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Hospitality, Power, and Sacrifice: Reading the Bible’s Little Lambs

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb 13.2, NRSV). Hospitality was an enormously important ritual in the ancient world. Because traveling was dangerous, ancient Mediterranean societies often attempted to incentivize protecting strangers by honoring those who practiced hospitality. In ancient Greece–since atContinue reading “Hospitality, Power, and Sacrifice: Reading the Bible’s Little Lambs”

Theology of Exodus in Kings: Solomon’s Pharaonic Shadow

Ron Hendel notes, “The exodus from Egypt is a focal point of ancient Israelite religion. Virtually every kind of religious literature in the Hebrew Bible—prose narrative, liturgical poetry, didactic prose, and prophecy—celebrates the exodus as a foundational event. Israelite ritual, law, and ethics are often grounded in the precedent and memory of the Exodus. …Continue reading “Theology of Exodus in Kings: Solomon’s Pharaonic Shadow”

Taxes and Death: Incarnation and Subversion (Luke 2)

Jesus’ birth was a deeply subversive affair in at least a few ways. Last time, we looked at how Luke and the angels subvert Roman authority and emperor cult, but the Incarnation was also deeply subversive to Jewish hopes and expectations, particularly for national hopes of rebellion. This subversion of expectations and hopes comes fromContinue reading “Taxes and Death: Incarnation and Subversion (Luke 2)”

Gods, Angels, and Emperors: Subversion and Incarnation (Luke 2)

Jesus’ birth was a deeply subversive affair in at least a few ways. Perhaps most obviously, the proclamation of the angels recorded by Luke was a direct assault upon the power of the Roman Emperor. When Augustus was finally crowned in 9 BC, the assembly explains their reasoning thus: Divine providence which orders our livesContinue reading “Gods, Angels, and Emperors: Subversion and Incarnation (Luke 2)”

Plundering Temples and Paying Off Nations: The Treasury in Kings

One of the more interesting questions to ask when studying the book of Kings is what genre we read it as. Often times, we’re subtly influenced even by the categories present in our Bibles. For example, most Protestant Christians categorize their Old Testaments according to the taxonomy of Law (Genesis–Deuteronomy), History (Joshua–Esther), Poetry (Job–Song), andContinue reading “Plundering Temples and Paying Off Nations: The Treasury in Kings”

Subverting Commands and Expectations: Racism and Womanhood in Ruth 3

Antiquity was super racist. Or, as I’ve talked about before, antiquity was super “proto-racist.” Geography was destiny and where you were from told everyone everything they wanted to know about who you were and what your character was like. As horrible as that is—and let’s be clear, whether we want to call this proto-racism, racism,Continue reading “Subverting Commands and Expectations: Racism and Womanhood in Ruth 3”

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