All posts for the topic: Blogging the Bible

Denial about Jewish extremism

Est Reading Time: 3 minYou may have seen the news about Yishai Schlissel: he stabbed marchers during Jerusalem’s LGBT parade in 2005, served 10 years and did it again as soon as he got out. He stabbed six people at last week’s parade including 16yo Shira Banki who died of her wounds. This has sparked a strong response from both within Israel and Jewish communities around the world. This is great and the more Jewish groups can marginalise such overt, violent homophobia the better. However, that the Jewish tradition has loads of homophobic teachings, I’m disturbed at the fact that almost all Jewish organisations […]

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Marrying Your Rapist

Est Reading Time: 4 minA story has made it to the news cycle about a week ago about an Afghan woman who is marrying the man who raped her. Via MSNBC: Gulnaz, who uses one name, has been in an Afghan prison cell for about two years. She says she only has one choice if she wants to bring dignity back to her family and tribe: She must marry the man who forced his way into her home, tied her up, and then raped her. The man was Gulnaz’s cousin’s husband, and the humiliation continued a few months after the attack, when Gulnaz finally […]

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The Story of Babel

Est Reading Time: 3 min[EDIT: Argh! Yet another posting schedule wardrobe malfunction. Apologies if you saw the half-baked version of this] A month ago someone I know emailed me to ask my interpretation of the Tower of Babel story for a freelance job that required some interpretation of said story. As I wrote the response I thought it would make for some interesting blog fodder so here it is in somewhat expanded form. To start with, here is how I summarised it in my Genesis post of the Super-Abridged Bible: “All the world still speaks the same language. They work as a team, invent […]

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Bible Censorship in Judaism

Est Reading Time: 3 minIn Monday’s post I talked about a few of the basic issues concerning with the Catholic Church restricting public access to the complete Bible. Today it’s time to look at the same in Judaism, which has some very interesting parallels. Of course in general there was not much that could be hidden, especially since the entire Torah is read in the synagogue Sabbath service over the course of a year. However, by the time that Rome ruled over Jerusalem, the situation was different. The language spoken by the people was Aramaic, so most would not have understood the Torah very […]

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Scriptura pro Publica

Est Reading Time: 3 minI’ve recently decided to take a break from blogging the Bible in favour of a bigger focus on Judaism itself. And the first book to warrant a look-see is the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. However, before I delve into it, it was worth making an introductory post about the book in general as well as its context amongst the history of religious control over who gets to read what. As many people would know, before the Reformation, the Catholic Church controlled the distribution and readership of the Bible. There was an official Latin translation (I believe Jerome’s original Vulgate) and that […]

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Empathy That Isn’t (1 Sam 25)

Est Reading Time: 3 minThis entry is part of the Blogging-the-Bible series. To see a list of passages, covered so far click here. There’s a wonderful pair of verses in the book of Proverbs. The first of the verses is 24:17 which is a very famous verse. I’ve seen it used many times to show the righteousness of the Bible and I believe I’ve even seen it in a Jewish context as a way of showing that the New Testament doesn’t introduce anything new, since every idea of value has already been brought up in the Hebrew Bible. This is the verse: “Rejoice not […]

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Shredded Garments and Phallic Feet (1Sam 24)

Est Reading Time: 2 minThis entry is part of the Blogging-the-Bible series. To see a list of passages, covered so far click here. Quite a few things happen in these 2 chapters which I’ll breeze through. David hides from Saul in a cave system and Saul with his soldiers go in to pursue him. The first interesting point is that the text says Saul went to “cover his feet”. In the Hebrew Bible, the feet are usually a euphemism for something to do with male genitalia, in this case referring to Saul taking a leak. However it can take on other meanings, such as […]

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Blogging the Bible: Teraphim

Est Reading Time: 3 minThis entry is part of the Blogging-the-Bible series. To see a list of passages, covered so far click here. A few months ago I posted about David’s escape from Saul. David’s wife Michal delayed the guards by dressing up her teraphim (household idol) to look like David and tucking it into David’s bed. Which showed that (1) these household idols were embarrassingly common (at least from a Biblical monotheism perspective) and (2) that they were pretty big, in fact about the size of a person. In a Facebook comment on that post, Estelle let me in on an interesting tidbit. […]

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Chinese Characters Prove Truth Of Bible?

Est Reading Time: 3 minI’ve been moving and in the pandemonium have stuffed up the schedule so you might have seen a half-baked version of this yesterday. Here’s the real thing! A recent episode of the Atheist Experience has made me aware of one of the most ridiculous arguments for Christianity ever. It tries to take apart the meaning of some Chinese characters to show that the ancient Chinese knew the story of Genesis. From this it’s supposed to follow that Genesis is trye (since the Chinese “remember” the story through the structure of their writing system). Here’s a 10 min video of Matt […]

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More Sopranos Moments (1Sam 22-23)

Est Reading Time: 3 minThis entry is part of the Blogging-the-Bible series. To see a list of passages, covered so far click here. The next few chapters contain some of the most advanced story-telling in the Bible, something worthy of authors paying attention. And I do mean story-telling. From my Completely UnbiasedTM reading, the odds of these having any kind of historical basis (even if David did exist) are slim to none. The story from now until the end of 1 Samuel places it squarely in the crime fiction genre. We now see David’s first moments as a “traitor” of sorts. In fleeing from […]

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