Don’t Be So Garrulous

In the Introduction to his commentary on Philemon, the late John W. Robbins writes:

“Philemon is one of the shortest books of the Bible, and commentators, apparently because it is short, have tended to slight it. They seem to assume that anything short cannot be important or profound, but they should know better. The Twenty-third Psalm is short, only 117 words in English, and it is both theologically and philosophically profound. The Lord’s Prayer is only 66 words, and it is a model of theological precision and profundity. The notion that something short cannot be important or profound does not hold true even for uninspired writings:

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is 272 words, and it may be America’s greatest speech. Einstein’s 1905 paper on the theory of relativity was both brief and revolutionary. Brevity, clarity, and profundity are three virtues missing from the modern world, whose writers and thinkers are garrulous, vague, and shallow, loving to hear themselves talk and delighting in confusing others. Long before there were Internet narcissists, there were literary narcissists” (John W. Robbins, Slavery & Christianity, p. 7; underlining mine–CD).

The underlined portion stood out to me. I underlined it because it stood out; it did not stand out because I underlined it (in case anyone was wondering).