A Good Point by William Gladstone

I plucked this nugget from the Weekly Standard (Wray Herbert, “Faith of Their Fathers,” December 7, 2015, reviewing Private Doubt, Public Dilemma:  Religion and Science Since Jefferson and Darwin by Keith Stewart Thomson):  William Gladstone, the longtime British prime minister, responded to the emerging fossil record by noting that “the order of origins was identical … [Read more…]

Harold Bloom, “The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible”

Bloom is a traditionalist when it comes to criticism, but he is not a believer.  He takes issue with C.S. Lewis a few times; Lewis apparently objected to the whole enterprise of reading Scripture as literature.  I read only the introduction and the New Testament part (not the Old Testament or Apocrypha, which are by … [Read more…]

Terence E. Fretheim, “The Pentateuch”

The author is “a Christian and a Lutheran” (37). The discussion in chapter one of ways to read the text is interesting and thought-provoking (some politically correct elements creep in, though).  He makes the point that the themes in Genesis cannot be forgotten in interpreting Exodus and the rest of the Pentateuch.  Wikipedia, by the … [Read more…]

Fun Facts about the Bible

Every biblical author but one (Luke, who also wrote Acts) was Jewish. One the other hand, Luke and Acts together are one-fourth of the New Testament. Also on the other hand, there are two other books (besides Luke) named for Gentiles, namely Ruth and Job. Job, by the way, is considered the oldest book in … [Read more…]

Before You Read the Bible: A Preliminary Decalogue

If you have decided that you want to read the Bible, and have never looked at it before, here are ten things to keep in mind. 1. The Bible is not just one book but 66 books, of greatly varying length, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.  More than three-fourths … [Read more…]

Random Textual Thoughts

1. All Scripture is Scripture, but it’s interesting to think about the differences among the authors’ backgrounds and how that might influence their writing.  For example, consider the range of education among the various New Testament authors, with Paul and Dr. Luke at one end, and maybe fishermen Peter and John at the other.  I’ve … [Read more…]

Another “Genre” Angle

At a Bible study meeting, someone commented on how “packed” Paul’s letters were.  That got me to thinking how the circumstances under which something is written might influence both style and content. A letter written with time constraints (and maybe material ones, like a shortage of affordable paper) and for some specific crisis would indeed … [Read more…]