Re: Grounds for disbelief--- recommended books

From: Joel Cannon (
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 13:11:46 EDT

  • Next message: George Murphy: "Re: Grounds for disbelief"

    Hi Debbie:

    Don't have my books with me, and my memory is sieve-like, but I do
    recall some that discuss the topics.

    First, regarding the hot coals, I recall an article I did not read in
    a book by Krister Stendahl, "Paul among Jews and Gentiles." that
    argued that the verse was every bit as ghoulish as it sounds. I have
    the recollection that it was challenging attempts to sanitize the
    bible. He is/was(?) a careful and honest bible scholar which I take
    to be more important than being an evangelical (which he was not).

    Regarding the second, get Kenneth Bailey's "Poet and Peasant" and
    "Through Peasant Eyes". He made it his business to live in the middle
    East because the cultural insights he gained from being there where
    life was very similar to what life in Palestine was like in biblical
    times helped to understand the Bible, especially the parables (some
    villages still did have a word for wheel). Call Eerdmans in Grand
    Rapids (they have an 800 number) and ask for "The Bookstore" You can
    get a second for 70% off (about $7 if I recall---I have sold about 25
    of them over the years). It is a book to have above all others when
    reading the parables.

    > I have to little books by Bishop Pillai that discuss cultural habits of the
    > time which change the meaning of certain texts considerably. I would like
    > confirmation on some of his claims, as I find them challenging. One of them
    > is that 'heaping coals on the heads of one's enemies' actually referred to a
    > habit of carrying hot coals in a pot on one's head which was 'warming'. So
    > rather than being a statement of damnation, it was a statement that one
    > would warm up one's chilly enemies.
    > Anotehr was about the woman who lost her coin and swept the whole house
    > until she found it. He claims that this was a wedding coing and that losing
    > it would be grounds for divorce. The wedding coins were a special gift from
    > the husband's family and were worn in the hair on special occasions.
    > Has anybody done research into this kind of cultural interpretation of the
    > Bible?
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On
    > Behalf Of Jan de Koning
    > Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 9:59 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: Grounds for disbelief
    > At 06:04 PM 02/06/2003 -0400, wrote:
    > By Aviva Lori
    > Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein and his colleagues are stirring controversy
    > with contentions that many biblical stories never happened, but were written
    > by what he calls `a creative copywriter' to advance an ideological agenda.
    > link:
    > bContrassID=14&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y
    > rich
    > Finally, I cannot resist the temptation to say something in a debate that I
    > have been involved in for many years, probably for fifty years or more.
    > "Never happened" and "advance an ideological agenda" are expressions which
    > have a certain "ideological" background. Expressions like that do not help.
    > All of us are Christians, the ASA is after all an organization of
    > Christians, according to its statutes. That means that all of us accept the
    > Bible. If anyone not the death and resurrection has no meaning for that
    > person, and such a person has no right to call himself a Chrisrian. That
    > non-Christians disagree with me, us, is nothing new. Nor is it new that
    > outsiders don't accept the Bible.
    > My remarks here do not mean, that therefor our differences have no meaning.
    > >From my own experience I would say, that the greatest difficulty is, that
    > many have not had a basic Christian schooling, and accept Christianity only
    > for part of their life, which means that when they study, they do not try to
    > fit their daily studies into their Christian acceptance of the Bible.
    > I have to add here right away, that accepting the Bible does not mean, that
    > therefor you have to read it as a science-text, nor do you have to put it
    > aside as something irrelevant for your daily studies. But, as you go out of
    > your way in your "scientific" studies, you should go "out of your way" in
    > your biblical studies. Both are founded on the works of the same God who
    > will not fool you in either place. That means that you should be doing a
    > lot more than just saying "Science" says, or the "Bible"says. It is just
    > laziness (sorry, for saying it that way, but I don't know another way) to
    > say, "the Bible says", or "Science" says, without giving any thorough reply
    > to the difficulties raised. Thus far I missed that. I do not want to get
    > involved again. Thus far I have not seen any thorough discussion of the
    > Bible, which takes into account the studies of orthodox Christian
    > theologians, who reject the way some try to get out of the difficulties by
    > saying you have to read the Bible as a beginner in the 21st century will
    > read it. Readers on this forum should not be beginners, either in Bible
    > reading, nor in science.
    > >From the side of the "literal" readers of the Bible, I miss very much a
    > discussion of the language, human history, philosophies etc. of the peoples
    > in biblical times. Their story telling is different. An example which most
    > of us accept is Jesus' telling of stories. We call them parables. Another
    > place where we see it in modern history telling. As my name indicates, I am
    > originally a Dutch Calvinist. The way I read about the Dutch-English wars
    > in the seventeenth century is very different in Dutch books than it is in
    > English books. That is only a few centuries ago. As long as we do not talk
    > about the history AND philosophies of the Bible-writers we are not getting
    > anywhere. The arguments are often not replied to, nor even heard, which
    > makes this discussion utterly uselees and frustrating.
    > Jan de Koning

    Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146
    Physics Department |
    Washington and Jefferson College |
    Washington, PA 15301 |

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