The errancy/innerrancy debate in biblical theology is often framed in terms of levels of “belief” in the Bible. The errancy position holds that the Bible is not a perfect document that represents the direct word of God in every minor (and even some major) instance. It admits human involvement in the production and transmission of the text. In inerrancy position holds that the Bible is the perfect word of God. Though there are many different subtlties in the various versions of these two positions, they actually rest on the same set of assumptions.
Category Archives: Bible
How to Teach Yourself Hebrew from Scratch: Part II
Let’s assume at this point that you’re someone who took a year of Hebrew in school, but it was a long time ago. Or, you have worked through a grammar on your own. You’ve learned some basics, but you’re not quite ready to dive into Isaiah. What to do? Continue reading
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Genesis 1-3 and The Documentary Hypothesis (again)
Here at FPR there have been several posts pertaining to the Documentary Hypothesis, a theory that many scholars utilize to explain the compositional history of the Torah. (There are also a few online sources for specifically Mormon audiences concerning the topic, such as Kevin Barney’s or John Sorensen’s articles in Dialogue.) There are many versions of this thesis, and I do not here intend to argue for any particular one (although it seems virtually unanimous among scholars that the Torah was certainly compiled from a variety of sources). Rather, in keeping with David Clark’s recent posts on biblical criticism, I intend to use the classic text book example of Genesis 1-3 as a case study to demonstrate that there are (at least two) separate sources redacted together in Genesis. I recommend reading these chapters both before and after reading my analysis. I invite your comments afterwards on anything you might feel is related.
Paul’s bitter dispute with Peter and James poses a problem for thinking about LDS notions of authority because it puts into tension church authority and moral and doctrinal issues. When true doctrine and church leadership are in conflict, how are we to make a choice between them? When our sense of what is moral conflicts with our leaders’ sense of what is moral, what are we supposed to do? Paul found himself in exactly this situation, and had to make a choice between his own sense of what was right and the views of his leaders who had been commissioned directly by Christ to take care of the church.
Filed under Bible, Doctrine, Leadership
Back to Allegory?
When we moderns read any scripture we tend to read it only one way. We read it as history that is supposed to have some sort of theologically edifying meaning to us. This style of reading fits so well with our modes of thinking that it just seems the blatantly obvious way to read scripture. What could be more obvious than reading a book about the past, which we assert is true, as history?
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Amateur Biblical Studies, Part 2
Here’s the other five resources which I recommend for an amateur in biblical studies just getting started.
Filed under Bible
Amateur Biblical Studies, Part 1
I am not a biblical scholar, and I have never taken a class in anything related to biblical studies. So, what I am about to say may be worth every penny you are paying. Having said that, I think that it is possible for a motivated amateur to get a basic education in biblical studies on the cheap and in his/her spare time. I wanted to list 10 resource which I have found to be the most helpful and the most effective for getting educated in the world of academic biblical studies. I’ll list the first five resources in this entry, and the second five in the next entry.
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The Church and the Conversion Experience
Some time ago someone made a comment on one of our threads characterizing the LDS notion of revelation as a “hot sensation brought on by emotionally charged media.” In regard to the role of revelation in the conversion experience, the writer also felt “challenged” by the need to explain the revelatory experience to an investigator because he or she had “expected divine communication to be more clear.”
I share the writer’s distaste for the maudlin and sentimental in media, from which I protect myself via the “off” button. The remainder of the critique, however, is less than compelling. The key to the writer’s anxieties and discomfort probably lies within his or her expectations. If I had to guess, I’d say that those expectations were forged almost completely by interaction with the BoM and perhaps the surviving popular accounts of early LDS experiences.
The LDS conversion paradigm, however, is grounded in the NT conversion experience and the NT idea of what is communicated during conversion. Conversion events in the NT are emotional but they do not tail off into emotional incoherence. Instead, these experiences lead to behaviors that form and shape the community into the body of Christ. Missionaries are uniquely qualified for their role in bringing the conversion event to culmination.
Filed under Bible, Personal Issues
Anxiety and the Fall
Some years back for a course I was taking in psychiatry we were assigned to regularly visit a local mental hospital. The first and second floors were “day programs” and the third floor was the locked unit, for those not safe enough to be let out. I will never forget the intensity of the cigarette smoke: I’ve since learned that many schizophrenics self-medicate with nicotine. Also unforgettable was the look in the eyes of the many people wandering the bare rooms of the third floor. But for this post, I’d like to talk about what a psychiatrist had on a chalkboard in a side room for a group therapy session. It was a quote from Kierkegaard:
Filed under Bible, Doctrine, Mormon Studies
How Old Was Jesus?
Doesn’t everyone know that Jesus was 30 when he started his ministry, and 33 when he was killed? This seems to be common knowledge, right? Well, sort of. But not everyone agrees.
Let’s begin with the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke). The only clear statement concerning Jesus’s age comes from Luke 3:23, which says that Jesus was “about 30 years of age” when he began his ministry, following his baptism by John. This obviously lacks some precision. How old Jesus was when he died is similarly ambiguous. According to the Synoptics, all of the events described in Jesus’ life can easily fit into just one year. When quoting Isaiah, Jesus invokes the “acceptable year of hte Lord” (Lk 4:19), which some Christians interpreted as referring to his single year of ministry. However, there is no attempt to give an accurate chronology of Jesus’ life in these gospels, so we shouldn’t expect precision. For other difficulties regarding the chronology of Jesus’ life, see Mogget’s previous post on Jesus’ birth and death. Continue reading
Filed under Bible