Life, in a nutshell
Velveteen Rabbi in the Berkshire Jewish Voice

A taste of text

According to the rabbis, when God gave humankind Torah he gave it in the form of wheat for us to make flour from it, and flax for us to make a garment from it: Torah is the raw material, to be ground, woven, and spun (out). Inevitably, as time passed, the grindings, stitchings, and weavings of the word became more and more elaborate, the cloths more exotic and fabulous, the recipes more complex. No longer satisfied with  bread and cotton, readers revelled in the meta-textual equivalent of exquisite satins, Paisley patterns, Chicken Marengo, wild mushroom fricassee. The ur-words were cooked up / stitched together with contemporary buzz-words, fashions, anxieties, desires, to dish up the text in appetising ways.

-- Yvonne Sherwood, A Biblical Text and its Afterlives: The Survival of Jonah in Western Culture

Those are the opening lines of a book I'm beginning to read as part of the research for my Jonah paper. I think they're fabulous, and wanted to share them as food for thought. Perhaps sometime when I'm not deep in paper-writing, I'll blog more about her book, which is excellent. For now, at least I've copied down the opening lines, which really merit a post of their own anyway.

Her text/cooking metaphor is one I've been wanting to explore -- the way that retellings of old stories can be like recreations of old favorite recipes, and how an old classic changes when it's reinterpreted by different chefs (and, more, ordinary kitchen cooks with no formal training but a love of the art), and how a pinch of unexpected spice can change the whole flavor of a dish. More on that later, perhaps; for now, back to Jonah.

Technorati tags: , , .