Reflection Paper Assignment: The Meaning of the Bible.
Levine, Amy –Jill and Douglas Knight. The Meaning of the Bible: What Jewish and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us. New York: HarperOne, 2011.
The assignment is reflect on my own assumptions about the Bible, and bible interpretation, based on the journey, or “deep dive” I have taken into the Hebrew Bible this semester through various writing and discussions, and the reflections garnered in my sojourn with Levine and Knight. This is, indeed, a foreboding task, given it has to be accomplished in 10 pages or less. Where is God’s justice when you need it?
About the Bible.
In exploring the question, how my views about the Bible have been modified or confirmed as a result of this course on the Hebrew Bible, I would say that it has been impacted in various and sundry ways, because of space concerns, I will speak to: a. Historicity of the Bible, b. the history of ancient Israel and how it relates to the current geopolitical environment in the Middle East.
a. Historicity of the Bible.
One of the biggest issues for me was a lack of historicity of the Bible. This is true generally for the history of ancient Israel and specifically for events like the Creation Story, the Exodus, the conquests of the Promised Land, and the Kingdoms of David and Solomon. While I generally knew that the creation story was not factually true, prior to this course, I tended to overlook the details of the untruth, i.e., the implications of this inaccuracy. What the course made me confront was how I conveyed this information to those who believed every word. What is it truth that would emanate from the story of creation that I could convey those who held fast in that faith and belief in the accuracy of the Bible. It was not so much how and why it impacted my belief of the truth that emanated from those stories, but how I would convey that truth to those who clung to every word of Scripture. To further complicate this dilemma, for the first time I learn of the multiple authorship of Genesis, and my introduction to the Priestly source (P), the Yahwistic source (J) and the Elohistic one (E), all of which I never knew existed, until this course. I guess I should have known, given the multiple creation stories, but the course brought me face-to-face with this reality. It brought me to the point where I question, Is this something I convey to those who would look to me as a knowledgeable voice of the meaning of scripture? I could never get away with explaining this to my dear old church going aunt, who clings to every word of scripture as truth. How do I explain and reconcile these truths and realities in such a way that I do not shatter her belief in the Word of God?
According to Levine and Knight, as it pertains to the creation story, including the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the flood, etc., these are all myths and that the term “myth “ does not mean that it contents are false and fictitious. Levine and Knight go on...