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 →

This podcast may benefit from a set of notes, either as an alternative to the audio/screencast or as a reminder (since has a high information content). It is also longer and less fun than most, so if you like miss it out unless later in the series you need to come back to it for the framework… The system suggested here is not intended to be completely scholarly and precise, far less exhaustive, rather it is meant to be simple and convenient, necessitating some approximations and simplifications. Two main genres It can be helpful to distinguish poems and songs. Not so much because songs implyRead More →

Here’s the first of a new series of podcasts on words that pose particular difficulty because English either lacks clearly similar concepts, or the word carries quite different connotations (emotional overtones and other baggage) from the word that denotes (points to) a similar thing. The first word is hesed a key virtue in the Bible and one ascribed typically to God. That is both it typifies God’s relatiuonship with us, and God shows us what it means.  Read More →

The little story, in Joshua 2, of Rahab and the clueless pair of young Israelite would be spies, provided Spenser 1 F. Scott Spencer “Those Riotous – Yet Righteous – Foremothers of Jesus: Exploring Matthew’s Comic Genealogy.” In Are we amused?: humour about women in the biblical worlds, edited by Athalya Brenner, 7-30. Continuum, 2003   (see Signs of humour: especially in written texts acr oss cultures) with a nice example of several of his criteria all together in one text, making it evidently humorous. What do you think? Do the criteria work? Or is this vignette deadly serious?     Notes   [ + ] 1.Read 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 →