Monday, March 4, 2013

Bible Challenge Day 15 - A Triumph for the Gold Standard

Genesis 37-39, wherein Joseph alive is worth only 10 silver pieces less than Jesus dead.

Psalm 13, wherein God is cried to, and then trusted.

Matthew 13, wherein weeding the garden is not recommended.

The fact that Joseph is sold by his brothers to slave traders for 20 pieces of silver, while Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces some several thousand years later suggests some sort of triumph for advocates of the gold standard. Left unstated is who is minting the coins. You don't have money without some sort of political system...the only one the text tells us about is Egypt. Would be interesting to know what the archaeology has to say about this.

Tamar's deception of Judah is remarkable for the fact that the text seems to take her side. At the same time it is very troubling that it was apparently ok for Judah to patronize a prostitute but a capital offense for Tamar to be one. And yet temple prostitutes were part of the landscape somehow. Is this a tribal/class thing?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bible Challenge Week 2 Omnibus

[Insert stock sorry for not blogging mea culpa here.] At least I kept up with the reading.

So a lot happened. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Lot's daughters got him drunk and got busy with him, and the cast for Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat was begotten. Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount and healed a lot of people. There's a strange episode where a bunch of swine charge into a lake and presumably drown, possessed by demons.

I'm finding the pace of this reading pretty enjoyable. It beats the snippets you usually get during worship by a lot. And when I was doing readings for my religious studies minor at IU, I was reading large quantities of scripture quickly, so I missed a lot of fine details while looking for larger themes.

Case in point - in the 11th chapter of Matthew, Jesus says this of his critics: "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'"

The Bible is sorely lacking in dialog in the form modern readers would generally understand it, but this is one of those moments where it takes only a little imagination to picture this as a John Stewart bit. It pays to remember that Christians believe that Jesus is simultaneously fully divine and fully human. This is a very human moment.