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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Reader's Diary #255- The Holy Bible (Good News version): Deuteronomy (FINISHED)


(I read the books of the Bible on occasion, primarily out of a literary interest. Those who are looking for discussions of a religious or Christian nature, I refer you here.)

I'm one of those people that got sucked into the Stephen King marketing machine and its foray into the serial novel with The Green Mile. Since then, all 6 pieces have been compiled into a single volume (far cheaper than buying them separately like a certain chump) and I've wondered how it is pulled off. I remember the recaps that were not so casually worked into the beginning of each, just in case the reader forgot from one month to the next, as they awaited the next installment. As a single piece, wouldn't all that repetition get annoying? But apparently hardly anything has been changed from the original work.

What does that have to do with Deuteronomy? Essentially it's a recap book, recalling almost all of the ordeals faced by the Israelites up to that point, even reiterating the laws that had been specified before. Asides from the death of Moses at the end, there's very little new action. For someone like me, who only picks up the Bible to read every couple of months or so, it's not entirely unwelcome. I had forgotten some of the story, and some of the more peculiar laws still cracked me up the second time around (did you know it's a sin to wear cotton/polyester blends?). I imagine Deuteronomy was conceived with more of a purpose in mind than keeping the story together (maybe a point about learning from history?) but for sometimes readers such as myself, it works as a recap/summary as well.

Moses stands out again as a leader and this was accomplished in large part due to his dominance in the chapter. Most of it is being dictated by Moses to his people and in fact, there is no word uttered by another character. His importance is also stressed by his handing out of laws, laws he claims to have gotten directly from God. Unlike some of the earlier books, his flaws are hardly touched upon. There is one part in which he shares his doubts about his people's ability to function without him, but it is hard to decide whether that is pessimism or just reality. He dies at the end and his send off is worthy of any Hollywood movie- they should make one about him- perhaps get some NRA wingnut to play the lead. The result of having Moses cast in a somewhat more favorable light than in earlier books, plus the stressing of his leadership role and importance, all building up to a glorious death scene, marks Moses's place as one of the pivotal characters in the drama. Let's see if Joshua can measure up...

4 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think if the rabbi is there when the cotton/polyester blend is made, it's not a sin anymore.

John Mutford said...

True, but only if he first pours the blood of a newborn goat over two white stones atop an altar.

Fearless said...

The bible has been re-written so many times by so many people over the years it's sort of become like a madonna song, with a club remix, a radio remix etc... The bible - remixed until you are no longer a sinner! Woot!

John Mutford said...

The books of the Bible have even been sold individually, with intros by Nick Cave and Bono (as well as by non-Holymen).