Defamation of Character in Biblical Interpretation

Defamation of Character in Biblical Interpretation May 24, 2017

Kerry Connelly wrote in a recent blog post about a commentary on the story about a “sinful woman” in Luke 7:

Wait. What?

We don’t need to blacken Simon’s character, but it’s totally cool to call the woman a whore even if there’s no evidence of it in the text? We can construct an entire narrative around her life as a prostitute, and her expensive oil that could only have been purchased through her elicit activity, but let’s make sure we don’t disparage the man in the room — the one who is totally missing the message of Jesus, who is over there looking down on this woman in his heart, playing at the pretense of hospitality with no real love behind it, withholding the lavishness of his love and worship while this woman lets it all out?

God forbid the man might be held accountable.

Many male interpreters in particular are blind to our own assumptions and biases. Bravo to Connelly for addressing this point in the ways that she describes in her blog post – which you should definitely click through and read in its entirety.

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    Interestingly (or not), the only other occurrence of the word hamartolos in Luke outside of that passage is 5:8 when Simon Peter asks Jesus to depart from him because he (Simon) is a sinner.

  • barry

    Internet Apologist James Patrick Holding has been citing the Context Group bible scholars for the last 20 years, to justify his belief that the bible gives license to modern-day Christians to use indecent foul language to belittle, insult and shame anybody they disagree with on biblical matters, a trait that he is particularly infamous for.

    But Holding has recently updated his magnum opus where he justifies defaming people in the name of Jesus. From the defensive tone in the first few paragraphs he recently added, it appears that he was finally confronted with absolute proof that the Context Group view him as an atrocious blight on their faith.

    See that article and my reply at

  • tektontv

    Here are a few facts about “barry” aka Christian Behrend Doscher. He sued me for libel in 2015. The lawsuit
    referred to ended in September 2016 with a judgment against him and the
    court ordering him to pay me $21,494.95 in attorney fees. When
    he sued me, he already owed more than ninety thousand dollars in debt.
    Some sixty five thousand of that was from other legal debts he has
    incurred over the past several years due to losses in court.

    will not be paying me back any time soon because he is long term
    unemployed, on disability, and indigent. He lives off disability checks
    and food stamps. Near the end of the hearing to award fees, the
    judge says, “It’s my finding that Mr. Doscher has abused the court
    process to go after somebody from out of state, hale them into court in
    this state.”

    I also have a collection of quotes by attorneys who have opposed Doscher in the past. Among them:

    court in the present case should not allow Mr. Doscher to abuse the
    judicial process. He is continually granted orders of indigency and
    continually wastes mine and the court’s time with repetitive motions in
    which he regurgitates much of what has been previously stated at least
    once. Since by his own admission he labors under a mental disability, it
    is inappropriate for his mental disability to determine the course of
    litigation in light of the willingness of the court to overlook, in some
    instances, his being pro se…I believe the court should recognize the
    inappropriate – if not bad faith – actions of Mr. Doscher in conducting
    the litigation.”

    “…Mr. Doscher’s vexatious litigation goes
    beyond the mere filing of improper, invalid, or likely invalid
    lawsuits, but goes to the process of litigation itself. Specifically…Mr.
    Doscher freely admitted to me that he would take a long time in
    deposition of my previous client, [Mrs. T], which deposition would
    ‘likely take [Mr. Doscher] several days’ to complete…”

    County Superior Court and the [State] Supreme Court have both recognized
    that Mr. Doscher’s requests for indigency in other of his vexatious
    litigation should be denied, and [Y] County should do the same.”


    [Doscher is a] “pro se litigant well-known to this Court” [and his
    motion to strike “not only lacks merit, but was plainly filed in a
    further and entirely improper effort to harass Defendant…[it is] just
    the latest installment in his ill-conceived ploy to avoid litigating the
    merits of his claim, a strategy that smacks of desperation because,
    according to Plaintiff’s sworn affidavit, he supposedly lost vital
    evidence when his backpack was allegedly stolen from his unlocked car.
    Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike is yet another shameless attempt to
    manipulate the legal system, and in any event, is not cognizable under
    the narrow grounds afforded by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure…”

    is a] “serial pro se litigant” [and a] “known vexatious litigant who
    intimidates his adversaries in the hope of squeezing money out of them
    to ‘make him go away.’ “ [He is] “simply untrustworthy and lacks any
    credibility whatsoever.”