Monday, September 14, 2009

Abba Anthony shows the way.

One day some old men came to see Abba Anthony. In the midst of them was Abba Joseph. Wanting to test them, Abba Anthony suggested a text from the scriptures, and, beginning with the youngest, he asked them what it meant. Each gave his opinion as he was able. But to each one Abba Anthony said, 'You have not understood it.' Last of all he said to Abba Joseph, 'How would you explain this saying?' and he replied, 'I do not know.' Then Abba Anthony said, 'Indeed, Abba Joseph has found the way, for he has said: "I do not know." '

from 'The Sayings of the Desert Fathers' ~ Benedicta Ward, SLG

I'm slowly reading through this collection of writings at the moment, and this one has really stuck with me. There is a humility in bible interpretation displayed here that I find very attractive. Given the churches track record in scripture interpretation - Slavery and the position of the earth in the Solar System to name just two, it is refreshing to see someone back in 300 A.D. advocating a position of humility before the Divine Mystery that is scripture. I think all of us will be amazed when we get to heaven about how wrong we were in the things we labeled important.

1 comment:

JWebb said...

methinks thou hast heard rightly.