Context Remixed: Colossians and Empire - B / 2008 Book Discussion Series, Week 2
Walsh and Keesmaat use the rabbinic interpretive exercise called targum – an extended paraphrase putting an ancient text into contemporary idiom – to help us discern how Colossians connects with our post-9/11/01 context of “global disquiet.” As an example, here’s part of their targum’s take on the hope Paul writes about in 1:5-6:
You didn’t get this hope from cable television, and you didn’t find it on the Net. This hope walked into your life, hollering itself hoarse out on the streets, in the classroom, down at the pub and in the public square, when you first heard the good news of whole life restoration in Christ. This gospel is the Word of truth – it is the life-giving, creation-calling, covenant-making, always faithful servant Word that takes flesh in Jesus, who is the truth….Now the Word of truth is producing the fruit of radical discipleship, demonstrated in passion for justice, evocative art and drama, restorative stewardship of our ecological home, education for faithful living, integral evangelism, and liturgy that shapes an imagination in alternative to the empire’s.
“Uh, excuse me, but your translation seemed to add an awful lot to the text.” Thus begins a dialog in which the authors’ defend their targum to a moderately skeptical reader, citing overtones of several powerful passages from the Hebrew scriptures in Colossians 1:1-14, such as: Psalm 85:10-11; Hosea 4:1-3, and Isaiah 11:1-9.
“Post a comment” below on Colossians Remixed, Chapter 2. After reading this chapter, for example, what are your thoughts about authors’ advice to “hear the New Testament with Old Testament ears”?