Showing posts from March, 2011

The Fourth Sunday in Lent - 3 April 2011

The Fourth Sunday in Lent I Samuel 16:1-13 Psalm 23 Ephesians 5:8-14 Saint John 9:1-41                                                                                         BACKGROUND: Samuel The books attributed to this prophet, judge, military leader, and kingmaker in the Hebrew Scriptures were most likely not written by him.   There is the evidence to too many hands, and with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, there are significant variants.   The book, however, is important in our understanding Israel as it moves from a loose federation of tribes into a monarchy following the patterns of its Canaanite neighbors.   On the cusp of this change, Samuel becomes both the apologist and the critic of the monarchy.   Two great sagas, that of Samuel himself, and that of David are both set forth in the book(s) (The book was divided into two sections with its translation into Greek under the patronage of the Ptolomies in Egypt).   Other theological points in the

The Third Sunday in Lent - 27 March 2011

The Third Sunday in Lent Exodus 17:1-7 Psalm 95 Romans 5;1-11 Saint John 4:5-42                                                                                         St. Elias BACKGROUND: Background: The Books of Moses IV The second of the strands that formed the Five Books of Moses is the E strand, which stands for the Elohist.  This editor uses another name for God, Elohim, which is usually translated as “God” in most English Bibles.  The E tradition is a northern tradition.  After the Davidic kingdom split, around 922 BCE, a whole effort at reconstituting the national religion took place in the north as well.  Here, however, the religion was practiced in the context of the Canaanite religious cult, and we see an emphasis in E about removing temples, images, and the cultus of other gods.  The strand is focused on the period following Abraham, who is guised as a prophet.  God is not seen as the one who walks in the Garden in the evening so much as the God who sp

The Second Sunday in Lent - 20 March 2011

The Second Sunday in Lent Genesis 12:1-4a Psalm 121 Romans 3:1-17 Saint John 3:1-17                                                                                         Michelangelo - Adam BACKGROUND: Background: The Books of Moses III Last week, I mentioned the Yahwist (J) and that particular strand of the Books of Moses.  Someone sent me an email wondering why I had spelled YHWH as JHWH.  Hoping to make the connection between the name of God and the strand author/editor “J”, I used the Germanic spelling.  J is deeply connected to the soil.  It is the soil formed by YHWH’s hand that both creates Adam and buries Moses.  The soil to which this strand is most firmly attached is that of Judea.  Judea is the culmination of the patriarchal cycles, and the theme of God’s choosing as his own the sons and daughters of the patriarchs – particularly Judah is preeminent.  Another theme of this strand is that of the “younger son”, (Isaac, Jacob, and Judah), flaunting the usu