they speak of their Mac being virus-free, the most advanced and stable OS in the world etc. etc.? Have you noticed how informed, up-to-date they are (most of them anyways) when it comes to the esteemed if not veneered company – Apple? Virtually everyone knows when upgrades are due, what were the latest products that were launched at the latest WWDC (no, that’s not WWJD) conference and what Steve Jobs talked about in his „keynote address” . By contrast, by (stark!) contrast, have you ever, I mean ever heard a PC user say something along the lines „Oh, how I love  this PC computer of mine!”? or to speak highly of… Bill Gates? No way. Has anybody seen any Microsoft lovers walking around? Ok. That’s enough. Point made. Now for Eco…

Read below a ‘reading’ of the Mac – PC quarrel in a religious hermeneutical key. Unmistakable Eco. (The piece goes back to 1994, when Mac was still Macintosh, and PC users quite frequently pronounced MS-DOS. While the times have changed, the rivalry „must go on”)

The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the „ratio studiorum” of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach – if not the Kingdom of Heaven – the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: a long way from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counterreformist tolerance of the Macintosh. It’s true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions…”

(Excerpt taken from an English translation of Umberto Eco’s back-page column, „La bustina di Minerva,” in the Italian newsweekly Espresso (September 30, 1994).

So it looks like I’m a Protestant using a Catholic computer. How’bout  that?

P.S. – apropos „sumptuous icons”, it looks like Snow Leopard confirms this through its preposterously large icons, as large as 512 by 512 pixels, four times as big as Leopard’s largest (256 by 256).