The Story of Cain and Abel

I’m beginning a new translation of the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16) and the first verse, arguably one of the most important and controversial, is complete at available here.

Now, go and study

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Prager University: The Ten Commandments

After watching the video below, read Jonah Goldberg’s article, Empty Integrity.

 

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Book Review: The Cutting Room Floor

Book Review – The Cutting Room Floorbook cover

Here is my review of Joel Hoffman’s “The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible“. If you’re serious about Bible study – whether from a secular or religious point of view, you will be well rewarded when reading this book.

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The Bible is Fiction

Rabbi, Dr. Lawrence Hoffman writes,fiction-bible-2

Properly speaking, fiction is a judgment we make about literature, not about truth.  “There are plenty of factually true statements in almost all works of fiction,” says Terry Eagleton (The Event of Literature), “but it is how they function strategically or rhetorically that counts.” If I start by saying “Once upon a time,” I invite you into an exercise in fictionalizing, even if what I say next is altogether fact. “Once upon a time, there was a president named Nixon, and he was almost impeached.” All true! But nonetheless, you wonder, “What’s your point? What moral are you pointing to by making it a ‘once upon a time’ statement?”

fiction-bible-1Christians, especially fundamental ones, often take exception to assertions that the Bible is largely fiction. My response has always been to redirect these objections to a discussion on “how” to read the Bible. To this end, I often cite Prof. David Lose (rhymes with “chose”) from his book, “Making Sense of Scripture: Big Questions About the Book of Faith“. However, this article, The Bible Is Fiction, Rabbi Hoffman explains so well why it is important that it be so.

Please read his post if you’re serious about Bible Study.

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Does God Say Please

Does God Say Please - The binding of Isaac

Gen 22: The Binding of Isaac

The May As It Is Written column is up. Titled “Does God Say Please“, it can be downloaded from here. Previous columns can be downloaded here.

Enjoy

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Selfish Charity

selfish-or-selflessThere will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land (Deut 15:11)

Here’s a great article about how to give charitably. It’s an interview, actually, with Father Sirico (of the Acton Institute) about selfish charity.

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God and Suffering

sumatra_tsunami

David Hart has something to say about God and suffering, especially suffering brought about by devastations of this kind. In this excerpt he recounts the horrors of man-made evil, not natural disasters as was experienced in the wake of the tsunami in the picture above. Nevertheless, suffering is suffering. His is a tough read, but give it a go…

“For all its power, however, Voltaire’s poem is a very feeble thing compared to the case for “rebellion” against “the will of God” in human suffering placed in the mouth of Ivan Karamazov by that fervently Christian novelist Dostoevsky; for, while the evils Ivan recounts to his brother Alexey are acts not of impersonal nature but of men, Dostoevsky’s treatment of innocent suffering possesses a profundity of which Voltaire was never even remotely capable. Famously, Dostoevsky supplied Ivan with true accounts of children tortured and murdered: Turks tearing babies from their mothers’ wombs, impaling infants on bayonets, firing pistols into their mouths; parents savagely flogging their children; a five-year- old-girl tortured by her mother and father, her mouth filled with excrement, locked at night in an outhouse, weeping her supplications to “dear kind God” in the darkness; an eight-year-old serf child torn to pieces by his master’s dogs for a small accidental transgression”. 

How do we deal with this stuff? Well, to begin read his entire essay —  Tsunami and Theodicy and then come to SHLC’s Theodicy class.

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