The essence of scriptural exegesis

The Barefoot Bum captures the essential moves in the game. A correspondent had spent considerable effort in describing a so-called “Message-Incident Principle”, which was supposed to guide the process of understanding the true meaning (or, perhaps, meanings) of scripture, and Larry summarized it thus:

  1. If the text fits your preconceived notions and doesn’t get you laughed at, it’s literally true
  2. If you can’t swallow the text, arbitrarily choose a metaphor to read into it
  3. If you have to swallow the text anyway, invoke a miracle to choke it down