ATSS: Mathilde Frey, “Black Letters and White Spaces: The Art of Reading Scripture”
17 May 2023 |
When a group of students approached their rabbi about a difficult text in the Torah, the rabbi asked, “What do you see?” The students pointed to the words written in black ink on the page. The rabbi replied, “The words make up only half of the story; the other half is in the white spaces between the letters.”
While offering deep insight and truths and encouraging some of the highest ideals of moral behavior, the sacred texts are infused with paradox and mystery and intertwined with ritual and poetry. It is particularly tragic when they are cherry-picked by ideologues to justify rigid and oppressive orthodoxy.
This presentation is about recapturing the lost art of reading the sacred texts of the Bible, about searching for meaning both in the words and in the empty, silent spaces in between. In the words of Karen Armstrong (2019), the sacred texts “are not designed to confirm your beliefs or endorse your way of life; rather, they are calling for a radical transformation of mind and heart.” Moreover, “to read the scriptures correctly and authentically, we must make them speak directly to our modern predicament.”
Mathilde Frey, Ph.D., is Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew at Walla Walla University.
Dan Jett is a retired attorney in the Sacramento area of California.
How to join:
One-click link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88922854033
ATSS starting time depends on where you are. If you’re on the west coast of the United States, it’ll be 10:30 AM. On the east coast, 1:30 PM. Because of time changes in various parts of the world, please double-check the correct time where you live.
The class is intended to last about 2 hours, though the conversation often continues to 4 PM (Eastern time).
About our class:
- The AT Sabbath Seminar is intended to be a courteous forum. We discuss and ask questions politely. We don’t accuse, get angry, put people down, or judge the state of their salvation.
- Stick to the topic in both comments and chat discussion.
- Make your comments and questions short—don’t dominate.
- Keep your microphones muted unless you are called upon to make your comment or ask your question.
- Indicate your interest in speaking by raising your electronic hand—under the “reactions” button.
- Please use your name when you sign in! Not your phone number, not your initials. This will help us differentiate you from unwelcome guests who want to disrupt us. You can set your name after signing on by clicking on the 3 dots next to your picture, which drops down a menu.
We look forward to getting acquainted with you!
- Bryan Ness
- Reinder Bruinsma
- Austin Archer
- Jody Washburn
- Laura Wibberding
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