Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Mon Dec 08 2008 - 20:19:53 EST

Murray is right that religious syncretism was a major concern militating
against mixed marriages, though that doesn't seem to have been a serious
issue in some individual cases - & of course when the non-Israelite became a
worshipper of YHWH (as seems to be implied for Rahab & Ruth). (& on the
spinoff topic, Rahab is an interesting example. Zero is said against her
because of her "profession.") After the return from exile the small group
of Jews in & around Jerusalem were surrounded by much larger groups of goyim
& intermarriage could quickly have led to their religious character being
swamped.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm
----- Original Message -----
From: "Murray Hogg" <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
To: "ASA" <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 5:45 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

> For what it's worth...
>
> 1. It's nice to see a 20 year old get passionate about the right things -
> when I was 20 I was considerably less perceptive :)
>
> 2. I believe that the issue here was religion not race?
>
> I don't have the scripture references to hand, but I believe the
> prohibition against intermarriage is repeatedly connected with the danger
> of religious syncretism - so in the Deuteronomic code, in the warnings to
> the Israelites prior to entering the Promised Land, in the case of Solomon
> and his many wives, in the case of the "natives" of the land when the Jews
> returned from Babylon, etc.
>
> In respects of race, hospitality to the stranger and alien is an
> unambiguously commanded the Torah.
>
> I think it is perhaps only because Jewishness is seen as a racial category
> that it becomes difficult for everybody - Jew and non-Jew alike - to draw
> the requisite distinctions between racial and religious exclusivism. In
> some respects it reminds me of the "love the sin and hate the sinner"
> dilemma - it's easy to make such distinctions but it's hard to arrive at a
> universally valid statement of what it looks like in practice.
>
> Blessings,
> Murray
>
> gmurphy10@neo.rr.com wrote:
>> Yes, Abraham didn't want his son to marry a Canaanite but the point is
>> that that apparently had lower priority than staying in the promised
>> land. & later in Genesis Joseph is married to an Egyptian, of "the
>> cursed line of Ham." The ancestors of 2 of Israel's tribes result from
>> this union & nobody seems concerned about that.
>>
>> Shalom,
>> George
>>
>> ---- Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net> wrote:
>>> Hi George:
>>> The point here would be that the Canaanites were from the cursed line
>>> from Ham, whereas Mesopotamia was home to Semites and the land of Canaan
>>> was not the land designated to Ham but to Shem. So it is both stay in
>>> the land allotted to you and chose a wife from the proper branch of the
>>> family tree. Racial purity is not the issue, I agree, but family
>>> bloodlines due appear to have importance, at least at this juncture as
>>> it pertains to the line of promise leading to Christ. I see nothing in
>>> this message that tells us today who we should marry or not marry -
>>> except to say we are encouraged to be equally yoked, i.e., Christians
>>> should marry Christians.
>>> Dick Fischer, GPA president
>>> Genesis Proclaimed Association
>>> "Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"
>>> www.genesisproclaimed.org
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
>>> Behalf Of George Murphy
>>> Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 12:26 PM
>>> To: ASA list
>>> Subject: [asa] promise trumps biology
>>> People have sometimes placed a lot of emphasis on the idea of
>>> biological
>>> continuity and "purity" in the Bible, especially the OT. Israel as
>>> God's "chosen people" has sometimes been understood in terms of
>>> biological isolation & some have tried to draw into this ideas about
>>> selective breeding for superior offspring &c. (Some here may remember
>>> Rich Faussette's contributions to the list some time ago.) With that in
>>> mind it's interesting to look at the instructions that
>>> Abraham gives his servant about getting a wife for Isaac in Gen.24:1-9.
>>> The servant is 1st told to swear that he won't get a wife for Isaac from
>>> the Canaanites, but to go back Mesopotamia and get a bride for him from
>>> among Abraham's relatives. OK, the servant says, but what if the woman
>>> won't come here with me? Should I take your son to back Mesopotamia? &
>>> Abraham says "See that you do not take my son back there." If the
>>> woman won't come then the servant is free of his oath but Isaac is not
>>> to go back to Mesopotamia.
>>> Now we're not told what should be done about a wife for Isaac in that
>>> case but a wife there had to be because of the promise about Abraham's
>>> descendants. The important point though is that remaining in Canaan,
>>> which is part of God's promise to Abraham & his descendants (Gen.12:7
>>> &c), seems to be more important than whatever idea of "racial purity"
>>> may be involved.
>>> Of course there are a number of other texts that speak against those
>>> notions of racial purity (e.g., Ruth), an idea that didn't really become
>>> important until after the exile with Ezra & Nehemiah. But the fact that
>>> this text occurs at such a important point in the patriarchal history
>>> gives it added significance.
>>> Shalom
>>> George http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm
>>
>>
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Received on Mon Dec 8 20:20:52 2008

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