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A Picture or 1000 Words

The old saying tells us that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament contains thousands of words about God, but it seems to me that it also contains two ‘pictures’ that put all these thousands of words in their proper place, and warn us against understanding them in any crudely literal […]

Myth and the Gospels

In my previous post, I wrote about myths in the Hebrew Bible, and also about contemporaneous Greek myths. There are also what we can call myths, I believe, in the Gospels, and here I’m suggesting an example in John’s gospel. By ‘myths’, I mean imaginative stories which include supernatural beings and events. The fourth gospel, […]

Genesis and Zeus

Genesis 1 to 11 makes a fascinating introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Astonishingly, millions regard this as a historical account (i) of the creation of the universe (at 12 noon on Sunday, October 23rd, 4004BC); (ii) of the ‘fabrication’ of the first humans; and (iii) of events eventually leading to the birth of Israel. I […]

Who Wrote the Bible’s first 5 Books? (ii)

There are still people who believe the Bible is “inerrant”. This would have astonished those editors for whom inconsistencies and even contradictions were such a non-issue they made little attempt to ‘iron them out’. They clearly didn’t imagine they were writing the ‘infallible word of God’, nor should we. For example, in Exodus 6 (P […]

Who Wrote the Bible’s first 5 Books? (i)

It was long believed by Jews and Christians alike that the first 5 books (or scrolls) of the Hebrew Bible, (the Pentateuch), had been written by Moses, around the 15th century BCE. In the Middle Ages, however, attention was drawn to Gen.12:6 which says, “the Canaanites were then in the land”, meaning this was no […]

The POE-t who beat the Astronomers to it !

Astronomers, from the late 16th century onwards, who believed that the universe was infinite in age and extent, couldn’t understand why the night sky wasn’t an uninterrupted blaze of light. If the universe was infinite in extent, and had an infinite number of stars, then every line of sight would lead to a star, and […]

The Tower of Babel – or Babble?

This story begins by stating that “the whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary”, which is a splendid example of ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’ since we’re told, in the previous chapter, that the nations had been “separated into their lands, every one according to […]

Noah and Biblical Abuse – Slavery

The Bible pictured above, displayed at the ‘Museum of the Bible’ in Washington D.C., was used to educate slaves. Cut out of it, were passages which might encourage rebellion – “There is no difference between .. slaves and free people .. you are all one in union with Christ Jesus”. (Gal. 3:28). Other passages, not […]

Noah’s Flood

Five centuries before Israel appeared, along with the tales that form its national epic, a story was told by the Sumerian people in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). The gods created humans to do the heavy work, like digging drainage ditches, harvesting crops, and animal husbandry. They multiplied too rapidly, however, becoming obstreperous, ‘bolshie’ nuisances. “The country […]

Genesis 6 – Who were the Nephilim?

Following on from the Cain and Abel tale of blood-stained misadventure, here is an even more ambiguous, if not totally obscure, story. It concerns dubious goings-on involving, of all people, the “sons of God”. The phrase בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים (beney haʾelohim) is found only here and in the Book of Job, but occurs outside the Hebrew Bible […]

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