Light, the Bible, and Women: Our Talked-About Realities

Before we talk about anything more, before you read another word of this blogpost of mine, would you first read these?

  1. Everything Albert Einstein ever wrote about Licht.  (Don’t have time? Okay just read his Über die spezielle und allgemeine Relativitätstheorie [gemeinverständlich]. Oh, you don’t read German? Okay then. How about reading Robert W. Lawson’s English translation called, Relativity: The Special and General Theory. Pay attention to what he says that “Every child at school knows, or believes he knows” and then go from there. What is believed, and now known, about this reality called light?)
  2. The Hebrew bible and the Greek.  (Don’t have time?  Okay then.  Just pick your favorite English translation.  Yes, I understand; even all of that’s an awful lot.  Pay attention to what the writers say about “all scripture.”  If it’s just one writer, what’s “all” to him?)
  3. At least two books written by women.  (You usually read stuff by men?  Okay, how about The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Volume 2: The Swiss Years: Writings, 1900-1909.  Oh, yes, it is translated by Anna Beck.  That’s right; she’s a woman.  I know; this woman presumes to correct one of Einstein’s mistakes with a German word.  Well, if you read it anyway, would you note her very clear translation goal for you?  And then read the entire Hebrew and Greek Bible translated by Julie E. Smith.  It’s by men, you know, only translated by her.  And would you notice how her Adam names his Eve, “Life”?  Would you call all of that scripture God-breathed, or divinely inspired?  Could you?)

Well, now.  Welcome back.  I bet when you first read the title of this post you thought I was going to ask you to read something else first.  Yes, you got it.  The title (“Light, the Bible, and Women:  Our Talked-About Realities”) is a play on the titles of two other books:

Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis

and

Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind.

I’m playing with titles.  But I really want much more seriously to talk about how you and I play with words.

The brilliant Albert Einstein writes and talks about “Licht,” and as “light” that translates the ways we all now think about this reality.  It’s a particle.  It’s a wave.  It’s an electromagnetic field.

The Bible, like Einstein’s real “light,” is so talked-about.  To talk about it as canonized is to theorize or realize it as a particle, as something rather well defined with clear features or books that it includes and that it must not include.  It is also rather dynamic like a wave, or what else is “God breathing” or θεόπνευστος or “inspired by God” that all scripture is?  It’s also a field, somewhere, somewhere where readers find themselves standing or sitting or walking in relation to it.

Women in titles by men like Slaves, Women & Homosexuals and Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things and “Light, the Bible, and Women” is a noun.  A noun is a “person, place, or thing.”  Too often women are talked about as things, which is how Aristotle talked about females.  And John Mayers sings lyrics to warn of the wave-like manner of things in field-like relation to men who have them:

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Not sure there’s anything profound here to say except, Mind your language.  Your light, your Bible, your women, you men, are how you talk-about them.

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