Poetry and Imprecision

But what if the written word is not identifiably personal or about human relations? What if the ideas expressed in the texts don’t bind to any kind of honest analysis of the facts? What if the semantics are so diffuse that they are open to almost any interpretation?

Then we have poetry.

On the Bay Area’s KQED Forum, Elaine Pagels talks about the Book of Revelation and her new book, its influence, misinterpretation, reinterpretation, and the scholarship that surrounds it.

Poetry is hidden and mystical. This makes it great in inspiring interpretation but also great in the breadth of the imaginable interpretations. Imprecision can inspire monumental achievements and horrific human tragedies–likely in about the same proportions. Luckily, we now have the power to parody and deconstruct it all without fear and with the building knowledge that through that deconstruction we can better account for an understanding of the humanity of others.

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