The genesis of secrecy by Frank Kermode

Biblical scholarship and the gospels can be useful examples for Kermode because these provide scholarly quality and discipline of the best biblical study and can set a high enough standard that can be exemplary to all.

An indispensable instrument of survival in this world is the power to make interpretations. According to Kermode, in all the works of interpretation, there are insiders and outsiders, the former having or professing to have, immediate access to the mystery, the latter randomly scattered across space and time and excluded from the elect who mistrust or despise their unauthorized divinations, which may indeed, for all the delight they give, without absolute value. From my understanding, he deems this important since much of what is written is susceptible to many interpretations. Thus the power to make interpretations has been dubbed by the author as an indispensable instrument of survival.

Hermes is the patron of thieves, merchants and travelers, of heralds and their kerygma. He has been described as cunning and occasionally violent. He is also the patron of interpreters and since Kermode is an interpreter himself, Hermes is important in his profession. Hermes is, after all, considered as the god of going between –between the dead and the living, between the latent and the manifest.

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The biblical passage quoted by the author is from the Gospel of Mark (4:11-12) to wit: Jesus said, “To you has been given the secret of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but no perceive, and may indeed hear but no understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” This passage was included by the author because he needed to point out that a written work is susceptible to various interpretations. He wanted to point out that it is only those who already know the mysteries – what the stories really mean – can discover what the stories really mean.

Carnal reading is that which is based on simple primary senses. These are readers who try to take the literary piece in their literal concept.

In the story of Party going, the author wanted to stress the need to rely more on spiritual reading rather than carnal reading. He wanted to emphasize that we need to perceive and understand the story before us to achieve full comprehension.

Hina was used by Mark to refer to “so that” while hoti was used by Matthew as “because”. The change by Matthew involved a different grammar where Matthew replaces Marks’ subjective into an indicative.

The parable of the Good Samaritan has been interpreted in many ways –the most common of which is to showcase who or what a real neighbor is. And by the standards of the parable, it is that person who helps those in need. It was also referred to the fall of man whereby Adam is the traveler who has decided to leave Paradise and the Good Samaritan is Christ who saved him.

Narratives are obscure because it allows us to interpret these in a manner we see fit. The parables are a perfect example in the sense that they allow us to learn something based on our own understanding or perception of a story vis-à-vis the real interpretation of the text.

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