Showing posts from July, 2010

The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 13, 1 August 2010

The Readings for The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 13) Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23 Psalm 49:1-11 Colossians 3:1-11 Saint Luke 12:13-21        BACKGROUND Since our first reading is from Ecclesiastes, permit a few words about Wisdom Literature – which was a common type in the Ancient Near East, known especially in Egyptian, and in Semitic cultures.  Greek philosophy, to which these teachings have often been compared, commented on human life in the context of the common mores of society.  Hebrew wisdom literature explores similar themes but in the context of the Law, the moral determinations that are set forth by the God of Israel.  In spite of this unique viewpoint in Hebrew Wisdom, it does serve as a conduit for ideas that enter Judaism from Egypt, and the Mesopotamian region.  Books of the Bible that are examples of such literature include Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Job, the Wisdom of Solomon, some of the Psalms (see today’s psalm especially), and some ma

The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 12) - 25 July 2010

The Readings for The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 12) Genesis 18:20-32 Psalm 138 Colossians 2:6-19 Saint Luke 11:1-13        The Four Gospels BACKGROUND A quick word about the composition of the Gospels: With today’s Gospel, and its version of the Our Father, recorded by St. Luke, we get a glimpse of how these materials came together.   Mark is the earliest, shortest, and simplest of the four Gospels, and both Matthew and Luke depend on Mark.   In addition they depend on a hypothetical common source called “Q” (which stands for the German word Quelle , which means “Source”), and each of them on separate traditions peculiar to each of them.   Mark, Matthew, and Luke are called the “Synoptic” (that is, “with one eye”) Gospels. John, on the other hand is dependent on none of these materials, having his own chronology, themes, sayings, and symbols.   If there is any correspondence between the synoptics and John, it is to Luke.   Reading the Gospels, and paying atte

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 11) - 18 July 2010

The Readings for The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 11) Genesis 18:1-10a Psalm 15 Colossians 1:15-28 Saint Luke 10:38-42                  The Holy Trinity           BACKGROUND With a reading from Genesis before us, we need to take a moment to see how Genesis was written.  The tradition is that it is from the hand of Moses, thus the Pentateuch, or the Five Books of Moses.  Scholars, however, have used another theory when discussing the source of these materials, and have proposed several “strands”.  Today’s reading in the Hebrew Scriptures is in the “J” tradition, so named because of his use of the name JAHWEH (YAHWEH) for God.  These traditions come largely from the Southern Kingdom of Judah, and the Aaronic priesthood.  Another strand is the “E” strand, where the name for God is Elohim, and the content comes largely from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Levitical priesthood.  The other strand is the P (for Priestly) strand, which is concern