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Final part of Review of Leithart, Deep Exegesis

Peter J Leithart Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture, Baylor 2009

Chapters 5&6: Texts are Music/ Texts are about Christ

Eek I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t had time to finish the review. Sorry for the delay.

In chapter 5 Leithart argues that Biblical texts are multi-layered and that “the same words tell several stories at the same time” (142). It may be safer to stay on the surface of a text and not risk putting “words into God’s mouth”, “[b]ut caution is not the only hermeneutical virtue” (142). Leithart goes on to discuss how musical many films and literary works are, relying as they do, on the repetition of themes, motifs, structures, rhythms and patterns. These musical features link not only to repetition within a work but also to other works. Again, discussion of Bach, Homer, Shakespeare, Groundhog Day, Raymond Roussel, etc, demonstrate Leithart’s wide net for examples and parallels. And again he seems to spend a long time hammering home a …
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Obadiah and the Feeding of the Five Thousand

One of the things I am finding incredibly fruitful in my research is reading the OT in the Septuagint (Old Greek version) which, at least as far as Mark goes, is key to understanding many of the OT allusions and word-plays with which Mark peppers his Gospel.

However, this morning I was translating 1 Kings 18:1-6 and the discovery was not so much to do with reading the OT in Greek as just reading it slowly. In the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Mark 6:30-45), most commentators find the “groups of hundreds and fifties” of Mark 6:40 reflects Moses’ arrangement of the people of Israel in Ex 18:21, 25; Deut 1:15. And this coheres with the Mosaic and New Exodus Typology found throughout the Gospel (See Marcus, Watts, etc).

However, a closer parallel (as the Israelites are also organised into thousands and tens) is Obadiah's (Abdiou in the Greek) rescue of 100 prophets in groups of 50 in 1 Kings 18:4. Is it really that much closer? I hear you cry. Yes, because the immediate narrative cont…

The Crucial Missing Elements: Review of Leithart, Deep Exegesis, ch 4

Peter J Leithart Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture, Baylor 2009
Chapter 4: The Text is a Joke

The subtitle for this chapter is “Intertextuality” (p109).  This chapter is an exploration of why some people will get a certain joke while others will not, and why some people can read things into texts that others simply can’t see. Leithart bemoans how students of the Bible are “usually inoculated against literary fancies early on in their training. The more expert they get, the more inoculated they become” (109). Of course this inoculation against eisegesis, that is reading things into the text that are not there, renders the exegetical methods of the patristic Fathers and the Bible itself alien, shocking and inaccessible to the modern interpreter (110). Leithart agrees this is well motivated, but that it has resulted in “drastically under-reading scripture” (111). As a positive example he quotes Dale Allison’s interpretation of Matt 1:1, “The interpretation of this line can be…

"The Text is a Husk" Review of Leithart, Deep Exegesis, ch 1

Dale Martin on Ancient and Modern Families

Thanks to Taylor Weaver for uploading and pointing this out, Haven't had a chance to watch this yet but I know it will be of interest to a number of my readers :-) You're welcome.