Up and Down Periscope

Another of life’s most embarrassing moments: a workshop on preaching and, I, at least ten years into ministry, confused the word “pericope” with periscope, as my spellcheck just did trying to make pericope into periscope by insisting it needed an “s.”

Not one for details, I simply glanced at the word, saw the “s” that wasn’t there and made an assumption, and you and I both know how to spell assume.

Not to use it as an excuse as much as an explanation, studies show that when readers are faced with sentences and paragraphs which omit letters, the reader can still read the paragraph because the brain simply supplies the missing letters. Okay, lame excuse. I tried.

Pericope {puh-rik-uh-pee] means an “extract from a text, especially a passage from the Bible.” It’s a word biblical scholars like to use to sound, well, scholarly.

It was in vogue in those days and as things come and go, I don’t know if it still is, in as much as I, in retirement, don’t do scholarly examinations of an extract from a biblical text anymore.

And, well, you know what a periscope {/ˈperəˌskōp/} is.

I thought periscope was a wonderfully fine word to use in the examination of a biblical text. You could really zoom in on it, so to speak.

One last try: when I did a proofread of this article, the spell check highlighted pericope and I had to hit “always ignore.” Obviously, the proofreaders at WordPress are not biblical scholars. All right already, I’ll give it up.

Back to class: the participants got a kick out of my ignorance while all I could think of in the moment was, “Down periscope.”


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