Advent, Christmas and the Nativity Part VI: Strange Women or Xenophobia & Genealogy 

While those of you who have read my previous posts are scrambling to put together a model of a first century Bethlehemite home complete with guest room and attached stable, I am departing slightly from the Nativity scene itself as I turn to Matthew’s genealogy which precedes his passing reference to Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem.

In his genealogy of Joseph’s line, Matthew includes references to four women from Abrahamic/Davidic line. They are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Uriah (or Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon).

Why does Matthew mention these women at the beginning of his gospel? As with most good storytelling, there is no single right answer to this question. That is, I think Matthew likely had multiple reasons for highlighting these women at the beginning of his gospel. In this post, I have no intention of being exhaustive because that would be exhausting.

Who is Tamar? Continue reading “Advent, Christmas and the Nativity Part VI: Strange Women or Xenophobia & Genealogy “

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Book Review: Inspiration and Incarnation (Chapter 3: The Old Testament and Theological Diversity)

In this chapter on theological diversity in the Old Testament, Peter Enns offers an engaging and helpful introduction to what most biblical scholars Christian and non-Christian have come to recognize as simply being the nature of the Old Testament. Moreover, for many of us with strong commitments to the authority of Scripture, the recognition of theological diversity in the OT has not only enriched our understading of the Scriptures themselves but of the God who inspired them including what it might mean to be creatively inspired by the Creator.  There are three key aspects to Enns chapter on diversity in the OT.

  1. The Old Testament is not a flat text. It is a textured text. Not all books can be read in the same way and some work needs to be done to understand the different genres in the Old Testament.
  2. The books of the OT were written in differing time periods and show signs of being edited to some degree and therefore to some degree there is evidence of the develoopment and revision of thought over time and according to chaning circumstances.
  3. And related to the latter, there are ongoing arguments, discussion, and unresolved tensions within texts and between texts of the Old Testament. (Some of these tension are resolved by and in Christ Jesus.)
  4. Continue reading “Book Review: Inspiration and Incarnation (Chapter 3: The Old Testament and Theological Diversity)”

Genesis 3: What is the man doing? or Adam discovers the scientific method.

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)

After a series of close-ups involving the serpent and the woman, the camera pans back and reveals that her husband has been present all along. So, what was he doing? Why did he not intervene? Why did he not answer the serpent or better send it scurrying for speaking inappropriately to his wife, the queen of Eden? Continue reading “Genesis 3: What is the man doing? or Adam discovers the scientific method.”

Syrian Refugees and Jews Aboard the St. Louis

In the wake of Kristallnacht, some Jews were able to flee Nazi controlled Germany. Yet, when the St. Louis bound for Cuba sailed across the Atlantic, they were not allowed to disembark. Eventually, they sailed back across the Atlantic where various nations took in a few hundred Jews each.
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It should not be forgotten that anti-Semitism was not only a problem in Germany nor were the theories of race and religion and fitness for life*. Continue reading “Syrian Refugees and Jews Aboard the St. Louis”

Shofar, So Good?

There is a growing (and, shall I add, disturbing) trend of blowing shofars (ram’s horns) as a Christian worship practice. I have been aware for some time that some Christians have been incorporating the symbols of Judaism into their corporate worship. For the most part, these practices seem to be taking root in congregations of Dispensationalist and/or Charismatic persuasion. For instance, the first time I saw this syncretistic worship was when I happened upon a John Hagee broadcast. Gentiles (that is non-Jews) were wearing yarmulkes and utilizing prayer shawls in Christian worship.  Continue reading “Shofar, So Good?”