[Uucf-bible] Jacob and Esau
tarvid at ls.net
Sun Oct 31 13:52:52 EST 2004
We resume our Bible discussion with one of the great stories from Genesis,
and one of Jesus' great parables. What strikes you, moves you, puzzles you,
Jacob and Esau; Jacob and the "angel"; Jacob and the triumphant limp of
humanity; what God blesses; what a great story, and I keep thinking of that famous
picture and how it figured into the HBO movie of Angels in America, talk about
a way a biblical allusion worked its way throughout the film.
What strikes me is the effort required to turn Jabob, the deceiver, into a hero.
The ethic of Jacob, like his father before him, lays the foundation for millenia of
tribal hatred, genocide and war.
In spite of the injunction in Deuteronomy to bring no harm to the Edomites, and
David's (in)complete destruction of the Edomites (evidenced by Herod the Great),
we find ourselves struggling to understand how the tribes of Abraham can live together.
The story does not improve with time. Today's technique of villainization could be
drawn from the Midrashic treatment of Esau. Dick Cheney's langauge from his 2003
address at the Academy calling for "the complete and utter destruction of our enemies",
could be drawn from a number of the prophets.
I recently became aware of a redaction in James Russell Lowell's - The Present Crisis
"By the light of burning heretics Christ's bleeding feet I track,
Toiling up new Calvaries ever with the cross that turns not back,
"By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever with the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.
in the hymn "Once to every man and nation"
Perhaps God calls us to rewrite the ancient myths and pay more attention
to our recent saints.
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