The third in a series exploring the sacred texts of the major religions. From Genesis to Job, the Bible is a moving account of the people Israel struggling to explain the origin and persistence of evil and God’s call to do good. Mary Phil Korsak explains her motives for providing a fresh and earthy translation of ‘Genesis’ as a long poem. Translator Stephen Mitchell relates the power of ‘The Book of Job’ to his own life. And Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins illuminates the wisdom of Hillel in the Talmudic book, ‘The Sayings of the Fathers’.
Monthly Archives: March 2006
I’ve had mild fever and aches and pains the past few days. The doc tells me I have had mild fever and aches and pains… But nothing too serious is discernible. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a great interview, ranging through many books and authors. But who, some may be asking, is Kevin Stevens? The short answer is that he is an ex-pat Boston writer who now lives in Ireland. I have recently read his first novel, The Rizzoli Contract (2003). Even if I had worked out who was at the bottom of the mess a bit soonish, I still loved it. The blurb:
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Lord Malcolm and I had a wonderful lunch at Chinese Whispers in Crown Street, Surry Hills. The duck dish was the best of its kind we have ever had. Towards the end, Lord Malcolm raised the idea of a banquet for his 49th in May, and we agreed this was the place to do it, so that is what will happen, God willing. Read the rest of this entry »
The above is on the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs website, and is a fair summary of the facts as I have observed them growing up in Sutherland Shire, and then later in much more diverse Wollongong, and later again as they became part of my life both personally and professionally, as the partner of a person from Mainland China and as an ESL and ELICOS teacher.
There is a myth that it is all a left-wing plot, Read the rest of this entry »
He has a great view overlooking the city from high up above Park Street, Read the rest of this entry »
Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
A bit extreme, most would say these days, and as hot as anything you might find in the Qu’ran.
It is not only from such obviously unfortunate passages that John Shelby Spong concludes that any simplistic view of the Bible as the literal Word of God is actually wrong, let alone unhelpful, but from much broader considerations. The negative case made in The Sins of Scripture by Spong, an avowed Christian, is I think irrefutable, though one might argue about this or that aspect of his case. Certainly any fundamentalist position simply becomes untenable in the light of what he says, which is hardly all that original anyway. Indeed, Spong is in many respects quite old-fashioned, a rather 1950s-1960s modernist.
Not a book I have read, but an article by Robert Irwin in the UK magazine Prospect certainly gives plenty of food for thought.
How do we know what we think we know about Islam and the Arabs? Movies and novels have long been a rich source of misinformation and eloquent prejudice. Novels like Eric Ambler’s The Levanter, Frederick Forsyth’s The Key to Rebecca and Daniel Easterman’s The Last Assassin, as well as films like Cast a Giant Shadow, Jewel of the Nile and Operation Condor have fed on and refuelled such prejudice. Arabs and Muslims commonly feature as terrorists, religious fanatics, drug dealers, pimps and so on. In the course of the last 50 years or so they have replaced the Nazis as hand-me-down villains. Films in which Arab points of view are realistically and sympathetically presented, such as David O Russell’s political action film Three Kings (1999), set in the immediate aftermath of the first Gulf war, are hard to find.
The presentation of Islam by Muslim apologists, on the other hand, has little appeal for non-believers. In the 19th century, a significant sector of the British public read sermons for pleasure. Today’s readers have lost this taste. In any case, Muslim apologists tend to present current Islamic practice and past history as more perfect than would seem plausible to an outsider. Besides there are too many competing accounts of Islam in print—Wahhabi, Deobandi, Barelwi, Ahmadi, Sufi, liberal. As for journalism, its coverage of the middle east is crisis-driven, providing only a restricted context to the latest terrorist atrocity or rigged election. The longue durée of the middle east has been elided.
This is what has been exciting us here in South Sydney lately.
A RELENTLESS 12-week campaign by Peter Holmes a Court – and the dramatic last-word intervention of the actor Russell Crowe – swayed die-hard South Sydney supporters to accept a $3 million privatisation offer at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday.
The bid scraped across the line. With a 75 per cent majority required, the suitors won 75.8 per cent of the 3936 votes accepted – a margin of only 30 votes.
Back in January I mentioned my fondness for the Catholic Christian Community Bible (Quezon City, Claretian Publications, Edition II 1988) and mentioned several other versions.
Just lately I have been using the 1995 Contemporary English Version as well, and after initial reservations about it, I find it is often very enlightening and is certainly easy to read. I still share some reservations with Michael Marlowe, whose critique is linked at the head of this entry. I would not recommend it as the only version to use.
Michael Marlowe’s Bible Research site I referred to also in that earlier entry; it is in many respects very good. However, one does need to be aware of where he is coming from, which he very directly tells us.
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John Shelby Spong. That opening will be sufficient for some readers to caricature this review and dismiss it immediately, reading no further. The same would occur if his book A New Christianity for a New World happened to appear in their hand…
I refer to this review because I am about to read The Sins of Scripture (2005). Last year I read Here I Stand, his autogiography, of which I said: “I am captivated by the voice that comes through Here I Stand, more so than through some of his other works I have read; I recommend the book strongly.”
To return to the review of A New Christianity for a New World:
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