Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Biblical Studies Carnival

The latest carnival is here, Its the ‘Pandemic / Societal Apocalypse / Is June Finally Over? / Ugh What a Miserable Month’ Edition of the Biblical Studies Carnival

Jim has some very interesting articles that he found last month. For me, this lead article on the Washington Pentateuch is fascinating, as is the commentary on Tr--p and the Bible by James Crossley.

I am doing the carnival for July, so let me know if you have or find any interesting posts. I confess I have not been following blogs for several months and the posts just accumulate - but hopefully some useful theme will emerge this month and I will find at least some posts as interesting as Jim's collection.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

What is heard on Sunday mornings

I hope you don't mind sharing my gradual journey as I discover more of the tradition I have known these past 10 decades. As I noted, there is some considered analysis of the readings at the liturgica blog by Doug Chaplin. I am most grateful that he has done this.

I have lots of questions. The first was what portion of the Hebrew Bible is read on Sundays and major Festivals if one uses the RCL. The result surprised me. I noted in my book on the Psalms that some traditions have little experience with the Psalms.
It is clear that not all liturgical traditions make use of the Psalter. ... Here are two examples:
1.       I guess my question about the psalms is with regard to the key theological concepts of the New Testament: grace, justification, the fruits of the Spirit, love. These all seem to be missing in the psalms and thus we cant really embrace them as representative of our New Covenant experience. Second, the ideas of community and family seem lacking while nation seems to be overly prominent in ways that I dont know how to appropriate. [From a professional Bible translator with many years experience in Greek.]
2.        Ive been looking for ways to appropriate the Psalms in my own devotional life. They are practically non-existent, as far as the Free Churches that I know go. The one Im at now is an exception, in that we read a Psalm about once a month. [From a doctoral student in Biblical Studies.]

One could write another book with just these opinions as a stimulus. I hope they are no longer true today among 'the elect'.

Anyone who follows the RCL will not lack for reading of the Psalms. Here is the rough proportion, the number of times we open a book, that is regularly read or sung.

Proportion of the Books of the Hebrew Scripture 'opened' in the three year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary
This is not a bad result. The Psalms are by far the most popular book of the Hebrew Scriptures. And there is nothing lacking of grace, justification, the fruits of the Spirit, love in this book, or when you read it, the rest of the Tanakh.

I was thinking this morning that even the great 1 Corinthians 13 is a reflection on the character of Yahweh as portrayed consistently in Tanakh (Exodus 34:6). The attitude we have towards this history needs a radical change from the punitive model of our 16th century.

So that is what we read - but it highlights also what we do not read.
A few chapters from Torah, at least one from each book. A few from the former prophets and some from each of the major prophets, 10 of the 12 minor prophets. Two of the remainder, missing out Ezra and Chronicles entirely.

We read from the Psalms over 300 times, but we only cover pieces of 102 chapters. If I took this down to the verse level, the percentages would be lower.

Yahweh doesn't have good press from the Churches, so it's no wonder Christians read so little, but in the RCL tradition, what we read is considerably more than nothing. The top five are Psalms, Isaiah, Genesis, Deuteronomy and Jeremiah. (I am still asking myself why this hireling is administrating, composing, and programming during a pandemic. O my overworked obsessions!)
Book
Chapters
Opened
Chapters Read
Percent
GENESIS
50
43
21
42.00
EXODUS
40
29
13
32.50
LEVITICUS
27
1
1
3.70
NUMBERS
36
10
3
8.33
DEUTERONOMY
34
12
7
20.59
JOSHUA
24
4
3
12.50
JUDGES
21
1
1
4.76
1 SAMUEL
31
13
7
22.58
2 SAMUEL
24
9
7
29.17
1 KINGS
22
8
5
22.73
2 KINGS
25
5
3
12.00
ISAIAH
66
84
30
45.45
JEREMIAH
52
26
16
30.77
EZEKIEL
48
14
7
14.58
HOSEA
14
2
2
14.29
JOEL
4
5
1
25.00
AMOS
9
7
4
44.44
JONAH
4
2
1
25.00
MICAH
7
3
3
42.86
HABAKKUK
3
4
1
33.33
ZEPHANIAH
3
5
2
66.67
HAGGAI
2
1
1
50.00
ZECHARIAH
14
1
1
7.14
MALACHI
3
6
2
66.67
PSALMS
150
332
102
68.00
PROVERBS
31
11
6
19.35
JOB
42
10
6
14.29
SONG
8
1
1
12.50
RUTH
4
2
2
50.00
LAMENTATIONS
5
6
2
40.00
QOHELET
12
5
3
25.00
ESTHER
10
1
1
10.00
DANIEL
12
3
2
16.67
NEHEMIAH
13
1
1
7.69