Episode 001

It’s the first episode of The Human Bible! Join host Robert Price as he answers listeners’ questions and delves into amusing, peculiar, and puzzling issues in regular segments like “Prophetic Scorecard” and “Is That in the Bible?!”

We’ll cover everything from the Q Source (including explaining what the heck that means) to that one time God wanted to kill Moses for having a foreskin. It’s not to be missed!

The Bible, love it or hate it, is a book filled with puzzles and mysteries. It will be a hard task to one Raval, as many of them as possible. We want to understand the Bible is a human book, not a book inspired by a God. Hundreds of years of biblical research have shown that we can understand the Bible only as we study it like any other book written by human beings, warts and all. Mistakes, contradictions, myths and all. 

In fact, one of the most potent weapons for getting someone to rethink their fundamentalism is to show how much more sense the Bible makes as a human Bible. I’m Robert M. Price and this is the human Bible. 

Well, I am your host, Robert M. Price, and I’d like to welcome you to the maiden voyage of the Hillmann Bible. 

The Human Bible is a radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing reasons, science and secular values in public affairs and at the grass roots. 

Many of you were no doubt familiar with my antics from both the Bible Geek podcast and also point of inquiry, of which until recently I was one of the hosts. And this show, in terms of my work for CFI replaces that. It enables me to sort of spin into something. It’s a little bit more my thing and my things, the Bible. I’m sure that like many of you, my home, my faith has changed to the point where I don’t really have it anymore. My curiosity about the Bible instilled in me when I did have when I was a real believer that has only increased. And in my experience, wherever I have taught people, once they hear the critical approach to the Bible and that there is a critical approach to the Bible, just become fascinated and want to hear more. Now, this is included people and fundamentalist churches who have been in courses of mind in college down here in North Carolina. They they say, why have I never heard of this? This includes militant atheists and agnostics that always suspected there was something odd about the Bible, that it couldn’t quite be what had been sold to them. And they’re eager to find out what’s the real story behind it. And so I don’t really think we need any more excuse than that to indulge our curiosity and try to solve the puzzles of the Bible. Curiosity is a good enough reason, I think. Well, of course, the stock in trade here is the questions you send us. And there are a lot of ways to send in questions. Also, comments on the show eager to hear both. We’re at Human Bible on Twitter, but you can also like us on Facebook. You can email us. And a couple of addresses for that. One is questions at the human Bible dot net. The other is feed back at the human Bible dot net. But you can also call our human Bible hotline and leave a voicemail. You’re going to hear a couple of those today. In fact, that number is seven one six seven one B i. B, l, e. Which sort of reminds me of an old Bible camp song anyway. All of that information is on our Web site. The human Bible dot net. So let’s get into some of that interesting Bible stuff. We have a segment I want to do every time called Up to Speed Up to Speed. The point of this is to try to acclimate people to some of the terms and concepts that will inevitably come up in question after question. It’s I guess I can pause and explain everything every time, but that might get a little tedious. So it seems to me I might be a good idea, too, at the beginning of each episode to explain a few basic building blocks, some basic terminology. 

And today, since I know this is going to come up in some of the questions, I figured I would just give you some gospel terminology. You know, of course, there are the four canonical gospels. That is the four that made the official list and we now read them in the New Testament. There were nearly a hundred other gospels that we know of, but these are the four dubbed by a later editor. The gospels, according to Matthew, according to Mark, Luke and John, we don’t really know who wrote them. The books themselves do not contain any name, in contrast, for instance, to the Pauline epistles where it actually is in the text. Right. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ to the Church of the Penguins in Antarctica, whatever it actually is in the text. Well, there’s no such thing in the Gospels. I don’t know why, but there there are no names. They’re anonymous. And it wouldn’t really help if these four names, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were included because that wouldn’t tell us much either. These are all extremely common name. In the in the Roman Empire, in fact, Mark was the most common male name with Luke. Coming in a close second. It’s sort of like go into the Middle East today and saying, hey, Muhammad, and how many people you think would turn around saying things. So we don’t really know who wrote them, but those are the ones we’re talking about. We call Matthew, Mark and Luke together. The synoptic gospels like synopsis, right. The based on Matt s. Y and o. P. T. I see the synoptic gospels technically. That means that you’re viewing with one eye with a single perspective. And what that means here is that these three gospels, as different as they are, are very similar. When you compare them with the Gospel of John, they have basically the same outline of the Life and Ministry of Jesus. They overlap to a great degree on the teaching attributed to Jesus. And in fact, it’s often difficult to even remember which one of these a saying that comes to mind comes from. So there’s a lot and more similarity to them, whereas the gospel of John is so different. People still debate whether the author had ever heard of or read the other gospels, because whatever he’s doing, he’s not copying from them. He’s not concerned to make Jesus sound as he does in the Synaptics. Matthew, Mark, Luke, the subject matter of Jesus teaching is quite different. The narrative style, the order of events, all sorts of things are very different now. Why are the synoptic gospels so similar? It’s most scholars today, virtually all scholars, conservative, liberal, whatever, agree that they’re they are literarily interdependent. That is the thing you might have heard in Sunday school about how the gospel writers are for independent witnesses to the same events. That’s just not so. I’m amazed we still hear that from people that ought to know better. But read instead of that, the similarities really have to be explained in terms of one gospel writer using the text of a previous gospel writer. There’s just no way you would have the both the kind of similarity you do between the gospels verbatim very often, and the kind of differences because the differences appear to be editorial changes from one gospel to another. There are patterns that you can discern and we’ll have occasion to get into that before too long. But the big question that is still debated is which gospel is dependent on which other gospel? And most scholars adopt what is called the two document hypothesis. And it basically says this. It appears as if Mark’s gospel, the shortest of the bunch, was the earliest and it was mainly narrative. Of course, there are a lot of sayings and so forth, but there’s a lot of action and it more seems to happen proportionate to what is said. Then there was another source, which we no longer have a copy of, called for want of a real name. The queue source, German scholars came up with this and Q stood for Kavala Q Ewy LLC source. So there was a saying’s source or kervella along with Mark. There’s almost no narrative in the so-called Q Source AQ document. That’s a little bit, but most of it is simply a bunch of sayings, kind of like the Book of Proverbs or if you’re familiar with it. I know many of you are very much like Gospel of Thomas, which is just a set of sayings. OK, so you’ve got Mark and Q then I won’t get into the dates of them. Now there’s a huge debate over that too, but these two would seem to have the priority now. Once they had been around and circulated, the theory goes both Matthew and Luke again, who knows what they were called, maybe Fred and Ethel. Who knows? But, you know, with a V. V evangelists, the gospel writers we know of, as Matthew and Luke each decided independently to combine Mark and Q and to add a good bit of other material. We don’t. We know where they got the other material. Conservatives say that, well, they had various other smaller collections of parables saying stories, and they just spiced up the Mark Q hybrid with their extra material. Liberal scholars tend to think, well, no, they they kind of made the stuff that is unique to them up out of whole cloth. I tend to think that. So Matthew combined Mark and Q and added new material then Luke independently, never having heard of Matthew, did the same thing. Which is why there is so much overlap. Now what is Q. Q is simply defined as that body of material that Matthew and Luke have in common that they do not have in common with Mark. So they’ve got Mark, they’ve got Q Eventually they you know, they supplemented one with the other and added more material. Almost everything in Mark appears again in Matthew, though, abridged a little bit. To make room for new material. About 65 percent of Mark appears again in Luke. Now, that is the I’d say the predominant theory. But there are other theories. Some say that you could explain the overlap more simply without bringing in cue. You could say, look, let’s just keep it to the gospels we’ve got. Wouldn’t it make sense if, let’s say Matthew read Mark and liked it and wrote up a much longer gospel, and then Luke happened upon both Mark and Matthew and decided he liked bits of both? He kind of liked the way Mark had originally put things better than he liked Matthew’s adaptation, but he liked a lot of the extra stuff in Matthew. But he wanted to rewrite a good bit. So Luke is based on combining Matthew and Mark and adding and changing. But you can put the sand along the other foot. Right. You can say it’s possible that Luke used Mark and then Matthew came upon Mark and Luke and did the same thing. Right. He changed a good bit. He picked what he liked from the two versions and so on. Now, most scholars now that that doesn’t necessarily mean anybody’s right here, but most scholars tend to go with that Mark. Q Business thinking that either of the other views. Raises more questions than they answer, and that is my view as well. Now that’s going to come up a little bit later, but I figured you needed to get a running start toward it. And we’ll we’ll advocation in future shows did the same thing with the documentary hypothesis of a Pentateuch and all manner of things, terminology and so on. But that seems to me to be a good little bites today about the synoptic gospels. You know, there’s a really great tool. One can use a gospel synopsis. It’s called Where You Been? A few of them. The one I like the best is by Throckmorton. I think Thomas Nelson publishes it and it’s got the revised standard version of Mark in the Middle with the parallel material like the similar but edited material from Luke on one side and Matthew on the other. And so you can tell what each has done to mark in their own gospel that is so illuminating that you might want to try to get a hold of one of those. Again, the one I’m most familiar with is called gospel parallels. Let’s say we listen to some voice mails. People have already begun to call up the Hilman Bible hot line and the Human Bible Hotline. 

Hey, Dr. Price. This is Jordan. They call it the clothesline in Cartersville, Georgia. I’ve also heard Apology’s say that two of the four canonical gospels were written by eyewitnesses. The day Matthew and John and they usually say 50 years has written in the third person because the author either didn’t want to draw attention to himself or for pious reasons or whatever. My question is, how common was it in the ancient world for a Greco Roman biographer who is eye witness of the record and appears to consistently refer to himself in the third person? 

Actually, it’s difficult to answer that for one reason. As far as I know, there are not many of these hero biography’s or hagiographies or whatever you want to call them that say they are by eyewitnesses or disciples. There are loads of biographies of Pythagoras’s and so on. But I believe they’re written later on in the life of Pythagorean ism, the shining example of. Well, not exactly a biography, but similar material would be the platonic dialogs of Socrates. Because, you know, we know Plato was a disciple of Socrates. He knew impersonally and so forth. But there is no reference to himself in most of them. I believe he may be mentioned this as one of the people in the discussion in the Krai toe, the deathbed scene of Socrates. But the whole thing is really kind of moot. Even more so for another reason. Because if one suggested that to any third person, narrations of a sacred biography went back to an eye witness, you’d have to ask, well, how do we know that? I mean, if it’s third person, what would lead anyone to say it was by the eye witness, not. 

It could have been if they had no occasion to mention themselves. But I don’t know how you would would be able to tell. And it gets even weirder if you say, as apologists do, that, Peter, for instance, the actually they say this about the gospel of Mark, that Mark was not an eyewitness, but he was he sort of played Robin to Peter’s Batman. And he he recorded of the preaching of Peter. And I remember one commentator said, when you read the stories involving Peter, you might as well just mentally change it to. I said to Jesus and so on. Well, if that’s what you have to do, then you don’t really have reason to believe this is by an eye witness. But even if it were, there would be no way to tell if what the apologists say is true, that these guys were humbly trying to stay out of the spotlight. Well, we’re stuck anyhow. I mean, what you’re saying is that even an eyewitness account would sound just like a non eyewitness account. So you’re up the creek. Now, of course, there is no eyewitness autobiographical claim made in any of these gospels, with the apparent exception of John, where it says this is he who testified to these things. And we know that his testimony is true. Will you see how confusing that is? Whoever is the narrator is distinguishing himself from the ostensible source of the material there. And, John, besides, that’s an appendix added on to the original document. John, 21, anyhow. And the the statement and John, 19, about the blood and water emitted from the side of Jesus because of the spear thrust. That appears to be an interpolation. It doesn’t seem to be by the original author at all. And so it is simply gratuitous to suggest that these books are written by eyewitnesses. One other thing, one observation by the great New Testament scholar Dennis Nineham. He did a fascinating study on eyewitness testimony in the Gospels, only to conclude that there was none. And he had many arguments. But the thing that really seems to me to be the killer is that this does not sound like the reminiscences of of someone who was there in terms of style and presentation. Justin Martyr used to refer to the Gospels as the Memoirs of the Apostles. But they’re not written that way. If you want to see what an eyewitness participants record would sound like. Look at the table talk of Martin Luther or the though the similar thing written by Albert Speer about Hitler. He hang he hung around the Führer and used to hear him cracking jokes and so on. And he’s I remember one day of the funeral said to me, et cetera, et cetera. I have a book, Dialogs of Alfred North Whitehead, where this friend of his wrote down in great detail several discussions they had and said it was Christmas Eve and I was over the Whiteheads apartment on the campus at Harvard. And so and so and so and so you have nothing like that in the Gospels. You do have it in the acts of John, one of the apocryphal acts where it’s plainly fictitious, where you have John sharing his memories of the good old days with Jesus. But at least he knew what it would sound like. Here’s a guy trying, albeit effectively, to sound like he’s sharing his memoirs of Jesus. But there’s not even an attempt in the canonical book. So there’s just no reason to think their eyewitness accounts. Thanks for your question. 

Bob. Excessive alcohol and maladapted a new rain barrel. Could you talk about the problem with Peter? And he puts it how he got this name? None of the gospels agree what Jesus gave him his name. Mark seems to imagine Jesus christening him, Peter, when he treated him for the. Mark, chapter three, verse 14. Matthew says that he is renaming upon his confession of Jesus the Divine Sonship. Matthew, 16 18. John Hagee is calling here as soon as he meets him. John, 142. What do you think created competing with establishing when Peter became Peter? As historians, how do we establish what to do with the contradicting stories? Always you just reserve judgment. Are there a piece of the puzzle on this? Thanks. 

Good question. Actually, everybody’s missin a bunch of pieces to that puzzle. But to me, the big clue is the logical sequence of the three scenes you mention there. What we have with the naming of Peter is parallel to a progression, I guess maybe I should say, a region regression or retrogression that Raymond E. Brown, the great Roman Catholic New Testament scholar of the 20th century, pointed out, pretty courageous seven because in his church, if you point out stuff like this, out a century or two before you’d be excommunicated, if not burned at the stake. But but Brown said, you know, there are certain things that are said about Jesus in the New Testament. A number of times that appear first to have been said in connection with the resurrection. For one that well, like, for example, in Romans one, three and four, it says that he was, according to the flesh, descended from David and so on. But but by the spirit, he was declared son of God by an act of power. The resurrection of the dead. Interesting. The power of the Holy Spirit. The the naming as God’s Son. What Brown said. It looks as if that as time went on, this was all this probably coincided with an early belief that Jesus had only become the Messiah and son of God as of the resurrection, that he was getting ready for it or whatever beforehand. But he really became the Messiah at the resurrection, God’s son, and so on. But they start to read his messianism, his messianic statement, his divine sonship earlier and earlier, so that the whole story of the guy we read about in the Gospels is the story of the son of God from day one. Well, Brown said, you push it back one stage to the Transfiguration and there Jesus is proclaimed his God’s son by a heavenly voice while he’s transfigured into this being of celestial radiance and so forth. And as some some think that this was originally a resurrection appearance story, in fact, get back to that in a second. But the transfiguration has been placed within the Ministry of Jesus. But then you push it back to his baptism. Here’s the Holy Spirit descending upon him. Here’s the heavenly voice that says, You are my son. 

And here he is filled with power to work miracles, etc.. So there were plenty of early Christians that believe Jesus became the son of God at his baptism in the Jordan River. But that wasn’t good enough for others. So they pushed it back to his birth. 

And now we have stories where the Virgin Mary is told that the Holy Spirit will overshadow you, the power of the most high, etc. and your son will be called the son of God as it gets pushed back and back and back. And then eventually you could say, well, implicitly in the Gospel of John, he’s the son from all eternity, at least from the time of creation. So there’s this interesting progression backward in time. And I suppose that is to make the son ship of Jesus more of an eternal thing, less of a late. Development. But at any rate, I think the naming of Peter tends to reflect that. 

The Matthew 16 passage where Jesus says who two men say the son of man is, they give him various estimates by the crowd. And he says, OK. Who do you say? And Peter says, well, you’re the Christ, the son of the living God. And he says, Blessed are you. You a flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to you. Rather, it was my father in heaven, as says he says. I say to you, you are Peter Petrus Rock. And upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of hell will not withstanding, et cetera, et cetera. Well, keep in mind what I just said. 

Many scholars think that this is the famous but otherwise not narrated resurrection appearance of Jesus to Peter, that makes such a big deal about how he was the first one to see the risen Lord. And we never read that story. Well, maybe we are reading it here. Maybe it’s been pushed back into the Ministry of Jesus. Well, in connection with it, you’ve got Jesus putting Peter in charge and giving him this cosmic title of Peter, which kind of refers to the belief in the the navel of the world, the cosmic foundation stone of the universe on which they believe the temple in Jerusalem was built. OK. You push it back further to within the Ministry of Jesus, what they do that already by rearranging the position of the story. But even logically, Mark has has another version of it. As you say, where it is only when Jesus chooses twelve of the people that are following him already and then gives them special names, he gives James and John the name Bo and or gays. That’s a question for another time, but it gives Simon the name. Peter doesn’t explain why, though. Well, in John, you have what I’m guessing is a reflection of a still earlier version where the first time he meets Pete at the Jordan River, where John is baptizing people, he already calls him Peter. And for some reason, I guess, they thought the further back you could trace it, the more a gust and an important credential it was to have been named by Jesus. And of course, we know Peter turns out to be the number one man. So that’s the that’s the guess I would have, because you you certainly have something going on here. 

Matthew was added this element to Mark. I think John knew the other gospels and he decided to do it differently. I think they all had favorite traditions about when Peter got this. This says this epithet that became a name and that’s what they did with him. So want you to keep sending those in. You can look at it this way. If you call in the Human Bible Hotline, you’re at least relieved of the tedium of hearing. Only my voice. None. And I know you don’t want to be trapped into that. Well, we’ve got another regular segment here that we want to inaugurate today called Prophetic Scorecard. 

Prophetic score card check guests sort of obviously means we’re seeing how well prophecies were actually fulfilled. Right. But more specifically, we have a two fold focus here. And one point we want to deal with is were certain passages in the Old Testament intended to be predictions of a messiah, as many Jews and Christians think? Right, the majority opinion. It is possible, however, that these are later interpretations. And in fact, even within the Bible, you can see that Old Testament passages are interpreted as predictions of a coming king and for good reasons. But that often appears not to have been the writer’s intent. And we just want to draw that that distinction and show what it probably originally meant and how it came to be read as meaning something else. Secondly, a related point we’ll deal with is our Christian claims correct, even starting in the New Testament, that various Old Testament passages were not only trying to predict a messiah, but were predictions of Jesus Christ. And that’s and today I want to deal real quickly with what that would even mean. 

And with that, I need to give you an important piece of background information. And that has to do with how scripture was being interpreted in the time of the New Testament by Jewish writers. There were various techniques used, some of them borrowed from Hellenistic sources, but a couple of them that are relevant here are what are called midrash and pressure. And the midrash could mean any sort of interpretation. Pressure implies something a little more esoteric. And in fact, the word means solution as in a puzzle solution. And this let’s deal with a pressure first. This is well-known in the Dead Sea Scrolls. And it was in light of them that people took a second look at the gospel of Matthew and saw the same thing going on, which is this, of course, Jews believe that the what we call the Old Testament was the word of God. And as such, it had to remain relevant. You know, it’s easier for heaven and earth to pass away even for a job or tittle of the Torah to to pass away. So it had it couldn’t be a dead letter. Well, suppose there were prophecies that had come true. They figured they had and that was ancient history. Did that mean that the relevant passages were just some sort of museum relics? Well, they couldn’t believe that. And so they believed that there were new predictions lurking within these old passages waiting to be recognized. And so, I mean, this would be a legitimate if, like modern scholars, you just took the Old Testament texts to be the work of mortals, human authors. Right. It would be totally legitimate to start decoding them. But, you know, the belief was that God, the Holy Spirit, had inspired them. And so that made them more than regular texts and one could get more out of them. This would run riot later on in the form of the Kabbalah. Maybe we’ll get to that another time. And very esoteric interpretation, pointedly, intentionally, not just looking for what the author intended because the human author wasn’t the ultimate author. Right. So as with a sect of the Dead Sea Scrolls, whoever they were, we find it there. And in the New Testament, certain quotes of of biblical passages that are now taken to be predictions of usually developments within the life of the sect in the Dead Sea Scrolls. They quote certain passages about that coming of their guru, the teacher of righteousness, or his ambush by the wicked priest eventually, or the relocation of their group and so on. May especially, there’s a scroll called the Habakkuk Scroll, but the Book of the Prophet or back of one of the so-called minor prophets and that they knew good and well what her back was originally about. But they found in the wording here and there what they thought were hidden predictions of events in their sex life. Right. And the same thing holds true with the New Testament, especially all these passages in Matthew where it said this happened to fulfill the scripture, which said, behold, a virgin shall conceive or out of Egypt. I’ve called my son or whatever. It’s often pretty clear what the passages were originally about and they knew that. But they said there was this esoteric meaning. And that’s, in my view, what? It’s going on especially in math, you in the New Testament generally, when they say a prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus. They don’t mean, as we usually hear from the pulpit and from the debating platform, that there were clear predictions of the messiah that any fool could see Jesus of Nazareth was fulfilling. So what the heck was wrong with those people? Why didn’t they see immediately who this guy was and welcome them? Well, that’s that’s all obviated, if you understand. That wasn’t what they were doing. They weren’t trying to prove anything they said. In fact, you can find this in Matthew, Chapter 13, 51 and 52. Every scribe trained for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings forth from his his storage both goods, old and new. Well, that’s scribes. Treasury is the script. Jurney brings out the old meanings that anybody can see in the new ones, which can be seen only with the eye of faith. In this case, Christian faith. So they’re not trying to say, hey, idiot, why didn’t you get on the Jesus bandwagon? Didn’t you see this passage was being fulfilled? Now, then I’d say that their point rather, is, wow. Now that we have the eye of faith and have been converted to Christianity on whatever grounds we nouse are in a position to see the the inner esoterica, meaning that could only be recognized and understood after the fact. That’s very important. Right? It’s not like, oh, well, Jane Dixon, clairvoyant, we predict that President Kennedy’s assassination. That’s not what they were sayin. You have to get what the straight what the pressure was, the midrash that could mean anything, as I say, a lot of interpretation. But what I want to suggest here, and we’ll have examples later, is that this was a way of interpreting passages from scripture by rewriting them and expanding them, sometimes making whole new stories to explain the stories that were there already. And here I want to appeal to the great scholar Earl Doherty, who pointed out that very often when it says that that something about Jesus occurred according to the scriptures, they didn’t start knowing what Jesus did and then look for a proof text for it. I mean, that may have happened to that will be the pressure sort of a thing. It may be that they didn’t know what Jesus had done, but suddenly caught on to something from an Old Testament passage that had a significant phrase for them, like my son, or in that day, certain things that denoted gospel events. And they would decide, well, what do you know? I guess we’re learning from the Old Testament what Jesus did, because this is what it said he would do if you know how to read it. Right. Did they already know that Jesus and his parents went into Egypt to escape Parad or did they get the whole idea from Hosain, 11 one out of Egypt? I have called my son. That’s what I think happened. And we’re going to see various examples of both of these techniques at work in the New Testament. So next time we’ll get into some specifics. 

Now, every little segment I like to call is that in the Bible? 

Is that in the Bible? 

Now, there’s several in contention, but it seems to me this one might take the cake in Exodus five. God, it’s appeared to Moses that the burning Bush told me wants to go of Pharaoh and let my people go and all that stuff. He’s recruited his brother Aaron, and he and his family are trudging back from Midian to Egypt with great things in store. I got to keep that in mind. And suddenly in Exodus for 24, it says at a lodging place on the way. The Lord met him, Moses, and sought to kill him. Then supportA Moses wife took a Flindt and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses feet with it and said, Surely you are a bride groom of blood to me. So he let him alone. Then it was that she said, You’re a bride, groom of blood because of the circumcision. Well, there’s a lot of weird stuff about this, but you mean God, who just gave them the pep talk for going into Egypt and delivering the people has decided. And now forget that I want to kill the bastard. What on earth? Well, actually, there’s a pretty good explanation for this. It doesn’t stop it from being weird. Don’t want to try to tone the weirdness down, but if you can figure out where it came from, you’re ahead of the game. And I think we can. You see, circumcision was a big thing all over the Middle East. The Bible never claims Abraham or anybody in the Bible invented it. And some people practiced infant circumcision. Others practiced circumcision as a puberty. Right. Preparatory to marriage. In fact, you see that happened in Genesis where the people of Sheck him and so on. And it still happens well, somewhere along the line in ancient Israel. 

They switched over from bride, groom or adolescent puberty circumcision to. 

Infant circumcision, now, that had something to do with the fact that they used to sacrifice the first born sons on the eighth day and they decided not to do that anymore. And so what were they going to do? Well, circumcision enabled them to offer a token sacrifice of flesh. Right. So they switched over. But this was a major change. I mean, it’s like Vatican two kinda changes in religion. So you needed some sort of a way to tie this into the great law giver, Moses. So they figure now let’s suppose Moses, who was born and brought up in Egypt and lived in Midian, and all this time, I suppose he’d never gotten circumcised. And that’s pretty weird itself, right? The father, the Hebrew religion. But anyway, he wasn’t circumcised and that God is pretty ticked off at this. And so you have this individual story with no context. It’s not really supposed to be thought of as happening in the course of the plot of Exodus. It’s just that this is the only place in the story where you have Moses and this family not surrounded by millions of people. So this is the only place they could stick it. And it was an important thing because, well, it is Moses endorsing, replacing. Adolescent or circumcision with infant circumcision, so let’s let’s keep it. So what is happening here? Well, God mad that he hasn’t been circumcised, decides to kill him. And Zapora manages to mollify him by circumcising Gershom, their infant son, who for some reason hasn’t been circumcised yet and touches the foreskin on two Moses feet. Well, about three times in the Bible feet is used as a euphemism for penis. And so she touches it to his uncircumcised member. And it’s like it counts for him kind of contiguous magic or something. But that’s good enough to call off the wrath of God. Very, very strange. Both inherently. And in the context. But as we’ll see, a lot of these stories originally had no context at all and have been fitted into their present position like tiles in a mosaic. This is no pun intended. And this is the clearest example of that. So pretty odd stuff. The bride, groom of blood. And yes, it is in the Bible. Yes. Just don’t ever hear it preached about right. You know, there are red letter Bibles, words of Jesus in red. Well, there’s kind of a commonly accepted, tacit invisible ink Bible where there are plenty of passages that are there, but nobody ever reads them. Well, that brings us Sabbat to the end of the Hillman Bible for this time. I’d just like to encourage you to send us a bunch of questions, never too many. And I know some of the stuff we’ve got into here is pretty arcane, pretty esoteric, and as some of you may be thinking, what on earth? I got a million questions, but maybe this is too too advanced or too recondite for me. Look, no, no. If you are wondering about something, even something I said or something in the Bible that puzzles, you don’t think it’s a stupid question are in over a simple question or somebody is going to think you’re an idiot. I used to say this to my students all the time. If you have a question, you can bet it’s in the minds of many other people so you can help me get everybody up to speed. I’d like our early segment by asking me to clarify certain things and asking simple things. I shouldn’t take things for granted. And you can help me not to do that. So ask a complex, simple question, whatever question you want. It’s going to be interesting to deal with it on the air. So make sure you do that and I’ll see you next time on the Human Bible. 

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The human Bible dot net views expressed on the human Bible aren’t necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry, nor its affiliated organizations. The Human Bible is produced by Adam, Isaac and Amherst, New York, and features contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m your host. Robert M. Price.