July 13: Eutychus on Bultman Reads Mother Goose

As Monty said, “And now for something completely different.”

Like all humor, what follows is at least funny if you’ve not seen it before. Otherwise it may come off a bit droll. This was found a while back while processing the Papers of the Rev. Albert F. (“Bud”) Moginot, Jr.  A note in the corner of the sheet indicates that it was received from Dr. W. Harold Mare, via Bastiaan Van Elderen.

But my main purpose in posting this is also to inquire about the author of this parody. The stated author is one “Jack Lindquist.” But Andreas J. Köstenberger, in a footnote in his Excellence : The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue attributes the piece to Dr. Edmund P. Clowney. Dr. Clowney was not above using a pseudonym on occasion and for years he authored the regular column “Eutychus and His Kin” in Christianity Today under that pseudonym of “Eutychus.” There was even a gathered collection of the best of those columns, published in the volume Eutychus and His Pen (Eerdmans, 1960). I have a signed copy here in the Historical Center. I think it was only when he decided to stop writing those columns that his identity was finally revealed.

But is Köstenberger correct in attributing this little parody to Dr.Clowney? Dr. Köstenberger certainly had the connections to be knowledgeable about the matter. Maybe someone else can fill in the story. Regardless, in its own way it is a wonderfully inventive striking at the root of the so-callled higher criticism.

Anyway, here it is:

by Jack Lindquist

I-A    Hey diddle-diddle
I-B    The Cat and the Fiddle
II-A   The cow jumped over the moon.
II-B  The little dog laughed to see such sport,
III-   And the dish ran away with the spoon.

1.  Authorship and Date.  Internal evidence rejects the view that we have here an original composition by Mary (Mother) Goose of Boston (1686-1743).[1]  The phrasing of I-A is definitely late 18th century, since the Goose Period would have rendered it “diddley-diddley” (and thus “fiddley” in I-B).  Furthermore, the sequence “cat-cow-dog-dish” represents an obvious redaction and is a compilation of at least four different accounts.[2]  Thus, the author of the piece is unknown,[3] and its date is set between 1789 and 1820.[4]  The Sitz im Leben of the Depression of 1815 may be reflected in III.

2.  Text.  The received text is very corrupt.  The mythological element in II-A is typical of many other interpolations, as in the anthropomorphism in II-B.[5]  However, I-A may be original, excluding, of course, the “hey.”[6]

3.  Interpretation.  Stripped of its thought forms, the piece tells us of somethingrevolutionary as existentially encountered by three animals, two cooking implements, and one musical instrument.[7]

Footnotes :
[1.]  Discussed in F. Saurkraut, Gooses Werke, Vol. XXVII, pp. 825-906; G. F. W. Steinbanger, Gooserbrief, pp. 704-862; Festschrift fur Baron von Munchausen, pp. xiii-xx; R. Pretzelbender, Die Goosensinqer vom Boston, p. 10.

[2.]  See P. Katzenjammer in Goosengeschichtliche Schule Jahrbuch, Vol. X.

[3.]  Some attribute it to Mary’s grandson, Wild Goose (1793-1849), and others to Wild Goose’s nephew, Cooked (1803-1865).  Both views are challenged by A. Kegdrainer in the 30-volume prolegomenon, Gooseleider, Vol. XV.

[4.]  F. Pfeffernusse contends it is an English translation of a German original by the infant  Wagner.  See his Goose und Volkgeist, pp. 38-52; also his Geist und Volkqoose, pp. 27-46.

[5.] The authenticity of both II-A and II-B is poorly argued by the redactionary American Goosologist Carl Sandbag in his Old Glory and Mother Goose (see Vol. IV, The Winters in the South, p. 357.

[6.]  The meaning of the word “hey” is now hopelessly obscure.  See my articles on “Hey, that aint” and “Hey, what the” in Goosengrease, Fall, 1942.

[7.]  Perhaps an eclipse of the moon?


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