Questions about Exegesis and Linguistic Infinity

other_life

bioconfused
Okay, I'm just going to copy this as is from how I phrased it to another mutual.
For context, this line of questioning was spurred by 1) third's comments on deconstruction as downstream from Talmud Torah and Tafsir 2) Reading a collection of essays by Scholem 3) Reading Joyce and the Jews by Ira B. Nadel 4) Taking up letter permutation and verse-linking as a sheerly meditative practice once again (but still dissatisfied that it never materialises as coherent writing).
"Torah" here is shorthand for the entire canon of the Hebrew Bible [Masoretic, in this case; a perhaps arbitrary but evidently necessary constraint].
If any specific point needs clarification I am happy to do so.

"If every single word [here meaning strictly a three letter shoresh (root), another constraint] in the Torah implies -
-
1) All of its appearances elsewhere in the text
2) All valid words (or phrases) derived by permutation [of which there are 6 of any shoresh, making an 18 letter Divine Name]
3) All words derived by substituting letters for their phonetic relatives [this calls aloud for explanation here, *]
5) All words derived in turn from permutation of those phonetic cognates
5) All words those permutations, cognates and permutations-of-cognates appear in the text
-
Then how has anyone ever written so much as one single cogent and self contained comment on any part of the Bible?
Where does one decide the stopping point for searching out and mapping these resonances between individual words, and start linking the intended meta-level messages [ie, 'creation', 'exile', 'redemption', 'kingship', the Sefiros-as-emanations, Christian typology, &c &c] of entire verses, let alone entire literary units, or discrete Biblical books?
-
Are the limits on interpretation of the Holy Tongue, which is a kind of infinity,
-
a) Immanent to tradition (ie, can one derive exegetical rules by following guidelines laid down as plain-text in, say, the Book of Proverbs, or Pirkei Avos)
b) Self imposed [ie, I limit myself to the Masoretic canon and do not account for the Samaritan canon or different Christian canons - or I limit myself to interpretation of and by the shorashim, and not more complex constructs - and this is arbitrary, and not bound by tradition]
c) Felt through by whim and intuition [the "Do not fret over your words, for the Holy Spirit will give them to you" school of exegesis; or the exegesis-as-play school of exegesis]
-
How, for example, does one interpret the "aur" of "yotzer aur" (that is, "Fashioning light [and creating darkness]") in Isaiah 45:7 by means of another verse with the word "aur" present if there are 157 other verses to choose from?"

* Here are the phonetic groupings of the letters

Gutturals: אהחע
Palatals: גיכק
Dentals: דטלנת
Labials: בומפ
Sibilants: זסצרש
 

other_life

bioconfused
even with such constraints there are still an overwhelming amount of possibilities! i have not yet received a satisfactory guide for how to further narrow those possibilities
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
I read a piece that I cannot find comparing schloem to walter benjamin, life long friends/modernist jews, and how their focus differed so wildly- schloem dedicating his whole life to a singule subject and benjamin dabbling in a bit of everything, never really putting together some master thesis. I wonder if schloem sticking closer to Jewish texts and all their labyrinthine indeterminacy forced his hand a bit- pick a lane or say nothing.
 

other_life

bioconfused
That is probably why i've read more scholem than I have benjamin (though i have so so much love for walter; gerhardt and walter are kissing and holding hands in heaven)
 

other_life

bioconfused
scholem is to jesus is to john the beloved as benjamin is to john the baptist is to christ crucified. a severed head in my hands/a pierced body in my lap (i will go on)
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
tumblr_mt8dey6ed01r1u36qo6_1280.png
 

other_life

bioconfused
oh i forgot also that Gershom is to David is to Ruth as Walter is to Jonathan is to Naomi
also A Serious Man is one of my all time favorites
 

other_life

bioconfused
c) Felt through by whim and intuition [the "Do not fret over your words, for the Holy Spirit will give them to you" school of exegesis; or the exegesis-as-play school of exegesis]

Exegesis in the Christian tradition and especially its mystics [a gross generalisation, i know], in Joyce's Wake, in Raul Ruiz [both his films and his writing, ie the Poetics of Cinema], in large parts of Abulafia [who called it "skipping", and compared it to the Scriptural image of the doe/lamb at play], and in the Dissensus Consensus seems to proceed on this basis.
 

other_life

bioconfused
answers from others:

"I think it's all three [approaches "a", "b" and "c" of o.p.] of these mutually contradictory interpretations, but unified in the sublation of myth to the material conditions we are confronted with ... For instance, it is interesting to me that religion is at its most dominant as a collective phenomenon when military and naval (not commodity) supremacy is dominant. [On question of 'honesty' and 'tenability' of interpretation] I don't think Salafi interpretation is tenable, but they are also faithful [ie, honest] to the tradition, an appeal to authority. [Conversation digresses in the difference between Biblical-Quranic prohibition of usury between individuals and the current conditions of capital, ie production of suplus value; Marxist literatures]"
- thirdform

"The first answer I can think of is that conscience sets the limits of interpretation. And conscience I see as dialectical. Each person contributes, and our contributions contend with each other to see whose interpretations stand after subjection to criticism. But if you freeze that process at one moment in time, then what you see is the equivalent of taking a deep breath and making the boldest assertion you have the courage to make. Perhaps I am excessively oriented around might, power and dominion. Especially with moral questions, clearly trust and faith have a part in the truth - trust and faith in the right people. But there is a risk of solipsism if one mistakes trust in ideas for trust in persons. Trust is not primarily intellectual, but a matter of the heart - it is an issue of openness. You'd be surprised how much you can feel like you're having a very thoughtful conversation with someone, and still completely shutting out their ideas, and not really letting them affect you. The cornerstones of my current spiritual practice have to do with subverting my own cerebrality with physical processes; I think it's working."
- twitter.com/nysnamovoia
 

other_life

bioconfused
mvuent is in the thread and i described the Word to him as being 'radiant' or an 'irradiated/irradiating object', and with it that carries risks of incapacitation by its radiation.
 

suspended

Well-known member
I like to think of Torah exegesis as a really clever way of keeping a culture's autists busy, much like the military was a way of shipping off incels to foreign lands. Clever personnel logistics, but not something to be taken too seriously at object-level
 

other_life

bioconfused
i read that over dinner and my first instinct was to flip out over it/do my much promised Takedown of the Dissensus Consensus but i'm glad i had space from it.
what i will say is that I take not only exegesis of Torah but language in general very seriously as a spiritual reality and would not go to church every week if i believed otherwise. there is a way of doing it that is merely busywork (because not centered on the Mystery) but i have been able to derive insights (or rather have things show to me by Another) from the practice that have served to reconcile me to the world (by stages)
 
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