By Hugh S. Pyper
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Additional resources for The Unchained Bible: Cultural Appropriations of Biblical Texts
The lack of mention elsewhere, then, is of a piece with this stratagem. Yet this can add an extra dimension to offence. To bite into what seems a sound piece of fruit and encounter the mushiness and mustiness of decay, or, worse, a writhing maggot (or, in the old joke, worst of all, half a maggot) triggers a powerful reaction in most of us. At some level, we have been fooled into a potentially harmful act. The apple that looks rotten may disgust us but as long as we do not touch it, cannot be a source of immediate harm.
6. Horace, Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (trans. and ed. H. R. : Harvard University Press, 1926), 463. 1 3. ”7 Horace, so Nuttall contends, is adopting a Greek priority of form over matter into Roman culture in a way that counters the natural sense of order in Roman—and, he explicitly adds, Hebraic—culture. This opens the way, once theology’s dead hand is weakened, for the great experiment of Western literature that exploits this tension. Nuttall’s way of putting this, however, should raise questions for scholars of the Hebrew Bible.
At some level, we have been fooled into a potentially harmful act. The apple that looks rotten may disgust us but as long as we do not touch it, cannot be a source of immediate harm. In the case of an apple that we have already bitten into, the harm may already be done. A person or social group that deals with offence by concealment risks causing even more offence if the offence then comes to light. The exchange in Ezekiel reveals that effort at concealment; even Ezekiel cannot deal with a God who demands his exposure to something that, according to Deuteronomy, is intolerable to his sight.