I teach a Sunday school class at Burnaby Alliance Church and the fellow who normally edits the recordings asked me to do it today. It is an interesting experience editing your own lecture. It is good to hear yourself speak and know that it will be posted on the web for everyone to learn from. It is also good to have the chance to edit out dead spots and throat clearings and so forth. However, I also took the opportunity to remove one error – I meant to compare the Chinese words ni and nimen to the English you, singular and plural, but I misspoke and said ta and tamen instead. Rather then sound ignorant for posterity sake I removed the reference. I also realised that because people can hear my answers to questions but not always the question itself they sometimes miss the context of my reply (sounds familiar?). I also realised that when I repeat the question future listeners may not realise that it is a question from the audience that I am repeating. This is especially true if I also edit out the time lapse during which they asked the question. Does this sound similar to arguments over whether Paul was repeating something written to him or making a statement himself? I tried to retain a little of the dead spot so that people will realise that I am responding to a question or comment from a student. I also realised that in future I will have to be more deliberate in restating questions and ensuring that listeners will understand the context.
There are many analogies to the biblical material and I think that all professors should have the pleasure of editing their lecture tapes on at least one occasion so they will understand what is involved. I also think that as schools increasingly turn to tape sales as a way of increasing student access to lectures (as well as making extra coin) they should recognise that what the listener hears may not be what the professor intended as he or she delivered their lecture to students in class who understood the exact context, including weather, environment, local and international news at that time, holidays, etc. A lecture removed from its context may require just as much hermeneutical effort as the interpretation of ancient texts.