On slippery slopes

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A quote stolen from James Mcgrath, quoting Robert Cargill:

Also understand that the “slippery slope” claim of “all of the Bible is true or none of it is true” is simply an unnecessary rhetorical device designed to keep readers from doing precisely what scholars do every day: analyze each claim in the Bible on a case-by-case basis. It is not necessary to accept an “all or none” stance towards the Bible.

I wasn’t going to get into the whole “slippery slope” argument but I did have a couple of thoughts on it - my general stance on authority-of-Scripture discussions these days is pretty much exasperation that we’re still having this stupid debate. Read more about On slippery slopes

Somewhat behind the Times

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Yesterday’s Sunday Times (it was my father-in-law’s) says:

At this time of year somebody always seems to offer a radical new interpretation of the scriptures. The latest comes from Adam Bradford, a biblical scholar and GP who claims Christ was not, after all, the son of a humble carpenter. After studying Greek texts, Dr Bradford says Joseph was actually an architect or master builder of great social standing. It was only a mistranslation of the Greek word “tekton” that placed him at the carpenter’s lathe.

- Final word: That was a heavenly dinner party

A “new interpretation” first arrived at by that well-known radical, Origen of Alexandria in 248AD:

He next scoffs at the “tree,” assailing it on two grounds, and saying, “For this reason is the tree introduced, either because our teacher was nailed to a cross, or because he was a carpenter by trade;” not observing that the tree of life is mentioned in the Mosaic writings, and being blind also to this, that in none of the Gospels current in the Churches is Jesus Himself ever described as being a carpenter.

Cheeses of Nazareth

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Honest-to-goodness conversation with Hen last night:

Me: I found a bit where it talks about cheese in the Bible.
H: Where’s that?
Me: In the story of David and Goliath, David brings ten cheeses to his brothers’ unit.
H: There’s another bit that talks about cheese.
Me: Where’s that?
H: Right at the beginning.
Me: Huh?
H: In the Garden of Edam. Read more about Cheeses of Nazareth

Actually, they're right on that one...

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So I’ve been hearing lots of laughs about the Conservative Bible translation - I’m not going to dignify them with a link, they don’t deserve the publicity they’re getting already - and how American Christianity is finally coming to terms with the fact that the Bible just doesn’t fit their ideology and needs to be rewritten.

At least they’re explicit about their ideological assumptions, which, let’s face it, is better than most. We all have ‘em.

But some of the criticism I’ve heard is not always justified. Read more about Actually, they're right on that one...

Biblical Inerrancy once again

I was about to write something about how evangelical authors (I was looking particularly at Chris Wright, in his “Mission of God”) do not take canon formation seriously, because if they did, then Chicago-inerrancy gets a bit fuzzy and then they realise they don’t have a magisterium. All die, oh the embarrassment.

And then along came this quote, which is superb: Read more about Biblical Inerrancy once again

Are the Psalms good theology?

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So as I mentioned, I've been reading through the Psalms recently, and it's been very interesting. But one niggle I've had is that I don't quite know how to read the Psalms - it's in the Bible as the songbook and praise book of the people of God. But how much of it is humans praising God, and how much of it is God telling us how to praise?

Doing the full Koyama

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Kosuke Koyama is a preacher and theologian whose work I really enjoy and am inspired by. This is the operative bit of Sunday's sermon on Exodus 3. There's more, which I'll put up when I've finished the translation, but this is the theological key to the passage as far as I'm concerned. Nothing here is Koyama's words, but his spirit was definitely at work while I was writing it. My pastor, whose sermon style is very different, asked me after checking my Japanese “How do you come up with this kind of meditation?” Well, I just look at the text, then a look at a map, then I ask stupid questions, and I try to find the answers…