From: George Murphy (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Dec 03 2002 - 21:18:27 EST
Howard J. Van Till wrote:
> Excerpt from a recent post:
> > Jacob is not simply regarded as a good con artist. Jacob stole
> > from his older brother through cunning and his brother's failure
>to value it.
> > Jacob is not condemned by the Lord. In fact the Lord has already predicted
> > that the older will serve the younger. Isaac himself is agitated
> > trickery but does not reassign the birthright to Esau. That suggests to me
> > that cunning is favored in God's eyes.
> Here's another hypothesis to consider: Human nature -- especially as it is
> expressed within a zealous religious community -- is inclined toward making
> unwarranted and boastful claims of divine approval (or divine instruction)
> for its own lust for power and control.
> When we saw that in the 9/11 episode, we were repulsed. Should we be any
> less repulsed when we see it incorporated in canonical text?
You are making the same basic mistake that I was attempting
to correct in the
post to which this "excerpt" is a response - the idea that the story
of Jacob in Genesis
is presented as an example we are to admire and perhaps imitate.
That is indeed a
common error to which the Jewish and Christian traditions have been
subject, but there
is no reason to think that that's the intent of either the biblical
authors or the Holy
Spirit (if indeed one believes that the Holy Spirit has anything to
do with scripture.)
The Bible presents a lot of its heroes "warts & all" -
Abraham trading his wife
for his own safety, Jacob the swindler, David the adulterer, &c. There is no
reason to claim that these behaviors are being approved. Israel is
simply being honest
about who it is. Thus your last sentence - with its implied
criticism of the canonical
text - quite misses the point.
George L. Murphy
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