John J. Collins on The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence

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John J. Collins delivers the Presidential Address at the 2002 AAR/SBL Annual Meeting, entitled “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence”, available as a real audio file. The Address was delivered at the first AAR/SBL Annual Meeting following 9/11.

Collins presented a “geneology of the concept of ‘the wrath of God'” and offered scriptural passages where God condones the obliteration of peoples and where “ritual violence” is connected to ideas of religious purity, land rights, and “chosen-ness.” While Collins pointed out that most likely none of these violent events ever occurred, he did underline the ethical implications of their status as part of the Bible especially in the current context of September 11 and possible war in Iraq. Collins’ advice to the Bible scholar was to note the diversity of approaches in the Bible (to relativize it); to admit the unethicalness of certain passages; and to show that certitude is an illusion. Collins offered the warning of another Irish luminary, Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Certitude leads to violence.”

– Eric Daniel Barreto and John Huehnergard, “Annual Meeting Toronto 2002 Highlights”, SBL Forum, n.p. Online:http://sbl-site.org/Article.aspx?ArticleID=115

The Address was later published as John J. Collins, “The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence“, Journal of Biblical Literature 122, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 3-21 (subscription required).

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Daniel J. Harrington: “Lament and Hope: The Contributions of the Biblical Lament Psalms”

Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., STM professor of New Testament (until his death on February 7, 2014), presents “Lament and Hope: The Contributions of the Biblical Lament Psalms“, at Boston College, on October 6, 2010.

Fr. Harrington offers reflections on the key elements of the biblical laments, including Psalms 3, 5, and 22, and their message for those who suffer today.

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Beyond Belief: Eve

This edition of BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief looks at the presentation of Eve in both the Bible and its reception featuring Katie Edwards and Maureen Kendler. They are also joined by the apologist Amy Orr Ewing.

In the trailer for the final run of Desperate Housewives, viewers are seduced into watching the series with a variety of tantalising images. Four beautiful women in provocative poses, attracting the longing gazes of their easily led men. Snake like belts draped sinuously around their waists are provocatively removed or loosened. And there’s an apple, red and luscious, newly plucked from a tree. A 21st century television hit makes its appeal by drawing on an ancient biblical character which it assumes will resonate with the viewer.

Joining Ernie Rea to discuss the Biblical figure Eve, and what has been made of her down the centuries are Katie Edwards, lecturer in Biblical Studies at Sheffield University; Amy Orr Ewing, Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics; and Maureen Kendler, head of Educational Programming at the London School of Jewish Studies.

Katie Edwards offers the angle from the perspective of critical biblical scholarship, including the use of Eve in advertising. Maureen Kendler looks at close readings of the biblical texts and provides ancient contextualisation, including how Eve compares and contrasts with Lilith.

Ernie Rea: If Eve, the original Eve, were to come into this room now, what would you say to her?

Edwards: “Blimey”, because I don’t think she ever existed in the first place

Rea: I suppose, “Put some clothes on”

Bart Ehrman on the Problem of Suffering

University of California Television (UCTV) provides two videos in which Prof. Bart Ehrman discusses the Bible’s explanations for suffering.

In the first video, Ehrman is interviewed by Harry Kreisler (2008):

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes biblical scholar Bart Ehrman for a discussion of his intellectual odyssey with a focus on how the Bible explains the problem of human suffering. The conversation includes a discussion of the challenges of biblical interpretation when confronting this age old problem of the human condition. Included are topics such as the contribution of the prophets, a comparison of the old and new testaments, the book of Job, and the emergence of apocalyptic writers.

The second video is a UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lecture, “God’s Problem and Human Solutions: How the Bible Explains Suffering” (2008).

The discussions draw on material from Ehrman’s book, God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer (2008).