Monday, March 16, 2015

It's a Preservative

All ancient Near Easterners had the greatest respect for their gods and goddesses. The continuance of their existence, their community, government and city, utterly depended on the supernatural realm’s good graces. The deities were all-powerful, all-wise beings who were indifferent one moment and sympathetic the next. The vicissitudes of the world in which they lived bore this out. Given the capriciousness of their deities, even the most powerful āšipu/ašiptu, prophet or prophetess, kaššāpu/ kaššaptu would never dare command the great and mighty deities to do anything they were not disposed to accomplish. For to do so would presume equality with them, an attitude that certainly would not foster a co-operative relationship.

When viewed in this way, it becomes clear that the act of “cutting off evil” is a defense strategy that endeavors to preserve the “life”/“goodness” of the whole and bolster the ongoing favor of the patron deities. It attempts to preserve the “purity” and “blessedness” of what is left behind by extracting any “impurity” and “cursedness” that would imperil the remnant’s existence.— Cursed Are You!, page 470

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In other words, they had greater respect for their deities than some Christians have for the triune God! As Jesus might say, "They are more righteous than you." Ouch.

I've been editing a discourse handbook on the Greek text of the Epistle of James. Good stuff to make you examine your theology. Funny how when you read the Bible as it is written instead of as you want it to be written your theology gets challenged. Over and over again I've been seeing how our Western christianity—at least as it is practiced in the U.S.—is far more cultural than Christian.

By the way, that's the final post from Kitz's book. I hope you enjoyed the excerpts enough to read/buy the book. I would rate it as the best book I've read in the last year or two—and I read between 25 and 100 books a year...but you read it and decide. And let me know what you think of it via a post to the comment section of the blog.
</idle musing>

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