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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 1: Orientation: Texts and Worlds/Philemon/Community Theme: Creating a Community

Tonight's agenda:
  • Orientation

  • Texts
  • First three signs: Three Worlds, Venn it! and Chiasm
  • Worlds 
  • Philemon
  • Community Theme 1: Creating Community

  • Extra Cred
  • Syllabus Homework
  • Moodle

Texts have context-ure:
As you'll remember, when I took a version of this class at FPC (it wasn't a U yet), I had cool typewriter

I look forward this class..I think you'll' enjoy it, too..
 ...I did when I took it in 1983>>

BIB 314 asks, "Who is Jesus?"

and "What is Church?"

This class asks
  • "1)How do I read a text of Scripture via a Three Worlds approach?"
  • 2)"What does Scripture have to say about community?

Do The Handicapped Go to Hell?"


Watch  this edited version South Park's "Do The Handicapped Go to Hell?" episode below,
The rest of the episode may be terribly offensive to some, I am not endorsing it...but those bits are prophetic, here it is:

a TEXT is technically ":any message  in any medium, designed to communicate anything"
so obviously the Bible counts as a TEXT message.

Thanks for texting me in class.  

Texts need contexts.
Thanks for texting me (cell phone) random text messages during class to illustrate that texts need contexts.


How you read the text changes as much as everything.

Spaces matter.

Like this:

Professor Ernest Brennecke of Columbia is credited with inventing a sentence that can be made to have eight different meanings by placing ONE WORD in all possible positions in the sentence: 
"I hit him in the eye yesterday."

The word is "ONLY".
The Message:

1.ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday. (No one else did.)
2.I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday. (Did not slap him.)
3.I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit others.)
4.I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit outside the eye.)
5.I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday. (Not other organs.)
6.I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday. (He doesn't have another eye..)
7.I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday. (Not today.)
8.I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY. (Did not wait for today.)

Like this 'text message' from Jesus:
or is it,

The original manuscripts of the Bible not only run all letters, all caps, together, but include no punctuation.

Punctuation matters.

Everything is  context.
Context is everything.

By the way, that last statement was a chiasm (we'll define that later)..

 i..won't even mention the "but, cheeks" story (:  


1)Three Worlds
We became familiar/reacquainted with the "Three Worlds"  concept which comes from your Hauer/Young Textbook, see especially chapters two and three, and see class notes.
Here  below is how one student summarized the worlds (she has more detail here)

Literary World--The literary world of the Bible is simply the text itself, apart from anything outside the text.  We mean the world (or, better, worlds) created by the text; the words on the page, by the stories, songs, letters and the myriad other types of literature that make up the Bible.  All good literature (and the Bible is, among other things, good literature) creates in readers' minds magnificent, mysterious, and often moving worlds that take on a reality of their own, whether or not they represent anything real outside the pages (Hauer and Young ch 2).

Historical World--The historical world of the Bible isthe world "behind the text" or "outside the text".  It is the context in which the Bible came to be written, translated, and interpreted over time, until the present.  In studying the historical world of the Bible, we look for evidence outside the text that helps us answer questions such as, who wrote this text, when was it written, to whom was it written, and why was it written.  We also probe the text itself for evidence that links it to historical times, places, situations, and persons (Hauer and Young 2)..

Contemporary World--The contemporary world is the "world in front of the text" or the "world of the reader."  In one sense, there are as many contemporary worlds of the Bible as there are readers, for each of us brings our own particular concerns and questions to the text.  They inevitably shape our reading experience.  We are all interested in answering the questions of whether the Bible in general, or particular texts, have any relevance to our personal lives (Hauer and Young  ch3).

We noted how careful we should be reading texts:


Tonight we did our first read of the New Testament book of  Philemon, which your signature paper is on .

Keep your notes; there are no second reads:

Read syllabus carefully.


              Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus,
      and Timothy our brother,

        To  Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker
   also to Apphia our sister and
               Archippus our fellow soldier
                                            —and to the church 
                                    that meets in your home:
Grace and peace 
to you (plural) 
                                                  from God our Father
                                               and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,
          5 because I hear about your  

                                   love               and                          faith
     towards                 Lord Jesus     and               all the saints

I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective 
                in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
Your love has given me great       joy
                                         and        encouragement,
 because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

 although in Christ I could be bold, and order you to do what you ought to do,
                                                                         yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love.
 It is as none other than Paul—                   an old man (elder)
  and now also                                             a prisoner of Christ Jesus—  
10 that I appeal to you for my son--
 who became my son while I was in chains.

11 Formerly he was                           useless                                  to you,
 but now he has become                   useful                            both to you and to me.

12 I am sending                         him
                    —who is my very heart
                                                    —back to you.  
13 I would have liked to keep him with me
 so that 
                                           he                  could take 
                                           your                   place 
                 in helping          me 
while I am in chains for the gospel.  
14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, 
so that any favor you do would not seem                forced 
                                            but would be             voluntary.  
15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while
 was that you might have him back forever—
        16 no longer as a slave,
                  but more than a slave, 
                               as a dear brother. 
He is that to                                  me, 
             but even more so to         you, 

both                         in the flesh
 and                         in the Lord.

17 So..

 if                                            you consider me a partner, 
                               welcome  him
          as you would welcome me.
 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes          you                      anything,
                                           charge it to                me.
19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand:
                      I will pay it back!
                         (not to mention that you owe me your very self)
 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit or usefulness from you in the Lord;
                                   refresh my heart in Christ.

 21 Confident of your obedience, 
              I write to you,
                          knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
22 And one thing more: 
             Prepare a guest room for me, 
                            because I hope to be restored to you  (plural) 
                                                   in answer to your  (plural) prayers.

23 Epaphras,
 my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, 
sends you greetings. 
 24 And so do Mark,
                  and Luke, 
                                      my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your  (plural) spirit.

Keep observations of Philemon, already preparing for your signature paper. Remember to look for any clues/cues to tome/emotion/volume. Remember this video?:
Keep your notes.
N.T. Wright's  sermon  below
 (video  link and complete audio  here): his comments about the letter here, and his study questions on pages 55-57 here). 

Think Christianly":

N.T. Wright's   Philemon sermon on video below:
 (video  and complete audio link  here): his comments about the letter here, and his study questions on pages 55-57 here). 

-------- --

We will introduce several "signs" to help us interpret a text:
The first three are:
1)Three Worlds (see above)


From the ridiculous:

  • "I am stuck on Band Aid..
  • "Never let a kiss fool you..
To the sublime:
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you..
  • "God is good all the time.."
  • "When the going gets tough.."
  • "Accept rejection.."
To the biblical:

  • The first shall be last...
  • Whoevers humbles themself will be exalted...
  • You do unto others...

Chiasm(definition) ).. once you are attuned to seeing them in Scripture (and most ancient literature) it seems they are everywhere.

Sometimes they are.
Who can argue that "the first shall belast/
the last shall be first" is a chiasm?
A-B-B-A, X pattern.

(and this one, because it's in Matthew [20:16], will be important
for our class.

  • chiasm: an intro

  • Chiasm in the Bible

  • I

    2)VENN IT!  comparing/contrasting two texts:

    We did a "venn it" with
    - a)Dave Matthews' "Bartender" (2 versions):
    and with,  the two stories of creationGen 1:1 – 2:3 and Gen. 2:4-25). 
    Greg Camp and Laura Roberts (FPU faculty) note:

    The two accounts are separate but complementary, like the four gospels. They can be read at different levels, from literal to figurative, with no bearing on the truth of it. Poetry is not less true than a newspaper, just a different kind or mode of truth. And, one must always ask the question what the implied author intended and what the implied audience would have understood. Ancient notions of history are very different from ours.
    Genesis 1:
    repetitious, tabular, formal
    days of creation reported in the same way, formulaic
    authority and brevity
    style of ordering material into a series of similar solemn commands are unchallenged
    content presents major divisions of creation known to writer
    catalog or tabulation of events and commands
    vocabulary = create (bara), humanity as likeness/image, male/fernale
    God = Elohim, characterized as powerful cosmic organizer, speaks things into being, stands outside of cosmos and controls it
    Humanity = created as vice regent, created in image gives representative status
    polemic against mythical concepts of life and creation

    Genesis 2:
    relationship of characters emphasized
    language is picturesque and flowing, poetic terms, colorful
    God's actions more interrelated than separated by divisions of time or set expressions (idioms)
    no two acts are alike and none are preceded by divine command
    vocabulary = form (yasar), humanity as living being, man/woman
    God = Yahweh, characterized by immanence, personal nearness, involvement on human scene, intimate master, depicted humanly (hands, walking, digging)
    Humanity = ready contact with and immediate responsibility to God. Humanity's creation linked to ground (word play on adam = man and adamah = ground) and curse is alienation from the land, is distinctive because Yahweh personally addresses him
    polemic against fertility cults in Canaan

    Compare Genesis accounts to Babylonian Creation story (read an excerpt here). Significant similarities – Genesis is not written in a vacuum. Significant differences – lack of violence, struggle, multiple gods, etc.

    Enuma Elish:
    a.     creation by word - Marduk has this power. They tell him to open his mouth. At the word of his mouth XXX vanishes or reappears.
    b.    command over elements - Marduk enlists wind and storm to defeat Tiamat, but battles with elements too.
    c.     Tiamat is split in two and body is used to retain waters and set firmament and ground.
    d.    sets stars in their place, gives moon and sun jurisdiction, setting days 
    e.     creation of man - "blood I will make and bones I will cause to be" new idea like Genesis but he creates out of a dead god's body and for the purpose of "the relief of the gods".
    In Genesis, we see a carefully structured account, bringing order out of chaos. The sea and darkness are elements of chaos in the ancient world. No work can be done in the dark; salt water kills agriculture; unknown depths and sea creatures are in the sea. God has ability to control and limit these. Chaos is not eliminated or bounded. God creates out of nothing (vs. other creation myths of the day), and the verb used for "create" (bara) is something no human ever does in the Old Testament. Only God does this action. There are also no elements of struggle or battle to create, which is typical of other contemporary creation myths. God simply speaks or shapes things into being. There are also no birthing images, which are common in other myths, and quickly lead to a confusion between Creator and creature (vs. God as wholly other), and to fertility cults. Also, most other creation myths were a people’s story (how the Mesopotamians came to be, for instance). Genesis is not presented as Israel’s story, but as the story of the world. ( to really appreciate the beauty and brilliance of these chapters, one has to read Hebrew. These verses are packed with wordplays and puns. It may not immediately occur to one that puns are a good form of theological education, but…)
              -Camp and Roberts 

    Remember: you can delete the Romans scripture and everything else crossed out above. Focus on  Exodus 20 and 34, and Matthew 5-7.

    Skip the Hauer and Young readings and assignments ; skip Geography/map worksheets (will do in class).

    On the letter assignment, simplify the assignment, so you are writing to your cohort, explaining 
    any tradition, cultural or otherwise, you have: how you do holidays at home, how you share job responsibilities at work..anything that is a tradition.   You can ignore the A and B options on syllabus, unless you choose to do it per syllabus.

    Remember: you have till week 3 to get caught up.

    Hauer and Young pp 290-291 (right click, then click again to enlarge)

    . -->

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