In Genesis, God prevented Abraham from carrying out the act. However, the papyrus text tells the story differently, suggesting that Isaac was indeed killed. This echoes the way the story is told in a number of other ancient texts, Zellmann-Rohrer said.
I got asked that question during a Sunday School class on Old Testament conceptions of the divine a few years back. I struggled to gather my thoughts quickly and do that Middle School Teacher “Well, actually… it’s very interesting you see…” thing.
But it is a long and interesting history to process how we went from the regional deity of Yahweh to having monotheism to having the middle tier of gods deleted and the lower tier of gods transformed into individual angels with specific names and identities etc.
It’s hard for modern Christians to hear, but we shouldn’t always take the easy route of reading our own modern conceptions of the divine spheres back into texts like Genesis…
Good post here with more of the history behind the concept:
Since they no longer posed a threat to Yahweh, angels began to gain individuality, leading to the explosion of interest in the angelic and demonic worlds in late Second Temple times. The shift to a single-god system led to another late Second Temple split with seeds in Genesis 6 and a full flowering in the Christian New Testament: the lowest divine tier further divided into good angels and bad angels or demons (see, for example, Matt 25:41; Rev 12:7-9). These beings fight not over supremacy in heaven, but rather over the souls of humanity. This final movement established the basic framework shared by Christian and Islamic monotheism—a single, universal god whose rule is contested by demonic figures.
When the society — which lists several conservative Christian “founding partners” on the get.bible website — first applied for the rights to .bible, it pledged to provide wide access to “all qualified parties” interested in Bible issues. Soon after acquiring the domain name, though, ABS barred publication of material it defined as “antithetical to New Testament principles” or promoting a secular worldview or “a non-Christian religion or set of religious beliefs.”
Rather, she is interested in how queerness, in all of its polysemy, “works” in the prophetic texts. Her aim is to “trace the prophetic body as a queer object and to queer the prophetic body” (p. 7)—a project that is both queer and feminist. The result is an imaginative, illuminating investigation into the bodies of various Hebrew Bible prophets.
Interesting… will definitely read!
I’ll be preaching on Genesis 32:22-31 (Jacob wrestles God / Angel / River Demon / Jungian Archetype … depending on your persuasion) at First Christian Church Columbia, SC on August 6. This is probably my favorite text in the entire Bible and I’m excited that it comes up in the lectionary next week.
I always wonder how others read this story. Leave me a comment here or on Facebook, Twitter, email etc and let me know.
I’ll post the sermon when I’m done, but maybe you can impact in how that turns out.
“The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’
So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.”
Thomas is in Philadelphia this week but we still managed to sneak in a podcast episode. We start by going over the very important but often-overlooked general idea of hermeneutics and why we should take them seriously in the Age Of Trump (AOT from here on out). Then we hop into the Bible Bracket Challenge. Sorry, Ruth.
Dr. Thomas Whitley and the Rev. Sam Harrelson discuss the concept of hermeneutics and continue their ongoing quest to decide the best book in the Bible from the Thinking Religion Bible Bracket Challenge.
House of Cards is fun, but take a few mins to watch something a little more substantive this weekend (like this):
As you might expect, I argue that even though we have thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament, we do not have many *early* ones — and hardly any *really* early ones. That is why we can not (always? ever?) know with absolute certainty what the authors of the New Testament originally said. That matters for lots of reasons, one of which is that fundamentalist Christians but their faith in the very words of the Bible. But what if, in some passages, we don’t know what those words were? Dan, also as expected, argued that we have such extensive evidence for the New Testament — more than for any other book from the ancient world — we can trust that we have what the authors originally wrote.