Thursday, February 25, 2016

Week 1: Philemon and Genesis 1 and 2/Texts, 3 Worlds, Signs (Chiasm, Venn it, Set Theory)

As you'll remember, when I took a version of this class at FPC (it wasn't a U yet), I had cool typewriter

I look forward this class..I think you'll' enjoy it, too..
 ...I did when I took it in 1983>>

BIB 314 asks, "Who is Jesus?"

and "What is Church?"

This class asks
  • "1)How do I read a text of Scripture via a Three Worlds approach?"
  • 2)"What does Scripture have to say about community?
  • 3)What does Scripture have to say about my major?

  • Our devotional video:  Dan Nainan

"What race is that guy, anyway?":


  •  How was he able to get away with telling jokes on different cultures?
  • Have you experienced racial prejuidice/racism?
  • How is Jesus the definitive bicultural person?
  • -For those who are African-American or Asian-American, how does it feel that "Jesus was Asian" and spent time on both continents?

CULTURE: a way of thinking, feeling, valuing and acting by one or more persons.

Wow!  All communication is texting, and all communication is cross-cultural.
All marriages are cross-cultural.

What continent is Israel on?

"What continent is Israel on?"
How did you answer the question? 
Answer it in your mind, and then scroll down.

There is only one right answer, obviously. 

 But every time I ask the question--in Israel or in class--people stumble, and tentatatively give the wrong answers: Europe?  Africa?  Middle East?
The only right answer is:

Does that sound surprising or shocking?
Sooo..that means: Jesus was Asian.
People laugh when you say that.  But it's true...and important that Jesus lived in Asia;  born and died there. That was his home. In our contemporary world, we think Asian means only Chinese, Japanese etc.
Jesus was Asian! Note I didn't say He IS Asian, as I believe He is bigger than that now, but while on earth as a human he was ethnically  Jewish...and  Asian.  So He thought and lived an Eastern, Mediterranean, Hebrew, Occidental, ASIAN worldview.  This will become important later in class.

POST the phrase "Jesus was Asian" on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter..or text or say it to at least three people. Then post below some of the responses you got.  Some people will accuse you of being crazy.
But for now, have fun watching these two  funny videos, and then comment below in a paragraph to the idea of Jesus being Asian.  Include a reference to both videos.  Respond to the posts of at least two others. 

a TEXT is technically ":any message  in any medium, designed to communicate anything"
so obviously the Bible counts as a TEXT message. you

Thanks for texting me in class.  

Texts need contexts.
Thanks for texting me (cell phone) random text messages during class to illustrate that texts need contexts.


How you read the text changes as much as everything.

Spaces matter.

Like this:

Professor Ernest Brennecke of Columbia is credited with inventing a sentence that can be made to have eight different meanings by placing ONE WORD in all possible positions in the sentence: 
"I hit him in the eye yesterday."

The word is "ONLY".
The Message:

1.ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday. (No one else did.)
2.I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday. (Did not slap him.)
3.I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit others.)
4.I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit outside the eye.)
5.I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday. (Not other organs.)
6.I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday. (He doesn't have another eye..)
7.I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday. (Not today.)
8.I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY. (Did not wait for today.)

Like this 'text message' from Jesus:
or is it,

The original manuscripts of the Bible not only run all letters, all caps, together, but include no punctuation.

Punctuation matters.

Everything is  context.

context      is everything.

By the way, that last statement was a chiasm 

Remember the terms quiz for week 5 is replaced with a  mix and match signs quiz.
We did 1, 4, 6 and 9-11 tonight:


1)Three Worlds
We became familiar/reacquainted with the "Three Worlds"  concept .
Here  below is how one student summarized the worlds (she has more detail here)

Literary World--The literary world of the Bible is simply the text itself, apart from anything outside the text.  We mean the world (or, better, worlds) created by the text; the words on the page, by the stories, songs, letters and the myriad other types of literature that make up the Bible.  All good literature (and the Bible is, among other things, good literature) creates in readers' minds magnificent, mysterious, and often moving worlds that take on a reality of their own, whether or not they represent anything real outside the pages

Historical World--The historical world of the Bible isthe world "behind the text" or "outside the text".  It is the context in which the Bible came to be written, translated, and interpreted over time, until the present.  In studying the historical world of the Bible, we look for evidence outside the text that helps us answer questions such as, who wrote this text, when was it written, to whom was it written, and why was it written.  We also probe the text itself for evidence that links it to historical times, places, situations, and persons

Contemporary World--The contemporary world is the "world in front of the text" or the "world of the reader."  In one sense, there are as many contemporary worlds of the Bible as there are readers, for each of us brings our own particular concerns and questions to the text.  They inevitably shape our reading experience.  We are all interested in answering the questions of whether the Bible in general, or particular texts, have any relevance to our personal lives

We noted how careful we should be reading texts.



From the ridiculous:

  • "I am stuck on Band Aid..
  • "Never let a kiss fool you..
To the sublime:
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you..
  • "God is good all the time.."
  • "When the going gets tough.."
  • "Accept rejection.."
To the biblical:

  • The first shall be last...
  • Whoever humbles themself will be exalted...
  • You do unto others...

Chiasm(definition) ).. once you are attuned to seeing them in Scripture (and most ancient literature) it seems they are everywhere.

Sometimes they are.


6)VENN IT!!! 

the two stories of creationGen 1:1 – 2:3 and Gen. 2:4-25). 

 Camp and  Roberts (FPU faculty) note:

The two accounts are separate but complementary, like the four gospels. They can be read at different levels, from literal to figurative, with no bearing on the truth of it. Poetry is not less true than a newspaper, just a different kind or mode of truth. And, one must always ask the question what the implied author intended and what the implied audience would have understood. Ancient notions of history are very different from ours.
Genesis 1:

repetitious, tabular, formal
days of creation reported in the same way, formulaic
authority and brevity
style of ordering material into a series of similar solemn commands are unchallenged
content presents major divisions of creation known to writer
catalog or tabulation of events and commands
vocabulary = create (bara), humanity as likeness/image, male/fernale
God = Elohim, characterized as powerful cosmic organizer, speaks things into being, stands outside of cosmos and controls it
Humanity = created as vice regent, created in image gives representative status
polemic against mythical concepts of life and creation
Genesis 2:
relationship of characters emphasized
language is picturesque and flowing, poetic terms, colorful
God's actions more interrelated than separated by divisions of time or set expressions (idioms)
no two acts are alike and none are preceded by divine command
vocabulary = form (yasar), humanity as living being, man/woman
God = Yahweh, characterized by immanence, personal nearness, involvement on human scene, intimate master, depicted humanly (hands, walking, digging)
Humanity = ready contact with and immediate responsibility to God. Humanity's creation linked to ground (word play on adam = man and adamah = ground) and curse is alienation from the land, is distinctive because Yahweh personally addresses him
polemic against fertility cults in Canaan
Compare Genesis accounts to Babylonian Creation story (read an excerpt here). Significant similarities – Genesis is not written in a vacuum. Significant differences – lack of violence, struggle, multiple gods, etc.

Enuma Elish:
a.     creation by word - Marduk has this power. They tell him to open his mouth. At the word of his mouth XXX vanishes or reappears.
b.    command over elements - Marduk enlists wind and storm to defeat Tiamat, but battles with elements too.
c.     Tiamat is split in two and body is used to retain waters and set firmament and ground.
d.    sets stars in their place, gives moon and sun jurisdiction, setting days 
e.     creation of man - "blood I will make and bones I will cause to be" new idea like Genesis but he creates out of a dead god's body and for the purpose of "the relief of the gods".
In Genesis, we see a carefully structured account, bringing order out of chaos. The sea and darkness are elements of chaos in the ancient world. No work can be done in the dark; salt water kills agriculture; unknown depths and sea creatures are in the sea. God has ability to control and limit these. Chaos is not eliminated or bounded. God creates out of nothing (vs. other creation myths of the day), and the verb used for "create" (bara) is something no human ever does in the Old Testament. Only God does this action. There are also no elements of struggle or battle to create, which is typical of other contemporary creation myths. God simply speaks or shapes things into being. There are also no birthing images, which are common in other myths, and quickly lead to a confusion between Creator and creature (vs. God as wholly other), and to fertility cults. Also, most other creation myths were a people’s story (how the Mesopotamians came to be, for instance). Genesis is not presented as Israel’s story, but as the story of the world. ( to really appreciate the beauty and brilliance of these chapters, one has to read Hebrew. These verses are packed with wordplays and puns. It may not immediately occur to one that puns are a good form of theological education, but…)
          -Camp and Roberts KKK 

--9, 10, 11

Think about how you made your choices abut where to stand tonight during the exercise pictured below.
We will follow up on this.  How did you feel being forced to pick a bounded set either/or), without opting fo a fuzzy set (Both/and) or centered (headed towards one option)?

Set theory




    We introduced the third (and final) "set" of "set theory:

    -When does a mountain begin?
    -Is it about predestination or free will?
    -Faith or science?

    These can be the border can be fuzzy...Thus :
    "Fuzzy sets"
    aka "the marker trick" aka "Yep!":

  • Here below is some help on Fuzzy Sets. These readings will help:


    Which list of the Ten Commandments is the "real" list??

    We joked you could win $100 by saying, :Let me read you a list of the Ten Commandments, the only list the Bible explicity calls the Ten Commandments.  Tell if this is the list.  A hundred bucks says I'm right.  Then read them the Ten Commandments from Exodus 34!!:

                          Exodus 20                                                                     Exodus 34: Note: this list, NOT THE 
                                                                                                           OTHER, is the one that says "THESE ARE    
                                                                                                            THE TEN COMMANDMENTS"                                                          

    1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.
    1. Thou shalt worship no idol. (For the Lord is a jealous god).  Smash all idols,
    2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.
    2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
    3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. 3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.
    4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    4. All the first-born are mine.
    5. Honor your father and your mother.
    5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.
    6. You shall not kill.
    6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.
    8. You shall not steal.
    8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.
    9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
    10. You shall not covet.
    10. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk.

    These look only loosely related to the list we've all heard from Exodust= 2O

    A quick trip up the mountain"..SEE BELOW:
    Students can manually mark this item complete: 7)"...and Moses went up to God": a ten-hour trip in two miniutes
    -Ten commandments as a wedding:

    Then scroll down for the question..

    Was "wedding" on your list?
                                            .....or "love"?

    What does all this have to do with a wedding?


    We watched "HE LED YOU LIKE A BRIDE," a  Ray Vander Laan "Faith Lessons" video  from Mount Sinai.  Here is the complete video, which is    on this DVD.

    IT  dealt with the many"historical world"hyperlinks from Ten Commandments to wedding.

    Here's a study guide for the video:..

    see pp.197-251  here

    Often when I officiate weddings, and the groom is nervous, I try to lighten the mood. I pull out my little black book in front of all the groomsmen and fake a shocking, "Oh my goodness, I accidentally brought my funeral book by mistake!! But I'll just read from it anyway..i mean it's the same idea. Is that OK?" Then there is a laugh of relief when they realize I'm kidding!

    But at Margaret and Paul's wedding.....

    for the first time, I couldn'tfind my wedding book right away, so i did actually bring the funeral book instead. It didn't really matter, as after doing years of weddings I don't need the book, I just use it to stick little sticky notes in for the sermon, prompts, names etc....oh, and to look pastoral and cool.

    So I just crossed out the big title "FUNERAL" on the spine with a black marker, so folks wouldn't see it while I was up front (:

    Then for a laugh and a few pics, after the service, I rubbed off the ink so you could read it.

    -- I recommend  showing this video to a group or class ,and doing it this way.
    Show the first  (Regional Emmy winner) video  below starting at 4 second mark, telling the group that no one should say anything, or make any noise, while watching; just concentrate hard on following the instructions:

     You can see why calling it the "Invisible Gorilla" test might jinx things(:

    Here is the backstory: 

    How about this version:

     TED Talk   by Daniel Simons:
    Christopher Chabris'  talk at Google about Invisible Gorilla:
    Here's a great spoof version:
    Of course people have made endless variations: 

    YouTube search: "selective attention"
    YouTube search: "invisible gorilla"


  • Remember:
    From week 2 Bible reading, focus in Exodus and Matthew

    From  week 2 prep assignments, you can skip #2 (we will do in class)