These two chapters, as well as some (now several millennia later) boring stuff about wells, contain some of the heights and depths of human experience. A birth to a childless couple, well well after normal childbearing years, and nasty vindictive selfishness. But also an outrageous demand from God, blind obedience and a few hints of something greater to come…Read More →

The New Testament use of the Old Testament often seems arbitrary or bizarre to modern readers. Here I’ll suggest that Paul’s use of Genesis in Galatians 4 (while not only strange but also unfair to Hagar and over kind to Sarah) fits with thew intent of Genesis. I think this is an interesting example of God using even human weakness (Paul’s favoring of his ancestress) to reinforce his truth… what do you think?Read 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 →

Chris Heard at Higgaion a proposal which got me thinking. He suggests (in Divine sarcasm in the Eden story?) that we read God’s statement in Gen 3:22: “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil” as sarcasm. So, are God’s words in Gen 3:22 to be taken at face value, as a sarcastic put down of uppity humans or as irony? I’ll argue for irony, and use Occam’s razor for the cutting… NB: This podcast deals with a somewhat similar issue to that I covered in Signs of humour: especially in written texts across cultures my approach in this case is significantlyRead More →

This is the passage that makes sense of Gen 2, and of human life. Our world and our lives are broken and spoiled because of sin. Sin is not breaking rules, it is breaking relationship with the maker by wanting to assume the power ourselves. The reading of Genesis 3 is here. There is another take on this passage, talking about Bonhoeffer’s paradoxical take on “conscience” in an earlier podcast.Read More →

Introducing Genesis 1 & 2, with their radical message. Reading them to answer HOW questions is misreading! They intend to answer more important WHY questions. It began a podcast series on the Essential 100 Bible Readings, the Bible readings themselves are available as audio (MP3) files here. (I also dealt with Genesis 1 in a previous post.) I have probably expressed the shock factor of the use of Elohim in Gen 1 too strongly in the podcast,  see this short Bible Dictionary entry on ‘elohim for a brief explanation.Read More →

As the first book in the Bible Genesis has a special importance for readers. This very brief introduction to some of the literary and theological issues of the book is really just the very beginning of studying Genesis! I’ve been working on a Bible Dictionary article on “Genesis” , so it seemed like a good time to fill in a gap in my Genesis page. I am a bit “bunged up” today, so forgive the nasal quality to the voice please. I’ve tried both to introduce very briefly some of the scholarly issues as well as the theological importance of this magnificent book, let meRead More →