Perhaps no Bible text illustrates the dangers of a simplistic reading of Scripture than 1 Cor 14:34. If we tear this verse from its cotext,1 and then read it as if the Bible were “God’s instruction manual for life” and even worse read it also literally then we are in trouble! The verse (in the fairly literal NET)2 reads: the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. The verse is full of oddities.3 Not the least of which is that in 1 Cor 11:4-6 Paul assumesRead More →

There is a lot of discussion (at least there is in the online circles I move in) about claims to a doctrine of “headship” that is biblical and that means husbands should take a leadership role with respect to their their wives. Or possibly that men should over women more generally. In a recent discussion someone objected to my presentation of these issues “Headship”: What did Paul really mean? by pointing to the fact that the Bible seems on a “literal” reading to support this idea, by using “head” in e.g. Eph 5:23. This is my response.  Read More →

Judges is one Bible book where it has been common to recognise humour. Ehud killing the fat and oppressive king Eglon in the toilet has been a popular example, though  I’ll pretty much leave the scatology to David and others who appreciate it 😉 I’d rather focus on gender. In Judges relationships between men and women are either funny or horrible. The story of Deborah (Judges 4) may provide examples, but the humour in the poem (Judges 5) is much clearer. It shows all nine of my diagnostic signs of humour. And develops some powerful (and this being Judges disturbing) gender bending humour. Though afterRead More →

Thalia invited me to do a series of (by my standards) longish posts over at Sacraparental. They introduce briefly some of the key ideas from my book Not On ly a Father. The first has just appeared: What’s Wrong with this Picture? This is a podcast of that material. Talking in pictures is necessary when we are talking about God. But all pictures are dangerous. Talking about a god who is Father but not Mother is not the Christian God, but Zeus or Baal. Christians who do it are making the same mistake many atheists make.Read More →

Francesca Stavrakopoulou closed her article “Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE” saying: I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like had the goddess remained. Let’s explore the evidence and try to answer her speculation. This evidence comes mainly from surrounding peoples, though the Bible has some contribution to make, so this podcast can squeak into a series called 5 Minute Bible 😉 Most of ancient Israel’s neighbours had pantheons which included prominent goddesses alongside gods. In Egypt Isis was particularly important, while in Mesopotamia the gate named after Ishtar was a hugely impressive archaeological feature. InRead More →

As a matter of fact Yahweh was married, yet the Bible cannot tolerate people who speak of God as male or masculine. This podcast seeks to explore this apparent contradiction as a first follow up to yesterday’s “Why do you read? Or: Was God married?” The original (audio only) version of this podcast was here.  Read More →

This is the video version of a post whose original audio only version is here. It was stimulated by an article in The Daily Mail (a UK tabloid newspaper) “Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE” It caused a flurry among the Twittering classes, and on Facebook, and even among the biblioblogs (though in the latter group most dismissed the article saying: What can you expect from a British Tabloid?) but it was written by Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou an established biblical scholar. In the podcast I suggest that clear thinking is needed to avoid confusion on such topics. In followRead More →