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UPDATE: Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 – Roads Not Taken – Part 1

 

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Is God violent?

 

This past Sunday, we discussed whether or not God was violent, the theology of Teilhard de Chardin, and the model of God portrayed in process theology.

Here are our essays.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Confessions” – Book IX: Chapters 1 – 6

Baptism of St. Augustine of Hippo, from a fresco cycle of the Life of St. Augustine, 1465 by Benozzo De Lesse Gozzoli, c. 1420 – 97, Italian

 

 

For this Sunday we will cover Book IX  Chapters 1 – 6 of Confessions.

 

In this book he ties up his autobiographical story by telling the aftermath of his conversion, in particular, the events leading up to his baptism.

 

He describes his stay in the fall and winter months of 386 at the country estate of his friend Vercundus at Cassiciacum near Milan.  This provided Augustine and his friends a quiet place of withdrawal as they prepared for baptism that coming Easter. While there, Augustine wrote a series of dialogues based on the conversations he was having with his friends there.  These writings (On the Happy Life, Against the Academics, On Order, Soliloquies) show that he was working out some of the solutions to his theological problems.

 

By the end of Chapter 6, he, along with his son Aeodatus and friend Alypius get baptized together.

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A Look Into Jesus’ Conception

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“The Nativity”, Lorenzo Lotto (1480 – 1556/57), 1523, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

 

This week, we will take a mini-break from Confessions and discuss the topic of the Virgin birth and Christology.

 

We will be going over an article from the November/December 2014 issue of Biblical Archeology Review titled “How Babies Were Made in Jesus’ Time” by Andrew Lincoln.  A brief synopsis of the article can be found here; for the complete article you have to order from the website.

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Was God Pro-Choice?

 

 

Every election year, many Christians (Evangelical and Catholic) gather together to make the issue of abortion a major topic in politics.  They cite the sanctity of life all together and tell how abortion is murder of the unborn.  Many also claim that abortion is impermissible on any grounds because of the Bible, even in cases of rape, incest, or even if a woman’s life is in jeopardy due to complications in a pregnancy.

 

OK, maybe God being “pro-choice”as the title states might be a bit of an anachronism, but it seems rather clear that in some instances he does sanction abortion or at the very least, permit ways to allow for a woman to have a miscarriage if she’s pregnant due to adultery.

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“Confessions” Book V: Chapters 8 – 13

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Augustine and Monica sit listening to a sermon from Bishop Ambrose in a painting by Ambrogio il Bergognone (1455 – 1535), Turin, Italy

 

Yes, we’re back from a month long hiatus.  We will finish Book V of Augustine’s Confessions.

 

In 383, at the age of 29, Augustine sailed from Carthage with his partner and their son, along with his two close friends Alypius and Nebridius, to Rome for a teaching position where he hoped to engage with better behaved students. By that time, Rome was no longer the center of the western empire; the emperor resided in Milan.

 

The next year, after winning a competition for a post as public teacher of rhetoric, he moved to Milan. It was there that he first encountered the formidable figure of Ambrose the bishop of Milan. He was to have a profound influence on Augustine’s life and thought.

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The Evolution of Satan

Statue of Satan at the Satanic Temple in Detroit, MI.

Statue of Satan at the Satanic Temple in Detroit, MI.

 

Great article and post on the development of Satan/the Devil in Judeo-Christian thought and theology through the centuries over at isthatinthebible.wordpress.com.

Highly fascinating.

“Princes of Darkness: The Devil’s Many Faces in Scripture and Tradition”

“A Biblical Guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Vol. I: The Ancient Near East”

ANE_book_cover

 

Late last year I teamed up with Ron Choong, PhD, executive director of ACT Ministry, to write a museum guide to the Ancient Near Eastern Art Gallery for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

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What Does it Mean to be “Saved?”

 

 

When you ask your average Christian or evangelical what salvation means, more likely than not, he or she will respond with, “Jesus Christ died for your sins so that you will enter heaven after death, escape from the fires of hell, and instead spend eternity with Him.”  And normally, they would equate that statement to be the basic meaning of the gospel.

 

However, that seems to be a very parochial understanding of the term ‘salvation’.

 

What did the Bible writers, especially the author of the Gospel of Luke, mean by the term ‘salvation’ or what it means to be ‘saved’?

 

Here’s an essay about the term ‘salvation’ here.

 

 

Site Update: New Sub-Menu – “Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics”

 

 

 

Since 2006, I have studied in depth the art and discipline of biblical exegesis and hermeneutics as both a student and a tutor to lay persons over the years.

 

It has been a tremendous blessing and life-changing journey to go through the Bible in a serious and thorough way.

 

I have included a new sub-menu category under the “Biblical Studies” menu on top titled “Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics” which covers a span from 2006 – 2014.

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The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition – “Controversy Lurks as Scholars Try to Work Out Bible’s Original Text”

 

Illustration of Torah scroll text October 18, 2009.  (photo credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

 

 

As some may or may not know, the biblical text (including the New Testament, although this article focuses on the Old Testament) has gone through multiple edits and revisions over the centuries; therefore it has been subject to errors not only in terms of grammar but also content as well.  The Bible that we read today is what it is in its “final form”.

 

For the past 14 years, a team of scholars have been trying to piece together what the very original Torah or Old Testament was like, but not without some controversy.

 

From the article:

 

The difficulties in the project stem from the Bible’s long history of transmission from scribe to scribe through the centuries. HBCE is trying to reverse engineer that process, to sift through the various extant texts of the Bible and — by analyzing grammatical glitches, stylistic hitches and contradictions of the texts — establish a reading closer to if not the original, then at least the archetype on which the subsequent copies were based.

The goal is to rewind the clock as far as possible toward the time when the various biblical texts attained their canonical form, around the start of the Common Era.

 


The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition will be published later this year.

 

To learn more, go to the project’s main website here.