Which David and Goliath story is the inerrant one?


The second problem for so-called biblical inerrantists here is larger and deeper and more essential — cutting to the heart of why “biblical inerrancy” is a fundamentally distorted and distorting approach to reading and understanding. The larger problem is not simply that the two stories in 1 Samuel contradict each other, but that the text’s attempt to merge them together is so transparent and seems, frankly, so poorly done. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (5.12)

Candida Moss on the pedagogy of Hell. Libby Anne on “Orgies, Bisexuality, James Dobson, and Evangelicals.” Ronald Osborn on misreading Genesis and mistreating animals. Matthew Frost on the Bible on its own terms. And the Associated Press finds that “Your seafood might come from slaves.” [Read more...]

Taking too much too lightly


“I am quite confident that the Bible’s distinguished place in history will not be diminished in the absence of a state’s endorsement,” says Tennessee’s AG. And I agree (although I do like their choice for an official state song). Plus: Litigious man claims to have invented stale tropes; the Boongurunguru; more fun with the synoptic problem; and echoes of Galatians from the Friendly Atheist. [Read more...]

What’s the deal with this ‘Sunday WTF’?


I’m sure that some people will perceive my focus on these passages as an “attack” on the Bible. But I’m not attacking it, I’m just quoting it — accurately. Those who wish to “defend” the Bible from being quoted accurately need to recognize that it cannot be the Bible itself that they’re defending. [Read more...]

How fundies miss out on the fun (the Synoptic Problem is not that kind of ‘problem’)


Fundamentalists see the “synoptic problem” as the wrong kind of problem — as an embarrassing mistake that needs to be corrected by “harmonizing” the Gospels. But it’s not that kind of problem. It’s a literary detective story. It’s an ancient puzzle challenging us to try to solve it. And it’s really, really cool. [Read more...]

How I learned to stop clobber-texting and love George Bailey


These Bailey-ite “alternative investments” with their modest interest rates might seem to me to be a wise way to help the working poor, but I also had heard hundreds of sermons reminding me that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” I knew that “the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,” and that it was always dangerous to think that we knew better than what we read in the inerrant Word of God. [Read more...]

‘The Bible is really clear about usury’

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The problem is not that the Bible is lacking in clarity. The problem, rather, tends to be a surfeit of clarity. If you turn to the Bible looking for an unambiguous, definitive and categorical statement on almost any given point, you’ll be sure to find one. That would solve your problem … until you realize that you can find more than one, and that they’re not all the same. [Read more...]

The unicorns of the King James Bible

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The oldest English translations of the Bible have unicorns in them. The original Hebrew texts did not. So where did those King James Version unicorns come from? From translators’ best guess at the meaning of a word that still leaves us guessing. [Read more...]