Friday, May 01, 2015

Unconscious assumptions

Genre schemes help both readers and writers. Their characteristic forms help readers by giving them a basis for predicting what a text will be like, that a novel will be constructed in a particular way, that a scientific article will follow a certain format, that a letter will observe typical conventions. Readers become so accustomed to the genre schemes of the texts with which they are familiar that they assume they are natural, inevitable, and universal. A text that is produced differently in a different culture may be regarded as odd.—Understanding Reading, page 46

<idle musing>
Indeed! That's part of our problem in reading the Bible. We assume, subconsciously, that the genres with which we are familiar are the same as the ancient ones. This is most pronounced in the Old Testament, but also in relevant to the New Testament. Their genre schemata are different from ours, and only by carefully reading what is written—and not what we think is written—can we uncover what they are trying to say.

From a strictly secular point, this is difficult. But, as a Christian, I believe that the Holy Spirit is able to give us insight. Sometimes it's a flash of inspiration, but usually it is the result of prayerful, careful reading. I've found that the lexicon makes a good devotional : )
</idle musing>

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