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Nov 25 / Jonathan

Midweek Godblogging

matthew1237.jpgFollowing up on my earlier Psalm 109 post with a bit of help from Fr Marc & Sr Juliann…

Juli reminded me of the term of art prooftexting. Borrowing from the Wikipedia article,

Prooftexting is the practice of using decontextualized quotations from a document (often, but not always, a book of the Bible) to establish a proposition. Critics of the technique note that often the document, when read as a whole, may not in fact support the proposition.

While the Ps 109 coffee mugs are not precisely “establishing a proposition”, they’re a good example of decontextualization and the hazards of prooftexting.

Fr Marc offers Matthew 12:36–37:

I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

…which loses nothing by being shorn of its context, though you’ll find the context interesting. It’s a warning that will fall on deaf ears, of course.

In one of those nice coincidences, Fr Marc also answers a question I hadn’t asked, aloud anyway. I wrote, “condemned out of their own mouths,” and then blew several minutes trying to find out where the hell the phrase came from. “Out of their own mouths shall they be condemned,” it turns out, comes from a piece of Reconstruction-era Republican campaign literature (q.G.), but obviously Matthew 12 was what I was looking for.

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