« Previous | Main | Next »

Shibboleth on slavery

Post categories:

William Crawley | 13:44 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2007

TheStig.jpgShibboleth is to Will and Testament what The Stig is to Top Gear. He's a masked crusader who occasionally pipes up to do battle against hermeneuticial abuse and theological misunderstanding. This week, our very own biblical Stig has been exercised about some commenters' views on slavery and the Bible.

IS THE BIBLE PRO-SLAVERY?

One hesitates to even begin delving into this topic. It is one of those issues where one set of people assume that the bible is invariably dark, bizarre and oppressive whilst another set of people assume that the bible must invariably conform to the canons of modern western liberalism. The truth is somewhat more nuanced, and we can only trace some general contours of the issue here.

The background to the Bible, both the Old and New Testament, was one where all the major cultures practiced and endorsed slavery. Whether it be the Egyptians of the mid second millennium BC or the Romans of the first millennium AD, slavery was a norm within society. Ancient Israel was not an exception to this, and even a cursory glace within the pages of the OT demonstrates this point. The OT law codes - for example the section known as the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 21 and following) - contain many laws regulating the keeping of slaves. One will look in vain for any text in the OT that simply and unequivocally condemns slavery, because the OT assumes slavery as a basic social norm.

In ancient Israel, the majority of slaves were actually Hebrew citizens who fell into debt and were forced to voluntarily enter into slavery on a time limited basis. Manumission was automatic after seven years or at other set times. The remainder of the slave populations seems to have been foreigners captured in war, which must have been a fairly insignificant number of people for most of the history of ancient Israel.

Scholars of the socio-economics of Ancient Israel note that if the lists of people recorded in Ezra are representative, the ratio of free people to slaves was about 5:1 , and that no part of the Israelite economy was dependant upon slave labour. It is assumed that most slaves were employed in non-skilled domestic labour.

Where the OT differs radically from the norms of the Ancient near East is that the good treatment of slaves is demanded and the human rights of slaves are upheld in many key OT passages. This was particularly true for Hebrew citizens who had temporarily become slaves, but many laws protecting the rights of foreign slaves are to be found in the OT. These include legal protections for foreign women who became slaves in Israel. See, for example, Exodus 21.20, 26, 27; Leviticus 19.20.

In conclusion, the OT does not denounce slavery as a social institution, but it does recognise slaves as human beings who were to be protected from abuse. So, whilst it may be far in advance of the practices of the Ancient world, it does not conform to modern sensibilities.

The New Testament has relatively little to say upon the issue of slavery. Most of the NT references are metaphorical, likening the relationship of Christians to their Lord as one of joyous, liberating slavery. This paradoxical language was apposite to its cultural milieu and does not imply an endorsement of slavery. Paul makes it clear that slave trading is abhorrent and places slave traders in the same category as murderers (1 Timothy 1.10 – some versions say kidnappers, but kidnapping for purposes of slavery is intended).

Nevertheless, some readers of the NT are critical of the fact that there is no outright and whole-scale condemnation of slavery.

Paul wrote against a cultural setting that denied that slaves were actually full human beings, but rather just relatively worthless chattels. Paul writes so as to wholly undermine this belief system. Paul had to be somewhat circumspect in what he said, lest he be construed by the Romans as a dangerous social revolutionary, but his words were radical in their context. He does not call upon Christian slaves to rise up against their earthly masters, nor does he call upon Christian slave owners to set slaves free. Rather, Paul adopts the strategy of encouraging both to see one another as children of Christ and to respect and love one another for that reason. Paul gently pressurises Philemon to release Onesimus on the grounds that it was wrong for a Christian to keep another Christian as a slave.
Paul’s words had the desired effect, and the patristic writings record that most Christian slave owners abandoned the practice on the grounds that it was impossible to keep a fellow Christian in slavery. For this reason, it was common for slave owners in the recent past – in 19th century America for example – to deny slaves access to the New Testament or to anything other than bastardised forms of Christianity.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 02:40 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

Thanks Will and Shibboleth.

An eloquent and panoramic view of slavery in the bible which I feel is very fair to the primary evidence.

PB


  • 2.
  • At 02:46 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

BTW, could Shibboleth simply be someone we all know and love who wants to fight for truth and justice by putting his underpants on outside his trousers, but who doesnt want to offend regular bloggers by being seen to side with PB?

PB

  • 3.
  • At 02:47 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

Dylan Dog, Gee Dubyah

any thoughts?

PB

PB- Comment #2 was hilarious. :-)

  • 5.
  • At 03:05 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:


Just for the record, compare and contrast with my study, posted last night on previous thread.

PB


A BIBLE STUDY ON SLAVERY (non-exhaustive);-


Sources of slaves allowed under Old Testament law;-

1) Children of owned slaves, Gen15
2) Thieves who could not make restitution Exodus 22:3
3) Defaulters on debts 2 Kings 4:1
4) Self-sale out of poverty Lev 25: 39-43, 47
5) POWs 2 Sam 21:31, 1Kings9
6) Purchasing people from other nations Lev 25


Kidnapping a man and selling him as a slave brought the death penalty
whether he was hebrew or any other nationality Ex21:16, Deut 24:7
Commercial slave trading is condemned by Paul in 1 Tim 1:10 and by John in Rev 18:13


Hebrew slaves were to be freed after six years and financed
for a new start Exodus 21:2-6, Deut 15:12-18 but this was not the right of non-hebrew slaves.

Non-hebrew slaves were included in all community festivals and celebrations
Ex12, Deut16, and also had the Sabbath rest every week Ex20:10

Relationship between master and slave could be of trust Gen24,39:1-6
Affection Deut 25:16
But discipline could be harsh even fatal Ex21:21*
Though to kill a slave outright carried a penalty Ex21.20
Doubtless death Lev 24:17,22
* Note Ex21:21 appears to make a distinction between penalties for murder and manslaughter; the law explicitly
recognises that the financial value of a slave to his owner mitigates against the motive to kill him.

Women taken in war as wives were not slaves Deut 21.

IVP New Bible Dictionary notes in Palestine in the parables of Jesus slaves were employed in administrative positions,
the labour being recruited on a casual basis. It adds that in domestic slavery they were purchased as an index of wealth.
Where only one or two were owned they worked beside their masters at the same occupations.
Surprisingly, all "servants" mentioned in the gospels are actually slaves, according to the greek.

Jesus used the master slave relationship to illustrate his relationship to his disciples Matt 10:24 and John 13:16
He embarrased them by taking on the slave role John 13

Paul taught slaves were equal to free men in the church Gal3:28 which was "perceived as dangerous to the social and economic
stability of Rome": Dr H Halley's Bible Handbook.

Paul also said slaves were to take their freedom if offered 1 Cor 7:21

In Paul's letter to Philemon, an open letter to the church, he wrote to the slave owner describing the slave as "my son"
and "my own heart" and appealed for him to take the slave back on several conditions. He was to be;-

1) "No longer as a slave"
2) "but more than a slave"
3) "a beloved brother"
4) "both in the flesh" [spiritually]
5) "and in the Lord" [physically]r
6) The slave was to be received as the owner "would receive me [Paul]"

The letter of Philemon is the only book in the bible on slavery and the only subject in the book is slavery.

It is only one chapter long.

It was widely published as a stand alone booklet in the US to campaign for an end to slavery.

Paul did not have the freedom or power to have slavery outlawed in the Roman Empire. To have openly called for it would likely have been seen as attempting to instigate a slave revolt, about which the Graeco Roman world was eternally paranoid.

Even Christ was very careful how he answered the trap question about whether to pay taxes to Rome or not because the Pharisees wanted to bring the wrath of Rome down on him.

But some scholars see Paul's approach of creating equality in the church and circulating the letter of Philemon as pressing
forward as much as he could and sowing the seed for changes.

-FIN-

  • 6.
  • At 03:10 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

PB
The Bible is of no interest to me at all.
I have made NO comments at all on the Bible's stance on slavery. Look carefully and you will see I am right. DO PAY ATTENTION.

However, the point I have been making is that is hypocritical to abhor slavery but defend inequality of rights in other contexts, such as gay rights.

This irrelevance about the bible has no bearing on that point.

Re Shibboleth on slavery

Beautifully written and concise!

Excellent!

Regards,
Michael

Re #6 The Bible is of no interest to me at all.

Not even as one of the great works of Western Literature?

Michael

  • 9.
  • At 03:36 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

Interested in the origin of the word "Shibboloeth" I went to wikipedia.

I found this: a shibboleth is any word or phrase that can be used to distinguish members of a group from outsiders.

Not sure I like the idea of W&T viewing us as either insiders or outsiders - was this unintentional/an oversight?

  • 10.
  • At 03:57 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

quote Will

I wonder did the Church of England in its Barbados plantations keep the slaves away from the NT?
Yes or No - it's enough to condemn them.
I contend that the church in general goes along with the cutural mores of past times until internal and/or external pressure is just too much.

BTW Richard Dawkins will be awarded 'Author of the Year'
Channel 4 pm this evening
His second highest prize this year after the W&T award!

  • 11.
  • At 03:59 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • alan watson wrote:

quote Will

I wonder did the Church of England in its Barbados plantations keep the slaves away from the NT?
Yes or No - it's enough to condemn them.
I contend that the church in general goes along with the cutural mores of past times until internal and/or external pressure is just too much.

BTW Richard Dawkins will be awarded 'Author of the Year'
Channel 4 pm this evening
His second highest prize this year after the W&T award!

  • 12.
  • At 04:07 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

GW

you accused me of "ranting" about slavery on a previous thread. I'm not going through it chapter and verse.
You never gave me an inch or a second.

What do you actually think of Will's post anyway?

Any of these posters got any views to share now?


Mark
Christian Hippy
Freddie Free
Bertie G
John Wright
Dylan Dog
Brian McClinton
Alan Watson
Sam Scott
David -Oxford
TSH+
Jer Green
Dave DV
DP

you certainly had lots to say on theological racism thread and primate of homophobia?

PB

  • 13.
  • At 04:11 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:


Alan Watson

You are probably quite right that the church does not move without pressure.

However, often many of the people you are accusing have no respect for the bible or Christ and simply take his name, whom Wilberforce condemned as "nominal Christians".

My whole point is that the biblical record always very clearly forbade kidnapping men and selling them for profit; so the church should ALWAYS have known better; eg Exodus 21:16, 1tim1:10.

In contrast, there is not a single passage that can be said to give a glimmer of endorsement to homosexual practise, which humanist Brian McClintocok conceded in e previous thread.

PB

  • 14.
  • At 04:13 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Dylan Dog wrote:

I would actually agree with most of what Shibboleth has written and only disagree onm a few points, i.e,the ones I disagreed with PB on.

Shibboleth is right in that the Bible nowhere condemns slavery, which is odd because there are a lot of laws regulating mundane aspects of life, but nowhere is there outright condemnation. If there was an eternal god who is omnipetent then surely they would have recognised slavery for the evil that it was. Instead it points to a paraochial god for a paraochial people, who invent laws for their own purpose.

I don't agree with all the interpretations for foreign slaves as Leviticus 19.20 says if a man has sex with an engaged slave woman, scourge the woman, but don't punish the man, even if he raped her. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 says to shave a womens head, rape her and if she displeases then kick her out-I,m sorry but I cannot see how this is "good" treatment.

For more see http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm

It goes to show that the Bible can be twisted to any means which brings me on to the point would Shibboleth agree with PB in his assessment the murder of children of enemies is ok? even though the Bible explicitly states that the "sin" of the father shall not be passed onto the offspring.

  • 15.
  • At 04:18 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:


I dont accept the bible is the word of god, because I dont accept there is a god. The bible in my worldview is a book designed to propogate the religion not as christians believe it's foundation. A complex hoax in effect. Like a shard of the cross or the shroud of turin, or the holy gourd etc etc etc...

For that reason I don't believe I can add anything useful to this discussion.

But I'm interested in the choice of the name Shibboleth.

What would the Atheist's choose as their Stig like champion?

I suggest Lucy!!

  • 16.
  • At 04:20 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

beating the gay drum again PB.

Come and respond to me on Primate of Homophobia if you want to talk about sexuality...

  • 17.
  • At 04:26 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gerard G wrote:

Pb, you've lost it. You were arguing that the Bible is ANTI-SLAVERY! This stig piece claims that slavery was accepted by the bible, permitted and regulated. Like it or not, slavery played a role in the ancient world and the Bible's defence of it was used later by CHRISTIAN slave traders in support of their immoral commerce.

  • 18.
  • At 04:29 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gerard G wrote:

Pb, you've lost it. You were arguing that the Bible is ANTI-SLAVERY! This stig piece claims that slavery was accepted by the bible, permitted and regulated. Like it or not, slavery played a role in the ancient world and the Bible's defence of it was used later by CHRISTIAN slave traders in support of their immoral commerce.

  • 19.
  • At 04:40 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Dylan Dog wrote:

Gerard G,

In fairness to PB, he did state elsewhere that the Bible does not condemn slavery as such and that it was regulated up to a point, PB is talking about certain aspects of the trade.

Wow, I actually defended PB!

  • 20.
  • At 04:43 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

Dylan Dog

You have sure moved some ground since primate of homophobia.

None of the passages you rejected from me yesterday were any different when will posted them.

I agree that many passages are not easy to swallow.

But I have found time and again if you are willing to look closely and study a very different overall picture can come out.

I see you have two problems; number one you are openly hostile to the idea of the God of the bible so you have effectively already decided it cant make any sense before you consider anything else.
This means you always colour your own context before reading anything.


Second is that you misread many passages. eg Exodus 21:16 imposes death penalty for kidanpping people of no specific nationality into slavery but you still cant accept it.

Also, the bible actually says the opposite of what you think about the sins of the fathers; it does say they will be passed on - or forgiven when the fathers repent. still happens today.

Half your problems are your deliberate preconceptions added to sloppy reading. sorry.

There are passages which I find very difficult to accept, but when I give half logical answers to questions you raise you simply fling them all in my face.

There are certainly many non-westernm cultures where women today would still be treated in a similar manner to those in the Old testament.

Have you really got the right to impose your 21st century liberal values on them? why? by why authority?
Will makes the same point above; I am not advocating rape.

nobody said the passages you quoted are "good".
in teaching on divorce Christ said God "permitted" it against his wishes because of the hardness of the Jews' hearts. So Christ admitted the OT law on divorce was not "good".

So that may be a factor in some of these passages. in Deut 9 and throughout the Old testament one major battle God had was trying to keep the Jews righteous, so he did suffer less than perfect behaviour from them and regulate it by law.

Another aspect is that the unapproachable thunder and lightening God of the Old Testament later revealed himself further as the personable and human Jesus Christ as part of his unfolding communication of the plan of salvation.

After all this you could go back again and look at problem passages with scholars, if you have an open mind.

I dont find it all easy, but Christ said people needed to trust him as a child trusts. that is how I proceed anyway.

sincerely

PB

  • 21.
  • At 04:52 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

The bible as a basis for philosophies like so many other philosophies can be used to justify and rationalize anything. First you decide what you want to jutify, then find a passage in the bible which agrees with it. Then start in a deep booming voice intoning the logic backwards to the congregation; "In the beginning there was the word of God. The bible is the living word of God. The bible says in chapter.... Ergo, slavery always was, is, and always will be justified." I'm reminded of those words of Governor George Wallace of Alabama he spoke delivering his inaugural address in Montgommery in 1963; "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." How come those who take the bible literaly such as Wilder-Smith and Andy McIntosh don't cite it to justify slaveholding and slave trading today? Isn't there an inconsistancy there? I'm sure if asked, they would find ways to twist those citations condoning it, in other words to "interpret" them so as to prove just the opposite. Literalism as interpreted by self appointed literalists.

Here's what Lincoln had to say about slavery;

"Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

And how did Britain justify its support of the slaveholding Confederacy during the American Civil War? According to a BBC report, by pointing out the dependence for survival of some entire British cities on cheap cotton from the American South. Do you think the leaders who favored that policy considered themselves "good Christians?"

  • 22.
  • At 05:08 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Dylan Dog wrote:

Not at all PB it was only several passages that I challenged you on and I stand by them.

You have assumed that the god of the Bible exists therefore that clouds your judgement.

"Second is that you misread many passages. eg Exodus 21:16 imposes death penalty for kidanpping people of no specific nationality into slavery but you still cant accept it."

Then if that was true why were they kidnapping foreigners and putting them into slavery? There are many passages that condone this practice. It is for this reason that I believe that the passage relates to Israelites and existing slaves.

I honestly thought that the "sins" of the father were not passed on, and if they are that is abhorent and I fail to see how that is relevant today.

"Half your problems are your deliberate preconceptions added to sloppy reading. sorry."

I could equally say the same things about your interpretations of the Bible as they are not held by all Christains.

"There are passages which I find very difficult to accept, but when I give half logical answers to questions you raise you simply fling them all in my face."

It is because you tried to justify the murder of children and sorry for this but I find that disgusting.

"There are certainly many non-westernm cultures where women today would still be treated in a similar manner to those in the Old testament."

Yes backward theocracies that base their views on literal interpretations of their holy books.

"Have you really got the right to impose your 21st century liberal values on them? why? by why authority?"

I would actually like to because I do not like to see humans repressed or suffering. Likewise do they have the right to impose their 7th century values on their people why? on whose authority? because of their Imans etc

I wouldn't for a second(well I hope) that you would advocate rape, but in insatnces the Bible seemingly does.
Will makes the same point above; I am not advocating rape.

"Another aspect is that the unapproachable thunder and lightening God of the Old Testament later revealed himself further as the personable and human Jesus Christ as part of his unfolding communication of the plan of salvation."

Admittedly the OT god is horrible and things do improve in the NT but then again they could not get any worse. This raises more issues about an eternal omnipetent bible god, why change mind mid-flow especially when the Bible says on several occasions that its god does change his mind.

"After all this you could go back again and look at problem passages with scholars, if you have an open mind."

Thats the problem-I have.

DD

  • 23.
  • At 06:07 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • alan watson wrote:

re Mark's post 21
I heard somewhere on the BBC (I think)this week that five of the first seven presidents of the USA were slave-owners but have been unable to verify?
anyone help?

  • 24.
  • At 07:22 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

DD

liked your last post.

But I dont get the impression you have been looking at any serious bible scholars. am I wrong?

The stages in God's revelation of himself were to bring man along in his understanding of his own nature and to point to the need for the sacrifice of Christ. See books of Romans, Galations and Hebrews.

It would be natural to assume that adherence to the law would make you right before God, but God had to create the theocracy Israel to demonstrate clearly that this was not true. By the law came only understanding of the sinful nature within that rebels against the law. Galations.

Within the history of Israel and the passover lamb, God was pointing everyone to their need for a new heart and this would only be given through the ultimate passover lamb, Christ.

It was a progressive revelation with some aspects of God's guidance evolving at the same time as he tried to bring the stiffnecked Israelites (we are all the same) along with him.

No doubt he would love to have had them much more upright from the beginning but that was half his problem form the start, they were so stubborn they angered him so much and embarrassed him in front of the other nations. eg Israel was not supposed to have a king or polygamy either but God suffered it as he tried to baby the nation along.

It would appear the polygamy, slavery and kingship matters were virtually resolved by the end of the new testament.

Note, there seems to be no wavering in teaching on homosexulaly from start to finish though, in contrast.

PB

PS GW you cant say the bible is irrelvant - because it guides the thoughts of so many people whose views you hate; you cant get away from it.

  • 25.
  • At 07:30 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Dylan Dog wrote:

PB

I have read Geza Vermes, Karen Armstrong, John D Crossan, Issav Assimov, Burton L Mack, R L Fox amongst others. I have to admit that I haven't done as much reading lately simply because my interest has moved on.

As for the rest of your post it raises up the same old questions and it is of course your opinion that is part of the problem because you cannot get a definitive answer on the nature of Christianity.

  • 26.
  • At 07:47 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

RE 21.

An alternative reading of the European powers' stance on the american civil war can be found here:

http://www.civilwarhome.com/europeandcivilwar.htm

The information on the chronology of the Union's stance toward slavery is particularly informative.

  • 27.
  • At 07:49 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

The bibles position on slavery has no part in the discussion I have been having with you on Primate...

Look again at what I have been saying.

  • 28.
  • At 07:51 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

RE 24

The bibles position on slavery has no part in the discussion I have been having with you on Primate...

Look again at what I have been saying.

  • 29.
  • At 07:54 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

btw DD

You say you have passages in the old testament showing authorisiation of kidnapping slaves from foriegn nations.

The only passages I have seen that sound anything like this are in relation to war, ie POWs so that is a slightly different context, which needs to be taken into account.

But on top of that, ref Ex21:16, I still dont see any passages which authorises commerical sales of slave POWs.

From what I can see, trading in slaves was forbidden, Ex21:16 for example, 1tim1:10 etc.

I dont see any examples of trading in slaves allowed for in Israel.

It seems to be a one-off transaction; eg you sell yourself for job security (Lev25) and are freed six years later by law. But I dont see any facility of reselling etc.

Or a slave POW, there is no obligation on the state to ever free him, but again I dont see any facility for trading him.

It seems to me that commercial trade in slaves in the OT did not happen and that the activity was a voluntary social security net, or form of community service for thieves bankrupts, POWS etc.

But it seems to me God intended there would be no actualy trafficking of people beyond the first induction into slavery.

That would have been direct exploitation of human beings and contrary to social security or community service ethics. (see sources of slaves in post 5).

PB


  • 30.
  • At 08:10 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

GW, like DD you have been castigating me continually for what I have been saying on slavery and homosexuality.

But the record shows I have not been forwarding my opinion but pointing out what the bible passages actually says on these topics.

You may try to slip away now on casuitry but we all see you; this is primarily a religion based website and I am always discussing the bible.

You have accued me of hypocrisy on my stance of slavery and homosexuality umpteen times in recent threads but the record shows I have not been giving my opinions but merely showing you what the bible passages say on these matters.

To say you have said nothing about the bible is misleading in the extreme.

PB

PB- What happens to your position IF it is possible to prove that the bible reflects the culture in which it was written with regard to supporting slavery? That's the key question, since it's obvious to most that the bible does indeed support the ownership of slaves... if you disagree that's fine, but move the discussion on by granting the point and see where it affects your position.

  • 32.
  • At 08:24 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

Show me where I have contested the bibles stance pb. I have never criticised the bibles stance on slavery - not once.

I contest your iniquitous defence of inequality in civil rights. And you are wriggling like a worm now.

I have shown you evidence to contradict your cynical portrayal of homosexuality as a disorder. And you come out with this?

Be a man. I have you cornered, you are rightly disgusted by the inequality of slavery, but defend prejudice and punishment against homosexuals.

That is hypocrisy. To treat any man as inequal is to place yourself on the spectrum at the end of which lies slavery and genocide.

  • 33.
  • At 08:25 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:


John

already ten moves ahead of you - check mate!

see post 24

pb

  • 34.
  • At 08:30 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

gw

you are also check mated - post 24.

PB

  • 35.
  • At 08:31 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • alan watson wrote:

I think Will will agree with me that this is an ethics based blog and all belief systems are equal.
We are now in a post-christian society and most of us think the bible is just one of many dusty old books that have had their day.
You see PB, we stay here because we are intrigued to watch Christians try to defend the indefensible and we know that you know deep down, if you deny your god and his supposed laws, you are doomed to hellfire and damnation - and it is fascinating!

GW says: "...You are rightly disgusted by the inequality of slavery, but defend prejudice and punishment against homosexuals. That is hypocrisy. To treat any man as inequal is to place yourself on the spectrum at the end of which lies slavery and genocide."

I agree entirely. The only difference between slavery and discrimination on grounds of sexuality is that the former has (mostly) been eradicated; the latter is still with us. But the common denominator is that both have been defended using the bible - PB fails to acknowledge that plain fact and therefore misses the point. It's difficult to admit that you're clinging to an old-fashioned viewpoint and change; much easier to do as your theological mentors have done for thousands of years and simply appeal to biblical verses to defend your prejudice.

  • 37.
  • At 08:45 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

post 34 is meaningless, your attempts at diversion will not work.

explain your double standards please.

  • 38.
  • At 09:26 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

alan watson #23
I can't say for sure but it is very likely true. We know Washington had slaves which he freed upon his death. We also know Jefferson had slaves, in fact there was a recent incident a year or two ago where some African Americans claimed him as their ancestor as the result of him having had an affair with one of their own ancestors and having fathered an illigetimate child by her. There was supposed to be some sort of DNA test with known descendants of Jefferson but either it wasn't reported or it came out negative, I only vaguely remember it.

Gee Dubyah #26
From your reference;

"As far as Europe was concerned, no moral issue was involved; the game of power politics could be played with a clear conscience."

I personally think this is true. The explanation I've usually read in American texts is that Britain (and presumably France) wanted to keep America divided and therefore weak. They saw a United America as a looming threat on the horizon (how prescient.) The Trent affair is in sharp contrast to the events of this past week. Had fifteen Royal Navy personnel been kidnapped then, there would have been war against the kidnapper without doubt. BBC's explanation that (I forget which city) would have gone bankrupt except for cheap cotton from the American South is probably also valid but I don't think that is the whole story. Either way, however you slice it, it shows that unprincipled Europe was willing to overlook the slavery of the Confederacy in favor of its own interests of money and power. That's one thing that hasn't changed at all.

The reason normally understood in American texts for the Civil War was not the abolition of slavery but its extension into new territories and states. The code phrase for this was "state's rights." Two incidents which helped light the match were in Kansas and Virginia I think involving the abolitionist John Brown.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown_%28abolitionist%29

The southerner slaveholders wanted the right to take their slaves with them should they decide there were opportunities to make money in these new territories, the North which had abolished slavery was opposed to it on moral grounds. This is why we cannot say that slavery was truely abolished in all American states until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and obviously wasn't enforcible in the Southern states until after the rebels were defeated and the Federal Government re-established its dominion over them.

The issue of slavery was so sensitive that it was the one problem the founding fathers would not address. They left it to future generations and when it was, it resulted in by far the worst war in American history. It set "brother against brother, father against son." No other war has been nearly so terrible in every respect including lives lost, not world war II, not Vietnam, not Iraq. The aftermath of the war has rippled down through history with its now faint echoes to this very day. This is one of Europe's legacies to America it could have done without.

  • 39.
  • At 11:24 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

38

"Europe's legacies america could have done without"

How inept americans must be to allow their destiny to be so shaped by the morally bankrupt europeans!

You wish to lay your civil war at the door of europe?

Your constant euro bashing is monotonous and bigotted. You play populist themes with aplomb, but do you know any other tunes except yankee doodle? Surely in the land of enlightenment there are more edifying online places to hang out, or do you just enjoy slumming it with the euro savages?

  • 40.
  • At 11:37 PM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

38

and all that from the nation that gave us this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre

Don't give me that holier than thou crap.

Human nature is human nature - and it doesnt check passports before making it's presence felt...

In the English KJV Bible the word slavery does not occur and the word slave rarely occurs, once to be exact and it is in italics meaning that the translators put it there, Jer 2:14. and the word slaves is used once Rev 18:13. The word slavery is used to denote Jewish servitude and is therefore wholly inappropriate, it wholly belongs to the Roman & Greek world were it communicates the legal status of captives taken in war or the victims of the existing slave trade and the offspring of female slaves. Jewish servitude does not bear any similarity to the slaves of the Roman and Greek world and under Roman law slaves were held “pro nullis, pro mortuis, pro quadrupedibus,”

The origins of slavery can’t be established with any certainty, It may have existed before the flood, when violence filled the earth, and drew upon it the vengeance of God. But the first direct reference to slavery, or rather slave trading, in the Bible is found in the history of Joseph, who was sold by his brethren to the Ishmaelite’s.

The extinction of slavery was promoted by Justinian and the Church excommunicated slave owners who put their slaves to death without warrant from the judge but slavery slowly crept back into fashion, being brought back by barbarian invaders. It eventually
merged into the lesser condition known as serfdom, which prevailed all over Europe during the Middle Ages, during the 10th to the 14th century Rome became the center of the slave trade and in Venice Christians were sold to Moslems, Under the; Saxons, the slave trade flourished in England, Bristol being the chief market, whence many slaves were exported to Ireland. But in England slavery was never very popular, and the Irish early emancipated their bondmen. The most notable of Irish slave’s was St. Patrick.

The Spanish Roman Catholic priest Bartolome de Las Casas along with other Roman Catholic leaders on the plea of preventing the extinction of the natives was responsible for introducing slavery to the New World, Roman Catholic’s introduced it to the New World whereas Protestantism was ultimately responsible for bringing about the abolition of slavery. Christ postulated the law of liberty, and made freedom the privilege of believers ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. You were bought with a price; do not become (slaves) of men. Paul succeed in effecting the voluntary return of the fugitive Christian slave by imparting to him a deeper and more correct knowledge of the nature and aims of true Christian liberty not by compulsion but of your own free will…… no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother. The mission of the Protestant church is to proclaim good news to the poor. to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, whereas the Roman Catholic’s are held in the bondage of Popery to its and it’s superstition.
POST TENEBRAS LUX

  • 42.
  • At 12:58 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #39, 40
Let me tell you a fact of history Mr. Gee Dubyah, America was nothing more than 13 British colonies when the cotton fields of the South were established and the slave trade brought Africans in chains to work them. By the time America became independent, 200 years had elapsed and cotton was the only economy supporting the south in any meaningful measure. What makes you think being a colony and being a slave is much different. Brits were the masters and the colonials were the slaves. The American Revolution was the greatest slave rebellion in history. The French Revolution was another. America felt contempt for Europe with its hypocricy, its rigid class structure, its monarchies who lived off the backs of ordinary people, its religious oppression then and when you read American history you get a real sense of it. In the war of 1812, America was going to smash the Brits and capture Canada. It was fought over kidnapping of America's sailors which the British claimed were escapees from the British Navy. Britain burned down Washington DC. The war didn't end until 1814. The Battle of New Orleans wasn't fought until two weeks after the war was over but in those days it took a long time for word to get out to the hinterland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_New_Orleans

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

[Chorus:]
We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we see'd the British come.
And there must have been a hundred of'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made the bugles ring.
We stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.

[Chorus]

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire our muskets 'til we looked 'em in the eye
We held our fire 'til we see'd their faces well.
Then we opened up with squirrel guns and really gave 'em ... well

[Chorus]

Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.**

We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down.
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

[Chorus]

Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.**

http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/classic-country/battle-of-new-orleans---johnny-horton-14929.html

It probably wasn't #1 on the London hit parade when it was popular here.

BTW Gee Dubya, the Americans who committed the atrocities at My Lai were prosecuted. How many British soldiers have been prosecuted for the countless atrocities they committed in their empire on which the sun never set? If all of them had been, the courts would still be backlogged with their cases to this very day. Ever hear of "Bloody Sunday?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Sunday_%281920%29

  • 43.
  • At 01:28 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • pb wrote:

John Wright

Does the bible reflect the culture it is set in?

Can we reflect again on Will's essay to get an answer?

Remember he is challenging the assumption that the bible promotes slavery;

"Is the bible pro-slavery?" he asks!

That is the central thread of his whole challenge, ie he does not believe it does. check it out.

To sum up his entire essay in one sentence the answer is this;

"The bible nowhere 'promotes' slavery, but regulates it and is ever head and shoulders above its contemporary culture in ever raising the human rights of slaves until it eventually all but phases out the practise by the end of the New Testament."

So Will is saying the bible was THE leadership in lifting slaves' rights and promoting their humanity in the ancient world. That IS a fair summary of Will's essay.

Now, cultural mores; polygamy, kingship, homosexuality and slavery; what have these all in common in the biblical context?

Answer, they were all practised by the pagan nations surrounding Israel and to a lesser or greater extent, all these practises fell short of God's ideal for Israel.

Note: Israel was ever troubled by the influence of paganism/Baal worship, an evil religion which turned them away from God and made him jealous and which would have carried these practises within its culture.

So, to anticpate your next question, is it possible that since the bible reflects its time and culture, in your words, is it possible its teaching on homosexuality is not revelvant to the 21st century?

The answer is that in scripture God was clearly trying to steer Israel away from all these pagan influences to a lesser or greater extent.

At one scale of the spectrum slavery was most tolerated, indeed regulated, (but nowhere commanded, please note) while Israel's humanitarian approach to slavery was head and shoulders above that of all surrounding nations in how they treated slaves. read will's essay again to confirm.

By the NT times God had virtually abolished slavery in the church, as Will points out; Will says most Christian slave owners had abandoned the practise as a result of reading Paul's letter dedicated to the subject of slavery, the letter to Philemon.

But can you see any evolution or wavering in God's view on homosexual practise? The answer is no.

In Romans 1 and 1 Tim1, for example, God's view is just an unequivocal as it had been in Leviticus and Genesis.

You would need to build an argument from the bible to offer a contrary viewpoint. I cant see there is any and have never heard a serious one.

I think I can stand up everything I have said above with chapter and verse references if anyone wants them.

BTW DD,

I have to be honest, I dont keep up with Christian writers so sorry the names arent familiar to me.

When I am talking about looking at scholars of the bible, I, inevitably, mean scholars who believe it to be the inspired word of God and who are methodically building a broad biblical worldview.

I suggest a good quality bible dictionary and commentary or indeed several may be helpful in getting a fuller context on the passages that trouble you.

The taking-wives-in-war does have me scratching my head, and I will look into it.

If the scholars you are reading do not actually believe the bible to be the word of god I would suggest you will not end up with the best insight of the passage you study.

I dont have all the answers, Im learning along with you, and certainly debating makes you learn.

But I am slightly troubled by the fact that you appear to be so angry by selected verses you pull out though.

Why not keep a cool head until all the data is in and you can draw conclusions?


GW, you are accusinge me of hypocrisy and bigtory because the bible takes two contrasting views on slavery and homosexuality; you are not attacking me, and these are not actually "opinions".

You are attacking what the bible says on the two subjects, ergo attacking God; his shoulders are big enough.

BTW apologies, I guess I did actually get into gloating a bit above when Shibboleth flew down like a bird or a plane, with his underpants flapping in the wind over his trousers.

PB

PS I am gone until Thursday now at the earliest. cheers!

PB-


1) As I understand it, the essay above is not William's but Shibboleth's. Just to clarify... I may be wrong. I do consider the essay, regardless of its author, to be a fair perspective on the issue.


2) What you're admitting is that the bible does not present a single 'teaching' on slavery; it changes its tone from book to book and era to era, as you would expect from a collection of ancient texts. I agree. I furthermore would expect that to be the case on ANY issue you care to mention.

The question, "Is the bible pro-slavery?" is misleading. It assumes that the bible is the Word (singular) of God, rather than a collection of human words about God. In this sense, your approach to this issue is closer to mine than you may initially recognise. The bible was written by many authors for many reasons over many hundreds of years in many contexts and a variety of cultures within two religions. To expect such a compilation to present a single viewpoint on slavery is not merely ambitious but completely foolish and stemming from either naivety or bad theology.

The essay you claim to agree with above clearly aims to say that the bible reflects (to some degree, and less as time goes on, particularly in the NT) the culture in which it was written. I agree that the NT (Paul in particular) was less tolerant of slavery than those in the OT, but he certainly doesn't condemn it as we would today... or would you be hesitant to condemn it also? If you would be willing to condemn slavery, you've progressed further than Paul did.... why? Because he reflected (at least to a degree) his culture, and you reflect yours.

Now why don't you progress with regard to homosexuality?

  • 45.
  • At 05:12 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

my long winded reply to #39 and #40 has evaporated into cyberspace...unless it was shhhh (censored.) And here I had all the lyrics to Johnny Horton's song "The Battle of New Orleans" in it. I didn't save a copy. What a pity. Well unless it's resurrected to rise from the dead, Gee Dubya I'm afraid you will just have to remain unenlightened about why the US Civil War was ultimately Europe's fault.

Hmmm a European who does not like Eurobashing. They can sure dish it out but they can't take it. Figures. I make no secret or apologies for my contempt for Europe. I lived there and saw it first hand. I think it is a very inferior civilization which has put on a lot of airs, has fooled a lot of people. But when you get down to the nitty gritty of it, there's not much to be said in its behalf. Especially its frightful history...both recent and long past. America isn't perfect by a long shot but it's much better. Not just my opinion but of countless tens of millions of Europeans who emigrated to America, became citizens, and never went back. Not much traffic the other way though.

This week Europe was obsessed with guilt over its forefathers for slavery of centuries ago. Why doesn't it feel equal guilt for the slavery of human trafficking on the EU's own territory it is turning a blind eye to right now this very minute? I think Italy is very complicit, very guilty. Europe can't change the past but it could do something about the present...if it weren't populated and ruled mostly by corrupt cynical hypocrites.

  • 46.
  • At 08:14 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

How very convenient PB.

You are just following the rules eh?

Wasnt that defence used at Nuremberg?

You make me sick.

  • 47.
  • At 09:16 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

RE 44

Mark,

a quick look at the sequence of posts here reveals that once again it is you who has been "giving it out" and can't accept counter criticism. This is a pattern repeated several times in our discussions on this blog. If you were half as hones as you are arrogant youd agree.

Nonetheless, I do find it irritating to be told how superior the US is to Europe. This is totally subjective, and I don't agree.

I don't accept that american leaders could not have avoided civil war. I don't accept that America is stainless in slavery. I don't accept that amercia is beyond reproach. In your country we have seen political imprisonment and torture, ethnic cleansing, aparthied, corruption, assasination, and a deplorable foreign policy. Now the rest of the world is guilty of things too - but we don't pretend not to be, you do.

You continually hide behind the spectre of bloodthirsty europe - the truth is for any nation to aspire to be the country you' have us believe the states is - an honest appraisal of mistakes must be made. On the evidence of your opinions (which you have proclaimed representative in previous threads) I would suggest we are further along that road than you.

  • 48.
  • At 11:25 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Dylan Dog wrote:

PB M.29

I still beileve that it refers only to Israelites and resident slaves not foreign slaves which could only have come in through the practice of slavery.

Christian Hippy was wondering if your typically fundamentalist input deserved a response-it falls down because it was the Bible-believing protestants in the South of the US who supported the slave trade and segregation.

PB M 42,

The Bible never condemns slavery as you know and I would say that the rights of slaves in the Roman world were better(with the important exception of POW's but then again the Hebrews did not treat defeated enemies well). Rome had a raft of laws to protect slaves and freedmen became an important part of Rome ie., under the reign of Claudius freedmen such as Polybius, Narcissus, Pallas, and Felix, the brother of Pallas, who became governor of Judaea reached great heights and were effectiveley running the empire.

"When I am talking about looking at scholars of the bible, I, inevitably, mean scholars who believe it to be the inspired word of God and who are methodically building a broad biblical worldview."

and

"If the scholars you are reading do not actually believe the bible to be the word of god I would suggest you will not end up with the best insight of the passage you study."

The writers that I mentioned are the heavyweights of Biblical scholarship. You want me to disregard them and read some fundamentalist who believes every word of the Bible to be true, thats not balanced and we know that not every word of the Bible is true. Your position is like study the history of Greek Mytholgy but only by someone who believes that all the myths are true.

"But I am slightly troubled by the fact that you appear to be so angry by selected verses you pull out though."

It's because you atttempted to justify the murder of children, aplogies but such attitudes usually do annoy me.

And again this fundamentalist obsession with gays, if only gays caused poverty and war then maybe fundamentalists would actually do something worthwhile to fight real evil in our society.

  • 49.
  • At 11:52 AM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah
I'll tell you America's biggest mistake, ignoring George Washington's warning in his farewell address by saving Europe, not once but at least three times in the twentieth century. And each time it cost more than the time before. I just hope America finally learned its lesson.

I think it's ironic that in the twenty-first century, descendants of all of the victims of Europe's crimes in prior centuries have seemingly conspired to wreck havoc on it in revenge. Africa with its countless impovrished migrants, Arabia with its fanatic messianic religion, the hated Jews with a state which now has the power to blow up much of the world if it feels its existance threatened by its enemies, India and China with economies which are bleeding Europeans of jobs, markets, and access to resources, and America which has far eclipsed Europe in technology, banking and finance, management science, enterprise, and culture among other things. Europe lives in an unsustainable bubble deluding itself that its post war prosperity was due to its own efforts and not to enormous sacrifices by the US. Except for Britain, none of the other nations have even tried to make any changes now that Europe's priveleged trade relationship with the US is gone and must compete with the rest of the world as equals under WTO. You can thank the hated Lady Thatcher for for trying to save Britain despite itself.

Oh, and by the way, the elements put into place which made the US Civil War inevitable, the gentrified aristocratic cotton economy of the south, the African slave labor to work it and keep it competitive, and the Christian ethic in the north to viscerally abhor it were all brought to America by European Imperialists hundreds of years before America even contemplated becoming an independent nation. The trains were set on the same track on a collision course, the thottles locked at maximum, and the European engineers jumped off or were actually pushed off the trains 85 years before the unavoidable collision.

  • 50.
  • At 09:23 PM on 31 Mar 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Is there a clue in the word "pipes" as to who STIG is. ShibBoleTh

  • 51.
  • At 08:29 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • dp wrote:

I don't really have an opinion on slavery in the bible. To me the bible is only a historical text in the same sense as the Iliad and the Odyssey.
And as others have pointed out the bible can be used to mean whatever you want it to, so we get people using the bible to condemn homosexuality but none using it to suggest that we should stone people who don't observe the Sabbath.
The fact that the books of the New Testament were chosen by committee to project a view of a single faith to unite a divided people to me completely devalues it as the genuine word of god.

When you look at the bible in terms of the political, social and historical context of the time it is difficult to see it as anything else but a work of fiction.

People who try and witness for god are taking the wrong approach – don’t try and convince us of god’s love, first you need to convince us that he exists.

  • 52.
  • At 01:39 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Shibboleth wrote:

More heat than light being generated here?

I am entertained by post 49. I have no idea what it means, but it may be employing the techniques of The Bible Code. Beyond the basic necessities of life, my connection with pipes is fairly tenuous.

Crawley should really have said that I occasionally lurch from my lair and grumble in low tones.

See Judges 12.5-6 and see if you can find clues there. In Hebrew the word means "a river in torrent" but can be mistaken for the homophone "ears of corn". (NB homophone, not homophobe)

I shall not enter into any correspondence with PB on the type or condition of my underwear, nor the mode in which I may deploy my nether garments. Surprise and unpredictability in these matters are essential if I am to remain anonymous.


Shibboleth

  • 53.
  • At 05:30 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I thought it may have been William’s pipe smoking head of religious programmes at the BBC BT hence the pipes, though from the same country speaks with a different accent hence the pronunciation of Shibboleth depending on what side of the Jordan you are Shin like Samech a dialectical provincialism.

  • 54.
  • At 05:58 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Shibboleth wrote:

Sorry anonymous, I am not Bert Tosh. But I like your line of reasoning concerning the country accent.

Shibboleth

PS Post 50 - dp - do not let Dan Brown fool you, despite what the D a Vinci Code may claim, the NT was not formed in manner described.

  • 55.
  • At 07:03 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Last guest Shibboleth, are you female and did you study for an M.Th. at Princeton Theological seminary.

  • 56.
  • At 08:10 PM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • dp wrote:

#53 - Sorry to disapoint you Shibboleth but Dan Brown is not my source.
You may want to consider Bob Price, Acahrya S, Nick Everitt as more reliable sources.
If the books of the new testament were not "chosen" you may like to enlighten us as to how the New Testament came in to being and why certain books were left out.

  • 57.
  • At 08:21 AM on 03 Apr 2007,
  • Shibboleth wrote:

Anonymous - well, definitely getting warmer. Compared to the Bert Tosh hypothesis anyway.

dp - OK, so you use the sources that Dan Brown favors! That still does not make their reconstruction of the formation of the NT canon accurate. Their work is highly tendentious and I would urge you to consider the views more moderate and well established scholarship.

  • 58.
  • At 11:51 AM on 03 Apr 2007,
  • dp wrote:

You can't accuse someone’s work of being tendentious just because it proposes an alternate view point to your own.
Bob Price, in particular, is a well respected biblical scholar whose work is well researched.
I would think theologians would have more of a propensity to write tendentiously as they obviously have an agenda.
The cross, the trinity, the Madonna and child, the resurrection, baptism, virgin birth, perpetual virginity, the mother of god, solstice festivals which became Christmas and Easter. These were all elements of earlier pagan faiths that Christianity took as its own. The move from the Old Testament to the New Testament was a move from polytheism to monotheism - but they do share one feature – they are both primarily works of fiction whose historical accuracy is at it's best sketchy.
I'm sure some of the other contributors would be interested in your own personal reasons for believing in God and Jesus Christ. Not only do you need to convince us that the bible is the word of god - you need to convince us that god exists, sounds like an uphill battle to me.

  • 59.
  • At 05:32 PM on 03 Apr 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

There have been better hammers than Bob Price & Co. broken on the anvil of God’s word. Looking in, I saw upon the floor, Old hammers, worn with beating years of time. "'How many anvils have you had,' said I,’ to wear and batter all these hammers so?’ Just one,' said he, and then with twinkling eye,’ The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’” And so, I thought, the Anvil of God's Word for ages sceptic blows have beat upon; Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone." For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

  • 60.
  • At 07:34 PM on 03 Apr 2007,
  • Shibboleth wrote:

dp

Prove that God exists? That does not fall within my remit my friend.

But perhaps you need to scrutinize the scholarship of Bob Price and the Jesus Seminar people in general, and ask why they only represent a very tiny minority view amongst even skeptical biblical scholars. This is why I am urging you to look at mainstream scholarship.

All from Shibboleth (or should that be Stigoleth ?) for now...

Shibboleth

  • 61.
  • At 10:23 AM on 04 Apr 2007,
  • dp wrote:

#59
Give me a couple of recommended reads and I would certainly be interested in broadening my knowledge of this subject.
I’ll just leave you with one thought from Carl Sagan : “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”
cheers
Dave

  • 62.
  • At 11:55 AM on 04 Apr 2007,
  • Dylan Dog wrote:

dp

Have a look of the authors that I gave in M25 especially RL Fox (The Bible-The unauthorised version) and Karen Armstrong ( A history of God), both excellent reads.

Agree 100% with the C Sagan quote.

  • 63.
  • At 01:19 PM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • pb wrote:

Will

what happened all the comments?

have been out of the loop for a few days and would love to see how things progressed.

Dylan Dog - have been having a think about the war-wives passages. should have something to report soon.

cheers
PB

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.