Pointless Knowledge

Seneca spoke critically of literary snobs who could speculate for hours about whether The Iliad or The Odyssey was written first, or who the real author was (a debate that rages on today). He disliked hearing people chatter about which Roman general did this or that first, or which received this or that honor. “Far too many good brains,” he said, “have been afflicted by the pointless enthusiasm for useless knowledge.”

I find this point of Seneca’s to be disturbingly true even today, 2,000 years later.

Today is celebrated in many Christian traditions as Maundy Thursday, a remembrance of Jesus Passover meal with his friends just before his arrest.

Scholars may think it was only the Twelve plus Jesus. Some have suggested that there may have been more disciples there than the Twelve. What does it matter?

I believe Jesus had a dinner celebrating both the tradition of Israel’s emancipation from Egypt and anticipation of God’s working in the world again. Later, he was put on a quick trial, found guilty (sort of), executed, and then came back to life. All this in four days–Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in our calendar.

It is good to remember.

When his close friend John remembered later in life and wrote his memoir, he called Jesus the Light of the World. That is what we celebrate. And what we try to incorporate into our life.

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