Happy V-D

Thankfully the biggest question I’m facing this weekend whether it’ll be Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth version!) or a Cary Grant-a-thon. (there will be no consumption of any Nicholas Sparks books or movies in this household, rest assured)

This weekend find someone you love and let them know it, preferably in a non-commercialized way. Happy Valentine’s!

I don’t hate the Bible nearly as much anymore

… at least not after attending this conference. It’s funny, out of everyone there, I think that Jerry and I may have gotten the MOST out of what was talked about this week — especially considering we’re the ones from such a conservative, evangelical background and most of the other attendees are so liberal in their theology and upbringing in the church.

I’ve got much to write about the lectures of Timothy Beal, but until I have the time (and considering the weight of these midterms I have left to mark, there’s not time), here’s a teaser of some of what we discussed this week — a preview of his new book, from his publisher’s website:

Tim is finishing a book called The End of the Word as We Know It, about the rise and fall of the cultural icon of the Bible. It goes back to early Christianity to ask how a box of handwritten scrolls became the Bible, and forward to see how the multibillion dollar Bible business that has brought us Biblezines and Manga Bibles is selling down the Bible’s “sacred capital.” It’s the end of the cultural icon of the Bible, “the Word as we know it.” But that’s not the end of the story. As Beal shows how Scriptures became the Good Book, and how that iconic Book is now falling apart, he calls for a fresh understanding of the Bible, one that is truer to its history and its contents. Consider these eye-opening revelations:

  • The way most people today think of the Bible, as the literal Word of God and book of answers to life’s most basic questions, is a relatively new idea – only about a century old.
  • There was no such thing as the Bible for the first 400 years or so of Christian history.
  • There is no “original” Bible, no single source text behind the thousands of different Bibles on the market today.
  • The Bible has always been in a state of change. It is not a fixed, immutable thing but a vital, dynamic tradition—more like a river than a rock.

As a professor of religion at a secular university and also a person of faith, his proclamation of the end of the Word as we know it is as personal as it is academic. He believes we are currently witnessing the Bible in a state of dramatic change. Instead of attempting to protect and preserve it, we can use this crisis as an opportunity to rediscover the Bible the way people read it before it was the Bible, not as a book of answers but a library of questions.