Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hangout Reflection: Revising History

This week the hangout centered pretty heavily on the Deteronomistic revision of history. 

Like Dr. Lester, I too am far more comfortable with a revisionist history being presented in the Bible than I am with modern attempts at revisionist history. At least this remains true when the modern revisers are the ones who already hold power. I am withholding examples to avoid turning this into a political blog. 

That being said, Dr. Junior brought up a great example of modern day revision of history, particularly around the Bible of this discussion. Dr. Junior mentioned the feminist movement and critique of scripture as being a revisionist movement. Now, unlike the Deteronomist writer, the feminist movement hasn’t altered or added to the scriptures that we have. What they have done, however, is change what questions we ask about scripture and from what perspective we read scripture from. This is, at its core, very similar to what the Deteronomist does. 

The Deteronomist changes history for a variety of reasons. Dr. Lester talked about how the Deteronomist alters history to provide a perfect example for how Israel should act in contrast to how they actually end up acting. Similarly, Dr. Junior talked about how feminists pushed for us to look at women in scripture as being independently important characters and not just as the wife of some patriarch. Both of these attempt to say something about the current situation that they live in and both see that current situation as being fundamentally flawed. The end action of the Deteronomist and the feminist may be different, but ultimately they both see something wrong in their respective present day that needs to change so they look back at history and use that history to make a case for that change.

So I guess Dr. Junior made me realize that I can be comfortable with modern day revisions to history. So long as those revisions are not to support the status quo, but instead show what’s wrong with the status quo.

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