I'm listening, instead, to John Hobbins dedicating an entire blog post to me. "Dear," he starts and calls me by a nickname my father gave me when I was a tiny baby. As I listen to his charges, to his list, to his "I've been meaning to. . . " - I remember hearing my father when I was in grade school telling me not to say "Good grief" or "rats" or any of those "disrepectful things" that characterized the Peanuts comic book characters' speech. He made his meaning clear in various ways, many of which I felt profoundly. When I was sent away to boarding school he sent money after me if I would read (and when I could convince the dorm father I had memorized particular passages of) the Bible. When I went to undergraduate school he was not there (and neither were the fathers of two of my dear missionary-kid friends who ended their own lives prematurely - renouncing Christ and his heaven eternally according to those fathers of theirs). Lots of water under the bridge. Didn't I blog for you already how my father accepted my invitation to the defense of my dissertation some months back? How he took the opportunity to question me there in public, as if my "feminist rhetorical translating of the Rhetoric of Aristotle" were somehow a threat to Nature and the nature of things as they really are?
This post of mine is not Plato's Socrates' apology. It is not my dissertation defense all over again. I don't think it's even valuable to review, here, the values of feminisms, rhetorics, or translating with respect to sexist texts of patriarchal men. I had, some of you remember, started blogging when doing research and stopped for various unspeakable reasons. John Hobbins has outlined, more recently, several charges desde él en mi contra. Here are some:
- "Most people for whom the Bible functions as light, mirror, and compass, are not going to give you the time of day, as you must realize by now, because they hear you saying that the Bible is darkness, profoundly distorting as an instrument of self-examination"
- "exactly what you are saying [is. . . ] 'sexism in the Bible,' as it works itself out in precept and teaching, is equivalent to the waterboarding of women"
- "the 'love patriarchy' of Ephesians 5 is still 'patriarchy' . . . But . . . the 'love patriarchy' of 'the Pauline economy' is no better (and perhaps worse) than that of Aristotle."
- "the Bible is darkness, profoundly distorting as an instrument of self-examination, and in need of a 'strong reading' from the outside in order to render it innocuous."
- "the Bible is imperfect and fallible - except for the parts we like based on some external criterion"
- "you are unwilling to go down the path of reciprocity with those who are not feminists after your own heart."
- "you speak of 'bibliobloggers' on the one hand, and 'feminist' bloggers, a category you identify with, on the other. . . . you developed this binary opposition in the context of a defense of Obama's pro-choice positions"
- "people today, and Christians, too, hold very different opinions on abortion, Obama, and many other subjects, with defensible reasons in each case. The tone in your relevant post suggests that you may not."
- you perhaps do not "respect the alterity of the texts, their non-feminist alterity included."
- likely "you contribute to creating an environment in which Bible readers who do not share your passionately chosen brand of feminism will feel free to ignore and even disrespect your particular alterity."
The elephant in this room, for me, is why and how this is such a huge thing for John Hobbins. I've grieved at how certain voices of a certain individual have been silenced at his blog, perhaps because she's a woman or speaks (out) feministically, and how he's watching water run under the bridge. This isn't to minimize John's charges. But aren't there other things to talk about when talking about the Nature of the Bible and of bible reading?