How do you find out what a text means? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
As we return to Kapr again, he is now asking about how you determine the meaning of a text. It’s important to note that while this focuses on the Bible, of course, this rule would apply to any text, which could in essence include unspoken texts. Think how many times women have complained that the men in their lives have missed “obvious cues” from them.
Again, there’s not really much in this chapter I object to if anything. He does talk at one point about his grandfather who is a KJV-onlyist so it’s not hard to see why he has a section on this in the book. He also does rightly point out that languages change over time so new translations are needed of any text over time.
If there’s a major point worth talking about, it’s at the end where he gives a case study and it is the story of the widow’s mite in Mark and Luke. In this story, a widow comes forward amidst all the people putting great amounts of money in the offering plate and puts in two small coins. Jesus says that the others gave out of abundance but she gave out of all she had to live on. Typically, we often see this as a story of sacrificial giving with Jesus praising the widow as an example of how we should live our lives.
Kapr contends that what is more likely is that these are people who are having to give to the temple in a sort of tax and says Jesus never praises the widow in the story. He simply points out what she did. If anything, Jesus is angry that this widow had to give everything she had while these rich people had plenty to spare.
I found this intriguing as a possibility, but I am not convinced. The text does speak of people coming and giving their gifts to the temple. Jesus might not outright praise the woman, but his drawing attention to her would not be to shame her I think, but to honor her as an example. Jesus elsewhere in the Gospels praises abundant giving, such as when he is anointed with perfume for his burial.
So again, thus far, things are rather bland. I can assure you all, that will not be the case for long.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)