THE PROFESSOR THRUPIECE THEOLOGY SPOT
Being an occasional series in which a leading theologian answers questions of theological concern. Today former Bishop of Chedington, the Right Reverend Dew Teronnomy is asked...
Was Moses a Basket Case?
TPTTS: Was Moses a basket case?
DT: That is a most interesting question.
TPTTS: And is there an interesting answer?
DT: Well not really. You see, theologically speaking, opinion is divided: which is to say there is a very fine line between being in - shall we conjecture - a "divine spiritual trance" and being "mentally unstable" as we might define it in today's sanitised psycho-medical terminology. Whilst is is reasonable to animadvert that Moses was often not "in his right mind" such a proposition is open to interpretation from a modern and perhaps teleologically secularist position from the perspective of which any proto-psychotic condition is rationalised and described in the functionalist vocabulary of post-Freudian objectified science. Might such a statement rather imply that he was in a state of enlightened - nay God-given hyper-perception - amounting to shall we say a "state of grace" - rather than simply "bonkers"? I would have to say that though, as a practicing Christian, I lean somewhat towards the former, the jury is - in more general theological and even metaphysical/para-psychological terms - still "out" and therefore the question remains to all intents and purposes unsettled and even, dare I suggest, otiose.
TPTTS: You are right. That is not an interesting answer... Moving on, we frequently hear references to Moses and his tablets. What might these be?
DT: I wouldn't care to speculate on that point. We know so little about ancient medicaments it is dangerous - nay irresponsible - even to hazard a guess as to what prescription or indeed none prescription drugs he was taking at the time. I imagine you are implying that LSD comes into it somewhere and possibly temazepam in the case of the more serious episodes, but until and unless we find the pharmacopoeic equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls, all such talk is, I am afraid, mere speculation.
TPTTS: Thank you Bishop Teronnomy and Good Night!
NEXT TIME: The former Chaplain of Bettiscombe College is asked "Could Noah count to three?"
The idea that Moses may have been a "basket case" is of unfathomably ancient historical standing. Here in a surviving fragment of early Sumerian art, the young Moses is depicted in an actual basket: perhaps a metaphor, perhaps a pictorial narrative allegory; in any event a piece of historical iconography of deep and lasting significance even in our own less spiritual times.