â€œThe principal function of Biblical exegesisâ€, wrote Dobson in jaunty mood one morning, â€œis for me to look with disdain upon the minnows who have trod these paths before me.â€
The finest of Dobsonâ€™s exercises in Biblical scholarship is his pamphlet The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypseâ€¦ Or Were They? (out of print). The title is a tad puzzling, but not for long, for in the very first sentence Dobson states his case. â€œI avow,â€ he wrote â€œthat there were no horsemen of the Apocalypse, nor, if there had been, were they four in number.â€ In the sixty pages that follow, he argued that a combination of mistranslation, forgery, and carelessness had altered the original text, so that â€œfourâ€ was correctly â€œtwoâ€, and â€œhorsemenâ€ was properly Englished as â€œcowsâ€, or possibly â€œbeesâ€.
Challenged by the local papal nuncio after publication as to how two cows or two bees could symbolise famine, war, pestilence and death, Dobson countered with a theological sally, probably the greatest of his sallies, theological or otherwise. Sadly, there is no record of what he said, for Marigold Chewâ€™s recently-purchased Boswellite tape recorder was out of order, having been placed too close to the toaster that morning, and consequently smothered in a particularly toothsome marmalade.