Politics Magazine

Bible-Landia

Posted on the 30 November 2012 by Steveawiggins

It takes a mighty powerful stimulus to get the media to pay attention to biblical scholars. It is no surprise, therefore, when the Society of Biblical Literature meets with the American Academy of Religion each November that, for a few days a year, Bible becomes chic. This year various newspaper articles appeared, perhaps warning Chicagoans what all these crusty professors were doing invading their fair city, but the one that caught my eye was in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle is the purveyor of all that is high-brow and sophisticated, epithets seldom applied to the Bible. The story in November 19’s edition made this clear by throwing in a little scandal—some Bible scholars believe the Bible to be “morally bankrupt.” Now there’s a twist. Nor is it really that hard to understand. Anyone who’s read the Bible seriously will have to admit to having squirmed a time or two at the moral implications. Dashing babies heads against the rocks will be one of those places.

IMG_0513

In a society accustomed to seeing in black and white, morally at least, it is difficult to get the religiously convicted to admit that the Bible is a pastiche. Some parts are morally sublime (yes, even in the Hebrew Bible where “love your neighbor as yourself” originates) while others are ethically execrable (can I get an amen from the babies?). It is always interesting to see friends quoted in the media. I taught Hebrew Bible for 18 years without anyone really being that interested (including most students). I guess maybe I wasn’t radical enough. To me the Bible has to be viewed in balance, the moment one falls on their knees before it the corruption has begun. Interestingly, the article focuses on the New Testament side of the equation. That’s where the sexier conflicts wallow.

People arguing about the Bible. Is there anything more representative of American culture? It happens every four years, at least. Ironically the Bible quite often stresses the unity of those who believe. With thousands of denominations mutually excommunicating each other, one has to wonder if the Bible is living up to its full potential. Not that anyone will notice. Amid all the well-heeled, tenured professors, satisfied with their lot in life mill the hundreds who’ve spent thousands earning their advanced degrees. They are the lost generation—those for whom there are no, never were any, jobs. They are every bit as capable, and in many instances even more capable, than their tenured compatriots. The level of concern, at least at a visible level: nil. That, more than anything, indicates to me the true morals of studying the Bible.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Wars and Holy Wars

    An article by James P. Byrd, promoting his new book Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution recently appeared in the Washington Post. Read more

    The 31 July 2013 by   Steveawiggins
    POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Disorganized Religion

    In an Advice column in last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education, subtly pseudonymed Madalyn Dawkins contributed a piece entitled “Dodging the God Squad. Read more

    The 02 September 2013 by   Steveawiggins
    POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Grace, Virtually

    Although Yom Kippur is now over, I have a confession to make. My wife just showed me eScapegoat, the website where you can confess your sins over the virtual... Read more

    The 17 September 2013 by   Steveawiggins
    POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Darwinian Dawkins

    Richard Dawkins seems like he’s probably a nice guy in person. You can tell quite a bit about somebody from their writing, and even when Dawkins is being... Read more

    The 26 September 2013 by   Steveawiggins
    PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY
  • Thanksgivukkah

    A moveable feast is hard to hit. Or something like that. Religious festivals are frequently tied to celestial events—the ancient Jewish holidays are based on a... Read more

    The 25 October 2013 by   Steveawiggins
    POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY

Add a comment