You Can’t Speed-Read The Bible

(Adam begat Seth; Seth begat Enos; Enos begat Cainan; Cainan begat Mahalaleel; Mahalaleel begat Jared; Jared begat Enoch; Enoch begat Methuselah…)

Look, I know that The Bible is a work of incredibly significant literary, historical and religious value, essentially setting out mankind’s system of morality, social orders and individual freedom for about three thousand years, but by the Eight it’s a dense bastard to get through; that subtitle, with the lists of people (only men!) being born to other people (still more men!), isn’t an exaggeration, an entire chapter of Genesis runs like that.

I’m sure that I’ve been conditioned by reading tweets and punchy newspaper headlines over the last ten years or so of my life, so it’s an understandable surprise to read something consisting of really long-ass sentences, but that doesn’t make it any harder; I’ve been trying to get through the fifty chapters of Genesis by tomorrow for a seminar, and I’ve had to give up after doing thirty-five in about three quarters of an hour, because there’s only so much Abram name-changing and self-circumcising one can take in one session.

And sorry if this post is a bit limp and lifeless; reading that damn tome has been on my mind quite a bit today, having quoted it far too often in my first Paradise Lost essay (which I’ve not finished, except from the surprisingly specific bibliography one must include), and now having read it continuously for a while. Honestly, today I got up, tried to walk after screwing my legs up at various sporting clubs over the last week (I could – barely), wrote my essay, then read The Bible.

I knew that parts of being an English student would be like this though, and I’m not complaining about the tasks I’ve been set, I’m more surprised with how different it is compared to A-level work, or reading in general; A-levels weren’t necessarily easier, but then it was all about reading a book over the course of a year, making notes on every small detail and exploring them in multiple essays. Now we’ll cover the billion-page Bible in an hour and a half’s worth of seminar, write no essays no it, and be expected to pass an exam on it at the end of the year.

I’ve always been motivated to do things, but only the things that would result in punishments if I didn’t do them, and if those punishments were made apparent on a daily basis; I’d do homework because I was in school for seven hours a day, five days a week, and you can’t really hide from teachers for that long. But now I’m at uni three days a week, for at most three hours at a time, so I’ve suddenly got a shit-load of ‘free time’ that I know I should be using to read, but motivating yourself to actually do things for yourself takes a bit of getting used to.

This isn’t helped by the fact that when I decide to do something for myself – read The Bible – I come out the other end with weird names swimming around my head, and feeling as brain-dead as you would at the end of a seven-hour Football Manager marathon.

But as I keep telling myself whenever university is difficult – I’m here to learn, not to be learned. So I’ll now shut up and get on with that learning.

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4 thoughts on “You Can’t Speed-Read The Bible

    1. Very well, in terms of work and societies and stuff! But I’m too introverted and crap at human contact for it to be perfect – I accidentally bailed on a friend over the weekend and I missed the entire English dept having a pub quiz together :’)

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