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The Trombone ForumPractice BreakChit-ChatReligion(Moderator: bhcordova) TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible
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MoominDave

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« on: Aug 23, 2015, 09:58AM »

This arose out of a recollection of timothy42b, of a now lost thread on the AKO (Army Knowledge Online) forums, where, in his own words
Here on TTF we've had a long-running general religious interest strand, attracting input from a good mix of the religious (mostly flavours of Western Christianity - but members of all other religions and denominations are welcomed with open arms) and the non-religious, and a group of us think it could be rather enjoyable to attempt the same here. Maybe we'll complete it and move on to further books... Maybe we'll get nowhere with it... We won't know unless we try.

Ground rules

1) Summarise a chapter at a time. We start with Genesis 1, and, if we ever get there, finish with Revelation 22. That's 1,189 chapters in total. Some are longer, some are shorter - please, make each summary of a whole chapter at a time. You are free to summarise it however you see fit, as Tim described, "as reverently or irreverently" as you wish. At the end of each book, it might be nice if someone posts an overall book summary to tie things together.
2) Keep it moving. Yes, we want to discuss what we find interesting. Maybe sometimes we'll find nothing to talk about in a particular chapter. Maybe other times we'll want to spend pages digging into something small. But beyond a page or so of discussion on a single summary, please take digressive side points to other threads in order not to obscure this one.
3) It's important to specify which version is to be used for this. We will work from the English Standard Version (ESV). This was chosen from the myriad options for several reasons: i) There's an easily navigable online version; ii) It's a relatively modern version of the text, with respected scholarship; iii) It has widespread approval within the various pieces of the Western Christian world.
4) The aim of this is to provide an overview of the text for a group of us with diverse religious interests, piece by piece, not to resolve difficult matters of academic scholarship. Make pet points of translation if you wish - refer to other versions in contrast too if you want to - but in general try to keep it pithy enough to easily keep people's interest. As a rough rule-of-thumb guideline, if a summary gets as long as this kick-off post, it probably shouldn't get any longer. Various whole chapters are in their entirety shorter than this post...
5) If you want to make a chapter summary, just dive in. Check what the next due chapter is, then post it. If you're midway on preparing a summary, then someone else posts, then your summary thoughts will make a good reply to their post. [NB We started out with a roster, but abandoned it, finding it limiting.]

Do get involved! Or don't. Contribute, comment, read silently, as you wish. But please feel free to volunteer to jump in and add your own summary of the next chapter at any point. An endeavour such as this always benefits from new blood, at any stage. Don't feel either under- or over-qualified for this, just read up and post away - it is whatever it turns out to be. We want a diversity of viewpoints making summaries - it'll be much more interesting that way.

So - Ready... Set... Go! Martin (drizabone) has volunteered to kick us off with his summary of Genesis 1 - over to you, Martin...

For reference, here is a link to the list of chapter links for the ESV online; the entire text may be read at this link.

List of links to individual summaries (to be updated every 10 chapters or so):
Genesis 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
« Last Edit: Oct 10, 2015, 02:45PM by bhcordova » Logged

Dave Taylor

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MoominDave

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 23, 2015, 10:00AM »

And, as I don't think anyone has volunteered for anything since Martin's offer to start us off, I'll put my name down for Genesis 2 once we're done with the first chapter...
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #2 on: Aug 23, 2015, 10:13AM »

I believe that Martin is almost ready to post on Genesis 1, correct?
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MoominDave

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« Reply #3 on: Aug 23, 2015, 10:15AM »

That's my understanding too - Sunday morning in Australia at the moment, though - as a devout chap, he might well be at his church right now...
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #4 on: Aug 23, 2015, 02:11PM »

Its 7:10am now, Monday morning.
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drizabone
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 23, 2015, 02:27PM »

I thought it would be useful to introduce Genesis too for two reasons.

1: its a good idea to know some background on a book you're reading and
2: because there are a lot of ways of understanding Genesis, and I'd like to get them in the open rather than keeping them as unstated assumptions. 

So its the old questions again: who, what, when , where and why.  And for a book that's: author, text type/genre, structure, when, where and purpose.

Who wrote it?
  • Jesus and Hebrew tradition ascribes the Pentateuch (the first books of the bible) to Moses, so that carries a lot of weight for me
  • But there are also parts of the text that deal with events both before Moses was born and after he died

  There are a number of answers, including:

  •    Moses wrote it all, with input from oral histories and God's revelation
  •    Moses wrote it with input from oral histories and God, and then others fixed it up
  •    It was a compilation of different texts written by people with different interests and then redacted to produce the current texts we have.

I go for the second option.  Moses wrote it and someone else (Samuel would be a good candidate I think) added a few things without substantially changing it.

Genre/ Text type : are we dealing with a Myth or a science thesis?  Or neither.

  • The first chapter has its own very structured form.  Like a poem or song. So I think this is a different text type to the rest of the book. More poetic than prose.
  • For the rest we have lists of genealogys and narrative.
  • Genesis is divided up by a series of "These are the generation of..."  Have a look at these when you see them.  There are different theories on their significance and meaning.
  • When and Where :  The latest Moses could have written it was while Israel was wandering around the Wilderness in Sinai.  So that's when I place it.

Purpose

  • Given who I think wrote it and when and where it was written, I think its purpose was to prepare Israel to live in their new homeland.

So that's what I think.  What do you guys think?
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 23, 2015, 03:00PM »

Chapter 1 and a bit of Chapter 2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth: the earth was formless and empty and dark: just Godís Spirit hovering over the deep.

So God commanded order

-   Day 1 : He ordered Light : and separated it from Darkness
     o      Day 2 : He ordered water by making a  ďfirmamentĒ to separate the waters below it (oceans etc) from the waters above (?). He called the firmament ďHeavenĒ.   He made dry land appear and called it Earth.  He called the waters, Seas.
           Day 3 :  He ordered the earth by making  vegetation, plants and trees grow according to their kinds

And then filled what he had ordered.

-   Day 4 : He put lights in the heavens to separate day from night, and for signs and seasons, and to rule the day and night and to give light. And God say that it was good.
     o   Day 5 :  He filled the seas with swarms of fish and the firmament  with birds. And God saw that it was good.
           Day 6 :  He put amimals on the land. And God say that it was good.
            ē   He made man in his image, in his likeness and gave them dominion over the fish, birds and animals.
            ē   God blessed them and it was very good.

Day 7 : God rested
This is the story of the heavens and the earth.

PS I tried to show that day 1 goes with day 4, 2 with 5 and 3 with 6.
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 23, 2015, 03:01PM »

My Commentary:
  • God created everything (the heavens and the earth) in the beginning
  • Iíve tried to show the structure of the passage: where first God orders the creation which then was in chaos, and then he fills it.
  • Iíve read that Light, the Sun, the Moon, stars, oceans Ö were worshipped as gods by other nations around Israel.  So this chapter can be seen as a polemic, putting the supposed gods into place.  They were just lights and signs, not beings to rule over us, but tools for our use, and subject to God.
  • Text type : given its high degree of structure like the verses of a poem, I suggest thatís its more poetry than anything else.
  • Author :  pretty contentious I know.  Iím going with mainly Moses, with someone else compiling it and adding a few extras to fill in or explain bits to his audience, but with a light touch.  I reckon that Samuel would be a good candidate. I expect this will be heartily discussed.
  • Purpose : As I think its written by Moses during the 40 years in the wilderness I think it was written to prepare Israel to live in the Promised Land.  So its concerns are to reassure Israel that God is the creator, he has a plan that they are part of, and that he is faithful to his promises despite our sin; that he is God and not the things worshipped by their neighbours
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John the Theologian
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 23, 2015, 04:56PM »

Good summary, Martin.  The basic thing that I would add is that the text is probably structured the way it is because it is likely, in part, a rebuttal of the Enuma Elish, the most common creation story in the Ancient Near East among the neighbors of the Hebrew people.  That story began with sweet water and salt water accidentally mixing, leading the creation of the gods-- mostly astral-- who in turn made humans to be their slaves.  The Genesis account, on the other hand has the biblical God creating by his word, not by accident, completely controlling the heavenly bodies, and creating humans in his own image to rule over the rest of creation.  The contrast is obvious.
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 24, 2015, 03:15AM »

A nice start, thank you Martin (and sorry for implying that Australia is on the other side of the Date Line!). Already I am learning things. I completely understand why you spilled over into the first small portion of Chapter 2 - this section seems that it belongs more naturally in Chapter 1. Googling around, it seems that the current agreed chapter divisions were the work of Stephen Langton, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the early 13th century (then, pre-Reformation, a Catholic post). It seems a strange choice to have separated the end of the narrative in this way. Do we have any idea why this was done?

I like John's relating of Genesis to the Enuma Elish. Are there similarities? Are there differences? Are there other creation stories from the same general region that we might see similar or contrasting elements in?

Iíve tried to show the structure of the passage: where first God orders the creation which then was in chaos, and then he fills it.

Good point. I actually hadn't made that 1-2-3 = 4-5-6 association before, but it is clear when pointed out.

By the by, I'm sure I'm not the only person here at the moment with the masterful work of Joseph Haydn rattling around his head as he reads...

Iíve read that Light, the Sun, the Moon, stars, oceans Ö were worshipped as gods by other nations around Israel.  So this chapter can be seen as a polemic, putting the supposed gods into place.  They were just lights and signs, not beings to rule over us, but tools for our use, and subject to God.

This seems insightful to me too - with my heathen hat on, I can absolutely see why the writer wanted to sell their god idea as being superior to all other prevailing god ideas. "You might worship xyz, but xyz takes their cue from our God." A powerfully persuasive notion when coupled with a lack of need to show rigorous evidence.

Text type : given its high degree of structure like the verses of a poem, I suggest thatís its more poetry than anything else.

This would certainly chime with it being a writing down of a long-maintained oral tradition, which would seem a reasonable way for this initial creation story to have evolved - oral histories are more easily remembered if the words strike rhythmically.

Author :  pretty contentious I know.  Iím going with mainly Moses, with someone else compiling it and adding a few extras to fill in or explain bits to his audience, but with a light touch.  I reckon that Samuel would be a good candidate. I expect this will be heartily discussed.

So, this is the kind of thing that the inquiring faithful have thought about more than I have, but even I'm aware that this glosses over an amount of detail, and the internet tells me more that I had forgotten / never known.

A cursory reading of the issues suggests that modern scholarship is of the opinion that the web of relevant anciently authored texts can be broadly categorised into four 'independent' sources, classified by peculiarities of words and phrasing, which were put together in their final form at some point in the vague region of a thousand years after a historical Moses might have lived. There are competing hypotheses, but this type of scheme has a ring of actuality to it. It would certainly have been extremely difficult for a basically single text authored that long before to have survived in that environment for that long without undergoing inadvertent major evolution. How long would the written media of Mosaic times have survived? How many copyings would they have undergone? How reverently were the copyings treated? What contrasting political needs did the copyists serve? One can see quite easily how, even if one did start with a single source text, it would fragment into competing versions in that much time in that environment.

Shall I aim to post Chapter 2 tomorrow? Or sooner?
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #10 on: Aug 24, 2015, 03:49AM »

Ignore this, Im only posting so I can remain alerted every time someone replies. :/

I think this thread has great potential, I hope it works out :D

Please, Dont let me de-rail you   
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 24, 2015, 05:31AM »

A cursory reading of the issues suggests that modern scholarship is of the opinion that the web of relevant anciently authored texts can be broadly categorised into four 'independent' sources, classified by peculiarities of words and phrasing, which were put together in their final form at some point in the vague region of a thousand years after a historical Moses might have lived. There are competing hypotheses, but this type of scheme has a ring of actuality to it. It would certainly have been extremely difficult for a basically single text authored that long before to have survived in that environment for that long without undergoing inadvertent major evolution. How long would the written media of Mosaic times have survived? How many copyings would they have undergone? How reverently were the copyings treated? What contrasting political needs did the copyists serve? One can see quite easily how, even if one did start with a single source text, it would fragment into competing versions in that much time in that environment.


Let me start out saying well done Martin! Great job!

Dave, your findings seem to implicate that the scripture could have been fragmented and distorted, but in 2 Tim 3:16

2 Timothy 3:16   English Standard Version (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

One can never forget that our scripture is the Word of God given by divine inspiration to a select few men. In this case, Moses. So, personally, I don't think that Moses compiled the first chapter of Genesis through fragmented verbal stories handed down through the times.
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MoominDave

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« Reply #12 on: Aug 24, 2015, 05:45AM »

Ignore this, Im only posting so I can remain alerted every time someone replies. :/

I think this thread has great potential, I hope it works out :D

Please, Dont let me de-rail you   

Thanks! I think it has a lot of potential too. Do you fancy putting your name down for a chapter or two? We're still working out the details of how best to allocate/volunteer chapters - looks like we have the first 5 chapters covered at the moment.

Your findings seem to implicate that the scripture could have been fragmented and distorted, but in 2 Tim 3:16

2 Timothy 3:16   English Standard Version (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

One can never forget that our scripture is the Word of God given by divine inspiration to a select few men. In this case, Moses. So, personally, I don't think that Moses compiled the first chapter of Genesis through fragmented verbal stories handed down through the times.

Not my findings - rather what the internet tells me is the current academic consensus. Assuming I read it all correctly, anyhow!

But don't forget that as a non-Christian I (and more generally, scholars) am/are not bound by your rule - if it seems historically and textually most plausible that the Pentateuch came together over a vast span of years, there's no imperative to automatically reject that conclusion simply because someone else later on in the same book (in a passage authored a further millennium later on) says that it can't be so. Similarly, scholars seem quite divided on whether Moses himself was a historical personage - certainly they have had a very hard time trying to match his times and deeds up with say the more rigorously chronicled history of Egypt.

You take as axiomatic that what is in this book that we consider is True. I don't. That's cool - though I do reserve the right to point out interesting moments of contradiction within it as they arise - just as you reserve the right to scorn my lack of faith as demonstrated in pointing those out. It's all cool, and helps create the diversity of opinion that we're aiming for in this thread. By the way, can I talk you into contributing a summary or two as we go on?
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #13 on: Aug 24, 2015, 06:01AM »

just as you reserve the right to scorn my lack of faith as demonstrated in pointing those out.

Dave, please don't interpret my post as scorning you for your lack of faith. I wanted to remind the readers that there are other views, before we move on to the next chapter. Throughout the Bible, we are told that the Word of God is His direct divine revelation to us, and Jesus Himself certainly treated the Scriptures as the divine Word of God. I understand that we as people who don't fully understand a lot of things always want to find simple theories on how the scriptures came about and lasted through the ages. That's why I consider the Bible itself as a Miracle in its own right.

Right now, I have too much on my plate to do a workup analysis on a chapter. I appreciate the offer, and maybe later on, I will find time to pony up.

 
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 24, 2015, 06:16AM »

 Good!

I'll leave it until this evening UK time (say, 6 hours time) to post Chapter 2 - to give our various US posters a chance to chip in on Chapter 1. Much of the discussion so far is general to Genesis or the Pentateuch and not chapter-dependent.
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #15 on: Aug 24, 2015, 07:49AM »



2 Timothy 3:16   English Standard Version (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

One can never forget that our scripture is the Word of God given by divine inspiration to a select few men.


Off topic, but then, 2 Timothy might not be completely on topic for Gen 1?  But anyway:

How do we know scripture is reliable?  Because 2 Timothy says so.

How do we know 2 Timothy is right?  Because it's in the scripture. 

Now back to your regular scheduled program. 
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 24, 2015, 07:51AM »

It's a pity that Timothy never got as far as the second revision of his 42nd epistle...
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #17 on: Aug 24, 2015, 08:05AM »

Matthew 5:17English Standard Version (ESV)


Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

17 ďDo not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Jesus in His own words Tim always treated the Scriptures as the divinely inspired Word of God, not just Timothy.
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 24, 2015, 08:09AM »

Tim's point still stands -

How do we know scripture is reliable?  Because Matthew says so.
How do we know Matthew is right?  Because it's in the scripture.
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Dave Taylor

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« Reply #19 on: Aug 24, 2015, 08:22AM »

Tim's point still stands -

How do we know scripture is reliable?  Because Matthew says so.
How do we know Matthew is right?  Because it's in the scripture.

Jesus says so. Its His words.
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