Canaanite Religion, Israelite Religion

Tim Kimberley recently posted on the question of the commands to exterminate Canaanites in the Bible. In the post, he suggests that the genocide may have been justified since the Canaanites were practicing things like child sacrifice. The problem is that, historically speaking, the Israelites were Canaanites. The genetic evidence suggests this. The linguistic evidence suggests [Read More...]

Was Child Sacrifice Once Common?

As modern people, we often find it hard to believe that ancient people lived as they did. And in the case of some practices, like human sacrifice, we may suspect that reports are exaggerated. In a discussion in a comment thread, this subject came up. Ezekiel 20:25-26 seems to suggest that child sacrifice in Israel [Read More...]

Abraham “Heard Voices”

It is important to tread carefully when something tragic is in the news, such as Aaron Alexis' recent shooting rampage at a Navy yard. But my students are continuing to discuss the Abraham story and the Euthyphro today, and we simply cannot bypass the question of how one would react to someone in our time [Read More...]

Abortion and Child Sacrifice in the Bible (From The Archives)

There is an interesting irony in the fact that a tradition that apparently once practiced child sacrifice has evolved into one in which (in certain segments, at least) is adamant in protecting the rights even of the not-yet-born. The teachings on the unborn found within the Bible are somewhat ambiguous. Exodus 21:22-25 appears to make [Read More...]

In Abraham’s Shoes Without a Bible (From The Archives)

When I wrote this, I had been reading some student assignments that discussed the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22, and was struck by how many are ready to say that Abraham did the right thing in being willing to kill his son. They said this, presumably, because the story is in the [Read More...]


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