Bible Backstory 2: The Bible & Me (Part III)

The Last 15 Years – An Ever-Evolving Faith At UBC I studied in the department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious studies for 13 years––at first as a part time undergrad majoring in Classics (Greek and Latin language studies), but then as a full-time grad student majoring in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism. I completed…

Read More

Bible Backstory 2: The Bible & Me (Part II)

Three Crucial Years – The Formation of Faith Then came university and my conscious efforts to live “true to my atheistic convictions” that there is no God, no “word of God” and no divinely approved religion. True to my convictions I poured all my time and energy into my studies while socializing with my new…

Read More

Bible Backstory 2: The Bible & Me (Part I)

I thought it might be helpful for you, the reader, to understand something about my personal history with the Bible. I’ve shortened the story considerably, but I have still broken it down into three parts: I, II, & III. Part I: My First 20 Years – Little Exposure, No Faith I had almost no personal…

Read More

Biblical Beginnings 7b: Genesis 2:4b–25, Notes and Quotes

It is quite clear to everyone but the most conservative/fundamentalist biblical scholars, that these verses are a second, and different, story of creation. The differences, as compared with Gen 1:1–2:4a, can only be logically understood as a separate story and not a retelling of the first story but in greater detail. What are the differences?…

Read More

Biblical Beginnings 7a: Genesis 2:4b–25, Translation with Notes

On the day Yahweh[1] Elohim made land and skies there were not yet any shrubs of the field on the land and not yet any plants of the field had sprouted because Yahweh Elohim had not caused rain on the land and there was no human to work the ground. And fresh water came up…

Read More

Biblical Beginnings 6b: Gen. 1:1–2:4a, Notes and Quotes

This purpose of this post (and others to follow) is not to serve as a verse-by-verse commentary on the first eleven chapters of Genesis. There are many really good works written by scholars who are far more qualified than I to address some of the thorniest issues. However, what I will write about has to…

Read More

Biblical Beginnings 6a: Gen 1:1–2:4a, Translation

If you’re up for it, and you really want to see Genesis 1–11 with fresh eyes, I’m providing you with that opportunity. I plan to go through these chapters with two posts per section. The first post will, for each section, be my own translation. I will include only notes explaining why I chose to…

Read More

Biblical Beginnings 5: Tales of the Earliest World

It has taken me quite a while to write this post because I’ve been reading a very helpful book, Middle Eastern Mythology by Samuel Henry Hooke (1874–1968). It’s not a big book—less than 200 pages in the Dover paperback edition of 2004—but it is quite dense with information. It is written in a way, however,…

Read More

Qohelet 5: Since Everything is Utterly Absurd, What’s a Person To Do?

As we have noted, Qohelet repeatedly uses the word, hevel, to stress that certain individual actions or pursuits are meaningless and thus in the end that all of life “under the sun” is utterly meaningless. So, if that’s the case, Qohelet, what are people supposed to do with their lives? There is a phrase that…

Read More