This class already coming in handy

I am only one chapter into one of the books for my next grad. class (the book is “The Continuing Conversion of the Church” by Darrell Guder) and am already benefiting from the discussions of this class.  For example, if I had read “The Bible itself became a battleground as scholars refined and expanded the newly developed tools of historical and literary criticism” (Guder p. 16) before our class, I would have had no idea what was being talked about.  This book has mentioned the Enlightenment’s impact on Biblical interpretation and has mentioned Wellhausen and others that would have meant little to me before.  So already, I am better off from our class.

Thought on Enns

I have really enjoyed reading this book so far. It was been very insightful and thought provoking. I loved the section where he dealt with incarnation stories of the bible.  Christ is the most important incarnation story of the bible! Enns hit a home run for me when he talked about the magnitude of Christ in the biblical story. “He is the one in whom Israel’s story reaches its climax… Christ is the final destiny of Israel’s story, and it is to him that the Bible as a whole bears witness,” (110). The title of the book resonated in my mind as I finished reading the chapter. God’s holy word, the scriptures, is built on a foundation of divine inspiration. God’s Word, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate incarnation story of all time. His story, some people refer to as history, is full of God interacting with his people. The beauty of His story is revealed when every part of history collides with the cross.

On Lesson 4

While reading the historical introduction to Gilgamesh, I was interested to learn that writing was ultimately created due to the need for canals. We are taught in school that writing (sometimes we hear cuneiform) was first used in certain ancient cities, but I’m not sure I ever understood why a written language was needed, or why it was used in some ancient cultures but not others. Learning a little more about the historical aspects surrounding the Gilgamesh story, gives me an even greater appreciation for these ancient cultures and their significance when compared to biblical culture. Likewise, I found the section on the Akkadian cuneiform to be fascinating. Learning Hebrew doesn’t seem so bad, when compared with the idiosyncrasies of the Akkadian language.

 

When it comes to the flood, I think a comparison can be made between Gilgamesh and the Bible. As stated here, perhaps the reason the Gilgamesh flood was not worldwide was because the people in that place had no knowledge of the rest of the world. I think it is also important to note that while the descriptions of specific events may differ greatly between Gilgamesh and the Bile, the themes are very similar between the two. Aren’t themes more important anyway? Aren’t themes what allow us to say biblical truth exists in literature, movies, other art forms, and in the lives of others? Just a thought…

Week 5

Before reading the text concerning Jewish Women’s Scholarly Writing on the Bible, I thought it was going to be a lot like reading a Christian woman’s interpretation of the Bible, or a man’s interpretation of a woman’s interpretation and so on…Unfortunately, many of the authors of those articles tend to have an opinion, and then find ways in which the Bible fits that opinion. While this article discussed that somewhat, I found it interesting that the value of Jewish women’s scholarship can be seen in “those works that draw on the creative imagination of the author. These works may fall at or outside the margins of the scholarly world, but as personal reflections that attempt to address contemporary women through ancient texts, they have the potential to reach a general audience that may also be open to a new way of reading the Bible” (2005). I just think this is really neat. Any thoughts?

On Inspiration and Incarnation

I’m going to go ahead and comment on Enns’ book, even though I’ll probably end up using some of what I put here in my review. I enjoyed reading it, but like some of you, it took me longer to get through the book than I anticipated, and I’m sure I will reread many of its parts while writing my review.

 

First of all, I applaud the author’s willingness to address issues that many others would prefer to avoid, and while others may disagree with me, I feel that he does so with a relatively open mind. Like Enns, I agree that “God honors our honest questions,” and in an attempt to create constructive conversation, Enns questions nearly every idea we as Christians grew up with.

 

On page 13, Enns writes, “these are the “primary readers I envision for this book, those who desire to maintain a vibrant and reverent doctrine of Scripture, but who find it difficult to do so because they find familiar and conventional approaches to newer problems to be unhelpful.” In many ways I am one of these people, and so I appreciated a lot of what Enns had to say. I especially appreciated his explanation of the Bible as the word of God, compared to Christ as the Word. Enns writes, “as Christians we must remember that we believe not only that the Bible is the word of God, but that Christ himself is the word….the Bible is God’s word in written form; Christ is God’s word in human form” (110). While I have known each of these statements to be true, I don’t know if I had ever linked the two before.

 

Anyways, I thought I would point out some of the things I liked about the book. These are my thoughts thus far, what are yours?

Solve This Riddle

Crucifix on Charles Bridge in Prague

Crucifix on Charles Bridge in Prague

We saw this statue on the Charles Bridge in Prague. This is not meant to be frivolous, but there are some important lessons from history you can learn. We will do this as a class project next week, but your assignment is to translate the Hebrew and explain the significance of this piece of art. You may want to begin by transcribing the Hebrew letters. That’s just the first step. Here is a close-up of the inscription:

Closeup

Closeup

Below the crucifixion statue there is an inscription explaining it.

Inscription

Inscription

Here is a closeup of the inscription:

Explanation of Crucifix

Explanation of Crucifix

Pay Attention

The home page may look the same when you come back, but I have been updating some of the other pages. I just added a sub-page under lesson 4 on “The Nature of Biblical Scholarship.” I plan to add one more, an introduction to Wellhausen, this week. You should try to read all of these by Monday. We will be going into more detail on some of these points next week.

I have also added a couple more sites to the “Blogroll.” These are other sites that you should explore, taking full advantage of your free curiosity. They are not “assignments” per se, but they are resources you may find helpful in doing some of your assignments for this class.

In particular, I highly recommend using the site “Codex” (see under “Blogroll” on the right).  It has recommendations of commentaries that you will find helpful when writing your research paper.  It also has charts that you might want to compare (not copy!) when making your “Bible on One Page.”

See you soon!