An editor doesn't just read, he reads well, and reading well is a creative, powerful act. The ancients knew this and it frightened them. Mesopotamian society, for instance, did not want great reading from its scribes, only great writing. Scribes had to submit to a curious ruse: they had to downplay their reading skills lest they antagonize their employer. The Attic poet Menander wrote: "those who can read see twice as well." Ancient autocrats did not want their subjects to see that well. Order relied on obedience, not knowledge and reflection. So even though he was paid to read as much as write messages, the scribe's title cautiously referred to writing alone (scribere = "to write"); and the symbol for Nisaba, the Mesopotamian goddess of scribes, was not a tablet but a stylus. In his excellent book A History of Reading, Alberto Manguel writes, "It was safer for a scribe to be seen not as one who interpreted information, but who merely recorded it for the public good." In their fear of readers, ancients understood something we have forgotten about the magnitude of readership. Reading breeds the power of an independent mind. When we read well, we are thinking hard for ourselves-this is the essence of freedom. It is also the essence of editing. Editors are scribes liberated to not simply record and disseminate information, but think hard about it, interpret, and ultimately, influence it.
The question is, whether, like the Divine Child in the Temple, we are turning knowledge into wisdom, and whether, understanding more of the mysteries of life, we are feeling more of its sacred law; and whether, having left behind the priests and the scribes and the doctors and the fathers, we are about our Father's business, and becoming wise to God.
Frederick William Robertson
In truth, even if they have an imperfect insight into their own methods, I still slightly mistrust writers of fiction who are assured literary critics; it makes me suspect that they favour the word over the world it should describe. Such scribes fall victim too easily to the solecism of equating style with morality.
The grand obstacle to the salvation of the scribes and Pharisees was their pride, vanity and self-love. They lived on each other's praise. If they had acknowledged Christ as the only good teacher, they must have given up the good opinion of the multitude; and they chose rather to lose their souls than to forfeit their reputation among men!
But writers experience the world and themselves in a unique way. We look for meaning. We see it even when we are not paying attention, which is seldom because, as writers, paying attention is what we do. We are scribes to the ticking of the days, and we have a job to do. We are not at peace unless we are doing it.
And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, / And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: / Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
... men... who say that there is no one in our times and in our midst who is able to keep the Gospel commandments and become like the holy Fathers? To them the Master rightly says with a loud voice, 'Woe to you scribes and Pharisees (Mt. 23:13)! Woe to you, blind guides of the blind (Mt. 23:16), because you do not enter into the kingdom, and you hinder those who wish to enter' (Mt. 23:13).
Symeon the New Theologian
Historical chronology, human or geological, depends... upon comparable impersonal principles. If one scribes with a stylus on a plate of wet clay two marks, the second crossing the first, another person on examining these marks can tell unambiguously which was made first and which second, because the latter event irreversibly disturbs its predecessor. In virtue of the fact that most of the rocks of the earth contain imprints of a succession of such irreversible events, an unambiguous working out of the chronological sequence of these events becomes possible.
M. King Hubbert
Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the Wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God.
Aiden Wilson Tozer
I want to say to all you Scribes, Pharisees, heresy hunters, all of you that are going around pickin' little bits of doctrinal error out of everybody's eyes and dividin' the Body of Christ...get out of God's way, stop blockin' God's bridges, or God's goin' to shoot you if I don't...let Him sort out all this doctrinal doodoo!...I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there! Don't even call me if you want to argue...Get out of my life! I don't want to talk to you...I don't want to see your ugly face!
About Mahatma Gandhi: Great in taking decisions, great in executing them, Mahatma Gandhi was incomparably great in the last stand which he made on behalf of his country. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest men the world has ever seen. The world hath need of him, and if he is mocked and jeered at by "the people of importance," "the people with a stake in this country," - the Scribes and Pharisees of the days of Christ - he will be gratefully remembered, now and always, by a nation which he led from victory to victory.
And so it was that Michael built a brown castle on the peak of his mountain, Gabriel built a golden pyramid in the midst of his plain, saying it was both a holy temple in my praise and an edifice that would guide him on his pattern for his future work, though I knew that only he would ever understand it, to my amusement, and Raphael built a silver palace to sparkle above the trees of his forests, as his home and celestial workshop, and I was well pleased with their work, as ever it was better than what I had hoped for. "That was the First Age, the Archangel Age, long over. I can speak in much detail about each stage in my creation, and my scribes have written all my words on each stage in the books I gave to the angel courts, for study and meditation and for prayer, but such details are for my sons and daughters most interested in them, when they are of an age, with the understanding, to comprehend such things.
Christ did not descend from the cross except into the grave. And why not otherwise? Wouldn't it have put fine comical expressions on the faces of the scribes and chief priests and the soldiers if at that moment He had come down in power and glory? Why didn't He do it? Why hasn't He done it at any one of a thousand good times between then and now? I knew the answer. I knew it a long time before I could admit it, for all the suffering of the world is in it. He didn't, He hasn't, because from the moment He did, He would be the absolute tyrant of the world and we would be His slaves. Even those who hated Him and hated one another and hated their own souls would have to believe in Him then. From that moment the possibility that we might be bound to Him and He to us and us to one another by love forever would be ended. And so, I thought, He must forebear to reveal His power and glory by presenting Himself as Himself, and must be present only in the ordinary miracle of the existence of His creatures. Those who wish to see Him must see Him in the poor, the hungry, the hurt, the wordless creatures, the groaning and travailing beautiful world.
What a vapid job title our culture gives to those honorable laborers the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians variously called Learned Men of the Magic Library, Scribes of the Double House of Life, Mistresses of the House of Books, or Ordainers of the Universe. 'Librarian' - that mouth-contorting, graceless grind of a word, that dry gulch in the dictionary between 'libido' and 'licentious' - it practically begs you to envision a stoop-shouldered loser, socks mismatched, eyes locked in a permanent squint from reading too much microfiche. If it were up to me, I would abolish the word entirely and turn back to the lexicological wisdom of the ancients, who saw librarians not as feeble sorters and shelvers but as heroic guardians. In Assyrian, Babylonian, and Egyptian cultures alike, those who toiled at the shelves were often bestowed with a proud, even soldierly, title: Keeper of the Books. - p.113
Layer upon layer it comes, dense and rich within the texts, echo upon echo, allusion and resonance tumbling over one another, so that for those with ears to hear it becomes un-missable, a crescendo of questions to which in the end there can be only one answer. Why are you speaking like this? Are you the one who is to come? Can anything good come out of Nazareth? What sign can you show us? Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners? Where did this man get all this wisdom? How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Who are you? Why do you not follow the traditions? Do the authorities think he's the Messiah? Can the Messiah come from Galilee? Why are you behaving unlawfully? Who then is this? Aren't we right to say that you're a Samaritan and have a demon? What do you say about him? By what right are you doing these things? Who is this Son of Man? Should we pay tribute to Caesar? And climactically: Are you the king of the Jews? What is truth? Where are you from? Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One? Then finally, too late for answers, but not too late for irony: Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! If you're the Messiah, why don't you come down from that cross? ... And Jesus had his own questions. Who do you say I am? Do you believe in the Son of Man? Can you drink the cup I'm going to drink? How do the scribes say that the Messiah is David's son? Couldn't you keep watch with me for a single hour? And finally and horribly: My God, my God, why did you abandon me? ... The reason there were so many questions, in both directions, was that-as historians have concluded for many years now-Jesus fitted no ready-made categories
Ultimately, the definition of both the wonder tale and the fairy tale, which derives from it, depends on the manner in which a narrator/author arranges known functions of a tale aesthetically and ideologically to induce wonder and then transmits the tale as a whole according to customary usage of a society in a given historical period. The first stage for the literary fairy tale involved a kind of class and perhaps even gender appropriation. The voices of the nonliterate tellers were submerged, and since women in most cases were not allowed to be scribes, the tales were scripted according to male dictates or fantasies, even though they may have been told by women. Put crudely, it could be said that the literary appropriation of the oral wonder tales served the hegemonic interests of males within the upper classes of particular communities and societies, and to a great extent this is true. However, such a statement must be qualified, for the writing down of the tales also preserved a great deal of the value system of those deprived of power. And the more the literary fairy tale was cultivated and developed, the more it became individualized and varied by intellectuals and artists, who often sympathized with those society marginalized or were marginalized themselves. The literary fairy tale allowed for new possibilities of subversion in the written word and in print, and therefore it was always looked upon with misgivings by the governing authorities in the civilization process.
People who are starving and dressed in rags don't want to hear someone read a list of propositional 'good news.' They want to see the good news in action. The church doesn't hold revival meetings and call it a day - we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, dig wells, and staff medical clinics. Social action isn't an optional part of evangelism; it is evangelism. This is an important correction to the overspirituality that dominated evangelical Christianity just a generation ago. But the both/and of holistic mission still misses the heart of Jesus if we don't see that the church needs the poor as much as the poor need the church. Jesus didn't embrace the poor only because he pitied them or because he knew he had the resources to help them. Jesus embraced the poor because they were rushing into the kingdom ahead of the scribes and Pharisees - those who called themselves God's people. Jesus welcomed people who knew poverty because they were ready to receive what he had to offer. Religious people, he said, could learn something from them. Our spiritual lives are linked to the material conditions of our life. When we feel like we don't need much materially, we often have trouble remembering why we need God. We comfortable Americans can go through an entire day without thinking of God. But Jesus gave the poor more than food to eat and relief from their sickness. He restored them to God's beloved community.