In this, the penultimate Human Bible show, hosted by the Center for Inquiry, Dr. Price examines whether or not the Book of Revelation was based on real visions and were there two Gerasene Demoniacs or only one, vis. Mark 5:2 and Luke 8:27 versus Matthew 8:28? What exactly does the word “lord” mean? Does it imply happy submissiveness to the all-powerful, or is it just rubbing my modern independent spirit the wrong way? Finally, does 1 Timothy 2:11-15 say that women are to be saved via having babies?
This episode of The Human Bible is brought to you by Harry’s shaving kits. Use promo code HUMAN for $5 off your first purchase.
This episode is brought to you by Harry’s shaving kits. Please visit Harry’s dot com and use promo code human for five dollars off your first purchase.
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.
I’m Robert M. Price, and this is the third one.
This is the human bible and I am your host, Robert M. Price. The Human Bible is a radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing science reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values and public affairs. And at the grass roots. You might occasionally wonder what a think tank is, is like it’s it’s sort of like an iron lung around your head or something. Is it sort of like a stewpot Itron helmet? Well, I’ll just have to keep your guests in on that. But meanwhile, let’s say we try to get up to speed in the esoterica of biblical criticism.
I thought it might be kind of fun to deal with a major question about apocalyptic literature in the Bible and by extension outside of it, because there’s a whole heck of a lot of it. Is it based on real visions now? You know, Apocalypse, the alternate title for the Book of Revelation, Religious Doom, Transliteration, rather than a translation of apocalypse. So the unveiling. This is a book of visions and revelations, naturally, about the secrets of the heavens and bulletins of what’s supposed to happen in the near future, not the far future. We’ve been over that before. When we looked at different approaches to the Book of Revelation as to exactly when it’s predicting stuff, but at any rate, it’s revelations of cosmic secrets and the like. Well, it’s presented. Usually they’re presented as visions that somebody had Abraham, Moses, Iñaki, Litsa, Baruch. There’s almost nobody in back there that didn’t have revelations ascribed to them, though. Usually it’s perhaps always it’s pseudo graphical. That is the the author uses the as a pen name, the name of some ancient famous character. Strangely, it’s usually a scribe rather than a prophet. There are exceptions like Elijah, for instance, and Zephaniah, there’s a Zephaniah apocalypse, but usually it’s a scribe. And that’s because Apocalypses seemed to have emanated from the circles of ancient scribes who were teachers. And they tried to figure out stuff. They were natural philosophers and speculated about where the rain in the snowflakes were stored and what the stars were and all that. And they would publish their speculations under the names of these ancient visionaries whose ostensively actually saw it. And that’s one reason why the Book of Revelation, as Bruce Jay Molina has shown, is just absolutely stuffed with ancient astrology.
But that’s not the part I want to get to.
I want to deal with the question of were there any actual visions? And I do not think so. It is from beginning to end a literary genre. That is, it’s all literary creation. And I’d like to just indicate that by just DOE three comparisons between passages and early and Revelation and the Old Testament sources they appear to have used. And the first would be who were we got here about Revelation one 12 through 17 now, ostensibly. Right. We’re listening to John, some sort of a prophet or apostle who is on the island of Pat Moss, either in a labor colony, as they usually say, or perhaps on an evangelistic junket. But at any rate, he says, I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me.
And on turning, I saw seven golden lamp stands. And in the midst of the lamp stands one like a son of man. At sea, when in the midst, right, I clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast, his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire and his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace. And his voice was like the sound of many waters in his right hand. He held seven stars of sea from his mouth, issued a sharp two edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me saying, Fearnot, I’m the first and the last and the living one I died and behold, I’m alive forever more. It’s great stuff.
I love it. Well, where does this come from? I mean, here, it actually very explicitly says I was here at a certain time, a certain day on Patmos on the Lord’s day. And I turned I heard a voice. I turned around. I saw this. Well, you know, people do have visions. There’s no question about this. But this doesn’t appear to be one of them. This comes from the Book of Daniel.
And here’s part of it in Daniel. You see.
Chapter 10 versus two. Or nine in those days. I, Daniel was mourning for three weeks. I eat no delicacies, no meat or wine or pizza. Saria entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all for the full three weeks on the 24th day of the first month as I was standing on the Bank of the Great River that is the Tigris, I lifted up my eyes and looked and behold a man clothed in linen whose loins were girded with a gold of newfies. His body was like Barel, his face like the appearance of lightning. His eyes like flaming torches. His arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze. And the sound of his words like the noise of a multitude. And I. Daniel alone saw the vision for the men who were with me, did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves.
In that you can probably recognize the origin of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus, where he alone Cesme and so on.
So I was left alone and saw this great vision and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words, and when I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in a deep sleep with my face to the ground. And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, Oh, Daniel. Man, greatly beloved.
Give heed to the words that I speak to you and stand up right for. I’ve been sent to you and say. And again, you said to me, fear not.
I mean, that’s obviously quite a bit like it.
But then that’s not all in back in Daniel, Chapter seven.
We have the great scene of a son of a man approaching the ancient of days in Chapter seven, verse nine. As I looked throne’s were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat as Raymont clothing was white as snow and the hair of his head like pure wool.
His throne was like fiery flames and so forth. Well, it’s pretty obvious there that the writer of Revelation is just combined elements from Daniel seven and Daniel 10. And that’s not all in Revelation. Who for one through four. Just go on a little bit further. We’re gonna spot the same thing. After this, I looked in low and heaven, an open door. And the first voice which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this. And almost sounds like one of the ghosts in Dickens. And once I was in the spirit and low, a throne stood in heaven and with one seated on the throne and he who sat there appeared like Jasper and Carnelian. And round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were 24, throne’s and seated on the throne, or 24 elders clad in white garments with golden crowns upon their heads from the throne, issued flashes of lightning and voices in peals of thunder, and before the throne burned seven torches, a fire which are the seven spirits of God and so on and round the throne. On each side of the throne are four living creatures full of ice in front and behind the first living creature like a lion. The second living creature like an ox. The third living creature with a face of a man in the fourth living creature like a flying eagle and so forth.
Well, where do we get that from seeing it? No, I’m afraid not. It’s taken from is zeal. Chapter one. This astonishing vision, the weather, it’s literally a vision or not. Again, that’s another problem. But this certainly seems to be the basis of the revelation thing now. Let me warn you, this is a little bit long. I’ll try to skip a bit. But you really do have to hear this to get the point again.
And you says where he was and he was by the water and all that stuff, too, by the river, Chebaa and Babylon and in his Egill one four. As I look to behold, a stormy wind came out of the north and a great cloud with brightness round about it and fire flashing forth continually. And in the midst of the fire, as it were, gleaming bronze. And from the midst of it came the lightness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance. They had the form of men, but each had four faces and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight in. The soles of their feet were like the soles of a calf’s foot, and they sparkle like burnished bronze under their wings on four sides. They had human hands and the four had their faces and wings. Thus the wings touched one another. They went every one straight forward without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front before the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox. On the left side, the face of an eagle at the back, and their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings and so on and so on. In the midst of the living creatures, there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures and so forth.
Oh, there’s there’s a lot more detail here. But let’s just skip down to verse 22 over the heads of the living creatures. There was the likeness of a firmament dome shining like crystal, spread out above their heads and under the firmament. Their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another and so on and so on and 26 above the firmament over their heads.
There was the likeness of a throne and appearance like Sapphire and seated above the likeness of a throne was the likeness, as it were, of a human form and upward from what had the appearance of his loins. I saw, as it were, gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire and closed roundabout and downward from what appeared to be as lines. I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire. There was brightness round about him, like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain. So was the appearance of the brightness round about and so on. So we’ve got the thrown, the fire, the shining bronze, the four living creatures revelation reshuffles the pieces.
But it’s the same for species. We’ve got the throne like glittering precious stones and the rainbow reference. It’s very obvious to me that what we have here is simply a reshuffling of of items from scripture with which the writer was, of course, familiar. Will, one more and this one is from Revelation six one through eight.
Now, when I saw the lamb open, one of the seven SEALs and I heard one of the four living creatures say as well, the voice of thunder come I saw. Behold, a white horse and its rider had a bow and a crown was given to him and he went out conquering and to conquer. When he opened the second CLIA, the second living creature say, Come and out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth. So that mentioned slay one another. And he was given a great sword. He’s been pretty busy in Syria lately. When he opened the third CLIA, the third living creature say come and I saw behold, a black horse and its rider had a balance in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying a quart of wheat for a denarius and three quarts of barley from for a denarius, but do not harm oil or wine. So course, that’s the famine that’s about to happen. When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, come and I saw Behold a pale horse. And its rider’s name was Death. And Hades followed him and they were given power over the Fourth of the Earth to kill with a sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.
Well, kind of rings a bell, perhaps, of him familiar with Zach Ariah and the Old Testament. Chapter six, also one through 12, I guess.
Do about one through six. And again, I lifted my eyes and saw and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains and the mountains were mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses, the third white horses in the four, fourth chariot dappled gray horses. Then I said to the angel who talked with me. What are these, my lord? And the angel answered me. These are going forth to the four winds of heaven after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the Earth. The chariot with the black horses goes toward the north country. The white ones go to the west country and the dappled ones go to the south country when the states came out. They were impatient to get off and patrol the earth. And he said, Go patrol the Earth. So they patrol the Earth.
Well, you know, let me just add that it is barely possible that you can combine the notion of borrowing from scripture with having an actual vision as follows. We’re told that in late first, early second century in Judaism, some of the rabbis were mystics and cultivated visions. What they did was to meditate on the throne chariot vision of his zeal that we just read part of. And the belief was that in a proper meditative state, this could act as a prompter, a script so that the visionary could visit heaven and see the same thing, the throne chariot or Merkava of God. And their stories about these guys that did this and how is a rather dangerous undertaking, because it could blow your circuit, you might go insane, etc.. Some had. Well, OK, what’s going on there? Somebody meditates on a visionary passage in the scriptures in order to see the same thing by process of suggestion or whatever. Right. So it’s not out of the question that somebody could be meditating a john could have been meditating on these passages from Daniel Ezekiel, Zach Ariah and so forth and have had them there. Details pop up again in an actual vision he had coming up from the subconscious. That sounds a little like a harmonization to me, but it’s not impossible. There there is precedent for it. To me, it seems less than likely, though, because the Book of Revelation is just peppered with references to the Old Testament and in such a way as to imply literary allusions, they’re woven into the fabric of what is basically a narrative. So seems to me we’re probably dealing with a complete literary creation. So it’s worth knowing, I think. Are we actually reading visions in the Bible? I mean, people do have visions.
Black Elk. The Oglala Sioux Medicine Man records having visions of stampedes of different colored horses and all that.
I mean, I doubt if he was familiar with Revelation or Zacharias Posey could have been. But people do have visions. There’s no question about that. But in this case, it seems to me we’re probably just dealing with with a reworking of the scripture.
And when I say just that, I mean to dismiss it. The result is quite impressive. It’s you just have to say it’s sort of inter textual with the Old Testament. And I just love this stuff. I think it’s magnificent from a literary standpoint and it is a literary creation.
Okay, well, I guess we’re up to speed on that one. How about doing a little apologetics or at least examining a little bit. On one of my favorite segments.
Apologetics is never having to say you’re sorry.
I should get the producer to do a little background riff of some theme music from Love’s story where I’m stealing this phrase from.
I think I saw part of that years ago on Sunday afternoon TV. But anyway, this is where I like to deal with commonly heard arguments in defense of the faith. And and usually I criticize them and say, what’s wrong with them? There have been instances where I’ve actually tried to defend one where or to defend the Bible against attacks on it that are ill informed. There are certainly some of those today.
I want to take a look at. At an attempt to harmonize a contradiction. And this is very straightforward. The gimmick they use this is pretty ridiculous, but there’s a larger issue in it. I want to deal with briefly, this is the famous Garus scene or Gatta Reen or Garriga scene. Damani Act, depending on which manuscript you want to follow. And believe it or not, I kind of side with Garriga scene of it. Jesus went to get guests because of a fascinating suggestion by the late great J. Duncan M. Demeritt, who said that’s that the. And this fits in real well with Dennis McDonnell’s theory that I just must be true, that the Damani Act is supposed to be the Cyclops Polyphemus from the Odyssey and that the the Legion of Demons. Interesting military metaphore. They rush into the pigs and possess them, giving us histories. First known attestation of deviled ham. Sorry about that. And sends them into the into the water that represents Searcy changing the soldiers of Odessa’s into pigs. He’s convinced me. But at any rate, what does that have to do with, I guess, a. The Cyclops was a giant and dare it said, don’t you get it? Wink, wink. Who were the gear guest? Shites. They were one of the nations of kanon who were supposed to be who were who towered over the Israelites because they were descended from the Nephilim and the Refaie as semi divine giants and Israelite mythology. Well, I would kind of fit with the cyclo peas, so I kind of think he’s right there. But again, who knows, right?
When the rest of you get to heaven and have that great seminar on Bible difficulties, you can send me an asbestos telegram with the Realigns. But until we get it. That’s my guess. OK. So sorry about that. I haven’t even gotten to that harmonization thing yet. Here’s here’s the deal.
In Mach five two, we’re told the Jesus steps out of the boats and they’re immediately made him an autograph seeker who is possessed by unclean spirits. And the rest of the story first to him and he and the man and all of that. We have pretty much the same thing, slightly different wording in Luke’s rewrite, that’s in particular versus Luke 827. But then you go to Matthew, a 28, also rewritten from Mark and holy mackerel, Andy Jesus meets two guys who are demon possessed. It’s the same story in every detail, but there are two of them now. Why is that? For one thing. Well, it’s hard to explain, but in one sense it is not. Matthew has this redaction old tendency to double Mark’s characters. Remember the blind man bar to Mars? Jesus heals. Well, Matthew has bar to Mars, but he also repeats the story in summary with two unnamed blind men. But it’s obviously the same story. How about the triumphal entry? This from this especially unfortunate.
It’s just I don’t suppose Matthew realized it, but it really verges on the ridiculous.
You know how in John, Luke and Mark, Jesus borrows a single donkey, of course, and rides it into the city. But in Matthew there are two of them. There’s mother, donkey and the young foal donkey. And he rode them into the into the city. I tried to picture that. I mean, maybe the the the young one was just on a rope connected with his mom. But he rode them. Richard Tierney, the great author, suggested maybe with some sort of rodeo style thing. But at any rate, if that’s ridicule, Matthews inviting it. Why? Well, in that one, we do have a bit of a clue in concert with rabbinical practice. These guys, through poetic parallelism to the wind when it came to interpreting the Bible and insisted on taking, oh, would just say frass stick repetitions as two different statements. And this is based on a passage in Zach Ariah 12, I think, where it says Behold. O Jerusalem, your king comes to you mounted on an ass. Yay, the foal of our literally and of a foal of an ass. Well of course what they’re saying is riding a donkey. That is not a war horse. The point is it’s peacetime. He’s riding a donkey. Yes. A pure bred donkey. The foal of an ass is what that means. In other words, not a mule that made a difference to them. Right? Like in the Jesus story. A donkey. No one had ever written a written before. So it’s gonna be a real special. And but Matthew, again, common practice took it as meaning to different animals. So I don’t know what the heck he was doing with the two blind guys or the two demonic acts. But what is the harmonization off offered here?
Because, of course, you know, literalists in Aeron, artists, fundamentalists, can’t admit there’s a contradiction. Right. So there what do they do here? They they can’t admit that Matthew has changed the story or that Matthew was wrong or whatever you want to say. So they say, okay, okay, here’s what happened. There were two Damani acts, Abbott and Costello both. And and for some reason, Mark and Luke were only interested in depicting one. That makes you wonder what what was it, the same one? Or was Mark interested in Abbott and Luke and Costello? I mean, it’s the whole idea is absurd, right? Well, it doesn’t say only one. So there could have been 15 or a thousand or a billion demonic acts read. The whole thing is ludicrous, but looks good if the criterion of plausibility is how. Well, with this reading square, with the inerrancy of the Bible and you see the larger problem, it’s easy to laugh at this absurdity and it deserves it. But the larger problem is with the whole inerrancy infallible list approach of Protestantism, which will not allow our Garai sing the text. You can’t just retreat and say, well, it’s it’s all symbolic of the literal character. Doesn’t matter. It may not have actually happened. Origin was willing to say that. Right. So there are thousands of places in the Gospels where it doesn’t make any sense as history. And so that’s a little red light blinking, telling us to look deeper. This is really a kind of parable. Well, Martin Luther, I think, rightly rejected this this approach, because then you can make the Bible say anything, it becomes a ventriloquist dummy.
And and so fundamentalists rightly say, OK, the Bible is infallible in its plain sense, the apparent sense of the text. Because if that’s not the normative sense, there really isn’t any normative sense. Again, it can mean anything.
Well, then you got a problem.
If you have an A harmonization like this, because the plane sends. Of Mark and Luke describing clearly the same incident is that there was one mad man there. But the plain sense of Matthew is that there were two. That is, there’s no way you could could read Mark and Luke naturally, plausibly as saying, well, among others, there was this one Damani ACCA. Now, now that it’s not the plain sense to use this harmonization, you have to say, well, what it seems to say to the average reader, that really doesn’t mean anything. Who knows what else is lurking behind there. Now you are retreating to a kind of Allagash rising. Right. You’re saying the real meaning, the one that comports with my beliefs, which is why it’s the real meaning that is is somewhere concealed behind the text. I’m sorry if you say that, you know, you’re again. The Bible could mean anything. And so there’s a large and every time they admit that, they’re always there, an apparent contradiction here. But we can explain.
No, don’t bother, because the level on which you admit the contradiction exists is the level on which you say the Bible is authoritative and infallible. So you’re just given up the whole store at the moment. You mention you admit there is even apparently a contradiction.
You’re going to look into this rigamarole at greater length in my book. Inerrant, the wind where I get into all this kind of stuff. But so there is a bigger issue in the whole apologetics enterprise insofar as they try to harmonize apparent contradictions. Yeah.
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Well, how about some listener questions?
As you know, on other podcast, that’s the whole darn show. And so I always love doing it. This is from Rebecca. I don’t think it’s the Rebecca mentioned in the Bible. Probably not that old, but who knows?
So what exactly does the word Lord mean? There’s my landlord and there’s that great phrase, Lord it over someone. Which is, of course, dominate Dominus Lord. That’s exactly where they come from. But neither sounds very inviting. Miss Lord, imply happy submissiveness to the all powerful. Or is it just rubbing my modern independent spirit the wrong way? Well, that’s. Pretty good question, you’ve given a real good answer. This would almost fit the apologetics thing. A real good answer that a modern, I don’t know, conservative, more liberal Christian might give, not liking the notion that we have a power system here that worship is is a self abnegation. Well, any idiot knows it is always has been. Right. He must increase. I must decrease. I am a worm and not a man. Or as they say, and one of my favorite religious movies.
Oh Lord, you are so big, so incredibly huge. All of us down here are really impressed. I can tell you a groveling.
In other words, think of Dorothy and the gang in front of the Wizard of Oz. It’s degrading and self humiliation and abnegation and all of that. And it’s supposed to be because as with almost everything in the ancient world, they had the belief in the limited good that there’s only so much wealth or whatever. Good luck. Even not to go around. And if the reason the poor hated the rich was they figured, well, I might get along better if they weren’t hog and all the wealth.
And indeed, in the ancient economy, that was kind of true. Or the the aristocrats lived off the backs of the poor and the slaves. And certainly the case redistribution from the many to the few and the.
Just parent authentically, it’s worth noting that modern redistribution doctrines have the same false assumption wasn’t false then, but it is now that there’s only so much of the good stuff to go around and therefore one must take it from the rich and give it to the poor, spread it out, and then everybody will be nice and poor and we can congratulate ourselves. Right. That that doesn’t work. And what they fail to see is that with the rise of capitalism, despite its abuses, at least it was possible for the first time to increase the size of the pie, to create wealth. And that’s that. Nobody thought of that in the ancient world, understandably, and but thinking that there is only so much to go around then if you’ve got a lot, I don’t have much wealth. This had to do with the glory of God. He’s got to have all of it there. The righteousness of God. He’s got to have it all. You can’t have any or as it says, somewhere in the Faison’s is that I forget. No flesh shall boast in the presence of God. You can’t. I own Romans. Our sin magnifies God’s holiness. We can’t share it with him. If we get it, he has to dole it out by grace, etc.. So God has to have it all. Without me, you can do nothing, John. Ten.
So it does seem to me that even if it’s been a benign teran a year, you’re still talking tyranny.
And that’s why some liberal theologies would rather just speak of God as the source like a new thought. Do. Does that God is the source of all things. Though, of course, that makes God into a genie. That’s that’s another problem. But yeah, I think it’s hard to escape from the lordship. But sometimes, like in Luke, for instance, I remember one passage, the miraculous catch a fish. Peter addresses Jesus as death’s boat takes the word to get despot from. I mean, some more like boss. Well, it’s no accident that it comes over and English as a despot. So there’s there’s not much way around that this. Don’t you see how this ties in with the notion we hear from theological right wing folks that all of our rights and human dignity stem from God creating us in his image?
Right. Any dignity we have is dependent on and derivative from from God. You’re not really saying this any human dignity if you say it’s derived only from God? It seems to me so.
Yeah, the whole notion of worship is as problematical. The only.
Thing that makes a little more sense, though, again, I think it’s redefining is when you say, well, it’s like Heliotrope ism. Plants need the sun. And so they turn toward the sun to receive their nourishment. That’s what human souls do when they worship God.
That may be so, but.
Is worship really appropriate to that? Maybe it is, but it seems a confusion because the worship implies something is going out from you to enrich God.
And so I’m not sure that really is coherent. What about the words? Well, in the Old Testament, when God is called the Lord and that’s written in ordinary capitalization capital l small o r d that represents a name actually Adonai.
And that occurs also with a Syrian God, Adonis. It’s simply the same name rendered slightly differently in English. And it seems to me Lord Bayle means Lord Lord in both cases can well, especially with Bayle can also mean husband. But of course that implies ancient chauvinism, right? That the woman’s husband was her lord and master. So that really isn’t a helpful escape route either. When you have Lord in all caps or God in all caps in English translations, the Old Testament, that is simply a name Yifei that was used in the Hebrew God and some others, it it’s not clear what that meant.
There’s some theories, but it probably doesn’t mean Lord, even though it’s gets translated that way. In the New Testament, Lord is Courey OSSE. And that could be. That can mean merely sir or the master of a slave or the boss of an employee or the Roman emperor. But it certainly means someone with power over you who has it officially.
And this is one of the big problems that you see, this is the same sort of problem that feminist theologians have of the idea of God as the father in Jesus, as the son.
I think they’re kind of stuck with that, though. I can see why they chafe at it. It’s imagery and conceptuality that stems from an alien culture that subordinated women and sexist. Pure and simple. But now what are you going to do about it? Can you change something that fundamental and still have the same religion? I suppose you can. But what a departure.
If God is no longer father or Lord, you really making a whole different claim about what God is and how we relate to God and so forth. But so, again, a bigger issue. And so I’m trying to address here your twin concerns. What does it mean to the Bible? And what does the modern independent spirit do with it? Both very good questions. Thanks, Rebecca. I believe I’ve got another one of yours here. I’m going to do next time. Love those questions. Keep them coming, because as you know, the we’re going to have a little jog in the road, but continue the human Bible. And despite a little bit of fear that it was going to end, a lot of people have heard that. I think four words getting around that we’re still going to do it. Just new producer and so forth, probably still have a couple of them every month. So we don’t really miss a beat. Now, I know the question on everyone’s lips is, is the fact that back in the Bible.
Where we like to zero in on astonishing things in the Bible, not necessarily criticisms, but stuff. It’s kind of surprising, defined or alternatively things people think are in the Bible that aren’t. Well, this time I want to zero in on.
Well, some kind of like we just talked about the surprisingly demeaning or should once a condescending view of women.
Is it true the Bible says women can achieve salvation by having babies? Let’s see. First, Timothy, two 11 through fifteen. I believe I got the revised standard version here. It’s not really much different than any translation.
Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men she has to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve and Adam was not deceived. But the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children if she continues in faith and love and holiness with modesty. This, for me, was one of the turning points back in. I guess some like 77 oh, sitting by the pond at Brookdale Park, piously reading my New Testament. Alleluia. And I came to this and said, you know, this is just really bogus. Shaked There’s a come on inspired scripture. I don’t think so. Well, what is the what’s going on here? And are there is there any chance this means something else? This is fascinating to me. The the plausible and. Half plausible alternate explanation for what do we got first? What is the what is it seem to be saying that’s subjective? Well, women have to not even ask questions in in church, right? That’s that’s one. Men can, but women can’t. So they end. They have to be submissive in their silence. Right. That implies that their silence stems from a less privileged position. And not only can they not ask questions while a man is teaching, but no woman can teach and no woman can have a position of authority in the church if it means she is in authority over men. So that leaves open the possibility. You have some ladies auxiliary right where a woman has authority over women, but not over men. Right. Couldn’t have the pastor or a bishop or something be a woman now.
And why is this? Well, the precedent of creation.
After all, God created Adam and then he created Eve. So the man has priority over the woman. This kind of thing comes up in First Corinthians also, and not only does Adam have priority, but Adam wasn’t a gullible fool like E..
Right. Adam wasn’t deceived. It was the woman who was deceived. Right. And therefore became a transgressor because she listened to the serpent. Go ahead. Eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. You won’t die, etc.. She shouldn’t have fallen for it.
You see how she like the thing about Adam being formed before Eve. That is the grounds for the submissiveness. She’s number two. And the woman being deceived and introducing sin into the world. That explains why women must not be allowed to teach because they’re easily deceived into heresy and false doctrine and will then lead others to such beliefs. So women are gullible and more likely to be heretics. So what should they do instead of asking questions in church or teaching or having authority? Well, stay. Actually, I was going to say in the kitchen, but I guess it really should be barefoot and pregnant, right? They’ll be saved by bearing children. Their proper function, though, just having kids isn’t enough.
She’s got to keep going. And faith, love and holiness with modesty, how to dress and how to make yourself up as a big issue among social conservatives in the ancient world.
This, I find a plausible and persuasive interpretation. But let me just tell you a couple of other ones. I think.
I eat a Spencer Ben Sandakan of I’m saying it right. I knew her. Years ago, her and her husband and Olathe, a house in Newark.
A really interesting study center for a evangelical Bible students.
She’d last time I heard, she taught at Gordon Cornwell. She did an article where she suggests that the at least on the verse fifteen first time they 215. What it’s saying is that woman with singular but collective women will be saved through the techno gony, the birth of the child, namely Jesus.
And this is sort of connect that back up to this notion that in Genesis three, we have I will put enmity between you and the serpent’s descendants and those of the woman so that the serpent will bruise his heal, but he will crush the serpent’s head.
And Christians took this way out of context as a prediction of the Messiah. And but even though it’s not really present in Genesis, it might be here. And so this isn’t out of a question that’s pretty clever. It seems to me a bit forced. Nothing in the context really suggests it. But she could be right that it’s trying to at least mitigate the insulting character of this thing about how women will be saved.
No, it’s not through their bearing children, but through the Virgin Mary bearing of the son of God. And all right, it’s possible, but it just reeks of ad hoc hypothesis to me.
Now, here’s another one from.
Kathleen Kroeger, who I think also teaches or taught at Gordon Karne, well, I haven’t really kept up with it. I mainly just get alumni stuff and I can’t afford to give anything to them. Not that I would anyway. No longer in sympathy with the joint, though. I have fond memories of it.
Gregor’s says that she thinks this is a reference to the Gnostic text.
Well, I think it’s the origin of the world nog Hamady text. It could be the testimony of truth. But I think it’s the origin of the world where we have one of the many Gnostic versions of the Garden of Eden story. Really fascinating stuff. And in one of them, we are told that.
Eve, who was kind of a Gnostic. I own a car and an emanation, almost a goddess who came from the essence of the father that she created man.
Or at least breathed life into the man after the demi urge had created his physical body. But he remained inert like a dummy or a mannequin. But she breathe life into him, and he he rose up and was alive. And the icons, the evil angels who attend to the demi urge lied to Adam and said that the woman was created from him. And that’s why the Genesis account reads as it does. Of course, I’m not saying this is true. Right. It’s just another reading of that thing. But but Krieger says, interestingly, that if you look very carefully at the Greek, this might be in fact, I adopted her her interpretation in the pre Nicene New Testament.
The what it’s saying is I permit.
No one to teach, and I do not permit women to teach to have originated or offered men because the word out Fontayne could mean to dominate air or usurp authority. But it also could just mean to have originated. I mean, we have the same thing in English, right? The author is the one who has power or authority over his work and so on. Right. Same thing in Greek. So I permit no woman to teach, to have originated men, to teach that women were first and created men, as in this Gnostic version of Eden. So such a woman should keep silent for Adam was formed first, then Eve. Well, why say that? Because that is a reference to the Nag Hammadi version of it that Eve was prior to Adam and essentially created him. And then in verse 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman who was deceived became a transgressor. That’s again, a rebuttal to the Gnostic version that says Adam was deceived by the icons who told him Eve came from him. I have to admit, that is pretty striking stuff. And it fits with the agenda of the pastoral epistles to reject Gnosticism and Marcey and ism, which were taught in the name of Paul. So here is someone trying to impersonate Paul to combat doctrines that others ascribe to him. That’s pretty good. That that might be the the, quote, real meaning, though.
Again, one can never know. That’s all we can do is to juggle hypotheses. That ought to be enough for us if we’re just interested in understanding the Bible as best we can and what it may mean if that’s not good enough.
However, if you feel the Bible must be an infallible oracle and that it has to be clear, and if it isn’t, you will pretend that it’s clear so you can then thunder away from the pulpit.
Based on the Bible telling people what to do. So again, the historian is quite at ease. The interpreter is has no problem of ambiguities and irresolvable multiple possibilities.
It’s only the dogmatists who I think has an illegitimate interest and in and use for the Bible.
Well, that’s it for this exciting episode of the Human Bible, and I hope you will be with us for the next one. Coming soon to a computer in your neighborhood. Thanks for being with us again.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Human Bible to send us questions or comments on the show, which we really hope you do. You can e-mail questions at the human Bible, dot net or feed back at the human bible dot net. We’re also on Twitter at Human Bible, on Facebook at slash the Human Bible. And you can even leave a voicemail on our human bible hotline by calling seven one six seven one. B, i. B, Ellie. You can get all that information and more on our Web site. 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 John Feliks and features contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m your host, Robert M. Price.