I have been swamped recently: meeting a publication deadline (a translation of the final volume of the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, which deals with Biblical Aramaic), attending the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in Boston, chairing an editorial board meeting there (with all the preparation entailed), presenting a paper there, holidays, family, and all the rest. Consequently, I have neglected this blog. A New Year approaches and I do not intend to wait for its arrival before acting on my resolve to be more attentive. For the next several weeks, I will be posting a series of lectures given last month at the First Presbyterian Church on the subject of:
“Seek the welfare of the city” (Jer 29:7)
Christian proponents of a variety of doctrinal statements, ethical stances, and public policy positions often proclaim their viewpoints “biblical” either because they assume that the status quo ante must represent the divine will or because their position seems best to reflect a single biblical passage or a small grouping of passages. One could argue that, Continue reading A Series of Biblical Vignettes A Propos Pledging Allegiance
The sun will be turned to darkness…before the coming of the … day of the Lord.
Eclipses, hurricanes, and earthquakes have dominated the twenty-four hour news cycle in recent days and weeks. Total solar eclipses seem infrequent and are magnificent, but entirely harmless (unless, of course, viewed with the naked eye) and predictably regular; hurricanes and earthquakes, especially when of the magnitude of Harvey and Irma or the Continue reading Eclipses, Hurricanes, and an Integrated Christian Worldview
For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deut 30:11-14 RSV)
This summer, I have been blogging about the harm done by propagating misinterpretations of scripture. In most cases, the scripture passages in question have at least been tricky enough to open the door for such misinterpretation – although not enough to excuse it. Recent events at Charlottesville, just a few miles to the west of my Continue reading Plain Language is Difficult to Misinterpret, but Easy to Ignore
“…you always have the poor…”
(Mark 14:7; Matt 26:11; John 12:8)
The two most recent entries in this blog have examined how people have used poor biblical interpretation of, admittedly, difficult texts to justify and undergird racism and misogyny. This entry turns attention to the ways in which some have perverted a saying of Jesus – who elsewhere called the poor blessed and equated how one treats the poor with Continue reading Perpetual Poverty?
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion. Let a woman learn in silence with all Continue reading Eve’s Curse
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah Continue reading The Curse of Ham: An Admonitory Case-Study in Misreading Scripture
In the most recent entry in this blog, I reacted to Brent Strawn’s, The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment by offering reflections concerning factors that may contribute to the phenomenon Strawn describes. This second entry on the subject will examine some of the dangers for believers and for the church inherent in Continue reading No Stream without a Source
A few days ago, an email brought to my attention a review of a new book by Emory OT professor Brent Strawn (The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment [Theological Explorations for the Church Catholic; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017]). Strawn concludes from surveys of biblical knowledge, statistics Continue reading No Stream without a Source