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 →

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 →

In a post Why the Bible is just not (so) funny David returned to a theme he’s argued before, that the Bible is not funny. Apparently back in 2007 he issued a challenge that readers of his blog could not give examples of humour from every book in the Bible: Funny Stuff in the Bible. Now of course his 2007 post was cheating. He set a (nearly?) impossible task, to find humour in Lamentations might be hard! But that does not mean that there is no humour in Scripture. Just think of one of the occasions when Jesus spoke about camels (he seems to meRead More →

Our last reading left things open-ended – this shows full and dramatic reconciliation, an explosion of emotion from Joseph, and a clue as to what made the difference between last reading and this one. It makes so much difference to how we live if we really recognise what is going on, and Joseph can give us a clue too… More →

In these chapters we see again very strongly that we are not told by the text how to understand people’s actions, in these chapters we have to judge Joseph and his brothers, using the knowledge of good, evil and everything in between that is part of our experience as children of Eve and of Adam. And in this reading motives are far from clear cut! More →

Once again there is more going on than meets the eye! And this chapter is a fine example of the way Bible stories are told so that we have to interpret and judge people’s actions and words for ourselves (as we do in everyday life) rather than being told what to think. So as various characters both Joseph and his brothers keep up appearances and pretend, we have to decide what we think their motives are. There are also tensions between parts of the chapter that allow different sorts of scholar to notice different things in the story. So though it has no deep theologicalRead More →

As we get into the body of the Joseph story the dramatic episode with Mrs Potiphar (surely another candidate for soap-opera treatment) has lots of interesting features in its telling, today I’ll focus on one, and then make sure to notice also the big theological message these chapters hammer home. In doing this we’ll notice the dramatic change in our hero between his teens and twenties, is it just “growing up” is is there something more profound going on? More →