Plain Ol’ Bad Writing (Joshua 12-14)

These chapters were trying. Not as bad as Genesis (so-and-so begot so-and-so), but bad.

Joshua 12 is a long list of all the different people that the Israelites slaughtered to get the special land that God promised them. It’s all just desert out there, isn’t it?

Joshua 13 kicks off with a sparkling example of good writing: “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years…” (Jos 13:1). Maybe they were trying to reach a certain word count. I’ve seen that before. I was a battleaxe of a TA a few years back and developed an acute sensitivity to bad writing, having marked one too many philosophy papers using the following introductory sentence: “Since the dawn of time, man has sought to answer the question of…”.

No word of a lie, I once marked a paper on empiricism versus rationalism that relied way too heavily on examples from the movie the Matrix. I think this kid believed the matrix was real because he ended his paper by saying something along the lines of “if you don’t believe me then check out this wicked website”. Oh, and it was handwritten in pencil on lined paper. I wanted to fail this kid so bad but the limpdick of a professor thought I was being too critical. Really? What happened to standards? This is why bad writing is as rampant as herpes.

Here is a personal hero of mine:

Joshua 13 parcels out the different lands that the different tribes inherit. It’s about as exciting as the reading of a will if you’re the third cousin of the deceased and stand to inherit little more than commemorative plates. The funniest bit in all of this is that for some reason, the tribe of Levi gets nada because “the Lord God is their inheritance, as he said to them” (Jos 14:33). That’s a raw deal.

Despite his best efforts, Joshua actually gets criticized by God for not taking over enough land. From what I remember (through my ever-present haze of Shiraz), the only thing Joshua did was kill people and take over land. It’s like when you were a kid and you brought home your math test on which you scored 95% and your Dad was like, “Where’s the other 5%?”.

Maybe it was just one of those “Dad jokes” I couldn’t appreciate.

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. If the matrix isn’t real, then how come when people shoot at me, the bullets go really slow?

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