on Saturday, 3 January 2015 at 11.20 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message
Church Times leader Disorganised religion
For Epiphany Archdruid Eileen writes about Three Ways to Know.
Christopher Howse The Telegraph Exodus: the evidence for the Bible story
Canon Andy Thompson writes to The Guardian in response to the leader we linked to last week: The reality of being a Christian in the Gulf.
The article by Christopher Howse is well timed given the release of the Ridley Scott movie. For something that does more than tinker around the edges of mythology and piggy back on movie magic, there is a very interesting book titled, The Birth of Monotheism: The Rise and Disappearance of Yahwism by André Lemaire.
Does the Church Times realise the implication of a statement in its editorial like: neither the language nor the debate about sacred matters is owned by a particular religious faith, even less by a particular denomination… Oh really? So has the Church of England, then, become a sort of undeclared Unitarianism? Presumably if people believe that Christ is the incarnation of the God then a particular religious faith does own sacred language. I don’t believe this. That’s why, for me, a loose gathering of people can use any religious language in order to express matters of the sacred. Pleased indeed… Read more »
A number of years ago, my family hosted a Japanese student for two weeks. His English was passable and he was very polite and eager to share our life for this brief time. One night we all wandered out into our front yard to see the stars, at his request. Best time of the visit. What a clever, wondrous God we have. Thanks to Archdruid Eileen for reminding me.
Christoper Howse seems to take the book of Exodus as history, and attempts to find confirmation. But archaeology has found no confirmation of Bible stories before King Ahab in the 9th century BCE:
King Josiah in the 7th century BCE wanted a grand history to bring his people together. Under him, scribes and scholars collected, edited, and wrote what is now the Hebrew scriptures. It’s a magnificent folk tale, great literature, but it’s not history.
@ Murdoch, interesting post. Leo G. Perdue has a very engaging read, Reconstructing Old Testament Theology: After The Collapse of History ( 2005, Augsburg Fortress). He considers a wide range of issues i.e., the history of religion approach, the bible as colonial and post colonial text, from Euro-centric history to voices from the margins, and so forth. Of special interest, and on the point you raise, is his treatment of the perspectives of Marc Zvi Brettler and the relationship between Jewish biblical theology and history.( p. 201 ff.)
Good address from a rather unwell-looking Abp of Canterbury. As presumably he is well aware – and intends – there are many ‘generosities’, including that of traditionalists/Evangelicals (of various shades)towards ‘liberals’ (of various shades) and of ‘liberals’ towards traditionalists/Evangelicals. Let’s do deals, live with them, shut down internal conflicts, and get on with externals.
“Shut down” internal conflicts — or “resolve”, “defuse”, or “amicably live with” internal conflicts?
In any spiritual or religious movement of any size, there are always going to be disputes about doctrine, origins, structure, administration, etc. The question is how disputes are handled.
There possibly was a small group of Hebrews who left Egypt after persecution. They eventually joined up with other hill tribe people already living in Israel. Somehow their story became the story of the nation and gathered other stories round it like iron filings but it remains true what Professor John Rogerson wrote years ago ‘The history of Israel begins in Israel .That is it begins with an association of tribes that were occupying the Samaria and Bethel Hills and possibly part of Lower Galilee around 1230 BCE.’ 1230 is the date of the earliest reference to a text that… Read more »
Murdoch’s posting above is the only one that makes sense to me and makes sense of the scriptures as they stand. Prior to Josiah’s reform, bits and pieces of popular lore, yarns and tall tales hadn’t been spun into a national epic. And after Josiah’s time, the product still had a lot of editing, re-telling, spinning and slanting to go through before it became what Jews call the Tanakh and Christians usually call the Old Testament. The bible is actually a much more interesting collection of documents than most believers believe – or want – it to be.