Sayings of a Gadfly
by Max Maxwell

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 The Gadfly met a professor of literature. 

The professor said, “These ancient religious texts cannot mean to us today what they meant to the people who wrote them.  We cannot know the authors' true intention from reading their work.  Therefore, it is ridiculous to make those texts of such importance for modern life.”

The Gadfly said, “Is it true that we cannot know from an author’s works what was intended?  So what?  We are not photocopiers; and literature is not fodder for mindless machines.  Rather, literature is food for living souls.  If contact with literature engenders something new within a soul, we do not face the death of interpretation.  We face the best of what literature has to offer.  As pollen passed from flower to flower engenders life, so it is with literature passed from human to human.  It is a tragedy of the heart and mind when we restrict ourselves to the intentions of authors and new life is not allowed to grow.  If we are faithful in our reading of the great texts, but fail to read the text of life, we have let die the very part of us which literature is meant to serve.”

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© Copyright 2014 Kenneth J Maxwell Jr.