Jul 10

Critical Thinking and the Modesty Meme; or, Why We Need More English Majors

Likely everyone has come across the following internet/facebook meme, but just in case you’ve been backpacking in the Andes for the last two weeks with no wifi, or don’t have well-meaning conservative facebook friends, or have blocked all the well-meaning conservative facebook friends, or just aren’t on facebook precisely so you can avoid things like this, here you go:

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Apr 29

What does “hearken” mean?

This ended up a little longer than I’d intended, but I like my findings too much to trim it down. If you’re not totally entranced by descriptive lexicography, I can’t say I understand, because I don’t (what’s wrong with you?); however, I can suggest that you read the first two paragraphs, the bolded paragraph in the middle, and the last four or five.  You’ll get the argument I’m making, if not the methodology, or the fun.

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The comments on Apame’s fine post below have turned me to this question, and rather than threadjack her understandable envy of those who get to fine-tune their own wedding vows, I thought I’d give it its own post. Because honestly, I’m not sure I know what this word means. Continue reading

Oct 04

St. Augustine and the Sunday School Teacher

In reflecting on the value of figurative language in On Christian Doctrine, Augustine explains that “I contemplate the saints more pleasantly when I envisage them as the teeth of the Church cutting off men from their errors and transferring them to her body.” I’m totally with him in that I love the idea of Aquinas, Joan of Arc, and hey, maybe Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon too, chomping us down into the digestive tract of Christian devotion; it offers something for the imagination to chew on during a dull sacrament meeting. Continue reading

Aug 15

Where Is the Meaning? (Interpreting Spiritual Texts, part I)

Bloggernacle conversations over the past few months (especially those on women and temple covenants) have got me thinking about issues of textual interpretation. So, I decided to do a series of posts thinking about how we interpret spiritual/religious texts and whether or not there’s anything we can learn from people in the academy whose job it is to interpret texts (i.e. literary theorists). Here’s attempt #1. Continue reading