Battles continue over women's equality vs. People who read the Bible often find themselves on the opposite sides of many of these issues. This does not mean that they are necessarily reading their texts incorrectly. Indeed, before we even ask, "What does the Bible say?
Moreover, the Bible is open to multiple interpretations: How then do we read in a manner that is grounded and thoughtful rather than uninformed or soporific? Here are five general guidelines.
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One approach is to begin with the broad picture of what the Bible says about physical intimacy. Before addressing the various "Thou shalt nots," it is often salutary to look at the "Thou shalts" and the "Thou might want tos.
Even Sarah, Abraham's menopausal wife, speaks of the pleasure she will have with her husband Genesis Ancient Hebrew women were not expected to lie back and think of Torah.
A second is to acknowledge that the Bible is often less a book of answers than a book that helps us ask the right questions. From the narratives of rape, we learn to listen for the voice of the victim; we find that sexual abuse happens in the best of
Amy jill levine homosexuality in japan, including that of King David; we realize that revenge taken on the perpetrator of sexual abuse leads to more abuse, to war, to death; we discover that this crime, like that of adultery, impacts more than just the people directly involved: And it means knowing that the perpetrators as well as their families are also human beings, also in the image and likeness of the divine.
Third, we must read carefully. This means not simply looking at what the text says: For example, the first interpreter of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the prophet Ezekiel, condemns Sodom not for homosexuality but for "pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease" and for failing to "aid the poor and needy" Ezekiel Nor does the story suggest that homosexuality is the problem.
The Hebrew of Genesis 19 tells us that all the people of Sodom sought to "know" the two visitors: The problem is sexual violence, not homosexuality; attempted rape, not love. As for the Levitical commandments
Amy jill levine homosexuality in japan cited as prohibiting homosexuality, the Hebrew is not as clear as some claim, and the historicizing rationales typically proposed for the injunctions - e. Some readers even find the Levitical codes trumped by earlier pronouncements: Fourth, we do well to recognize that biblical standards are not always our standards, and nor should they be.
The Bible makes adultery a capital crime; if that legislation were put into practice, we'd knock out a third of our population. King Solomon had wives and concubines; we become apoplectic over bigamy. Fifth, we should continually reassess our views.
If we ignore tradition, experience, science, and the personal testimony of our neighbors and look only to Scripture, we become bibliolators: And if we listen to those with whom we disagree rather than dismiss them as benighted literalists or atheistic relativists, then at the very least we might be able to avoid the demonization that usually comes with the culture wars.
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