Having finished a study of 1 Corinthians, my Sunday school class proposed as its next topic to focus on the question of how works like Paul’s letters ended up as scripture—what the process is, and also how it changes the way we read them.
Recently in my Sunday school class, we continued a discussion that started the previous time, sparked by Hebrews 12, which depicts God as one who disciplines—or more literally “whips” or “flogs”—his children for their benefit. There was general agreement that, while some ancient people may have viewed misfortunes that came their way as divine punishment, there are good scientific, moral and even biblical grounds for challenging that viewpoint.
There are things which, when you are an inerrantist, never cross your mind, and yet when you cease to be one, you wonder how you could possibly have failed to think those thoughts, notice those things, and ask those questions.
Apparently the term “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin phrase “mandatum novum” meaning “new commandment.” The reference is to John 13, which features the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, followed by his statement about a new commandment he has given them, to love one another.
We actually reached this passage in my class on the Gospel of John yesterday, and had an interesting discussion about whether this commandment is “new,” and if so, in what sense.
Someone asked a question along these lines on Facebook recently, asking what one piece of evidence in particular persuades people to adopt the view that they do.
There are multiple things that I find particularly indicative. The reference to a dome in Genesis 1 is itself significant. But the point becomes even clearer if one knows other creation stories from the Ancient Near East.
Am I the only one who remembers a time, not so long ago, when Christians thought that their goal should be to bring the Christian message to those who needed to hear it, and not merely to surround themselves with other Christians to exchange Christian greetings with one another?
Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams, by Gareth Roberts. Drawn from one of Douglas Adams’s never-completed and never-aired episodes of Doctor Who, this story focuses on a megalomaniacal moral theologian. For anyone familiar with the show, it will be no spoiler to say that the entire universe is in danger as a result—and that the doctor saves the day.
The New York Times, the Harvard Gazette, The Huffington Post and other media outlets are breaking the news that Karen King, a scholar well known for her work on the phenomenon usually referred to as “Gnosticism,” has come into possession of and has been studying a Coptic papyrus fragment which is likely to be authentic, dates from around the 4th century, and has Jesus mention his wife.
Many of the recent discussions about “free speech” in connection with the internet video about Islam called “Innocense of Muslims,” the violent reactions to it, and the apologies for it, seem to me to miss the point.
A discussion I’ve been part of on Facebook illustrates something that I have said before on numerous occasions: ultimately, for those approaching the Bible as a sacred text, one has to choose between showing respect for the Bible above all, or giving ultimate authority to a doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.
Ultimately, We don’t have a crime problem or a gun problem – or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we ordered God out of our schools and communities, the military and public conversations, you know, we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.
been meaning for some time to come back to a topic that has been
garnering attention, the news that some Bible translations aimed at
predominantly Islamic contexts were not using the phrase “son of God,”
ever since I circulated an online article mentioning the news and was
met with expressions of concern because that particular piece posed the
matter in an inflammatory manner. (See Eddie Arthur’s blog post and longer pdf for more information.)
it comes to this issue of translation, I think that replacing “son of
God” with something else can be not only appropriate, but in keeping with
the spirit of the history of biblical translation.
I probably shouldn’t tamper with the wording of a song for the title of this post. Cee Lo Green has sparked
a lot of controversy with his New Year’s Eve rendition of John Lennon’s
“Imagine,” in which he changed “no religion, too” to “all religion’s
This past Sunday in my Sunday school class, we reached Romans 9.
I was struck recently for the first time by the possibility that Paul’s
use of texts in this section might be profoundly and perhaps