Phyllis Tickle: The Words of Jesus
The Words of Jesus: a Gospel of the Sayings of Our Lord [San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008]
This book is well-written, with an engaging style, accessible to anyone who wishes to grapple with the prime document of Christian teaching. A great book either for private or group study.
Tickle critiques both well-known ways to knowing the Scriptures ? literal and metaphorical ? and explains a third way ? actualness, which relies on ?hearing? rather than imaging Scripture. ?There is interior to Scripture a holiness that is subject neither to literalness not to metaphorical translation, but rather is the irreducible, ineluctable cohesion of it.? (p.38)
She posits the possibility that the heart has receptive and cognitive functions, similar to but not the same as these functions of the brain. One hears the actualness of Scripture through the discernment of the heart.
When the reader begins the prayerful work of reflecting on the Sayings, this must be done with care. ?Narrative in form, the Bible?s messages are packaged in the cushioning of verbal surrounds. Not so the Sayings. Lacking almost all of that protective pacing, the Sayings often exhibit the sleek starkness of a stiletto seeking a target?..those who enter would do well, therefore, to enter only one ? rarely more than two ? Sayings at a time.? (p.55)
Beyond the introduction, the volume divides the sayings of Jesus into five sections: Words of Public Teaching; of Private Instruction; of Healing Dialogue; of Intimate Conversation; of Post-Resurrection Encounters.