Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
1. Deity is just (inherent quality).In Mesopotamia the discussion hovers between options two and three. In the Hebrew Bible the discussion hovers between options one and two. Yahweh is at times declared to be just. Job calls Yahweh’s justice into question based on his experience (Job 40:8), but the book exonerates Deity in the end.
2. Deity administers justice consistently (though actions are sometimes opaque).
3. Deity intends to administer justice but does so imperfectly.
4. Deity is corrupt, with only a secondary interest in administering justice.
Another aspect of justice concerns acts of judgment. In Israel much of the prophetic literature is taken up with oracles of judgment, and both in the covenant curses and in the historical literature we see Yahweh as proactive in punishing his wayward people. In Mesopotamia it is more common for the judgment of the gods to be seen in their abandonment of subjects. Loss of the care and protection of the deity would expose the city, king, or individual to evil forces, whose activities would constitute punishment. Nevertheless, many texts speak of the gods imposing punishment on people (often in the form of illness or disease).—Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, 2nd ed., page 68
Monday, February 25, 2019
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Monday, February 18, 2019
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Friday, February 15, 2019
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Monday, February 11, 2019
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Friday, February 08, 2019
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
If the formula holds, the description of a god as good or wise would signify only that the deity was acting in what were perceived to be good or wise ways rather than implying that the inherent essence or nature of the deity was to be good or wise. The affirmation or conviction that a deity consistently acted in good or wise ways, or the observation that goodness or wisdom persisted in all of the deity’s behavior, could suggest that such an abstraction might have been accurate but falls short of suggesting that the ancients would have been inclined to draw conclusions in the abstract realm.
If this assessment is accurate, we should ask whether there is any concept in the ancient world of an inherent essence of the deity—or can we only say that deity is as deity does? A thorough search of the literature suggests that the latter is the case. There is little interest expressed in penetrating the inner psyche of essential nature of any deity.—Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, 2nd ed., pages 65–66
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Monday, February 04, 2019
Anthropomorphic. The important aspect of anthropomorphism is not the physical shape but the presumed nature, character, and personality of a god. Many of the features in the rest of the list could easily be viewed as further defining what this entails. In short, in the literary portraits of the gods they were viewed as having all of the same qualities, good and bad, as humans but without as many limitations. They had more power and a longer span of existence than people. They were not better than people; they were simply stronger than people—all shared basic human traits.—Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, 2nd ed., page 63
Saturday, February 02, 2019
Friday, February 01, 2019
o quote Mary Beard, “You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure. That means thinking about power differently.” Calypso offers not a hopeful possibility for women but a warning to any woman who climbs the tiers of power without questioning or transforming the asymmetrical system that keeps women as a whole in check. If the structure is not changed, in can waltz Hermes, armed with Zeus’s authoritative command, to overpower you in turn. As long as it is built upon the oppression of others, the same hierarchy that at one moment works for you can now work against you. Unlike Odysseus, we can choose to really see ourselves in the disempowered and by doing so change who we are for the better. That is the challenge for anyone reading the Odyssey today.<idle musing>
While I wholeheartedly embrace the refashioning of myth’s female monsters as our own, I do not want to find feminist empowerment where it should not be, a new female face superimposed upon the same old tale. As much as I love these old Greek stories and always will, we all desperately deserve a new one.
I would say that the new tale she is longing for is the Kingdom of God as manifested in Jesus. He had all the power in the universe at his fingertips, and he chose to be the servant of all. That's a real role model that we would do well to emulate—male or female. But especially the males!