Monday, January 30, 2006

How to Read the Bible


On NPR's Fresh Air today Terry Gross interviewed Mark Zvi Brettler, a Biblical scholar, about his book, How to Read the Bible. The Jewish scholar offered some very modern, non-fundamentalist viewpoints. For instance, he argued that Genesis is certainly not meant to be taken literally, especially as scientific fact. He said the Bible was more like an anthology of stories and myths using several viewpoints to arrive at the truth. He pointed out that these myths can certainly be true, but not in the same way that literal fact is expressed or scientific hypothesis is examined.

Brettler also expressed his concern with any representation of the "Ten Commandments" being displayed in a courthouse. In Hebrew the so-called "commandments" translate as "sayings", not quite as imperative as Christians have made them. The Greek translation is "decalogue", also a lesser term than "Commandment." And he explained that different religious groups place these sayings in different order, depending on their denomination. He said that placing any particular set of commandments in a public building would favor one interpretation over another unfairly.

2 Comments:

Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Well how about that? 'The Ten Suggestions'...I like that.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Puma said...

I just started reading Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman, and I am finding it absolutely fascinating:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060738170/qid=1135794284/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-9653687-3976765?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

9:11 AM  

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